8epubllc of Lhe Þhlllpplnes

SUÞkLML CCUk1
Manlla
1Pl8u ulvlSlCn
G.k. No. 124699 Iu|y 31, 2003
8CGC-MLDLLLIN MILLING CC., INC., ÞeLlLloner,
vs.
CCUk1 CI AÞÞLALS AND nLIkS CI MAGDALLNC VALDL2 Sk., 8espondenLs.
u L C l S l C n
CCkCNA, !"#
1hls ls an appeal by !"#$%&#'#% under 8ule 43 of Lhe 8ules of CourL seeklng Lo annul and
seL aslde Lhe declslon
1
daLed november 17, 1993 of Lhe CourL of Appeals, 1enLh ulvlslon,
whlch reversed Lhe declslon
2
daLed november 27, 1991 of Lhe 8eglonal 1rlal CourL of
Cebu ClLy, 8ranch lx, whlch ruled ln favor of hereln peLlLloner, 8ogo-Medellln Mllllng
Company, lnc. and dlsmlssed hereln prlvaLe respondenLs' complalnL for paymenL of
compensaLlon and/or recovery of possesslon of real properLy and damages wlLh
appllcaLlon for resLralnlng order or prellmlnary ln[uncLlon, and lLs resoluLlon daLed
March 2, 1996 denylng peLlLloner's moLlon for reconslderaLlon.
1he anLecedenL facLs follow.
Magdaleno valdez, Sr., faLher of hereln prlvaLe respondenLs Serglo valdez, Angellna
valdez-novabos, 1ereslLa Argawanon-MangubaL and uayllnda Argawanon-Melendres
(hereafLer Lhe helrs), purchased from lellclana SanLlllan, on uecember 9, 1933, a parcel
of unreglsLered land covered by 1ax ueclaraLlon no. 3933 wlLh an area of one hecLare,
34 ares and 16 cenLares, locaLed ln 8arrlo uayhagon, Medellln, Cebu.
3
Pe Look
possesslon of Lhe properLy and declared lL for Lax purposes ln hls name.
4

Þrlor Lo Lhe sale, however, Lhe enLlre lengLh of Lhe land from norLh Lo souLh was already
Lraversed ln Lhe mlddle by rallroad Lracks owned by peLlLloner 8ogo-Medellln Mllllng
Co., lnc. (hereafLer 8omedco). 1he Lracks were used for haullng sugar cane from Lhe
flelds Lo peLlLloner's sugar mlll.
When Magdaleno valdez, Sr. passed away ln 1948, hereln prlvaLe respondenLs lnherlLed
Lhe land. Powever, unknown Lo Lhem, 8omedco was able Lo have Lhe dlspuLed mlddle
loL whlch was occupled by Lhe rallroad Lracks placed ln lLs name ln Lhe CadasLral Survey
of Medellln, Cebu ln 1963. 1he enLlre sub[ecL land was dlvlded lnLo Lhree, namely,
CadasLral LoL nos. 933, 934 and 933. LoL nos. 933 and 933 remalned ln Lhe name of
prlvaLe respondenLs. Powever, LoL no. 934, Lhe narrow loL where Lhe rallroad Lracks lay,
was clalmed by 8omedco as lLs own and was declared for Lax purposes ln lLs name.
3

lL was noL unLll 1989 when prlvaLe respondenLs dlscovered Lhe aforemenLloned clalm of
8omedco on lnqulry wlLh Lhe 8ureau of Lands. 1hrough Lhelr lawyer, Lhey lmmedlaLely
demanded Lhe legal basls for 8omedco's clalm over CadasLral LoL no. 934 buL Lhelr
leLLer of lnqulry addressed Lo peLlLloner wenL unheeded, as was Lhelr subsequenL
demand for paymenL of compensaLlon for Lhe use of Lhe land.
6

