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ANASTACIA QUIMEN, petitioner,

vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and YOLANDA Q. OLIVEROS, respondents.

BELLOSILLO, J.:p
IN EASEMENT OF RIGHT OF WAY that easement where the way is shortest and will cause least
prejudice shall be chosen. However, if the two circumstances do not concur in a single tenement, the
way where damage will be least shall be used even if not the shortest route. 1 This is so because least
prejudice prevails over shortest distance. This means that the court is not bound to establish what is the
shortest distance; a longer way may be adopted to avoid injury to the servient estate, such as when there
are constructions or walls which can be avoided by a round about way, or to secure the interest of the
dominant owner, such as when the shortest distance would place the way on a dangerous decline.
Thus we conclude from the succeeding facts: Petitioner Anastacia Quimen together with her
brothers Sotero, Sulpicio, Antonio and sister Rufina inherited a piece of property situated in Pandi,
Bulacan. They agreed to subdivide the property equally among themselves, as they did, with the
shares of Anastacia, Sotero, Sulpicio and Rufina abutting the municipal road.
The share of Anastacia, located at the extreme left, was designated as Lot No. 1448-B-1. It is
bounded on the right by the property of Sotero designated as Lot. No. 14413-B-2. Adjoining Sotero's
property on the right are Lots Nos. 1448-B-3 and 1448-B-4 originally owned by Rufina and Sulpicio,
respectively, but which were later acquired by a certain Catalina Santos. Located directly behind the
lots of Anastacia and Sotero is the share of their brother Antonio designated as Lot No. 1448-B-C
which the latter divided into two (2) equal parts, now Lots Nos. 1448-B-6-A and 1448-B-6-B, each
with an area of 92 square meters. Lot No. 1448-B-6-A is located behind Anastacia's Lot No. 1448-B1, while Lot No. 1448-B-6-B is behind the property of Sotero, father of respondent Yolanda.
In February 1982 Yolanda purchased Lot No. 1448-B-6-A from her uncle Antonio through her aunt
Anastacia who was then acting as his administratrix. According to Yolanda, when petitioner offered
her the property for sale she was hesitant to buy as it had no access to a public road. But Anastacia
prevailed upon her to buy the lot with the assurance that she would give her a right of way on her
adjoining property for P200.00 per square meter.
Thereafter, Yolanda constructed a house on the lot she bought using as her passageway to the
public highway a portion of Anastacia's property. But when Yolanda finally offered to pay for the use
of the pathway Anastacia refused to accept the payment. In fact she was thereafter barred by
Anastacia from passing through her property. 2
In February 1986 Yolanda purchased the other lot of Antonio Quimen, Lot No. 1448-B-6-B, located
directly behind the property of her parents who provided her a pathway gratis et amore between their
house, extending about nineteen (19) meters from the lot of Yolanda behind the sari sari store of
Sotero, and Anastacia's perimeter fence. The store is made of strong materials and occupies the
entire frontage of the lot measuring four (4) meters wide and nine meters (9) long. Although the
pathway leads to the municipal road it is not adequate for ingress and egress. The municipal road
cannot be reached with facility because the store itself obstructs the path so that one has to pass
through the back entrance and the facade of the store to reach the road.
On 29 December 1987 Yolanda filed an action with the proper court praying for a right of way
through Anastacia's property. An ocular inspection upon instruction of the presiding judge was

