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G.R. No. 90596 April 8, 1991 SOLID MANILA CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. BIO HONG TRADING CO., INC. and COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. Balgos & Perez for petitioner. Alfredo G. de Guzman for private respondent.
SARMIENTO, J.:p This is an appeal filed by way of a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. The petitioner raises two questions: (1) whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the trial court which had rendered summary judgment; and (2) whether or not it erred in holding that an easement had been extinguished by merger. We rule for the petitioner on both counts. It appears that the petitioner is the owner of a parcel of land located in Ermita, Manila, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 157750 of the Register of Deeds of Manila. The same lies in the vicinity of another parcel, registered in the name of the private respondent corporation under Transfer Certificate of Title No. 128784. The private respondent's title came from a prior owner, and in their deed of sale, the parties thereto reserved as an easement of way: . . .a portion thereof measuring NINE HUNDRED FOURTEEN SQUARE METERS, more or less, had been converted into a private alley for the benefit of neighboring estates, this being duly annotated at the back of the covering transfer Certificate of title per regulations of the Office of the City Engineer of Manila and that the three meterwide portion of said parcel along the Pasig River, with an area of ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY NINE (179) SQUARE METERS, more or less, had actually been expropriated by the City Government, and developed pursuant to the beautification drive of the Metro Manila Governor. 2 (p. 3, Record). As a consequence, an annotation was entered in the private respondent's title, as follows: Entry No. 7712/T-5000 –– CONSTRUCTION OF PRIVATE ALLEY –– It is hereby made of record that a construction of private alley has been undertaken on the lot covered by this title from Concepcion Street to the interior of the aforesaid property with the plan and specification duly approved by the City Engineer subject to the following conditions to wit: (1) That the private alley shall be at least three (3) meters in width; (2) That the alley shall not be closed so long as there's a building exists thereon ( sic); (3) That the alley shall be open to the sky; (4) That the owner of the lot on which this private alley has been constituted shall construct the said alley and provide same with concrete canals as per specification of the City Engineer; (5) That the maintenance and upkeep of the alley shall be at the expense of the registered owner; (6) That the alley shall remain open at all times, and no obstructions whatsoever shall be placed thereon; (7) That the owner of the lot on which the alley has been constructed shall allow the public to use the same, and allow the City to lay pipes for sewer and drainage purposes, and shall not act
(sic) for any indemnity for the use thereof; and (8) That he shall impose upon the vendee or new owner of the property the conditions abovementioned; other conditions set forth in Doc. No. 4236, Page No. 11, 3 Book No. 84 of Nicasio P. Misa, Not. Pub. of Manila. The petitioner claims that ever since, it had (as well as other residents of neighboring estates) made use of the above private alley and maintained and contributed to its upkeep, until sometime in 1983, when, and over its protests, the private respondent constructed steel gates that precluded unhampered use. On December 6, 1984, the petitioner commenced suit for injunction against the private respondent, to have the gates removed and to allow full access to the easement. The court a quo shortly issued ex parte an order directing the private respondent to open the gates. Subsequently, the latter moved to have the order lifted, on the grounds that: (1) the easement referred to has been extinguished by merger in the same person of the dominant and servient estates upon the purchase of the property from its former owner; (2) the petitioner has another adequate outlet; (3) the petitioner has not paid any indemnity therefor; and (4) the petitioner has not shown that the right-of-way lies at the point least prejudicial to the servient estate. The private respondent's opposition notwithstanding, the trial court issued a "temporary writ of preliminary injunction to 4 continue up to the final termination of the case upon its merits upon the posting of a P5,000.00 bond by the plaintiff. (the petitioner herein). Thereafter, the respondent corporation answered and reiterated its above defenses. On April 15, 1986, the petitioner moved for summary judgment and the court a quo ruled on the same as follows: In view of the foregoing, this Court finds it unnecessary to try this case on the merit (sic) and hereby resolve (sic) to grant 5 the plaintiffs motion for summary judgment. (pp. 15-107, Record). On January 19, 1987, the trial court rendered judgment against the private respondent, the dispositive portion of which states: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered making permanent the temporary mandatory injunction, that had been issued against the defendant, and for the defendant to pay the plaintiff the costs of this suit. The defendant's counterclaim against the plaintiff is hereby dismissed, for lack of merit. (Summary 6 Judgment, p. 6). The private respondent appealed to the respondent Court of Appeals. Meanwhile, the private respondent itself went to the Regional Trial Court on a petition for the cancellation of the annotation in question. The court granted cancellation, for which the petitioner instituted CA-G.R. SP No. 13421 of the respondent Court of Appeals which ordered the restoration of the annotation "without prejudice [to] the final outcome of the private respondent's own appeal (subject of this petition).
In reversing the trial court which had, as earlier mentioned, rendered summary judgment, the respondent Court of Appeals held that the summary judgment was improper and that the lower court erroneously ignored the defense set up by the private respondent that the easement in question had been extinguished. According to the Appellate Court, an easement is a mere limitation on ownership and that it does not impair the private respondent's title, and that since the private respondent had acquired title to the property, "merger" brought about an extinguishment of the easement. The petitioner submits that the respondent Court of Appeals erred, because the very deed of sale executed between the private respondent and the previous owner of the property "excluded" the alley in question, and that in any event, the intent of the parties was to retain the "alley" as an easement notwithstanding the sale. As already stated at the outset, the Court finds merit in the petition. There is no question that an easement, as described in the deed of sale executed between the private respondent and the seller, had been constituted on the private respondent's property, and has been in fact annotated at the back of Transfer Certificate of Title No. 128784. Specifically, the same charged the private respondent as follows: "(6) That the alley shall
as mere accessories. The servitude in question is a personal servitude. of course. because as a mere right-of-way.790. be alienated 12 separately. The Court then is of the opinion that injunction was and is proper and in denying injunctive relief on appeal. Servitudes may also be established for the benefit of a community. the servitude of way. in conveying the property. a merger exists when 15 ownership of the dominant and servient estates is consolidated in the same person. Merger then. and no obstructions whatsoever shall be placed thereon. . The petitioner is not claiming the easement or any part of the property as its own. . to compensate for the foregoing.00) Hence. the deed itself stipulated that "a portion thereof [of the tenement] measuring NINE HUNDRED FOURTEEN SQUARE METERS. for the benefit of the general public. 614. however.240. more or less. that the private respondent is the owner of the portion on which the right-of-way had been established and that an easement can not impair ownership. and. however. and shall not [ask] for any indemnity for the use thereof. thus: WHEREAS. specifically. it can not be separated from the tenement and maintain an independent existence.) to THREE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THREE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED FORTY 14 PESOS (P3. According to the Civil Code. we are convinced that an easement exists. . therefore. the parties hereto agreed to adjust the purchase price from THREE MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED NINETY THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED FORTY PESOS (P3. As the petitioner indeed hastens to point out. . but rather. or of one or more persons to 16 whom the encumbered estate does not belong. contrary to that of the Court of Appeals. is inseparable from the main lot is no argument to defeat the petitioner's claims. as an easement. albeit the private respondent did acquire ownership over the property –– including the disputed alley –– as a result of the conveyance. The petitioner is moreover agreed that the private respondent has ownership. Easements are inseparable from the estate to which they actively or passively belong. 10 11 9 Although they are possessed of a separate from the tenement.remain open at all times. juridical existence. Thus: Art. it operates as a limitation on the title of the owner of the servient estate. One thing ought to be noted here. Servitudes are merely accessories to the tenements of which they form part. requires full ownership of both estates. had been converted into a private alley for the benefit of 13 the neighboring estates. they can not. the alley is supposed to be open to the public. 617.503. it is seeking to have the private respondent respect the easement already existing thereon. however. It is hardly the point. that no genuine merger took place as a consequence of the sale in favor of the private respondent corporation. that is to say. that the alley in question. one constituted not in favor of a particular tenement (a real servitude) but rather. of erecting steel gates across the alley was in defiance of these conditions and a violation of the deed of sale. gave the private owner a discount on account of the easement. (7) That the owner of the lot on which the alley has been constructed shall allow the public to use the same. the former owner. and allow the City to lay pipes for sewer and 8 drainage purposes. it did not acquire the right to close that alley or otherwise put up obstructions thereon and thus prevent the public from using it. On this score. and as we indicated." Its act. his right to use ( jus utendi). It is true that the sale did include the alley. it has failed to observe the limitation or encumbrance imposed on the same There is therefore no question as to ownership. Personal servitudes are referred to in the following article of the Civil Code: Art. the Court rejects the petitioner's contention that the deed of sale "excluded" it. but that nonetheless. as can be seen. . The question is whether or not an easement exists on the property. because as an easement precisely. The Court is furthermore of the opinion. because as a servitude.440." and precisely. as the Court of Appeals held. or mortgaged The fact. and so we reiterate. the respondent Appellate Court committed an error of judgment and law.