Cn !une 8, 1989, respondenL helrs flled a "ComplalnL for ÞaymenL of CompensaLlon
and/or 8ecovery of Þossesslon of 8eal ÞroperLy and uamages wlLh AppllcaLlon for
8esLralnlng Crder/Þrellmlnary ln[uncLlon" agalnsL 8omedco before Lhe 8eglonal 1rlal
CourL of Cebu.
7
8espondenL helrs alleged LhaL, before she sold Lhe land Lo valdez, Sr. ln
1933, SanLlllan granLed 8omedco, ln 1929, a rallroad rlghL of way for a perlod of 30
years. When valdez, Sr. acqulred Lhe land, he respecLed Lhe granL. 1he rlghL of way
explred someLlme ln 1939 buL respondenL helrs allowed 8omedco Lo conLlnue uslng Lhe
land because one of Lhem was Lhen an employee of Lhe company.
8

ln supporL of Lhe complalnL, Lhey presenLed an anclenL documenL - an orlglnal copy of
Lhe deed of sale wrlLLen ln Spanlsh and daLed uecember 9, 1933
9
- Lo evldence Lhe sale
of Lhe land Lo Magdaleno valdez, Sr., several orlglnal real esLaLe Lax recelpLs
10
lncludlng
8eal ÞroperLy 1ax 8ecelpL no. 3933
11
daLed 1922 ln Lhe name of Craclano de los 8eyes,
husband of lellclana SanLlllan, and 8eal ÞroperLy 1ax 8ecelpL no. 09491
12
daLed 1963 ln
Lhe name of Magdaleno valdez, Sr. Magdaleno valdez, !r. also LesLlfled for Lhe plalnLlffs
durlng Lhe Lrlal.
Cn Lhe oLher hand, 8omedco's prlnclpal defense was LhaL lL was Lhe owner and
possessor of CadasLral LoL no. 934, havlng allegedly boughL Lhe same from lellclana
SanLlllan ln 1929, prlor Lo Lhe sale of Lhe properLy by Lhe laLLer Lo Magdaleno valdez, Sr.
ln 1933. lL also conLended LhaL plalnLlffs' clalm was already barred by prescrlpLlon and
laches because of 8omedco's open and conLlnuous possesslon of Lhe properLy for more
Lhan 30 years.
8omedco submlLLed ln evldence a ueed of Sale
13
daLed March 18, 1929, seven real
esLaLe Lax recelpLs
14
for Lhe properLy coverlng Lhe perlod from 1930 Lo 1983, a 1929
Survey Þlan of prlvaLe land for 8ogo-Medellln Mllllng Company,
13
a Survey noLlflcaLlon
Card,
16
LoL uaLa CompuLaLlon for LoL no. 934,
17
a CadasLral Map for Medellln
CadasLre
18
as well as Lhe LesLlmonles of vlcenLe 8asmayor, CeodeLlc Lnglneer and
properLy cusLodlan for 8omedco, and 8afaela A. 8elleza, CeodeLlc Lnglneer and Chlef of
Lhe Land ManagemenL Servlces of Lhe uLn8, 8eglon vlll.
ln lLs declslon daLed november 27, 1991, Lhe Lrlal courL
19
re[ecLed 8omedco's defense of
ownershlp on Lhe basls of a prlor sale, clLlng LhaL lLs evldence - a xerox copy of Lhe ueed
of Sale daLed March 18, 1929 - was lnadmlsslble and had no probaLlve value. noL only
was lL noL slgned by Lhe parLles buL defendanL 8omedco also falled Lo presenL Lhe
orlglnal copy wlLhouL valld reason pursuanL Lo SecLlon 4, 8ule 130 of Lhe 8ules of
CourL.
20

