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Singian Brothers) and was sold to private respondent without the knowledge and consent of

HIRD DIVISION petitioner, who was thereby allegedly prevented from exercising her right of pre-emption or
right of redemption. Petitioner alleged that private respondent was about to complete the
construction of its concrete fence on the said lot which would result in depriving petitioner of the
only available right of way, and that therefore, she was constrained to petition the trial court to
enjoin private respondent from fencing said lot. The petition likewise prayed that judgment be
[G.R. No. 105294. February 26, 1997]
rendered ordering private respondent to sell to petitioner the subject lot and to pay the
damages, attorneys fees and costs of suit.

Private respondent denied the allegations of petitioner. The parents and relatives of
petitioner were never tenants or lessees of the former owner, Singian Brothers; rather, they
PACITA DAVID-CHAN, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and PHIL. RABBIT BUS
were found to be illegally occupying the property as ruled by the MTC-San Fernando,
LINES, INC., respondents.
Pampanga, Branch 1, in Civil Case No. 4865. The dispositive portion of the judgment of
ejectment reads:[4]
DECISION

PANGANIBAN, J.: WHEREFORE, defendants Eduardo Mangune, Pacita David-Chan and Primo David including their
agents/representatives and, any and all persons given access by them to the disputed premises
claiming any right under them, are hereby ordered to immediately vacate the area in question,
In pleading for an easement of right of way, petitioner correctly cites the requirements of remove all the improvements that they have constructed thereon; to pay the plaintiff
law but fails to provide factual support to show her entitlement thereto. Since findings of facts corporation jointly and severally the sum of P2,000.00 pesos - as Attorneys fees and the costs of
by the Court of Appeals affirming those of the trial court are binding on the Supreme Court, the this suit.
petition must thus fail. Even petitioners plea for equity becomes unavailing because resort to
equity is possible only in the absence, and never in contravention, of statutory law.
The case against defendants Loida Makabali and Helen Hermidia is hereby dismissed as the
The petition assails the Decision[1] of respondent Court[2] promulgated on April 30, action has become moot.
1992. The Decision of respondent Court affirmed the decision dated July 26, 1989, of the
Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, Pampanga, Branch 44, in Civil Case No. 8049. The
The defendants counterclaim, Pacita David-Chan and Eduardo Mangune is hereby dismissed for
dispositive portion of the affirmed decision of the trial court reads:[3] lack of merit.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, and finding plaintiffs petition to be without Hence the former owners were not obliged to inform petitioner of the sale. The land sold
merit, the same is, as it is hereby ordered dismissed with costs against plaintiff.
by the Singian Brothers was free from all liens and encumbrances as stated in the Deed of
Absolute Sale. Private respondent was not selling the 161 square-meter lot because it needed
On defendants (Singian) counterclaim, the same is, as it is hereby dismissed for insufficiency of the property. Also, petitioner had another access to the highway without passing through the lot
evidence. in question.

The Singian Brothers were impleaded in the trial court. In their answer, they alleged that they
did not authorize anyone to receive rentals for the disputed lot. As their affirmative and special
The Facts
defenses, Defendant Singian Brothers averred that the complaint of petitioner stated no cause
of action because, being apparent and discontinuous, the right of way cannot be acquired by
prescription. Petitioner was not a tenant of the Singian Brothers; therefore she was not entitled
On September 29, 1987, petitioner filed with the trial court an amended petition with to a right of pre-emption or right of redemption. Finally, petitioner had another access to the
prayer for preliminary prohibitory injunction, seeking to stop private respondent from fencing its National Highway which, however, she closed during the pendency of the case at the trial court
property and depriving her of access to the highway. Petitioner alleged that her property, when she extended the construction of her fence.[5]
consisting of around 635 square meters, situated in Del Pilar, San Fernando, Pampanga and
covered by TCT No. 57596-R, was delineated on its northern and western sides by various
business establishments. Adjoining her property along its southern boundary was the land of the
Pineda family, while along the east-northeastern boundary, and lying between her property and The Issues
the MacArthur Highway, was another lot with an area of approximately 161 square meters
owned by private respondent. In short, petitioners lot was almost completely surrounded by
other immovables and cut off from the highway. Her only access to the highway was a very
Failing to obtain relief at both the trial and respondent courts, petitioner now submits the
small opening measuring two feet four inches wide through the aforementioned property of
following issues for consideration of this Court:
private respondent. Petitioner believed she was entitled to a wider compulsory easement of right
of way through the said property of private respondent. The prospective subservient estate was I. In its reaffirmation of the lower courts decision, the Court of Appeals missed to
a portion of a bigger lot consisting of 7,239 square meters and covered by TCT No. 163033-R, temper with human compassion of the Art. 649 and 650 of the New
which was formerly owned by the Singian Brothers Corporation (hereinafter referred to as
Civil Code of the Phil. which requires the presence of four requisites servient estate and, insofar as consistent with this rule, where the distance from the dominant
for a compulsory easement of way.[6] estate to a public highway may be the shortest.[13]

II. (The) Court (of Appeals) had used in its decision all technical and legal niceties While petitioner may be correct in her theoretical reading of Articles 649 and 650, she
to favor respondents, violating time-honored and deeply-rooted nevertheless failed to show sufficient factual evidence to satisfy their requirements. Evaluating
Filipino values.[7] her evidence, respondent Court ruled that petitioner is not without adequate outlet to a public
highway as follows:[14]
III. With due respect, the Court (of Appeals) erred in deciding this case in favor of
the respondent despite the facts existing at the background.[8]
1. Let it be stressed that it was plaintiff who built a concrete fence on the southern boundary of
IV. The Court (of Appeals) erred in stating that petitioner had an outlet measuring her property to separate it from the property of the Pineda family. Worse, during the pendency
two (2) feet and four (4) inches to the national highway without of the case, she closed the 28-inch clearance which she could use as a means to reach the
passing through respondent's property as per the commissioners National Highway without passing through the property of defendant. If plaintiff wants a bigger
report.[9] opening, then she can always destroy a portion of the concrete fence which she erected and
pass through the property of the Pineda family which, as shown on the attached sketch on the
In her Memorandum[10] dated February 26, 1993, petitioner alleges only one issue: Commissioners Report, has an open space on the southern boundary of plaintiffs land.

Whether or not petitioner is entitled to a legal easement of right of way over that portion of the 2. Plaintiff maintains that once the Pineda family (fences) off their lot, plaintiff has no more way
property of respondent Rabbit? to the National Highway.

On the other hand, private respondent raises two issues:[11] Plaintiffs apprehensions are without basis. The Pineda family could no longer fence off their
property because plaintiff (had) already constructed a fence to separate the two properties. And
1. Is the petitioner entitled to an easement of right of way from the private respondents? even granting that the Pineda family would eventually fence off their land, then plaintiff could
ask for an easement of right of way from the Pineda family.

2. Should she be granted her desire for a right of way by way of


`pakikisama and pakikipagkapwa-tao? The appellate court likewise found that petitioner failed to satisfy the third requirement
because she caused her own isolation by closing her access through the Pineda property,
thus:[15]
After deliberating on the various submissions of the parties, the Court holds that the
issues can be condensed into two, as follows:
1. Worthy of note is the fact that it was plaintiff who built a fence to separate her property from
that of the Pineda family on the southern boundary. And she even closed the small opening
(1) Is petitioner legally entitled to a right of way through private respondents property? causing her property to be isolated and losing one access to the National Highway. Plaintiff thus
failed to meet the third requisite for the grant of an easement of right of way. As held by the
(2) In any event, is she entitled to such easement through the recognition and application of the Hon. Supreme Court in the case of Francisco vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 177 SCRA 527,
Filipino values of pakikisama and pakikipagkapwa-tao? 534-535:

The evidence is, therefore, persuasively to the effect that the private respondent had been
granted an adequate access to the public highway (Parada Road) through the adjacent estate of
The Courts Ruling Epifania Dila even as he was trying to negotiate a satisfactory agreement with petitioner
Francisco for another passageway through the latters property. If at the time he filed suit
against the petitioner, such access (through the property of Epifania Dila) could no longer be
The petition is devoid of merit. used, it was because he himself had closed it off by erecting a stone wall on his lot at the point
where the passageway began for no reason to which the record can attest except to
demonstrate the isolation of his property alleged in his complaint. But the law makes it amply
clear that an owner cannot, as respondent has done, by his own act isolate his property from a
First Issue: Requisites of an Easement of Right of Way public highway and then claim an easement of way through an adjacent estate. The third of the
cited requisites: that the claimant of a right of way has not himself procured the isolation of his
property had not been met-indeed the respondent had actually brought about the contrary
Citing Articles 649 and 650 of the Civil Code,[12] petitioner submits that the owner of an condition and thereby vitiated his claim to such an easement. It will not do to assert that use of
estate may claim a compulsory right of way only after he (or she) has established the existence the passageway through Lot 860-B was difficult or inconvenient, the evidence being to the
of four requisites, namely: (1) the estate is surrounded by other immovables and is without contrary and that it was wide enough to be traversable by even a truck, and also because it has
adequate outlet to a public highway; (2) proper indemnity is paid; (3) the isolation is not due to been held that mere inconvenience attending the use of an existing right of way does not justify
the proprietors own acts; and (4) the right of way claimed is at a point least prejudicial to the a claim for a similar easement in an alternative location. (Underscoring ours)
The Court of Appeals also ruled that petitioner failed to prove she made a valid tender of
the proper indemnity, to wit:[16]

2. The second requisite - that there was payment of the proper indemnity was likewise not met
by the plaintiff. Plaintiffs complaint contained no averment that demand for the easement of
right of way had been made after payment of the proper indemnity. There was no showing that
plaintiff ever made a tender of payment of the proper indemnity for the right of way. As the
lower court said, The fact that plaintiff prays that defendant Rabbit be ordered to sell to her the
disputed premises hardly satisfies the requisite regarding the payment of the proper indemnity.

The questions of whether (1) petitioner has another adequate outlet to the public
highway, or (2) she caused her own isolation, or (3) she made, in fact, a tender of the proper
indemnity are all issues of facts which this Court has no authority to rule upon. [17] The Supreme
Court is not a trier of facts.[18]

It is doctrinal that findings of facts of the Court of Appeals upholding those of the trial
court are binding upon this Court.[19] While there are exceptions to this rule,[20] petitioner has
not convinced us that this case falls under one of them.

Second Issue: Application of Traditional Filipino Values

Perhaps sensing the inadequacy of her legal arguments, petitioner who claims to be an
ordinary housewife (with) x x x meager resources pleads that those who have less in life should
have more in law and that the Court should apply the Filipino values
of pakikisama and pakikipagkapwa-tao in resolving the case.

Such appeal of petitioner is based on equity which has been aptly described as justice
outside legality. However, equity is applied only in the absence of, and never against, statutory
law or judicial rules of procedure.[21] As found by respondent Court, petitioner is not legally
entitled to a right of way on the property of private respondent. Thus, such equitable arguments
cannot prevail over the legal findings.

There are rigorous standards to be complied with by owners of the dominant estate
before they may be granted with easement of right of way. These standards must be strictly
complied with because easement is a burden on the property of another. Before such
inconvenience may be imposed by the Court, applicants must prove that they deserve judicial
intervention on the basis of law, and certainly not when their isolation is caused by their own
acts. In the latter case, they decide their detachment and must bear the consequences of such
choice.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Petition is DENIED and the Decision dated
April 30, 1992, of the respondent Court is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., (Chairman), Davide, Jr., Melo, and Francisco, JJ., concur.
Defendants, instead of filing an answer, filed a motion to dismiss (pp. 41-45, ibid.) on the
ground that the lower court has no jurisdiction to hear the case since plaintiffs failed to refer the
FIRST DIVISION matter to the barangay lupon in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 1508. The lower court,
however, in its Order dated May 18, 1992, denied said motion on the premise that there was
[G.R. No. 127549. January 28, 1998] substantial compliance with the law.