conducted by the branch clerk of court. The report was that the proposed right of way was at the
extreme right of Anastacia's property facing the public highway, starting from the back of Sotero's
sari-sari store and extending inward by one (1) meter to her property and turning left for about five
(5) meters to avoid the store of Sotero in order to reach the municipal road 3 and the way was
unobstructed except for an avocado tree standing in the middle. 4
But on 5 September 1991 the trial court dismissed the complaint for lack of cause of action;
explaining that the right of way through Sotero's property was a straight path and to allow a detour
by cutting through Anastacia's property would no longer make the path straight. Hence the trial court
concluded that it was more practical to extend the existing pathway to the public road by removing
that portion of the store blocking the path as that was the shortest route to the public road and the
least prejudicial to the parties concerned than passing through Anastacia's property. 5
On appeal by respondent Yolanda, the Court of Appeals reversed the lower court and held that she
was entitled to a right of way on petitioner's property and that the way proposed by Yolanda would
cause the least damage and detriment to the servient estate. 6 The appellate court however did not
award damages to private respondent as petitioner did not act in bad faith in resisting the claim.
Petitioner now comes to us imputing ERROR to respondent Court of Appeals: (a) in disregarding the
agreement of the parties; (b) in considering petitioner's property as a servient estate despite the fact
that it does not abut or adjoin the property of private respondent; and, (c) in holding that the onemeter by five-meter passage way proposed by private respondent is the least prejudicial and the
shortest distance to the public road.
Incidentally, petitioner denies having promised private respondent a right of way. She claims that her
agreement with private respondent was to provide the latter with a right of way on the other lot of
Antonio Quimen under her administration when it was not yet sold to private respondent. Petitioner
insists that passing through the property of Yolanda's parents is more accessible to the public road
than to make a detour to her property and cut down the avocado tree standing thereon.
Petitioner further argues that when Yolanda purchased Lot No.
1448-B-6-B in 1986 the easement of right of way she provided her (petitioner) was ipso jure
extinguished as a result of the merger of ownership of the dominant and the servient estates in one
person so that there was no longer any compelling reason to provide private respondent with a right
of way as there are other surrounding lots suitable for the purpose. Petitioner strongly maintains that
the proposed right of way is not the shortest access to the public road because of the detour and
that, moreover, she is likely to suffer the most damage as she derives a net income of P600.00 per
year from the sale of the fruits of her avocado tree, and considering that an avocado has an average
life span of seventy (70) years, she expects a substantial earning from it. 7
But we find no cogent reason to disturb the ruling of respondent appellate court granting a right of
way to private respondent through petitioner's property. In fact, as between petitioner Anastacia and
respondent Yolanda their agreement has already been rendered moot insofar as it concerns the
determination of the principal issue herein presented. The voluntary easement in favor of private
respondent, which petitioner now denies but which the court is inclined to believe, has in fact
become a legal easement or an easement by necessity constituted by law. 8
As defined, an easement is a real right on another's property, corporeal and immovable, whereby the
owner of the latter must refrain from doing or allowing somebody else to do or something to be done
on his property, for the benefit of another person or tenement. 9 It is jus in re aliena, inseparable,
indivisible and perpetual, unless extinguished by causes provided by law. A right of way in particular is a
privilege constituted by covenant or granted by law 10 to a person or class of persons to pass over

another's property when his tenement is surrounded by realties belonging to others without an adequate
outlet to the public highway. The owner of the dominant estate can demand a right of way through the
servient estate provided he indemnifies the owner thereof for the beneficial use of his property. 11

The conditions sine quo non for a valid grant of an easement of right of way are: (a) the dominant
estate is surrounded by other immovables without an adequate outlet to a public highway; (b) the
dominant estate is willing to pay the proper indemnity; (c) the isolation was not due to the acts of the
dominant estate; and, (d) the right of way being claimed is at a point least prejudicial to the servient
estate. 12
A cursory examination of the complaint of respondent Yolanda for a right of way

