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BICOL AGRO-INDUSTRIAL PRODUCERS COOPERATIVE, INC. (BAPCI) vs. OBIAS, et al.

Facts: The Bicol Sugar Development Corporation (BISUDECO) was #ili" Camarines Sur. In the same $ear" BISUDECO constructe a roa measuring appro'imatel$ ( meters wi e an ).* +ilometers long. The b$ BISUDECO in hauling an transporting sugarcane to an ,rom its has thus become in ispensable to its sugar milling operations. establishe at !imaao" (%the ispute roa %) & ispute roa was use mill site (#ensumil) an

-espon ents un.usti,iabl$ barrica e the ispute roa b$ placing bamboos" woo s" placar s an stones across it" preventing petitioner/s an the other sugar planter/s vehicles ,rom passing through the ispute roa " thereb$ causing serious amage an pre.u ice to petitioner. #etitioner allege that BISUDECO constructe the ispute roa pursuant to an agreement with the owners o, the rice,iel s the roa traverse . The agreement provi es that BISUDECO shall emplo$ the chil ren an relatives o, the lan owners in e'change ,or the construction o, the roa on their properties. #etitioner conten s that through prolonge an continuous use o, the ispute roa " BISUDECO ac0uire a right o, wa$ over the properties o, the lan owners" which right o, wa$ in turn was ac0uire b$ it when it bought BISUDECO/s assets. #etitioner pra$e that respon ents be permanentl$ or ere to restrain ,rom barrica ing the ispute roa an ,rom obstructing its ,ree passage. -espon ents enie having entere into an agreement with BISUDECO regar ing the construction an the use o, the ispute roa . The$ allege that BISUDECO" surreptitiousl$ an without their +nowle ge an consent" constructe the ispute roa on their properties an has since then intermittentl$ an iscontinuousl$ use the ispute roa ,or hauling sugarcane espite their repeate protests. -espon ents claime the$ tolerate BISUDECO in the construction an the use o, the roa since BISUDECO was a government1owne an controlle corporation" an the entire countr$ was then un er 2artial 3aw. -espon ents li+ewise enie that the roa has become a public roa " since no public ,un s were use ,or its construction an maintenance. The -TC rule that petitioner ,aile to present an$ concrete evi ence to prove that there was an agreement between BISUDECO an respon ents ,or the construction o, the ispute roa . 2oreover" it hel that petitioner i not ac0uire the same b$ prescription. The C4 a,,irme the ,in ing o, the -TC that there was no conclusive proo, to su,,icientl$ establish the e'istence o, an agreement between BISUDECO an respon ents regar ing the construction o, the ispute roa . 2oreover" the C4 also eclare that an easement o, right o, wa$ is iscontinuous an as such cannot be ac0uire b$ prescription. Issue: 5. 6hether or not there is an e'isting agreement between BISUDECO an -espon ents

). 6hether or not the principles o, prescription" laches an estoppels is applicable in this case el!: ". N#. In or er ,or petitioner to ac0uire the ispute roa as an easement o, right1o,1wa$" it was incumbent upon petitioner to show its right b$ title or b$ an agreement with the owners o, the lan s that sai roa traverse . Easement or servitu e is an encumbrance impose upon an immovable ,or the bene,it o, another immovable belonging to a i,,erent owner. B$ its creation" easement is establishe either b$ law (in which case it is a legal easement) or b$ will o, the parties (a voluntar$ easement). In terms o, use" easement ma$ either be continuous or iscontinuous. T$e ease%e&t #' ()*$t #' +a, - t$e .()/)le*e #' .e(s#&s #( a .a(t)cula( class #' .e(s#&s t# .ass #/e( a&#t$e(0s la&!, usuall, t$(#u*$ #&e .a(t)cula( .at$ #( l)&e& - )s c$a(acte()1e! as a !)sc#&t)&u#us ease%e&t 2ecause )ts use )s )& )&te(/als a&! !e.e&!s #& t$e act #' %a&. Because #' t$)s c$a(acte(" a& ease%e&t #' a ()*$t #' +a, %a, #&l, 2e ac3u)(e! 2, /)(tue #' a t)tle. 4rticle 7)) o, the 8ew Civil Co e is the applicable law in the case at bar" vi9: 4rt. 7)). Continuous non1apparent easements" an not" ma$ be ac0uire onl$ b$ virtue o, a title. iscontinuous ones" whether apparent or

It is clear that the plainti,, ,aile to present an$ concrete evi ence to prove that there was such an agreement between BISUDECO an e,en ants. The lower court correctl$ isbelieve the plainti,,s1appellants/ contention that an agreement e'iste because there is simpl$ no irect evi ence to support this allegation. B4#CI submitte purel$ circumstantial evi ence that are not su,,icientl$ a e0uate as basis ,or the in,erence than an agreement e'iste . B$ themselves" the circumstances the plainti,,s1appellants cite & i.e." the emplo$ment o, si'teen (57) relatives o, the e,en ants1appellants; the e,en ants1appellants/ un.usti,ie silence; the ,act that the e'istence o, the agreement is +nown to ever$one" etc. & are events susceptible o, iverse interpretations an o not necessaril$ lea to B4#CI/s esire conclusion. 4. N#. " %It is alrea $ well1establishe that a right o, wa$ is iscontinuous an " as such" cannot be ac0uire b$ prescription.% C#&t)&u#us a&! a..a(e&t ease%e&ts a(e ac3u)(e! e)t$e( 2, /)(tue #' a t)tle #( 2, .(esc().t)#& #' te& ,ea(s. Un er civil law an its .urispru ence, ease%e&ts a(e e)t$e( c#&t)&u#us #( !)sc#&t)&u#us acc#(!)&* t# the manner they are exercised, &#t acc#(!)&* t# t$e .(ese&ce #' a..a(e&t s)*&s #( .$,s)cal )&!)cat)#&s #' t$e e5)ste&ce #' suc$ ease%e&ts. Thus" ease%e&t )s c#&t)&u#us i, its use is" or ma$ be" incessant without the intervention o, an$ act o, man" li+e the easement o, rainage; an it is !)sc#&t)&u#us i, it is use at intervals an epen s on the act o, man" li+e the easement o, right o, wa$.

