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USUFRUCT Archdiocese, which she did for seven (7) undersigned may exercise the freedom

years. Thereafter, she worked at the to look for his own;


MERCEDES MORALIDAD, Mental Health Department of said
Petitioner, University for the next seventeen (17) 5. That any proceeds or income
years. derived from the aforementioned
- versus - properties shall be allotted to my
During those years, she would come nearest kins who have less in life in
home to the Philippines to spend her greater percentage and lesser
SPS. DIOSDADO PERNES and ARLENE two-month summer vacation in her percentage to those who are better of in
PERNES, hometown in Davao City. Being single, standing.
Respondents. she would usually stay in Mandug, Davao
City, in the house of her niece, xxx xxx xxx
G.R. No. 152809 respondent Arlene Pernes, a daughter of Following her retirement in 1993,
her younger sister, Rosario. petitioner came back to the Philippines
Present: to stay with the respondents on the
Back in the U.S.A. sometime in 1986, she house they build on the subject
PUNO, J., Chairperson, received news from Arlene that Mandug property. In the course of time, their
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, at the outskirts of Davao City was relations turned sour because members
CORONA, infested by NPA rebels and many women of the Pernes family were impervious to
AZCUNA, and and children were victims of crossfire her suggestions and attempts to change
GARCIA, JJ. between government troops and the certain practices concerning matters of
insurgents. Shocked and saddened about health and sanitation within their
Promulgated: this development, she immediately sent compound. For instance, Arlenes eldest
money to Araceli, Arlenes older sister, son, Myco Pernes, then a fourth year
August 3, 2006 with instructions to look for a lot in veterinary medicine student, would
Davao City where Arlene and her family answer petitioner back with clenched fist
could transfer and settle down. This was and at one time hurled profanities when
x ---------------------------------------------------- why she bought the parcel of land she corrected him. Later, Arlene herself
-----------------------------x covered by TCT No. T-123125. followed suit. Petitioner brought the
matter to the local barangay lupon
DECISION Petitioner acquired the lot property where she lodged a complaint for
initially for the purpose of letting Arlene slander, harassment, threat and
GARCIA, J.: move from Mandug to Davao City proper defamation against the Pernes Family.
but later she wanted the property to be Deciding for petitioner, the lupon
also available to any of her kins wishing apparently ordered the Pernes family to
Under consideration is this petition for to live and settle in Davao City. vacate petitioners property but not after
review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Petitioner made known this intention in they are reimbursed for the value of the
Rules of Court to nullify and set aside the a document she executed on July 21, house they built thereon. Unfortunately,
following issuances of the Court of 1986.[3] The document reads: the parties could not agree on the
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 61610, to amount, thus prolonging the impasse
wit: I, MERCEDES VIA MORALIDAD, of legal between them.
age, single, having been born on the
1. Decision dated September 29th day of January, 1923, now actually Other ugly incidents interspersed with
27, 2001,[1] affirming an earlier decision residing at 8021 Lindbergh Boulevard, violent confrontations meanwhile
of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., transpired, with the petitioner narrating
Davao City which reversed that of the wishes to convey my honest intention that, at one occasion in July 1998, she
Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), regarding my properties situated at Palm sustained cuts and wounds when Arlene
Davao City, Branch 1, in an action for Village Subdivision, Bajada, Davao City, pulled her hair, hit her on the face, neck
unlawful detainer thereat commenced 9501, and hereby declare: and back, while her husband Diosdado
by the petitioner against the herein held her, twisting her arms in the
respondents; and 1. That it is my desire that Mr. and Mrs. process.
2. Resolution dated February Diosdado M. Pernes may build their
28, 2002,[2] denying petitioners motion house therein and stay as long as they Relations having deteriorated from
for reconsideration. like; worse to worst, petitioner, on July 29,
1998, lodged a formal complaint before
2. That anybody of my kins who wishes the Regional Office of the Ombudsman
At the heart of this controversy is a to stay on the aforementioned real for Mindanao, charging the respondent
parcel of land located in Davao City and property should maintain an atmosphere spouses, who were both government
registered in the name of petitioner of cooperation, live in harmony and employees, with conduct unbecoming of
Mercedes Moralidad under Transfer must avoid bickering with one another; public servants. This administrative case,
Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-123125 of however, did not prosper.
the Registry of Deeds of Davao City. 3. That anyone of my kins may enjoy
In her younger days, petitioner taught in the privilege to stay therein and may Then, on August 3, 1998, petitioner filed
Davao City, Quezon City and Manila. avail the use thereof. Provided, however, with the MTCC of Davao City an unlawful
While teaching in Manila, she had the that the same is not inimical to the detainer suit against the respondent
good fortune of furthering her studies at purpose thereof; spouses. Petitioner alleged that she is
the University of Pennsylvania, U.S.A. the registered owner of the land on
While schooling, she was offered to 4. That anyone of my kins who cannot which the respondents built their house;
teach at the Philadelphia Catholic conform with the wishes of the that through her counsel, she sent the
respondent spouses a letter demanding
them to vacate the premises and to pay decision was not the prudent course of issue of whether respondents right to
rentals therefor, which the respondents action to take, considering that the possess a portion of petitioners land had
refused to heed. house the respondents constructed on already expired or was already
the subject property might even be more terminated was not yet resolved. To the
In their defense, the respondents alleged valuable than the land site. CA, the unlawful detainer suit
having entered the property in question, presupposes the cessation of
building their house thereon and Eventually, in a decision[7] dated respondents right to possess. The CA
maintaining the same as their residence September 30, 2000, the RTC reversed further ruled that what governs the
with petitioners full knowledge and that of the MTCC, holding that rights of the parties is the law on
express consent. To prove their point, respondents possession of the property usufruct but petitioner failed to establish
they invited attention to her written in question was not, as ruled by the that respondents right to possess had
declaration of July 21, 1986, supra, latter court, by mere tolerance of the already ceased. On this premise, the CA
wherein she expressly signified her petitioner but rather by her express concluded that the ejectment suit
desire for the spouses to build their consent. It further ruled that Article instituted by the petitioner was
house on her property and stay thereat 1678 of the Civil Code on reimbursement premature. The appellate court thus
for as long as they like. of improvements introduced is affirmed the appealed RTC decision,
inapplicable since said provision disposing:
The MTCC, resolving the ejectment suit contemplates of a lessor-lessee
in petitioners favor, declared that the arrangement, which was not the factual WHEREFORE, premises considered, the
respondent spouses, although builders in milieu obtaining in the case. Instead, the instant petition for review is hereby
good faith vis--vis the house they built RTC ruled that what governed the denied for lack of merit. Accordingly, the
on her property, cannot invoke their parties relationship are Articles 448 and petitioners complaint for Unlawful
bona fides as a valid excuse for not 546 of the Civil Code, explaining thus: Detainer is DISMISSED.
complying with the demand to vacate.
To the MTCC, respondents continued Since the defendants-appellees SO ORDERED.
possession of the premises turned [respondents] are admittedly possessors
unlawful upon their receipt of the of the property by permission from With the CAs denial of her motion for
demand to vacate, such possession plaintiff [petitioner], and builders in reconsideration in its Resolution of
being merely at petitioners tolerance, good faith, they have the right to retain February 28, 2002, petitioner is now
and sans any rental. Accordingly, in its possession of the property subject of this before this Court raising the following
decision dated November 17, 1999,[4] case until they have been reimbursed issues:
the MTCC rendered judgment for the the cost of the improvements they have
petitioner, as plaintiff therein, to wit: introduced on the property. I. WHETHER OR NOT THE
COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby Indeed, this is a substantive right given DISMISSING THE UNLAWFUL DETAINER
rendered in favor of herein plaintiff and to the defendants by law, and this right CASE FOR BEING PREMATURE WHICH
against the defendants, as follows: is superior to the procedural right to [sic] DECISION IS NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH
plaintiff to immediately ask for their LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE.
a) Directing the defendants, removal by a writ of execution by virtue
their agents and other persons acting on of a decision which as we have shown is II. WHETHER OR NOT THE
their behalf to vacate the premises and erroneous, and therefore invalid. (Words COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN APPLYING
to yield peaceful possession thereof to in brackets supplied), ARTICLES 448 AND 546 AND THE
plaintiff; PROVISIONS OF THE CODE ON
USUFRUCT INSTEAD OF ARTICLE 1678 OF
b) Ordering defendants to pay and accordingly dismissed petitioners THE CIVIL CODE.
P2,000.00 a month from the filing of this appeal, as follows:
complaint until they vacate premises;
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, The Court rules for the petitioner.
c) Sentencing defendants to the Decision appealed from is REVERSED
pay the sum of P120,000.00[5] as and declared invalid. Consequently, the The Court is inclined to agree with the
attorneys fees and to pay the cost of motion for execution pending appeal is CA that what was constituted between
suit. likewise denied. the parties herein is one of usufruct over
a piece of land, with the petitioner being
Defendants counterclaim are hereby Counter-claims of moral and exemplary the owner of the property upon whom
dismissed except with respect to the damages claimed by defendants are the naked title thereto remained and the
claim for reimbursement of necessary likewise dismissed. However, attorneys respondents being two (2) among other
and useful expenses which should be fees in the amount of fifteen thousand unnamed usufructuaries who were
litigated in an ordinary civil actions. (sic) pesos is hereby awarded in favor of simply referred to as petitioners kin. The
defendants-appellants, and against Court, however, cannot go along with
Dissatisfied, the respondent spouses plaintiffs. the CAs holding that the action for
appealed to the RTC of Davao City. unlawful detainer must be dismissed on
SO ORDERED.[8] ground of prematurity.
In the meantime, petitioner filed a Usufruct is defined under Article 562 of
Motion for Execution Pending Appeal. Therefrom, petitioner went to the CA in the Civil Code in the following wise:
The motion was initially granted by the CA-G.R. SP No. 61610.
RTC in its Order of February 29, 2000, On September 27, 2001, the CA, while ART. 562. Usufruct gives a right to enjoy
but the Order was later withdrawn and conceding the applicability of Articles the property of another with the
vacated by its subsequent Order dated 448 and 546 of the Civil Code to the obligation of preserving its form and
May 9, 2000[6] on the ground that case, ruled that it is still premature to substance, unless the title constituting it
immediate execution of the appealed apply the same considering that the or the law otherwise provides.
It is undisputed that petitioner expressly forth the conditions of, the usufruct.
authorized respondents o occupy Paragraph #3 thereof states [T]hat
Usufruct, in essence, is nothing else but portion of her property on which their anyone of my kins may enjoy the
simply allowing one to enjoy anothers house may be built. Thus it is my desire privilege to stay therein and may avail
property.[9] It is also defined as the right that Mr. and Mrs. Diosdado M. Pernes the use thereof. Provided, however, that
to enjoy the property of another may build their house therein and stay the same is not inimical to the purpose
temporarily, including both the jus as long as they like. From this statement, thereof (Emphasis supplied). What may
utendi and the jus fruendi,[10] with the it seems that petitioner had given the be inimical to the purpose constituting
owner retaining the jus disponendi or respondents the usufructuary rights over the usufruct may be gleaned from the
the power to alienate the same.[11] the portion that may be occupied by the preceding paragraph wherein petitioner
house that the latter would build, the made it abundantly clear that anybody
It is undisputed that petitioner, in a duration of which being dependent on of my kins who wishes to stay on the
document dated July 21, 1986, supra, how long respondents would like to aforementioned property should
made known her intention to give occupy the property. While petitioner maintain an atmosphere of cooperation,
respondents and her other kins the right had already demanded from the live in harmony and must avoid bickering
to use and to enjoy the fruits of her respondents the surrender of the with one another. That the maintenance
property. There can also be no quibbling premises, this Court is of the opinion of a peaceful and harmonious relations
about the respondents being given the that the usufructuary rights of between and among kin constitutes an
right to build their own house on the respondents had not been terminated by indispensable condition for the
property and to stay thereat as long as the said demand considering the clear continuance of the usufruct is clearly
they like. Paragraph #5 of the same statement of petitioner that she is deduced from the succeeding Paragraph
document earmarks proceeds or income allowing respondents to occupy portion #4 where petitioner stated [T]hat
derived from the aforementioned of her land as long as the latter want to. anyone of my kins who cannot conform
properties for the petitioners nearest Considering that respondents still want with the wishes of the undersigned may
kins who have less in life in greater to occupy the premises, petitioner exercise the freedom to look for his own.
percentage and lesser percentage to clearly cannot eject respondents.[12] In fine, the occurrence of any of the
those who are better of (sic) in standing. following: the loss of the atmosphere of
The established facts undoubtedly gave We disagree with the CAs conclusion of cooperation, the bickering or the
respondents not only the right to use the law on the matter. The term or period of cessation of harmonious relationship
property but also granted them, among the usufruct originally specified provides between/among kin constitutes a
the petitioners other kins, the right to only one of the bases for the right of a resolutory condition which, by express
enjoy the fruits thereof. We have no usufructuary to hold and retain wish of the petitioner, extinguishes the
quarrel, therefore, with the CAs ruling possession of the thing given in usufruct. usufruct.
that usufruct was constituted between There are other modes or instances From the pleadings submitted by the
petitioner and respondents. It is thus whereby the usufruct shall be parties, it is indubitable that there were
pointless to discuss why there was no considered terminated or extinguished. indeed facts and circumstances whereby
lease contract between the parties. For sure, the Civil Code enumerates such the subject usufruct may be deemed
However, determinative of the outcome other modes of extinguishment: terminated or extinguished by the
of the ejectment case is the resolution of occurrence of the resolutory conditions
the next issue, i.e., whether the existing ART. 603. Usufruct is extinguished: provided for in the title creating the
usufruct may be deemed to have been usufruct, namely, the document
extinguished or terminated. If the (1) By the death of the adverted to which the petitioner
question is resolved in the affirmative, usufructuary, unless a contrary intention executed on July 21, 1986.
then the respondents right to clearly appears; As aptly pointed out by the petitioner in
possession, proceeding as it did from her Memorandum, respondents own
their right of usufruct, likewise ceased. In (2) By expiration of the period evidence before the MTCC indicated that
that case, petitioners action for for which it was constituted, or by the the relations between the parties have
ejectment in the unlawful detainer case fulfillment of any resolutory condition deteriorated to almost an irretrievable
could proceed and should prosper. provided in the title creating the level.[13] There is no doubt then that
usufruct; what impelled petitioner to file
The CA disposed of this issue in this wise: complaints before the local barangay
(3) By merger of the usufruct and lupon, the Office of the Ombudsman for
xxx Section 1, Rule 70 of the 1997 Rules ownership in the same person; Mindanao, and this instant complaint for
of Civil Procedure, as amended, provides unlawful detainer before the MTCC is
xxx (4) By renunciation of the that she could not live peacefully and
usufructuary; harmoniously with the Pernes family and
xxx xxx xxx vice versa.
(5) By the total loss of the thing
From the foregoing provision, it becomes in usufruct; Thus, the Court rules that the continuing
apparent that for an action for unlawful animosity between the petitioner and
detainer to prosper, the plaintiff (6) By the termination of the the Pernes family and the violence and
[petitioner] needs to prove that right of the person constituting the humiliation she was made to endure,
defendants [respondents] right to usufruct; despite her advanced age and frail
possess already expired and terminated. condition, are enough factual bases to
Now, has respondents right to possess (7) By prescription. (Emphasis consider the usufruct as having been
the subject portion of petitioners supplied.) terminated.
property expired or terminated? Let us
therefore examine respondents basis for The document executed by the To reiterate, the relationship between
occupying the same. petitioner dated July 21, 1986 the petitioner and respondents
constitutes the title creating, and sets respecting the property in question is
one of owner and usufructuary. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED.
Accordingly, respondents claim for The assailed Decision and Resolution of
reimbursement of the improvements the CA are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
they introduced on the property during Accordingly, the decision of the MTCC is
the effectivity of the usufruct should be REINSTATED with MODIFICATION that all
governed by applicable statutory of respondents counterclaims are
provisions and principles on usufruct. In dismissed, including their claims for
this regard, we cite with approval what reimbursement of useful and necessary
Justice Edgardo Paras wrote on the expenses.
matter:
No pronouncement as to costs.
If the builder is a usufructuary, his rights
will be governed by Arts. 579 and 580. In SO ORDERED.
case like this, the terms of the contract
and the pertinent provisions of law
should govern (3 Manresa 215-216; se
also Montinola vs. Bantug, 71 Phil.
449).[14] (Emphasis ours.)