13

readily shows that

[E]ven before the purchase of the said parcels of land the plaintiff was
reluctant to purchase the same for they are enclosed with permanent
improvements like a concrete fence and store and have (sic) no egress
leading to the road but because of the assurance of the defendant that
plaintiff will be provided one (1) meter wide and five (5) meters long right of
way in the sum of P200.00 per square meter to be taken from Anastacia's lot
at the side of a concrete store until plaintiff reach(es) her father's land,
plaintiff was induced to buy the aforesaid parcels of land . . . That the
aforesaid right of way is the shortest, most convenient and the least onerous
leading to the road and being used by the plaintiff's predecessors-in-interest
from the very inception . . .
The evidence clearly shows that the property of private respondent is hemmed in by the estates of
other persons including that of petitioner; that she offered to pay P200.00 per square meter for her
right of way as agreed between her and petitioner; that she did not cause the isolation of her
property; that the right of way is the least prejudicial to the servient estate. 14 These facts are
confirmed in the ocular inspection report of the clerk of court, more so that the trial court itself declared
that "[t]he said properties of Antonio Quimen which were purchased by plaintiff Yolanda Quimen Oliveros
were totally isolated from the public highway and there appears an imperative need for an easement of
right of way to the public highway." 15
Petitioner finally insists that respondent court erroneously concluded that the right of way proposed
by private respondent is the least onerous to the parties. We cannot agree. Article 650 of the New
Civil Code explicitly states that the easement of right of way shall be established at the point least
prejudicial to the servient estate and, insofar as consistent with this rule, where the distance from the
dominant estate to a public highway may be the shortest. The criterion of least prejudice to the
servient estate must prevail over the criterion of shortest distance although this is a matter of judicial
appreciation. While shortest distance may ordinarily imply least prejudice, it is not always so as
when there are permanent structures obstructing the shortest distance; while on the other hand, the
longest distance may be free of obstructions and the easiest or most convenient to pass through. In
other words, where the easement may be established on any of several tenements surrounding the
dominant estate, the one where the way is shortest and will cause the least damage should be
chosen. However, as elsewhere stated, if these two (2) circumstances do not concur in a single
tenement, the way which will cause the least damage should be used, even if it will not be the
shortest. 16 This is the test.
In the trial court, petitioner openly admitted

Q. You testified during your direct examination about this


plan, kindly go over this and please point to us in what portion
of this plan is the house or store of the father of the
(plaintiff )?
A. This one, sir (witness pointed a certain portion located near
the proposed right of way).
xxx xxx xxx
Q. Now, you will agree with me . . . that this portion is the front
portion of the lot owned by the father of the plaintiff and which
was (sic) occupied by a store made up of strong materials?
A. It is not true, sir.
Q. What materials does (sic) this store of the father of the
plaintiff made of?
A. Hollow blocks and the side is made of wood, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q. Just before your brother disposed that 1/2 portion of the lot
in question, what right of way does (sic) he use in reaching
the public road, kindly point to this sketch that he is (sic) using
in reaching the public road?
A. In my property, sir.
Q. Now you will agree with me . . . the main reason why your
brother is (sic) using this property is because there was a
store located near this portion?
A. Yes, and according to the father of Yolanda there is no
other way than this, sir. 17
The trial court found that Yolanda's property was situated at the back of her father's property and
held that there existed an available space of about nineteen (19) meters long which could
conveniently serve as a right of way between the boundary line and the house of Yolanda's father;
that the vacant space ended at the left back of Sotero's store which was made of strong materials;
that this explained why Yolanda requested a detour to the lot of Anastacia and cut an opening of one
(1) meter wide and five (5) meters long to serve as her right of way to the public highway. But
notwithstanding its factual observations, the trial court concluded, although erroneously, that Yolanda
was not entitled to a right of way on petitioner's property since a detour through it would not make
the line straight and would not be the route shortest to the public highway.
In applying Art. 650 of the New Civil Code, respondent Court of Appeals declared that the proposed
right of way of Yolanda, which is one (1) meter wide and five (5) meters long at the extreme right of
petitioner's property, will cause the least prejudice and/or damage as compared to the suggested
passage through the property of Yolanda's father which would mean destroying the sari sari store

made of strong materials. Absent any showing that these findings and conclusion are devoid of
factual support in the records, or are so glaringly erroneous, this Court accepts and adopts them. As
between a right of way that would demolish a store of strong materials to provide egress to a public
highway, and another right of way which although longer will only require an avocado tree to be cut
down, the second alternative should be preferred. After all, it is not the main function of this Court to
analyze or weigh the evidence presented all over again where the petition would necessarily invite
calibration of the whole evidence considering primarily the credibility of witnesses, existence and
relevancy of specific surrounding circumstances, their relation to each other, and the probabilities of
the situation. 18 In sum, this Court finds that the decision of respondent appellate court is thoroughly
backed up by law and the evidence.
WHEREFORE, no reversible error having been committed by respondent Court of Appeals, the
petition is DENIED and the decision subject of review is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. NO. 130845. November 27, 2000]

