You are on page 1of 23

PRIVATIZATION AND MANAGEMENT OFFICE VS.

LEGASPI TOWERS
PERALTA, J.:

After the completion of the condominium project, it was constituted


pursuant to the Condominium Act (Republic Act No. 4726), as the Legaspi Towers

This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to annul and set aside

300, Inc.

the Decision[1] dated February 16, 2001, of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R.
CV No. 48984, affirming the Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC).

However, for Caruffs failure to pay its loan with PNB, the latter
foreclosed the mortgage and acquired some of the properties of Caruff at the

The factual and procedural antecedents are as follows:

sheriffs auction sale held on January 30, 1985.[4]


Thereafter, Proclamation No. 50[5] was issued. It was aimed to promote

Caruff Development Corporation owned several parcels of land along the


stretch of Roxas Boulevard, Manila. Among them were contiguous lots covered
by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) Nos. 120311, 120312, 120313, and 127649
(now TCT No. 200760).

privatization for the prompt disposition of the large number of non-performing


assets of the government financial institutions, and certain government-owned
and

controlled

corporations,

which

have

been

found

unnecessary

or

inappropriate for the government sector to maintain. It also provided for the
Sometime in December 1975, Caruff obtained a loan from the Philippine

creation of the Asset Privatization Trust (APT).

National Bank (PNB) to finance the construction of a 21-storey condominium


along Roxas Boulevard.[2] The loan accommodation was secured by a real estate
mortgage over three (3) parcels of land covered by TCT Nos. 120311, 120312,
and 120313,[3] where Caruff planned to erect the condominium.

By virtue of Administrative Order No. 14 and the Deed of Transfer


executed by PNB, the National Government, thru the APT, became the assignee
and transferee of all its rights and titles to and interests in its receivables with
Caruff, including the properties it acquired from the foreclosure of Caruffs

In 1979, Caruff started constructing a multi-storey building on the

mortgage.

mortgaged parcels of land. Along with the other appurtenances of the building
constructed by Caruff, it built a powerhouse (generating set) and two sump
pumps in the adjacent lot covered by TCT No. 127649 (now TCT No. 200760).

Meanwhile, Caruff filed a case against PNB before the RTC of Manila,
Branch 2, whereby Caruff sought the nullification of PNBs foreclosure of its
properties.[6] The case was docketed as Civil Case No. 85-29512.

powerhouse and the sump pumps in its favor, and that the Register of Deeds of
A Compromise Agreement[7] dated August 31, 1988 was later entered

Manila annotate the easement at the back of said certificate of title. [9]

into by Caruff, PNB, and the National Government thru APT. The parties agreed,

In its Answer with Counterclaim and Cross-claim, [10] APT alleged that

among other things, that Caruff would transfer and convey in favor of the

respondent had no cause of action against it, because it was but a mere

National Government, thru the APT, the lot covered by TCT No. 127649 (now TCT

transferee of the land. It acquired absolute ownership thereof by virtue of the

No. 200760), where it built the generating set and sump pumps.

Compromise Agreement in Civil Case No. 85-2952, free from any liens and/or
encumbrances. It was not a privy to any transaction or agreement entered into

On September 9, 1988, the RTC rendered a Decision approving the

by and between Caruff, respondent, and the bank. It further alleged that the

Compromise Agreement executed and submitted by the parties. The dispositive

continued use of the subject property by respondent and the condominium

portion of said Decision reads:


x x x and finding the foregoing compromise agreement to be
well-taken, the Court hereby approves the same and renders
judgment in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth
[sic] therein and enjoins the parties to comply strictly therewith.

owners without its consent was an encroachment upon its rights as absolute

SO ORDERED.[8]
Thus, by virtue of the Decision, the subject property was among those
properties that were conveyed by Caruff to PNB and the National Government
thru APT.
On July 5, 1989, respondent filed a case for Declaration of the existence
of an easement before the RTC of Manila, docketed as Spec. Proc. No. 8949563. Respondent alleged that the act of Caruff of constructing the powerhouse
and sump pumps on its property constituted a voluntary easement in favor of
the respondent. It prayed, among other things, that judgment be rendered
declaring the existence of an easement over the portion of the property covered
by TCT No. 127649 (now TCT No. 200760) that was being occupied by the

owner and for which it should be properly compensated.


On January 12, 1995, after trial on the merits, the RTC rendered a
Decision[11] declaring the existence of an easement over the portion of the land
covered by TCT No. 127649 (TCT No. 200760), the decretal portion of which
reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of
the petitioner and against the respondents hereby declaring the
existence of an easement over the portion of land covered by
TCT No. 200760 (previously No. 127649) occupied at present [by
the] powerhouse and sump pumps nos. 1 and 2 only, of Legaspi
Towers 300, in favor of Legaspi Towers 300, Incorporated. The
Register of Deeds of Manila is, likewise, hereby directed to
annotate this easement at the back of the said certificate of
title. The
counterclaim
and
cross-claim
are
dismissed
accordingly.
SO ORDERED.
Aggrieved, APT sought recourse before the CA in CA-G.R. CV No. 48984.
Subsequently, the term of existence of APT expired and, pursuant to Section 2,
Article III of Executive Order No. 323, the powers, functions, duties and

responsibilities of APT, as well as all the properties, real or personal assets,

as accessories or improvements for the general use and comfort of the

equipments and records held by it and its obligations and liabilities that were

occupants of the condominium complex.

incurred, was transferred to petitioner Privatization and Management Office


(PMO).Thus, the PMO substituted APT in its appeal.

Petitioner maintains that, as the generator set and sump pumps are
improvements of the condominium, the same should have been removed after

On February 16, 2001, finding no reversible error on the part of the RTC,

Caruff undertook to deliver the subject property free from any liens and

the CA rendered a Decision [12] affirming the decision appealed from. PMO filed a

encumbrances by virtue of the Decision of the RTC in Civil Case No. 85-29512

Motion for Reconsideration, but it was denied in the Resolution [13] dated May 3,

approving the parties Compromise Agreement. It adds that, in alienating the

2001.

property in favor of APT/PMO, Caruff could not have intended to include as


Hence, the present petition assigning the following errors:
I

encumbrance the voluntary easement.


Petitioner posits that respondent failed to present any evidence to prove

THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN


AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE COURT A QUO IN FINDING
THAT [THE] PRESENCE OF THE GENERATOR SET (GENERATING
SET) AND SUMP PUMPS CONSTITUES AN EASEMENT.

the existence of the necessary requisites for the establishment of an


easement. There is no concrete evidence to show that Caruff had a clear and

II
THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN
AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE COURT A QUO IN DECLARING
THE EXISTENCE OF AN EASEMENT OVER THE PORTION OF LAND
COVERED BY TCT NO. [200760] OCCUPIED BY THE GENERATOR
SET AND SUMP PUMPS NOS. 1 AND 2, PURSUANT TO ARTICLE
688 OF THE CIVIL CODE.

unequivocal intention to establish the placing of the generator set and sump

III

rent or indemnity. Petitioner submits that respondents presence on the subject

THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN


AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE COURT A QUO IN NOT
REQUIRING THE RESPONDENT-PETITIONER TO PAY ANY
COMPENSATION TO PETITIONER, THE OWNER OF THE LAND, FOR
THE USE OF ITS PROPERTY.[14]

property is an encroachment on ownership and, thus, cannot be properly

Petitioner argues that the presence of the generator set and sump

not be impaired so as to amount to a taking of property. When the benefit being

pumps does not constitute an easement. They are mere improvements and/or

imposed is so great as to impair usefulness of the servient estate, it would

appurtenances complementing the condominium complex, which has not

amount to a cancellation of the rights of the latter.

attained the character of immovability. They were placed on the subject property

pumps on the subject property as an easement in favor of respondent.


Lastly, petitioner contends that respondent is a squatter for having
encroached on the formers property without its consent and without paying any

considered an easement. It adds that an easement merely produces a limitation


on ownership, but the general right of ownership of the servient tenement must

Petitioner insists that, for having unjustly enriched itself at the expense

issue of the declaration of the easement over the subject property, considering

of the National Government and for encroaching on the latters rights as the

that petitioner is not prevented from privatizing the same despite the presence

absolute

of the voluntary easement.

owner,

respondent

should

rightfully

compensate

the

National

Government for the use of the subject property which dates back to August 28,

The petition is meritorious.

1989 up to the present.

An easement or servitude is a real right constituted on anothers

For its part, respondent argues that it was the intention of Caruff to have

property, corporeal and immovable, by virtue of which the owner of the same

a voluntary easement in the subject property and for it to remain as such even

has to abstain from doing or to allow somebody else to do something on his

after the property was subsequently assigned to APT. It was Caruff who

property for the benefit of another thing or person. [15] The statutory basis of this

constructed the generating set and sump pumps on its adjacent property for the

right is Article 613 of the Civil Code, which provides:

use and benefit of the condominium adjoining it. Also, the manner in which the
sump pumps were installed is permanent in nature, since their removal and

Art. 613. An easement or servitude is an encumbrance


imposed upon an immovable for the benefit of another
immovable belonging to a different owner.

transfer to another location would render the same worthless and would cut off
the supply of electricity and water to the condominium and its owners.

The immovable in favor of which the easement is


established is called the dominant estate; that which is subject
thereto, the servient estate.