SPOUSES CESAR and RAQUEL STA. MARIA and FLORCERFIDA STA. On May 25, 1992, defendants filed a Notice of Appeal to the Supreme Court of the questioned
MARIA, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, and SPOUSES ARSENIO and ROSLYNN order of the lower court denying their motion to dismiss, under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court (p.
FAJARDO, respondents. 54, ibid.). On June 24, 1992, the lower court denied the notice of appeal for lack of merit (p.
86, ibid.).
DECISION
In the meantime, defendants filed a petition for review on certiorari of the lower courts Order
DAVIDE, JR., J.: dated May 18, 1992 (pp. 64-84, ibid.). In an Order dated July 8, 1992, the Third Division of the
Supreme Court denied said petition for failure to comply with Revised Circular Nos. 1-88 and
This is an appeal under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court from the decision[1] of 18 December 1996
Circular No. 28-01 (p. 97, ibid.). Defendants motion for reconsideration was likewise denied with
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 48473, which affirmed with modification the 30 June
finality on July 20, 1992 (p. 96, ibid.).
1994 Decision[2] of Branch 19 of the Regional Trial Court of Bulacan in Civil Case No. 77-M-92
granting the private respondents a right of way through the property of the petitioners. Consequently, defendants filed their answer to the court below where they alleged that the
granting of an easement in favor of plaintiffs would cause them great damage and
The antecedent facts, as summarized by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:
inconvenience; and that there is another access route from plaintiffs lot to the main road
through the property of Florentino Cruz which was likewise abutting the provincial road and was
Plaintiff spouses Arsenio and Roslynn Fajardo are the registered owners of a piece of land, Lot
being offered for sale. By way of counterclaim, defendants prayed for damages and attorneys
No. 124 of the Obando Cadastre, containing an area of 1,043 square meters, located at Paco,
fees.
Obando, Bulacan, and covered by Transfer Certificate Title (TCT) No. T-147729 (M) of the
Registry of Deeds of Meycauayan, Bulacan (Exhibit B, p. 153 Orig. Rec.). They acquired said lot
The parties not having settled their dispute during the pre-trial (p.120, Orig. Record), the court
under a Deed of Absolute Sale dated February 6, 1992 executed by the vendors Pedro M.
directed that an ocular inspection be conducted of the subject property, designating the branch
Sanchez, et al. (Annex A, Complaint; pp. 7-8 ibid.).
clerk of court as its commissioner. In time, an Ocular Inspection Report dated December 3,
1992 (Exhs. J and J-1) was submitted. After trial on the merits, the lower court rendered the
Plaintiffs aforesaid Lot 124 is surrounded by Lot 1 (Psd 45412), a fishpond (Exh. C-5; p.
assailed decision granting plaintiffs prayer for an easement of right of way on defendants
154, ibid.), on the northeast portion thereof; by Lot 126, owned by Florentino Cruz, on the
properties.[3]
southeast portion; by Lot 6-a and a portion of Lot 6-b (both Psd-297786) owned respectively by
Spouses Cesar and Raquel Sta. Maria and Florcerfida Sta. Maria (Exhs. C-2 and C-3, ibid.), on
The trial court found that based on the Ocular Inspection Report there was no other way
the southwest; and by Lot 122, owned by the Jacinto family, on the northwest.
through which the private respondents could establish a right of way in order to reach the
provincial road except by traversing directly the property of the petitioners. It further found that
On February 17, 1992, plaintiff spouses Fajardo filed a complaint against defendants Cesar and
(a) no significant structure, save for a wall or fence about three feet high, would be adversely
Raquel Sta. Maria or Florcerfida Sta. Maria for the establishment of an easement of right of
affected; (b) there was sufficient vacant space of approximately 11 meters between petitioners
way. Plaintiffs alleged that their lot, Lot 124, is surrounded by properties belonging to other
houses; and (c) petitioners property could provide the shortest route from the provincial road to
persons, including those of the defendants; that since plaintiffs have no adequate outlet to the
the private respondents property. Consequently, the trial court granted the easement prayed for
provincial road, an easement of a right of way passing through either of the alternative
by the private respondents in a decision dated 30 June 1994,[4] whose decretal portion reads as
defendants properties which are directly abutting the provincial road would be plaintiffs only
follows:
convenient, direct and shortest access to and from the provincial road; that plaintiffs
predecessors-in-interest have been passing through the properties of defendants in going to and
WHEREFORE, premises considered the Court orders that a right-of-way be constructed on the
from their lot; that defendants mother even promised plaintiffs predecessors-in-interest to grant
defendants property covered by TCT No. 0-6244 of about 75 sq. meters, 25 sq. meters shall be
the latter an easement of right of way as she acknowledged the absence of an access from their
taken from the lot of Florcerfida Sta. Maria and 50 sq. meters from the property of Cesar Sta.
property to the road; and that alternative defendants, despite plaintiffs request for a right of
Maria to be established along lines 1-2 of lot 6-c and along lines 3-4 of lot 6-b and to indemnify
way and referral of the dispute to the barangay officials, refused to grant them an
the owners thereof in the total amount of P3, 750.00 (P1, 250.00 goes to Florcerfida Sta. Maria
easement.Thus, plaintiffs prayed that an easement of right of way on the lots of defendants be
and P2,500.00 to Cesar Sta. Maria) and to reconstruct the fence to be destroyed in the manner
established in their favor. They also prayed for damages, attorneys fees and costs of suit.
it was at the time of the filing of this action.
The petitioners seasonably appealed from the aforementioned decision to the Court of Appeals, RESPONDENT HON. COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PRIVATE
which docketed the case as CA-G.R. CV No. 48473. RESPONDENTS HAVE NO ADEQUATE OUTLET TO A PUBLIC HIGHWAY WHICH INFERENCE
DRAWN FROM FACTS WAS MANIFESTLY MISTAKEN.[6]
The Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that the private respondents had sufficiently
established the existence of the four requisites for compulsory easement of right of way on The first, second, and fourth assigned errors involve questions of fact. Settled is the rule that
petitioners property, to wit: (1) private respondents property was, as revealed by the Ocular the jurisdiction of this Court in cases brought before it from the Court of Appeals via Rule 45 of
Inspection Report, surrounded by other immovables owned by different individuals and was the Rules of Court is limited to reviewing errors of law. Findings of fact of the latter are
without an adequate outlet to a public highway; (2) the isolation of private respondents conclusive, except in the following instances: (1) when the findings are grounded entirely on
property was not due to their own acts, as it was already surrounded by other immovables speculation, surmises, or conjectures; (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken,
when they purchased it; (3) petitioners property would provide the shortest way from private absurd, or impossible; (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the judgment is
respondents property to the provincial road, and this way would cause the least prejudice based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) when in
because no significant structure would be injured thereby; and (4) the private respondents were making its findings the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case, or its findings are
willing to pay the corresponding damages provided for by law if the right of way would be contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee; (7) when the findings are
granted. contrary to those of the trial court; (8) when the findings are conclusions without citation of
specific evidence on which they are based; (9) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as
Accordingly, in its decision[5] of 18 December 1996, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial courts in the petitioners main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent; and (10) when the
decision, but modified the property valuation by increasing it from P50 to P2,000 per square findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the
meter. evidence on record.[7]

The petitioners forthwith filed this petition for review on certiorari based on the following A perusal of the pleadings and the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals, as well as of the
assignment of errors: decision of the trial court, yields no ground for the application of any of the foregoing
exceptions. All told, the findings of fact of both courts satisfied the following requirements for an
I. estate to be entitled to a compulsory servitude of right of way under the Civil Code, to wit:

WHETHER OR NOT A COMPULSORY EASEMENT OF RIGHT OF WAY CAN BE ESTABLISHED IN 1. the dominant estate is surrounded by other immovables and has no adequate outlet to a
THE LIGHT OF THE DOCTRINE LAID DOWN BY THE HON. SUPREME COURT IN COSTABELLA public highway (Art. 649, par. 1);
CORPORATION VS. COURT OF APPEALS, 193 SCRA 333, 341 WHICH HELD THAT [FOR] THE
FAILURE OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS TO SHOW THAT THE ISOLATION OF THEIR PROPERTY 2. there is payment of proper indemnity (Art. 649, par. 1);
WAS NOT DUE TO THEIR PERSONAL OR THEIR PREDECESSORS-IN-INTERESTS OWN ACTS,
THEY ARE NOT ENTITLED TO A COMPULSORY EASEMENT OF RIGHT OF WAY. 3. the isolation is not due to the acts of the proprietor of the dominant estate (Art. 649, last
par.); and
II.
4. the right of way claimed is at the point least prejudicial to the servient estate; and insofar as
WHETHER OR NOT A COMPULSORY RIGHT OF WAY CAN BE GRANTED TO PRIVATE consistent with this rule, where the distance from the dominant estate to a public highway may
RESPONDENTS WHO HAVE TWO OTHER EXISTING PASSAGE WAYS OTHER THAN THAT OF be the shortest (Art. 650).[8]
PETITIONERS AND AN ALTERNATIVE VACANT LOT FRONTING THE PROVINCIAL ROAD ALSO
ADJACENT TO PRIVATE RESPONDENTS PROPERTY, WHICH CAN BE USED IN GOING TO AND As to such requisites, the Court of Appeals made the following disquisitions:
FROM PRIVATE RESPONDENTS PROPERTY.
Anent the first requisite, there is no dispute that the plaintiffs-appellees property is surrounded
III. by other immovables owned by different individuals. The ocular inspection report submitted to
the lower court reveals that:
RESPONDENT HON. COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN MAKING A PORTION OF ITS
STATEMENT OF FACTS FROM ALLEGATIONS IN THE COMPLAINT AND NOT FROM THE The property of the plaintiffs, spouses Arsenio and Roslynn Fajardo, is completely surrounded
EVIDENCE ON RECORD. with adobe fence without any point of egress and ingress to the national road. Said plaintiffs
property containing an area of 1,043 square meters and covered by OCT No. 0-6244 of the
IV. Registry of Deeds of Bulacan was situated directly behind defendants property which abuts the
national road. Defendants, spouses Cesar and Racquel Sta. Maria, are the absolute owners of
the parcel of land with an area of 537 square meters and embraced under TCT No. T-37.763(M)
situated on the left side abutting the national road with their house thereon made of wood and
hollow blocks, while defendant Florcerfida Sta. Maria is the absolute owner of a parcel of land (1) To traverse directly through defendants property which is the shortest route of
with a similar area of 537 square meters and covered by TCT No. T-37.762(M) situated on the approximately 20 to 25 meters away from the national road;
right side and likewise abutting the national road with an impressive house thereon of modern
vintage made of strong materials. As depicted in the rough sketch hereto attached, plaintiffs (2) To purchase a right of way from the adjoining property of Florentino Cruz on the left side of
have absolutely no means of ingress and egress to their property as the same is completely their property; and
isolated by properties owned by other persons. On the left side is the property of Florentino
Cruz, on the right side is the property reportedly owned by the Jacintos; and on the front (3) To negotiate with Jacinto family on the right side of their property.
portion are properties owned by defendants. x x x
In all instances, no significant structures would be adversely affected. There is sufficient vacant
(Ocular Inspection Report, p. 135, Orig. Rec.) space between defendants houses of approximately 11 meters. The distance of defendant
Florcerfidas house with the adjoining adobe wall separating that of the property of defendants
Plaintiffs-appellees property is likewise without adequate outlet to a public highway. The existing Cesar and Racquel Sta. Maria is about 4 meters, while the space between the adobe wall and
passage way for people (daang tao) at the back of plaintiffs-appellees property leading to the that of the latters house is about 7 meters or a total of 11 meters vacant space for purposes of
provincial road (TSN, May 17, 1993, p. 12) cannot be considered an adequate outlet for a right of way. On the other hand, plaintiffs may negotiate with a right of way with Florentino
purposes of establishing an easement. Article 651 of the Code provides that (t)he width of the Cruz on the left side of their property although the same is quite circuitous. Lastly, the option
easement of right of way shall be that which is sufficient for the needs of the dominant estate, through the property of the Jacinto on the right side is very circuitous and longer.The route
and may accordingly be changed from time to time. Thus in the case of Larracas vs. Del Rio (37 involves a total of about 50 yards as it has to go straight to the right of about 35 yards and turn
Official Gazette 287), this Court had occasion to rule that it is not necessary for a person, like left of about another 15 yards before reaching the common right of way.
his neighbors, to content himself with a footpath and deny himself the use of an automobile. So
in an age when motor cars are a vital necessity, the dominant proprietor has a right to demand (Ocular Inspection report, pp. 135-136, ibis.)
a driveway for his automobile, and not a mere lane or pathway (Cited in Tolentino, ibid., p.
391). Among the three (3) possible servient estates, it is clear that defendants-appellants property
would afford the shortest distance from plaintiffs-appellees property to the provincial
The second requisite for the establishment of an easement of right way, i.e., payment of road.Moreover, it is the least prejudicial since as found by the lower court, (i)t appears that
indemnity, is likewise present in this case. Plaintiff-appellee spouse Roslynn Fajardo testified on there would be no significant structures to be injured in the defendants property and the right-
direct examination that they are willing to pay the corresponding damages provided for by law if of-way to be constructed thereon would be the shortest of all the alternative routes pointed to
granted the right of way (TSN, November 5, 1992, p. 11). by the defendants (p. 4, RTC, Decision; p. 223, ibid.).

The third requisite is that the isolation of plaintiffs-appellees property should not have been due Petitioners reliance on Costabella Corporation v. Court of Appeals[9] to support their first
to their own acts. In the case under consideration, the isolation of their lot is not due to assigned error is misplaced. In said case we reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals
plaintiffs acts. The property they purchased was already surrounded by other immovables granting a compulsory easement of a right of way to the private respondents therein because of
leaving them no adequate ingress or egress to a public highway. the absence of any showing that the private respondents had established the existence of the
four requisites mandated by law. As to the third requisite, we explicitly pointed out; thus:
Going now to the fourth requisite of least prejudice and shortest distance, We agree with the Neither have the private respondents been able to show that the isolation of their property was
lower court that this twin elements have been complied with in establishing the easement of not due to their personal or their predecessors-in-interest's own acts. In the instant case, the
right of way on defendants-appellants properties. Court of Appeals have found the existence of the requisites. The petitioners, however, insist that
private respondents predecessors-in-interest have, through their own acts of constructing
It has been commented upon that where there are several tenements surrounding the dominant concrete fences at the back and on the right side of the property, isolated their property from
estate, and the easement may be established on any of them, the one where the way is the public highway. The contention does not impress because even without the fences private
shortest and will cause the least damage should be chosen. But if these two circumstances do respondents property remains landlocked by neighboring estates belonging to different owners.
not concur in a single tenement, the way which will cause the least damage should be used,
even if it will not be the shortest. And if the conditions of the various tenements are the same, Under the second and fourth assigned errors, the petitioners try to convince us that there are
all the adjoining owners should be cited and experts utilized to determine where the easement two other existing passage ways over the property of Cruz and over that of Jacinto, as well as a
shall be established (Tolentino, ibid., pp. 108-109, citing Casals Colldecarrera). daang tao, for private respondents use. Our examination of the records yields otherwise. Said
lots of Cruz and Jacinto do not have existing passage ways for the private respondents to
In the case at bar, the ocular inspection disclosed that there are three options open to the use. Moreover, the Ocular Inspection Report[10] reveals that the suggested alternative ways
plaintiffs-appellees as a route to reach the national road, to wit: through Cruzs or Jacintos properties are longer and circuitous than that through petitioners
property. This is also clear from the Sketch Plan[11] submitted by the private respondents
wherein it is readily seen that the lots of Cruz and Jacinto are only adjacent to that of private
respondents unlike that of petitioners which is directly in front of private respondents property in
relation to the public highway.

Under Article 650 of the Civil Code, the easement of right of way shall be established at the
point least prejudicial to the servient estate, and, insofar as consistent with this rule, where the
distance from the dominant estate to a public highway may be the shortest. Where there are
several tenements surrounding the dominant estate, and the easement may be established on
any of them, the one where the way is shortest and will cause the least damage should be
chosen.[12] The conditions of least damage and shortest distance are both established in one
tenement -- petitioners property.

As to the daang tao at the back of private respondents property, it must be stressed that under
Article 651 the width of the easement of right of way shall be that which is sufficient for the
needs of the dominant estate, and may accordingly be changed from time to time. Therefore,
the needs of the dominant estate determine the width of the easement.[13] The needs of private
respondents property could hardly be served by this daang tao located at the back and which is
bordered by a fishpond.[14]

The third assigned error is without basis and is nothing but a misreading of the challenged
decision. The Court of Appeals did not declare as established facts the allegations of the
complaint referred to by the petitioner. It merely made a brief summary of what were alleged in
the complaint as part of its narration of the antecedents of the case on appeal.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review is DENIED and the challenged decision of the
Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED in toto.

Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

Bellosillo, Vitug, and Kapunan, JJ., concur.


THIRD DIVISION constrained to pass through the back portion of their lot bounded by other lots belonging to
different owners, which is grassy and cogonal as temporary ingress/egress with great
[G.R. No. 75905. October 12, 1987.] inconvenience and hardship, and this becomes all the more pronounced during the rainy season
due to flood and mud (Exhs. B-1, B-1-A, B-2; B-2-A, B-3, B-3-A, B-3-B and B-4); and, lastly, that
REMIGIO O. RAMOS, SR., Petitioner, v. GATCHALIAN REALTY, INC., EDUARDO the aforesaid concrete wall is dangerously leaning towards appellant’s premises posing great
ASPREC, ENELDA ASPREC, ERNESTO ASPREC, and COURT OF APPEALS, Respondents. danger or hazard." (Court of Appeals Decision, p. 3, Rollo, p. 39).

DECISION On May 20, 1981, the respondent corporation filed a motion to dismiss on grounds of lack of
cause of action and bar by prior judgment alleging that the complaint was merely a reproduction
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: of that filed on October 26, 1972 in Civil Case No. 5930-P which was dismissed on October 30,
1980 for failure to prosecute within a reasonable length of time. Respondents Asprec later
In this petition for review on certiorari, the petitioner assails the decision of the Court of Appeals joined the respondent company in its motion to dismiss and adopted the grounds and
dated August 29, 1986 which affirmed the November 14, 1984 order of the Regional Trial Court, arguments stated therein.
Branch CXI at Pasay City dismissing the petitioner’s civil action for a right of way with prayer for
preliminary injunction.cralawnad On November 20, 1981, after the petitioner had filed his opposition to the above motions, the
lower court issued its order denying the motion to dismiss on the ground that the order
Petitioner Ramos is the owner of a house and lot containing an area of 901 square meters dismissing the earlier case was not an adjudication on the merits.
covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 14927 situated at Barrio San Dionisio, Parañaque,
Metro Manila. The lot was acquired by the petitioner from Sobrina Rodriguez Lombos On November 26, 1981, the petitioner filed an urgent ex-parte motion for the issuance of a
Subdivision. In the subdivision survey plan of Lot 4133-G, (LRC) PSD-172544, the lot is more preliminary mandatory injunction as well as a preliminary prohibitory injunction. On the same
particularly described as Lot 4133-G-11 (Exhibits 1 and 1-A"). Two road lots abut petitioner’s day, the lower court set the motion for hearing on December 1, 1981, later reset to December
property namely lot 4133-G-12 with an area of 2,160 square meters clearly appearing as a 10, 1981, and ordered that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
proposed road in the Lombos subdivision plan and Lot 4135 of the Parañaque Cadastre now
known as Palanyag Road but more commonly referred to as Gatchalian Avenue.chanrobles law "In the meantime, pending determination of the application or the merits and in order that the
library : red reliefs sought therein may not be rendered moot and academic, the defendants and all persons
acting upon their orders are hereby temporarily enjoined from building, constructing and/or
Respondents Asprec own Lot 4135. Gatchalian Avenue is alongside Lot 4135. Respondent erecting a wall, fence or any enclosure adjoining or abutting plaintiff’s premises and/or from
Gatchalian Realty was granted the road right of way and drainage along Lot 4135 to service the restraining, preventing or prohibiting the plaintiff, his family or persons residing in his premises
Gatchalian and Asprec subdivisions, by the respondent Asprecs. as well as any person/s who may have any dealing or business with them from using, passing
and/or traversing the said Gatchalian Avenue in going to or returning from the plaintiff’s
The records of this case disclose that on April 30, 1981, a complaint for an easement of a right premises and in going to or returning from Sucat Road via Gatchalian Avenue, until further
of way with preliminary mandatory injunction was filed by Ramos against the private orders from this Court. (Order dated November 26, 1981, Records, p. 66).
respondents. Among the allegations in the complaint are:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
On December 1, 1981, Gatchalian Realty filed its answer and averred, among others,
". . . that he (referring to the petitioner) constructed his house at 27 Gatchalian Avenue (also that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
known as Palanyag Road), Parañaque, and has since resided therein with his family from 1977
up to the present; that during construction of the house, Gatchalian Realty, Inc. built a 7-8 feet x x x
high concrete wall right infront of appellant’s premises, blocking his entrance/exit to Gatchalian "Defendant Corporation has never entered into a verbal agreement with plaintiff to grant the
Road, the nearest, most convenient and adequate entrance/exit to the public road or highway, latter a road right of way;
formerly Sucat Road but now known as Dr. A. Santos Avenue, Parañaque; that this house and
lot is only about 100 meters from Sucat Road passing thru Gatchalian Avenue; that prior to this, x x x
appellant and his counsel addressed separate request/demand letters (Exh. A and Annex B) to "The so-called Gatchalian Avenue or Palanyag Road is not a public road but a private street
defendant company to allow him to exercise a right of way on the subject premises; that in established and constructed by the defendant Corporation intended for the sole and exclusive
September 1977, a meeting/conference was held between appellant and his counsel on one use of its residents and lot buyers of its subdivisions, as well as of the subdivisions owned and
hand and Mr. Roberto Gatchalian and counsel on the other, during which defendant Corporation operated by the various naked owners of the different portions constituting the entire length
manifested its conformity to grant appellant the requested right of way upon payment of proper and breadth of said street;
indemnity, with the request that appellant inform defendants Asprec of their aforesaid
agreement; that consequently, appellant wrote Mr. Cleto Asprec on September 16, 1977 (Exh. "If plaintiff’s property referred to in the complaint is Lot No. 4133-G-11 (LRC) Psd-229001 (sic),
D); that with the construction of the 7-8 feet concrete wall appellant and his family have been
then a grant of a right of way to plaintiff is not a legal necessity, because such lot has an Easement of Road Right-of-Way and of Drainage" executed between them and Gatchalian
existing road right of way, more particularly Lot 4133-G-12, towards Dr. Arcadio Santos Avenue Realty.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary
(Sukat Road);
In his opposition to both motions, the petitioner argued that on the basis of the transcript of
x x x stenographic notes taken on December 10, 1981, it was clear that both parties submitted the
entire case for resolution inasmuch as the pieces of evidence for the injunction and for the main
"The opening of Gatchalian Avenue to the property of plaintiff will unduly cause great prejudice case were the same and there was nothing left to be presented. Thus, in effect, the petitioner
to defendant Corporation as it can no longer effectively regulate the use of the said private contended that the lower court’s decision dated July 9, 1982 was an adjudication on the merits.
road; . . .
On July 8, 1983, the lower court under a new judge by virtue of the reorganization of the
"Assuming, though not admitting, that plaintiff may be granted a right of way, still the judiciary, issued an order setting aside and vacating its previous decision dated July 9, 1982 on
reasonable compensation for such grant would be some P800,000.00, as such portion of the ground that the same was "rendered prematurely as the defendants had not presented their
Gatchalian Avenue consists of some 2,000 square meters of prime and valuable property which evidence on the main evidence."cralaw virtua1aw library
could readily command a market value of P400.00 per square meter; moreover, plaintiff still has
to shoulder his proportionate share of the expenses and upkeep of such street and the real After the petitioner had rested his case, the respondent company filed a motion to dismiss
estate taxes imposed thereon." (Answer of Gatchalian Realty, Inc., Records, pp. 81-82). based on the insufficiency of the evidence adduced by the petitioner. An opposition to said
motion, was, thereafter, filed by the petitioner.
On December 2, 1981, respondent Asprec filed their answer which basically contained the same
averments as that of the realty company. On November 14, 1984, the lower court, acting on the respondent company’s motion to dismiss,
issued an order with the following tenor:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
At the hearing of the petitioner’s application for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to
compel the private respondents to remove the wall constructed right in front of the petitioner’s "WHEREFORE, finding the motion to dismiss of defendant corporation Gatchalian Realty, Inc. to
premises barring him access to Gatchalian Avenue, both parties presented oral and be impressed with merit, the same is hereby granted. For insufficiency of evidence, plaintiff’s
documentary evidence to support their respective positions. After the hearing, the lower court complaint is hereby dismissed, without pronouncement as to costs." (Rollo, p. 34)
issued the following order:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
The Court of Appeals on August 29, 1986, found that the petitioner failed to establish the
"Plaintiff is given fifteen (15) days to file a memorandum and the defendant is given another existence of the preconditions in order that he could legally be entitled to an easement of a right
fifteen days from receipt thereof to file a reply, after which the case shall be deemed submitted of way. It affirmed the lower court’s order dated November 14, 1984 in all respects, with costs
for resolution. So ordered." (TSN, December 10, 1981, p. 57) against the petitioner.

After compliance by both parties with the above order, the lower court, on July 9, 1982, Hence, this petition which presents the following assignment of errors:chanrob1es virtual 1aw
rendered a decision the dispositive part of which reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph library

"WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants I. PUBLIC RESPONDENT ERRED IN AFFIRMING IN TOTO THE ORDER OF DISMISSAL OF THE
ordering the latter to grant the former a right of way through Palanyag Road to and from Don TRIAL COURT IN ALL RESPECTS WITH COSTS AGAINST THE PETITIONER;
Arcadio Santos Avenue and to and from this residence, upon payment by the plaintiff to the
defendants Asprecs the sum of P5,000 as indemnity therefor and under the following terms and II. PUBLIC RESPONDENT ERRED IN ITS DECISION TO THE EFFECT THAT PETITIONER HAS
conditions to wit: (1) the easement created shall be only in favor of the plaintiff, members of his NOT SUFFICIENTLY MET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE LAW AND IN FAILING TO PROVE HIS
family and person or persons dealing with them; and (2) the opening to be created through the RIGHT OF WAY THROUGH GATCHALIAN AVENUE OR PALANYAG ROAD AGAINST THE
concrete wall separating plaintiff’s residence and Palanyag Road shall only be three (3) meters RESPONDENTS HEREIN;
wide and shall be provided by an iron gate by the plaintiff all at the expense of the plaintiff.
Without pronouncement as to costs and damages." (Rollo, p. 30) III.PUBLIC RESPONDENT ERRED IN FAILING TO SET ASIDE THE ORDER OF THE TRIAL COURT,
AND NOT ADOPTING THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT DATED JULY 9, 1982 GRANTING
Thereafter, the respondent company filed a motion to set aside and/or reconsider the lower TO PETITIONER A RIGHT OF WAY IN THE SUBJECT PREMISES. (Rollo, pp. 14-15).
court’s decision for being premature since only the application for the writ of injunction was
heard and submitted for resolution and not the entire case. Respondents Asprec, likewise, filed These assigned errors center on the issue of whether or not the petitioner has successfully
a motion for reconsideration mainly on the ground that the lower court’s grant of a right of way shown that all the requisites necessary for the grant of an easement of a right of way in his
through Gatchalian Avenue in petitioner’s favor would be in derogation of the "Contract of favor are present.
An easement or servitude is an encumbrance imposed upon an immovable for the benefit of to the Sucat Road except through the Gatchalian Avenue. As borne out by the records of the
another immovable belonging to a different owner as defined in Article 613 of the Civil Code. It case, there is a road right of way provided by the Sobrina Rodriguez Lombos Subdivision
is established either by law, in which case it is called legal, or by the will of the parties, in which indicated as Lot 4133-G-12 in its subdivision plan for the buyers of its lots. The fact that said lot
event it is a voluntary easement. (See Article 619, Civil Code of the Philippines; City of Manila v. is still undeveloped and causes inconvenience to the petitioner when he uses it to reach the
Entote, 57 SCRA 497, 503). public highway does not bring him within the ambit of the legal requisite. We agree with the
appellate court’s observation that the petitioner should have, first and foremost, demanded from
Since there is no agreement between the contending parties in this case granting a right of way the Sobrina Rodriguez Lombos Subdivision the improvement and maintenance of Lot 4133-G-12
by one in favor of the other, the establishment of a voluntary easement between the petitioner as his road right of way because it was from said subdivision that he acquired his lot and not
and the respondent company and/or the other private respondents is ruled out. What is left to either from the Gatchalian Realty or the respondents Asprec. To allow the petitioner access to
examine is whether or not the petitioner is entitled to a legal or compulsory easement of a right Sucat Road through Gatchalian Avenue inspite of a road right of way provided by the petitioner’s
of way. subdivision for its buyers simply because Gatchalian Avenue allows petitioner a much greater
case in going to and coming from the main thoroughfare is to completely ignore what
In the case of Bacolod-Murcia Milling Company, Inc. v. Capitol Subdivision, Inc., Et. Al. (17 SCRA jurisprudence has consistently maintained through the years regarding an easement of a right of
731, 735-6), we held that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph way, that "mere convenience for the dominant estate is not enough to serve as its basis. To
justify the imposition of this servitude, there must be a real, not a fictitious or artificial, necessity
". . . the Central had to rely strictly on its being entitled to a compulsory servitude of right of for it." (See Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. II, 2nd ed., 1972, p. 371)chanrobles
way, under the Civil Code, and it could not claim any such servitude without first establishing law library : red
the preconditions for its grant fixed by Articles 649 and 650 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library Considering that the petitioner has failed to prove the existence of the first requisite as
aforestated, we find it unnecessary to discuss the rest of the preconditions for a legal or
(1) That it is surrounded by other immovables and has no adequate outlet to a public highway compulsory right of way.
(Art. 649, par. 1);
Once again, we apply the rule that findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are binding on the
(2) After payment of proper indemnity (Art. 649, p. 1, end); Supreme Court and will not be overturned when supported by the evidence on record save in
the known exceptions such as gross misappreciation of the evidence or misapprehension of
(3) That the isolation was not due to the Central’s own acts (Art. 649, last par.); and facts. (See Community Savings and Loan Association, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, Et Al., G.R. No.
75786, promulgated on August 31, 1987; Regalario v. Northwest Finance Corporation, 117 SCRA
(4) That the right of way claimed is ‘at the point least prejudicial to the servient estate; and 45; Agton v. Court of Appeals, 113 SCRA 322).chanrobles virtual lawlibrary
insofar as consistent with this rule, where the distance from the dominant estate to a public
highway may be the shortest.’ (Art. 650). WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. The
questioned decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.
"By express provision of law, therefore, a compulsory right of way cannot be obtained unless
the four requisites enumerated are first shown to exist, and the burden of proof to show their SO ORDERED.
existence was on the Central." (See also Angela Estate, Inc. v. Court of First Instance of Negros
Occidental, 24 SCRA 500, 510) Fernan (Chairman), Feliciano, Bidin and Cortes, JJ., concur.