admissions. indeed. and the facts appear undisputed based on the pleadings. where the evidence on a second or succeeding appeal is substantially the same as that on the first or preceding appeal. the answer does not. a sham one. in this case. on the ground that from the records.S.J. because as we said. as "law of the case" is known in law. points. and secondly. In another case. depositions. No. or issues adjudicated on the prior appeal are the law of the case on all subsequent appeals and will not be considered or readjudicated therein. and sustained consequently. the defense of merger is.R. and the termination of that relation leaves the easement of no use.: xxx xxx xxx Law of the case has been defined as the opinion delivered on a former appeal. the plaintiffs were clearly guilty of laches having failed to act until after twenty-seven 21 years. in its CA-G. More specifically.g. As this Court has held. We likewise allowed summary judgment and rejected contentions of economic hardship as an excuse for 22 avoiding payment under a contract for the reason that the contract imposed liability under any and all conditions. in which it nullified the cancellation of the easement annotated at the back of the private respondent's certificate of title ordered by Judge Ysrael in LRC Case No. which was affirmed by this Court in its Resolution dated December 14. We held that under the circumstances. sham. after a definite determination. where. Merger. not a valid defense. and which justified a summary judgment. entitled Solid Manila Corporation v. tender any genuine issue on a material fact and can not militate against the petitioner's clear cause of action. and the easement pertains to 17 persons without a dominant estate. there is therefore no "owner of a dominant tenement" to speak of. the Court of Appeals' judgment.) In accordance with the general rule stated in Section 1821. the defense was not genuine but rather. . the law of the case between the parties. Torrens titles are imprescriptible.J. e. merger is not possible. is at least. 83540. a summary judgment rendered because the title challenged was covered by a Torrens Certificate and 20 under the law. It may be stated as a rule of general application that. it will refuse to examine question other than those arising subsequently to such determination and remand. (21 C. Ysrael. In one case.R. 273. the trial court was not in error in rendering summary judgment. in reality. (5 C. we rejected the claim of acquisitive prescription over registered property and found it likewise to be sham. In the case at bar. As the petitioner now in fact insists. the sale unequivocally preserved the existing easement. Unless the owner conveys the property in favor of the public –– if that is possible –– no genuine merger can take place that would terminate a personal easement. 330) (Emphasis supplied). or other than the propriety of the compliance with its mandate. What indeed. For this reason. in G.S. the public at large. presupposes the existence of a prior servient-dominant owner relationship. clearly. summary judgments are meant to rid a proceeding of the ritual of a trial where. from existing 23 records. all matters. questions. its action will not be questioned on a second appeal. the Court of Appeals is in error. the challenged holding of the respondent Court of Appeals as well –– is the fact that the Court of Appeals itself had rendered judgment. the court has remanded the cause for further action below. Summary judgments under Rule 34 of the Rules of Court are proper where there is no genuine issue as to the existence of a material fact. as we said. this Court upheld a decision of the trial court rendered by summary judgment on a claim for money 19 to which the defendant interposed the defense of payment but which failed to produce receipts. 13421. it means that whatever is once irrevocably established as the controlling legal rule of decision between the same parties in the same case continues to be the law of the case.In a personal servitude. 1988. so long as the facts on which such decision was predicated continue to be the facts of the case before the court. 1267) (Emphasis supplied. argues against the posturing of the private respondent –– and consequently. and if the court below has proceeded in substantial conformity to the directions of the appellate court. In other words. and insofar as the respondent Court of Appeals held that it (the trial court) was in error. No. whether correct on general principles or not. and trial would be futile. the facts have been established. and affidavits of 18 record. We also denied reconveyance in one case and approved a summary judgment rendered thereon.
. As we held.) CA-G.. as in this case. subject of the controversy in this case. the proceedings for cancellation of annotation was in fact meant to preempt the injunction decreed by the lower court in this case. As a personal servitude. 27 . IT IS SO ORDERED. speaking through Justice Claro Recto. 13421 is the law of the case because clearly. to which contempt is a penalty. Paras.R.J. there could be no acceptance. Plainly and simply. 273 that precipitated that appeal. Justice Jose Laurel maintained that a personal or voluntary servitude does require a contract and that "[t]he act of the plaintiff in opening the private way here involved did not constitute an 30 31 offer . however. This is specially so.S. No. in order to defeat administrative processes and in anticipation of an unfavorable administrative ruling and a favorable court ruling. the petition is GRANTED. Padilla and Regalado. And for reasons of fair play.J." The Court sees no need to relive the animated exchanges between two legal titans (they would contend even more spiritedly in the "larger" world of politics) to whom present scholars perhaps owe their erudition and who. JJ. our findings is that it is in existence and as a consequence. as in 25 this case. 28 declared that a personal servitude (also a right of way in that case) is established by the mere "act" of the landowner. as the presumption is that all the facts in the case bearing on the point decided have received due consideration whether all or none of them are mentioned in the opinion. the remedy of the party deeming himself aggrieved being to seek a rehearing. has no jurisdiction. Melencio-Herrera.S. by erecting an obstruction on the alley. the private respondent found an unfriendly court and it can not be made to profit from its act of malpractice by permitting it to downgrade its finality and deny its applicability as the law of the case. where the court in which the second suit was brought. (Emphasis 24 supplied. " and "[t]here being no offer.R. Inc. The decision of the Court of Appeals is SET ASIDE and the decision of the Regional Trial Court is hereby REINSTATED. after all. the private respondent can not bar the public. although the questions are not expressly treated in the opinion of the court. 26 As it happened. it was the one that initiated the cancellation proceedings with the Regional Trial Court in LRC No. . (5 C. this Court.) Questions necessarily involved in the decision on a former appeal will be regarded as the law of the case on a subsequent appeal. whereas it was disputed in North Negros' case. as a result of an adverse opinion in one forum. because of the paths they have taken. as we have described the term: xxx xxx xxx There is forum-shopping whenever. it was brought to determine the rights of the parties regarding the easement. the right-of-way in question was established by the will of the owner. for forum shopping. The petitioner and its counsel are hereby required to SHOW CAUSE why they should not be punished for contempt of court. at a glance. 1286-87). In the second place. have shaped history itself. concur. WHEREFORE. after all. The principle applies not only with respect to suits filed in the courts but also in connection with litigations commenced in the courts while an administrative proceeding is pending. Hidalgo. the question is whether it is still existing or whether it has been extinguished." and a third party (as the petitioner herein is a third party) has the personality to claim its benefits. (Emphasis supplied. In his separate opinion.. hence no contract. from its use. in its effort to shop for a friendly forum. it is not disputed that an easement has been constituted. although as a petition for "cancellation of annotation" it may have.As a general rule a decision on a prior appeal of the same case is held to be the law of the case whether that decision is right or wrong. 1276-77). and coming back to the case at bar. (5 C. the private respondent is guilty of forum-shopping. the private respondent can not validly reject CA-G. v. a party seeks a favorable opinion (other than by appeal or certiorari) in another. In the interesting case of North Negros Sugar Co. suggested a different cause of action. 13421 as the law of the case. 29 and is not "contractual in the nature. Rather. No. and also administratively dealt with in the case of counsel.
Court of Appeals. 3 Id. 1989.. G. 21 Arradaza v.. 14 Id... February 8. Valley.. Reyes. 82282-83. 1988. COMMENTARIES AND JURISPRUDENCE ON THE CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES 343-344. 37. No. 31-32. 170 SCRA 12. 25 Villanueva v..R. 20 Natalia Realty Corporation v. 31. 882.R. 172 SCRA 876. Nos. Court of Appeals. 88218. supra. 103 Phil. 1989.. Concurring. 4 Id. Ponente. Court of Appeals. Adre. 78290-94. 34. 180 SCRA 348. 340. 167 SCRA 815. No. 23 Supra. art. Rule 34.R. 1989. Natalia Realty Corporation v. 21 emphasis in the original. Valley.) 11 Id. May 23. 5 Id. 24 People v. April 27. 13 Rollo. 32. 17 TOLENTINO.. 992. No. 15 CIVIL CODE. 10 II TOLENTINO. Pinuila. 173 SCRA 534. art. G. 2 Rollo. Minerva and Sempio Diy. December 19. 6 Id. November 24. 617. 999 (1958). G.Footnotes 1 Herrera. Manuel. . 614. 19 Carcon Development Corporation v. also Arradaza v. supra. 18 RULES OF COURT. JJ. Id. 7 Id. Id. supra. Alicia. emphasis in the original. emphasis supplied. 8 Id.R. 31. art. 96. (1972 ed. 80863. 12 Id. 50422. 22 Garcia v. 631(1) 16 Supra. Nos. J... 1989. 344. 9 CIVIL CODE. Court of Appeals. G. 15.
26 Supra. 664 (1936). Under Article 619 of the Civil Code." 29 Supra. 684. 31 Supra. 696. 28 Supra. 27 63 Phil. voluntary easements and established "by the will of the owner. 30 Supra. .
