Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Latorre vs. Latorre, March 29, 2010

Facts: In October 2000, petitioner filed before the RTC of Muntinlupa City a Complaint for Collection and Declaration of Nullity of Deed of Absolute Sale with application for Injunction against her own son, herein respondent, and one Ifzal Ali. Petitioner alleged that respondent leased a parcel of land that they co-owned to Ifzal in Dasmarinas Village and that respondent declared that he is the sole owner of the said parcel of land. Respondent immediately filed a Motion to Dismiss on the sole ground that the venue of the case was improperly laid. He stressed that while the complaint was denominated as one for Collection and Declaration of Nullity of Deed of Absolute Sale with application for Injunction, in truth the case was a real action affecting title to and interest over the subject property. Since the subject property is located in Makati City, respondent argued that petitioner should have filed the case before the RTC of Makati City and not of Muntinlupa City. The RTC denied the Motion to Dismiss of the respondent on January 2, 2001. However, on April 28, 2008, the RTC dismissed the case for want of jurisdiction because the case should have been filed in RTC Makati. Petitioner filed an MR which was denied. Hence, this petition. 

Issue: Whether or not petitioner’s Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45, in relation to Rule 41, of the Rules of Civil Procedure on alleged pure questions of law directly filed to the SC is the proper remedy in the case at bar. 

Held: A question of law arises when there is doubt as to what the law is on a certain state of facts, while there is a question of fact when the doubt arises as to the truth or falsity of the alleged facts. Petitioner prayed to the Supreme Court to decide the case on the merits. To do so, however, would require the examination by this Court of the probative value of the evidence presented, taking into account the fact that the RTC failed to adjudicate this controversy on the merits. This, unfortunately, the Supreme Court cannot do. It thus becomes exceedingly clear that the filing of the case directly with the Supreme Court ran afoul of the doctrine of hierarchy of courts. Pursuant to this doctrine, direct resort from the lower courts to the Supreme Court will not be entertained unless the appropriate remedy sought cannot be obtained in the lower tribunals. This Court is a court of last resort, and must so remain if it is to satisfactorily perform the functions assigned to it by the Constitution and by immemorial tradition.

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