On the first requisite, the petitioner contends that since the respondent company constructed
the concrete wall blocking his ingress and egress via the Gatchalian Avenue, the "nearest, most
convenient and adequate road" to and from a public highway, he has been constrained to use
as his "temporary" way the adjoining lots belonging to different persons. Said way is allegedly
"bumpy and impassable especially during rainy seasons because of flood waters, mud and tall
‘talahib’ grasses thereon." Moreover, according to the petitioner, the road right of way which the
private respondents referred to as the petitioner’s alternative way to Sucat Road is not an
existing road but has remained a proposed road as indicated in the subdivision plan of the
Sobrina Rodriguez Lombos Subdivision.

The petitioner’s position is not impressed with merit. We find no reason to disturb the appellate
court’s finding of fact that the petitioner failed to prove the non-existence of an adequate outlet
[No. L-10619. February 28, 1958] discontinuous being those used at more or less long intervals and which depend upon acts of
man (Articles 532 and 615 of the Old and New Civil Codes, respectively). Continuous and
LEOGARIO RONQUILLO, ET AL., plaintiffs and appellants, apparent easements are acquired either by title or prescription, continuous nonapparent
easements and discontinuous ones whether apparent or not, may be acquired only by virtue of
vs. JOSE Roco, as Administrator of VICENTE Roco Y DOMINGUEZ, ET AL., defendants a title (Articles 537 and 539, and 620 and 622 of the Old and New Civil Codes, respectively).
and appellees.
Both Manresa and Sanchez Roman are of the opinion that the easement of right of way is a
MONTEMAYOR, J.: discontinuous one:

Involving as it does only a question of law, the present appeal from the order of the Court of "En cambio, las servidumbres discontinuas se ejercitan por un hecho del hombre, y
First Instance of Camarines Sur, dated March 6, 1955, dismissing the amended and precisamente por eso son y tienen que ser discontinuas, porque es imposible fisicamente que su
supplemental complaint of plaintiffs on motion of defendants that it did not state a cause of uso sea incesante. Asi, la servidumbre de paso es discontinua, porque no es posible que el
action, was taken directly to this Court. hombre esté pasando continuamente por el camino, vereda o senda de que se trate." (4
Manresa, Codigo Civil Español, 5th ed., p. 529).
The facts and the issue involved in the appeal are well and correctly stated in the appealed
order, the pertinent portion of which we are reproducing and making our own: * * * "5° Por razón de los modos de disfrutar las servidumbres, en continuas y discontinuas
(1). Las continuas son aquellas cuyo uso es ó puede ser incesante, sin la intervención de ningún
"The amended and supplemental complaint alleges that the plaintiffs have been in the hecho del hombre, como son las de luces y otras de la misma especie; y las discontinuas, las
continuous and uninterrupted use of a road or passage way which traversed the land of the que se usan a intervalos, más ó menos largos, y dependen de actos del hombre, como las de
defendants and their predecessors in interest, in going to Igualdad Street and the market place senda, carrera y otras de esta clase." (3 Sanchez Roman, Derecho Civil, p. 488).
of Naga City, from their residential land and back, for more than 20 years; that the defendants
and the tenants of Vicente Roco, the predecessors in interest of the said defendants have long Under the provisions of the Civil Code, old and new, particularly the articles thereof aforecited, it
recognized and respected the private legal easement of road right of way of said plaintiffs; that would there fore appear that the easement of right of way may not be acquired through
on May 12, 1953, the defendants Jose Roco thru his co-defendants, Raymundo Martinez and prescription. Even Article 1959 of the Old Civil Code providing for prescription of ownership and
their men with malice aforethought and with a view to obstructing the plaintiffs' private legal other real rights in real property, excludes therefrom the exception established by Article 539,
easement over the property of the late Vicente Roco, started constructing a chapel in the middle referring to discontinuous easements, such as, easement of right of way. (Bargayo vs.
of the said right of way construction actually impeded, obstructed and disturbed the continuous Camumot, 40 Phil., 857, 867).
exercise of the rights of the plaintiffs over said right of way; that on July 10, 1954 the new
defendants Natividad Roco and Gregorio Miras, Jr. with the approval of the defendant, Jose In the case of Cuayong vs. Benedicto, 37 Phil., 781 where the point in issue was whether or not
Roco and with the help of their men and laborers, by means of force, intimidation, and threats, vested rights in a right of way can be acquired through user from time immemorial, this Court
illegally and violently planted wooden posts, fenced with barbed wire and closed hermitically the said:
road passage way and their right of way in question against their protests and opposition,
thereby preventing them from going to or coming from their homes to Igualdad Street and the "It is evident, therefore, that no vested right by user from time immemorial had been acquired
public market of the City of Naga. by plaintiffs at the time the Civil Code took effect. Under that Code (Article 539) no
discontinuous easement could be acquired by prescription in any event."
"It is very clear from the allegations of the plaintiffs in their amended and supplemental
complaint, that they claim to have acquired the easement of right of way over the land of the However, in the case of Municipality of Dumangas vs. Bishop of Jaro, 34 Phil., 545, this same
defendants and the latter's predecessors in interest, Vicente Roco, thru prescription by their Tribunal held that the continued use by the public of a path over land adjoining the Catholic
continuous and uninterrupted use of a narrow strip of land of the defendants as passage way or church in going to and from said church through its side door, has given the church the right to
road in going to Igualdad Street and the public market of Naga City, from their residential land such use by prescription, and that because of said use by the public, an easement of right of
or houses, and return. way over said land has been acquired by prescription, not only by the church, but also by the
public, which without objection or protest on the part of the owner of said land, had continually
"The only question therefore to be determined in this case, is whether an easement of right of availed itself of the easement.
way can be acquired thru prescription."
The minority of which the writer of this opinion is a part, believes that the easement of right of
The dismissal was based on the ground that an easement of right of way though it may be way may now be acquired through prescription, at least since the introduction into this
apparent is, nevertheless, discontinuous or intermittent and, therefore, cannot be acquired jurisdiction of the special law on prescription through the Old Code of Civil Procedure, Act No.
through prescription, but only by virtue of a title. Under the Old as well as the New Civil Code, 190. Said law, particularly, Section 41 thereof, makes no distinction as to the real rights which
easements may be continuous or discontinuous (intermittent), apparent or non-apparent, are subject to prescription, and there would appear to be no valid reason, at least to the writer
of this opinion, why the continued use of a path or a road or right of way by the party, specially Republic of the Philippines
by the public, for ten years or more, not by mere tolerance of the owner of the land, but
through adverse use of it, cannot give said party a vested right to such right of way through Supreme Court
prescription.
Baguio City
"The uninterrupted and continuous enjoyment of a right of way necessary to constitute adverse
possession does not require the use thereof every day for the statutory period, but simply the
exercise of the right more or less frequently according to the nature of the use. (17 Am. Jur.
972)” SECOND DIVISION

Even under the case of Cuaycong vs. Benedicto (supra), this Tribunal insinuated that the rule
that no discontinuous easement, like an easement of right of way, may, under Article 539 of the
CRISPIN DICHOSO, JR., G.R. No. 180282
Old Civil Code, be acquired, might possibly have been changed by the provisions of the Code of
Civil Procedure relative to prescription.
EVELYN DICHOSO VALDEZ, and ROSEMARIE DICHOSO PE BENITO,
* * * "Assuming, without deciding, that this rule has been changed by the provisions of the
Petitioners, Present:
present Code of Civil Procedure relating to prescription, and that since its enactment
discontinuous easement may be acquired by prescription, it is clear that this would not avail
plaintiffs. The Code of Civil Procedure went into effect on October 1, 1901. The term of
prescription for the acquisition of rights in real estate is fixed by the Code (section 41) at ten - versus - CARPIO, J.,
years. The evidence shows that in February, 1911, before the expiration of the term of ten years
since the time the Code of Civil Procedure took effect, the defendants interrupted the use of the Chairperson,
road by plaintiffs by constructing and maintaining a toll gate on it and collecting toll from
persons making use of it with carts and continued to do so until they were enjoined by the NACHURA,
granting of the preliminary injunction by the trial court in December 1912." * * * (Cuaycong vs.
Benedicto, 37 Phil., 781, 796). PERALTA,

Professor Tolentino in his Commentaries and Jurisprudence on the Civil Code, Vol. I, p. 340, ABAD, and
would appear to be of the opinion that under the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure
relative to prescription, even discontinuous easements, like the easement of right of way, may PATROCINIO L. MARCOS, MENDOZA, JJ.
be acquired through prescription:
Respondent. Promulgated:
* * * "It is submitted that under Act No. 190, even discontinuous servitudes can be acquired by
prescription, provided it can be shown that the servitude was 'actual, open, public, continuous, April 11, 2011
under a claim of title exclusive of any other right and adverse to all other claimants'.

However, the opinion of the majority must prevail, and it is held that under the present law,
particularly, the provisions of the Civil Code, old and new, unless and until the same is changed x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
or clarified, the easement of right of way may not be acquired through prescription.
DECISION
In view of the foregoing, the order appealed from is hereby affirmed. No costs.
NACHURA, J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking to reverse
and set aside the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision[1] dated January 31, 2007 and
Resolution[2] dated October 23, 2007 in CA-G.R. CV No. 85471. The assailed Decision reversed
and set aside the July 15, 2005 decision[3] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Laoag City,
Branch 14, in Civil Case No. 12581-14; while the assailed Resolution denied the Motion for
Reconsideration filed by petitioners Crispin Dichoso, Jr., Evelyn Dichoso Valdez, and Rosemarie WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered, as follows:
Dichoso Pe Benito.
1. granting plaintiffs a right of way over an area of 54 square meters more or less over Lot
The facts of the case, as culled from the records, are as follows: 01 owned by defendant Patrocinio L. [Marcos] appearing in the Laoag City Assessors sketch
(Annex A) found on page 28 of the record of the case;
On August 2, 2002, petitioners filed a Complaint for Easement of Right of Way[4] against
respondent Patrocinio L. Marcos. In their complaint, petitioners alleged that they are the owners 2. ordering plaintiffs to pay defendant the amount of P54,000.00 as proper indemnity; and
of Lot No. 21553 of the Cadastral Survey of Laoag City, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title
No. T-31219; while respondent is the owner of Lot No. 1. As petitioners had no access to a 3. ordering the Register of Deeds of Laoag City to duly annotate this right of way on
public road to and from their property, they claimed to have used a portion of Lot No. 1 in defendants title to the property.
accessing the road since 1970. Respondent, however, blocked the passageway with piles of
sand. Though petitioners have been granted another passageway by the spouses Benjamin and SO ORDERED.[11]
Sylvia Arce (Spouses Arce), the owners of another adjacent lot, designated as Lot No. 21559-B,
the former instituted the complaint before the RTC and prayed that The RTC found that petitioners adequately established the requisites to justify an easement of
right of way in accordance with Articles 649 and 650 of the Civil Code. The trial court likewise
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court that judgment be rendered: declared petitioners in good faith as they expressed their willingness to pay proper indemnity.[12]

1. Granting the plaintiffs right of way over an area of 54 square meters more or less of Lot 01 On appeal, the CA reversed and set aside the RTC decision and consequently dismissed
by paying the defendant the amount of P54,000.00, and that the right be annotated on petitioners complaint. Considering that a right of way had already been granted by the (other)
defendants title; servient estate, designated as Lot No. 21559-B and owned by the Spouses Arce, the appellate
court concluded that there is no need to establish an easement over respondents property. The
2. Ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiffs the sum of P30,000.00 as damages for attorneys CA explained that, while the alternative route through the property of the Spouses Arce is longer
fees and costs of suit; and circuitous, said access road is adequate. It emphasized that the convenience of the
dominant estate is never the gauge for the grant of compulsory right of way. Thus, the opening
Other reliefs, just and equitable under the premises, are likewise sought.[5] of another passageway is unjustified.[13]

Instead of filing an Answer, respondent moved[6] for the dismissal of the complaint on the Aggrieved, petitioners come before this Court, raising the following issues:
ground of lack of cause of action and noncompliance with the requisite certificate of non-forum
shopping. I.CAN PETITIONERS BE ENTITLED TO A GRANT OF LEGAL EASEMENT OF RIGHT OF WAY FROM
THEIR LANDLOCKED PROPERTY THROUGH THE PROPERTY OF PRIVATE RESPONDENT WHICH
During the hearing on respondents motion to dismiss, the parties agreed that an ocular IS THE SHORTEST ROUTE IN GOING TO AND FROM THEIR PROPERTY TO THE PUBLIC
inspection of the subject properties be conducted. After the inspection, the RTC directed the STREET AND WHERE THEY USED TO PASS?
parties to submit their respective position papers.
II.CAN RESPONDENT REFUSE TO GRANT A RIGHT OF WAY ON THE DESIRED PASSAGEWAY
In a resolution[7] dated May 12, 2004, the RTC denied respondents motion to dismiss and WHICH HE CLOSED SINCE THERE IS ANOTHER PASSAGEWAY WHICH IS MORE CIRCUITOUS
required the latter to answer petitioners complaint. AND BURDENSOME AND IS BELATEDLY OFFERED UNTO PETITIONERS?

In his Answer,[8] respondent denied that he allowed anybody to use Lot No. 1 as passageway. III.CAN PETITIONERS BE COMPELLED TO AVAIL OF A LEGAL EASEMENT OF RIGHT OF WAY
He stated that petitioners claim of right of way is only due to expediency and not necessity. He THROUGH THE PROPERTY OF ARCE WHICH WAS BELATEDLY OFFERED BUT HAS BEEN
also maintained that there is an existing easement of right of way available to petitioners FORECLOSED BY THE BANK AND WHEREIN THE LATTER IS NOT A PARTY TO THE CASE?[14]
granted by the Spouses Arce. Thus, there is no need to establish another easement over
respondents property The petition is without merit.