Inc. 1995 of the Court of Appeals. The antecedent facts follow. Cadastral Lot Nos. However. which reversed the decision2 dated November 27. Through their lawyer. the narrow lot where the railroad tracks lay. however. 2003 BOGO-MEDELLIN MILLING CO. which ruled in favor of herein petitioner. 34 ares and 16 centares.: This is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to annul and set aside the decision1 dated November 17.. The entire subject land was divided into three. was claimed by Bomedco as its own and was declared for tax purposes in its name. Inc. Sr.. 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. Lot Nos. The tracks were used for hauling sugar cane from the fields to petitioner’s sugar mill. 3935 with an area of one hectare. Medellin. 124699 July 31. vs. (hereafter Bomedco). father of herein private respondents Sergio Valdez. No. Lot No. 5 It was not until 1989 when private respondents discovered the aforementioned claim of Bomedco on inquiry with the Bureau of Lands. 1991 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City. as was their subsequent demand for payment of compensation for the use of the land. Magdaleno Valdez. Angelina Valdez-Novabos. Cebu. 954 but their letter of inquiry addressed to petitioner went unheeded. Petitioner. passed away in 1948. Respondents.R. 954. Bogo-Medellin Milling Company. and 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 injunction. COURT OF APPEALS AND HEIRS OF MAGDALENO VALDEZ SR. on December 9. 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. a parcel of unregistered land covered by Tax Declaration No. Teresita Argawanon-Mangubat and Daylinda Argawanon-Melendres (hereafter the heirs).. located in Barrio Dayhagon. namely.6 . and its resolution dated March 2. they immediately demanded the legal basis for Bomedco's claim over Cadastral Lot No.4 Prior to the sale. However. herein private respondents inherited the land.3 He took possession of the property and declared it for tax purposes in his name. Tenth Division. purchased from Feliciana Santillan. 1935. unknown to them. Cebu in 1965. J. 954 and 955. DECISION CORONA. 1996 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration. 953. When Magdaleno Valdez.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. Branch IX. INC.. Sr.. 953 and 955 remained in the name of private respondents.
1989. Because the railway tracks which defendant had constructed on the questioned strip of land had been CONTINUOUSLY occupying said easement. In its decision dated November 27. 954 in good faith for more than 10 years. respondent heirs filed a "Complaint for Payment of Compensation and/or Recovery of Possession of Real Property and Damages with Application for Restraining Order/Preliminary Injunction" against Bomedco before the Regional Trial Court of Cebu. because plaintiffs themselves had acknowledged that the existence of the railway tracks of defendant Bomedco was already known by the late Magdaleno Valdez. Geodetic Engineer and property custodian for Bomedco. It also contended that plaintiffs’ claim was already barred by prescription and laches because of Bomedco’s open and continuous possession of the property for more than 50 years. 1991. This is because in said case the easement in question was a strip of dirt road whose possession by the dominant estate occurs only everytime said dirt road was being used by the dominant estate. pp. Belleza. herein plaintiffs’ predecessor-in-interest. 19359 ― to evidence the sale of the land to Magdaleno Valdez. prior to the sale of the property by the latter to Magdaleno Valdez. seven real estate tax receipts14 for the property covering the period from 1930 to 1985. he respected the grant. Not only was it not signed by the parties but defendant Bomedco also failed to present the original copy without valid reason pursuant to Section 4. before she sold the land to Valdez. thus. defendant Bomedco’s apparent and . Sr. the trial court19 rejected Bomedco's defense of ownership on the basis of a prior sale. Sr. 1991. et al. 393511 dated 1922 in the name of Graciano de los Reyes. CONTINUOUS and APPARENT easements can be acquired by prescription after ten (10) years. and Real Property Tax Receipt No..17 a Cadastral Map for Medellin Cadastre18 as well as the testimonies of Vicente Basmayor. 954. also testified for the plaintiffs during the trial. Such fact would necessarily show that the easement’s possession by the dominant estate was never continuous. In view of the defendant’s UNINTERRUPTED possession of the strip of land for more than fifity (50) years. Magdaleno Valdez. Region VIII. citing that its evidence – a xerox copy of the Deed of Sale dated March 18. before the late Magdaleno Valdez purchased in 1935 from the late Feliciana Santillan the land described in the Complaint where defendant’s railway tracks is traversing [ sic] (TSN of February 5. several original real estate tax receipts10 including Real Property Tax Receipt No. (103 Phil 84) is not applicable. It explained: Under Article 620 of the Civil Code. 1929 – was inadmissible and had no probative value. The "apparent" characteristic of the questioned property being used by defendant as an easement is no longer at issue.On June 8. Sr.8 In support of the complaint. 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 employee of the company. 954. Thus. the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Ronquillo. the trial court held that Bomedco had been in possession of Cadastral Lot No. Sr. a 1929 Survey Plan of private land for Bogo-Medellin Milling Company.7 Respondent heirs alleged that. In the instant case however. there is clear continuity of defendant’s possession of the strip of land it had been using as railway tracks. Sr. in 1935. When Valdez. a railroad right of way for a period of 30 years.16 Lot Data Computation for Lot No.20 Nonetheless. having allegedly bought the same from Feliciana Santillan in 1929. and Rafaela A. Jr. As to the continuity of defendant’s 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. Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. Bomedco submitted in evidence a Deed of Sale13 dated March 18. v.15 a Survey Notification Card. in 1935. it had already acquired ownership of the property through acquisitive prescription under Article 620 of the Civil Code. acquired the land. et al. Bomedco’s principal defense was that it was the owner and possessor of Cadastral Lot No. On the other hand. they presented an ancient document ― an original copy of the deed of sale written in Spanish and dated December 9. 0949112 dated 1963 in the name of Magdaleno Valdez. husband of Feliciana Santillan. in 1929. Roco. Santillan granted Bomedco. 7-8). Geodetic Engineer and Chief of the Land Management Services of the DENR. 1929.
000. II THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT ORDERED THE PETITIONER TO PAY THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT THE REASONABLE VALUE OF LOT 954 AND THE AMOUNT OF TEN THOUSAND (P10. must be possession under a claim of . to constitute the foundation of a prescriptive right. 1996. The appellate court further ruled that Bomedco’s claim of a prior sale to it by Feliciana Santillan was untrue. to be computed from the time of discovery of the adverse acts of Bomedco. the applicable prescriptive period in order to acquire ownership over the land was 30 years under Article 1137 of the Civil Code. Since only 24 years from 1965 had elapsed when the heirs filed a complaint against Bomedco in 1989. Its motion for reconsideration having been denied by the appellate court in its resolution dated March 22. Its possession being in bad faith. Bomedco now interposes before us this present appeal by certiorari under Rule 45. And since there was no showing that respondent heirs or their predecessor-in-interest was ever paid compensation for the use of the land. Extraordinary Acquisitive Prescription Under Art. Because the railway tracks which defendant had constructed on the questioned strip of land had been continuously occupying said easement [sic]. 1137 of the Civil Code Petitioner’s claim of ownership through extraordinary acquisitive prescription under Article 1137 of the Civil Code cannot be sustained. assigning the following errors: I THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT REVERSED AND SET ASIDE THE TRIAL COURT’S DECISION DISMISSING PRIVATE RESPONDENT’S COMPLAINT. It also submits a third ground originally tendered by the trial court ― acquisition of the easement of right of way by prescription under Article 620 of the Civil Code. Thus. but not ownership. Adverse possession of the property started only in 1965 when Bomedco registered its claim in the cadastral survey of Medellin. It consequently reversed the trial court. under Article 620 of the Civil Code. There is no dispute that the controversial strip of land has been in the continuous possession of petitioner since 1929.00) PESOS AS REASONABLE ATTORNEY’S FEES. the appellate court held that Bomedco only acquired an easement of right of way by unopposed and continuous use of the land. Bomedco’s possession of the land had not yet ripened into ownership. In its decision dated November 17. But possession. Respondent heirs elevated the case to the Court of Appeals which found that Bomedco did not acquire ownership over the lot. Petitioner Bomedco reiterates its claim of ownership of the land through extraordinary acquisitive prescription under Article 1137 of the Civil Code and laches to defeat the claim for compensation or recovery of possession by respondent heirs. 1995. the appellate court awarded compensation to them.continuous possession of said strip of land in good faith for more than ten (10) years had made defendant owner of said strip of land traversed by its railway tracks. defendant Bomedco’s apparent and continuous possession of said strip of land in good faith for more than ten (10) years had made defendant owner of said strip of land traversed by its railway tracks.