The easement o, right o, wa$ is consi ere iscontinuous because it is e'ercise onl$ i, a person passes or sets ,oot on somebo $ else/s lan . 3i+e a roa ,or the passage o, vehicles or persons" an easement o, right o, wa$ o, railroa trac+s is iscontinuous because the right is e'ercise onl$ i, an when a train operate b$ a person passes over another<s propert$. In other wor s" the ver$ e'ercise o, the servitu e epen s upon the act or intervention o, man which is the ver$ essence o, iscontinuous easements. The presence o, ph$sical or visual signs onl$ classi,ies an easement into apparent or nonapparent. T$us, a (#a! (+$)c$ (e/eals a ()*$t #' +a,) a&! a +)&!#+ (+$)c$ e/)!e&ces a ()*$t t# l)*$t a&! /)e+) a(e a..a(e&t ease%e&ts, +$)le a& ease%e&t #' &#t 2u)l!)&* 2e,#&! a ce(ta)& $e)*$t )s &#&-a..a(e&t. It has been hel that the e'istence o, a permanent railway does not make the right of way a continuous one; it is only apparent. There,ore" it cannot be ac0uire b$ prescription. It was also been hel that a right o, passage over another<s lan cannot be claime b$ prescription because this easement is iscontinuous an can be establishe onl$ b$ title. I& t$)s case, t$e .(ese&ce #' (a)l(#a! t(ac6s '#( t$e .assa*e #' .et)t)#&e(0s t(a)&s !e&#tes t$e e5)ste&ce #' a& a..a(e&t 2ut !)sc#&t)&u#us ease%e&t #' ()*$t #' +a,. 4n under Article 622 of the Civil Code, discontinuous easements, whether apparent or not, may be ac uired only by title. Un,ortunatel$" petitioner Bome co never ac0uire an$ title over the use o, the railroa right o, wa$ whether b$ law" onation" testamentar$ succession or contract. Its use o, the right o, wa$" however long" never resulte in its ac0uisition o, the easement because" un er 4rticle 7))" the iscontinuous easement o, a railroa right o, wa$ can onl$ be ac0uire by title an not b$ prescription. Easements are either continuous or iscontinuous accor ing to the manner they are e!ercised, not accor ing to the presence o, apparent signs or ph$sical in ications o, the e'istence o, such easements. !ence" even i, the roa in ispute has been improve an maintaine over a number o, $ears" it will not change its iscontinuous nature but simpl$ ma+e the same apparent. To stress" 4rticle 7)) o, the 8ew Civil Co e states that iscontinuous easements" whether apparent or not" ma$ be ac0uire onl$ b$ virtue o, a title. The 0uestion o, lac$es is a resse to the soun iscretion o, the court an each case must be eci e accor ing to its particular circumstances. #hilippines" which provi es: 4rt. 7)). Continuous non1apparent easements" an not" ma$ be ac0uire onl$ b$ virtue o, a title. iscontinuous ones" whether apparent or

The eminent .urist" ,ormer Senator 4rturo 2. Tolentino" opines that this provision see+s to prevent the imposition o, a bur en on a tenement base purel$ on the generosit$" tolerance an spirit o, neighborliness o, the owners thereo,. 7e a..l)e! t$e c)te! .(#/)s)#& t# t$e case )& (ul)&* t$at &# ease%e&t #' ()*$t #' +a, +as ac3u)(e!8 2ase! #& t$e e/)!e&ce .(ese&te!, t$e .la)&t)''-a..ella&t 'a)le! t# sat)s'act#()l, .(#/e t$e e5)ste&ce #' a& a*(ee%e&t e/)!e&c)&* a&, ()*$t #( t)tle t# use t$e !)s.ute! (#a!. 7e a!!)t)#&all, (e9ecte! t$e .la)&t)''-a..ella&t0s .#s)t)#& t$at )t $a! ac3u)(e! t$e ease%e&t #' ()*$t #' +a, t$(#u*$ ac3u)s)t)/e .(esc().t)#&, as settle!

9u()s.(u!e&ce states t$at a& ease%e&t #' ()*$t #' +a, ca&&#t 2e ac3u)(e! 2, .(esc().t)#&. 7e ')&! t$at t$e .#s)t)/e %a&!ate #' A(t)cle :44 #' t$e C)/)l C#!e - t$e statut#(, .(#/)s)#& (e3u)()&* t)tle as 2as)s '#( t$e ac3u)s)t)#& #' a& ease%e&t #' a ()*$t #' +a, .(eclu!es t$e a..l)cat)#& #' t$e e3u)ta2le .()&c).le #' lac$es. This Court agrees with the C4. The ,act that the law is categorical that iscontinuous easements cannot be ac0uire b$ prescription militates against petitioner/s claim o, laches. To stress" !)sc#&t)&u#us ease%e&ts ca& #&l, 2e ac3u)(e! 2, t)tle. On the other han " as to the issue o, estoppel" this Court li+ewise agrees with the ,in ing o, the C4 that petitioner i not present an$ evi ence that woul show an a mission" representation or con uct b$ respon ents that will give rise to estoppel.