In an Order[9] dated July 6, 2005, the RTC declared that respondents answer failed to tender an It is already a well-settled rule that the jurisdiction of this Court in cases brought before it from
issue, and opted to render judgment on the pleadings and thus deemed the case submitted for the CA by virtue of Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is limited to reviewing errors of law. Findings of
decision. fact of the CA are conclusive upon this Court. There are, however, recognized exceptions to the
foregoing rule, namely:
On July 15, 2005, the RTC rendered a decision[10] in favor of petitioners, the dispositive portion
of which reads, as follows:
(1) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises, or conjectures; Article 650. The easement of right of way shall be established at the point least prejudicial to
the servient estate, and, insofar as consistent with this rule, where the distance from the
(2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd, or impossible; dominant estate to a public highway may be the shortest.

(3) when there is grave abuse of discretion; To be entitled to an easement of right of way, the following requisites should be met:

(4) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; 1. The dominant estate is surrounded by other immovables and has no adequate outlet to a
public highway;
(5) when the findings of fact are conflicting;
2. There is payment of proper indemnity;
(6) when, in making its findings, the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case, or its
findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee; 3. The isolation is not due to the acts of the proprietor of the dominant estate; and

(7) when the findings are contrary to those of the trial court; 4. The right of way claimed is at the point least prejudicial to the servient estate; and insofar
as consistent with this rule, where the distance from the dominant estate to a public highway
(8) when the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are may be the shortest.[17]
based;
Petitioners may be correct in the theoretical reading of Articles 649 and 650 of the Civil Code,
(9) when the facts set forth in the petition, as well as in the petitioner's main and reply briefs, but they nevertheless failed to show sufficient factual evidence to satisfy the above-enumerated
are not disputed by the respondent; and requirements.[18]

(10) when the findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and It must be stressed that, by its very nature, and when considered with reference to the
contradicted by the evidence on record.[15] obligations imposed on the servient estate, an easement involves an abnormal restriction on the
property rights of the servient owner and is regarded as a charge or encumbrance on the
The present case falls under the 7th exception, as the RTC and the CA arrived at conflicting servient estate. It is incumbent upon the owner of the dominant estate to establish by clear and
findings of fact and conclusions of law. convincing evidence the presence of all the preconditions before his claim for easement of right
of way may be granted.[19] Petitioners failed in this regard.
The conferment of a legal easement of right of way is governed by Articles 649 and 650 of the
Civil Code, quoted below for easy reference:[16] Admittedly, petitioners had been granted a right of way through the other adjacent lot owned
by the Spouses Arce. In fact, other lot owners use the said outlet in going to and coming from
Article 649. The owner, or any person who by virtue of a real right may cultivate or use any
the public highway. Clearly, there is an existing outlet to and from the public road.
immovable, which is surrounded by other immovables pertaining to other persons and without
adequate outlet to a public highway, is entitled to demand a right of way through the However, petitioners claim that the outlet is longer and circuitous, and they have to pass
neighboring estates, after payment of the proper indemnity. through other lots owned by different owners before they could get to the highway. We find
petitioners concept of what is adequate outlet a complete disregard of the well-entrenched
Should this easement be established in such a manner that its use may be continuous for all the
doctrine that in order to justify the imposition of an easement of right of way, there must be
needs of the dominant estate, establishing a permanent passage, the indemnity shall consist of
real, not fictitious or artificial, necessity for it. Mere convenience for the dominant estate is not
the value of the land occupied and the amount of the damage caused to the servient estate.
what is required by law as the basis of setting up a compulsory easement. Even in the face of
necessity, if it can be satisfied without imposing the easement, the same should not be
In case the right of way is limited to the necessary passage for the cultivation of the estate
imposed.[20]
surrounded by others and for the gathering of its crops through the servient estate without a
permanent way, the indemnity shall consist in the payment of the damages caused by such
We quote with approval the CAs observations in this wise:
encumbrance.
As it shows, [petitioners] had been granted a right of way through the adjacent estate of
This easement is not compulsory if the isolation of the immovable is due to the proprietors own
Spouses Arce before the complaint below was even filed. [Respondent] alleged that this right of
acts.
way is being used by the other estates which are similarly situated as [petitioners]. [Petitioners]
do not dispute this fact. There is also a reason to believe that this right of way is Spouses Arces
outlet to a public road since their property, as it appears from the Sketch Map, is also
surrounded by other estates. The fact that Spouses Arce are not insisting on a right of way
through respondents property, although an opening on the latters property is undoubtedly the FIRST DIVISION
most direct and shortest distance to P. Gomez St. from the formers property, bolsters our
conviction that they have adequate outlet to the highway which they are now likewise making [G.R. No. 112331. May 29, 1996]
available to [petitioners].
ANASTACIA QUIMEN, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and YOLANDA Q.
The convenience of the dominant estate has never been the gauge for the grant of compulsory OLIVEROS, respondents.
right of way. To be sure, the true standard for the grant of the legal right is adequacy. Hence,
when there is already an existing adequate outlet from the dominant estate to a public highway, DECISION
as in this case, even when the said outlet, for one reason or another, be inconvenient, the need
to open up another servitude is entirely unjustified.[21] BELLOSILLO,J.:

Thus, in Cristobal v. CA,[22] the Court disallowed the easement prayed for because an outlet IN EASEMENT OF RIGHT OF WAY that easement where the way is shortest and will cause least
already exists which is a path walk located at the left side of petitioners property and which is prejudice shall be chosen. However, if the two circumstances do not concur in a single
connected to a private road about five hundred (500) meters long. The private road, in turn, tenement, the way where damage will be least shall be used even if not the shortest
leads to Ma. Elena Street, which is about 2.5 meters wide, and finally, to Visayas Avenue. This route.[1] This is so because least prejudice prevails over shortest distance. This means that the
outlet was determined by the Court to be sufficient for the needs of the dominant estate court is not bound to establish what is the shortest distance; a longer way may be adopted to
avoid injury to the servient estate, such as when there are constructions or walls which can be
Also in Floro v. Llenado,[23] we refused to impose a right of way over petitioners property avoided by a round about way, or to secure the interest of the dominant owner, such as when
although private respondents alternative route was admittedly inconvenient because he had to the shortest distance would place the way on a dangerous decline.
traverse several ricelands and rice paddies belonging to different persons, not to mention that
said passage is impassable during the rainy season Thus we conclude from the succeeding facts: Petitioner Anastacia Quimen together with her
brothers Sotero, Sulpicio, Antonio and sister Rufina inherited a piece of property situated in
And in Ramos v. Gatchalian Realty, Inc.,[24] this Court refused to grant the easement prayed for Pandi, Bulacan. They agreed to subdivide the property equally among themselves, as they did,
even if petitioner had to pass through lots belonging to other owners, as temporary ingress and with the shares of Anastacia, Sotero, Sulpicio and Rufina abutting the municipal road.The share
egress, which lots were grassy, cogonal, and greatly inconvenient due to flood and mud of Anastacia, located at the extreme left, was designated as Lot No. 1448-B- 1. It is bounded on
because such grant would run counter to the prevailing jurisprudence that mere convenience for the right by the property of Sotero designated as Lot. No. 1448-B-2. Adjoining Soteros property
the dominant estate does not suffice to serve as basis for the easement.[25] on the right are Lots Nos. 1448-B-3 and 1448-B-4 originally owned by Rufina and Sulpicio,
respectively, but which were later acquired by a certain Catalina Santos.Located directly behind
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The Court of Appeals Decision the lots of Anastacia and Sotero is the share of their brother Antonio designated as Lot No.
dated January 31, 2007 and Resolution dated October 23, 2007 in CA-G.R. CV No. 85471 1448-B-C which the latter divided into two (2) equal parts, now Lots Nos. 1448-B-6-A and 1448-
are AFFIRMED. B-6-B, each with an area of 92 square meters. Lot No. 1448-B-6-A is located behind Anastacias
Lot No. 1448-B-1, while Lot No. 1448-B-6-B is behind the property of Sotero, father of
SO ORDERED. respondent Yolanda.

In February 1982 Yolanda purchased Lot No. 1448-B-6-A from her uncle Antonio through her
aunt Anastacia who was then acting as his administratrix. According to Yolanda, when petitioner
offered her the property for sale she was hesitant to buy as it had no access to a public
road. But Anastacia prevailed upon her to buy the lot with the assurance that she would give
her a right of way on her adjoining property for P200.00 per square meter.

Thereafter, Yolanda constructed a house on the lot she bought using as her passageway to the
public highway a portion of Anastacia s property. But when Yolanda finally offered to pay for the
use of the pathway Anastacia refused to accept the payment. In fact she was thereafter barred
by Anastacia from passing through her property.[2]

In February 1986 Yolanda purchased the other lot of Antonio Quimen, Lot No. 1448-B-6-B,
located directly behind the property of her parents who provided her a pathway gratis et
amore between their house, extending about nineteen (19) meters from the lot of Yolanda
behind the sari-sari store of Sotero, and Anastacias perimeter fence. The store is made of strong
materials and occupies the entire frontage of the lot measuring four (4) meters wide and nine per year from the sale of the fruits of her avocado tree, and considering that an avocado has an
meters (9) long. Although the pathway leads to the municipal road it is not adequate for ingress average life span of seventy (70) years, she expects a substantial earning from it.[7]
and egress. The municipal road cannot be reached with facility because the store itself obstructs
the path so that one has to pass through the back entrance and the facade of the store to reach But we find no cogent reason to disturb the ruling of respondent appellate court granting a right
the road. of way to private respondent through petitioners property. In fact, as between petitioner
Anastacia and respondent Yolanda their agreement has already been rendered moot insofar as
On 29 December 1987 Yolanda filed an action with the proper court praying for a right of way it concerns the determination of the principal issue herein presented. The voluntary easement in
through Anastacia s property. An ocular inspection upon instruction of the presiding judge was favor of private respondent, which petitioner now denies but which the court is inclined to
conducted by the branch clerk of court. The report was that the proposed right of way was at believe, has in fact become a legal easement or an easement by necessity constituted by law.[8]
the extreme right of Anastacias property facing the public highway, starting from the back of
Soteros sari-sari store and extending inward by one (1) meter to her property and turning left As defined, an easement is a real right on anothers property, corporeal and immovable,
for about five (5) meters to avoid the store of Sotero in order to reach the municipal road [3]and whereby the owner of the latter must refrain from doing or allowing somebody else to do or
the way was unobstructed except for an avocado tree standing in the middle.[4] something to be done on his property, for the benefit of another person or tenement.[9] It is jus
in re aliena, inseparable, indivisible and perpetual, unless extinguished by causes provided by
But on 5 September 1991 the trial court dismissed the complaint for lack of cause of action, law. A right of way in particular is a privilege constituted by covenant or granted by law[10] to a
explaining that the right of way through Soteros property was a straight path and to allow a person or class of persons to pass over anothers property when his tenement is surrounded by
detour by cutting through Anastacias property would no longer make the path straight. Hence realties belonging to others without an adequate outlet to the public highway. The owner of the
the trial court concluded that it was more practical to extend the existing pathway to the public dominant estate can demand a right of way through the servient estate provided he indemnifies
road by removing that portion of the store blocking the path as that was the shortest route to the owner thereof for the beneficial use of his property.[11]
the public road and the least prejudicial to the parties concerned than passing through
Anastacias property.[5] The conditions sine qua non for a valid grant of an easement of right of way are: (a) the
dominant estate is surrounded by other immovables without an adequate outlet to a public
On appeal by respondent Yolanda, the Court of Appeals reversed the lower court and held that highway; (b) the dominant estate is willing to pay the proper indemnity; (c) the isolation was
she was entitled to a right of way on petitioners property and that the way proposed by Yolanda not due to the acts of the dominant estate; and, (d) the right of way being claimed is at a point
would cause the least damage and detriment to the servient estate.[6] The appellate court least prejudicial to the servient estate.[12]
however did not award damages to private respondent as petitioner did not act in bad faith in
resisting the claim. A cursory examination of the complaint of respondent Yolanda for a right of way[13] readily
shows that
Petitioner now comes to us imputing ERROR to respondent Court of Appeals: (a) in disregarding
the agreement of the parties; (b) in considering petitioners property as a servient estate despite [E]ven before the purchase of the said parcels of land the plaintiff was reluctant to purchase the
the fact that it does not abut or adjoin the property of private respondent; and, (c) in holding same for they are enclosed with permanent improvements like a concrete fence and store and
that the one-meter by five-meter passage way proposed by private respondent is the least have (sic) no egress leading to the road but because of the assurance of the defendant that
prejudicial and the shortest distance to the public road. plaintiff will be provided one (1) meter wide and five (5) meters long right of way in the sum of
P200.00 per square meter to be taken from Anastacias lot at the side of a concrete store until
Incidentally, petitioner denies having promised private respondent a right of way. She claims plaintiff reach(es) her fathers land, plaintiff was induced to buy the aforesaid parcels of land x x
that her agreement with private respondent was to provide the latter with a right of way on the x. That the aforesaid right of way is the shortest, most convenient and the least onerous leading
other lot of Antonio Quimen under her administration when it was not yet sold to private to the road and being used by the plaintiffs predecessors-in-interest from the very inception x x
respondent. Petitioner insists that passing through the property of Yolandas parents is more x.
accessible to the public road than to make a detour to her property and cut down the avocado
tree standing thereon. The evidence clearly shows that the property of private respondent is hemmed in by the estates
of other persons including that of petitioner; that she offered to pay P200.00 per square meter
Petitioner further argues that when Yolanda purchased Lot No. 1448-B-6-B in 1986 the for her right of way as agreed between her and petitioner; that she did not cause the isolation
easement of right of way she provided her (petitioner) was ipso jure extinguished as a result of of her property; that the right of way is the least prejudicial to the servient estate.[14]These facts
the merger of ownership of the dominant and the servient estates in one person so that there are confirmed in the ocular inspection report of the clerk of court, more so that the trial court
was no longer any compelling reason to provide private respondent with a right of way as there itself declared that [t]he said properties of Antonio Quimen which were purchased by plaintiff
are other surrounding lots suitable for the purpose. Petitioner strongly maintains that the Yolanda Quimen Oliveros were totally isolated from the public highway and there appears an
proposed right of way is not the shortest access to the public road because of the detour and imperative need for an easement of right of way to the public highway.[15]
that, moreover, she is likely to suffer the most damage as she derives a net income of P600.00
Petitioner finally insists that respondent court erroneously concluded that the right of way materials; that this explained why Yolanda requested a detour to the lot of Anastacia and cut an
proposed by private respondent is the least onerous to the parties. We cannot agree. Article 650 opening of one (1) meter wide and five (5) meters long to serve as her right of way to the
of the New Civil Code explicitly states that the easement of right of way shall be established at public highway. But notwithstanding its factual observations, the trial court concluded, although
the point least prejudicial to the servient estate and, insofar as consistent with this rule, where erroneously, that Yolanda was not entitled to a right of way on petitioners property since a
the distance from the dominant estate to a public highway may be the shortest. The criterion of detour through it would not make the line straight and would not be the route shortest to the
least prejudice to the servient estate must prevail over the criterion of shortest public highway.
distance although this is a matter ofjudicial appreciation. While shortest distance may ordinarily
imply least prejudice, it is not always so as when there are permanent structures obstructing In applying Art. 650 of the New Civil Code, respondent Court of Appeals declared that the
the shortest distance; while on the other hand, the longest distance may be free of obstructions proposed right of way of Yolanda, which is one (1) meter wide and five (5) meters long at the
and the easiest or most convenient to pass through. In other words, where the easement may extreme right of petitioners property, will cause the least prejudice and/or damage as compared
be established on any of several tenements surrounding the dominant estate, the one where the to the suggested passage through the property of Yolanda s father which would mean
way is shortest and will cause the least damage should be chosen. However, as elsewhere destroying the sari-sari store made of strong materials. Absent any showing that these findings
stated, if these two (2) circumstances do not concur in a single tenement, the way which will and conclusion are devoid of factual support in the records, or are so glaringly erroneous, this
cause the least damage should be used, even if it will not be the shortest.[16] This is the test. Court accepts and adopts them. As between a right of way that would demolish a store of
strong materials to provide egress to a public highway, and another right of way which although
In the trial court, petitioner openly admitted - longer will only require an avocado tree to be cut down, the second alternative should be
preferred. After all, it is not the main function of this Court to analyze or weigh the evidence
Q. You testified during your direct examination about this plan, kindly go over this and please presented all over again where the petition would necessarily invite calibration of the whole
point to us in what portion of this plan is the house or store of the father of the (plaintiff)? evidence considering primarily the credibility of witnesses, existence and relevancy of specific
surrounding circumstances, their relation to each other, and the probabilities of the
A. This one, sir (witness pointed a certain portion located near the proposed right of way). situation.[18] In sum, this Court finds that the decision of respondent appellate court is
thoroughly backed up by law and the evidence.
xxx xxx xxx
WHEREFORE, no reversible error having been committed by respondent Court of Appeals, the
Q. Now, you will agree with me x x x that this portion is the front portion of the lot owned by petition is DENIED and the decision subject of review is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
the father of the plaintiff and which was (sic) occupied by a store made up of strong materials?
SO ORDERED.
A. It is not true, sir.
Padilla (Chairman), Vitug, Kapunan, and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.
Q. What materials does (sic) this store of the father of the plaintiff made of?