BRYAN U. VILLANUEVA, petitioner, vs. HON. TIRSO D.C. VELASCO in


his capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City, Branch 88, JULIO N. SEBASTIAN and SHIRLEY
LORILLA, respondents.
DECISION
QUISUMBING, J.:
This petition for certiorari assails (1) the decision i dated December 27, 1996 of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 39166, dismissing petitioners petition for review
under Rule 65 with prayer for the issuance of a cease and desist order and/or
temporary restraining order, and (2) the resolution iidated August 14, 1997 denying the
subsequent motion for reconsideration.
Petitioner Bryan Villanueva is the registered owner of the parcel of land covered by
Transfer Certificate of Title No. 127862 of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City. He
bought it from Pacific Banking Corporation, the mortgagee of said property. The bank
had acquired it from the spouses Maximo and Justina Gabriel at a public auction on
March 19, 1983. When petitioner bought the parcel of land there was a small house on
its southeastern portion. It occupied one meter of the two-meter wide easement of right
of way the Gabriel spouses granted to the Espinolas, predecessors-in-interest of private
respondents, in a Contract of Easement of Right of Way. The pertinent portion of the
contract dated November 28, 1979, states:

. . . in order to have an access to and from their aforementioned land where their houses
are constructed and to have an outlet to Tandang Sora Ave. which is the nearest public road and
the least burdensome to the servient estate and to third persons, it would be necessary for them
to pass through spouses MAXIMO GABRIEL and JUSTINA CAPUNOs land and for this
purpose, a path or passageway of not less than two (2) meters wide of said spouses property is
necessary for the use of ROMEO, RODOLFO, NENITA and AURORA ESPINOLA and for all
their needs in entering their property.

xxx
WHEREFORE, in view of the fact that the property of the ESPINOLA had been bought by
them from MAXIMO CAPUNO, father of MAXIMO GABRIEL, spouses MAXIMO GABRIEL and
JUSTINA CAPUNO hereby agree and permit RODOLFO, ROMEO, NENITA and AURORA
ESPINOLA and their families to have a permanent easement of right of way over the
aforementioned property of said spouses limited to not more than two meters wide, throughout
the whole length of the southeast side of said property and as specifically indicated in the
attached plan which is made an integral part of this Contract as Annex A;
This Agreement shall be binding between the parties and upon their heirs, successors,
assigns, without prejudice in cases of sale of subject property that will warrant the
circumstances.iii

Unknown to petitioner, even before he bought the land, the Gabriels had
constructed the aforementioned small house that encroached upon the two-meter
easement. Petitioner was also unaware that private respondents, Julio Sebastian and
Shirley Lorilla, had filed on May 8, 1991, Civil Case No. Q-91-8703, for easement,
damages and with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction and/or restraining order
against the spouses Gabriel.iv As successors-in-interest, Sebastian and Lorilla wanted to
enforce the contract of easement.
On May 15, 1991, the trial court issued a temporary restraining order. On August 13,
1991, it issued a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction ordering the Gabriels to
provide the right of way and to demolish the small house encroaching on the easement.
On August 15, 1991, the Gabriels filed a motion for reconsideration which was also
denied. Thus, they filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals.
On March 26, 1992, the Eighth Division of the Court of Appeals dismissed the
petition and upheld the RTCs issuances. The decision became final and executory on
July 31, 1992.v
On January 5, 1995, Judge Tirso Velasco of the RTC in Quezon City, Branch 88,
issued an Alias Writ of Demolition. On June 20, 1995, the sheriff tried to demolish the
small house pursuant to the writ. Petitioner filed a Third Party Claim with Prayer to
Quash Alias Writ of Demolition. He maintains that the writ of demolition could not apply
to his property since he was not a party to the civil case. His Third Party Claim with
prayer to quash the writ of demolition was denied for lack of merit on August 16, 1995. vi
The motion for reconsideration as well as the Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration
dated September 12, 1995 were denied on October 19, 1995. vii
Petitioner, thereafter, filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals,
docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 39166, asserting that the existence of the easement of
right of way was not annotated in his title and that he was not a party to Civil Case No.