1949. Were it not so and petitioner really owned the land. 1937. maintains that even if a servitude was merely imposed on the property in its favor. Respondents themselves were emphatic that they simply tolerated petitioner’s . It exists only when the servient and dominant estates belong to two different owners. Neither can it declare that the 30-year period of extraordinary acquisitive prescription started from that year. 954. We cannot disregard the fact that. Certainly an owner would have found no need for these phrases. petitioner cannot now assert that its occupancy since 1929 was in the concept of an owner. Mere material possession of land is not adverse possession as against the owner and is insufficient to vest title. We do not think so. thereby doubtlessly conceding the ownership of respondent heirs.30 After the grant of easement expired in 1959. Therefore. 954. It gives the holder of the easement an incorporeal interest on the land but grants no title thereto.25 this legal precept does not apply in cases where the property is declared to be a mere easement of right of way.21 Unless coupled with the element of hostility towards the true owner. On the contrary. or must allow someone to do.26 Having held the property by virtue of an easement. its possession of the lot can only be presumed to have continued in the same character as when it was acquired (that is. together with a person’s actual and adverse possession of the land.title. petitioner never performed any act incompatible with the ownership of respondent heirs over Cadastral Lot No. its possession immediately became adverse to the owner in the late 1950’s when the grant was alleged by respondent heirs to have expired. 1989.24 While it is true that. 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 and April 6.23 Instead of indicating ownership of the lot. these receipts showed that all petitioner had was possession by virtue of the right of way granted to it.29 It is a fundamental principle of law in this jurisdiction that acts of possessory character executed by virtue of license or tolerance of the owner. or conduct by petitioner sugar mill from which an adverse claim can be implied.27 There should be a hostile use of such a nature and exercised under such circumstances as to manifest and give notice that the possession is under a claim of right. constituted on the corporeal immovable property of another.22 After a careful review of the records. an acknowledgment of the easement is an admission that the property belongs to another. until 1963. by virtue of which the owner has to refrain from doing. for the years 1930. do not start the running of the period of prescription. it possessed the land only by virtue of the original grant of the easement of right of way). In the absence of an express grant by the owner. no matter how long. will not confer title by prescription. Petitioner. for the benefit of another thing or person. however. petitioner continued to declare the "sugar central railroad right of way" in its realty tax receipts. counting from the late 1950’s (1959 as found by the trial court). possession. 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 was able to occupy Cadastral Lot No. tax declarations constitute strong evidence of ownership of the land occupied by him. however long. petitioner unequivocally declared the property to be a "central railroad right of way" or "sugar central railroad right of way" in its real estate tax receipts when it could have declared it to be "industrial land" as it did for the years 1975 and 1985. since all the uses of an easement are fully comprehended in his general right of ownership. that is. An easement or servitude is a real right. A person cannot have an easement on his own land. unless such possession is accompanied by the intent to possess as an owner. The mere expiration of the period of easement in 1959 did not convert petitioner’s possession into an adverse one. something on his property. petitioner would not have consistently used the phrases "central railroad right of way" and "sugar central railroad right of way" in its tax declarations until 1963. 1962 and 1963. it must be adverse. It stresses that.28 or was by mere license or tolerance of the owners (respondent heirs).
to do that which. could or should have been done earlier. or of one under whom he claims. (b) opportunity to sue defendant after obtaining such knowledge and (c) delay in the filing of such suit. under the principle of equity. The essence of laches is the failure or neglect. Since the required 30-year extraordinary prescriptive period had not yet been complied with in 1989. Since then (1965) and until the filing of the complaint for the recovery of the subject land before the RTC of Cebu in 1989. 954 whether by extraordinary acquisitive prescription or by laches. 1989.34 Records show that respondent heirs only learned about petitioner’s claim on their property when they discovered the inscription for the cadastral survey in the records of the Bureau of Lands in 1989. giving rise to the situation complained of. for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time.33 The second element (which in turn has three aspects) is lacking in the case at bar.continued use of Cadastral Lot No. should not be guided or bound strictly by the statute of limitations or the doctrine of laches if wrong or injustice will result. Acquisition of Easement of Right of Way By Prescription Under Art. Court of Appeals 36 is misplaced. through due diligence. 954 so as not to jeopardize the employment of one of their co-heirs in the sugar mill of petitioner. de Alberto vs. Petitioner’s reliance on Caro vs. (c) lack of knowledge or notice by defendant that the complainant will assert the right on which he bases his suit. It is not just the lapse of time or delay that constitutes laches. The question of laches is addressed to the sound discretion of the court and each case must be decided according to its particular circumstances. It is a rule of equity and applied not to penalize neglect or sleeping on one’s rights but rather to avoid recognizing a right when to do so would result in a clearly unfair situation. and (d) injury or prejudice to the defendant in the event the relief is accorded to the complainant. There. These aspects are: (a) knowledge of defendant's action. When petitioner ignored them. 1989. Respondents lost no time in demanding an explanation for said claim in their letters to the petitioner dated March 1. only 24 years had lapsed. there is no absolute rule on what constitutes laches.32 Its essential elements are: (a) conduct on the part of the defendant. Court of Appeals 35 and Vda. Laches Neither can petitioner find refuge in the principle of laches. thus giving rise to a presumption that the party entitled to assert it had either abandoned or declined to assert it. petitioner never acquired ownership of the subject land. Further. 620 of the Civil Code .31 The only time petitioner assumed a legal position adverse to respondents’ was when it filed a claim over the property in 1965 during the cadastral survey of Medellin. laches was applied to bar petitioners from questioning the 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 protect their rights. It is clear that petitioner never acquired ownership over Cadastral Lot No.37 It is the better rule that courts. they instituted their complaint before the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City on June 8. (b) delay in asserting complainant’s rights after he had knowledge of defendant’s acts and after he has had the opportunity to sue. 1989 and April 6.
never resulted in its acquisition of the easement because. upon demand by said heirs in 1989 for the return of the subject land and the removal of the railroad tracks. And under Article 622 of the Civil Code. Following the logic of the courts a quo. an easement of right of way of railroad tracks is discontinuous because the right is exercised only if and when a train operated by a person passes over another's property. beginning 1959 when the original 30-year grant of right of way given to petitioner Bomedco expired. or may be. Thus. It is not the presence of apparent signs or physical indications showing the existence of an easement. but rather the manner of exercise thereof. the presence of railroad tracks for the passage of petitioner’s trains denotes the existence of an apparent but discontinuous easement of right of way. petitioner supposedly acquired the easement of right of way over the subject land. then the right of way over it becomes continuous in nature. an easement is continuous if its use is. like the easement of drainage. payment of compensation for the use thereof. may be acquired only by title. Thus. petitioner Bomedco which had no . Like a road for the passage of vehicles or persons. under Article 622. while an easement of not building beyond a certain height is nonapparent. The presence of physical or visual signs only classifies an easement into apparent or non-apparent. a road (which reveals a right of way) and a window (which evidences a right to light and view) are apparent easements. with the lapse of the 10-year prescriptive period in 1969. Unfortunately. testamentary succession or contract. it is only apparent. like the easement of right of way.42 In this case. Therefore.39 The easement of right of way is considered discontinuous because it is exercised only if a person passes or sets foot on somebody else’s land.1âwphi1 To be sure. donation. The reasoning is erroneous. it cannot be acquired by prescription. that categorizes such easement into continuous or discontinuous. the very exercise of the servitude depends upon the act or intervention of man which is the very essence of discontinuous easements. it has also been held that a right of passage over another's land cannot be claimed by prescription because this easement is discontinuous and can be established only by title.38 and it is discontinuous if it is used at intervals and depends on the act of man. In other words. Its use of the right of way. it has been held that the existence of a permanent railway does not make the right of way a continuous one.40 In Cuba. discontinuous easements. or. The trial court and the Court of Appeals both upheld this view for the reason that the railroad right of way was. however long. in the alternative.Petitioner contends that. easements are either continuous or discontinuous according to the manner they are exercised. incessant without the intervention of any act of man. not according to the presence of apparent signs or physical indications of the existence of such easements.41 In Louisiana. Thus. whether apparent or not. according to them. petitioner Bomedco never acquired any title over the use of the railroad right of way whether by law. even if it failed to acquire ownership of the subject land. Thus. its occupation and use of Cadastral Lot No. the discontinuous easement of a railroad right of way can only be acquired by title and not by prescription. The presence of more or less permanent railroad tracks does not in any way convert the nature of an easement of right of way to one that is continuous. Under civil law and its jurisprudence. it nevertheless became legally entitled to the easement of right of way over said land by virtue of prescription under Article 620 of the Civil Code: Continuous and apparent easements are acquired either by virtue of a title or by prescription of ten years. The more or less permanent railroad tracks were visually apparent and they continuously occupied the subject strip of land from 1959 (the year the easement granted by Feliciana Santillan to petitioner expired). 954 came to be by mere tolerance of the respondent heirs. continuous and apparent in nature. if a road for the use of vehicles or the passage of persons is permanently cemented or asphalted.
We thus uphold the grant by the Court of Appeals of attorney’s fees in the amount of P10. Footnotes 1 Penned by Associate Justice Celia Lipana-Reyes and concurred in by Associate Justices Alfredo L. is hereby ordered to vacate the subject strip of land denominated as Cadastral Lot No. insofar as consistent with this rule. considering the importance of the railway tracks to its business. Puno. Exhibit "A. 1.000. But when is a party deemed to acquire title over the use of such land (that is.43 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. it tenaciously insists on ownership thereof despite a clear showing to the contrary. compelling the latter to litigate. the heirs of Magdaleno Valdez. 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.title to the land should have returned the possession thereof or should have begun paying compensation for its use. 1996 of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION.44 WHEREFORE. 3 . JJ. Furthermore. (2) payment of proper indemnity. No doubt. 1995 and resolution dated March 2. Gaviola. SO ORDERED. Benipayo and Corona Ibay-Somera. it is unlawfully occupying and using the subject strip of land as a railroad right of way without valid title yet it refuses to vacate it even after demand of the heirs. p. concur. remove its railway tracks thereon and return its possession to the private respondents. 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. the distance from the dominant estate to the highway is the shortest.. The appealed decision dated November 17. (Chairman). Sandoval-Gutierrez. J. 954.. and (4) the right of way claimed is at the point least prejudicial to the servient estate. on official leave. 2 Penned by Presiding Judge Benigno G. Panganiban. Sr. Inc. and." Folder of Plaintiffs’ Exhibits.000 considering the evident bad faith of petitioner in refusing respondents’ just and lawful claims. the petition is DENIED. It is also hereby ordered to pay private respondents attorney's fees in the amount of P10. title over the easement of right of way)? In at least two cases. (3) the isolation is not the result of its own acts. and Carpio-Morales. Petitioner Bogo-Medellin Milling Company.