A. Hollow blocks and the side is made of wood, sir.

xxx xxx xxx

Q. Just before your brother disposed that 1/2 portion of the lot in question, what right of way
does (sic) he use in reaching the public road, kindly point to this sketch that he is (sic) using in
reaching the public road?

A. In my property, sir.

Q. Now you will agree with me x x x the main reason why your brother is (sic) using this
property is because there was a store located near this portion?

A. Yes, and according to the father of Yolanda there is no other way than this, sir.[17]

The trial court found that Yolandas property was situated at the back of her fathers property
and held that there existed an available space of about nineteen (19) meters long which could
conveniently serve as a right of way between the boundary line and the house of Yolanda s
father; that the vacant space ended at the left back of Soteros store which was made of strong
THIRD DIVISION The facts are undisputed.

[G.R. No. 77628. March 11, 1991.] Petitioner Tomas Encarnacion and private respondent Heirs of the late Aniceta Magsino Viuda de
Sagun are the owners of two adjacent estates situated in Buco, Talisay, Batangas *** Petitioner
TOMAS ENCARNACION, Petitioner, v. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS AND THE owns the dominant estate which has an area of 2,590 square meters and bounded on the North
INTESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE EUSEBIO DE SAGUN AND THE HEIRS OF THE LATE by Eusebio de Sagun and Mamerto Magsino, on the south by Taal Lake, on the East by Felino
ANICETA MAGSINO VIUDA DE SAGUN, ** respondents. Matienso and on the West by Pedro Matienzo. Private respondents co-own the 405-square-
meter servient estate which is bounded on the North by the National Highway (Laurel Talisay
Esteban M. Mendoza for Petitioner. Highway), on the South by Tomas Encarnacion, on the East by Mamerto Magsino and on the
West by Felipe de Sagun. In other words, the servient estate stands between the dominant
Oscar Gozos for Private Respondents. estate and the national road.

Prior to 1960, when the servient estate was not yet enclosed with a concrete fence, persons
SYLLABUS going to the national highway just crossed the servient estate at no particular point. However, in
1960 when private respondents constructed a fence around the servient estate, a roadpath
1. CIVIL LAW; EASEMENTS; RIGHT OF WAY; ABSENCE OF ACCESS TO A PUBLIC ROAD. — measuring 25 meters long and about a meter wide was constituted to provide access to the
Where a private property has no access to a public road, it has the right of easement over highway. One-half meter width of the path was taken from the servient estate and the other
adjacent servient estates as a matter of law. one-half meter portion was taken from another lot owned by Mamerto Magsino. No
compensation was asked and non was given for the portions constituting the pathway. 1
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; WIDTH OF THE PASSAGE DETERMINED BY THE NEEDS OF THE DOMINANT
PROPERTY. — Under Article 651 of the Civil Code, it is the needs of the dominant property It was also about that time that petitioner started his plant nursery business on his land where
which ultimately determine the width of the passage. And these needs may vary from time to he also had his abode. He would use said pathway as passage to the highway for his family and
time. for his customers.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. — When petitioner started out as a plant nursery operator, Petitioner’s plant nursery business through sheer hard work flourished and with that, it became
he and his family could easily make do with a few pushcarts to tow the plants to the national more and more difficult for petitioner to haul the plants and garden soil to and from the nursery
highway. But the business grew and with it the need for the use of modern means of and the highway with the use of pushcarts. In January, 1984, petitioner was able to buy an
conveyance or transport. Manual hauling of plants and garden soil and use of pushcarts have owner-type jeep which he could use for transporting his plants. However, that jeep could not
become extremely cumbersome and physically taxing. To force petitioner to leave his jeepney in pass through the roadpath and so he approached the servient estate owners (Aniceta Vda. de
the highway, exposed to the elements and to the risk of theft simply because it could not pass Sagun and Elena Romero Vda. de Sagun) and requested that they sell to him one and one-half
through the improvised pathway, is sheer pigheadedness on the part of the servient estate and (1 1/2) meters of their property to be added to the existing pathway so as to allow passage for
can only be counter-productive for all the people concerned. Petitioner should not be denied a his jeepney. To his utter consternation, his request was turned down by the two widows and
passageway wide enough to accomodate his jeepney since that is a reasonable and necessary further attempts at negotiation proved futile.
aspect of the plant nursery business.
Petitioner then instituted an action before the Regional Trial Court of Batangas, Branch 6
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; PAYMENT OF INDEMNITY WHERE EASEMENT IS CONTINUOUS AND (Tanauan) to seek the issuance of a writ of easement of a right of way over an additional width
PERMANENT. — Where the easement to be established in favor of petitioner is of a continuous of at least two (2) meters over the De Saguns’ 405-square-meter parcel of land. 2
and permanent nature, the indemnity shall consist of the value of the land occupied and the
amount of the damage caused to the servient estate pursuant to Article 649 of the Civil Code. During the trial, the attention of the lower court was called to the existence of another exit to
the highway, only eighty (80) meters away from the dominant estate. On December 2, 1985,
DECISION the lower court rendered judgment dismissing petitioner’s complaint. It
ruled:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
FERNAN, J.:
"It is clear, therefore, that plaintiff at present has two outlets to the highway: one, through the
Presented for resolution in the instant petition for review is the not-so-usual question of whether
defendants’ land on a one meter wide passageway, which is bounded on both sides by concrete
or not petitioner is entitled to a widening of an already existing easement of right-of-way. Both
walls and second, through the dried river bed eighty meters away. The plaintiff has an adequate
the trial court and the Appellate Court ruled that petitioner is not so entitled, hence the recourse
outlet to the highway through the dried river bed where his jeep could pass.
to this Court. We reverse.
"The reasons given for his claim that the one-meter passageway through defendants’ land be that which is sufficient for the needs of the dominant estate, and may accordingly be changed
widened to two and one-half meters to allow the passage of his jeep, destroying in the process from time to time." This is taken to mean that under the law, it is the needs of the dominant
one of the concrete fences and decreasing defendants’ already small parcel to only about 332.5 property which ultimately determine the width of the passage. And these needs may vary from
square meters, just because it is nearer to the highway by 25 meters compared to the second time to time. When petitioner started out as a plant nursery operator, he and his family could
access of 80 meters or a difference of only 65 meters and that passage through defendants’ easily make do with a few pushcarts to tow the plants to the national highway. But the business
land is more convenient for his (plaintiff’s) business and family use are not among the grew and with it the need for the use of modern means of conveyance or transport. Manual
conditions specified by Article 649 of the Civil Code to entitle the plaintiff to a right of way for hauling of plants and garden soil and use of pushcarts have become extremely cumbersome and
the passage of his jeep through defendant’s land." 3 physically taxing. To force petitioner to leave his jeepney in the highway, exposed to the
elements and to the risk of theft simply because it could not pass through the improvised
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court on January 28, 1987 and pathway, is sheer pigheadedness on the part of the servient estate and can only be counter-
rejected petitioner’s claim for an additional easement. productive for all the people concerned. Petitioner should not be denied a passageway wide
enough to accomodate his jeepney since that is a reasonable and necessary aspect of the plant
In sustaining the trial court, the Court of Appeals opined that the necessity interposed by nursery business.
petitioner was not compelling enough to justify interference with the property rights of private
respondents. The Appellate Court took into consideration the presence of a dried river bed only We are well aware that an additional one and one-half (11/2) meters in the width of the
eighty (80) meters away from the dominant estate and conjectured that petitioner might have pathway will reduce the servient estate to only about 342.5 square meters. But petitioner has
actually driven his jeep through the river bed in order to get to the highway, and that the only expressed willingness to exchange an equivalent portion of his land to compensate private
reason why he wanted a wider easement through the De Sagun’s estate was that it was more respondents for their loss. Perhaps, it would be well for respondents to take the offer of
convenient for his business and family needs. petitioner seriously. 5 But unless and until that option is considered, the law decrees that
petitioner must indemnify the owners of the servient estate including Mamerto Magsino from
After evaluating the evidence presented in the case, the Court finds that petitioner has whose adjoining lot 1/2 meter was taken to constitute the original path several years ago. Since
sufficiently established his claim for an additional easement of right of way, contrary to the the easement to be established in favor of petitioner is of a continuous and permanent nature,
conclusions of the courts a quo. the indemnity shall consist of the value of the land occupied and the amount of the damage
caused to the servient estate pursuant to Article 649 of the Civil Code which states in
While there is a dried river bed less than 100 meters from the dominant tenement, that access part:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
is grossly inadequate. Generally, the right of way may be demanded: (1) when there is
absolutely no access to a public highway, and (2) when, even if there is one, it is difficult or "Art. 649. The owner, or any person who by virtue of a real right may cultivate or use any
dangerous to use or is grossly insufficient. In the present case, the river bed route is traversed immovable, which is surrounded by other immovables pertaining to other persons and without
by a semi-concrete bridge and there is no ingress nor egress from the highway. For the jeep to adequate outlet to a public highway, is entitled to demand a right of way through the
reach the level of the highway, it must literally jump four (4) to five (5) meters up. Moreover, neighboring estates, after payment of the proper indemnity.
during the rainy season, the river bed is impassable due to the floods. Thus, it can only be used
at certain times of the year. With the inherent disadvantages of the river bed which make "Should this easement be established in such a manner that its use may be continuous for all
passage difficult, if not impossible, it is if there were no outlet at all.cralawnad the needs of the dominant estate, establishing a permanent passage, the indemnity shell consist
of the value of the land occupied and the amount of the damage caused to the servient estate.
Where a private property has no access to a public road, it has the right of easement over
adjacent servient estates as a matter of law. 4 x x x

With the non-availability of the dried river bed as an alternative route to the highway, we
transfer our attention to the existing pathway which straddles the adjoining properties of the De
Sagun heirs and Mamerto Magsino. WHEREFORE, in conformity with the foregoing discussion, the appealed decision of the Court of
Appeals dated January 28, 1987 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner Tomas Encarnacion is
The courts below have taken against petitioner his candid admission in open court that he hereby declared entitled to an additional easement of right of way of twenty-five (25) meters
needed a wider pathway for the convenience of his business and family. (TSN, August 2, 1985, long by one and one-half (11/2) meters wide over the servient estate or a total area of 62.5
pp. 24-26). We cannot begrudge petitioner for wanting that which is convenient. But certainly square meters after payment of the proper indemnity.
that should not detract from the more pressing consideration that there is a real and compelling
need for such servitude in his favor. SO ORDERED.

Article 651 of the Civil Code provides that" (t)he width of the easement of right of way shall be Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano, Bidin and Davide, Jr., JJ., concur.
Republic of the Philippines induce them to approach, get on or use it, and this attractiveness is an implied invitation to such
SUPREME COURT children (65 C.J.S., p. 458).
Manila
Now, is a swimming pool or water tank an instrumentality or appliance likely to attract the little
EN BANC children in play? In other words is the body of water an attractive nuisance?

G.R. No. L-3422 June 13, 1952 The great majority of American decisions say no.

HIDALGO ENTERPRISES, INC., petitioner, The attractive nuisance doctrine generally is not applicable to bodies of water, artificial as well
vs. as natural, in the absence of some unusual condition or artificial feature other than the mere
GUILLERMO BALANDAN, ANSELMA ANILA and THE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. water and its location.

