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6/29/2017 SpsCustodiovsCA:116100:February9,1996:JRegalado:SecondDivision

[Syllabus]

SECONDDIVISION

[G.R.No.116100.February9,1996]

SPOUSES CRISTINO and BRIGIDA CUSTODIO and SPOUSES LITO and MARIA
CRISTINA SANTOS, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, HEIRS OF
PACIFICO C. MABASA and REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF PASIG, METRO
MANILA,BRANCH181,respondents.

DECISION
REGALADO,J.:

This petition for review on certiorari assails the decision of respondent Court of Appeals in CA
G.R. CV No. 29115, promulgated on November 10, 1993, which affirmed with modification the
decisionofthetrialcourt,aswellasitsresolutiondatedJuly8,1994denyingpetitionersmotionfor
[1]
reconsideration.
OnAugust26,1982,CivilCaseNo.47466forthegrantofaneasementofrightofwaywasfiled
byPacificoMabasaagainstCristinoCustodio,BrigidaR.Custodio,RosalinaR.Morato,LitoSantos
and Maria Cristina C. Santos before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig and assigned to Branch 22
[2]
thereof.
The generative facts of the case, as synthesized by the trial court and adopted by the Court of
Appeals,areasfollows:

Perusingtherecord,thisCourtfindsthattheoriginalplaintiffPacificoMabasadiedduringthependencyofthis
caseandwassubstitutedbyOfeliaMabasa,hissurvivingspouse[andchildren].

TheplaintiffownsaparceloflandwithatwodoorapartmenterectedthereonsituatedatInteriorP.BurgosSt.,
Palingon,Tipas,Taguig,MetroManila.Theplaintiffwasabletoacquiresaidpropertythroughacontractofsale
withspousesMamertoRayosandTeodoraQuinteroasvendorslastSeptember1981.Saidpropertymaybe
describedtobesurroundedbyotherimmovablespertainingtodefendantsherein.TakingP.BurgosStreetasthe
pointofreference,ontheleftside,goingtoplaintiffsproperty,therowofhouseswillbeasfollows:Thatof
defendantsCristinoandBrigidoCustodio,thenthatofLitoandMariaCristinaSantosandthenthatofOfelia
Mabasa.Ontherightside(is)thatofdefendantRosalinaMoratoandthenaSepticTank(ExhibitD).Asan
accesstoP.BurgosStreetfromplaintiffsproperty,therearetwopossiblepassageways.Thefirstpassagewayis
approximatelyonemeterwideandisabout20metersdistan(t)fromMabasasresidencetoP.BurgosStreet.Such
pathispassinginbetweenthepreviouslymentionedrowofhouses.Thesecondpassagewayisabout3metersin
widthandlengthfromplaintiffMabasasresidencetoP.BurgosStreetitisabout26meters.Inpassingthrusaid
passageway,alessthanameterwidepaththroughtheseptictankandwith56metersinlengthhastobe
traversed.

WhensaidpropertywaspurchasedbyMabasa,thereweretenantsoccupyingthepremisesandwhowere
acknowledgedbyplaintiffMabasaastenants.However,sometimeinFebruary,1982.oneofsaidtenants
vacatedtheapartmentandwhenplaintiffMabasawenttoseethepremises,hesawthattherehadbeenbuiltan
adobefenceinthefirstpassagewaymakingitnarrowerinwidth.Saidadobefencewasfirstconstructedby
defendantsSantosesalongtheirpropertywhichisalsoalongthefirstpassageway.DefendantMorato
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constructedheradobefenceandevenextendedsaidfenceinsuchawaythattheentirepassagewaywas
enclosed(Exhibit1SantosesandCustodios,Exh.Dforplaintiff,Exhs.1C,1DandIE)Anditwasthenthat
theremainingtenantsofsaidapartmentvacatedthearea.DefendantMa.CristinaSantostestifiedthatshe
constructedsaidfencebecausetherewasanincidentwhenherdaughterwasdraggedbyabicyclepedalledbya
sonofoneofthetenantsinsaidapartmentalongthefirstpassageway.Shealsomentionedsomeother
inconveniencesofhaving(at)thefrontofherhouseapathwaysuchaswhensomeofthetenantsweredrunkand
[3]
wouldbangtheirdoorsandwindows.Someoftheirfootwearwereevenlost.xxx (Italicsinoriginaltext
correctionsinparenthesessupplied)