noneLheless, Lhe Lrlal courL held LhaL 8omedco had been ln possesslon of CadasLral LoL
no. 934 ln good falLh for more Lhan 10 years, Lhus, lL had already acqulred ownershlp of
Lhe properLy Lhrough acqulslLlve prescrlpLlon under ArLlcle 620 of Lhe Clvll Code. lL
explalned:
under ArLlcle 620 of Lhe Clvll Code, CCn1lnuCuS and AÞÞA8Ln1 easemenLs can be
acqulred by prescrlpLlon afLer Len (10) years. 1he "apparenL" characLerlsLlc of Lhe
quesLloned properLy belng used by defendanL as an easemenL ls no longer aL lssue,
because plalnLlffs Lhemselves had acknowledged LhaL Lhe exlsLence of Lhe rallway Lracks
of defendanL 8omedco was already known by Lhe laLe Magdaleno valdez, hereln
plalnLlffs' predecessor-ln-lnLeresL, before Lhe laLe Magdaleno valdez purchased ln 1933
from Lhe laLe lellclana SanLlllan Lhe land descrlbed ln Lhe ComplalnL where defendanL's
rallway Lracks ls Lraverslng [(%!] (1Sn of lebruary 3, 1991, pp. 7-8). As Lo Lhe conLlnulLy
of defendanL's use of Lhe sLrlp of land as easemenL ls [(%!] also manlfesL from Lhe
conLlnuous and unlnLerrupLed occupaLlon of Lhe quesLloned properLy from 1929 up Lo
Lhe daLe of Lhe flllng of Lhe lnsLanL ComplalnL. ln vlew of Lhe defendanL's
unln1L88uÞ1Lu possesslon of Lhe sLrlp of land for more Lhan flflLy (30) years, Lhe
Supreme CourL's rullng ln Lhe case of 8onqulllo, eL al. v. 8oco, eL al. (103 Þhll 84) ls noL
appllcable. 1hls ls because ln sald case Lhe easemenL ln quesLlon was a sLrlp of dlrL road
whose possesslon by Lhe domlnanL esLaLe occurs only everyLlme sald dlrL road was
belng used by Lhe domlnanL esLaLe. Such facL would necessarlly show LhaL Lhe
easemenL's possesslon by Lhe domlnanL esLaLe was never conLlnuous. ln Lhe lnsLanL
case however, Lhere ls clear conLlnulLy of defendanL's possesslon of Lhe sLrlp of land lL
had been uslng as rallway Lracks. 8ecause Lhe rallway Lracks whlch defendanL had
consLrucLed on Lhe quesLloned sLrlp of land had been CCn1lnuCuSL? occupylng sald
easemenL. 1hus, defendanL 8omedco's apparenL and conLlnuous possesslon of sald sLrlp
of land ln good falLh for more Lhan Len (10) years had made defendanL owner of sald
sLrlp of land Lraversed by lLs rallway Lracks. 8ecause Lhe rallway Lracks whlch defendanL
had consLrucLed on Lhe quesLloned sLrlp of land had been conLlnuously occupylng sald
easemenL [(%!]. 1hus, defendanL 8omedco's apparenL and conLlnuous possesslon of sald
sLrlp of land ln good falLh for more Lhan Len (10) years had made defendanL owner of
sald sLrlp of land Lraversed by lLs rallway Lracks.
8espondenL helrs elevaLed Lhe case Lo Lhe CourL of Appeals whlch found LhaL 8omedco
dld noL acqulre ownershlp over Lhe loL. lL consequenLly reversed Lhe Lrlal courL. ln lLs
declslon daLed november 17, 1993, Lhe appellaLe courL held LhaL 8omedco only
acqulred an easemenL of rlghL of way by )*&++&(", '*, !&*$%*)&)( )("of Lhe land. buL
noL ownershlp, under ArLlcle 620 of Lhe Clvll Code.
1he appellaLe courL furLher ruled LhaL 8omedco's clalm of a prlor sale Lo lL by lellclana
SanLlllan was unLrue. lLs possesslon belng ln bad falLh, Lhe appllcable prescrlpLlve perlod
ln order Lo acqulre ownershlp over Lhe land was 30 years under ArLlcle 1137 of Lhe Clvll
Code. Adverse possesslon of Lhe properLy sLarLed only ln 1963 when 8omedco
reglsLered lLs clalm ln Lhe cadasLral survey of Medellln. Slnce only 24 years from 1963
had elapsed when Lhe helrs flled a complalnL agalnsL 8omedco ln 1989, 8omedco's
possesslon of Lhe land had noL yeL rlpened lnLo ownershlp.
And slnce Lhere was no showlng LhaL respondenL helrs or Lhelr predecessor-ln-lnLeresL
was ever pald compensaLlon for Lhe use of Lhe land, Lhe appellaLe courL awarded
compensaLlon Lo Lhem, Lo be compuLed from Lhe Llme of dlscovery of Lhe adverse acLs
of 8omedco.
lLs moLlon for reconslderaLlon havlng been denled by Lhe appellaLe courL ln lLs
resoluLlon daLed March 22, 1996, 8omedco now lnLerposes before us Lhls presenL
appeal by cerLlorarl under 8ule 43, asslgnlng Lhe followlng errors:
l
1PL CCu81 Cl AÞÞLALS CCMMl11Lu 8LvL8Sl8LL L88C8 WPLn l1 8LvL8SLu
Anu SL1 ASluL 1PL 18lAL CCu81'S uLClSlCn ulSMlSSlnC Þ8lvA1L
8LSÞCnuLn1'S CCMÞLAln1.
ll
1PL CCu81 Cl AÞÞLALS CCMMl11Lu 8LvL8Sl8LL L88C8 WPLn l1 C8uL8Lu
1PL ÞL1l1lCnL8 1C ÞA? 1PL Þ8lvA1L 8LSÞCnuLn1 1PL 8LASCnA8LL vALuL Cl
LC1 934 Anu 1PL AMCun1 Cl 1Ln 1PCuSAnu (Þ10,000.00) ÞLSCS AS
8LASCnA8LL A11C8nL?'S lLLS.
ÞeLlLloner 8omedco relLeraLes lLs clalm of &/*"#(0%+ &1 $0" 2'*, Lhrough "3$#'&#,%*'#4
'!5)%(%$%6" +#"(!#%+$%&*under ArLlcle 1137 of Lhe Clvll Code and 2'!0"( Lo defeaL Lhe
clalm for compensaLlon or recovery of possesslon by respondenL helrs. lL also submlLs a
Lhlrd ground orlglnally Lendered by Lhe Lrlal courL - '!5)%(%$%&* &1 $0" "'("7"*$ &1 #%80$
&1 /'4 94 +#"(!#%+$%&* under ArLlcle 620 of Lhe Clvll Code.
Lxtraord|nary Acqu|s|t|ve Þrescr|pt|on
Under Art. 1137 of the C|v|| Code
ÞeLlLloner's clalm of ownershlp Lhrough exLraordlnary acqulslLlve prescrlpLlon under
ArLlcle 1137 of Lhe Clvll Code cannoL be susLalned.
1here ls no dlspuLe LhaL Lhe conLroverslal sLrlp of land has been ln Lhe conLlnuous
possesslon of peLlLloner slnce 1929. 8uL possesslon, Lo consLlLuLe Lhe foundaLlon of a
prescrlpLlve rlghL, musL be possesslon under a clalm of LlLle, LhaL ls, lL musL be
adverse.
21
unless coupled wlLh Lhe elemenL of hosLlllLy Lowards Lhe Lrue owner,
possesslon, however long, wlll noL confer LlLle by prescrlpLlon.
22

