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SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 154282. April 7, 2006.]

VANGIE BARRAZONA, petitioner, vs. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH


61, BAGUIO CITY and SAN-AN REALTY AND DEVELOPMENT
CORPORATION, herein represented by RODRIGO CHUA TIU, respondents.

DECISION

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J p:

For our resolution is the instant Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure, as amended, assailing the Order dated June 19, 2002 of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC), Branch 61, Baguio City, denying petitioner's Motion to Dismiss Civil Case No. 5238-R,
entitled "SAN-AN REALTY and DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, herein represented by
RODRIGO CHUA TIU, plaintiff, v. VANGIE BARRAZONA, defendant."
San-an Realty and Development Corporation, respondent, owns a building located at Naguilian
corner Asin Road, Baguio City. Vangie Barrazona, petitioner, has been leasing portions of the
building identified as Units 203 A and B at the second floor. The period of the lease is for two (2)
years, commencing July 15, 2001 and ending June 30, 2003. The monthly rental is P400.00 per
square meter for Unit 203 A and P500.00 per square meter for Unit 203 B.
Starting August 2001, petitioner defaulted in the payment of the monthly rentals and failed to
pay despite demands by respondent. Thus, on May 14, 2002, respondent filed with the RTC,
Branch 61, Baguio City, a Complaint for Collection of Sum of Money with Damages, docketed
as Civil Case No. 5238-R.
On June 3, 2002, petitioner filed with the RTC a Motion to Dismiss on the ground, among
others, that the RTC has no jurisdiction over the complaint considering that the allegations
therein clearly indicate that the action is one for ejectment (illegal detainer) which is under the
exclusive jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC). Petitioner pointed out the following
allegations in paragraphs 4 and 5 of the complaint showing that it is not for sum of money but
for ejectment:
4. That the defendant has failed to pay the rentals for the said leased premises
for the month of August 2001 up to the present;
5. That the plaintiff has demanded the defendant to pay her overdue account,
now amounting to P971,838.15, the last demand to vacate and
payment of arrears having been made in writing on March 27, 2002 . . .
.
In an Order dated June 19, 2002, the RTC denied the Motion to Dismiss for lack of merit.
Forthwith, petitioner filed the instant Petition for Certiorari alleging that: (1) the RTC committed
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in denying her Motion to
Dismiss; and (2) the Resolution denying her Motion to Dismiss is unconstitutional as it does not
state its legal basis.
On the other hand, respondent, in praying for the dismissal of the petition, contends that (1) the
complaint is for the collection of unpaid rentals as there is absolutely no allegation that its intent
is to eject petitioner from the premises; (2) petitioner should have first filed a motion for
reconsideration before resorting to the extraordinary suit of certiorari; and (3) the assailed order
denying petitioner's motion to dismiss is interlocutory and, therefore, cannot be the subject of a
petition forcertiorari.
We hold that in denying petitioner's motion to dismiss the complaint, the RTC acted with grave
abuse of discretion.
Petitioner's motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction is pursuant to Section 1, Rule
16 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, which provides:
Sec. 1. Grounds. Within the time for but before filing the answer to the
complaint or pleading asserting a claim, a motion to dismiss may be made on
any of the following grounds:
xxx xxx xxx
b.) That the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the
claim. AEIHCS
As mentioned earlier, petitioner stated in her motion that respondent's allegations in its
complaint show that it is one for ejectment cognizable, not by the RTC but, by the
MTC of Baguio City.
In Herrera, et al. v. Bollos, et al., 1 we emphasized the basic rule that jurisdiction of the court
over the subject matter of the action is determined by the allegations of the complaint at the
time of its filing, irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or
some of the claims asserted therein. What determines the jurisdiction of the court is the
nature of the action pleaded as appearing from the allegations in the complaint. The averments
therein and the character of the relief sought are the ones to be consulted.
It bears reiterating paragraph 5 of the complaint, thus:
5. That the plaintiff has demanded the defendant to pay her overdue account,