By express provision of law,


respondents, as usufructuary, do not
have the right to reimbursement for the
improvements they may have
introduced on the property. We quote
Articles 579 and 580 of the Civil Code:

Art. 579. The usufructuary may make on


the property held in usufruct such useful
improvements or expenses for mere
pleasure as he may deem proper,
provided he does not alter its form or
substance; but he shall have no right to
be indemnified therefor. He may,
however, remove such improvements,
should it be possible to do so without
damage to the property. (Emphasis
supplied.)

Art. 580. The usufructuary may set off


the improvements he may have made on
the property against any damage to the
same.

Given the foregoing perspective,


respondents will have to be ordered to
vacate the premises without any right of
reimbursement. If the rule on
reimbursement or indemnity were
otherwise, then the usufructuary might,
as an author pointed out, improve the
owner out of his property.[15] The
respondents may, however, remove or
destroy the improvements they may
have introduced thereon without
damaging the petitioners property.

Out of the generosity of her heart, the


petitioner has allowed the respondent
spouses to use and enjoy the fruits of
her property for quite a long period of
time. They opted, however, to repay a
noble gesture with unkindness. At the
end of the day, therefore, they really
cannot begrudge their aunt for putting
an end to their right of usufruct. The
disposition herein arrived is not only
legal and called for by the law and facts
of the case. It is also right.
EASEMENT narrow lot where the railroad tracks lay, land for Bogo-Medellin Milling
was claimed by Bomedco as its own and Company;[15] a Survey Notification
was declared for tax purposes in its Card;[16] Lot Data Computation for Lot
BOGO-MEDELLIN MILLING CO., INC., name. [5] No. 954;[17] a Cadastral Map for
petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS AND Medellin Cadastre[18] as well as the
HEIRS OF MAGDALENO VALDEZ SR., It was not until 1989 when private testimonies of Vicente Basmayor,
respondents. respondents discovered the Geodetic Engineer and property
aforementioned claim of Bomedco on custodian for Bomedco, and Rafaela A.
DECISION inquiry with the Bureau of Lands. Belleza, Geodetic Engineer and Chief of
Through their lawyer, they immediately the Land Management Services of the
CORONA, J.: demanded the legal basis for Bomedco's DENR, Region VIII.
claim over Cadastral Lot No. 954 but
This is an appeal by certiorari under Rule their letter of inquiry addressed to In its decision dated November 27, 1991,
45 of the Rules of Court seeking to annul petitioner went unheeded, as was their the trial court[19] rejected Bomedco's
and set aside the decision[1] dated subsequent demand for payment of defense of ownership on the basis of a
November 17, 1995 of the Court of compensation for the use of the land.[6] prior sale, citing that its evidence a xerox
Appeals, Tenth Division, which reversed copy of the Deed of Sale dated March
the decision[2] dated November 27, On June 8, 1989, respondent heirs filed a 18, 1929 was inadmissible and had no
1991 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu Complaint for Payment of Compensation probative value. Not only was it not
City, Branch IX, which ruled in favor of and/or Recovery of Possession of Real signed by the parties but defendant
herein petitioner, Bogo-Medellin Milling Property and Damages with Application Bomedco also failed to present the
Company, Inc. and dismissed herein for Restraining Order/Preliminary original copy without valid reason
private respondents' complaint for Injunction against Bomedco before the pursuant to Section 4, Rule 130 of the
payment of compensation and/or Regional Trial Court of Cebu.[7] Rules of Court.[20]
recovery of possession of real property Respondent heirs alleged that, before
and damages with application for she sold the land to Valdez, Sr. in 1935, Nonetheless, the trial court held that
restraining order or preliminary Santillan granted Bomedco, in 1929, a Bomedco had been in possession of
injunction; and its resolution dated railroad right of way for a period of 30 Cadastral Lot No. 954 in good faith for
March 2, 1996 denying petitioner's years. When Valdez, Sr. acquired the more than 10 years, thus, it had already
motion for reconsideration. land, he respected the grant. The right of acquired ownership of the property
way expired sometime in 1959 but through acquisitive prescription under
The antecedent facts follow. respondent heirs allowed Bomedco to Article 620 of the Civil Code. It explained:
continue using the land because one of
Magdaleno Valdez, Sr., father of herein them was then an employee of the Under Article 620 of the Civil Code,
private respondents Sergio Valdez, company.[8] CONTINUOUS and APPARENT easements
Angelina Valdez-Novabos, Teresita can be acquired by prescription after ten
Argawanon-Mangubat and Daylinda In support of the complaint, they (10) years. The apparent characteristic of
Argawanon-Melendres (hereafter the presented an ancient document ― an the questioned property being used by
heirs), purchased from Feliciana original copy of the deed of sale written defendant as an easement is no longer
Santillan, on December 9, 1935, a parcel in Spanish and dated December 9, at issue, because plaintiffs themselves
of unregistered land covered by Tax 1935[9] ― to evidence the sale of the had acknowledged that the existence of
Declaration No. 3935 with an area of one land to Magdaleno Valdez, Sr.; several the railway tracks of defendant Bomedco
hectare, 34 ares and 16 centares, located original real estate tax receipts[10] was already known by the late
in Barrio Dayhagon, Medellin, Cebu.[3] including Real Property Tax Receipt No. Magdaleno Valdez, herein plaintiffs
He took possession of the property and 3935[11] dated 1922 in the name of predecessor-in-interest, before the late
declared it for tax purposes in his Graciano de los Reyes, husband of Magdaleno Valdez purchased in 1935
name.[4] Feliciana Santillan, and Real Property Tax from the late Feliciana Santillan the land
Receipt No. 09491[12] dated 1963 in the described in the Complaint where
Prior to the sale, however, the entire name of Magdaleno Valdez, Sr. defendants railway tracks is traversing
length of the land from north to south Magdaleno Valdez, Jr. also testified for [sic] (TSN of February 5, 1991, pp. 7-8).
was already traversed in the middle by the plaintiffs during the trial. As to the continuity of defendants use of
railroad tracks owned by petitioner the strip of land as easement is [sic] also
Bogo-Medellin Milling Co., Inc. On the other hand, Bomedcos principal manifest from the continuous and
(hereafter Bomedco). The tracks were defense was that it was the owner and uninterrupted occupation of the
used for hauling sugar cane from the possessor of Cadastral Lot No. 954, questioned property from 1929 up to
fields to petitioners sugar mill. having allegedly bought the same from the date of the filing of the instant
Feliciana Santillan in 1929, prior to the Complaint. In view of the defendants
When Magdaleno Valdez, Sr. passed sale of the property by the latter to UNINTERRUPTED possession of the strip
away in 1948, herein private Magdaleno Valdez, Sr. in 1935. It also of land for more than fifity (50) years,
respondents inherited the land. contended that plaintiffs claim was the Supreme Courts ruling in the case of
However, unknown to them, Bomedco already barred by prescription and Ronquillo, et al. v. Roco, et al. (103 Phil
was able to have the disputed middle lot laches because of Bomedcos open and 84) is not applicable. This is because in
which was occupied by the railroad continuous possession of the property said case the easement in question was a
tracks placed in its name in the Cadastral for more than 50 years. strip of dirt road whose possession by
Survey of Medellin, Cebu in 1965. The the dominant estate occurs only
entire subject land was divided into Bomedco submitted in evidence a Deed everytime said dirt road was being used
three, namely, Cadastral Lot Nos. 953, of Sale[13] dated March 18, 1929; seven by the dominant estate. Such fact would
954 and 955. Lot Nos. 953 and 955 real estate tax receipts[14] for the necessarily show that the easements
remained in the name of private property covering the period from 1930 possession by the dominant estate was
respondents. However, Lot No. 954, the to 1985; a 1929 Survey Plan of private never continuous. In the instant case
however, there is clear continuity of THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED way and sugar central railroad right of
defendants possession of the strip of REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT REVERSED way in its tax declarations until 1963.
land it had been using as railway tracks. AND SET ASIDE THE TRIAL COURTS Certainly an owner would have found no
Because the railway tracks which DECISION DISMISSING PRIVATE need for these phrases. A person cannot
defendant had constructed on the RESPONDENTS COMPLAINT. have an easement on his own land, since
questioned strip of land had been all the uses of an easement are fully
CONTINUOUSLY occupying said II comprehended in his general right of
easement. Thus, defendant Bomedcos ownership.[24]
apparent and continuous possession of THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED
said strip of land in good faith for more REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT ORDERED While it is true that, together with a
than ten (10) years had made defendant THE PETITIONER TO PAY THE PRIVATE persons actual and adverse possession
owner of said strip of land traversed by RESPONDENT THE REASONABLE VALUE of the land, tax declarations constitute
its railway tracks. Because the railway OF LOT 954 AND THE AMOUNT OF TEN strong evidence of ownership of the land
tracks which defendant had constructed THOUSAND (P10,000.00) PESOS AS occupied by him,[25] this legal precept
on the questioned strip of land had been REASONABLE ATTORNEYS FEES. does not apply in cases where the
continuously occupying said easement property is declared to be a mere
[sic]. Thus, defendant Bomedcos Petitioner Bomedco reiterates its claim easement of right of way.
apparent and continuous possession of of ownership of the land through
said strip of land in good faith for more extraordinary acquisitive prescription An easement or servitude is a real right,
than ten (10) years had made defendant under Article 1137 of the Civil Code and constituted on the corporeal immovable
owner of said strip of land traversed by laches to defeat the claim for property of another, by virtue of which
its railway tracks. compensation or recovery of possession the owner has to refrain from doing, or
by respondent heirs. It also submits a must allow someone to do, something
Respondent heirs elevated the case to third ground originally tendered by the on his property, for the benefit of
the Court of Appeals which found that trial court ― acquisition of the easement another thing or person. It exists only
Bomedco did not acquire ownership of right of way by prescription under when the servient and dominant estates
over the lot. It consequently reversed Article 620 of the Civil Code. belong to two different owners. It gives
the trial court. In its decision dated the holder of the easement an
November 17, 1995, the appellate court Extraordinary Acquisitive Prescription incorporeal interest on the land but
held that Bomedco only acquired an Under Art. 1137 of the Civil Code grants no title thereto. Therefore, an
easement of right of way by unopposed acknowledgment of the easement is an
and continuous use of the land, but not Petitioners claim of ownership through admission that the property belongs to
ownership, under Article 620 of the Civil extraordinary acquisitive prescription another.[26]
Code. under Article 1137 of the Civil Code
cannot be sustained. Having held the property by virtue of an
The appellate court further ruled that easement, petitioner cannot now assert
Bomedcos claim of a prior sale to it by There is no dispute that the that its occupancy since 1929 was in the
Feliciana Santillan was untrue. Its controversial strip of land has been in concept of an owner. Neither can it
possession being in bad faith, the the continuous possession of petitioner declare that the 30-year period of
applicable prescriptive period in order to since 1929. But possession, to constitute extraordinary acquisitive prescription
acquire ownership over the land was 30 the foundation of a prescriptive right, started from that year.
years under Article 1137 of the Civil must be possession under a claim of
Code. Adverse possession of the title, that is, it must be adverse.[21] Petitioner, however, maintains that even
property started only in 1965 when Unless coupled with the element of if a servitude was merely imposed on the
Bomedco registered its claim in the hostility towards the true owner, property in its favor, its possession