AfLer a careful revlew of Lhe records, we are lncllned Lo belleve Lhe verslon of
respondenL helrs LhaL an easemenL of rlghL of way was acLually granLed Lo peLlLloner for
whlch reason Lhe laLLer was able Lo occupy CadasLral LoL no. 934. We cannoL dlsregard
Lhe facL LhaL, for Lhe years 1930, 1937, 1949, 1962 and 1963, peLlLloner unequlvocally
declared Lhe properLy Lo be a "cenLral rallroad rlghL of way" or "sugar cenLral rallroad
rlghL of way" ln lLs real esLaLe Lax recelpLs when lL could have declared lL Lo be
"lndusLrlal land" as lL dld for Lhe years 1973 and 1983.
23
lnsLead of
lndlcaLlng &/*"#(0%+ of Lhe loL, Lhese recelpLs showed LhaL all peLlLloner had
was +&(("((%&* by vlrLue of Lhe rlghL of way granLed Lo lL. Were lL noL so and peLlLloner
really owned Lhe land, peLlLloner would noL have conslsLenLly used Lhe phrases "cenLral
rallroad rlghL of way" and "sugar cenLral rallroad rlghL of way" ln lLs Lax declaraLlons
unLll 1963. CerLalnly an owner would have found no need for Lhese phrases. A person
cannoL have an easemenL on hls own land, slnce all Lhe uses of an easemenL are fully
comprehended ln hls general rlghL of ownershlp.
24

Whlle lL ls Lrue LhaL, LogeLher wlLh a person's acLual and adverse possesslon of Lhe land,
Lax declaraLlons consLlLuLe sLrong evldence of ownershlp of Lhe land occupled by
hlm,
23
Lhls legal precepL does noL apply ln cases where Lhe properLy ls declared Lo be a
mere easemenL of rlghL of way.
An easemenL or servlLude ls a real rlghL, consLlLuLed on Lhe corporeal lmmovable
properLy of anoLher, by vlrLue of whlch Lhe owner has Lo refraln from dolng, or musL
allow someone Lo do, someLhlng on hls properLy, for Lhe beneflL of anoLher Lhlng or
person. lL exlsLs only when Lhe servlenL and domlnanL esLaLes belong Lo Lwo dlfferenL
owners. lL glves Lhe holder of Lhe easemenL an lncorporeal lnLeresL on Lhe land buL
granLs no LlLle LhereLo. 1herefore, an acknowledgmenL of Lhe easemenL ls an admlsslon
LhaL Lhe properLy belongs Lo anoLher.
26