OnFebruary27,1990,adecisionwasrenderedbythetrialcourt,withthisdispositivepart:
Accordingly,judgmentisherebyrenderedasfollows:

1)OrderingdefendantsCustodiosandSantosestogiveplaintiffpermanentaccessingressandegress,tothe
publicstreet

2)OrderingtheplaintifftopaydefendantsCustodiosandSantosesthesumofEightThousandPesos(P8,000)as
indemnityforthepermanentuseofthepassageway.

[4]
Thepartiestoshouldertheirrespectivelitigationexpenses.

Notsatisfiedtherewith,thereinplaintiffrepresentedbyhisheirs,hereinprivaterespondents,went
totheCourtofAppealsraisingthesoleissueofwhetherornotthelowercourterredinnotawarding
damagesintheirfavor.OnNovember10,1993,asearlierstated,theCourtofAppealsrenderedits
decision affirming the judgment of the trial court with modification, the decretal portion of which
disposesasfollows:

WHEREFORE,theappealeddecisionofthelowercourtisherebyAFFIRMEDWITHMODIFICATIONonly
insofarasthehereingrantofdamagestoplaintiffsappellants.TheCourtherebyordersdefendantsappelleesto
payplaintiffsappellantsthesumofSixtyFiveThousand(P65,000)PesosasActualDamages,ThirtyThousand
(P30,000)PesosasMoralDamages,andTenThousand(P10,000)PesosasExemplaryDamages.Therestofthe
[5]
appealeddecisionisaffirmedtoallrespects.
[6]
OnJuly8,1994,theCourtofAppealsdeniedpetitionersmotionforreconsideration. Petitioners
thentookthepresentrecoursetous,raisingtwoissues,namely,whetherornotthegrantofrightof
waytohereinprivaterespondentsisproper,andwhetherornottheawardofdamagesisinorder.
With respect to the first issue, herein petitioners are already barred from raising the same.
Petitionersdidnotappealfromthedecisionofthecourtaquograntingprivaterespondentstheright
ofway,hencetheyarepresumedtobesatisfiedwiththeadjudicationtherein.Withthefinalityofthe
judgment of the trial court as to petitioners, the issue of propriety of the grant of right of way has
alreadybeenlaidtorest.
For failure to appeal the decision of the trial court to the Court of Appeals, petitioners cannot
obtainanyaffirmativereliefotherthanthosegrantedinthedecisionofthetrialcourt.Thatdecisionof
the court below has become final as against them and can no longer be reviewed, much less
reversed,bythisCourt.Theruleinthisjurisdictionisthatwheneveranappealistakeninacivilcase,
an appellee who has not himself appealed may not obtain from the appellate court any affirmative
reliefotherthanwhatwasgrantedinthedecisionofthelowercourt.Theappelleecanonlyadvance
anyargumentthathemaydeemnecessarytodefeattheappellantsclaimortoupholdthedecision
thatisbeingdisputed,andhecanassignerrorsinhisbriefifsuchisrequiredtostrengthentheviews
expressed by the court a quo. These assigned errors, in turn, may be considered by the appellate
courtsolelytomaintaintheappealeddecisiononothergrounds,butnotforthepurposeofreversing
[7]
ormodifyingthejudgmentintheappelleesfavorandgivinghimotheraffirmativereliefs.
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However, with respect to the second issue, we agree with petitioners that the Court of Appeals
erredinawardingdamagesinfavorofprivaterespondents.Theawardofdamageshasnosubstantial
legalbasis.A reading of the decision of the Court of Appeals will show that the award of damages
wasbasedsolelyonthefactthattheoriginalplaintiff,PacificoMabasa,incurredlossesintheformof
unrealized rentals when the tenants vacated the leased premises by reason of the closure of the
passageway.
However, the mere fact that the plaintiff suffered losses does not give rise to a right to recover
damages.Towarranttherecoveryofdamages,theremustbebotharightofactionforalegalwrong
inflictedbythedefendant,anddamageresultingtotheplaintifftherefrom.Wrongwithoutdamage,or
damagewithoutwrong,doesnotconstituteacauseofaction,sincedamagesaremerelypartofthe
[8]
remedyallowedfortheinjurycausedbyabreachorwrong.
Thereisamaterialdistinctionbetweendamagesandinjury.Injuryistheillegalinvasionofalegal
right damage is the loss, hurt, or harm which results from the injury and damages are the
recompenseorcompensationawardedforthedamagesuffered.Thus,therecanbedamagewithout
injury in those instances in which the loss or harm was not the result of a violation of a legal duty.
[9]
Thesesituationsareoftencalleddamnumabsqueinjuria. inorderthataplaintiffmaymaintainan
action for the injuries of which he complains, he must establish that such injuries resulted from a
breachofdutywhichthedefendantowedtotheplaintiffaconcurrenceofinjurytotheplaintiffand
[10]
legalresponsibilitybythepersoncausingit. Theunderlyingbasisfortheawardoftortdamagesis