Respondent maintains that petitioner cannot assume that Caruff


There are two sources of easements: by law or by the will of the
intended to renounce the voluntary easement over the subject property by
owners. Article 619 of the Civil Code states:
virtue of the Compromise Agreement, since such defense can only be presented
by Caruff and not the petitioner. It added that petitioner had actual notice of the
presence of the generating set and sump pumps when they were negotiating

Art. 619. Easements are established either by law or by


the will of the owners. The former are called legal and the latter
voluntary easements.

with Caruff regarding the compromise agreement and at the time the subject
In the present case, neither type of easement was constituted over the
property was transferred to petitioner. Also, petitioner cannot claim the payment
subject property.
of rent, considering that there was no written demand for respondent to pay rent
In its allegations, respondent claims that Caruff constituted a voluntary
or indemnity.
easement when it constructed the generating set and sump pumps over the
Respondent submits that the mandate of petitioner to privatize or
disputed portion of the subject property for its benefit. However, it should be
dispose of the non-performing assets transferred to it does not conflict with the
noted that when the appurtenances were constructed on the subject property,

the lands where the condominium was being erected and the subject property
where the generating set and sump pumps were constructed belonged to

2.0 That in consideration of the covenants hereunder


stipulated, plaintiff [Caruff] Development Corporation (CDC),
hereby terminates the instant case against defendants Philippine
National Bank (PNB) and the National Government/APT, and
hereby:

Caruff. Therefore, Article 613 of the Civil Code does not apply, since no true
easement was constituted or existed, because both properties were owned by
Caruff.

Also, Article 624 of the Civil Code is controlling, as it contemplates a


situation where there exists an apparent sign of easement between two estates
established or maintained by the owner of both. The law provides:
Art. 624. The existence of an apparent sign of easement
between two estates, established or maintained by the owner of
both, shall be considered, should either of them be alienated, as
a title in order that the easement may continue actively and
passively, unless, at the time the ownership of the two estates is
divided, the contrary should be provided in the title of
conveyance of either of them, or the sign aforesaid should be
removed before the execution of the deed. This provision shall
also apply in case of the division of a thing owned in common by
two or more persons.[16]

2.1 Assigns, transfers and conveys in favor of defendant


National government thru APT, CDCs rights, title and interest in
the Maytubig property, situated at the back of the Legaspi
Towers 300 Condominium, consisting of seven (7) contiguous
lots with an aggregate area of 1,504.90 square meters, covered
by the following Transfer Certificate of Title, viz: TCT No. 23663
Pasay City Registry; TCT No. 142497 Metro Manila 1 Registry;
TCT No. 142141 Metro Manila 1 Registry; TCT No. 127649
Metro Manila 1 Registry; x x x; all titles, free from any and
all liens and encumbrances, to be delivered, and the
necessary papers and documents to be turned over/executed to
effect transfer in favor of the National Government/APT, upon
approval of this Compromise Agreement;
x x x x.[17]
Thus, when the subject property was assigned to the National
Government thru the APT, no easement arose or was voluntarily created from
the transfer of ownership, considering that the parties, more particularly, Caruff,
pledged that it was assigning, transferring, and conveying the subject property

From the foregoing, it can be inferred that when the owner of two
properties alienates one of them and an apparent sign of easement exists

in favor of the National Government thru the APT free from any and all liens and
encumbrances.

between the two estates, entitlement to it continues, unless there is a contrary


agreement, or the indication that the easement exists is removed before the
execution of the deed.
In relation thereto, the Compromise Agreement, as approved by the
court, clearly states, among other things, that:

Compromise agreements are contracts, whereby the parties undertake


reciprocal obligations to resolve their differences, thus, avoiding litigation, or put
an end to one already commenced.[18]As a contract, when the terms of the
agreement are clear and explicit that they do not justify an attempt to read into
it any alleged intention of the parties; the terms are to be understood literally,

xxxx

just as they appear on the face of the contract. [19] Considering that Caruff never
intended to transfer the subject property to PMO, burdened by the generating

set and sump pumps, respondent should remove them from the subject
property.

From the records, APT/PMO submitted, as part of its evidence, a


letter[21] dated June 18, 1992, wherein it fixed the monthly rental fee per square

As regards PMOs claim for rent, respondent has been enjoying the use of

meter of the entire property at P56.25, orP1.81 per square meter per

the subject property for free from the time the rights over the property were

day. Hence, respondent should pay the National Government reasonable rent in

transferred and conveyed by Caruff to the National Government.

the amount of P56.25 per square meter per month, to be reckoned from August

We have held that [t]here is unjust enrichment when a person unjustly


retains a benefit to the loss of another, or when a person retains money or

28, 1989up to the time when the generating set and sump pumps are
completely removed therefrom.

property of another against the fundamental principles of justice, equity and


good conscience. Article 22 of the Civil Code provides that [e]very person who,

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision of the Regional Trial

through an act or performance by another, or any other means, acquires or

Court in Spec. Proc. No. 89-49563 dated January 12, 1995, and the Decision and

comes into possession of something at the expense of the latter, without just or

Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 48984 dated February 16,

legal

2001 and May 3, 2001, respectively, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

ground,

shall

return

the

same

to

him.

The

principle

of

unjust

enrichment under Article 22 of the Civil Code requires two conditions: (1) that a

Legaspi Towers 300, Inc. is DIRECTED to REMOVE the generating set

person is benefited without a valid basis or justification, and (2) that such benefit

and sump pumps 1 and 2 from the property covered by TCT No. 200760 and

is derived at anothers expense or damage.[20]

to PAY reasonable

In the present case, there is no dispute as to who owns the subject

rent

at

the

rate

ofP56.25

per

square

meter/per

month from August 28, 1989 until the same are completely removed.

property and as to the fact that the National Government has been deprived of

SO ORDERED.

the use thereof for almost two decades. Thus, it is but just and proper that
respondent should pay reasonable rent for the portion of the subject property
occupied by the generating set and sump pumps, from the time respondent
deprived the lawful owner of the use thereof up to the present. To rule otherwise
would be unjust enrichment on the part of respondent at the expense of the

NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, Petitioner

Government.

vs.
LUCMAN G. IBRAHIM, OMAR, G. MARUHOM, ELIAS G. MARUHOM,
BUCAY G. MARUHOM, FAROUK G. MARUHOM, HIDJARA G. MARUHOM,

ROCANIA G. MARUHOM, POTRISAM G. MARUHOM, LUMBA G. MARUHOM,


SINAB G. MARUHOM, ACMAD G. MARUHOM, SOLAYMAN G. MARUHOM

because they failed to show proof that they were the owners of the property,
and (3) the tunnels are a government project for the benefit of all and all private
lands are subject to such easement as may be necessary for the same.

G.R. No. 168732, June 29, 2007

Facts:
Respondent Lucman G. Ibrahim, in his personal capacity and in behalf of his coheirs instituted an action against petitioner National Power Corporation
(NAPOCOR) for recovery of possession of land and damages before the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Lanao del Sur.

In their complaint, Ibrahim and his co-heirs claimed that they were owners of
several parcels of land. Sometime in 1978, NAPOCOR, through alleged stealth
and without respondents knowledge and prior consent, took possession of the
sub-terrain area of their lands and constructed therein underground tunnels. The
existence of the tunnels was only discovered sometime in July 1992 by
respondents and then later confirmed on November 13, 1992 by NAPOCOR itself
through a memorandum issued by the latters Acting Assistant Project Manager.
The tunnels were apparently being used by NAPOCOR in siphoning the water of
Lake Lanao and in the operation of NAPOCOR.

Ibrahim, joined by his co-heirs, filed an Urgent Motion for Execution of Judgment
Pending Appeal. On the other hand, NAPOCOR filed a Notice of Appeal.
Thereafter, NAPOCOR filed a vigorous opposition to the motion for execution of
judgment pending appeal with a motion for reconsideration of the Decision.

NAPOCOR filed a Manifestation and Motion withdrawing its Notice of Appeal


purposely to give way to the hearing of its motion for reconsideration.

The RTC issued an Order granting execution pending appeal and denying
NAPOCORs motion for reconsideration.
NAPOCOR filed its Notice of Appeal by registered mail which was denied by the
RTC on the ground of having been filed out of time. Meanwhile, the Decision of
the RTC was executed pending appeal and funds of NAPOCOR were garnished by
respondents Ibrahim and his co-heirs.

The RTC granted the petition and rendered a modified judgment.


Respondent Omar G. Maruhom requested the Marawi City Water District for a
permit to construct and/or install a motorized deep well in Lot 3 located in
Saduc, Marawi City but his request was turned down because the construction of
the deep well would cause danger to lives and property. On October 7, 1992,
respondents demanded that NAPOCOR pay damages and vacate the sub-terrain
portion of their lands but the latter refused to vacate much less pay damages.
Respondents further averred that the construction of the underground tunnels
has endangered their lives and properties as Marawi City lies in an area of local
volcanic and tectonic activity. Further, these illegally constructed tunnels
caused them sleepless nights, serious anxiety and shock thereby entitling them
to recover moral damages and that by way of example for the public good,
NAPOCOR must be held liable for exemplary damages.

Disputing respondents claim, NAPOCOR filed an answer with counterclaim


denying the material allegations of the complaint and interposing affirmative
and special defenses, namely that (1) there is a failure to state a cause of action
since respondents seek possession of the sub-terrain portion when they were
never in possession of the same, (2) respondents have no cause of action

Subsequently, both respondent Ibrahim and NAPOCOR appealed to the CA.

The CA set aside the modified judgment and reinstated the original decision
amending it further by deleting the award of moral damages and reducing the
amount of rentals and attorneys fees,

Issue:
Whether respondents are entitled to just compensation hinges upon who owns
the sub-terrain area occupied by petitioner.