Pavlng held Lhe properLy by vlrLue of an easemenL, peLlLloner cannoL now asserL LhaL lLs
occupancy slnce 1929 was ln Lhe concepL of an owner. nelLher can lL declare LhaL Lhe
30-year perlod of exLraordlnary acqulslLlve prescrlpLlon sLarLed from LhaL year.
ÞeLlLloner, however, malnLalns LhaL even lf a servlLude was merely lmposed on Lhe
properLy ln lLs favor, lLs possesslon lmmedlaLely became adverse Lo Lhe owner ln Lhe
laLe 1930's when Lhe granL was alleged by respondenL helrs Lo have explred. lL sLresses
LhaL, counLlng from Lhe laLe 1930's (1939 as found by Lhe Lrlal courL), Lhe 30-year
exLraordlnary acqulslLlve prescrlpLlon had already seL ln by Lhe Llme respondenL helrs
made a clalm agalnsL lL ln Lhelr leLLers daLed March 1 and Aprll 6, 1989.
We do noL Lhlnk so. 1he mere explraLlon of Lhe perlod of easemenL ln 1939 dld noL
converL peLlLloner's possesslon lnLo an adverse one. Mere maLerlal possesslon of land ls
noL adverse possesslon as agalnsL Lhe owner and ls lnsufflclenL Lo vesL LlLle, unless such
possesslon ls accompanled by Lhe lnLenL Lo possess as an owner.
27
1here should be a
hosLlle use of such a naLure and exerclsed under such clrcumsLances as Lo manlfesL and
glve noLlce LhaL Lhe possesslon ls under a clalm of rlghL.
ln Lhe absence of an express granL by Lhe owner, or conducL by peLlLloner sugar mlll
from whlch an adverse clalm can be lmplled, lLs possesslon of Lhe loL can only be
presumed Lo have conLlnued ln Lhe same characLer as when lL was acqulred (LhaL ls, lL
possessed Lhe land only by vlrLue of Lhe orlglnal granL of Lhe easemenL of rlghL of
way),
28
or was by mere llcense or Lolerance of Lhe owners (respondenL helrs).
29
lL ls a
fundamenLal prlnclple of law ln Lhls [urlsdlcLlon LhaL acLs of possessory characLer
execuLed by vlrLue of llcense or Lolerance of Lhe owner, no maLLer how long, do noL
sLarL Lhe runnlng of Lhe perlod of prescrlpLlon.
30

AfLer Lhe granL of easemenL explred ln 1939, peLlLloner never performed any acL
lncompaLlble wlLh Lhe ownershlp of respondenL helrs over CadasLral LoL no. 934. Cn Lhe
conLrary, unLll 1963, peLlLloner conLlnued Lo declare Lhe "sugar cenLral rallroad rlghL of
way" ln lLs realLy Lax recelpLs, Lhereby doubLlessly concedlng Lhe ownershlp of
respondenL helrs. 8espondenLs Lhemselves were emphaLlc LhaL Lhey slmply LoleraLed
peLlLloner's conLlnued use of CadasLral LoL no. 934 so as noL Lo [eopardlze Lhe
employmenL of one of Lhelr co-helrs ln Lhe sugar mlll of peLlLloner.
31

1he only Llme peLlLloner assumed a legal poslLlon adverse Lo respondenLs' was /0"* %$
1%2", ' !2'%7 &6"# $0" +#&+"#$4 %* :;<= ,)#%*8 $0" !','($#'2 ()#6"4 &1 >","22%*. Slnce
Lhen (1963) and unLll Lhe flllng of Lhe complalnL for Lhe recovery of Lhe sub[ecL land
before Lhe 81C of Cebu ln 1989, only 24 years had lapsed. Slnce Lhe requlred 30-year
exLraordlnary prescrlpLlve perlod had noL yeL been complled wlLh ln 1989, peLlLloner
never acqulred ownershlp of Lhe sub[ecL land.
Laches
nelLher can peLlLloner flnd refuge ln Lhe prlnclple of laches. lL ls noL [usL Lhe lapse of
Llme or delay LhaL consLlLuLes laches. 1he essence of laches ls Lhe fallure or neglecL, for
an unreasonable and unexplalned lengLh of Llme, Lo do LhaL whlch, Lhrough due
dlllgence, could or should have been done earller, Lhus glvlng rlse Lo a presumpLlon LhaL
Lhe parLy enLlLled Lo asserL lL had elLher abandoned or decllned Lo asserL lL.
32

