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July 22, 2017

Cabutihan vs. Landcenter

Facts:
  • Cabutihan filed an action for specific performance against Landcenter Construction and Development Corporation with the RTC of Pasig.
  • According to Cabutihan, Landcenter Corporation did not comply with their obligation in a Deed of Undertaking wherein they agreed that Cabutihan would facilitate and assist Landcenter Corporation in recovering a parcel of land located in Paranaque in consideration of 20% of the land to be recovered.
  • Thereafter, Landcenter Corporation filed a motion to dismiss on the ground of improper venue.
  • They contended that since the primary objective of Cabutihan was to recover a property, it is a real action. Hence, the case should have been filed in the RTC of Paranaque where the land is situated pursuant to the rules.
  • The RTC granted the motion to dismiss.
  • Cabutihan assailed the said order.



Issue: WON the action filed by Cabutihan is a real action. NO

Held:

The Supreme Court ruled that a breach of contract, two gives rise to two causes of action arise namely: specific performance and rescission. In this case, Cabutihan sought for the payment of the services she rendered in favor of Landcenter. The action was based on a contract – the deed of undertaking. 

Such action is for specific performance which is a personal action. Being a personal action, the proper venue of the case is with the courts of the place where the plaintiff or the defendant resides pursuant to Section 1 of Rule 4 of the Rules of Court.

Hence, the case was properly filed with the RTC of Pasig. It need not be filed with the RTC of Paranaque, the place where the property is located.

On other issues:
Jurisdiction over subject matter: Neither a misjoinder nor a non-joinder of parties is a ground for the dismissal of an action.  Parties may be dropped or added by order of the court, on motion of any party or on the court’s own initiative at any stage of the action.[24] The RTC should have ordered the joinder of such party, and noncompliance with the said order would have been ground for dismissal of the action.

Non-payment of docket fees. The relaxed rule was applied here. Sunlife Insurance case.

Section 1. Ordinary civil actions, basis of.
Every ordinary civil action must be based on a cause of action. 
Sec. 2. Cause of action, defined.
A cause of action is the act or omission by which a party violates a right of another. 

Cause of action:
1. Legal right – right to collect of Cabutihan
2. Obligation – to pay by Landcenter
3. Act or omission – non-payment

What is a personal action?
Action – an action where the issue is founded on a privity of contract or on quasi-delict

As to cause or foundation: Real, personal and mixed action
As to object: Action in personam, in rem and quasi in rem

Citation:
  • REBECCA T. CABUTIHAN, petitioner, vs. LANDCENTER CONSTRUCTION & DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, respondent.
  • G.R. No. 146594 
  • June 10, 2002
  • Third Division



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