Ruling:

Petitioner maintains that the sub-terrain portion where the underground tunnels
were constructed does not belong to respondents because, even conceding the
fact that respondents owned the property, their right to the subsoil of the same
does not extend beyond what is necessary to enable them to obtain all the
utility and convenience that such property can normally give. In any case,
petitioner asserts that respondents were still able to use the subject property
even with the existence of the tunnels, citing as an example the fact that one of
the respondents, Omar G. Maruhom, had established his residence on a part of
the property. Petitioner concludes that the underground tunnels 115 meters
below respondents property could not have caused damage or prejudice to
respondents and their claim to this effect was, therefore, purely conjectural and
speculative.

The contention lacks merit.

In the present case, petitioner failed to point to any evidence demonstrating


grave abuse of discretion on the part of the CA or to any other circumstances
which would call for the application of the exceptions to the above rule.
Consequently, the CAs findings which upheld those of the trial court that
respondents owned and possessed the property and that its substrata was
possessed by petitioner since 1978 for the underground tunnels, cannot be
disturbed. Moreover, the Court sustains the finding of the lower courts that the
sub-terrain portion of the property similarly belongs to respondents. This
conclusion is drawn from Article 437 of the Civil Code which provides:

ART. 437. The owner of a parcel of land is the owner of its surface and of
everything under it, and he can construct thereon any works or make any
plantations and excavations which he may deem proper, without detriment to
servitudes and subject to special laws and ordinances. He cannot complain of
the reasonable requirements of aerial navigation.

Thus, the ownership of land extends to the surface as well as to the subsoil
under it. In Republic of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, this principle was
applied to show that rights over lands are indivisible and, consequently, require
a definitive and categorical classification, thus:

The Court of Appeals justified this by saying there is no conflict of interest


between the owners of the surface rights and the owners of the sub-surface

rights. This is rather strange doctrine, for it is a well-known principle that the
owner of a piece of land has rights not only to its surface but also to everything
underneath and the airspace above it up to a reasonable height. Under the
aforesaid ruling, the land is classified as mineral underneath and agricultural on
the surface, subject to separate claims of title. This is also difficult to
understand, especially in its practical application.

Under the theory of the respondent court, the surface owner will be planting on
the land while the mining locator will be boring tunnels underneath. The farmer
cannot dig a well because he may interfere with the mining operations below
and the miner cannot blast a tunnel lest he destroy the crops above.

The Court feels that the rights over the land are indivisible and that the land
itself cannot be half agricultural and half mineral. The classification must be
categorical; the land must be either completely mineral or completely
agricultural.

Registered landowners may even be ousted of ownership and possession of their


properties in the event the latter are reclassified as mineral lands because real
properties are characteristically indivisible. For the loss sustained by such
owners, they are entitled to just compensation under the Mining Laws or in
appropriate expropriation proceedings.

In this regard, the trial court found that respondents could have dug upon their
property motorized deep wells but were prevented from doing so by the
authorities precisely because of the construction and existence of the tunnels
underneath the surface of their property. Respondents, therefore, still had a
legal interest in the sub-terrain portion insofar as they could have excavated the
same for the construction of the deep well. The fact that they could not was
appreciated by the RTC as proof that the tunnels interfered with respondents
enjoyment of their property and deprived them of its full use and enjoyment.

Petitioner contends that the underground tunnels in this case constitute an


easement upon the property of respondents which does not involve any loss of
title or possession. The manner in which the easement was created by
petitioner, however, violates the due process rights of respondents as it was
without notice and indemnity to them and did not go through proper
expropriation proceedings. Petitioner could have, at any time, validly exercised

the power of eminent domain to acquire the easement over respondents


property as this power encompasses not only the taking or appropriation of title
to and possession of the expropriated property but likewise covers even the
imposition of a mere burden upon the owner of the condemned property.
Significantly, though, landowners cannot be deprived of their right over their
land until expropriation proceedings are instituted in court. The court must then
see to it that the taking is for public use, that there is payment of just
compensation and that there is due process of law.

In disregarding this procedure and failing to recognize respondents ownership of


the sub-terrain portion, petitioner took a risk and exposed itself to greater
liability with the passage of time. It must be emphasized that the acquisition of
the easement is not without expense. The underground tunnels impose
limitations on respondents use of the property for an indefinite period and
deprive them of its ordinary use. Based upon the foregoing, respondents are
clearly entitled to the payment of just compensation. Notwithstanding the fact
that petitioner only occupies the sub-terrain portion, it is liable to pay not merely
an easement fee but rather the full compensation for land. This is so because in
this case, the nature of the easement practically deprives the owners of its
normal beneficial use. Respondents, as the owners of the property thus
expropriated, are entitled to a just compensation which should be neither more
nor less, whenever it is possible to make the assessment, than the money
equivalent of said property.

G.R. No. L-17482

March 31, 1966

GENOVEVA R. JABONETE, ET AL., plaintiffs,


vs.
JULIANA MONTEVERDE, ET AL., defendants,
ANTONIO LEGASPI, respondent-appellant,
DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner-appellee,
MRS. LUZ ARCILLA, petitioner-intervenor-appellee.
Zuo and Mojica for the respondents-appellants.
Jesus Avancea for the plaintiffs.
REGALA, J.:
This is an appeal from an order of the Court of First Instance of Davao, dated
March 11, 1960, finding the respondent-appellant, Antonio Legaspi, guilty of
contempt of court, and imposing upon him a fine of P100.
On March 11, 1954, the Court of First Instance of Davao, in view of its finding in
Case No. 824, entitled Jabonete vs. Monteverde, et al., that Antonio Legaspi
acquired the lot in question with the knowledge that a "gravamen" or easement

of right of way existed thereon, promulgated a decision the dispositive portion of


which reads:
Ordena al demandado Antonio Legaspi la demolicion de la parte del corral
construido a lo largo de su terreno que impide a lote demandantes tener acceso
con la vereda que communica con la carretera principal, Tomas Claudio.
Declara que los demandantes tienen derecho el uso de la vereda (Exh. A-3), de 3
metros de ancho, unico paso que disponen para communicarse con la Calle
Tomas Claudio, para el paso de sus jeeps, y los vehiculos, reparados que entran
y salen del taller de reparacion de aquellos.
The respondent-appellant received a copy of the decision on May 12, 1954. Two
days later, May 14, 1954 he filed his notice of appeal therefrom. On May 21,
1954 however, upon a previous motion of the plaintiffs, the lower court issued
an order granting discretionary execution of the said decision. In view of this last
mentioned order, the plaintiffs immediately proceeded to the premises in
question and opened in the fence of the defendant Antonio Legaspi a sufficient
opening for the passage of men and vehicles. Even then, however, the
defendant filed with the court below on that very same day, May 21, 1954, a
motion for the reconsideration of the order granting discretionary execution.
Thereafter, and upon the lower court's suggestion, the parties entered into an
amicable agreement which was later embodied in an order or "auto" dated May
24, 1954, to wit:
A raiz de la mocion del demandado pidiendo antre otras cosas, la
reconsideracion de la orden de ejecucion de la decision dictada en esta causa, el
22 del Mayo de 1954, el Juez que preside esta sala se constituyo para una
inspeccion ocular en el lugar en conflicto.
Durante la inspeccion ocular, los demandantes y demandado, Antonio Legaspi,
llegaron a un acuerdo:
1. Los demandantes no instalaran en su terreno su taller de reparacion de
vehiculos de motor.
2. Los demandantes pueden construir su garaje dentro de su terreno para su
jeep (AC), pero no los tendran parados en la calle privada del demandados
construida por este en su terreno a lo largo del terreno de los demandantes;
3. Los demandantes contribuiran a prorata con el demandado los gastos de
reparacion de la calle privada construida por el referido demandado en su
terreno a lo largo del terreno de los demandantes.1wph1.t
4. El demandado, Antonio Legaspi, permitira el uso y paso en la calle privada
construida por el en su terreno a lo largo del terreno de los demandantes, a
estos, su familia, sus amigos, chofers, servidumbre y de sus jeeps.

5. Para los fines del uso de la calle, el demandado permitira a los demandantes,
frente de la casa de estos, abrir una puerta de 4 metros de ancho en el corral
construido por el demandado que separa la calle privada y el terreno de los
demandantes, a su (demandantes) costa; sus hojas tendran por dentro, que los
demandantes tendran cerradas para evitar que los nios, hijos de los inquilinos
del demandado tengan acceso a los jeeps de los demandantes, cuyo garaje
tendran dentro de su (demandantes) terreno.
El Juzgado ordena a las partes litigantes complan estrictamente con lo
estipulado; de los contrario, los mismos estaran sujetos a las ordenes de este
Juzgado.
As a result of the above agreement and Order of May 24, 1954, the defendant
abandoned the prosecution of his appeal. At the same time, both parties
complied with its terms until the plaintiffs, unable to continue with their repair
shop, transferred to another place in December 1959 whereupon the defendant
reconstructed his fence and its footing, closing thereby the opening previously
made by the plaintiffs.
In the course of time, the plaintiffs' lot was foreclosed by the Development Bank
of the Philippines (DBP) which, later still, conveyed it under a conditional sale to
Mrs. Luz Arcilla. On her acquisition of the said lot, Mrs. Arcilla demanded of the
defendant the re-opening of the fence in question as it was her plan to construct
her house in the said lot. When the defendant refused, the Development Bank
filed with the lower court a petition to hold the said defendant in contempt. To
this petition, Mrs. Luz Arcilla later intervened and was so allowed by the lower
court. The Development Bank of the Philippines and Mrs. Luz Arcilla contended
that the refusal of the defendant to cause or allow the making of an opening in
his fence was a defiance of the said court's decision of March 11, 1954 and was,
therefore, contemptuous. After due hearing, the lower court sustained the
petitioners and found the defendant guilty of contempt with orders "to pay a fine
of One Hundred Pesos (P100.00) and to open the vereda or alley leading to the
lot owned by the Development Bank of the Philippines and conveyed to Mrs. Luz
S. Arcilla under a conditional deed of sale, otherwise he should be imprisoned
until he does so." Thus, the instant appeal.
The respondent-appellant maintains that the lower court erred in finding him
guilty of contempt because:
1. The decision of March 11, 1954 was novated by the order of May 24, 1954.
Consequently, he could not have violated the former decree since with its
novation it ceased to have any legal effect.
2. Even assuming that the said decision was not novated by the subsequent
order of May 24, 1954, still he could not be deemed to have violated the said
decision because the same never became final and executory. The respondentappellant argued that since the decision of March 11, 1954 ordered the opening
of a right of way in his property without providing for this corresponding