Q-91-8703, hence the contract of easement executed by the Gabriels in favor of the
Espinolas could not be enforced against him. The Court of Appeals dismissed the
petition for lack of merit and denied the reconsideration, disposing thus:
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby dismissed by this court for lack of merit.
No costs considering the failure of private respondents to file their comment, despite
notice.viii

Hence, this instant petition.


Petitioner now avers that the appellate court erred in declaring,
(1)THAT FOLLOWING THE ESSENCE OF INHERENCE AND INTRANSMISSIBILITY OF
AN EASEMENT, A RIGHT OF WAY CAN EXIST EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT EXPRESSLY
STATED OR ANNOTATED ON THE TORRENS TITLE;
(2)THAT PETITIONER, AS PROSPECTIVE BUYER, SHOULD HAVE EXERCISED
ORDINARY PRUDENCE BY TAKING THE INITIATIVE TO DETERMINE THAT AN EASEMENT
HAS BEEN CONSTITUTED ON THE PROPERTY HE INTENDS TO BUY; AND,
(3) THAT IN AS MUCH AS THE HEREIN PETITIONER IS NOT A PARTY TO CIVIL CASE
NO. Q-91-8703, HE CANNOT BE BOUND BY ANY JUDGMENT OR ORDER RENDERED
THEREIN.ix

Primarily, the issue is whether the easement on the property binds petitioner.
Petitioner argues it could not be enforced against him. First, he says that a right of
way cannot exist when it is not expressly stated or annotated on the Torrens title.
According to him, even if an easement is inherent and inseparable from the estate to
which it actively belongs as provided in Art. 617 of the Civil Code, x the same is
extinguished when the servient estate is registered and the easement was not
annotated in said title conformably with Section 39 of the Land Registration Law.
Second, petitioner points out that the trial court erred when it faulted him for relying
solely on the clean title of the property he bought, as it is well-settled that a person
dealing with registered land is not required to go beyond what is recorded in the title. He
adds that it is private respondents who should have made sure their right of way was
safeguarded by having the same annotated on the title with the Register of Deeds. He
adds that Section 76 of P.D. No. 1529 xi also requires that when a case is commenced
involving any right to registered land under the Land Registration Law (now the Property
Registration Decree), any decision on it will only be effectual between or among the
parties thereto, unless a notice of lis pendens of such action is filed and registered in
the registry office where the land is recorded. There was no such annotation in the title
of the disputed land, according to petitioner. Lastly, since he was not a party to Civil
Case No. Q-91-8703, petitioner argues that he cannot be bound by the writ of
demolition and be forcibly divested of a portion of his land without having his day in
court.
Private respondents Sebastian and Lorilla, for their part, adopted the disquisition of
the appellate court as their Comment and asked for the dismissal of the petition and
P100,000.00 in damages. In its decision the appellate court, citing the decision of the
lower court, stressed that unlike other types of encumbrance of real property, a