cadastral survey of Medellin. Since only possession, however long, will not immediately became adverse to the
24 years from 1965 had elapsed when confer title by prescription.[22] owner in the late 1950s when the grant
the heirs filed a complaint against was alleged by respondent heirs to have
Bomedco in 1989, Bomedcos possession After a careful review of the records, we expired. It stresses that, counting from
of the land had not yet ripened into are inclined to believe the version of the late 1950s (1959 as found by the trial
ownership. respondent heirs that an easement of court), the 30-year extraordinary
right of way was actually granted to acquisitive prescription had already set
And since there was no showing that petitioner for which reason the latter in by the time respondent heirs made a
respondent heirs or their predecessor-in- was able to occupy Cadastral Lot No. claim against it in their letters dated
interest was ever paid compensation for 954. We cannot disregard the fact that, March 1 and April 6, 1989.
the use of the land, the appellate court for the years 1930, 1937, 1949, 1962 and
awarded compensation to them, to be 1963, petitioner unequivocally declared We do not think so. The mere expiration
computed from the time of discovery of the property to be a central railroad of the period of easement in 1959 did
the adverse acts of Bomedco. right of way or sugar central railroad not convert petitioners possession into
right of way in its real estate tax receipts an adverse one. Mere material
Its motion for reconsideration having when it could have declared it to be possession of land is not adverse
been denied by the appellate court in its industrial land as it did for the years possession as against the owner and is
resolution dated March 22, 1996, 1975 and 1985.[23] Instead of indicating insufficient to vest title, unless such
Bomedco now interposes before us this ownership of the lot, these receipts possession is accompanied by the intent
present appeal by certiorari under Rule showed that all petitioner had was to possess as an owner.[27] There
45, assigning the following errors: possession by virtue of the right of way should be a hostile use of such a nature
granted to it. Were it not so and and exercised under such circumstances
I petitioner really owned the land, as to manifest and give notice that the
petitioner would not have consistently possession is under a claim of right.
used the phrases central railroad right of
In the absence of an express grant by the assert the right on which he bases his land by virtue of prescription under
owner, or conduct by petitioner sugar suit; and (d) injury or prejudice to the Article 620 of the Civil Code:
mill from which an adverse claim can be defendant in the event the relief is
implied, its possession of the lot can only accorded to the complainant.[33] Continuous and apparent easements are
be presumed to have continued in the acquired either by virtue of a title or by
same character as when it was acquired The second element (which in turn has prescription of ten years.
(that is, it possessed the land only by three aspects) is lacking in the case at
virtue of the original grant of the bar. These aspects are: (a) knowledge of The trial court and the Court of Appeals
easement of right of way),[28] or was by defendant's action, (b) opportunity to both upheld this view for the reason that
mere license or tolerance of the owners sue defendant after obtaining such the railroad right of way was, according
(respondent heirs).[29] It is a knowledge and (c) delay in the filing of to them, continuous and apparent in
fundamental principle of law in this such suit.[34] nature. The more or less permanent
jurisdiction that acts of possessory railroad tracks were visually apparent
character executed by virtue of license Records show that respondent heirs only and they continuously occupied the
or tolerance of the owner, no matter learned about petitioners claim on their subject strip of land from 1959 (the year
how long, do not start the running of the property when they discovered the the easement granted by Feliciana
period of prescription.[30] inscription for the cadastral survey in the Santillan to petitioner expired). Thus,
records of the Bureau of Lands in 1989. with the lapse of the 10-year prescriptive
After the grant of easement expired in Respondents lost no time in demanding period in 1969, petitioner supposedly
1959, petitioner never performed any an explanation for said claim in their acquired the easement of right of way
act incompatible with the ownership of letters to the petitioner dated March 1, over the subject land.
respondent heirs over Cadastral Lot No. 1989 and April 6, 1989. When petitioner
954. On the contrary, until 1963, ignored them, they instituted their Following the logic of the courts a quo, if
petitioner continued to declare the sugar complaint before the Regional Trial a road for the use of vehicles or the
central railroad right of way in its realty Court of Cebu City on June 8, 1989. passage of persons is permanently
tax receipts, thereby doubtlessly cemented or asphalted, then the right of
conceding the ownership of respondent Petitioners reliance on Caro vs. Court of way over it becomes continuous in
heirs. Respondents themselves were Appeals [35] and Vda. de Alberto vs. nature. The reasoning is erroneous.
emphatic that they simply tolerated Court of Appeals [36] is misplaced.
petitioners continued use of Cadastral There, laches was applied to bar Under civil law and its jurisprudence,
Lot No. 954 so as not to jeopardize the petitioners from questioning the easements are either continuous or
employment of one of their co-heirs in ownership of the disputed properties discontinuous according to the manner
the sugar mill of petitioner.[31] precisely because they had knowledge of they are exercised, not according to the
the adverse claims on their properties presence of apparent signs or physical
The only time petitioner assumed a legal yet tarried for an extraordinary period of indications of the existence of such
position adverse to respondents was time before taking steps to protect their easements. Thus, an easement is
when it filed a claim over the property in rights. continuous if its use is, or may be,
1965 during the cadastral survey of incessant without the intervention of
Medellin. Since then (1965) and until the Further, there is no absolute rule on any act of man, like the easement of
filing of the complaint for the recovery of what constitutes laches. It is a rule of drainage;[38] and it is discontinuous if it
the subject land before the RTC of Cebu equity and applied not to penalize is used at intervals and depends on the
in 1989, only 24 years had lapsed. Since neglect or sleeping on ones rights but act of man, like the easement of right of
the required 30-year extraordinary rather to avoid recognizing a right when way.[39]
prescriptive period had not yet been to do so would result in a clearly unfair
complied with in 1989, petitioner never situation. The question of laches is The easement of right of way is
acquired ownership of the subject land. addressed to the sound discretion of the considered discontinuous because it is
court and each case must be decided exercised only if a person passes or sets
Laches according to its particular foot on somebody elses land. Like a road
circumstances.[37] It is the better rule for the passage of vehicles or persons,
Neither can petitioner find refuge in the that courts, under the principle of an easement of right of way of railroad
principle of laches. It is not just the lapse equity, should not be guided or bound tracks is discontinuous because the right
of time or delay that constitutes laches. strictly by the statute of limitations or is exercised only if and when a train
The essence of laches is the failure or the doctrine of laches if wrong or operated by a person passes over
neglect, for an unreasonable and injustice will result. another's property. In other words, the
unexplained length of time, to do that very exercise of the servitude depends
which, through due diligence, could or It is clear that petitioner never acquired upon the act or intervention of man
should have been done earlier, thus ownership over Cadastral Lot No. 954 which is the very essence of
giving rise to a presumption that the whether by extraordinary acquisitive discontinuous easements.
party entitled to assert it had either prescription or by laches.
abandoned or declined to assert it.[32] The presence of more or less permanent
Acquisition of Easement of Right of Way railroad tracks does not in any way
Its essential elements are: (a) conduct on By convert the nature of an easement of
the part of the defendant, or of one Prescription Under Art. 620 of the Civil right of way to one that is continuous. It
under whom he claims, giving rise to the Code is not the presence of apparent signs or
situation complained of; (b) delay in physical indications showing the
asserting complainants rights after he Petitioner contends that, even if it failed existence of an easement, but rather the
had knowledge of defendants acts and to acquire ownership of the subject land, manner of exercise thereof, that
after he has had the opportunity to sue; it nevertheless became legally entitled to categorizes such easement into
(c) lack of knowledge or notice by the easement of right of way over said continuous or discontinuous. The
defendant that the complainant will presence of physical or visual signs only
classifies an easement into apparent or (1) it is surrounded by other immovables
non-apparent. Thus, a road (which and has no adequate outlet to a public
reveals a right of way) and a window highway;
(which evidences a right to light and
view) are apparent easements, while an (2) payment of proper indemnity;
easement of not building beyond a
certain height is non-apparent.[40] (3) the isolation is not the result of its
own acts; and
In Cuba, it has been held that the
existence of a permanent railway does (4) the right of way claimed is at the
not make the right of way a continuous point least prejudicial to the servient
one; it is only apparent. Therefore, it estate, and, insofar as consistent with
cannot be acquired by prescription.[41] this rule, the distance from the dominant
In Louisiana, it has also been held that a estate to the highway is the shortest.[43]
right of passage over another's land
cannot be claimed by prescription None of the above options to acquire
because this easement is discontinuous title over the railroad right of way was
and can be established only by title.[42] ever pursued by petitioner despite the
fact that simple resourcefulness
In this case, the presence of railroad demanded such initiative, considering
tracks for the passage of petitioners the importance of the railway tracks to
trains denotes the existence of an its business. No doubt, it is unlawfully
apparent but discontinuous easement of occupying and using the subject strip of
right of way. And under Article 622 of land as a railroad right of way without
the Civil Code, discontinuous easements, valid title yet it refuses to vacate it even
whether apparent or not, may be after demand of the heirs. Furthermore,
acquired only by title. Unfortunately, it tenaciously insists on ownership
petitioner Bomedco never acquired any thereof despite a clear showing to the
title over the use of the railroad right of contrary.
way whether by law, donation,
testamentary succession or contract. Its We thus uphold the grant by the Court
use of the right of way, however long, of Appeals of attorneys fees in the
never resulted in its acquisition of the amount of P10,000 considering the
easement because, under Article 622, evident bad faith of petitioner in refusing
the discontinuous easement of a railroad respondents just and lawful claims,
right of way can only be acquired by title compelling the latter to litigate.[44]
and not by prescription.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The
To be sure, beginning 1959 when the appealed decision dated November 17,
original 30-year grant of right of way 1995 and resolution dated March 2,
given to petitioner Bomedco expired, its 1996 of the Court of Appeals are
occupation and use of Cadastral Lot No. AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION.
954 came to be by mere tolerance of the Petitioner Bogo-Medellin Milling
respondent heirs. Thus, upon demand by Company, Inc. is hereby ordered to
said heirs in 1989 for the return of the vacate the subject strip of land
subject land and the removal of the denominated as Cadastral Lot No. 954,
railroad tracks, or, in the alternative, remove its railway tracks thereon and
payment of compensation for the use return its possession to the private
thereof, petitioner Bomedco which had respondents, the heirs of Magdaleno
no title to the land should have returned Valdez, Sr. It is also hereby ordered to
the possession thereof or should have pay private respondents attorney's fees
begun paying compensation for its use. in the amount of P10,000.