compensation to him, contrary to Article 649 of the Civil Code,1 there was in the
said decision "a void which ought to be filled or to be done in order to
completely dispose of the case. It was not clear, specific and definitive," and
consequently, a judgment that could not have acquired finality.
3. The right to file contempt proceedings against him, with respect to the
decrees contained in the decision of March 11, 1954, has prescribed. The
respondent-appellant conceded that there is no prescriptive period for the
institution of contempt proceedings. However, he contended that inasmuch as
contempt under Rule 64 of the Rules of Court is punishable by arresto mayor, it
should prescribe in five years just as crimes for which the said penalty is
imposed prescribe, under the Penal Code, in five years.
Without passing on the merits or demerits of the foregoing arguments, this Court
believes that the order finding the respondent-appellant guilty of contempt
should be reversed. It is clear that the order of May 24, 1954 superseded and
was fully intended by the lower court to modify or stand in substitution of the
decision of March 11, 1954. More than the expression of the parties amicable
agreement on the dispute, the said order was the lower court's resolution of the
respondent-appellant's motion for reconsideration of the decision of March 11,
1954. In the determination, therefore, of the said appellant's obligation relative
to the easement in question, the latter and not the decision of March 11, 1954 is
the proper point in reference.
Under the aforesaid order of May 24, 1954, the easement awarded or secured by
the lower court to the plaintiffs was strictly a personal one. The right of way
granted was expressly limited to the latter and their "family, friends, drivers,
servants and jeeps." In the very language of the agreement the following
appears:
El demandado Antonio Legaspi, permitira el uso y paso en la calle privada
construida por el en su terreno a lo largo del terreno de los demandantes, a
estos, su familia, sus amigos, chofers, servidumbre y de sus jeeps.
The servitude established was clearly for the benefit alone of the plaintiffs and
the persons above enumerated and it is clear that the lower court, as well as the
parties addressed by the said order, did not intend the same to pass on to the
plaintiffs'
successors-in-interest. In other words, the right acquired by the original plaintiffs
was a personal servitude under Article 614 of the Civil Code, and not a predial
servitude that inures to the benefit of whoever owns the dominant estate.
In resisting the extension of the aforementioned easement to the latter, the
plaintiffs' successors-in-interest, the respondent-appellant, therefore, was not
defying the decision of March 11, 1954 which was then no longer subsisting, nor
the order of May 24, 1954 since the said successors-in-interest had no right
thereunder.

Another evidence that the servitude in question was personal to the plaintiffs is
the fact that the same was granted to the latter without any compensation to
the respondent-appellant.

They also claimed that the amicable settlement executed between Reta and
Ricardo Roble was void ab initio for being violative of Presidential Decree No.
1517.

Wherefore, the order of the lower court dated March 11, 1960 finding the
respondent-appellant guilty of contempt is hereby reversed, without
pronouncement as to costs.

On the other hand, Reta claimed that the land is beyond the ambit of
Presidential Decree No. 1517 since it has not been proclaimed as an Urban Land
Reform Zone; that the applicable law is Batas Pambansa Blg. 25 for failure of the
plaintiffs to pay the rentals for the use of the land; and that the amicable
settlement between him and Ricardo Roble was translated to the latter and fully
explained in his own dialect.

[G.R. No. 136996. December 14, 2001]


EDILBERTO ALCANTARA, FLORENCIO VILLARMIA, POLICARPIO OBREGON,
+ RICARDO ROBLE, ESCOLASTICA ONDONG, ESTEBAN RALLOS, HENRY
SESBINO, SERGIO SESBINO, MANUEL CENTENO,+ RENATO CRUZ,
MARCELINO CENEZA, BUENAVENTURA ONDONG, and BENJAMIN
HALASAN, petitioners, vs. CORNELIO B. RETA, JR. respondent.

On March 8, 1994, the trial court rendered a decision dismissing the complaint
and ordering the plaintiffs to pay Reta certain sums representing rentals that
had remained unpaid.[5]
On April 6, 1994, plaintiffs appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals.[6]

DECISION

On
December
9,
1998,
the
Court
of
Appeals
decision[7] affirming in toto the decision of the trial court.

PARDO, J. :

Hence, this appeal.[8]

The Case

The Issue

In this petition for review,[1] petitioners seek to review the decision[2] of the
Court of Appeals affirming the decision[3] of the Regional Trial Court, Davao City,
Branch 14, dismissing petitioners complaint for the exercise of the right of first
refusal under Presidential Decree No. 1517, injunction with preliminary
injunction, attorneys fees and nullity of amicable settlement.

The issue is whether petitioners have the right of first refusal under Presidential
Decree No. 1517.

The Facts
Edilberto Alcantara, Florencio Villarmia, Policarpio Obregon, Ricardo Roble,
Escolastica Ondong, Esteban Rallos, Henry Sesbino, Sergio Sesbino, Manuel
Centeno, Renato Cruz, Marcelo Ceneza, Buenaventura Ondong and Benjamin
Halasan, filed with the Regional Trial Court, Davao City, Branch 14, a
complaint[4] against Cornelio B. Reta, Jr. for the exercise of the right of right of
first refusal under Presidential Decree No. 1517, injunction with preliminary
injunction, attorneys fees and nullity of amicable settlement.
The plaintiffs claimed that they were tenants or lessees of the land located in
Barangay Sasa, Davao City, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-72594,
owned by Reta; that the land has been converted by Reta into a commercial
center; and that Reta is threatening to eject them from the land. They assert
that they have the right of first refusal to purchase the land in accordance with
Section 3(g) of Presidential Decree No. 1517 since they are legitimate tenants or
lessees thereof.

promulgated

The Courts Ruling


The petition is without merit.
The area involved has not been proclaimed an Urban Land Reform Zone (ULRZ).
In fact, petitioners filed a petition with the National Housing Authority requesting
that the land they were occupying be declared as an ULRZ. On May 27, 1986,
the request was referred to Mr. Jose L. Atienza, General Manager, National
Housing Authority, for appropriate action.[9] The request was further referred to
acting mayor Zafiro Respicio, Davao City, as per 2ndIndorsement dated July 1,
1986.[10] Clearly, the request to have the land proclaimed as an ULRZ would not
be necessary if the property was an ULRZ.
Presidential Decree No. 1517, otherwise known as The Urban Land Reform Act,
pertains to areas proclaimed as Urban Land Reform Zones.[11] Consequently,
petitioners cannot claim any right under the said law since the land involved is
not an ULRZ.
To be able to qualify and avail oneself of the rights and privileges granted by the
said decree, one must be: (1) a legitimate tenant of the land for ten (10) years
or more; (2) must have built his home on the land by contract; and, (3) has
resided continuously for the last ten (10) years. Obviously, those who do not fall

within the said category cannot be considered legitimate tenants and, therefore,
not entitled to the right of first refusal to purchase the property should the owner
of the land decide to sell the same at a reasonable price within a reasonable
time.[12]

The Fallo

Respondent Reta denies that he has lease agreements with petitioners Edilberto
Alcantara and Ricardo Roble.[13] Edilberto Alcantara, on the other hand, failed
to present proof of a lease agreement other than his testimony in court that he
bought the house that he is occupying from his father-in-law.[14]

No costs.

Respondent Reta allowed petitioner Ricardo Roble to use sixty-two (62) coconut
trees for P186 from where he gathered tuba. This arrangement would show that
it is a usufruct and not a lease. Usufruct gives a right to enjoy the property of
another with the obligation of preserving its form and substance, unless the title
constituting it or the law otherwise provides.[15]

MAXIMO CORTES, plaintiff-appellant, vs.JOSE PALANCA YU-TIBO, defendantappellant.