servitude like a right of way can exist even if they are not expressly stated or annotated
as an encumbrance in a Torrens title because servitudes are inseparable from the
estates to which they actively or passively belong. Moreover, Villanueva was bound by
the contract of easement, not only as a voluntary easement but as a legal easement. A
legal easement is mandated by law, and continues to exists unless its removal is
provided for in a title of conveyance or the sign of the easement is removed before the
execution of the conveyance conformably with Article 649 xiiin accordance with Article
617xiii of the Civil Code.
At the outset, we note that the subject easement (right of way) originally was
voluntarily constituted by agreement between the Gabriels and the Espinolas. But as
correctly observed by the Court of Appeals, the easement in the instant petition is both
(1) an easement by grant or a voluntary easement, and (2) an easement by necessity or
a legal easement. A legal easement is one mandated by law, constituted for public use
or for private interest, and becomes a continuing property right. xiv As a compulsory
easement, it is inseparable from the estate to which it belongs, as provided for in said
Article 617 of the Civil Code. The essential requisites for an easement to be compulsory
are: (1) the dominant estate is surrounded by other immovables and has no adequate
outlet to a public highway; (2) proper indemnity has been paid; (3) the isolation was not
due to acts of the proprietor of the dominant estate; (4) the right of way claimed is at a
point least prejudicial to the servient estate; and (5) to the extent consistent with the
foregoing rule, where the distance from the dominant estate to a public highway may be
the shortest.xv The trial court and the Court of Appeals have declared the existence of
said easement (right of way). This finding of fact of both courts below is conclusive on
this Court,xvi hence we see no need to further review, but only to re-affirm, this finding.
The small house occupying one meter of the two-meter wide easement obstructs the
entry of private respondents cement mixer and motor vehicle. One meter is insufficient
for the needs of private respondents. It is well-settled that the needs of the dominant
estate determine the width of the easement.xvii Conformably then, petitioner ought to
demolish whatever edifice obstructs the easement in view of the needs of private
respondents estate.
Petitioners second proposition, that he is not bound by the contract of easement
because the same was not annotated in the title and that a notice of lis pendens of the
complaint to enforce the easement was not recorded with the Register of Deeds, is
obviously unmeritorious. As already explained, it is in the nature of legal easement that
the servient estate (of petitioner) is legally bound to provide the dominant estate (of
private respondents in this case) ingress from and egress to the public highway.
Petitioners last argument that he was not a party to Civil Case No. Q-91-8703 and
that he had not been given his day in court, is also without merit. Rule 39, Sec. 47, of
the Revised Rules of Court:
SEC. 47. Effect of judgments or final orders. The effect of a judgment or final order
rendered by a court of the Philippines, having jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment or final
order, may be as follows:
(a)In case of a judgment or final order against a specific thing, or in respect to the probate
of a will, or the administration of the estate of a deceased person, or in respect to the personal,

political, or legal condition or status of a particular person or his relationship to another, the
judgment or final order is conclusive upon the title to the thing, the will or administration, or the
condition, status or relationship of the person; however, the probate of a will or granting of
letters of administration shall only be prima facie evidence of the death of the testator or
intestate;
(b)In other cases, the judgment or final order is, with respect to the matter directly
adjudged or as to any other matter that could have been raised in relation thereto, conclusive
between the parties and their successors in interest by title subsequent to the
commencement of the action or special proceeding, litigating for the same thing and
under the same title and in the same capacity; and
(c) In any other litigation between the same parties or their successors in interest, that only
is deemed to have been adjudged in a former judgment or final order which appears upon its
face to have been so adjudged, or which was actually and necessarily included therein or
necessary thereto. (Emphasis ours).

Simply stated, a decision in a case is conclusive and binding upon the parties to
said case and those who are their successor in interest by title after said case has been
commenced or filed in court.xviii In this case, private respondents, Julio Sebastian and
Shirley Lorilla, initiated Civil Case No. Q-91-8703 on May 8, 1991, xix against the original
owners, the spouses Maximo and Justina Gabriel. Title in the name of petitioner was
entered in the Register of Deeds xx on March 24, 1995, after he bought the property from
the bank which had acquired it from the Gabriels. Hence, the decision in Civil Case No.
Q-91-8703 binds petitioner. For, although not a party to the suit, he is a successor-ininterest by title subsequent to the commencement of the action in court.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The assailed decision and resolution
of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo (Chairman), Mendoza, Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
TOMAS ENCARNACION, petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and THE INTESTATE ESTATE OF THE LATE
EUSEBIO DE SAGUN and THE HEIRS OF THE LATE ANICETA MAGSINO VIUDA DE SAGUN,*
respondents.
Esteban M. Mendoza for petitioner.
Oscar Gozos for private respondents.
FERNAN, C.J.:
Presented for resolution in the instant petition for review is the not-so-usual question of whether or
not petitioner is entitled to a widening of an already existing easement of right-of-way. Both the trial
court and the Appellate Court ruled that petitioner is not so entitled, hence the recourse to this Court.
We reverse.
The facts are undisputed.