But when is a party deemed to acquire SO ORDERED.


title over the use of such land (that is,
title over the easement of right of way)?
In at least two cases, we held that if: (a)
it had subsequently entered into a
contractual right of way with the heirs
for the continued use of the land under
the principles of voluntary easements or
(b) it had filed a case against the heirs
for conferment on it of a legal easement
of right of way under Article 629 of the
Civil Code, then title over the use of the
land is deemed to exist. The conferment
of a legal easement of right of way under
Article 629 is subject to proof of the
following:
G.R. No. L-37409 May 23, 1988 the irrigation canal, the appellee asked water from a stream are within the
for a reinvestigation of the case by the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Public
NICOLAS VALISNO, plaintiff-appellant, Bureau of Public Works and Works and his decision on the matter is
vs. Communications. A reinvestigation was final, unless an appeal is taken to the
FELIPE ADRIANO, defendant-appellee. granted. proper court within thirty days. The
court may not pass upon the validity of
Honorio Valisno Garcia I for plaintiff- In the meantime, plaintiff Valisno rebuilt the decision of the Public Works
appelant. the irrigation canal at his own expense Secretary collaterally. Furthermore,
because his need for water to irrigate his there was nothing in the plaintiff 's
Felipe K Medina for defendant-appellee. watermelon fields was urgent. evidence to show that the resolution
was not valid. It dismissed the complaint
On June 20, 1960, he filed a complaint and counterclaim.
GRIÑO-AQUINO, J.: for damages in the Court of First
Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of The plaintiff's motion for reconsideration
This case was certified to this Court by Nueva Ecija (Civil Case No. 3472) of the decision was denied by the trial
the Court of Appeals in a resolution claiming that he suffered damages court. The plaintiff appealed to the Court
dated August 10, 1973, the sole issue amounting to P8,000 when he failed to of Appeals which certified the case to Us
being a question of law and beyond its plant his fields that year (1960) for lack upon the legal question of whether the
jurisdiction. to decide. of irrigation water, P800 to reconstruct provisions of the Irrigation Act (Act No.
the canal on defendant Adriano's land, 2152) or those of the Civil Code should
Admitted by the parties in their pleading and P1,500 for attorney's fees and the apply to this case.
and established during the trial on the costs of suit.
merits are the following material facts: The plaintiff-appellant argues that while
On October 25, 1961, the Secretary of the trial court correctly held that the
On June 20, 1960, 'the plaintiff-appellant Public Works and Communications Secretary of Public Works may legally
file against the defendant-appellee an reversed the Bureau's decision by issuing decide who between the parties is
action for damages docketed as Civil a final resolution dismissing Valisno's entitled to apply for water rights under
Case No. 3472 in the Court of First complaint. The Secretary held that Eladio the Irrigation Act, it erred in ruling that
Instance of Nueva Ecija. The complaint Adriano's water rights which had been the Secretary has authority to hear and
alleged that the plaintiff is the absolute granted in 1923 ceased to be enjoyed by decide the plaintiff 's claim for damages
owner and actual possessor of a him in 1936 or 1937, when his irrigation for the defendant's violation of his
557,949-square-meter parcel of land in canal collapsed. His non-use of the water (plaintiff's) right to continue to enjoy the
La Fuente, Santa Rosa, Nueva Ecija, and right since then for a period of more easement of aqueduct or water through
more particularly described in his than five years extinguished the grant by the defendant's land under Articles 642,
Transfer Certificate of Title No. NT- operation of law, hence the water rights 643, and 646 of the Civil Code, which
16281. The plaintiff-appellant Valisno did not form part of his hereditary estate provide:
bought the land from the defendant- which his heirs partitioned among
appellees sister, Honorata Adriano themselves. Valisno, as vendee of the Article 642. Any person who may wish to
Francisco, on June 6,1959. (Deed of land which Honorata received from her use upon his own estate any water of
Absolute Sale, Exh. "A".) The land which father's estate did not acquire any water which he can dispose shall have the right
is planted with watermelon, peanuts, rights with the land purchased. to make it flow through the intervening
corn, tobacco, and other vegetables estates, with the obligation to indemnify
adjoins that of the appellee Felipe In his answer to the damage suit (Civil their owners, as well as the owners of
Adriano on the bank of the Pampanga Case No. 3472), the defendant Felipe the lower estates upon which the waters
River. Both parcels of land had been Adriano admitted that he levelled the may filter or descend.
inherited by Honorata Adriano Francisco irrigation canal on his land, but he
and her brother, Felipe Adriano, from averred: that neither his late father nor Article 643. One desiring to make use of
their father, Eladio Adriano. At the time his sister Honorata possessed water the right granted inthe preceding article
of the sale of the land to Valisno, the rights for the land which she sold to the is obliged:
land was irrigated by water from the appellant; that he (the appellee) applied
Pampanga River through a canal about for water rights for his land in 1956 and (1) To prove that he can dispose
seventy (70) meters long, traversing the obtained the same in 1958; and that he of the water and that it is sufficient for
appellee's land. had a perfect right to level his land for the use for which it is intended;
his own use because he merely allowed
On December 16, 1959, the appellee his sister to use his water rights when (2) To show that the proposed
levelled a portion of the irrigation canal she still owned the adjacent land. He set right of way is the most convenient and
so that the appellant was deprived of the up a counterclaim for P3,000 as damages the least onerous to third persons;
irrigation water and prevented from incurred by him in levelling the land on
cultivating his 57-hectare land. which the appellant dug an irrigation (3) To indemnify the owner of the
canal, P2,000 as actual damages, P3,000 servient estate in the manner
The appellant filed in the Bureau of as attorney's fees, and expenses of determined by the laws and regulations.
Public Works and Communications a litigation.
complaint for deprivation of water Article 646. For legal purposes, the
rights. A decision was rendered on In a decision dated April 21, 1966, the easement of aqueduct shall be
March 22, 1960 ordering Adriano to trial court held that the plaintiff had no considered as continuous and apparent,
reconstruct the irrigation canal, right to pass through the defendant's even though the flow of the water may
"otherwise judicial action shall be taken land to draw water from the Pampanga not be continuous, or its use depends
against him under the provisions of River. It pointed out that under Section 4 upon the needs of the dominant estate,
Section 47 of Act 2152 (the Irrigation of the Irrigation Law, controversies or upon a schedule of alternate days or
Act), as amended." Instead of restoring between persons claiming a right to hours.
The deed of sale in favor of Valisno
The existence of the irrigation canal on included the "conveyance and transfer
defendant's land for the passage of of the water rights and improvements"
water from the Pampanga River to appurtenant to Honorata Adriano's
Honorata's land prior to and at the time property. By the terms of the Deed of
of the sale of Honorata's land to the Absolute Sale, the vendor Honorata
plaintiff was equivalent to a title for the Adriano Francisco sold, ceded, conveyed
vendee of the land to continue using it and transferred to Dr. Nicolas Valisno all
as provided in Article 624 of the Civil "rights, title, interest and participations
Code: over the parcel of land above- described,
together with one Berkely Model 6 YRF
Article 624. The existence of an apparent Centrifugal Pump G" suction, 6"
sign of easement between two estates, discharge 500-1500 GPM, with Serial No.
established or maintained by the owner 5415812 and one (1) set of suction pipe
of both shall be considered, should and discharge of pipe with elbow,
either of them be alienated, as a title in nipples, flanges and footvalves," and the
order that he easement may continue water rights and such other
actively and passively, unless at the time, improvements appertaining to the
theownership of the two estates is property subject of this sale. According
divided, the contrary should be provided to the appellant, the water right was the
in the title of conveyance of either of primary consideration for his purchase of
them, or the sign aforesaid should be Honorata's property, for without it the
removed before the execution of the property would be unproductive.
deed.
Water rights, such as the right to use a
This provision shall also apply in case of drainage ditch for irrigation purposes,
the division of a thing owned in common which are appurtenant to a parcel of
on by two or more persons (Civil Code) land, pass with the conveyance of the
land, although not specifically
This provision was lifted from Article 122 mentioned in the conveyance. The
of the Spanish Law of Waters which purchaser's easement of necessity in a
provided: water ditch running across the grantor's
land cannot be defeated even if the
Article 122. Whenever a tract of irrigated water is supplied by a third person
land which previously received its waters (Watson vs. French, 112 Me 371 19 C.J.
from a single point is divided through 868-897). The fact that an easement by
inheritance, sale or by virtue of some grant may also have qualified as an
other title, between two or more easement of necessity does detract from
owners, the owners of the higher estates its permanency as property right, which
are under obligation to give free passage survives the determination of the
to the water as an easement of conduit necessity (Benedicto vs. CA, 25 SCRA
for the irrigation of the lower estates, 145).<äre||anº•1àw>
and without right to any compensation
therefore unless otherwise stipulated in As an easement of waters in favor of the
the deed of conveyance. (Art. 122, appellant has been established, he is
Spanish Law of Waters of August 3, entitled to enjoy it free from
1866.) obstruction, disturbance or wrongful
interference (19 CJ 984), such as the
No enlightened concept of ownership appellee's act of levelling the irrigation
can shut out the Idea of restrictions canal to deprive him of the use of water
thereon, such as easements. Absolute from the Pampanga River.
and unlimited dominion is unthinkable,
inasmuch as the proper enjoyment of WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is
property requires mutual service and set aside, and a new one is entered
forbearance among adjoining estates ordering the appellee to grant the
(Amor vs. Florentino, 74 Phil. 403). appellant continued and unimpeded use
of the irrigation ditch traversing his land
As indicated in the decision dated March in order to obtain water from the
22, 1960 of the Bureau of Works "the Pampanga River to irrigate appellant's
principal issue involved in this case falls land. Let the records of this case be
under the subject of servitude of waters remanded to the court a quo for the
which are governed by Article 648 of the reception of evidence on the appellant's
new Civil Code and the suppletory laws claim for damages.
mentioned in the cases of Lunod vs.
Meneses 11 Phil. 128) and Osmena vs. SO ORDERED.
Camara (C.A. 380 62773) which are the
irrigation law and the Spanish Law of
Waters of August 3, 1866, specifically
Article 122 thereof.
G.R. No. 170846 February 6, 2007 respondents, NPC filed with the RTC of For its part, NPC made it clear that it is
Tanay, Rizal a complaint for interested only in acquiring an easement
NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, expropriation4 against them. In time, the of right-of-way over the respondents’
Petitioner, respondents filed their answer. property and that ownership of the area
vs. over which the right-of-way will be
AURELLANO S. TIANGCO, LOURDES S. On March 14, 1991, the trial court issued established shall remain with the
TIANGCO and NESTOR S. TIANGCO, a Condemnation Order, granting NPC the respondents. For this reason, NPC claims
Respondents. right to take possession of the area that it should pay, in addition to the
sought to be expropriated. In the same agreed or adjudged value of the
DECISION Order, the court directed the parties to improvements on the area, only an
nominate their respective easement fee in an amount equivalent
GARCIA, J.: commissioners, with a third member to to ten per cent (10%) of the market
be nominated and appointed by the value of the property as declared by the
In this petition for review on certiorari court itself, to determine the proper respondents or by the Municipal
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, amount of just compensation to be paid Assessor, whichever is lower, as
petitioner National Power Corporation to the respondents. As constituted in the provided for under Section 3-A of
(NPC) seeks the annulment and setting manner thus indicated, the board of Republic Act No. 6395, as amended by
aside of the Decision1 dated March 14, commissioners was composed of the Presidential Decree 938.6
2005 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA- following: for NPC, Atty. Restituto Mallo
G.R. CV No. 53576, as reiterated in its of its Legal Department; for the The court-appointed commissioner, Ms.
Resolution2 of December 2, 2005 which respondents, Mr. Basilio Afuang, a Amelia de Guzman Carbonell, found that
denied the petitioner’s motion for geodetic engineer and a real estate the risk and dangerous nature of the
reconsideration. The assailed decision broker by profession; and for the court, transmission line project essentially
modified that of the Regional Trial Court Clerk of Court V Ms. Amelia de Guzman deprive the respondents of the use of
(RTC) of Tanay, Rizal, Branch 80, by Carbonell. the area. Nonetheless, she
increasing the amount of just recommended that the determination of
compensation due the respondents in an On April 5, 1991, the trial court issued an just compensation should be relegated