G.R. No. 911
March 12, 1903

Petitioner Roble was allowed to construct his house on the land because it would
facilitate his gathering of tuba. This would be in the nature of a personal
easement under Article 614 of the Civil Code.[16]
Whether the amicable settlement[17] is valid or not, the conclusion would still
be the same since the agreement was one of usufruct and not of lease. Thus,
petitioner Roble is not a legitimate tenant as defined by Presidential Decree No.
1517.
As to the other petitioners, respondent Reta admitted that he had verbal
agreements with them. This notwithstanding, they are still not the legitimate
tenants contemplated by Presidential Decree No. 1517, who can exercise the
right of first refusal.
A contract has been defined as a meeting of the minds between two persons
whereby one binds himself, with respect to the other, to give something or to
render some service.[18]
Clearly, from the moment respondent Reta demanded that the petitioners
vacate the premises, the verbal lease agreements, which were on a monthly
basis since rentals were paid monthly,[19] ceased to exist as there was
termination of the lease.
Indeed, none of the petitioners is qualified to exercise the right of first refusal
under P. D. No. 1517.
Another factor which militates against petitioners claim is the fact that there is
no intention on the part of respondent Reta to sell the property. Hence, even if
the petitioners had the right of first refusal, the situation which would allow the
exercise of that right, that is, the sale or intended sale of the land, has not
happened. P. D. No. 1517 applies where the owner of the property intends to sell
it to a third party.[20]

WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition. The Court AFFIRMS the decision of
the Court of Appeals[21] and the resolution denying reconsideration thereof.

SO ORDERED.

DOCTRINE: An easement of light and view is a negative easement. A notarial


prohibition is needed to commence prescriptive period. An easement of light and
view is only positive in relation to party walls and apparent signs of easement.
FACTS:
House No. 65 owned by the wife of Maximo Cortes has certain windows, which
have been in existence since 1843, through which it receives light and air, said
windows opening on the adjacent house, No. 63 of the same street. The tenant
of No. 63, Yu-tibo, commenced certain work with the view to raising the roof of
the house in such a manner that one-half of the windows in house No. 65 has
been covered, thus depriving the building of a large part of the air and light
formerly received through the window. It is to be noted that Cortes has, by any
formal act, prohibited the owner of house No. 63, from making improvements of
any kind at any time prior to the complaint.
The contention of the plaintiff is that by the constant and uninterrupted use of
the windows during a period of fifty-nine years he acquired from prescription an
easement of light in favor of the house No. 65, and as a servitude upon house
No. 63, and, consequently, has acquired the right to restrain the making of any
improvements. He contends that the easement of light is positive; and that
therefore the period of possession for the purposes of the acquisition of a
prescriptive title is to begin from the date on which the enjoyment of the same
commenced (from the time that said windows were opened with the knowledge
of the owner of the house No. 63, and without opposition on this part).
The defendant, on the contrary, contends that the easement is negative, and
that therefore the time for the prescriptive acquisition thereof must begin from
the date on which the owner of the dominant estate may have prohibited, by a
formal act, the owner of the servient estate from doing something which would
be lawful but for the existence of the easement.
ISSUE:
Whether the easement in this case is positive or negative
RULING/RATIO:

The Court ruled that the easement of light which is the object of this litigation is
of a negative character, and therefore pertains to the class which can not be
acquired by prescription as provided by article 538 of the Civil Code, except by
counting the time of possession from the date on which the owner of the
dominant estate has, in a formal manner, forbidden the owner of the servient
estate to do an act which would be lawful were it not for the easement.
In consequence thereof, the plaintiff, not having executed any formal act of
opposition to the right of the owner of the house No. 63, has not acquired, nor
could he acquire by prescription, such easement of light, no matter how long a
time have elapsed since the windows were opened in the wall of the said house
No. 65, because the period which the law demands for such prescriptive
acquisition could not have commenced to run, the act with which it must
necessarily commence not having been performed.
It is not true that article 533 of the Civil Code says that the easement of light is
positive, because it does nothing more than give in general terms the definition
of positive easements and negative easements, without attempting to specify
whether the easement of lights pertains to the first or to the second class.
It would appear, judging from his allegations as a whole, that the appellant
confuses positive easements with continuous easements. If all continuous
easements were positive and all discontinuous easements were negative, then
the express division of easements into positive and negative made by the Code,
after establishing the division of the same as continuous or discontinuous, would
be entirely unnecessary, as they would be entirely merged or included in the
latter classification. It is sufficient to read the text of the Code to understand
beyond the possibility of a doubt that a negative easement may be continuous,
and that a positive easement may be discontinuous, according to the special
nature of each one.

Solid Manila Corp vs Bio Hong Trading Co. Inc.


FACTS: Solid Manila Corporation owns a parcel of land located in Emita, Manila.
The same parcel of land lies in the vicinity of another parcel of land belonging to
Bio Hong Trading Co. In the deed of sale conveying the land of Bio Hong to them
is an annotation which states the reservation of an easement of way. In the
annotation, it was stated that the alley shall remain open at all times, no
obstructions shall be placed thereon and that the owner shall allow the public to
use the same. Solid Manila Corp and other residents of the neighboring estates
has been using the alley ever since and they contributed to its maintenance.
However, in 1983, Bio Hong Trading Co. constructed steel gates that hampered
others from using said alley. Hence, petitioner filed a suit against respondent. In
its answer, respondent alleges that the easement has been extinguished by
virtue of a merger in the same person of the dominant and servient estates, the
petitioner has another adequate outlet and that the petitioner has not shown
that the right of way lies at the point least prejudicial to the servient estate.

ISSUE: Whether or not an easement exists on the property.

HELD: Affirmative. The construction of the steel gates by respondent is a


violation of the deed of sale and the servitude of way. The Court of Appeals erred
when it ruled that since the private respondent owns the land where the
easement lies, it had every right to close the alley and that an easement can not
impair ownership. Solid Manila Corp is not claiming the easement or any part of
the property but is rather seeking to have private respondent respect the
easement already existing thereon.

Servitudes are merely accessories to the tenements of which they form part. The
fact, however, that the alley in question is inseparable from the main lot is
immaterial to defeat petitioners claim. Even if private respondent owns the
property, it did not acquire the right to close that alley or put up obstructions to
prevent the public from using such alley. Respondents contention regarding the
merger does not apply in the case here since the servitude spoken of here is a
personal servitude. In a personal servitude, there is no owner of a dominant
servient and the easement pertains to persons without a dominant estate or in
this case, the general public.

G.R. No. L-14116

June 30, 1960

LAUREANA A. CID, petitioner,


vs.
IRENE P. JAVIER, MANUEL P. JAVIER, JOSEFINA P. JAVIER, FERNANDO P.
JAVIER, JOSE P. JAVIER, GUILLERMO P. JAVIER, ISIDORA P. JAVIER,
BENJAMIN P. JAVIER, and LEONOR CRISOLOGO, respondents.
Antonio V. Raquiza for petitioner.
Cesar D. Javier for respondents.
BARRERA, J.:
The legal issue presented in this petition to review by certiorari a decision of the
Court of appeals, is whether the respondents Irene P. Javier, et al., owners of a
building standing on their lot with windows overlooking the adjacent lot, had
acquired by prescription an enforceable easement of light and view arising from
a verbal prohibition to obstruct such view and light, alleged to have been made
upon petitioner's
predecessor-in-interest as owner of the adjoining lot, both of which lots being

covered by Torrens titles. Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals are of the
view and so declared that respondents Javier et al., did acquire such easement
and gave judgment accordingly. Hence, petitioner has come to us seeking
review, alleging that both courts are in error.
The windows in question are admittedly in respondents' own building erected on
their own lot. The easement, if there is any, is therefore a negative one. 1 The
alleged prohibition having been avowedly made in 1913 or 1914, before the
present Civil Code took effect, the applicable legal provision is Article 538 of the
Spanish Civil Code which provides:
Art. 538. In order to acquire by prescription the easements referred to in
the next preceding article, the time of the possession shall be computed,
... in negative easements, from the day on which the owner of the
dominant estate has, by a formal act, forbidden the owner of the
servient estate to perform any act which would be lawful without the
easement. (Emphasis supplied.)
As may be seen, the only question hinges on the interpretation of the phrase "a
formal act". The lower court and the Court of Appeals considered any prohibition
made by the owner of the dominant estate, be it oral or written, sufficient
compliance with the law. The Court of Appeals declared:
In the light of the foregoing decisions, (Cortes vs. Yu Tibo, 2 Phil., 26 and
the decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain therein cited), we agree
with the trial court that the "formal act" of prohibition contemplated by
Art. 538 of the old Civil Code may be either a written or verbal act. The
decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain above-quoted do not at all
mention written but merely some act of prohibition. . . . .
We are inclined to take the contrary view. The law is explicit. It requires
not any form of prohibition, but exacts, in a parenthetical expression, for
emphasis, the doing not only of a specific, particular act, but a formal act. The
following definitions are pertinent:
Formalor pertaining to form, characterized by one due form or order,
done in due form with a solemnity regular; relating to matters of form.
(C. J. S. vol. 37, p. 115.)