Domingo. 20-21. Exhibit "C. Ordoñez vs. 19. 188 SCRA 109 . Bolante." "4." "B-4" and "D. Exhibit "1. pp." "B-1. Exhibits "Y. p." Id. 2-4. Exhibit "A. at pp. Rollo. Cequeña vs." "5. Compañia Agricula de Ultramar vs. Civil Code 353-354 . 8-9." Folder of Plaintiffs’ Exhibits." "6. 1. Article 529. Civil Code. at p. Manila Electric Company vs." Folder of Plaintiffs’ Exhibits. Articles 428 and 437." Id." Id. pp. Exhibit "10. at p. 2 Tolentino. 10-15. 7." "B3" and "B4.4 Exhibits "B. at p. Exhibit "12. at pp. 102-103. Court of Appeals." Id. IAC. 331 SCRA 267 . DBP vs. 2-4. 11. Folder of Defendant’s Offer of Exhibits. p." "B2. Civil Code. 39. 6." "3. at pp. Exhibit "H. Records. Presiding Judge Benigno G." Id." Folder of Defendant’s Exhibits. 10-16." Id." Folder of Plaintiffs’ Exhibits. 18. Exhibit "9. Article 233." "B1. Exhibits "B. pp. pp. pp. at p. Civil Code." Id. Exhibit "11. 5." Id. Court of Appeals. 6 Phil 246 . at p. 330 SCRA 216 . 6. Exhibits "2. 8-9. 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 . Exhibit "D. Exhibits "E" and "F. at p." Id. 1-7. at pp. Gaviola. 174 SCRA 313 . 17." "7" and "8." Id.
.. Songcuan vs. 149 SCRA 676 . Exhibit "Y. Court of Appeals.. 44 Article 2208 (2) (5). Civil Code. 394.. et. et. Catholic Bishop of Balanga vs. CFI of Negros Occidental. vs. 1994). 268 SCRA 511. Ibid. Rumbaua. vs. Civil Code of the Philippines Annotated 597-598 (13th ed." Records. Stontz. Ibid. CA. Capital Subd. 358. Españo vs. Inc.1928. citing Broussard vs. citing Sentencia (Cuba) of December 14. pp. 141 So.. 124 SCRA 128 . 67. Avisado vs..30 Article 1119. al. . 39 Ibid. Talisay-Silay Milling Co. et. 174 La. Inc... 264 SCRA 181 . 354 SCRA 245 . al. Civil Code. al. Court of Appeals. 173 SCRA 436 . Etie. 102-103. Supra note 26. Burgas vs. Articles 615 and 646. 180 SCRA 401. Inc. 191 SCRA 1 . 330 SCRA 349 . Villanueva vs. 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 3 Paras. Civil Code. at 365. 586. 40 41 42 43 Bacolod-Murcia Milling Co. 11 La. Intermediate Appellate Court.
the community. (Later.) As a direct consequence of these closures. passed through a passageway which traversed the petitioner's property. Roco. INC. the private respondents assailed the petitioner's closure of the original passageway which they (private respondents) claimed to be an "ancient road right of way" that had been existing before World War II and since then had been used by them. The private respondents.. in going to and coming from Lapu-Lapu City and other parts of the country. The private respondents averred that by closing the alleged road right of way in question. JR. They also claimed that the debris and flotsam that had accumulated prevented them from using their properties for the purpose for which they had acquired them. J.. either as pedestrians or by means of vehicles. situated at Sitio Buyong. but nonetheless opened another route across its property through which the private respondents. SARMIENTO. 5122 and 5124 of the Opon Cadastre. PERFECTA L. Kapunan & Migallos for petitioner. obstructing the passage of the residents and local fishermen. or sometime in August. JOSEFA C. JR. respondents. on the other hand. are the owners of adjoining properties more particularly known as Lots Nos. 1982. In their complaint. AURORA BUSTOS LOPEZ. 80511 January 25.R. which modified the decision rendered by the Regional Trial Court of Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu. In the same complainant. The complaint this prayed . the petitioner closed the aforementioned passageway when it began the construction of its hotel. SATORRE. an action for injunction with damages was filed against the petitioner by the 4 private respondents on September 2. on which it had constructed a resort and hotel. FELIX TIUKINHOY. petitioner. Albano. 1982 before the then Court of First Instance of Cebu. ESPINA. The principal issue raised in this petition for review on certiorari of the decision 3 1 2 It is admitted that the petitioner owns the real estate properties designated as Lots Nos. In 1981. is whether or not the private respondents had acquired an easement of right of way. COURT OF APPEALS. were allowed to pass. Maribago. Garcia & Diaz Law Offices for Katipunan Lumber Co. in going to and from their respective properties and the provincial road. CHUANGCO.. Lapu-Lapu City. and the general public. Zosa & Quijano Law Offices for respondents. as in the past.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G. the petitioner fenced its property thus closing even the alternative passageway and preventing the private respondents from traversing any part of it.:p dated May 30. when it undertook the construction of the second phase of its beach hotel. the petitioner had deprived them access to their properties and caused them damages. Before the petitioner began the construction of its beach hotel. in the form of a passageway. on the petitioner's property. 1986 of the Court of Appeals. the private respondents likewise alleged that the petitioner had constructed a dike on the beach fronting the latter's property without the necessary permit. KATIPUNAN LUMBER CO. 1991 COSTABELLA CORPORATION. 5123-A and 5123-C of the Opon Cadastre. No.. REVILLES. the private respondents.. Bunag. MANUEL S. vs. Inc. and trapping debris and flotsam on the beach. and CESAR T.
It justified the walling in of its property in view of the need to insure the safety and security of its hotel and beach resort. the petitioner denied the existence of an ancient road through its property and counter-averred. The quantity of flotsam and debris which had formed on the private respondents' beach front on the other hand were but the natural and unavoidable accumulations on beaches by the action of the tides and movement of the waves of the sea. and to pay the costs. The petitioner's answer then assailed the private respondents' complaint for its failure to implead as defendants the owners of the other properties supposedly traversed by the alleged ancient road right way. Inc. contrary to the private respondents' accusation. yet such outlet is a new road constructed in 1979. Inc. but also by the community at large. On petitioner's motion for partial reconsideration. . there is no reason for Us in not treating the easement here sought by appellees Katipunan Lumber Co. and the private respondents assailing the dismissal of their complaint insofar as their prayer for the demolition of the petitioner's "dike" is concerned. After trial. In its decision.. may only be 10 acquired by virtue of a title and not by prescription. that it and its predecessors-in-interest had permitted the temporary. the respondent Appellate Court held as without basis the trial court's finding that the private respondents 9 had acquired a vested right over the passageway in question by virtue of prescription. To pay the plaintiff Katipunan Lumber Company. and Perfecta Guangco as one that is not dependent upon the claims of the parties but a compulsory one that is legally demandable by the owner of the dominant estate from the 11 owner of the servient estate. and (3) set aside the trial court's award of actual damages and attorney's fees. among others. 2. its property by the private respondents and others by mere tolerance and purely as an act of neighborliness. representing their respective expenditures they had incurred in other beach resorts after the road was closed. 1982. under Article 622 of the New Civil Code." Thus the appellate court: (1) granted the private respondents the right to an easement of way on the petitioner's property using the passageway in question.00) a month beginning September. That notwithstanding. The Appellate Court however in denying the petitioner's motion for reconsideration stated that: 13 denying . 1987 a resolution the said motion. the private respondents were not entirely dependent on the subject passageway as they (private respondents) had another existing and adequate access to the public road through other properties. the petitioner alleged. The appellate court pointed out that an easement of right of way is a discontinuous one which. In its answer. the said construction had benefitted the community especially the fishermen who used the same as mooring for their boats during low tide. . With respect to the dike it allegedly constructed. While it is true that there is another outlet for the plaintiff to the main road. The petitioner in so closing the said passageway. in the interest of justice and in the exercise by this Court of its equity jurisdiction. the respondent court issued on October 27. the petitioner stated that what it built was a breakwater on the foreshore land fronting its property and not a dike as claimed by the private respondents. and for the protection of the privacy and convenience of its hotel patrons and guests. To open and make available the road in question to the plaintiffs and the general public at all times free of any obstacle thereof. and the plaintiff Perfecto Guangco the sum of TWO HUNDRED PESOS (P200. the court a quo rendered a decision on March 15. . 1984 finding that the private respondents had acquired a vested right over the passageway in controversy based on its long existence and its continued use and enjoyment not only by the private respondents. shall provide another road equally accessible and convenient as the road or passage closed by the defendant. the appellate court went on to rule that ". . had accordingly violated the private respondents' vested right. Moreover. unless the defendant. or if the defendant chooses to provide another road. To pay the sum of FIFTEEN THOUSAND PESOS (P15.000. (2) remanded the case to the trial court for the determination of the just and proper indemnity to be paid to the petitioner by the private respondents for the said 12 easement.00) a month beginning January. Thus. while the road closed by defendant existed since over 30 years before. Legally.000. with the petitioner questioning the alleged "vested right" of the private respondents over the subject passageway. the amount of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P5. indispensable parties without whom no 7 final adjudication of the controversy could be rendered. the trial court ordered the petitioner: 1. intermittent. until such road is made available and conveniently passable to the plaintiffs and the general public. and gratuitous use of. or passage through.00) attorney's fees. until the passageway claimed by them is opened and made available to them. . 1983. unless the petitioner should provide another passageway equally accessible and convenient as the one it closed. At any rate. and 3. 8 6 Both parties elevated the trial court's decision to the Court of Appeals.for the trial court to order the re-opening of the original passageway across the petitioner's property as well as the 5 destruction of the dike.