expropriation case filed against them by order directing NPC to pay and deposit to "expert appraisers."7
the petitioner. with the Rizal Provincial Treasurer the
amount of ₱81,204.00, representing the From the evidence before it, the trial
The facts: temporary provisional value of the area court made a determination that the
subject of the expropriation prior to the market value of the property is ₱2.09
Herein respondents Aurellano, Lourdes taking of possession thereof. On April 22, per square meter, or ₱40,594.07 for the
and Nestor, all surnamed Tiangco, are 1991, with NPC having complied with the entire 19,423 square meters needed by
the owners of a parcel of land with an deposit requirement, a writ of NPC, and not the ₱30.00 per square
area of 152,187 square meters at possession was issued in its favor. meter claimed by the respondents.
Barangay Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal and Neither did the trial court consider NPC’s
registered in their names under TCT No. Thereafter, an ocular inspection of the reliance on Section 3-A of Republic Act
M-17865 of the Registry of Deeds of premises was conducted and hearings No. 6395, as amended by Presidential
Rizal. before the board of commissioners were Decree 938, the court placing more
held, during which the Municipal weight on the respondents’ argument
On the other hand, petitioner NPC is a Assessor of Tanay, Rizal was presented. that expropriation would result in the
government-owned and controlled He submitted a record of the Schedule of substantial impairment of the use of the
corporation created for the purpose of Values for taxation purposes and a area needed, even though what is
undertaking the development and certification to the effect that the unit sought is a mere aerial right-of-way. The
generation of power from whatever value of the respondents’ property is court found as reasonable the amount of
source. NPC’s charter (Republic Act No. ₱21,000.00 per hectare. ₱324,750.00 offered by NPC for the
6395) authorizes the corporation to improvements, as the same is based on
acquire private property and exercise On August 7, 1993, commissioner Basilio the official current schedule of values as
the right of eminent Afuang for the respondents filed his determined by the Municipal Assessor of
domain.1awphi1.net report. He pegged the price of the area Tanay, Rizal.
sought to be expropriated at ₱30.00 per
NPC requires 19,423 square meters of square meter or ₱582,690.005 in the Hence, in its decision8 of February 19,
the respondents’ aforementioned aggregate; and for the improvements 1996, the trial court rendered judgment
property, across which its 500Kv thereon, Afuang placed a valuation of as follows:
Kalayaan-San Jose Transmission Line ₱2,093,950.00. The figures are in
Project will traverse. NPC’s Segregation contrast with the respondents’ own WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing,
Plan3 for the purpose shows that the valuation of ₱600,600.00, for the area, judgment is hereby rendered:
desired right-of-way will cut through the and ₱4,935,500.00, for the
respondents’ land, in such a manner that improvements. 1. Expropriating in favor of [NPC] a
33,392 square meters thereof will be left parcel of land covering a total area of
separated from 99,372 square meters of On September 14, 1993, NPC filed an 19,423 sq.m. covered by TCT No. M-
the property. Within the portion sought amended complaint to acquire only 17860 owned by the [respondents];
to be expropriated stand fruit-bearing 19,423 square meters of the
tress, such as mango, avocado, jackfruit, respondents’ property. The original area 2. Ordering the amount of P40,594.07 as
casuy, santol, calamansi, sintones and of 20,220 square meters initially sought just compensation for the 19,423 square
coconut trees. to be expropriated under the original meters of land affected by the
complaint turned out to be in excess of expropriations; and the amount of
On November 20, 1990, after repeated the area required. P324,750.00 as reasonable
unsuccessful negotiations with the compensation for the improvements on
the land expropriated with legal interest at its 1993 worth. Neither of the two
from the time of possession by the NPC moved for reconsideration, but its determinations is correct. For purposes
plaintiff. No pronouncement as to costs. motion was denied by the appellate of just compensation, the respondents
court in its resolution11 of December 2, should be paid the value of the property
SO ORDERED. (Words in brackets 2005. as of the time of the filing of the
supplied.) complaint which is deemed to be the
Hence, NPC’s instant petition for review, time of taking the property.
The respondents moved for submitting for our resolution only the
reconsideration, presenting for the first following issues with respect to the It was certainly unfair for the trial court
time a document entitled "Bureau of amount of just compensation that must to have considered a property value
Internal Revenue Circular of Appraisal," be paid the respondents for the several years behind its worth at the
which shows that for the year 1985, expropriated portion (19,423 square time the complaint in this case was filed
lands in Barangay Sampaloc were valued meters) of their property: on November 20, 1990. The landowners
at ₱30.00 per square meter; for the year are necessarily shortchanged,
1992, at ₱80.00 per square meter; and 1. Is it to be based on the 1984 or the considering that, as a rule, land values
for year 1994, at ₱100.00 per square 1993 valuation? enjoy steady upward movement. It was
meter. Respondents maintain that the likewise erroneous for the appellate
price of ₱30.00 per square meter for the 2. Should NPC pay for the value of the court to have fixed the value of the
needed area of 19,423 square meters is land being taken, or should it be limited property on the basis of a 1993
the reasonable amount and should be to what is provided for under P.D. 938, assessment. NPC would be paying too
the basis for fixing the amount of just that is, ten per cent (10%) of its market much. Petitioner corporation is correct
compensation due them. The trial court value as declared by the owner or the in arguing that the respondents should
denied the motion, stating that the BIR assessor (whichever is lower), not profit from an assessment made
circular in question was belatedly filed considering that the purpose for which years after the taking.
and therefore NPC could not have the property is being taken is merely for
opposed its presentation. the establishment of a safe and free The expropriation proceedings in this
passage for its overhead transmission case having been initiated by NPC on
From the aforesaid decision of the trial lines? November 20, 1990, property values on
court, both NPC and the respondents such month and year should lay the basis
went on appeal to the CA whereat the There is no issue as to the for the proper determination of just
separate appeals were consolidated and improvements. Since the ₱325,025.00 compensation. In Association of Small
docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 53576. The valuation therefor is the very price set by Landowners in the Philippines, Inc. v.
appellate court found merit in the the NPC commissioner, to which the Secretary of Agrarian Reform,13 the
respondents’ appeal, and disregarded corporation did not object but otherwise Court ruled that the equivalent to be
the ₱2.09 per square meter valuation of adopts, the Court fixes the amount of rendered for the property to be taken
the trial court, which was based on a ₱325,025.00 as just compensation for shall be substantial, full, ample and, as
1984 tax declaration. Instead, the CA the improvements. must apply to this case, real. This must
placed reliance upon a 1993 tax be taken to mean, among others, that
declaration, "being only two years We now come to the more weighty the value as of the time of taking should
removed from the time of taking."9 The question of what amount is just by way be the price to be paid the property
appellate court determined the time of of compensation for the 19,423 square- owner.
taking to be in 1991. Thus, the greater meter portion of the respondents’
value of ₱913,122.00 as declared in Tax property. Just compensation is defined as the full
Declaration No. 011-2667 dated July 23, and fair equivalent of the property taken
1993 should be the basis for determining In eminent domain cases, the time of from its owner by the expropriator. In
just compensation. With regard to the taking is the filing of the complaint, if this case, this simply means the
value of improvements, the appellate there was no actual taking prior thereto. property’s fair market value at the time
court found NPC’s valuation more Hence, in this case, the value of the of the filing of the complaint, or "that
favorable, being based on the current property at the time of the filing of the sum of money which a person desirous
(1991) schedule of values for trees in the complaint on November 20, 1990 should but not compelled to buy, and an owner
provinces of Rizal and Laguna. Hence, in be considered in determining the just willing but not compelled to sell, would
its decision10 of March 14, 2005, the CA compensation due the respondents. So it agree on as a price to be given and
rendered judgment, to wit: is that in National Power Corporation v. received therefor."14 The measure is not
Court of Appeals, et al.,12 we ruled: the taker’s gain, but the owner’s loss.
WHEREFORE, the instant Appeal is
GRANTED. The decision of the Regional Normally, the time of the taking In the determination of such value, the
Trial Court of Tanay, Rizal, Branch 80 coincides with the filing of the complaint court is not limited to the assessed value
dated February 19, 1996 is hereby for expropriation. Hence, many rulings of of the property or to the schedule of
MODIFIED and the compensation this Court have equated just market values determined by the
awarded for the 19,423 square meters of compensation with the value of the provincial or city appraisal committee;
land affected is increased to property as of the time of filing of the these values consist but one factor in the
₱116,538.00, and the reasonable complaint consistent with the above judicial valuation of the property.15 The
compensation for the improvements provision of the Rules. So too, where the nature and character of the land at the
thereon is likewise increased to institution of the action precedes entry time of its taking is the principal criterion
P325,025.00, with legal interest from the into the property, the just compensation for determining how much just
time of possession by the plaintiff- is to be ascertained as of the time of the compensation should be given to the
appellee NAPOCOR. No pronouncement filing of the complaint. landowner16 All the facts as to the
as to costs. condition of the property and its
The trial court fixed the value of the surroundings, as well as its
SO ORDERED. property at its 1984 value, while the CA,
improvements and capabilities, should The evidence suggests that NPC’s
be considered.17 transmission line project that traverses
the respondents’ property is perpetual,
Neither of the two determinations made or at least indefinite, in nature.
by the courts below is therefore correct. Moreover, not to be discounted is the
A new one must be arrived at, taking fact that the high-tension current to be
into consideration the foregoing conveyed through said transmission lines
pronouncements. evidently poses a danger to life and limb;
injury, death or destruction to life and
Now, to the second issue raised by property within the vicinity. As the Court
petitioner NPC. held in NPC v. Chiong,22 it is not
improper to assume that NPC will erect
In several cases, the Court struck down structures for its transmission lines
NPC’s consistent reliance on Section 3-A within the property. What is sought to
of Republic Act No. 6395, as amended by be expropriated in this case is, at its
Presidential Decree 938.18 True, an longest extent, 326.34 meters, and
easement of a right-of-way transmits no through it may be built several
rights except the easement itself, and structures, not simply one. Finally, if NPC
the respondents would retain full were to have its way, respondents will
ownership of the property taken. continue to pay the realty taxes due on
Nonetheless, the acquisition of such the affected portion of their property, an
easement is not gratis. The limitations imposition that, among others, merits
on the use of the property taken for an the rejection of NPC’s thesis of payment
indefinite period would deprive its of a mere percentage of the property’s
owner of the normal use thereof. For actual value.
this reason, the latter is entitled to
payment of a just compensation, which WHEREFORE, the instant petition is
must be neither more nor less than the GRANTED in part in that the decision of
monetary equivalent of the land the Court of Appeals dated March 14,
taken.19 2005 vis a vis the award of ₱116,538.00,
as and by way of just compensation for
While the power of eminent domain the 19,423 square meters of the
results in the taking or appropriation of respondents’ property, is SET ASIDE, and
title to, and possession of, the the case is ordered REMANDED to the
expropriated property, no cogent reason court of origin for the proper
appears why said power may not be determination of the amount of just
availed of to impose only a burden upon compensation for the portion thus
the owner of the condemned property, taken, based on our pronouncements
without loss of title and possession.20 hereon. The same decision, however, is
However, if the easement is intended to AFFIRMED, insofar as it pertains to the
perpetually or indefinitely deprive the award of ₱325,025.00 for the
owner of his proprietary rights through improvements, with legal interest from
the imposition of conditions that affect the time of actual possession by the
the ordinary use, free enjoyment and petitioner.
disposal of the property or through
restrictions and limitations that are No pronouncement as to costs.
inconsistent with the exercise of the
attributes of ownership, or when the SO ORDERED.
introduction of structures or objects
which, by their nature, create or increase
the probability of injury, death upon or
destruction of life and property found on
the land is necessary, then the owner
should be compensated for the
monetary equivalent of the land, in
accordance with our ruling in NPC v.
Manubay Agro-Industrial:

As correctly observed by the CA,


considering the nature and the effect of
the installation power lines, the
limitations on the use of the land for an
indefinite period would deprive
respondent of normal use of the
property. For this reason, the latter is
entitled to payment of a just
compensation, which must be neither
more nor less than the monetary
equivalent of the land.21
JOHN KAM BIAK Y. CHAN, JR., the said digging, the same shall be
P e t i t i o n e r, This MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT, divided among the parties as follows:
executed this 28th day of February,
- versus - 1995, by and between: FIRST PARTY - 35%
SECOND PARTY - 65%
IGLESIA NI CRISTO, INC., JOHN Y. CHAN, of legal age, single, and a
R e s p o n d e n t. resident of Aringay, La Union, now and 7. In case government or military
hereinafter called the FIRST PARTY; interference or outside intervention is
G.R. No. 160283 imminent, the FIRST PARTY hereby
GEN. ELY E. YORO, Jr., of legal age, reserves the option to stop the digging
Present: married, and a resident of Damortis, Sto. at any stage thereof.
Tomas, La Union, hereinafter referred to
PUNO, as the SECOND PARTY: IN WITNESS WHEREOF, We have
Chairman, hereunto set our hands on the day and
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, WITNESSETH that: year first above-written at Aringay, La
CALLEJO, SR., WHEREAS, the FIRST PARTY is the owner Union.[4]
TINGA, and of a parcel of land located at Sta. Rita,
CHICO-NAZARIO, JJ. Aringay, La Union.

WHEREAS, the FIRST PARTY, desires to Diggings thereafter commenced. After


Promulgated: dig a septic tank for its perusal in the some time, petitioner was informed by
property bordering Iglesia ni Cristo. the members of the respondent that the
October 14, 2005 digging traversed and penetrated a
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - WHEREAS, the SECOND PARTY is willing portion of the land belonging to the
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x to contract the intended digging of latter. The foundation of the chapel was
septic tank for the first party. affected as a tunnel was dug directly
DECISION under it to the damage and prejudice of
WHEREAS, the FIRST PARTY and SECOND the respondent.
PARTY has (sic) agreed verbally as to the
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: compensation of the said digging of On 18 April 1995, a Complaint[5] against
septic tank. petitioner and a certain Teofilo Oller,
petitioners engineer, was filed by the
Before Us is a petition for review on WHEREFORE, for and in consideration of respondent before the RTC, La Union,
certiorari[1] assailing the Decision[2] of the terms and covenants hereinbelow Branch 31, docketed therein as Civil Case
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. set forth, the FIRST PARTY hereby No. A-1646. Petitioner and Oller filed an
65976, dated 25 September 2003. Said AGREES and ALLOWS the SECOND PARTY Answer with Third-Party Complaint[6]
Decision denied the petitioners appeal to undertake the digging of the parcel of impleading Yoro as third-party
from the decision of the Regional Trial land for the exclusive purpose of having defendant.
Court (RTC), La Union, Branch 31, in Civil a septic tank.
Case No. A-1646. Yoro filed an Answer to the Third-Party
TERMS AND COVENANTS Complaint[7] dated 13 July 1995. An
Amended and Supplemental
THE FACTS 1. The SECOND PARTY shall contract the Complaint[8] dated 30 August 1995 was
said digging; later filed by the respondent already
The antecedents of the instant case are naming Yoro as a party-defendant, to
quite simple. 2. The FIRST PARTY shall have complete which the petitioner and Oller filed an
control over the number of personnel Answer.[9] Yoro filed his own
The Aringay Shell Gasoline Station is who will be entering the property for Answer.[10]
owned by the petitioner. It is located in said contract;
Sta. Rita East, Aringay, La Union, and After four years of hearing the case, the
bounded on the south by a chapel of the 3. The digging shall be allowed for a trial court promulgated its Decision[11]
respondent. period of three (3) weeks only, holding that the diggings were not
commencing on March 28, 1995, unless intended for the construction of
The gasoline station supposedly needed extended by agreement of the parties; sewerage and septic tanks but were
additional sewerage and septic tanks for made to construct tunnels to find hidden
its washrooms. In view of this, the 4. Any damage within or outside the treasure.[12] The trial court adjudged
services of Dioscoro Ely Yoro (Yoro), a property of the FIRST PARTY incurred the petitioner and Yoro solidarily liable
retired general of the Armed Forces of during the digging shall be borne by the to the respondent on a 35%-65% basis
the Philippines, was procured by SECOND PARTY; (the petitioner liable for the 35%), and
petitioner, as the former was allegedly a absolving Oller from any liability, viz:
construction contractor in the locality. 5. In the event that valuable objects are
found on the property, the same shall be WHEREFORE, this Court renders
Petitioner and Yoro executed a divided among the parties as follows: judgment in favor of plaintiff IGLESIA NI
Memorandum of Agreement[3] (MOA) CRISTO and against defendants JOHN
on 28 February 1995 which is FIRST PARTY - 60% KAMBIAK CHAN and DIOSCORO ELY
reproduced hereunder: SECOND PARTY - 40% YORO, JR. who are respectively solidarily
liable to PLAINTIFF on a 35%-65% basis,
MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT 6. In the event that valuable objects are with JOHN CHAN taking the 35% tab,
found outside the property line during Ordering the two (2) aforesaid
KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:
DEFENDANTS to pay PLAINTIFF the (a) The award of moral damages in the Petitioner avers that no liability should
following amounts: amount of P500,000.00 is hereby attach to him by laying the blame solely
deleted. on Yoro. He argues that the MOA
1. SIX HUNDRED THIRTY-THREE executed between him and Yoro is the
THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED NINETY-FIVE (b) The award of exemplary damages is law between them and must be given
PESOS AND FIFTY CENTAVOS hereby reduced to P50,000.00. weight by the courts. Since nothing in
(P633,595.50); representing ACTUAL the MOA goes against the law, morals,
DAMAGES; (c) The award of attorneys fees and good customs and public policy, it must
litigation expenses is hereby reduced to govern to absolve him from any
2. FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS P30,000.00.[20] liability.[23] Petitioner relies heavily in
(P500,000.00) representing MORAL Paragraph 4 of the MOA, which is again
DAMAGES; reproduced hereunder:

3. TEN MILLION PESOS (P10,000,000.00) Undeterred, petitioner instituted the 4. Any damage within or outside the
as EXEMPLARY DAMAGES; instant case before this Court. On 15 property of the FIRST PARTY incurred
December 2004, the instant petition was during the digging shall be borne by the
4. FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) given due course.[21] SECOND PARTY.
as plaintiffs attorneys fees; and
ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS
5. TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS
(P20,000.00) as litigation expenses. Petitioner assigns as errors the In answer to this, the respondent asserts
following: that the MOA should not absolve
Defendant TEOFILO OLLER is absolved of petitioner from any liability. This written
any civil liability. I contract, according to the respondent,
clearly shows that the intention of the
Any counterclaim filed against PLAINTIFF THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN parties therein was to search for hidden
IGLESIA NI CRISTO is dismissed.[13] AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE treasure. The alleged digging for a septic
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT (BRANCH 31, tank was just a cover-up of their real
AGOO, LA UNION) PARTICULARLY IN intention.[24] The aim of the petitioner
SAYING THAT THE BASIS OF THE and Yoro to intrude and surreptitiously
Petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal[14] SOLIDARY OBLIGATION OF PETITIONER hunt for hidden treasure in the
dated 18 August 1999. Yoro filed his own AND YORO VIS--VIS PLAINTIFF IS BASED respondents premises should make both
Notice of Appeal[15] dated 20 August NOT ON THE MOA BUT ON TORT parties liable.[25]
1999.
II At this juncture, it is vital to underscore
In a Resolution[16] dated 19 November the findings of the trial court and the
1999, the trial court disallowed Yoros THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT Court of Appeals as to what was the real
appeal for failure to pay the appellate GIVING EFFECT TO THE MOA WHICH intention of the petitioner and Yoro in
court docket and other lawful fees SHOULD EXONERATE THE PETITIONER undertaking the excavations. The
within the reglementary period for FROM ALL LIABILITIES TO THE PRIVATE findings of the trial court and the Court
taking an appeal.[17] In view of Yoros RESPONDENT of Appeals on this point are in complete
failure to appropriately file an appeal, an unison. Petitioner and Yoro were in
order was issued for the issuance of a quest for hidden treasure[26] and,
Writ of Execution as against him only, III undoubtedly, they were partners in this
the dispositive portion of which reads: endeavor.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this APPRECIATING THE THIRD-PARTY The Court of Appeals, in its Decision,
Court GRANTS the motion of plaintiff COMPLAINT AS CROSS-CLAIM OF THE held in part:
Iglesia ni Cristo for the issuance of a Writ PETITIONER AGAINST YORO.[22]
of Execution as against Dioscoro Ely The basis of their solidarity is not the
Yoro, Jr. only.[18] Memorandum of Agreement but the fact
that they have become joint tortfeasors.
ISSUE There is solidary liability only when the
obligation expressly so states, or when
The petitioners appeal to the Court of Drawn from the above assignment of the law or the nature of the obligation
Appeals, on the other hand, was given errors, the solitary issue that needs to be requires solidarity.[27]
due course.[19] On 25 September 2003, resolved is:
the Court of Appeals rendered its
Decision denying the appeal. It affirmed WHETHER OR NOT THE MEMORANDUM
the trial court but with modifications. OF AGREEMENT ENTERED INTO BY THE We find no compelling reason to disturb
The decretal portion of the decision PETITIONER AND YORO HAS THE EFFECT this particular conclusion reached by the
states: OF MAKING THE LATTER SOLELY Court of Appeals. The issue, therefore,
RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGES TO THE must be ruled in the negative.
WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby RESPONDENT.
DENIED. The assailed decision in Civil Article 2176 of the New Civil Code
Case No. A-1646 is hereby AFFIRMED provides:
with MODIFICATIONS as follows:
THE RULINGS OF THE COURT ART. 2176. Whoever by act or omission
causes damage to another, there being
fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for
the damage done. Such fault or fact, he had two (2) of his employees AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION as to the
negligence, if there is no pre-existing actually observe the diggings, his award of exemplary damages, which is
contractual relation between the parties, security guard and his engineer Teofilo hereby increased to P100,000.00. Costs
is called a quasi-delict and is governed by Oller.[30] against petitioner.
the provisions of this Chapter.
Coming now to the matter on damages, SO ORDERED.
the respondent questions the drastic
reduction of the exemplary damages
Based on this provision of law, the awarded to it. It may be recalled that the
requisites of quasi-delict are the trial court awarded exemplary damages
following: in the amount of P10,000,000.00 but
same was reduced by the Court of
(a) there must be an act or omission; Appeals to P50,000.00.