Code which specifically requires the prohibition to be in "an instrument


acknowledged before a notary public". This is as it should be. Easements are in
the nature of an encumbrance on the servient estate. They constitute a
limitation of the dominical right of the owner of the subjected property. Hence,
they can be acquired only by title and by prescription, in the case of positive
easement, only as a result of some sort of invasion, apparent and continuous, of
the servient estate. By the same token, negative easements can not be acquired
by less formal means. Hence, the requirement that the prohibition (the
equivalent of the act of invasion) should be by "a formal act", "an instrument
acknowledged before a notary public."
The Court of Appeals found as undisputed the fact 'that plaintiffs' lot (dominant)
as well as defendant's lot (servient) are covered by Original Certificates of Title
Nos. 7225 and 7545, respectively", both issued by the Register of Deeds of
Ilocos Norte, in pursuance of the decrees of registration issued on December 27,
1937, in Cadastral Case No. 51, G.L.R.O. Cadastral Record No. 1212 of Laoag,
Ilocos Norte. Certified copies of these certificates of title are found as Annexes
"A" and "B", pages 77 to 80 inclusive of the Record on Appeal. In both of them, it
does not appear any annotation in respect to the easement supposedly acquired
by prescription which, counting the twenty (20) years from 1913 or 1914, would
have already ripened by 1937, date of the decrees of registration. Consequently,
even conceding arguendo that such an easement has been acquired, it had been
cut off or extinguished by the registration of the servient estate under the
Torrens System without the easement being annotated on the corresponding
certificate of title, pursuant to Section 39 of the Land Registration Act. 3
Wherefore, the decision of the Court of Appeals appealed from is hereby
reversed; the injunction issued herein dissolved; and the case remanded to the
court of origin for adjudication of the damages, if any, occasioned by the
issuance of the injunction. Without pronouncement as to costs. So ordered.
RESOLUTION

January 20, 1961

BARRERA, J.:
ActIn civil law, a writing which states in legal form that a thing has
been done, said or agreed. (1 Bouvier's Law Dictionary, p. 150, citing
Marlin Report.)
From these definitions, it would appear that the phrase "formal act" would
require not merely any writing, but one executed in due form and/or with
solemnity. That this is the intendment of the law although not expressed in exact
language is the reason for the clarification2 made in Article 621 of the new Civil

The Decision in this case, promulgated on June 30, 1960, provided, among
others, for the lifting of the preliminary injunction issued by the lower court
directed against petitioner's construction of a building allegedly being made in
violation of Municipal Ordinance No. 3, series of 1909 of the municipality of
Laoag, and in disregard of respondents' right to light and view.

In their motion for reconsideration timely presented, respondents claim that the
findings of the lower court, affirmed by the Court of Appeals, that the building
under construction violated the aforementioned ordinance (from which no
appeal was interposed) having become final, justify the issuance of and making
permanent the injunction already issued.
There is no question that respondents' house, as well as that of petitioner, are
within their respective properties; that respondents' wall stands only 50
centimeters from the boundary of the 2 lots, whereas, the wall of the petitioner's
building was constructed 1 meter from the boundary or 1 meter and 50
centimeters from the wall of the house of respondents. As a result, the lower
court found that the eaves of the two houses overlap each other by 24
centimeters. This, the Court of Appeals declared to be violative of Ordinance No.
3, series of 1903, amending Sections 1, 5, 6, and 13 of the Municipal Ordinance
of June 3, 1903, which requires a distance of 2 meters, measured from eaves to
eaves of adjoining buildings of strong materials.
It must be noted, however, that the Ordinance in question was adopted since
1909 and was, therefore, already in force at the time the house of respondents
was reconstructed in 1946 after the building originally erected thereon was
burned in 1942. If respondents constructed their house at least one meter from
the boundary line, as petitioner has constructed hers, there would be no
overlapping of the eaves and there would not be any violation of the ordinance.
As things now stand, in view of such construction by the respondents, the
overlapping of the eaves and the consequential violation of the ordinance can
not entirely be attributed to petitioner, as to require her alone to make the
adjustments necessary for the observance of the 2-meter eaves-to-eaves
distance from her neighbors. If any compliance with the ordinance would be
made not only by petitioner, but also by the respondents. There is, therefore, no
reason for the continuation of the injunction.
In view of the foregoing, and as the other grounds respondents' motion for
reconsideration had been already duly considered in the Decision, the said
motion is hereby denied, for lack of merit. So ordered.

G.R. No. L-14652

June 30, 1960

JUAN GARGANTOS, petitioner,


vs.
TAN YANON and THE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
Jose T. Nery for petitioner.
Constantino P. Tadena for respondents.
GUTIERREZ DAVID, J.:

Juan Gargantos appeals by certiorari from the decision of the Court of Appeals
reversing the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Romblon.
The record discloses that the late Francisco Sanz was the former owner of a
parcel of land containing 888 square meters, with the buildings and
improvements thereon, situated in the poblacion of Romblon. He subdivided the
lot into three and then sold each portion to different persons. One portion was
purchased by Guillermo Tengtio who subsequently sold it to Vicente Uy Veza.
Another portion, with the house of strong materials thereon, was sold in 1927 to
Tan Yanon, respondent herein. This house has on its northeastern side, doors and
windows over-looking the third portion, which, together with the camarin and
small building thereon, after passing through several hands, was finally acquired
by Juan Gargantos, petitioner herein.
On April 23, 1955, Gargantos applied to the Municipal Mayor for a permit to
demolish the roofing of the oldcamarin. The permit having been granted,
Gargantos tore down the roof of the camarin. On May 11, 1955, Gargantos asked
the Municipal Council of Romblon for another permit, this time in order to
construct a combined residential house and warehouse on his lot. Tan Yanon
opposed approval of this application.
Because both the provincial fiscal and district engineer of Romblon
recommended granting of the building permit to Gargantos, 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, 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, and to enjoin the members of Municipal Council of Romblon from
issuing the corresponding building permit to defendant. The case as against the
members of the Municipal Council was subsequently dismissed with concurrence
of plaintiff's council. After trial, the Court of First Instance of Romblon rendered
judgment dismissing the complaint and ordering plaintiff to pay defendant the
sum of P12,500.00 by way of compensatory, exemplary, moral and moderate
damages.
On appeal, 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, in conformity with Article 673 of the New Civil
Code."
So Juan Gargantos filed this petition for review of the appellate Court's decision.
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.

The kernel of petitioner's argument is that respondent never acquired any


easement either by title or by prescription. Assuredly, there is no deed
establishing an easement. Likewise, neither petitioner nor his predecessors-ininterest have ever executed any deed whereby they recognized the existence of
the easement, nor has there been final judgment to that effect. Invoking our
decision in Cortes vs. Yu-Tibo (2 Phil., 24), 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, hence the prescriptive period never started.
It is obvious, however, that Article 538, O.C.C. (now Article 621, N.C.C.) and the
doctrine in the Yu-Tibo case are not applicable herein because the two estates,
that now owned by petitioner, and that owner by respondent, were formerly
owned by just one person, Francisco Sanz. It was Sanz who introduced
improvements on both properties. On that portion presently belonging to
respondent, 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. On said northeastern side of the house, there are windows and doors
which serve as passages for light and view. These windows and doors were in
existence when respondent purchased the house and lot from Sanz. The deed
sale did not provide that the easement of light and view would not be
established. This then is precisely the case covered by Article 541, O.C.C (now
Article 624, N.C.C) which provides that the existence of an apparent sign of
easement between two estates, established by the proprietor of both, shall be
considered, if one of them is alienated, as a title so that the easement will
continue actively and passively, unless at the time the ownership of the two
estate is divided, the contrary is stated in the deed of alienation of either of
them, or the sign is made to disappear before the instrument is executed. The
existence of the doors and windows on the northeastern side of the
aforementioned house, is equivalent to a title, for the visible and permanent sign
of an easement is the title that characterizes its existence (Amor vs. Florentino,
74 Phil., 403). It should be noted, however, 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, inasmuch as before that time there is no
easement to speak of, there being but one owner of both estates (Articles 530,
O.C.C., now Articles 613, N.C.C).
We find that respondent Tan Yanon's property has an easement of light and view
against petitioner's property. 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.
Wherefore, the appealed decision is hereby affirmed with costs against
petitioner.

Unisource Commercial and Development Corporation v. Chung


FACTS:
Unisource Commercial and Development Corporation is the registered owner of
a parcel of which contains a memorandum of encumbrance of a voluntary
easement carried over from the OCT of Encarnacion S. Sandico declaring that
Francisco Hidalgo has the right to open doors in the course of his lot and to pass
through the land of Encarnacion Sandico, until the bank of the estero that goes
to the Pasig River, and towards the right of a Callejon. The annotation does not
expressly provide that it will be binding to the heirs and assigns of the parties.
Furthermore, the property of Hidalgo was already subdivided.
The memorandum of encumbrance was consistently annotated at the back of
every title covering Sandicos property until it was acquired by the petitioner.
Hidalgos property, on the other hand was eventually transferred to respondents
Joseph, Kia and Cleto all surnamed Chung.
Petitioner filed a Petition to Cancel the Encumbrance of Voluntary Easement of
Right of Way on the ground that the dominant estate has an adequate access to
a public road which is Matienza Street which was granted but the trial court but
eventually reversed by the Court of Appeals.
ISSUES
WON the can be cancelled by the petitioners who owns the servient estate on
the ground that that the dominant estate has an adequate access to a public
road
WON the easement is binding only between Hidalgo and Sandico since the
annotation did not expressly provides the intention to bind their heirs and
assigns.
RULING:
An easement is a real right on anothers 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. These are established either by law (legal easement) or by
the will of the owner (voluntary easement).
(1) Petitioner itself admitted that the existing easement is voluntary. The
opening of an adequate outlet to a highway can extinguish only legal or
compulsory easements, not voluntary easements like in the case at bar. The
fact that an easement by grant may have also qualified as an easement of
necessity does not detract from its permanency as a property right, which
survives the termination of the necessity. This easement of right of way, like any

other contract, could be extinguished only by mutual agreement or by


renunciation of the owner of the dominant estate. (Art. 631,NCC)
(2) A voluntary easement of right of way is like any other contract that is
generally effective between the parties, their heirs and assigns, except in case
where the rights and obligations arising from the contract are not transmissible
by their nature, or by stipulation or by provision of law.