lLs essenLlal elemenLs are: (a) conducL on Lhe parL of Lhe defendanL, or of one under
whom he clalms, glvlng rlse Lo Lhe slLuaLlon complalned of, (b) delay ln asserLlng
complalnanL's rlghLs afLer he had knowledge of defendanL's acLs and afLer he has had
Lhe opporLunlLy Lo sue, (c) lack of knowledge or noLlce by defendanL LhaL Lhe
complalnanL wlll asserL Lhe rlghL on whlch he bases hls sulL, and (d) ln[ury or pre[udlce
Lo Lhe defendanL ln Lhe evenL Lhe rellef ls accorded Lo Lhe complalnanL.
33

1he second elemenL (whlch ln Lurn has Lhree aspecLs) ls lacklng ln Lhe case aL bar. 1hese
aspecLs are: (a) knowledge of defendanL's acLlon, (b) opporLunlLy Lo sue defendanL afLer
obLalnlng such knowledge and (c) delay ln Lhe flllng of such sulL.
34

8ecords show LhaL respondenL helrs only learned abouL peLlLloner's clalm on Lhelr
properLy when Lhey dlscovered Lhe lnscrlpLlon for Lhe cadasLral survey ln Lhe records of
Lhe 8ureau of Lands ln 1989. 8espondenLs losL no Llme ln demandlng an explanaLlon for
sald clalm ln Lhelr leLLers Lo Lhe peLlLloner daLed March 1, 1989 and Aprll 6, 1989. When
peLlLloner lgnored Lhem, Lhey lnsLlLuLed Lhelr complalnL before Lhe 8eglonal 1rlal CourL
of Cebu ClLy on !une 8, 1989.
ÞeLlLloner's rellance on ?'#& 6(@ ?&)#$ &1 A++"'2(
33
and B,'@ ," A29"#$& 6(@ ?&)#$ &1
A++"'2(
36
ls mlsplaced. 1here, laches was applled Lo bar peLlLloners from quesLlonlng
Lhe ownershlp of Lhe dlspuLed properLles preclsely because Lhey had knowledge of Lhe
adverse clalms on Lhelr properLles yeL Larrled for an exLraordlnary perlod of Llme before
Laklng sLeps Lo proLecL Lhelr rlghLs.
lurLher, Lhere ls no absoluLe rule on whaL consLlLuLes laches. lL ls a rule of equlLy and
applled noL Lo penallze neglecL or sleeplng on one's rlghLs buL raLher Lo avold
recognlzlng a rlghL when Lo do so would resulL ln a clearly unfalr slLuaLlon. 1he quesLlon
of laches ls addressed Lo Lhe sound dlscreLlon of Lhe courL and each case musL be
declded accordlng Lo lLs parLlcular clrcumsLances.
37
lL ls Lhe beLLer rule LhaL courLs,
under Lhe prlnclple of equlLy, should noL be gulded or bound sLrlcLly by Lhe sLaLuLe of
llmlLaLlons or Lhe docLrlne of laches lf wrong or ln[usLlce wlll resulL.
lL ls clear LhaL peLlLloner never acqulred ownershlp over CadasLral LoL no. 934 wheLher
by exLraordlnary acqulslLlve prescrlpLlon or by laches.
AcqulslLlon of LasemenL of 8lghL of Way 8y
ÞrescrlpLlon under ArL. 620 of Lhe Clvll Code
ÞeLlLloner conLends LhaL, even lf lL falled Lo acqulre ownershlp of Lhe sub[ecL land, lL
neverLheless became legally enLlLled Lo Lhe easemenL of rlghL of way over sald land by
vlrLue of prescrlpLlon under ArLlcle 620 of Lhe Clvll Code:
ConLlnuous and apparenL easemenLs are acqulred elLher by vlrLue of a LlLle or by
prescrlpLlon of Len years.
1he Lrlal courL and Lhe CourL of Appeals boLh upheld Lhls vlew for Lhe reason LhaL Lhe
rallroad rlghL of way was, accordlng Lo Lhem, !&*$%*)&)( '*, '++'#"*$ ln naLure. 1he
more or less permanenL rallroad Lracks were vlsually'++'#"*$ and
Lhey !&*$%*)&)(24 occupled Lhe sub[ecL sLrlp of land from 1939 (Lhe year Lhe easemenL
granLed by lellclana SanLlllan Lo peLlLloner explred). 1hus, wlLh Lhe lapse of Lhe 10-year
prescrlpLlve perlod ln 1969, peLlLloner supposedly acqulred Lhe easemenL of rlghL of way
over Lhe sub[ecL land.
lollowlng Lhe loglc of Lhe courLs ' 5)&, lf a road for Lhe use of vehlcles or Lhe passage of
persons ls permanenLly cemenLed or asphalLed, Lhen Lhe rlghL of way over lL becomes
conLlnuous ln naLure. 1he reasonlng ls erroneous.
under clvll law and lLs [urlsprudence, easemenLs are elLher conLlnuous or dlsconLlnuous
accordlng Lo $0" 7'**"# $0"4 '#" "3"#!%(",. noL accordlng Lo Lhe presence of apparenL
slgns or physlcal lndlcaLlons of Lhe exlsLence of such easemenLs. 1hus, an easemenL ls
conLlnuous lf lLs use ls, or may be, lncessanL wlLhouL Lhe lnLervenLlon of any acL of man,
llke Lhe easemenL of dralnage,
38
and lL ls dlsconLlnuous lf lL ls used aL lnLervals and
depends on Lhe acL of man, llke Lhe easemenL of rlghL of way.
39