(b) such act or omission causes damage Exemplary or corrective damages are
to another; imposed by way of example or
correction for the public good.[31] In
(c) such act or commission is caused by quasi-delicts, exemplary damages may
fault or negligence; and be granted if the defendant acted with
gross negligence.[32] By gross
(d) there is no pre-existing contractual negligence is meant such entire want of
relation between the parties. care as to raise a presumption that the
person in fault is conscious of the
probable consequences of carelessness,
and is indifferent, or worse, to the
All the requisites are attendant in the danger of injury to person or property of
instant case. The tortious act was the others.[33]
excavation which caused damage to the
respondent because it was done Surreptitiously digging under the
surreptitiously within its premises and it respondents chapel which may weaken
may have affected the foundation of the the foundation thereof, thereby
chapel. The excavation on respondents endangering the lives and limbs of the
premises was caused by fault. Finally, people in worship, unquestionably
there was no pre-existing contractual amounts to gross negligence. Not to
relation between the petitioner and Yoro mention the damage that may be caused
on the one hand, and the respondent on to the structure itself. The respondent
the other. may indeed be awarded exemplary
damages.
For the damage caused to respondent,
petitioner and Yoro are jointly liable as For such tortious act done with gross
they are joint tortfeasors. Verily, the negligence, the Court feels that the
responsibility of two or more persons amount awarded by the Court of
who are liable for a quasi-delict is Appeals is inadequate. The exemplary
solidary.[28] damages must correspondingly be
increased to P100,000.00.
The heavy reliance of petitioner in
paragraph 4 of the MOA cited earlier The modification made by this Court to
cannot steer him clear of any liability. the judgment of the Court of Appeals
must operate as against Yoro, for as
As a general rule, joint tortfeasors are all fittingly held by the court a quo:
the persons who command, instigate,
promote, encourage, advise, While it is settled that a party who did
countenance, cooperate in, aid or abet not appeal from the decision cannot
the commission of a tort, or who seek any relief other than what is
approve of it after it is done, if done for provided in the judgment appealed
their benefit.[29] from, nevertheless, when the rights and
liability of the defendants are so
Indubitably, petitioner and Yoro interwoven and dependent as to be
cooperated in committing the tort. They inseparable, in which case, the
even had provisions in their MOA as to modification of the appealed judgment
how they would divide the treasure if in favor of appellant operates as a
any is found within or outside petitioners modification to Gen. Yoro who did not
property line. Thus, the MOA, instead of appeal. In this case, the liabilities of Gen.
exculpating petitioner from liability, is Yoro and appellant being solidary, the
the very noose that insures that he be so above exception applies.[34]
declared as liable.

Besides, petitioner cannot claim that he


did not know that the excavation WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court
traversed the respondents property. In of Appeals dated 25 September 2003 is
LEO WINSTON G.R. No. 149023 the RTC issued an Order admitting the
BRIN LEE, Amended Complaint.
Petitioner, Petitioner filed a motion for
Present: However, the lots of spouses Jardin were reconsideration but it was denied by the
sold pendente lite to Leo Winston Brin appellate court in its Resolution of June
PUNO, C.J., Chairp Lee, petitioner. As a result, respondents 21, 2001.
erson, filed a Motion for Leave to Admit Second
SANDOVAL- Amended Complaint Hence, the present petition.
-versus- GUTIERREZ, impleading petitioner as additional
CORONA, defendant. On September 10, 1993, the Petitioner contends that respondents
AZCUNA, and RTC granted the motion. have an existing right of way; and that
GARCIA, JJ. had the trial court considered certain
After trial, the RTC rendered Judgment in testimonial evidence and respondents
SPOUSES favor of respondents and admissions, its conclusion and that of
AMADEO and Promulgated: against petitioner, the dispositive the Court of Appeals would have been
ADELAIDA CARR portion of which reads: different.
EON, September 27,
Respondents. 2007 FOR ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment is Respondents, on the other hand, pray
hereby rendered for the plaintiffs as that the petition be denied for lack of
x----------------------------------------------------- follows: merit.
------------------------------------x 1. Ordering defendant Mr. Leo Winston
Brin Lee to grant plaintiffs a right of way The issue for our resolution is whether
on the northern portion of his properties the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that
DECISION as indicated in Exh.9-Lee measuring one- respondents are entitled to an easement
meter wide and thirteen meters long; of right of way on petitioners
property. This issue is both factual and
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: 2. Ordering Mr. Leo Winston Brin Lee to legal in nature.
demolish the fence/structure to the The conferment of a legal easement of
extent obstructing the right of way right of way is governed by Articles 649
Challenged in the instant Petition for hereinabove constituted; and 650 of the Civil Code reproduced as
Review on Certiorari[1] are the 3. Ordering plaintiffs to solidarily pay follows:
Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals defendant Lee the amount of THREE
dated March 12, 2001 and its Resolution THOUSAND PESOS (P3,000.00) per sq. m. ART. 649. The owner, or any person who
dated June 21, 2001 in CA-G.R. CV No. or a total of THIRTY NINE THOUSAND by virtue of a real right may cultivate or
60511. PESOS (P39,000.00) as payment of use any immovable, which is surrounded
indemnity, on or before the complete by other immovables pertaining to other
Spouses Amadeo and Adelaida Carreon, establishment thereof; persons and without adequate outlet to
respondents, are the owners of a house 4. Further ordering plaintiffs to solidarily a public highway, is entitled to demand a
and Lots Nos. 8-B and 8-C located pay defendant Lee the amount of right of way through the neighboring
in Cebu City TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND PESOS estates, after payment of the proper
covered by Transfer Certificates of Title (P25,000.00) as the value of the indemnity.
(TCT) Nos. 61049 and 56745, wall/fence to be demolished likewise on Should this easement be established in
respectively, of the Registry of Deeds, or before the complete establishment of such a manner that its use may be
same city. the easement; and continuous for all the needs of the
5. All counterclaims are hereby dominant estate, establishing a
On the other hand, Anita Linda dismissed for lack of merit. permanent passage, the indemnity shall
Rodriguez is the owner of Lot No. 6213- NO PRONOUNCEMENT AS TO COSTS. consist of the value of the land occupied
A-2 covered by TCT No. 93402. It is SO ORDERED. and the amount of the damage caused
situated within the vicinity of to the servient estate.
respondent spouses lots. In case the right of way is limited to the
necessary passage for the cultivation of
As there is no existing way from their the estate surrounded by others and for
property to the nearest road, the gathering of its crops through the
respondents filed with the Regional Trial servient estate without a permanent
Court (RTC), Branch 22, Cebu City a way, the indemnity shall consist in the
complaint for easement of right of way payment of the damage caused by such
against Rodriguez, docketed as Civil Case encumbrance.
No. CEB-7426. During the pre-trial, the On appeal by petitioner, the Court of This easement is not compulsory if the
RTC found that there is another servient Appeals, in its assailed Decision, affirmed isolation of the immovable is due to the
estate, owned by Mr. and Ms. Anselmo the RTC Judgment, thus: proprietors own acts.
Jardin which could be used by ART. 650. The easement of right of way
respondents as a right of WHEREFORE, premises considered, the shall be established at the point least
way. Respondents then filed a Motion present appeal is hereby DISMISSED, for prejudicial to the servient estate, and,
for Leave to Admit Amended Complaint lack of merit. The appealed Decision insofar as consistent with this rule,
to include spouses Jardin as co- dated June 24, 1997 of where the distance from the dominant
defendants, the latter being owners of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, estate to a public highway may be the
Lots Nos. 6213-A-3, 6213-A-4 and 8-A Branch 22 in Civil Case No. CEB-7426 is shortest.
located on the eastern side of hereby AFFIRMED.
respondents property. On June 9, 1989, No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
To be entitled to an easement of right of least prejudicial and shortest distance to
way, the following requisites should be the servient estate, the
met: Court of Appeals held: We find the same
to be present in the case at
1. the dominant estate is surrounded by bar. Moreover, it should be emphasized
other immovables and has no adequate that what respondent spouses asked for
outlet to a public highway (Art. 649, par. was merely a one (1) meter wide
1); pathway. The trial court found that this
2. there is payment of proper indemnity easement will only affect a small portion
(Art. 649, par. 1); of petitioners lot which has a total area
3. the isolation is not due to the acts of of 249 square meters.[5] Only his fence
the proprietor of the dominant estate will be affected, the damage of which
(Art. 649, last par.); and respondent spouses are willing to pay.
4. the right of way claimed is at the point
least prejudicial to the servient estate; Verily, we find no cogent reason to
and insofar as consistent with this rule, disturb the Decision of the Court of
where the distance from the dominant Appeals affirming the Judgment of the
estate to a public highway may be the trial court.
shortest (Art. 650).[3]
All the above requisites are present WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. The
here. challenged Decision and Resolution of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No.
As regards the first requisite, the parties 60511 are AFFIRMED. Costs against
agreed that respondents property is petitioner.
surrounded by the estates of other
persons, including that of petitioner. The SO ORDERED.
only dispute is whether respondents
have an adequate outlet to the nearest
road. The Court of Appeals held:

x x x What defendant-appellant insists is


that plaintiffs-appellees can use another
outlet leading to the nearest road by
traversing several small lots and
thereafter use the northern portion of
his property which he is willing to be the
subject of a right of way. The trial court
found that plaintiffs-appellees managed
to reach the nearest road through any
passage available, passing through
several lots as they were unobstructed
by any structure of fence. However, as
correctly ruled by the court a quo, this is
not the adequate outlet referred to by
law. Plaintiffs-appellees have every right
in accordance with law to formally
demand for an adequate outlet sufficient
for their needs. Moreover, the
alternative route referred to by
defendant-appellant appears to be
merely a proposed outlet, not yet in
existence. x x x

The second requisite is that payment of


indemnity has been complied
with. Respondents have consistently
maintained that they are willing to pay
the area affected at a reasonable price
that may be fixed by the Court.[4]

Anent the third requisite, records show


that the isolation of respondents
property is not due to their
fault. Actually, it is surrounded by
estates of other persons, leaving
respondents no adequate ingress or
egress to a public highway.