G.R. No. L-23818 January 21, 1976


EMILIO PURUGGANAN, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
FELISA PAREDES and TRANQUILINO BARRERAS, defendants-appellants.
The main issue in this appeal is whether or not the summary judgment of the
Court of First Instance of Abra based on the pleadings and reports submitted by
the commissioner in Civil Case No. 738 entitled Emilio P. Purugganan vs. Felisa
Paredes, et al., was correctly rendered.
Plaintiff-appellee Emilio Purugganan is the owner of a piece of a residential lot
subdivided as Lot 1 and Lot 2, situated at the poblacion of Bangued, Abra and
technically described under Torrens Title No. R-6 in his name, adjacent to and
bounded on the North by the lot of defendant-appellant Felisa Paredes. The lots
of the plaintiff-appellee are subject to an easement of drainage in favor of the
defendants-appellants fully quoted in the Decree of Registration of the Court of
First Instance of Abra, G.L.R.O. Rec. No. 3256 to wit:
That the oppositor (Felisa Paredes) withdraws her opposition to
the registration of the lots Nos. 1 and 2 of the applicant, and in
compensation to said withdrawal by the oppositor of her
opposition, the applicant agrees to respect an easement or
servitude over a portion of the lots Nos. 1 and 2 which is EIGHT
AND ONE HALF (8-) meters in length commencing from point 4
of Lot No. 2 and stretching towards Lot No. 1 going Eastward,
and the width is ONE (1) meter, in order that the rain water
coming from the roofing of a house to be constructed by the
oppositor over the ruins of her brick wall now standing along the
Northeastern boundary of Lot 1 shall fall into the land of the
applicant.
In or about the month of March 1951, the defendants-appellants constructed a
house on their lot adjacent to Lots 1 and 2 of plaintiff-appellee in such a manner
that the southern side of their house is exactly on the brick wall, the southern
side of which is the demarcation line between the plaintiff-appellee and the

defendants-appellants, demolishing said brick wall and built thereon the


southern wall of their house with 3 windows. The house constructed by the
defendants-appellants is 2- meters longer than the length of roofing allowed in
the abovequoted Decree of Registration, and has an outer roofing (eaves) of
1.20 meters, protruding over the property of the plaintiff-appellee which is .20
meters wider than that allowed in the same Decree of Registration, and the rain
water from the GI roofing falls about 3 meters inside Lots 1 and 2 of the plaintiffappellee. The defendants-appellants also placed 3 windows each on the first and
second floors of their house on the side facing Lots 1 and 2 of plaintiff-appellee.
From the time the defendants-appellants started to construct their house, the
plaintiff-appellee has repeatedly and continuously been demanding from the
defendants-appellants that the construction of their house be in accordance with
the easement, but the defendants-appellants refused to observe the easement
and to close their windows. They also prohibited the plaintiff-appellee from
constructing a party wall between points 1 and 2 of Lot 2 and between points 2
and 3 and 4 of Lot 1.
In their answer, defendants-appellants admitted the allegations in paragraph 4
of the complaint with respect to the existence of an "Amicable Settlement" with
the plaintiff-appellee but interposing a denial of the rest and alleging that the
ruined brick wall which stands between the properties of the plaintiff-appellee
and their properties solely and exclusively belongs to them to the exclusion of
the plaintiff-appellee, the same having been inherited by defendant-appellant
Felisa Paredes from her ascendants from time immemorial, possessing them,
peacefully, continuously and adversely against any other party for so many
years up to the present; they also admitted having constructed a house on the
very lot owned by them, with windows on the side facing the south, the same as
the house which turned into ruins by reason of the bombing of Bangued in March
1945, but they denied that the same was constructed in or about March 1951, as
said house was reconstructed and re-erected on the ruins of a Spanish-built
house sometime in later months of 1950. They further alleged that the house
standing on the dominant estate pertaining to Felisa Paredes was constructed
long before the issuance of the Decree of Registration alluded to in the
complaint and that they have not violated the terms of the Decree of
Registration referred to in paragraph 4 the complaint; had long existed before
the Decree of Registration in question was issued, in the same way that said
windows existed long before the bombing of Bangued in March 1945 and
therefore, plaintiff-appellee, as owner of the servient estate, is estopped from
questioning the existence of said windows; that since time immemorial, the
house bombed in March 1945, on which ruins stands the present house, had
windows facing Lot No. 1, in the same way the windows of the present house are
so constructed facing same lot No. 1 a long time with notice, knowledge and
acquiescence of the plaintiff-appellee as owner of the servient estate.
Defendants-appellants prayed that plaintiff-appellee be ordered to respect all
existing construction on their lot and to refrain from constructing a party wall to
obstruct the easement of light, and view; that the easement of light and view be

inscribed on the title of plaintiff-appellee's lots as well as to pay the actual moral
and consequential damages.
On September 7, 1959, the trial court pursuant to a pre-trial agreement issued
an order appointing the Provincial Land Officer of the Bureau of Lands, Ilocos
Norte, or his duly authorized representative to relocate the monuments and
determine the boundary line between the lots of the parties involved.
On May 5, 1962 plaintiff-appellee filed a motion for summary judgment in
accordance with the prayer of his complaint except the portion relative to
damages where he reserved his right to present his evidence. He supported his
motion for summary judgment with an affidavit of merits to which he has
attached the Original Certificate of Title No. R-6 the Decree of Registration for
the issuance of said certificate of title, the Order dated September 7, 1959 and
the report of the Commissioner. In asking for summary judgment plaintiffappellee contended that from the respective pleadings of the parties and the
Commissioner's Report relative to the relocation and boundaries of his lands and
the adjacent lands of defendants-appellants which are both covered by Torrens
Certificate of Title, it is evident that there is no genuine issue as to any material
fact, except as to the amount of damages.
On June 4, 1962 defendants-appellants opposed the motion for summary
judgment on the ground that their answer to the plaintiff-appellee's complaint
has raised genuine and material issues of facts. In their supporting affidavit,
defendants-appellants alleged that the plaintiff-appellee was the private
surveyor who surveyed their lot in 1925 and that in the course of his survey he
had acted in bad faith when he excluded the portion of their land, which was the
subject matter of their opposition to the registration of plaintiff-appellee's lots;
that they constructed their house in 1950 without any protest from the plaintiffappellee and was almost complete when the Decree of Registration was issued
by the court; that the plaintiff-appellee knew fully well that the defendantsappellants were merely reconstructing a house which had been existing prior to
the bombing of Bangued in 1945; and that the brick wall standing along the
house is exclusively owned by them.
On July 30, 1962, the lower court rendered the now questioned Summary
Judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATION, summary
judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against
the defendants:
(a) Ordering the defendants to reconstruct the roof and eaves of
their house on the southern side now existing on their lot such

that the falling water shall not fall on curve into the lots of the
plaintiff beyond one meter from the boundary line and by 8-
meters in length and to remove the said protruding eaves and
roof;
(b) Ordering the herein defendants to reconstruct the wall of
their house on the southern side either by placing in two meters
north of the boundary line if they desired their windows on the
first and second floors to continue to exist, or to permanently
close the three windows on the second floor and such other
openings or apertures facing the lot of the plaintiff;
(c) Ordering the defendants to comply with what is ordered
above in Pars. (a) and (b) within sixty (60) days from the finality
of this judgment. Upon their failure to do so the Provincial Sheriff
of Abra is hereby authorized to implement this judgment and
execute the acts mentioned in Pars. (a) and (b) hereof, at the
expense of the defendants:
(d) Enjoining perpetually the herein defendants from prohibiting
the plaintiff from making such legal and lawful constructions on
his lots up to the boundary between plaintiff's lot and
defendants' lot, provided always that such construction in
whatever form, as a firewall, fence, etc., shall not violate the
casement of drainage in favor of the defendants, and to conform
with the provisions of Art. 675 of the New Civil Code; and
(e) Ordering the defendants from further encroaching into
plaintiff's lots and molesting the said plaintiff in the lawful
exercise of dominion over his own property.
Plaintiff-appellee reserved his right to adduce evidence with respect to damages.
On September 3, 1962 defendants-appellants moved for reconsideration of the
foregoing decision on the ground that there is a genuine and material issue of
fact and that said decision is unsupported by law and evidence. Whereupon the
court a quo, deferring in the meantime any action on the motion, issued an
order appointing Atty. Gelacio Bolante, Clerk of Court, to act as commissioner to
make an ocular inspection on the premises of the lot in question and to measure
the eaves of the house of the defendants-appellants to find out whether it
conforms with the annotation contained in the Torrens certificate of Title of the
plaintiff-appellee.

On December 4, 1962 the Clerk of Court submitted his report. After receiving a
copy of said report defendants-appellants manifested to the court that they
agree with the findings of facts therein and prayed that judgment be rendered in
accordance therewith and that their ownership of the brick wall mentioned in
said report be confirmed.
On July 23, 1963 the trial court denied the motion for reconsideration of its
summary judgment.
Hence, this appeal.
Defendants-appellants contended that the lower court erred in rendering a
summary judgment because (1) there is actually a genuine issue of material
facts raised in the pleadings; (2) that it made a finding of fact not supported by
any evidence; and (3) that it rendered summary judgment without any legal
basis. They claimed that after denying the allegations of plaintiff-appellee's
complaint that they have violated the easement of drainage there was actually a
genuine issue of material fact presented. The allegation referred to is that
contained in paragraph 6 which states that the roof of defendants' house
protrudes by .2 meter wider and 2- meters longer than that allowed by the
Decree of Registration. This denial in paragraph 4 of the Answer of the
defendants-appellants reads as follows:
That the defendants deny the allegations in paragraph 6 of the
complaint, and allege that the house standing on the dominant
estate pertaining to Felisa Paredes, was constructed long before
the issuance of the Decree of Registration alluded to in the
complaint, the herein defendants not having violated the terms
of the Decree of Registration to in paragraph 4 of the complaint.
Again in their opposition to the motion for summary judgment, defendantsappellants repeated the same denial and averments by alleging therein:
Defendants specifically denied these allegations of the plaintiff
and alleged that (a) the house of the defendants was
constructed sometime in the latter months of 1950, before the
issuance of the Decree of Registration adverted to by the
plaintiff, and therefore could not have violated that said Decree,
and (b) that the windows complained of by the plaintiff are
reconstructed windows of the reconstructed house of the
dominant estate which had been in existence since the Spanish
Regime, with the knowledge, acquiescence and toleration of the
plaintiff and his predecessors in interests for more than sixty
(60) years.