Quisumbing, Sycip, Quisumbing and Salazar for petitioner. There are numerous cases in which the attractive nuisance doctrine has not been held not to be
Antonio M. Moncado for respondents. applicable to ponds or reservoirs, pools of water, streams, canals, dams, ditches, culverts,
drains, cesspools or sewer pools, . . . (65 C.J.S., p. 476 et seg. citing decisions of California,
BENGZON, J.: Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Miss., Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma,
Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Nebraska, Wisconsin.)
This is an appeal by certiorari, from a decision of the Court of Appeals requiring Hidalgo
Enterprises, Inc. to pay Guillermo Balandan and his wife, damages in the sum of P2,000 for the In fairness to the Court of Appeals it should be stated that the above volume of Corpus Juris
death of their son Mario. Secundum was published in 1950, whereas its decision was promulgated on September 30,
1949.
It appears that the petitioner Hidalgo Enterprises, Inc. "was the owner of an ice-plant factory in
the City of San Pablo, Laguna, in whose premises were installed two tanks full of water, nine The reason why a swimming pool or pond or reservoir of water is not considered an attractive
feet deep, for cooling purposes of its engine. While the factory compound was surrounded with nuisance was lucidly explained by the Indiana Appellate Court as follows:
fence, the tanks themselves were not provided with any kind of fence or top covers. The edges
of the tanks were barely a foot high from the surface of the ground. Through the wide gate Nature has created streams, lakes and pools which attract children. Lurking in their waters is
entrance, which is continually open, motor vehicles hauling ice and persons buying said always the danger of drowning. Against this danger children are early instructed so that they are
commodity passed, and any one could easily enter the said factory, as he pleased. There was no sufficiently presumed to know the danger; and if the owner of private property creates an
guard assigned on the gate. At about noon of April 16, 1948, plaintiff's son, Mario Balandan, a artificial pool on his own property, merely duplicating the work of nature without adding any
boy barely 8 years old, while playing with and in company of other boys of his age entered the new danger, . . . (he) is not liable because of having created an "attractive nuisance." Anderson
factory premises through the gate, to take a bath in one of said tanks; and while thus bathing, vs. Reith-Riley Const. Co., N. E., 2nd, 184, 185; 112 Ind. App., 170.
Mario sank to the bottom of the tank, only to be fished out later, already a cadaver, having been
died of "asphyxia secondary to drowning." Therefore, as petitioner's tanks are not classified as attractive nuisance, the question whether
the petitioner had taken reasonable precautions becomes immaterial. And the other issue
The Court of Appeals, and the Court of First Instance of Laguna, took the view that the submitted by petitioner — that the parents of the boy were guilty of contributory negligence
petitioner maintained an attractive nuisance (the tanks), and neglected to adopt the necessary precluding recovery, because they left for Manila on that unlucky day leaving their son under the
precautions to avoid accidents to persons entering its premises. It applied the doctrine of care of no responsible individual — needs no further discussion.
attractive nuisance, of American origin, recognized in this Jurisdiction in Taylor vs. Manila
Electric 16 Phil., 8. The appealed decision is reversed and the Hidalgo Enterprises, Inc. is absolved from liability. No
costs.
The doctrine may be stated, in short, as follows: One who maintains on his premises dangerous
instrumentalities or appliances of a character likely to attract children in play, and who fails to Feria, Padilla, Tuason, Montemayor, and Bautista Angelo, JJ., concur.
exercise ordinary care to prevent children from playing therewith or resorting thereto, is liable to
a child of tender years who is injured thereby, even if the child is technically a trespasser in the
premises. (See 65 C.J.S., p. 455.)

The principle reason for the doctrine is that the condition or appliance in question although its
danger is apparent to those of age, is so enticing or alluring to children of tender years as to
Republic of the Philippines The provisions of law upon which plaintiff bases his action concern easements, and are found in
SUPREME COURT the Civil code. Reliance is principally made upon the first paragraph of article 582 of the Civil
Manila code reading as follows: "No windows or balconies or other similar projections which directly
overlook the adjoining property may be opened or built without leaving a distance of not less
EN BANC than 2 meters between the wall in which they are built and such adjoining property.

G.R. No. L-15628 November 18, 1920 The provisions of law upon which the defendant grounds his defense concern prescription of
actions, and are found in Chapter III of the Code of Civil Procedure. The maximum time within
MANUEL SORIANO, plaintiff-appellee, which an action for relief can be brought is there fixed as within the years after the case of
vs. action accrues.
OSCAR STERNBERG, defendant-appellant.
The subject of easements of light and view is so thoroughly covered in two learned 3rd
Gibbs, McDonough and Johnson for appellant. decisions handed down by the Chief Justice that it would be highly unprofitable to enter this
No appearance for appellee. intricate field of the law. (Cortes vs. Yu-Tibo [1903], 2 Phil., 24; Fabie vs. Lichauco [1908], 11
Phil., 14). But here there is no question of easement. The point now to be decided is whether or
MALCOLM, J.: not a right of action to enforce article 582 of the Civil code may be lost by failure to prosecute
within the prescriptive period fixed by the Code of Civil Procedure.
By means of this action, the plaintiff desires to obtain a judicial order, to compel the defendant
to close the windows in the wall of his house adjacent to the property of the plaintiff, because It should first be noted that the defendant in this case has never prohibited the plaintiff from
the wall of defendant's house is less than 2 meters from the division line. The defendant pleads building on his, the plaintiff's, own land, any wall that he may desire to construct. Further, it
prescription and relies exclusively upon these defense. The lower court agreed with the should be noted that the offending edifice of the defendant was constructed in 1905. This was
plaintiff's contention and ordered the windows of the defendant's house to be closed, with costs the year when the defendant violated the law. This was the date when the cause of action
against the defendant. accrued. Nevertheless, the windows complained of were permitted to be open for thirteen years
without protest. The plaintiff must, consequently, by reason of his own laches, be considered to
The facts, the law, and the issue are certain.
have waived any right which he may have had to compel the windows to be closed. The
argument of plaintiff that it was only in 1917, when he bought the land in question, that the
The case was submitted to the lower court upon the following stipulated facts:
statute of limitations began to run, is not convincing, for the general rule is, that once the
statute begins to run, it never stops, and the transfer of the cause of action does not have the
1. That the wall of the house of defendant Oscar Sternberg, in which are found four windows
effect of suspending its operation. (Ervin vs. Brooks [1892], 111 N. C., 358.)lawph!l.net
and a gallery (upper story), two windows, one door and an opening with wooden lattice (lower
story), with the dimensions indicated in the diagram, Exhibit A, attached to, and made a part of
It is our holding that plaintiff right of action under article 582 of the Civil Code accrued in 1905
this agreement, is 1 meter and 36 centimeters (1.36 m.) distant from the dividing line between
when the windows in defendant's house were opened, and that, in accordance with Chapter III
the lot on which said building stands and the lot of the plaintiff.
of the Code of Civil Procedure, his action has prescribed.
2. That the building of the defendant has stood with the identical openings before mentioned,
A point was made at the hearing of this case as to the right of the attorney for the appellee to
since the year 1905.
appear and make an oral argument. The record discloses that the appellee was not permitted to
file a brief because of his failure to ask for an extension of time within the period fixed by the
3. That both lawyers will inspect the building to determine precisely the distance existing
rules of this court. (Rules 22, 23.) This failure does not, however, prohibit counsel from making
between its outermost portion and a line erected on the dividing line perpendicular to it, which
an oral argument at the hearing, but does prohibit him from filing a memorandum or brief at
distance they will embody in a written agreement to supplement the present.
that time, for this would be tantamount to absolving him from his failure to file his brief in time.
4. That the views which defendant pretends to have over plaintiff's lot are direct, and that the The oral argument of appellee has been noted and has been taken into consideration.
windows and the gallery of plaintiff's edifice have direct views on defendant's lot.
Judgment is reversed, and the plaintiff's complaint is dismissed, with costs of both instances
5. That in the Torrens titles which both parties have to their respective buildings, there does not against him. So ordered.
appear any easement of view in plaintiff's title, nor any right to easement in defendant's.
Mapa, C.J., Araullo, Street, Avanceña and Villamor, JJ., concur.
6. That considering these facts, the point at issue between both parties is submitted to the
decision of the court.
THIRD DIVISION On June 8, 1989, respondent heirs filed a Complaint for Payment of Compensation and/or
Recovery of Possession of Real Property and Damages with Application for Restraining
[G.R. No. 124699. July 31, 2003] Order/Preliminary Injunction against Bomedco before the Regional Trial Court of
Cebu.[7] Respondent heirs alleged that, before she sold the land to Valdez, Sr. in 1935, Santillan
BOGO-MEDELLIN MILLING CO., INC., petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS AND HEIRS granted Bomedco, in 1929, a railroad right of way for a period of 30 years. When Valdez, Sr.
OF MAGDALENO VALDEZ SR., respondents. acquired the land, he respected the grant. The right of way expired sometime in 1959 but
respondent heirs allowed Bomedco to continue using the land because one of them was then an
DECISION employee of the company.[8]

CORONA, J.: In support of the complaint, they presented an ancient document ― an original copy of the
deed of sale written in Spanish and dated December 9, 1935[9] ― to evidence the sale of the
This is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to annul and set
land to Magdaleno Valdez, Sr.; several original real estate tax receipts[10] including Real Property
aside the decision[1] dated November 17, 1995 of the Court of Appeals, Tenth Division, which
Tax Receipt No. 3935[11] dated 1922 in the name of Graciano de los Reyes, husband of Feliciana
reversed the decision[2] dated November 27, 1991 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City,
Santillan, and Real Property Tax Receipt No. 09491[12] dated 1963 in the name of Magdaleno
Branch IX, which ruled in favor of herein petitioner, Bogo-Medellin Milling Company, Inc. and
Valdez, Sr. Magdaleno Valdez, Jr. also testified for the plaintiffs during the trial.
dismissed herein private respondents' complaint for payment of compensation and/or recovery
of possession of real property and damages with application for restraining order or preliminary On the other hand, Bomedcos principal defense was that it was the owner and possessor of
injunction; and its resolution dated March 2, 1996 denying petitioner's motion for Cadastral Lot No. 954, having allegedly bought the same from Feliciana Santillan in 1929, prior
reconsideration. to the sale of the property by the latter to Magdaleno Valdez, Sr. in 1935. It also contended that
plaintiffs claim was already barred by prescription and laches because of Bomedcos open and
The antecedent facts follow.
continuous possession of the property for more than 50 years.