1he easemenL of rlghL of way ls consldered dlsconLlnuous because lL ls exerclsed only lf
a person passes or seLs fooL on somebody else's land. Llke a road for Lhe passage of
vehlcles or persons, an easemenL of rlghL of way of rallroad Lracks ls dlsconLlnuous
because Lhe rlghL ls exerclsed only lf and when a Lraln operaLed by a person passes over
anoLher's properLy. ln oLher words, Lhe very exerclse of Lhe servlLude depends upon Lhe
acL or lnLervenLlon of man whlch ls Lhe very essence of dlsconLlnuous easemenLs.
1he presence of more or less permanenL rallroad Lracks does noL ln any way converL Lhe
naLure of an easemenL of rlghL of way Lo one LhaL ls conLlnuous. lL ls *&$ $0" +#"("*!" &1
'++'#"*$ (%8*( &# +04(%!'2 %*,%!'$%&*( showlng Lhe exlsLence of an easemenL, buL raLher
Lhe 7'**"# &1 "3"#!%(" $0"#"&1, LhaL caLegorlzes such easemenL lnLo conLlnuous or
dlsconLlnuous. 1he presence of physlcal or vlsual slgns only classlfles an easemenL
lnLo '++'#"*$or *&*C'++'#"*$@ 1hus, a road (whlch reveals a rlghL of way) and a wlndow
(whlch evldences a rlghL Lo llghL and vlew) are apparenL easemenLs, whlle an easemenL
of noL bulldlng beyond a cerLaln helghL ls non-apparenL.
40

ln Cuba, lL has been held LhaL Lhe exlsLence of a +"#7'*"*$ #'%2/'4 ,&"( *&$ 7'D" $0"
#%80$ &1 /'4 ' !&*$%*)&)( &*"E %$ %( &*24 '++'#"*$. 1herefore, lL cannoL be acqulred by
prescrlpLlon.
41
ln Loulslana, lL has also been held LhaL a rlghL of passage over anoLher's
land cannoL be clalmed by prescrlpLlon because Lhls easemenL ls dlsconLlnuous and can
be esLabllshed only by LlLle.
42