Even the supporting affidavit of defendants-appellants alleged that the brick wall
standing along their house and adjacent to the land of the plaintiff-appellee is
owned by them. A close look at the foregoing denials however, will show that the
allegations defendants-appellants were trying to challenge relate to the validity
of the easement of drainage as annotated in the Certificate of Title of plaintiffappellee and not to the allegation that the roof of defendants-appellants
protrudes by .2 meter wider and 2- meters longer than that allowed by the
Decree of Registration. This must be the reason why in his summary judgment,
the trial judge noted the first issue as: "(1) that the house now standing on the
lot of the defendants was constructed before the issuance of the Decree of
Registration and, therefore, such construction did not violate said Decree of
Registration particularly the easement annotated on the Original Certificate of
Title No. R-6 ...."
It is only in their Motion for Reconsideration that defendants-appellants made
the clarification that the issue is not whether their house was constructed before
or subsequent to the Amicable Settlement but whether or not the roofing was .2
meter wider and 2- meters longer than the distance allowed in the Decree of
Registration. So after the clarification, the trial judge ordered that an ocular
inspection of the premises of the lots in question be made and the eaves of the
house of the defendants-appellants be measured whether it conforms with the
annotation contained in the Torrens Certificate of Title of plaintiff-appellee. After
the ocular inspection defendants-appellants readily manifested their conformity
to the findings of fact made by the commissioner appointed by the court. Under
such a situation, it would seem that there was no need for a trial on the merits
to resolve the question as to whether the defendants-appellants' roof was
constructed in violation of the easement of drainage of plaintiff-appellee. All that
remained for the trial court, to do was to evaluate the facts and the arguments
in the pleadings and the reports of the commissioner.
Defendants-appellants faulted the trial court for concluding that they have
violated the conditions of the easement of drainage without taking into
consideration the report of the commissioner appointed by it. After going over
the pleadings of the parties and the reports of the commissioner, we find no
substantial ground to disturb the conclusion of the trial court. Defendantsappellants have made a mistake in applying the distances prescribed in the
Decree of Registration to the roofing of their house. They failed to comprehend
the meaning of the phrase "servidumbre de vertiente de los tejados" constitutes
on the land of plaintiff. Translated, it means the easement of receiving water
falling from the roof which is an encumbrance imposed on the land of the
plaintiff-appellee. Consequently, the distances prescribed in the Decree of
Registration should not correspond to the width and length of the roof of the
defendants-appellants' house but to the distance of the rain water falling inside
the land of the plaintiff-appellee because the encumbrance is not the roof itself
but the rain water falling inside the property of the plaintiff-appellee. The

Amicable Settlement, which was the basis of the Decree of Registration, clearly
states that the servitude on the land is to the extent of the distances setforth
thus:
... the applicant agrees to respect an easement of servitude over
a portion of the lots Nos. 1 and 2 which is EIGHT AND ONE HALF
(8-) meters in length commencing from point 4 of Lot No. 2
and stretching towards Lot No. 1 going Eastward, and the width
is ONE (1) meter, in order that the rain water coming from the
roofing of a house to be constructed by the oppositor over the
ruins of her brick wall now standing along the Northeastern
boundary of Lot 1 shall fall into the land of the applicant.
And the Decree of Registration tersely states that a portion of Lot 1 and Lot 2
consisting of 8- meters long and 1 meter wide is subject to the easement of
receiving water falling from the roof. If these distances were made to correspond
to the measurement of the roof then the encumbrance on plaintiff-appellee's
property would be more than the distances specified in the Certificate of Title.
The report submitted by the Commissioner appointed by the lower court to make
an ocular of the premises involved shows that the eaves of the house of
defendants-appellee and measures 8 meters and 20 centimeters in length; that
during ordinary rain the water falling from the eaves of the defendantsappellants' house fall within one meter from the boundary line of plaintiffappellee's property and during heavy rains more than one meter from said
boundary line. The foregoing findings and observations of the Commissioner
weaken defendants-appellants' disclaimer that they did not violate the
conditions of the easement of drainage of plaintiff-appellee. There is such
violation because the roof of the defendants-appellants protrudes by 98
centimeters over the property of plaintiff-appellee, so that during a heavy
rainfall the propulsion of the water would go as far as one meter over the
property of the latter. Obviously the lower court is correct in finding the
defendants-appellants to have violated the conditions of the easement of
drainage of plaintiff-appellee.
Defendants-appellants also blamed the trial court for ruling that they have not
acquired an easement of light and view of the property of the plaintiff-appellee.
The trial court's ruling that defendants-appellants have not acquired an
easement of light and view on the property of the plaintiff-appellee is premised
on Section 39 of Act 496 in accordance with which the servient estate was
registered. Said Section provides:
Every person receiving a certificate of title in pursuance of a
decree of registration ... shall hold the same free of all
encumbrance except those noted on said certificates ...

The same section, however, provides: "But if there are easement or other rights
appurtenant to a parcel of registered land which for any reason have failed to be
registered, such easement or rights shall remain so appurtenant notwithstanding
such failure, and shall be held to pass with the land until cut off or extinguished
by the registration of the servient estate or in any other manner (Sec. 39, Act
No. 496, as amended by Act No. 2011, and Sec, 4, Act No. 3621). In the case
of Cid vs. Javier, 108 Phil. 850, 853, plaintiff's lot (dominant) as well as
defendants' lot (servient) are covered by Original Certificate of Title Nos. 7225
and 7545 respectively. In both of them, there does not appear any annotation
with respect to the easement supposedly acquired by prescription which
counting the twenty, (20) years from 1931 or 1914 would have already ripened
by 1937, date of the decrees of registration. In said case our Supreme Court
held:
Granting that in the instant case an easement of light and view
was acquired by prescription, it was cut off or extinguished by
the of the registration of the servient estate under the Torrens
System without the easement being annotated on the
corresponding certificate of title, pursuant to Sec. 39 of the Land
Registration Act (Act 496).
The lower court correctly applied the foregoing doctrine to the case at bar.
Indeed if defendants-appellants had acquired the said easement of light and
view by prescription through user since time immemorial why did they not
intervene in the registration proceedings for the inclusion of said easement in
the Certificate of Title of plaintiff-appellee as an encumbrance thereon, in the
same manner that the easement of drainage was annotated in the Certificate of
Title of plaintiff-appellee? The easement of drainage was inscribed in the
Certificate of Title of plaintiff-appellee in their favor by virtue of an amicable
settlement resulting from their opposition to the registration of plaintiffappellee's property. In this light, their defense of user "since time immemorial"
becomes flimsy and is merely being used to simulate a factual issue.
Finally, defendants-appellants argued that the summary judgment of the lower
court has no legal basis. Summary judgment is employed as a method of
disposing a case when the pleadings, depositions, admission and affidavits filed
by the parties show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and
that the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law (Section 3 of Rule
34). In the case at bar the plaintiff-appellee's right to the reliefs sought is
dependent on the existence or non-existence of the easement of drainage and of
light and view of favor of the defendants-appellants as well as on the conditions
attached to such easements. There is no dispute that plaintiff-appellee's
property was registered in 1951 under the Torrens System and that only the
easement of drainage is annotated on his Certificate of Title, subject to

prescribed distances. But what defendants-appellants have advanced as factual


issues are: (1) that they have not violated the prescribed distances of the
easement of drainage; and (2) that the easement of light and view was in
existence since time imemorial. The first factual issue was resolved by the report
submitted by the commissioner to which defendants-appellants have given their
conformity. The second factual issue is immaterial to the disposition of the case
because the servient estate was registered in 1951 without the easement of
light and view being annotated on the title. Since the supposed easement of
light and view is not annotated on the title, it becomes immaterial whether such
easement existed since time immemorial. On this point, there is no need to have
a trial on the merits and a summary judgment would appear to be in order.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the summary judgment appealed from is hereby
affirmed with costs against defendants-appellants.
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 [1] 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 [2]dated
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.[3]
Unknown to petitioner, even before he bought the land, the Gabriels had
constructed the aforementioned small house that encroached upon the twometer 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. [4] 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.[5]

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. [6] The motion for reconsideration as
well as the Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration dated September 12, 1995
were denied on October 19, 1995. [7]
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.[8]
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.[9]
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,[10] 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 [11] 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-918703, 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 [12]in accordance with
Article 617[13] 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.[14] 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. [15] 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, [16] 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. [17] 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-918703 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. [18] In this case, private
respondents, Julio Sebastian and Shirley Lorilla, initiated Civil Case No. Q-918703 on May 8, 1991,[19] against the original owners, the spouses Maximo and
Justina Gabriel. Title in the name of petitioner was entered in the Register of
Deeds[20] 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-918703 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.