Magdaleno Valdez, Sr., father of herein private respondents Sergio Valdez, Angelina Valdez-
Bomedco submitted in evidence a Deed of Sale[13] dated March 18, 1929; seven real estate tax
Novabos, Teresita Argawanon-Mangubat and Daylinda Argawanon-Melendres (hereafter the
receipts[14] for the property covering the period from 1930 to 1985; a 1929 Survey Plan of
heirs), purchased from Feliciana Santillan, on December 9, 1935, a parcel of unregistered land
private land for Bogo-Medellin Milling Company;[15] a Survey Notification Card;[16] Lot Data
covered by Tax Declaration No. 3935 with an area of one hectare, 34 ares and 16 centares,
Computation for Lot No. 954;[17] a Cadastral Map for Medellin Cadastre[18] as well as the
located in Barrio Dayhagon, Medellin, Cebu.[3] He took possession of the property and declared
testimonies of Vicente Basmayor, Geodetic Engineer and property custodian for Bomedco, and
it for tax purposes in his name.[4]
Rafaela A. Belleza, Geodetic Engineer and Chief of the Land Management Services of the DENR,
Region VIII.
Prior to the sale, however, the entire length of the land from north to south was already
traversed in the middle by railroad tracks owned by petitioner Bogo-Medellin Milling Co., Inc.
In its decision dated November 27, 1991, the trial court[19] rejected Bomedco's defense of
(hereafter Bomedco). The tracks were used for hauling sugar cane from the fields to petitioners
ownership on the basis of a prior sale, citing that its evidence a xerox copy of the Deed of Sale
sugar mill.
dated March 18, 1929 was inadmissible and had no probative value. Not only was it not signed
by the parties but defendant Bomedco also failed to present the original copy without valid
When Magdaleno Valdez, Sr. passed away in 1948, herein private respondents inherited the
reason pursuant to Section 4, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.[20]
land. However, unknown to them, Bomedco was able to have the disputed middle lot which was
occupied by the railroad tracks placed in its name in the Cadastral Survey of Medellin, Cebu in
Nonetheless, the trial court held that Bomedco had been in possession of Cadastral Lot No. 954
1965. The entire subject land was divided into three, namely, Cadastral Lot Nos. 953, 954 and
in good faith for more than 10 years, thus, it had already acquired ownership of the property
955. Lot Nos. 953 and 955 remained in the name of private respondents. However, Lot No. 954,
through acquisitive prescription under Article 620 of the Civil Code. It explained:
the narrow lot where the railroad tracks lay, was claimed by Bomedco as its own and was
declared for tax purposes in its name. [5] Under Article 620 of the Civil Code, CONTINUOUS and APPARENT easements can be acquired by
prescription after ten (10) years. The apparent characteristic of the questioned property being
It was not until 1989 when private respondents discovered the aforementioned claim of
used by defendant as an easement is no longer at issue, because plaintiffs themselves had
Bomedco on inquiry with the Bureau of Lands. Through their lawyer, they immediately
acknowledged that the existence of the railway tracks of defendant Bomedco was already
demanded the legal basis for Bomedco's claim over Cadastral Lot No. 954 but their letter of
known by the late Magdaleno Valdez, herein plaintiffs predecessor-in-interest, before the late
inquiry addressed to petitioner went unheeded, as was their subsequent demand for payment of
Magdaleno Valdez purchased in 1935 from the late Feliciana Santillan the land described in the
compensation for the use of the land.[6]
Complaint where defendants railway tracks is traversing [sic] (TSN of February 5, 1991, pp. 7-
8). As to the continuity of defendants use of the strip of land as easement is [ sic] also manifest
from the continuous and uninterrupted occupation of the questioned property from 1929 up to
the date of the filing of the instant Complaint. In view of the defendants UNINTERRUPTED originally tendered by the trial court ― acquisition of the easement of right of way by
possession of the strip of land for more than fifity (50) years, the Supreme Courts ruling in the prescription under Article 620 of the Civil Code.
case of Ronquillo, et al. v. Roco, et al. (103 Phil 84) is not applicable. This is because in said
case the easement in question was a strip of dirt road whose possession by the dominant estate Extraordinary Acquisitive Prescription
occurs only everytime said dirt road was being used by the dominant estate. Such fact would
necessarily show that the easements possession by the dominant estate was never Under Art. 1137 of the Civil Code
continuous. In the instant case however, there is clear continuity of defendants possession of
the strip of land it had been using as railway tracks. Because the railway tracks which defendant Petitioners claim of ownership through extraordinary acquisitive prescription under Article 1137
had constructed on the questioned strip of land had been CONTINUOUSLY occupying said of the Civil Code cannot be sustained.
easement. Thus, defendant Bomedcos apparent and continuous possession of said strip of land
There is no dispute that the controversial strip of land has been in the continuous possession of
in good faith for more than ten (10) years had made defendant owner of said strip of land
petitioner since 1929. But possession, to constitute the foundation of a prescriptive right, must
traversed by its railway tracks. Because the railway tracks which defendant had constructed on
be possession under a claim of title, that is, it must be adverse.[21] Unless coupled with the
the questioned strip of land had been continuously occupying said easement [sic].Thus,
element of hostility towards the true owner, possession, however long, will not confer title by
defendant Bomedcos apparent and continuous possession of said strip of land in good faith for
prescription.[22]
more than ten (10) years had made defendant owner of said strip of land traversed by its
railway tracks.
After a careful review of the records, we are inclined to believe the version of respondent heirs
that an easement of right of way was actually granted to petitioner for which reason the latter
Respondent heirs elevated the case to the Court of Appeals which found that Bomedco did not
was able to occupy Cadastral Lot No. 954. We cannot disregard the fact that, for the years
acquire ownership over the lot. It consequently reversed the trial court. In its decision dated
1930, 1937, 1949, 1962 and 1963, petitioner unequivocally declared the property to be a central
November 17, 1995, the appellate court held that Bomedco only acquired an easement of right
railroad right of way or sugar central railroad right of way in its real estate tax receipts when it
of way by unopposed and continuous use of the land, but not ownership, under Article 620 of
could have declared it to be industrial land as it did for the years 1975 and 1985.[23]Instead of
the Civil Code.
indicating ownership of the lot, these receipts showed that all petitioner had was possession by
The appellate court further ruled that Bomedcos claim of a prior sale to it by Feliciana Santillan virtue of the right of way granted to it. Were it not so and petitioner really owned the land,
was untrue. Its possession being in bad faith, the applicable prescriptive period in order to petitioner would not have consistently used the phrases central railroad right of way and sugar
acquire ownership over the land was 30 years under Article 1137 of the Civil Code. Adverse central railroad right of way in its tax declarations until 1963. Certainly an owner would have
possession of the property started only in 1965 when Bomedco registered its claim in the found no need for these phrases. A person cannot have an easement on his own land, since all
cadastral survey of Medellin. Since only 24 years from 1965 had elapsed when the heirs filed a the uses of an easement are fully comprehended in his general right of ownership.[24]
complaint against Bomedco in 1989, Bomedcos possession of the land had not yet ripened into
While it is true that, together with a persons actual and adverse possession of the land, tax
ownership.
declarations constitute strong evidence of ownership of the land occupied by him,[25] this legal
And since there was no showing that respondent heirs or their predecessor-in-interest was ever precept does not apply in cases where the property is declared to be a mere easement of right
paid compensation for the use of the land, the appellate court awarded compensation to them, of way.
to be computed from the time of discovery of the adverse acts of Bomedco.
An easement or servitude is a real right, constituted on the corporeal immovable property of
Its motion for reconsideration having been denied by the appellate court in its resolution dated another, by virtue of which the owner has to refrain from doing, or must allow someone to do,
March 22, 1996, Bomedco now interposes before us this present appeal by certiorari under Rule something on his property, for the benefit of another thing or person. It exists only when the
45, assigning the following errors: servient and dominant estates belong to two different owners. It gives the holder of the
easement an incorporeal interest on the land but grants no title thereto. Therefore, an
I.THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT REVERSED AND SET acknowledgment of the easement is an admission that the property belongs to another.[26]
ASIDE THE TRIAL COURTS DECISION DISMISSING PRIVATE RESPONDENTS COMPLAINT.
Having held the property by virtue of an easement, petitioner cannot now assert that its
II.THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT ORDERED THE occupancy since 1929 was in the concept of an owner. Neither can it declare that the 30-year
PETITIONER TO PAY THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT THE REASONABLE VALUE OF LOT 954 AND period of extraordinary acquisitive prescription started from that year.
THE AMOUNT OF TEN THOUSAND (P10,000.00) PESOS AS REASONABLE ATTORNEYS FEES.
Petitioner, however, maintains that even if a servitude was merely imposed on the property in
Petitioner Bomedco reiterates its claim of ownership of the land through extraordinary its favor, its possession immediately became adverse to the owner in the late 1950s when the
acquisitive prescription under Article 1137 of the Civil Code and laches to defeat the claim for grant was alleged by respondent heirs to have expired. It stresses that, counting from the late
compensation or recovery of possession by respondent heirs. It also submits a third ground 1950s (1959 as found by the trial court), the 30-year extraordinary acquisitive prescription had
already set in by the time respondent heirs made a claim against it in their letters dated March 1 Records show that respondent heirs only learned about petitioners claim on their property when
and April 6, 1989. they discovered the inscription for the cadastral survey in the records of the Bureau of Lands in
1989. Respondents lost no time in demanding an explanation for said claim in their letters to the
We do not think so. The mere expiration of the period of easement in 1959 did not convert petitioner dated March 1, 1989 and April 6, 1989. When petitioner ignored them, they instituted
petitioners possession into an adverse one. Mere material possession of land is not adverse their complaint before the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City on June 8, 1989.
possession as against the owner and is insufficient to vest title, unless such possession is
accompanied by the intent to possess as an owner.[27] There should be a hostile use of such a Petitioners reliance on Caro vs. Court of Appeals [35] and Vda. de Alberto vs. Court of
nature and exercised under such circumstances as to manifest and give notice that the Appeals [36] is misplaced. There, laches was applied to bar petitioners from questioning the
possession is under a claim of right. ownership of the disputed properties precisely because they had knowledge of the adverse
claims on their properties yet tarried for an extraordinary period of time before taking steps to
In the absence of an express grant by the owner, or conduct by petitioner sugar mill from which protect their rights.
an adverse claim can be implied, its possession of the lot can only be presumed to have
continued in the same character as when it was acquired (that is, it possessed the land only by Further, there is no absolute rule on what constitutes laches. It is a rule of equity and applied
virtue of the original grant of the easement of right of way), [28] or was by mere license or not to penalize neglect or sleeping on ones rights but rather to avoid recognizing a right when to
tolerance of the owners (respondent heirs).[29] It is a fundamental principle of law in this do so would result in a clearly unfair situation. The question of laches is addressed to the sound
jurisdiction that acts of possessory character executed by virtue of license or tolerance of the discretion of the court and each case must be decided according to its particular
owner, no matter how long, do not start the running of the period of prescription.[30] circumstances.[37] It is the better rule that courts, under the principle of equity, should not be
guided or bound strictly by the statute of limitations or the doctrine of laches if wrong or
After the grant of easement expired in 1959, petitioner never performed any act incompatible injustice will result.
with the ownership of respondent heirs over Cadastral Lot No. 954. On the contrary, until 1963,
petitioner continued to declare the sugar central railroad right of way in its realty tax receipts, It is clear that petitioner never acquired ownership over Cadastral Lot No. 954 whether by
thereby doubtlessly conceding the ownership of respondent heirs. Respondents themselves extraordinary acquisitive prescription or by laches.
were emphatic that they simply tolerated petitioners continued use of Cadastral Lot No. 954 so
as not to jeopardize the employment of one of their co-heirs in the sugar mill of petitioner.[31] Acquisition of Easement of Right of Way By

The only time petitioner assumed a legal position adverse to respondents was when it filed a Prescription Under Art. 620 of the Civil Code
claim over the property in 1965 during the cadastral survey of Medellin. Since then (1965) and
until the filing of the complaint for the recovery of the subject land before the RTC of Cebu in Petitioner contends that, even if it failed to acquire ownership of the subject land, it
1989, only 24 years had lapsed. Since the required 30-year extraordinary prescriptive period had nevertheless became legally entitled to the easement of right of way over said land by virtue of
not yet been complied with in 1989, petitioner never acquired ownership of the subject land. prescription under Article 620 of the Civil Code:

Laches Continuous and apparent easements are acquired either by virtue of a title or by prescription of
ten years.
Neither can petitioner find refuge in the principle of laches. It is not just the lapse of time or
delay that constitutes laches. The essence of laches is the failure or neglect, for an The trial court and the Court of Appeals both upheld this view for the reason that the railroad
unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which, through due diligence, could or right of way was, according to them, continuous and apparent in nature. The more or less
should have been done earlier, thus giving rise to a presumption that the party entitled to assert permanent railroad tracks were visually apparent and they continuously occupied the subject
it had either abandoned or declined to assert it.[32] strip of land from 1959 (the year the easement granted by Feliciana Santillan to petitioner
expired). Thus, with the lapse of the 10-year prescriptive period in 1969, petitioner supposedly
Its essential elements are: (a) conduct on the part of the defendant, or of one under whom he acquired the easement of right of way over the subject land.
claims, giving rise to the situation complained of; (b) delay in asserting complainants rights after
he had knowledge of defendants acts and after he has had the opportunity to sue; (c) lack of Following the logic of the courts a quo, if a road for the use of vehicles or the passage of
knowledge or notice by defendant that the complainant will assert the right on which he bases persons is permanently cemented or asphalted, then the right of way over it becomes
his suit; and (d) injury or prejudice to the defendant in the event the relief is accorded to the continuous in nature. The reasoning is erroneous.
complainant.[33]
Under civil law and its jurisprudence, easements are either continuous or discontinuous
The second element (which in turn has three aspects) is lacking in the case at bar. These according to the manner they are exercised, not according to the presence of apparent signs or
aspects are: (a) knowledge of defendant's action, (b) opportunity to sue defendant after physical indications of the existence of such easements. Thus, an easement is continuous if its
obtaining such knowledge and (c) delay in the filing of such suit.[34] use is, or may be, incessant without the intervention of any act of man, like the easement of
drainage;[38] and it is discontinuous if it is used at intervals and depends on the act of man, like (2) payment of proper indemnity;
the easement of right of way.[39]
(3) the isolation is not the result of its own acts; and
The easement of right of way is considered discontinuous because it is exercised only if a
person passes or sets foot on somebody elses land. Like a road for the passage of vehicles or (4) the right of way claimed is at the point least prejudicial to the servient estate, and, insofar
persons, an easement of right of way of railroad tracks is discontinuous because the right is as consistent with this rule, the distance from the dominant estate to the highway is the
exercised only if and when a train operated by a person passes over another's property. In other shortest.[43]
words, the very exercise of the servitude depends upon the act or intervention of man which is
the very essence of discontinuous easements. None of the above options to acquire title over the railroad right of way was ever pursued by
petitioner despite the fact that simple resourcefulness demanded such initiative, considering the
The presence of more or less permanent railroad tracks does not in any way convert the nature importance of the railway tracks to its business. No doubt, it is unlawfully occupying and using
of an easement of right of way to one that is continuous. It is not the presence of apparent the subject strip of land as a railroad right of way without valid title yet it refuses to vacate it
signs or physical indications showing the existence of an easement, but rather the manner of even after demand of the heirs. Furthermore, it tenaciously insists on ownership thereof despite
exercise thereof, that categorizes such easement into continuous or discontinuous.The presence a clear showing to the contrary.
of physical or visual signs only classifies an easement into apparent or non-apparent. Thus, a
road (which reveals a right of way) and a window (which evidences a right to light and view) We thus uphold the grant by the Court of Appeals of attorneys fees in the amount of P10,000
are apparent easements, while an easement of not building beyond a certain height is non- considering the evident bad faith of petitioner in refusing respondents just and lawful claims,
apparent.[40] compelling the latter to litigate.[44]

In Cuba, it has been held that the existence of a permanent railway does not make the right of WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The appealed decision dated November 17, 1995 and
way a continuous one; it is only apparent. Therefore, it cannot be acquired by prescription.[41] In resolution dated March 2, 1996 of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED with
Louisiana, it has also been held that a right of passage over another's land cannot be claimed by MODIFICATION. Petitioner Bogo-Medellin Milling Company, Inc. is hereby ordered to vacate the
prescription because this easement is discontinuous and can be established only by title.[42] subject strip of land denominated as Cadastral Lot No. 954, remove its railway tracks thereon
and return its possession to the private respondents, the heirs of Magdaleno Valdez, Sr. It is
In this case, the presence of railroad tracks for the passage of petitioners trains denotes the also hereby ordered to pay private respondents attorney's fees in the amount of P10,000.
existence of an apparent but discontinuous easement of right of way. And under Article 622 of
the Civil Code, discontinuous easements, whether apparent or not, may be acquired only by SO ORDERED.
title. Unfortunately, petitioner Bomedco never acquired any title over the use of the railroad
right of way whether by law, donation, testamentary succession or contract. Its use of the right Puno, (Chairman), Panganiban, and Carpio-Morales, JJ., concur.
of way, however long, never resulted in its acquisition of the easement because, under Article
Sandoval-Gutierrez, J., on official leave.
622, the discontinuous easement of a railroad right of way can only be acquired by title and not
by prescription.

To be sure, beginning 1959 when the original 30-year grant of right of way given to petitioner
Bomedco expired, its occupation and use of Cadastral Lot No. 954 came to be by mere tolerance
of the respondent heirs. Thus, upon demand by said heirs in 1989 for the return of the subject
land and the removal of the railroad tracks, or, in the alternative, payment of compensation for
the use thereof, petitioner Bomedco which had no title to the land should have returned the
possession thereof or should have begun paying compensation for its use.

But when is a party deemed to acquire title over the use of such land (that is, title over the
easement of right of way)? In at least two cases, we held that if: (a) it had subsequently
entered into a contractual right of way with the heirs for the continued use of the land under
the principles of voluntary easements or (b) it had filed a case against the heirs for conferment
on it of a legal easement of right of way under Article 629 of the Civil Code, then title over
the use of the land is deemed to exist. The conferment of a legal easement of right of way
under Article 629 is subject to proof of the following:

(1) it is surrounded by other immovables and has no adequate outlet to a public highway;