now amounting to P971,838.15, the last demand to vacate and
payment of arrears having been made in writing on March 27, 2002 . . .
.
This allegation clearly shows that respondent made several demands upon petitioner to pay her
overdue rentals and to vacate the premises; and that the last demand to pay and vacate in
writing was on March 27, 2002. Respondent thus complied with Section 2, Rule 70 of the 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, which provides:
Sec. 2. Lessor to proceed against lessee only after demand. Unless
otherwise stipulated, such action by the lessor shall be commenced only after
demand to pay or comply with the conditions of the lease and to vacate is
made upon the lessee, or by serving written notice of such demand upon the
person found on the premises, or by posting such notice on the premises if no
person be found thereon, and the lessee fails to comply therewith after fifteen
(15) days in the case of land or five (5) days in the case of buildings. (2a)
Indeed, while the complaint is captioned "Collection of Sum of Money with Damages," the
allegations therein show that respondent's action is for ejectment. All ejectment cases are within
the jurisdiction of the MTC. 2
Next, petitioner maintains that the Order of the RTC denying her Motion to Dismiss violates the
Constitution as it does not state the facts and the law on which it is based. The challenged
Order is reproduced as follows:
ORDER
This Court finds that the grounds stated in the Motion to Dismiss to be without
merit, hence, the same is denied.
SO ORDERED.
We have admonished the trial courts not to issue a minute order or resolution like the one
specified above. A trial court should state in its order the reasons for the dismissal of the
complaint so that when the order is appealed, the appellate court can readily determine from a
casual perusal thereof whether there is a prima faciejustification for the dismissal. 3
Under Section 3, Rule 16 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, we require that
resolutions disposing of a motion to dismiss shall state clearly and distinctly the reasons
therefor, thus:
Sec. 3. Resolution of motion. After the hearing, the court may dismiss the
action or claim, deny the motion, or order the amendment of the pleading.
The court shall not defer the resolution of the motion for the reason that the
ground relied upon is not indubitable.
In every case, the resolution shall state clearly and distinctly the reasons
therefor.
This requirement proscribes the common practice of perfunctorily dismissing a motion to
dismiss for "lack of merit." Such cavalier dispositions can often pose difficulty and
misunderstanding on the part of the aggrieved party in taking recourse therefrom and likewise
on the higher court called upon to resolve the same, usually oncertiorari. 4
While an order denying a motion to dismiss is interlocutory and non-appeallable, however, if the
denial is without or in excess of jurisdiction, certiorari and prohibition are proper remedies from
such order of denial. 5 In Time, Inc. v. Reyes, 6 this Court, speaking through Justice J.B. L.
Reyes, held: The motion to dismiss was predicated on the respondent court's lack of jurisdiction
to entertain the action; and the rulings of this Court are that writs of certiorari or prohibition, or
both, may issue in case of a denial or deferment of an action or on the basis of a motion to
dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. 7 Verily, the writ of certiorari is granted to keep an inferior court
within the bounds of its jurisdiction or to prevent it from committing such a grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. 8
Lastly, we cannot go along with respondent's contention that petitioner should have first filed a
motion for reconsideration before resorting to the remedy of certiorari. While the rule is that
before certiorari may be availed of, petitioner must first file a motion for reconsideration with the
lower court of the act or order complained of, 9however, such rule is not without exception. We
have, in several instances, dispensed with the filing of a motion for reconsideration of a lower
court's ruling, such as: where the proceedings in which the error occurred is a patent
nullity; 10 where the question is purely of law; when public interest is involved; where judicial
intervention is urgent or its application may cause great and irreparable damage; 11 and where
the court a quo has no jurisdiction, 12 as in this case.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Order dated June 19, 2002 issued by the RTC,
Branch 61, Baguio City, in Civil Case No. 5238-R, is ANNULLED and SET ASIDE.
SO ORDERED.
Puno, Corona, Azcuna and Garcia, JJ., concur.
||| (Barrazona v. RTC, Br. 61, Baguio City, G.R. No. 154282, [April 7, 2006], 521 PHIL 53-60)