Dacoycoy, a resident of Cainta Rizal, filed a case for annulment of deeds of sale against De Guzman before RTC Antipolo Rizal. It involves a parcel of riceland in Barrio Estanza, Lingayen, Pangasinan. He prayed for the surrender of the produce and damages against De Guzman due to the latter’s refusal.
Atty: De Guzman (defendant) failed to file a Motion to Dismiss as a defense is a waiver. (He has obligation to object to the improper venue if he objects so).
But the RTC dismissed the complaint of Dacoycoy due to improper venue. Reason: Case should have been filed with RTC Pangasinan, not Rizal because the action involves title to real property (Rule 4 Section 1).
Dacoycoy appealed to IAC. IAC affirmed RTC. Hence the appeal to SC.
May the trial court motu proprio (without a formal request from another party) dismiss a complaint on the ground of improper venue? No.
Rule 4 Section 4 of ROC: Venue may be waived expressly or impliedly (both in inferior courts as well as in the RTCs). Here, Atty. De Guzman impliedly waived the venue by his failure to challenge the venue in a motion to dismiss, allowing the trial to be held and a decision to be rendered.
RTC Rizal would still have jurisdiction because it is a “proper court which has jurisdiction,” (BP 129 Section 19), although not in the area where the property is located, because the latter may be agreed upon by the parties as in this case.
De Guzman cannot challenge belatedly the wrong venue whether on appeal or in a special action. The venue cannot be said to be improperly laid unless the defendant objects to the venue in a motion to dismiss.
Even though the venue may be wrong, it may be acceptable when parties, for whom convenience the Rules have been devised, agreed.
The dismissal is a plain error, attributable to its inability to distinguish between jurisdiction and venue.