18 "there is another outlet for the plaintiffs (private respondents) to the main road. In any event. be inconvenient. For to justify the imposition of an easement or right of way. 650. the 17 burden of proving the existence of the foregoing pre-requisites lies on the owner of the dominant estate. Art. is entitled to demand a right of way through the neighboring estates. there is absent any showing that the private respondents had established the existence of the four requisites mandated by law. or any person who by virtue of a real right may cultivate or use any immovable. after payment of the proper indemnity." Yet." Thus. as is involved here. the owner of the dominant estate may validly claim a compulsory right of way only after he has established the existence of four requisites. Now before us. To be sure. "there must 22 be a real. This easement is not compulsory if the isolation of the immovable is due to the proprietor's own acts. not a fictitious or artificial necessity for it. it stood correct. It is provided under Articles 649 and 650 of the New Civil Code that: Art. to wit: (1) the (dominant) estate is surrounded by other immovables and is without adequate outlet to a public highway. is discontinuous and as such can not 16 be acquired by prescription. the respondent Appellate Court did not order the reversal of the trial court's decision and the dismissal of the complaint after holding that no easement had been validly constituted over the petitioner's property. The easement of right of way shall be established at the point least prejudicial to the servient estate. where the distance from the dominant estate to a public highway may be the shortest." Hence. 649. For one. the need to open up another servitude is entirely unjustified. it ordered the re. even if the said outlet." 15 . Additionally. they failed to prove that there is no adequate outlet from their respective properties to a public highway.opening of the old passageway on the ground that "the existing outlet (the other outlet) is 20 inconvenient to the plaintiff. the Appellate Court went on to commit a reversible error by considering the passageway in issue as a compulsory easement which the private respondents. equitably the plaintiff should be given a chance to pay for a more convenient outlet through the land of the defendant at a point least prejudicial to the latter. when there is already an existing adequate outlet from the dominant estate to a public highway. as alleged by the petitioner in its answer to the complaint. insofar as consistent with this rule. Insofar therefore as the appellate court adhered to the foregoing precepts.the old road could be closed. (3) the isolation was not due to the proprietor's own acts. for one reason or another. the petitioner contends that the decision of the respondent appellate court is grossly erroneous and not in accord with the provisions of Articles 649 and 650 of the Civil Code on easements and the prevailing jurisprudence on the matter. the indemnity shall consist in the payment of the damage caused by such encumbrance. In case the right of way is limited to the necessary passage for the cultivation of the estate surrounded by others and for the gathering of its crops through the servient estate without a permanent way. The owner. as owners of the "dominant" estate. the plaintiff shall pay for all damages that defendant corporation may sustain and the defendant regulates the manner of use of the right of way to protect 14 defendant's property and its customers. Unfortunately. and confirmed by the appellate court. it is apparent that the Court of Appeals lost sight of the fact that the 21 convenience of the dominant estate has never been the gauge for the grant of compulsory right of way. Instead. Should this easement be established in such a manner that its use may be continuous for all the needs of the dominant estate. after making the correct pronouncement. the indemnity shall consist of the value of the land occupied and the amount of the damage caused to the servient estate. and. Here. This is the gist of Our decision. but since the existing outlet is inconvenient to the plaintiff. establishing a permanent passage. It is already well-established that an easement of right of way." On this score. and (4) the right of way claimed is at a point least prejudicial to the servient estate. the true standard for the grant of the legal right is "adequacy. The petition is meritorious. which is surrounded by other immovables pertaining to other persons and without adequate outlet to a public highway. (2) after payment of the proper indemnity. the respondent Court of Appeals likewise admitted that "legally the old road could be 19 closed. On the contrary. may demand from the petitioner the latter being the owner of the "servient" estate. Based on the foregoing.
in any other case. There are some who propound the query as to whether the fact that a river flows between the estate and the public road should be considered as having the effect of isolating the estate. much more introduce any evidence. and (2) where the distance to a public highway may be the shortest. the dominant owner's need may 28 have changed since then. Padilla and Regalado. actus. Hence. the decision dated May 30. . Insofar therefore as the Appellate Court declared the case to be proper as a controversy for a compulsory right of way. one that can sufficiently fulfill the dominant owner's necessities. "least prejudice" prevails over "shortest distance. But while a right of way is legally demandable. an estate which for any reason has necessarily lost its access to a public road during certain periods of the year is in the same condition. On the other hand. . that is. Manresa. there must be a real necessity therefor. the Private respondents' properties can not be said to be isolated. but also that which does not have one sufficiently safe or serviceable. 1987. says: "In truth. the private respondents failed to allege. it must undeniably maintain a strict standard of security within its premises. or to secure the interest of the dominant 30 owner. they are compulsory and hence." Yet. Of course. the answer is in the affirmative. the owner of the dominant estate is not at liberty to impose one based on arbitrary choice. to enable owners of isolated estates to make full use of their properties. while an existing right of way may have proved adequate at the start. such as when the shortest distance would place the way on a dangerous decline. . for which Article 651 of the Code allows adjustments as to width. a longer way may be established to avoid injury to the servient tenement. and safety of its clients and patrons would be compromised. the "dominant" estate can not demand a right of way. They are demanded by necessity. that the passageway they seek to be re-opened is at a point least prejudicial to the petitioner. What is important to consider is whether or not a right of way is necessary to fill a 26 reasonable need therefor by the owner." says Tolentino. As also earlier indicated. this Court is constrained to hold that it was in error. WHEREFORE. is in fact isolated for all the effects of the easement requested by its owner. If the river may be crossed conveniently at all times without the least 25 danger. each case must be weighed according to its individual merits. subject to indemnity and the concurrence of the other conditions above-referred to. Hence. 23 . the private respondents failed to indicate in their complaint or even to manifest during the trial of the case that they were willing to indemnify fully the petitioner for the right of way to be established over its property. not only the estate which absolutely does not possess it should be considered in this condition. of the respondent Court of Appeals are SET ASIDE and the private respondents' complaint is hereby DISMISSED. It is therefore of great importance that the claimed light of way over the petitioner's property be located at a point least prejudicial to its business. JJ. .. otherwise adequate. Under Article 649 of the Civil Code. for which a compulsory easement is demandable. According. and the estate itself need not be totally landlocked. Melencio-Herrera. Under Article 650 of the Code. Considering that the petitioner operates a hotel and beach resort in its property. . which date back to the iter. although the same may not be convenient. privacy. that is. the convenience. if the passageway consists of an 27 "inaccessible slope or precipice. an estate bordering a public road through an inaccessible slope or precipice. if there is an existing outlet. 1986. Otherwise. which lack of 24 access to public roads has denied them.Further. That indubitably will doom the petitioner's business. and judged according to the sound discretion of the court. and the resolution dated October 27. Neither have the private respondents been able to show that the isolation of their property was not due to their personal or their predecessors-in-interest's own acts. Thus. as Manresa had pointed out. such as when there are constuctions or walls which can be avoided by a roundabout way. however. to one 29 commentator. Finally. Costs against the private respondents. although by the existence of that passageway the property can not be truly said that the property is isolated. however. "The court." it is as if there is no passageway. So also. the question of when a particular passage may be said to be "adequate" depends on the circumstances of each case. SO ORDERED. and not mere convenience for the dominant estate. and via of the Romans. legally demandable. it cannot be said that the estate is isolated. to the highway. "is not bound to establish what is the shortest. concur." The isolation of the dominant estate is also dependent on the particular need of the dominant owner. . Servitudes of right of way are an ancient concept. it shall be established upon two criteria: (1) at the point least prejudicial to the servient state." It is based on these settled principles that we have resolved this case. Paras.