ln Lhls case, Lhe presence of rallroad Lracks for Lhe passage of peLlLloner's Lralns denoLes
Lhe exlsLence of an apparenL buL dlsconLlnuous easemenL of rlghL of way. And )*,"#
A#$%!2" <FF &1 $0" ?%6%2 ?&,". ,%(!&*$%*)&)( "'("7"*$(. /0"$0"# '++'#"*$ &# *&$. 7'4 9"
'!5)%#", &*24 94 $%$2". unforLunaLely, peLlLloner 8omedco never acqulred any LlLle over
Lhe use of Lhe rallroad rlghL of way wheLher by law, donaLlon, LesLamenLary successlon
or conLracL. lLs use of Lhe rlghL of way, however long, never resulLed ln lLs acqulslLlon of
Lhe easemenL because, under ArLlcle 622, Lhe dlsconLlnuous easemenL of a rallroad rlghL
of way can only be acqulred 94 $%$2" and noL by prescrlpLlon.:G/+0%:
1o be sure, beglnnlng 1939 when Lhe orlglnal 30-year granL of rlghL of way glven Lo
peLlLloner 8omedco explred, lLs occupaLlon and use of CadasLral LoL no. 934 came Lo be
by mere Lolerance of Lhe respondenL helrs. 1hus, upon demand by sald helrs ln 1989 for
Lhe reLurn of Lhe sub[ecL land and Lhe removal of Lhe rallroad Lracks, or, ln Lhe
alLernaLlve, paymenL of compensaLlon for Lhe use Lhereof, peLlLloner 8omedco whlch
had no LlLle Lo Lhe land should have reLurned Lhe possesslon Lhereof or should have
begun paylng compensaLlon for lLs use.
8uL when ls a parLy deemed Lo acqulre LlLle over Lhe )(" of such land (LhaL ls, LlLle over
Lhe easemenL of rlghL of way)? ln aL leasL Lwo cases, we held LhaL lf: (a) lL had
subsequenLly enLered lnLo a !&*$#'!$)'2 rlghL of way wlLh Lhe helrs for Lhe conLlnued
use of Lhe land under Lhe prlnclples of volunLary easemenLs or (b) lL had flled a case
agalnsL Lhe helrs for confermenL on lL of a legal easemenL of rlghL of way under ArLlcle
629 of Lhe Clvll Code, Lhen LlLle over Lhe )(" of Lhe land ls deemed Lo exlsL. 1he
confermenL of a legal easemenL of rlghL of way under ArLlcle 629 ls sub[ecL Lo proof of
Lhe followlng:
(1) lL ls surrounded by oLher lmmovables and has no adequaLe ouLleL Lo a publlc
hlghway,
(2) paymenL of proper lndemnlLy,
(3) Lhe lsolaLlon ls noL Lhe resulL of lLs own acLs, and
(4) Lhe rlghL of way clalmed ls aL Lhe polnL leasL pre[udlclal Lo Lhe servlenL esLaLe,
and, lnsofar as conslsLenL wlLh Lhls rule, Lhe dlsLance from Lhe domlnanL esLaLe
Lo Lhe hlghway ls Lhe shorLesL.
43

none of Lhe above opLlons Lo acqulre LlLle over Lhe rallroad rlghL of way was ever
pursued by peLlLloner desplLe Lhe facL LhaL slmple resourcefulness demanded such
lnlLlaLlve, conslderlng Lhe lmporLance of Lhe rallway Lracks Lo lLs buslness. no doubL, lL ls
unlawfully occupylng and uslng Lhe sub[ecL sLrlp of land as a rallroad rlghL of way
wlLhouL valld LlLle yeL lL refuses Lo vacaLe lL even afLer demand of Lhe helrs.
lurLhermore, lL Lenaclously lnslsLs on ownershlp Lhereof desplLe a clear showlng Lo Lhe
conLrary.
We Lhus uphold Lhe granL by Lhe CourL of Appeals of aLLorney's fees ln Lhe amounL
of Þ10,000 conslderlng Lhe evldenL bad falLh of peLlLloner ln refuslng respondenLs' [usL
and lawful clalms, compelllng Lhe laLLer Lo llLlgaLe.
44

WnLkLICkL, the pet|t|on |s DLNILD. 1he appea|ed dec|s|on dated November 17, 199S
and reso|ut|on dated March 2, 1996 of the Court of Appea|s are AIIIkMLD w|th
MCDIIICA1ICN. Þet|t|oner 8ogo-Mede|||n M||||ng Company, Inc. |s hereby ordered to
vacate the sub[ect str|p of |and denom|nated as Cadastra| Lot No. 9S4, remove |ts
ra||way tracks thereon and return |ts possess|on to the pr|vate respondents, the he|rs
of Magda|eno Va|dez, Sr. It |s a|so hereby ordered to pay pr|vate respondents
attorney's fees |n the amount of Þ10,000.
SC CkDLkLD.