Going now to the fourth requisite that


the right of way claimed is at the point
SPOUSES VICTOR VALDEZ AND JOCELYN parcel of land above-described, free which was erected long before the
VALDEZ, represented by their Attorney- from all liens and encumbrances. subject property was sold to
In-Fact, VIRGILIO VALDEZ, petitioners.[8] In support of this claim,
Petitioners, xxxx respondents submitted a February 20,
2003 letter from the City Engineers
That now and hereinafter, said VENDEE- Office.[9]
- versus - SPOUSES VICTOR and JOECELYN [sic]
VALDEZ shall be the absolute owners of Branch 26 of the RTC of San Fernando
SPOUSES FRANCISCO TABISULA AND the said 200 sq. meters, eastern portion dismissed petitioners complaint and
CARIDAD TABISULA, and that we shall warrant and forever granted respondents Counterclaim by
Respondents. defend their ownership of the same Decision[10] of March 18, 2005, the
G.R. No. 175510 against the claims of all persons dispositive portion of which reads:
whomsoever; they shall be provided a 2
Present: 1/2 meters [sic] wide road right-of-way WHEREFORE, and in view of all the
on the western side of their lot but foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered
QUISUMBING, J., Chairperson, which is not included in this sale. finding the defendants as against the
CARPIO MORALES, plaintiffs and hereby orders the
TINGA, x x x.x (Emphasis and underscoring Complaint dismissed for being
VELASCO, JR., and supplied) unmeritorious and plaintiffs are hereby
BRION, JJ. ordered to pay the defendants, the
following:
Promulgated: Respondents subsequently built a
July 28, 2008 concrete wall on the western side of the 1) P100,000.00 as moral damages;
x------------------------------ subject property.[2] Believing that that
--------------------x side is the intended road right of way 2) P50,000.00 as exemplary damages;
mentioned in the deed, petitioners,
DECISION through their representative, reported 3) P50,000.00 as attorneys fees;
the matter to the barangay for
CARPIO MORALES, J.: mediation and conciliation. Respondents 4) P30,000.00 as expenses of litigation;
failed to attend the conferences and
Petitioner-spouses Victor and Jocelyn scheduled by the barangay, however,
Valdez purchased via a January 11, 1993 drawing petitioners to file in April 1999 5) To pay the costs.
Deed of Absolute Sale[1] (the deed) from or more than six years after the
respondent-spouses Francisco Tabisula execution of the deed a Complaint for SO ORDERED.[11] (Underscoring
and Caridad Tabisula a 200 square meter Specific Performance with Damages[3] supplied)
(sq.m.) portion (the subject property) of against respondents before the Regional
a 380 sq. m. parcel of land located in San Trial Court (RTC) of San Fernando City, La
Fernando, La Union, which 380 sq.m. Union. On appeal by petitioners, the Court of
parcel of land is more particularly Appeals, by Decision of May 29,
described in the deed as follows: In their complaint, petitioners alleged 2006,[12] affirmed that of the trial court,
that they purchased the subject property it holding that the deed only conveyed
A parcel of land classified as residential on the strength of respondents ownership of the subject property to
lot, bounded on the North by Lot No. assurance of providing them a road right petitioners, and that the reference
25569, on the East, by Lot No. 247, 251, of way. They thus prayed that therein to an easement in favor of
on the South, by a Creek and on the respondents be ordered to provide the petitioners is not a definite grant-basis of
West, by Lot No. 223-A, declared under subject property with a 2-meter wide a voluntary easement of right of
Tax Decl. No. 52820, with an area of 380 easement and to remove the concrete way.[13]
square meters, more or less, and wall blocking the same.[4]
assessed at P 17100.00 for the current The appellate court went on to hold that
year. It is not registered under Act 496 Respondents, in their Answer with petitioners are neither entitled to a legal
nor under the Spanish Mortgage Law. Compulsory Counterclaim (for damages or compulsory easement of right of way
(Emphasis and underscoring supplied) and attorneys fees),[5] averred that the as they failed to present circumstances
The pertinent portions of the deed read: 2 -meter easement should be taken from justifying their entitlement to it under
the western portion of the subject Article 649 of the Civil Code.[14]
xxxx property and not from theirs;[6] and
petitioners and their family are also the Petitioners motion for
That for and in consideration of the sum owners of two properties adjoining the reconsideration[15] having been denied
of SEVENTY THOUSAND (P70,000.00) subject property, which adjoining by the Court of Appeals by Resolution of
PESOS, Philippine Currencyp [sic] paid to properties have access to two public November 15, 2006, they filed the
us at our entire satisfaction by spouses roads or highways the bigger one which present petition for review on certiorari
VICTOR and JOECELYN [sic] VALDEZ, both adjoins P. Burgos St. on the north, and faulting the trial [sic] court
of legal age, Filipinos and residents of the smaller one which abuts an existing
148 P. Burgos St., San Fernando, La barangay road on the north.[7] I. . . . IN RULING THAT THE RIGHT OF
Union, receipt of which is hereby WAY IS NOT PART OF THE ABSOLUTE
acknowledged, do hereby SELL, CONVEY Respondents further averred that they DEED OF SALE DATED JANUARY 11,
and TRANSFER by way of absolute sale could not have agreed to providing 1993;
unto the said spouses Victor and petitioners an easement on the western
Joecelyn Valdez, their heirs and assigns, side of their lot as there exists a two- II. . . . IN RULING THAT THE PROVISION
the TWO HUNDRED (200) SQUARE storey concrete house on their lot where OF THE ABSOLUTE DEED OF SALE
METERS, EASTERN PORTION of the the supposed easement is to be located,
GRANTING A RIGHT OF WAY IS VAGUE private right requires it to be given an proving the existence of these
AND OBSCURE; imperative meaning.[20] prerequisites lies on the owner of the
dominant estate,[22] herein petitioners.
III. . . . IN AWARDING MORAL AND Besides, a document stipulating a
EXEMPLARY DAMAGES TO THE voluntary easement must be recorded in As found, however, by the trial court,
RESPONDENTS.[16] (Underscoring the Registry of Property in order not to which is supported by the Sketch[23]
supplied) prejudice third parties. So Articles 708 (Exhibit B; Exhibit 1) of the location of
and 709 of the Civil Code call for, viz: the lots of the parties and those
adjoining them, a common evidence of
An easement or servitude is a real right Art. 708. The Registry of Property has for the parties, petitioners and their family
constituted on anothers property, its object the inscription or annotation of are also the owners of two properties
corporeal and immovable, by virtue of acts and contracts relating to the adjoining the subject property which
which the owner of the same has to ownership and other rights over have access to two public roads or
abstain from doing or to allow somebody immovable property. highways.[24]
else to do something on his property for
the benefit of another thing or Art. 709. The titles of ownership, or of Since petitioners then have more than
person.[17] The statutory basis of this other rights over immovable property, adequate passage to two public roads,
right is Article 613 of the Civil Code which are not duly inscribed or they have no right to demand the grant
which reads: annotated in the Registry of Property by respondents of an easement on the
shall not prejudice third persons. western side of [respondents] lot.
Art. 613. An easement or servitude is an
encumbrance imposed upon an It may not be amiss to note at this
immovable for the benefit of another Petitioners are neither entitled to a legal juncture that at the time the deed was
immovable belonging to a different or compulsory easement of right of way. executed in 1993, the barangay road-
owner. For to be entitled to such kind of Exhibit 1-G, by which petitioners could
easement, the preconditions under access Burgos Street-Exhibit 1-F, was not
The immovable in favor of which the Articles 649 and 650 of the Civil Code yet in existence; and that the Interior
easement is established is called the must be established, viz: Street-Exhibit 1-H, which petitioners via
dominant estate; that which is subject this case seek access to with a right of
thereto, the servient estate. Art. 649. The owner, or any person who way, was still a creek,[25] as reflected in
by virtue of a real right may cultivate or the earlier-quoted particular description
use any immovable, which is surrounded of respondents parcel of land from
There are two kinds of easements by other immovables pertaining to other which the subject property originally
according to source by law or by the will persons, and without adequate outlet to formed part.
of the owners. So Article 619 of the Civil a public highway, is entitled to demand a
Code provides: right of way through the neighboring Respecting the grant of damages in favor
estates, after payment of the proper of respondents by the trial court which
Art. 619. Easements are established indemnity. was affirmed by the appellate court, the
either by law or by the will of the Court finds the same baseless.
owners. The former are called legal and xxxx
the latter voluntary easements. To merit an award of moral damages,
This easement is not compulsory if the there must be proof of moral suffering,
isolation of the immovable is due to the mental anguish, fright and the like. It is
From the allegations in petitioners proprietors own acts. (Underscoring not enough that one suffers sleepless
complaint, it is clear that what they seek supplied) nights, mental anguish, serious anxiety
to enforce is an alleged grant in the deed as a result of the actuation of the other
by respondents of an easement reading: Art. 650. The easement of right of way party.[26] Invariably, such actuation
they shall be provided a 2 meters wide shall be established at the point least must be shown by clear and convincing
road right-of-way on the western side of prejudicial to the servient estate, and, evidence[27] to have been willfully done
their lot but which is not included in this insofar as consistent with this rule, in bad faith or with ill-motive.
sale. where the distance from the dominant
estate to a public highway may be the In respondents case, they predicated
Article 1358 of the Civil Code provides shortest. (Underscoring supplied) their Counterclaim for damages on
that any transaction involving the sale or general allegations of sickness,
disposition of real property must be in humiliation and embarrassment, without
writing.[18] The stipulation harped upon Thus, to be conferred a legal easement establishing bad faith, fraud or ill-motive
by petitioners that they shall be of right of way under Article 649, the on petitioners part.[28]
provided a 2 meters wide road right-of- following requisites must be complied
way on the western side of their lot but with: (1) the property is surrounded by More importantly, respondents are
which is not included in this sale is not a other immovables and has no adequate precluded from filing any counterclaim in
disposition of real property. The proviso outlet to a public highway; (2) proper light of Article 199 of Rule XXVI of the
that the intended grant of right of way is indemnity must be paid; (3) the isolation Rules and Regulations Implementing the
not included in this sale could only mean is not the result of the owner of the Local Government Code of 1991 reading:
that the parties would have to enter into dominant estates own acts; (4) the right
a separate and distinct agreement for of way claimed is at the point least xxxx
the purpose.[19] The use of the word prejudicial to the servient estate; and (5)
shall, which is imperative or mandatory to the extent consistent with the ARTICLE 199. Penalty for Refusal or
in its ordinary signification, should be foregoing rule, the distance from the Failure of Any Party or Witness to
construed as merely permissive where, dominant estate to a public highway Appear before the Lupon or Pangkat.
as in the case at bar, no public benefit or may be the shortest.[21] The onus of Refusal or willful failure of any party or
witness to appear before the lupon or
pangkat in compliance with summons
issued pursuant to this Rule may be
punished by the city or municipal court
as for indirect contempt of court upon
application filed therewith by the lupon
chairman, the pangkat chairman, or by
any of the contending parties. Such
refusal or willful failure to appear shall
be reflected in the records of the lupon
secretary or in the minutes of the
pangkat secretary and shall bar the
complainant who fails to appear, from
seeking judicial recourse for the same
course of action, and the respondent
who refuses to appear, from filing any
counterclaim arising out of, or
necessarily connected with the
complaint.

x x x x (Emphasis and underscoring


supplied)

While respondent Caridad Tabisula


claimed that she always appeared, when
summoned, before the barangay
lupon,[29] the following Certificate to
File Action[30] belies the claim.

xxxx

This is to certify that respondents failed


to appear for (2) Mediation Proceeding
before our Punong Barangay thus the
corresponding complaint may now be
filed in court.

Issued this 24th day of November 1998


at the Multi Purpose Hall, Barangay 1
City of San Fernando (LU).

x x x x (Underscoring supplied)

The award for moral damages being thus


baseless, that for exemplary damages
must too be baseless.

As for the award of attorney's fees and


expenses of litigation, respondents have
not shown their entitlement thereto in
accordance with Article 2208 of the Civil
Code.

WHEREFORE, the May 29, 2006 Decision


and November 15, 2006 Resolution of
the Court of Appeals are MODIFIED in
that the grant of the Counterclaim of
respondents, Spouses Francisco Tabisula
and Caridad Tabisula, is reversed and set
aside. In all other respects, the
challenged decision is AFFIRMED.

Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.