thepremisethatanindividualwasinjuredincontemplationoflaw.Thus,theremustfirstbethebreach
ofsomedutyandtheimpositionofliabilityforthatbreachbeforedamagesmaybeawardeditisnot
sufficienttostatethatthereshouldbetortliabilitymerelybecausetheplaintiffsufferedsomepainand
[11]
suffering)
Manyaccidentsoccurandmanyinjuriesareinflictedbyactsoromissionswhichcausedamageor
loss to another but which violate no legal duty to such other person, and consequently create no
cause of action in his favor. In such cases, the consequences must be borne by the injured person
alone.Thelawaffordsnoremedyfordamagesresultingfromanactwhichdoesnotamounttoalegal
[12]
injuryorwrong.
Inotherwords,inorderthatthelawwillgiveredressforanactcausingdamage,thatactmustbe
[13]
notonlyhurtful,butwrongful.Theremustbedamnumetinjuria. If,asmayhappeninmanycases,
a person sustains actual damage, that is, harm or loss to his person or property, without sustaining
any legal injury, that is, an act or omission which the law does not deem an injury, the damage is
[14]
regardedasdamnumabsqueinjuria.
Inthecaseatbar,althoughtherewasdamage,therewasnolegalinjury.Contrarytotheclaimof
privaterespondents,petitionerscouldnotbesaidtohaveviolatedtheprincipleofabuseofright.In
orderthattheprincipleofabuseofrightprovidedinArticle21oftheCivilCodecanbeapplied,itis
essentialthatthefollowingrequisitesconcur:(1)Thedefendantshouldhaveactedinamannerthatis
contrarytomorals,goodcustomsorpublicpolicy(2)Theactsshouldbewillfuland(3)Therewas
[15]
damageorinjurytotheplaintiff.
The act of petitioners in constructing a fence within their lot is a valid exercise of their right as
owners,hencenotcontrarytomorals,goodcustomsorpublicpolicy.Thelawrecognizesintheowner
[16]
therighttoenjoyanddisposeofathing,withoutotherlimitationsthanthoseestablishedbylaw. It
iswithintherightofpetitioners,asowners,toencloseandfencetheirproperty.Article430oftheCivil
Code provides that (e)very owner may enclose or fence his land or tenements by means of walls,
ditches, live or dead hedges, or by any other means without detriment to servitudes constituted
thereon.
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Atthetimeoftheconstructionofthefence,thelotwasnotsubjecttoanyservitudes.Therewas
noeasementofwayexistinginfavorofprivaterespondents,eitherbylaworbycontract.Thefactthat
privaterespondentshadnoexistingrightoverthesaidpassagewayisconfirmedbytheverydecision
ofthetrialcourtgrantingacompulsoryrightofwayintheirfavorafterpaymentofjustcompensation.It
was only that decision which gave private respondents the right to use the said passageway after
paymentofthecompensationandimposedacorrespondingdutyonpetitionersnottointerfereinthe
exerciseofsaidright.
Hence,priortosaiddecision,petitionershadanabsoluterightovertheirpropertyandtheiractof
fencingandenclosingthesamewasanactwhichtheymaylawfullyperformintheemploymentand
exercise of said right. To repeat, whatever injury or damage may have been sustained by private
[17]
respondentsbyreasonoftherightfuluseofthesaidlandbypetitionersisdamnumabsqueinjuria.
A person has a right to the natural use and enjoyment of his own property, according to his
pleasure,forallthepurposestowhichsuchpropertyisusuallyapplied.Asageneralrule,therefore,
thereisnocauseofactionforactsdonebyonepersonuponhisownpropertyinalawfulandproper
manner, although such acts incidentally cause damage or an unavoidable loss to another, as such
[18]
damageorlossisdamnumabsqueinjuria. Whentheownerofpropertymakesusethereofinthe
generalandordinarymannerinwhichthepropertyisused,suchasfencingorenclosingthesameas
in this case, nobody can complain of having been injured, because the inconvenience arising from
[19]
saidusecanbeconsideredasamereconsequenceofcommunitylife.
[20]
Theproperexerciseofalawfulrightcannotconstitutealegalwrongforwhichanactionwilllie,
[21]
althoughtheactmayresultindamagetoanother,fornolegalrighthasbeeninvaded Onemayuse
anylawfulmeanstoaccomplishalawfulpurposeandthoughthemeansadoptedmaycausedamage
toanother,nocauseofactionarisesinthelattersfavor.Anyinjuryordamageoccasionedtherebyis
damnumabsqueinjuria.The courts can give no redress for hardship to an individual resulting from
[22]
actionreasonablycalculatedtoachievealawfulendbylawfulmeans.
WHEREFORE, under the compulsion of the foregoing premises, the appealed decision of
respondent Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the judgment of the trial
courtiscorrespondinglyREINSTATED.
SOORDERED.
RomeroandPuno,JJ.,concur.
Mendoza,J.,tooknopart.