Sr. 6 Id.. 26 SCRA 816. L-27319. 21 Rivera vs. Gatchalian Realty. CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES. Rollo. 3 Penned by Judge Teodoro K. 1969. 103 Phil.. 1968. 9 Id. 16 CIVIL CODE. January 31.. 1966. October 12. Benedicto.. Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental. 33-42. July 31. Ronquillo vs. 50. Roco. 154 SCRA 703. supra. 22 Ramos. 17 SCRA 731. 57. 61. 169 SCRA 307. 7 Id. 1989. 4 Rollo.. July 26.. No. No. 28-31. 2 The Court of Appeals was impleaded as a party respondent by virtue of the Court Resolution dated September 11. 10 Id. Jorge R. 19 Id. 787. vs. Benedicto. 17 Locsin vs. 1989. 12 Id. No. Bienvenido C. Gatchalian Realty. JJ. ponente... Roco.. Angela Estate.. supra. 1987. 789. 52-59. 781 (1918). January 20. 23 II FRANCISCO. No. 24 Id.. 8 Id.. 712. CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES 371. 20 Id. 13 Id. 622. Sr. Coquia. 84 (1958). 15 Ronquillo vs. 5 Id. (1972 ed. No. Inc. L-25887. Risos. Cuaycong vs. L-27084.. art. 18 Rollo. Bacolod-Murcia Milling Co. Cuaycong vs. 11. 14 Id. J. id. 59. 11 Id.Footnotes 1 Ejercito. 74249. concurring. Inc.. supra.. Capitol Subdivision. Rollo. Intermediate Appellate Court. 37 Phil. 75905. id. Floreliana. 12. 61. see also. Ramos. 24 SCRA 500. vs.. 58. . vs.. II TOLENTINO. Id.. Climaco. Inc. 44-50.). 25 Id. and Castro-Bartolome.. vs. Inc.
.. 29 TOLENTINO. 789. id.26 Id.. 373. 374. 28 Id. 790.... 27 Id. 30 Id. 790.
On May 11.00 by way of compensatory. with the house of strong materials thereon. was finally acquired by Juan Gargantos. Because both the provincial fiscal and district engineer of Romblon recommended granting of the building permit to Gargantos. He subdivided the lot into three and then sold each portion to different persons. together with the camarin and small building thereon. after passing through several hands. L-14652 June 30. No. moral and moderate damages. Tadena for respondents. 1955. doors and windows over-looking the third portion. exemplary. with the buildings and improvements thereon. One portion was purchased by Guillermo Tengtio who subsequently sold it to Vicente Uy Veza. Another portion. On appeal. On April 23. J." . Tan Yanon opposed approval of this application.: Juan Gargantos appeals by certiorari from the decision of the Court of Appeals reversing the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Romblon. which. respondents. the Court of First Instance of Romblon rendered judgment dismissing the complaint and ordering plaintiff to pay defendant the sum of P12. this time in order to construct a combined residential house and warehouse on his lot. the Court of Appeals set aside the decision of the Court of First Instance of Romblon and enjoined defendant from constructing his building unless "he erects the same at a distance of not less than three meters from the boundary line of his property.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. This house has on its northeastern side. Gargantos asked the Municipal Council of Romblon for another permit. petitioner herein. After trial. unless such building is erected at a distance of not less than three meters from the boundary line between the lots of plaintiff and defendant.R. situated in the poblacion of Romblon. petitioner. Gargantos tore down the roof of the camarin. Constantino P. 1960 JUAN GARGANTOS. GUTIERREZ DAVID. Jose T.500. The permit having been granted. was sold in 1927 to Tan Yanon. Tan Yanon filed against Gargantos an action to restrain him from constructing a building that would prevent plaintiff from receiving light and enjoying the view trough the window of his house. and to enjoin the members of Municipal Council of Romblon from issuing the corresponding building permit to defendant. TAN YANON and THE COURT OF APPEALS. vs. respondent herein. The case as against the members of the Municipal Council was subsequently dismissed with concurrence of plaintiff's council. in conformity with Article 673 of the New Civil Code. The record discloses that the late Francisco Sanz was the former owner of a parcel of land containing 888 square meters. 1955. Nery for petitioner. Gargantos applied to the Municipal Mayor for a permit to demolish the roofing of the old camarin.
It is obvious. for the visible and permanent sign of an easement is the title that characterizes its existence (Amor vs. It should be noted. By reason of his easement petitioner cannot construct on his land any building unless he erects it at a distance of not less than three meters from the boundary line separating the two estates. Paras. there is no deed establishing an easement. Francisco Sanz. JJ. (now Article 621.C. he constructed a house in such a way that the northeastern side thereof extends to the wall of the camarin on the portion now belonging to petitioner.C. Reyes. neither petitioner nor his predecessors-in-interest have ever executed any deed whereby they recognized the existence of the easement. the contrary is stated in the deed of alienation of either of them. now Articles 613. Bengzon. We find that respondent Tan Yanon's property has an easement of light and view against petitioner's property. however. Montemayor. hence the prescriptive period never started. and Barrera. 24). unless at the time the ownership of the two estate is divided.C. C.C. established by the proprietor of both.. Bautista Angelo. there are windows and doors which serve as passages for light and view. nor has there been final judgment to that effect. Assuredly.C) which provides that the existence of an apparent sign of easement between two estates. O. that while the law declares that the easement is to "continue" the easement actually arises for the first time only upon alienation of either estate. there being but one owner of both estates (Articles 530. 74 Phil. N. The deed sale did not provide that the easement of light and view would not be established.C.C (now Article 624. The focal issue herein is whether the property of respondent Tan Yanon has an easement of light and view against the property of petitioner Gargantos. It was Sanz who introduced improvements on both properties. This then is precisely the case covered by Article 541. N. if one of them is alienated. however. On said northeastern side of the house. shall be considered. Yu-Tibo (2 Phil.C. Labrador.. and that owner by respondent. as a title so that the easement will continue actively and passively. Concepcion. O. that now owned by petitioner..J. The kernel of petitioner's argument is that respondent never acquired any easement either by title or by prescription. that Article 538. N. These windows and doors were in existence when respondent purchased the house and lot from Sanz. is equivalent to a title. Wherefore. O. . petitioner maintains that respondent has not acquired an easement by prescription because he has never formally forbidden petitioner from performing any act which would be lawful without the easement.) and the doctrine in the Yu-Tibo case are not applicable herein because the two estates. inasmuch as before that time there is no easement to speak of..C. concur.C. The existence of the doors and windows on the northeastern side of the aforementioned house. or the sign is made to disappear before the instrument is executed. Likewise.C).So Juan Gargantos filed this petition for review of the appellate Court's decision. On that portion presently belonging to respondent.L.C..B.. 403). J. Invoking our decision in Cortes vs. were formerly owned by just one person. the appealed decision is hereby affirmed with costs against petitioner. Florentino.
docketed therein as Civil Case No. I will sell 3 to you Lot 7501-B. Instead. which dismissed the complaint for legal redemption filed by the petitioner in Civil Case No. and Spouses ANTONIO CARDENAS and MAE LINDA CARDENAS. Antonio Cardenas further agreed that he would sell Lot 7501-B only to Eduardo Tañedo in case he should decide to sell it. dated 26 February 1982. A small portion of the apartment building on Lot 7501-A also stands on Lot 7501-B. and the Order of the same respondent judge.R. But the latter refused. PADILLA. while the improvements on Lot 7501-B consist of one four-door apartment of concrete and strong materials. and Banco Cebuano. Bernad on 5 December 1983. On Lot 7501-A is constructed an apartment building. L-66520 August 30. J. on that same day. JUANITO A. 1 Antonio Cardenas. against the spouses Romeo and Pacita Sim. TAÑEDO. CEB-994 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu.00. Cebu City. vs. Numeriano F. with an area of 140 square meters and Lot 7501-B. filed an action for legal redemption and damages. Parades for private respondents. As a result. CEB-994.000. in brief.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G. On 5 February 1982. Spouses ROMEO SIM and PACITA S. Branch XXI. which denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration. with an area of 612 square meters. SIM." Antonio Cardenas. 7th Judicial Region. This was confirmed in a letter. as the septic tank in Lot 7501-B services Lot 7501-A and the apartment building on Lot 7501-A has a part standing on Lot 7501-B. Capangpangan for petitioner. the 5 Register of Deeds of Cebu City. Hon. with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. Tañedo. He also asked Tañedo to remove that portion of his building enroaching on Lot 7501-B. Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court. and a septic tank for the common use of the occupants of Lots 7501-A and 7501-B. one two-storey house of strong materials. however. wherein Antonio Cardenas asked Tañedo not to deduct the mortgage loan of P10. Antonio Cardenas and his wife Mae Linda Cardenas. respondents. to the septic tank in Lot 7501-B. are as follows: The private respondent Antonio Cardenas was the owner of two (2) contiguous parcels of land situated in Cebu City which he had inherited from Lourdes Cardenas and more particularly known as Lot 7501-A. The facts. Eduardo Tañedo. Eduardo Tañedo offered to redeem the property from Romeo Sim. sold Lot 7501-B to the herein respondent spouses Romeo and Pacita Sim. also mortgaged Lot 7501-B to said Eduardo C. invoking the provisions of Art. 1988 EDUARDO C. Romeo Sim blocked the sewage pipe connecting the building of Eduardo Tañedo built on Lot 7501-A.: This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Order issued by the respondent judge. 4 . HON. a bodega of strong materials. Upon learning of the sale. Juanita A. dated 20 January 1984. BERNAD. petitioner. No. Cebu City Development Bank. 1622 of the Civil Code.00 from the purchase price of Lot 7501-A "because as we have previously agreed. said Antonio Cardenas sold Lot 7501-A to herein petitioner Eduardo C.000. Tañedo as a security for the 2 payment of a loan in the amount of P10. before the Regional Trial Court of Cebu. Meinrado P.