Petitioner Tomas Encarnacion and private respondent Heirs of the late Aniceta Magsino Viuda de
Sagun are the owners of two adjacent estates situated in Buco, Talisay, Batangas. ** Petitioner owns
the dominant estate which has an area of 2,590 square meters and bounded on the North by
Eusebio de Sagun and Mamerto Magsino, on the south by Taal Lake, on the East by Felino
Matienzo and on the West by Pedro Matienzo. Private respondents co-own the 405-square-meter
servient estate which is bounded on the North by the National Highway (Laurel-Talisay Highway), on
the South by Tomas Encarnacion, on the East by Mamerto Magsino and on the West by Felipe de
Sagun. In other words, the servient estate stands between the dominant estate and the national
road.
Prior to 1960, when the servient estate was not yet enclosed with a concrete fence, persons going to
the national highway just crossed the servient estate at no particular point. However, in 1960 when
private respondents constructed a fence around the servient estate, a roadpath measuring 25
meters long and about a meter wide was constituted to provide access to the highway. One-half
meter width of the path was taken from the servient estate and the other one-half meter portion was
taken from another lot owned by Mamerto Magsino. No compensation was asked and non was given
for the portions constituting the pathway.
1

It was also about that time that petitioner started his plant nursery business on his land where he
also had his abode. He would use said pathway as passage to the highway for his family and for his
customers.
Petitioner's plant nursery business through sheer hard work flourished and with that, it became more
and more difficult for petitioner to haul the plants and garden soil to and from the nursery and the
highway with the use of pushcarts. In January, 1984, petitioner was able to buy an owner-type jeep
which he could use for transporting his plants. However, that jeep could not pass through the
roadpath and so he approached the servient estate owners (Aniceta Vda. de Sagun and Elena
Romero Vda. de Sagun) and requested that they sell to him one and one-half (1 1/2) meters of their
property to be added to the existing pathway so as to allow passage for his jeepney. To his utter
consternation, his request was turned down by the two widows and further attempts at negotiation
proved futile.
Petitioner then instituted an action before the Regional Trial Court of Batangas, Branch 6 (Tanauan)
to seek the issuance of a writ of easement of a right of way over an additional width of at least two
(2) meters over the De Saguns' 405-square-meter parcel of land.
2

During the trial, the attention of the lower court was called to the existence of another exit to the
highway, only eighty (80) meters away from the dominant estate. On December 2, 1985, the lower
court rendered judgment dismissing petitioner's complaint. It ruled:
It is clear, therefore, that plaintiff at present has two outlets to the highway: one,
through the defendants' land on a one meter wide passageway, which is bounded on
both sides by concrete walls and second, through the dried river bed eighty meters
away. The plaintiff has an adequate outlet to the highway through the dried river bed
where his jeep could pass.
The reasons given for his claim that the one-meter passageway through defendants'
land be widened to two and one-half meters to allow the passage of his jeep,
destroying in the process one of the concrete fences and decreasing defendants'
already small parcel to only about 332.5 square meters, just because it is nearer to
the highway by 25 meters compared to the second access of 80 meters or a
difference of only 65 meters and that passage through defendants' land is more

convenient for his (plaintiffs) business and family use are not among the conditions
specified by Article 649 of the Civil Code to entitle the plaintiff to a right of way for the
passage of his jeep through defendant's land.
3

On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court on January 28, 1987 and
rejected petitioner's claim for an additional easement.
In sustaining the trial court, the Court of Appeals opined that the necessity interposed by petitioner
was not compelling enough to justify interference with the property rights of private respondents. The
Appellate Court took into consideration the presence of a dried river bed only eighty (80) meters
away from the dominant estate and conjectured that petitioner might have actually driven his jeep
through the river bed in order to get to the highway, and that the only reason why he wanted a wider
easement through the De Sagun's estate was that it was more convenient for his business and
family needs.
After evaluating the evidence presented in the case, the Court finds that petitioner has sufficiently
established his claim for an additional easement of right of way, contrary to the conclusions of the
courts a quo.
While there is a dried river bed less than 100 meters from the dominant tenement, that access is
grossly inadequate. Generally, the right of way may be demanded: (1) when there is absolutely no
access to a public highway, and (2) when, even if there is one, it is difficult or dangerous to use or is
grossly insufficient. In the present case, the river bed route is traversed by a semi-concrete bridge
and there is no ingress nor egress from the highway. For the jeep to reach the level of the highway, it
must literally jump four (4) to five (5) meters up. Moreover, during the rainy season, the river bed is
impassable due to the floods. Thus, it can only be used at certain times of the year. With the inherent
disadvantages of the river bed which make passage difficult, if not impossible, it is if there were no
outlet at all.
1wphi1