[1]
PennedbyJusticeLourdesK.TayaoJaguros,withJusticesVicenteV.MendozaandJesusM.Elbinias,concurring.
[2]
OriginalRecord,1.
[3]
Rollo,2829.
[4]
Ibid.,38.
[5]
Ibid.,31.
[6]
Ibid.,34.
[7]
SeeLumibaovs.IntermediateAppellateCourt,etal.,G.R.No.64677,September13,1990,189SCRA469SMIFish
Industries, Inc., et al. vs. National Labor Relations Commission, et al., G.R. Nos. 96952 56, September 2, 1992, 213
SCRA444HeirsofJuanOclarit,etal.vs.CourtofAppeals,etal.,G.R.No.96644,June17,1994,233SCRA239.

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[8]
22AmJur2d,Damages,Sec.4,3536.
[9]
Ibid.,113
[10]
1AmJur2d,Actions,Sec.65,595seeTheBoardofLiquidatorsvs.Kalaw,etal.,L18805,August14,1967,20SCRA
987.
[11]
Plummervs.AbbottLaboratories(DCRI),568,FSupp.920,CCHProdLiabRep9878.
[12]
Ibid.,598.
[13]
Comstockvs.Wilson,257NY231177NE421,76ALR676Haldemanvs.Bruckhart,45,45Pa514.
[14]
U.S.PremierMaltRoductsCo.vs.Kasser,23F.(2d)98.
[15]
Jurado,D.P.,PersonalandFamilyLaw,1984ed.,41.
[16]
Jovellanos,etal.vs.CourtofAppeals,etal.,G.R.No.100728,June1992,210SCRA126.
[17]
SeeEscano,etal.vs.CourtofAppeals,etal.,L47207,September251980,100SCRA197IlocosNorteElectric Co.
vs.CourtofAppeals,etal.,G.R.No.53401,November6,1989,179SCRA5AlbensonEnterprisesCorporation,etal.vs.
CourtofAppeals,etal.,G.RNo.88694,January11,1993,217SCRA16.
[18]
1C.J.S.,Actions,Sec.15,10071008.
[19]
Tolentino,A.M.,CommentariesandjurisprudenceontheCivilCodeofthePhilippines,Vol.11(1987),59,citing8Salvat
614.
[20]
Coynevs.Mississippi&R.R.BoomCo.,72533,75NW748.
[21]
Whitevs.Kincaid,149NC415,63SE109Fahnvs.Reichart,8Wis255.
[22]
OKeefeevs.Local463,UnitedAsso.P.&G.277NY300,14NE2d77,117ALR817.

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