1622 of the Civil Code as the land sought to be redeemed is 6 much bigger than the land owned by Tañedo. 462. The dismissal of the complaint on the ground of lack of cause of action. Omega and entered in his Notarial Register as Doc. that the insufficiency of the cause of action must appear on the face of the complaint. it cannot be denied that petitioner Tanedo cannot redeem the entire Lot 7501-B from the spouses Romeo and Pacita Sim pursuant to the provisions of Art. Whether or not this is possible should have been determined at the pre-trial stage or trial on the merits. has an area of 612 square meters which is much bigger. upon the other hand. Romeo Sim and Pacita Sim on July 23. than the lot owned by petitioner Tañedo. as follows: 3. the respondent judge issued the questioned order of 5 December 10 1983 dismissing the complaint and cross-claim. Jorge S. plaintiff suffered moral damages in the form of mental anguish. is whether or not. Page No. The settled rule where dismissal of an action is sought on the ground that the complaint does not state a cause of action is. The Court finds merit in the petition. plaintiff and defendant spouses Antonio Cardenas and Mae Linda Cardenas agreed that in the event they decide to sell the adjacent Lot No.Book No.00 which should be chargeable to both 13 defendant spouses. the petitioner seeks to purchase only that small portion of Lot 7501-B occupied by his apartment building. but far from compliance of the written agreement. 7501-A of the plaintiff and where part of the plaintiffs apartment is standing on. area-wise. 9465.Answering. Series of 1982. That by written agreement. to secure the payment of amounts received by him from said 7 spouses as petty loans . Tañedo filed a motion for reconsideration of the order.to the defendant spouses. admitting the facts alleged. Besides. because the spouses Romeo and Pacita Sim had told him to remove that portion of his building which enroaches upon Lot 7501-B. the spouses Romeo and Pacita Sim claimed that they are the absolute owners of Lot 7501-B and that Eduardo Tañedo has no right to redeem the land under Art. 23638. However. 7501-B of the subdivision plan (LRC) Psd. a portion of Lot No. Hence. In answer to the cross-claim. Paragraphs 3 and 4 of the amended complaint read. 1622 of the Civil Code. or on 14 October 1983. defendant spouses Antonio Cardenas and Mae Linda Cardenas sureptiously [sic] sold the aforestated Lot No. Acting upon these motions and other incidental motions. the spouses Romeo and Pacita Sim filed motions to dismiss the complaint and the 9 cross-claim. No. 4. 11. the same should be sold to the plaintiff. the court can render a valid judgment upon the same in accordance with the prayer of the complaint. LRC (GLRC) Cad. And the test of the sufficiency of the ultimate facts alleged in the complaint to constitute a cause of action. Thereafter. the 12 movant is deemed to admit hypothetically the truth of the facts thus averred. -7501-B. the present recourse by petitioner Tanedo. the action of petitioner Tañedo is also one for recovery of damages by reason of breach of promise by the respondent Antonio Cardenas to sell Lot 7501-B. the spouses Romeo and Pacita Sim insisted that the sale executed by Antonio Cardenas of 8 Lot 7501-B in their favor was an absolute one. for lack of cause of action. Antonio Cardenas. containing an area of SIX HUNDRED TWELVE (612) Square meters more or less which lot is adjacent to Lot No. 7501 of the cadastral survey of Cebu. admitted that he had agreed to sell Lot 7501-B to Eduardo Tañedo and claimed by way of cross-claim against the spouses Romeo and Pacita Sim that the Deed of Sale he had executed in favor of said spouses was only intended as an equitable mortgage. since the lot sought to be redeemed. 1622 Romeo and Pacita Sim pursuant to the provisions of Art. situated in the City of Cebu. is precipitate. 1982 as per Deed of Sale notarized by Notary Public. but his motion was denied on 20 January 1984. -94. In the instant case. Record No. That due to the sale by the defendant spouses Antonio Cardenas and Mae Linda Cardenas of the property in question to spouses Romeo Sim and Pacita Lim. sleepless nights. mental torture.000. for which he is entitled to a compensation in the amount to be established during the trial of the case and has incurred litigation expenses subject for reimbursentent and attorneys fee in the sum of P10. 11 . For this purpose.
from the day on which an act contrary to the same took place. with respect to discontinuous easements. In his answer. established or maintained by the owner of both. unless. if the easement is temporary or conditional. Article 624 of the Civil Code provides: Art.and the plaintiff (herein petitioner) prayed. The existence of an apparent sign of easement between two estates. also appears to be contrary to law. but it shall revive if the subsequent condition of the estates or either of them should again permit its use. among others: "(c) That defendant spouses Romeo Sim and Pacita Sim and spouses Antonio Cardenas and Mae Linda Cardenas be ordered to pay plaintiff moral damages. shall be considered. Hence. the amount of damages suffered by the plaintiff Eduardo Tafiedo by reason of such breach of promise to sell. but. and. Nor did Antonio Cardenas stop the use of the drain pipe and septic tank by the occupants of Lot 7501-A before he sold said lot to Eduardo Tafiedo. as alleged in the complaint. a trial is necessary to determine. use of the easement is continued by operation of law. at the very least. sufficient time for prescription has elapsed. should either of them be alienated. in any manner whatsoever.00. he alleged the following: ALLEGATIONS as to written agreement is ADMITTED. the contrary should be provided in the title of conveyance of either of them. (4) By the expiration of the term or the fulfillment of the conditions. the use of the servitude. Considering this admission of defendant Cardenas. (3) When either or both of the estates fall into such condition that the easement cannot be used. 624. 631. between the plaintiff Eduardo Tañedo and the defendant Antonio Cardenas is admitted by the latter. as a title in order that the easement may continue actively and passively. In the instant case.B). the use of the septic tank is continued by operation of law. with respect to continuous easements. This provision shall also apply in case of the division of a thing owned in common by two or more persons. Said article provides: Art. Moreover. the alienation of the dominant and servient estates to different persons is not one of the grounds for the extinguishment of an easement. in accordance with the provisions of the preceding number. no statement abolishing or extinguishing the easement of drainage was mentioned in the deed of sale of Lot 7501-A to Eduardo Tañedo.000. erected on Lot 7501-B. or the sign aforesaid should be removed before the execution of the deed. that the herein defendants [sic] was required to execute the Deed of Sale described in this paragraph 3 as security for the personal loans and other forms of indebtedness incurred from the Spouses Sims but 15 never as a conveyance to transfer ownership. (2) By non-user for ten years. (5) By the renunciation of the owner of the dominant estate. 17 cannot impair." That there was a written agreement. the finding of the trial court that petitioner Tañedo's right to continue to use the septic tank. litigation expenses and 14 attorneys fees in the amount of P50. at the time the ownership of the two estates is divided. unless when the use becomes possible. the spouses Romeo and Pacita Sim the new owners of the servient estate (Lot 7501. ceased upon the subdivision of the land and its subsequent sale to different owners who do not have the same 16 interest. (6) By the redemption agreed upon between the owners of the dominant and servient estates. . Accordingly. On the contrary. specifically denies that herein defendants SUREPTIOUSLY [sic] SOLD the lot in question to the other defendant Spouses Sim the truth is. Easements are extinguished: (1) By merger in the same person of the ownership of the dominant and servient estates. and that his promise to sell Lot 7501-B to Eduardo Tañedo appears to be for a valuable consideration. if indeed there is such a breach. Article 631 of the Civil Code enumerates the grounds for the extinguishment of an easement. this period shall be computed from the day on which they ceased to be used. As can be seen from the above provisions.
13 Original Record. 2. 8. 4 Id. 10 Rollo. p. 1. 91. p. Footnotes 1 Amended Complaint. JJ. Melencio-Herrera. 43.p. 16 Id. 9 Id. p. 17 Art.p.WHEREFORE.. p. p. 15 Id.p. 24. p. pp. par. 7. 7 Id. 27.. 3 Rollo.. 8 Id. p. Board.. the Orders complained of are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.. Civil Code. 19. 124. 6 Original Record.. L-22333. With costs against private respondents. G. p. Sarmiento and Regalado. 14 Id. p. 1969. concur. 10. Paras. No. 28-29. 87. 11 Id. 27 SCRA 50. . The respondent judge or another one designated in his place is directed to proceed with the trial of this case on the merits. 49. 32. 5 Original Record. p. Feb. 12 Azur vs.. Prov.. 32. 629. p. SO ORDERED..R. 30. 2 Original Record. Original Record. 24.
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