Where a private property has no access to a public road, it has the right of easement over adjacent
servient estates as a matter of law.
4

With the non-availability of the dried river bed as an alternative route to the highway, we transfer our
attention to the existing pathway which straddles the adjoining properties of the De Sagun heirs and
Mamerto Magsino.
The courts below have taken against petitioner his candid admission in open court that he needed a
wider pathway for the convenience of his business and family. (TSN, August 2, 1985, pp. 24-26). We
cannot begrudge petitioner for wanting that which is convenient. But certainly that should not detract
from the more pressing consideration that there is a real and compelling need for such servitude in
his favor.
Article 651 of the Civil Code provides that "(t)he width of the easement of right of way shall be that
which is sufficient for the needs of the dominant estate, and may accordingly be changed from time
to time." This is taken to mean that under the law, it is the needs of the dominant property which
ultimately determine the width of the passage. And these needs may vary from time to time. When
petitioner started out as a plant nursery operator, he and his family could easily make do with a few
pushcarts to tow the plants to the national highway. But the business grew and with it the need for
the use of modern means of conveyance or transport. Manual hauling of plants and garden soil and
use of pushcarts have become extremely cumbersome and physically taxing. To force petitioner to
leave his jeepney in the highway, exposed to the elements and to the risk of theft simply because it
could not pass through the improvised pathway, is sheer pigheadedness on the part of the servient

estate and can only be counter-productive for all the people concerned. Petitioner should not be
denied a passageway wide enough to accomodate his jeepney since that is a reasonable and
necessary aspect of the plant nursery business.
We are well aware that an additional one and one-half (1 1/2) meters in the width of the pathway will
reduce the servient estate to only about 342.5 square meters. But petitioner has expressed
willingness to exchange an equivalent portion of his land to compensate private respondents for their
loss. Perhaps, it would be well for respondents to take the offer of petitioner seriously. But unless
and until that option is considered, the law decrees that petitioner must indemnify the owners of the
servient estate including Mamerto Magsino from whose adjoining lot 1/2 meter was taken to
constitute the original path several years ago. Since the easement to be established in favor of
petitioner is of a continuous and permanent nature, the indemnity shall consist of the value of the
land occupied and the amount of the damage caused to the servient estate pursuant to Article 649 of
the Civil Code which states in part:
5

Art. 649. The owner, or any person who by virtue of a real right may cultivate or use
any immovable, which is surrounded by other immovables pertaining to other
persons and without adequate outlet to a public highway, is entitled to demand a right
of way through the neighboring estates, after payment of the proper indemnity.
Should this easement be established in such a manner that its use may be
continuous for all the needs of the dominant estate, establishing a permanent
passage, the indemnity shall consist of the value of the land occupied and the
amount of the damage caused to the servient estate.
xxx

xxx

xxx

WHEREFORE, in conformity with the foregoing discussion, the appealed decision of the Court of
Appeals dated January 28, 1987 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner Tomas Encarnacion is
hereby declared entitled to an additional easement of right of way of twenty-five (25) meters long by
one and one-half (1 1/2) meters wide over the servient estate or a total area of 62.5 square meters
after payment of the proper indemnity.
SO ORDERED.
Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano, Bidin and Davide, Jr., JJ., concur.

Footnotes
* The name "Aniceta de Sagun Viuda de Magsino'' in the original caption of the
instant petition is erroneous. See the captions in the Complaint and the subsequent
Decision of the trial court.(Original Records, pp. 1 and 103).
** The servient estate originally belonged to Eusebio de Sagun, the son of Aniceta
Magsino Vda. de Sagun. After Eusebio's death, his widow Elena sold her share of
the estate to her mother-in-law and co-heir Aniceta. During the pendency of the civil
case for the grant of easement, Aniceta also died leaving six children as her heirs.
None of the children resides in the estate which as of 1985 is being administered by

Aniceta's brother, Mamerto Magsino. (Original Record, pp. 77-78; TSN, August 9,
1985, pp. 22, 30-31).
1

TSN, August 9, 1985, pp. 17-19; July 19, 1985, p. 30.

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