You are on page 1of 23

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G.R. No.

76217 September 14, 1989 GERMAN MANAGEMENT & SERVICES, INC., petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and ERNESTO VILLEZA, respondents. G.R. No. L-76216 September 14, 1989 GERMAN MANAGEMENT & SERVICES, INC., petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS and ORLANDO GERNALE, respondents. Alam, Verano & Associates for petitioner. Francisco D. Lozano for private respondents. FERNAN, C.J.: Spouses Cynthia Cuyegkeng Jose and Manuel Rene Jose, residents of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA are the owners of a parcel of land situated in Sitio Inarawan, San Isidro, Antipolo, Rizal, with an area of 232,942 square meters and covered by TCT No. 50023 of the Register of Deeds of the province of Rizal issued on September 11, 1980 which canceled TCT No. 56762/ T-560. The land was originally registered on August 5, 1948 in the Office of the Register of Deeds of Rizal as OCT No. 19, pursuant to a Homestead Patent granted by the President of the Philippines on July 27, 1948, under Act No. 141. On February 26, 1982, the spouses Jose executed a special power of attorney authorizing petitioner German Management Services to develop their property covered by TCT No. 50023 into a residential subdivision. Consequently, petitioner on February 9,1983 obtained Development Permit No. 00424 from the Human Settlements Regulatory Commission for said development. Finding that part of the property was occupied by private respondents and twenty other persons, petitioner advised the occupants to vacate the premises but the latter refused. Nevertheless, petitioner proceeded with the development of the subject property which included the portions occupied and cultivated by private respondents. Private respondents filed an action for forcible entry against petitioner before the Municipal Trial Court of Antipolo, Rizal, alleging that they are mountainside farmers of Sitio Inarawan, San Isidro, Antipolo, Rizal and members of the Concerned Citizens of Farmer's Association; that they have occupied and tilled their farmholdings some twelve to fifteen years prior to the promulgation of P.D. No. 27; that during the first week of August 1983, petitioner, under a permit from the Office of the Provincial Governor of Rizal, was allowed to improve the Barangay Road at Sitio Inarawan, San Isidro, Antipolo, Rizal at its expense, subject to the condition that it shag secure the needed right of way from the owners of the lot to be affected; that on August 15, 1983 and thereafter, petitioner deprived private respondents of their property without due process of law by: (1) forcibly removing and destroying the barbed wire fence enclosing their farmholdings without notice; (2) bulldozing the rice, corn fruit bearing trees and other crops of private respondents by means of force, violence and intimidation, in violation of P.D. 1038 and (3) trespassing, coercing and threatening to harass, remove and eject private respondents from their respective farmholdings in violation of P.D. Nos. 316, 583, 815, and 1028. 1

On January 7,1985, the Municipal Trial Court dismissed private respondents' complaint for forcible entry. 2 On appeal, the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo, Rizal, Branch LXXI sustained the dismissal by the Municipal Trial Court. 3 Private respondents then filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals. On July 24,1986, said court gave due course to their petition and reversed the decisions of the Municipal Trial Court and the Regional Trial Court. 4 The Appellate Court held that since private respondents were in actual possession of the property at the time they were forcibly ejected by petitioner, private respondents have a right to commence an action for forcible entry regardless of the legality or illegality of possession. 5 Petitioner moved to reconsider but the same was denied by the Appellate Court in its resolution dated September 26, 1986. 6 Hence, this recourse. The issue in this case is whether or not the Court of Appeals denied due process to petitioner when it reversed the decision of the court a quo without giving petitioner the opportunity to file its answer and whether or not private respondents are entitled to file a forcible entry case against petitioner. 7 We affirm. The Court of Appeals need not require petitioner to file an answer for due process to exist. The comment filed by petitioner on February 26, 1986 has sufficiently addressed the issues presented in the petition for review filed by private respondents before the Court of Appeals. Having heard both parties, the Appellate Court need not await or require any other additional pleading. Moreover, the fact that petitioner was heard by the Court of Appeals on its motion for reconsideration negates any violation of due process. Notwithstanding petitioner's claim that it was duly authorized by the owners to develop the subject property, private respondents, as actual possessors, can commence a forcible entry case against petitioner because ownership is not in issue. Forcible entry is merely a quieting process and never determines the actual title to an estate. Title is not involved. 8 In the case at bar, it is undisputed that at the time petitioner entered the property, private respondents were already in possession thereof . There is no evidence that the spouses Jose were ever in possession of the subject property. On the contrary, private respondents' peaceable possession was manifested by the fact that they even planted rice, corn and fruit bearing trees twelve to fifteen years prior to petitioner's act of destroying their crops. Although admittedly petitioner may validly claim ownership based on the muniments of title it presented, such evidence does not responsively address the issue of prior actual possession raised in a forcible entry case. It must be stated that regardless of the actual condition of the title to the property, the party in peaceable quiet possession shall not be turned out by a strong hand, violence or terror. 9 Thus, a party who can prove prior possession can recover such possession even against the owner himself. Whatever may be the character of his prior possession, if he has in his favor priority in time, he has the security that entitles him to remain on the property until he is lawfully ejected by a person having a better right by accion publiciana or accion reivindicatoria. 10 Both the Municipal Trial Court and the Regional Trial Court have rationalized petitioner's drastic action of bulldozing and destroying the crops of private respondents on the basis of the doctrine of self-help enunciated in Article 429 of the New Civil Code. 11 Such justification is unavailing because the doctrine of self-help can only be exercised at the time of actual or threatened dispossession which is absent in the case at bar. When possession has already been lost, the owner must resort to judicial process for the recovery of property. This is clear from Article 536 of the Civil Code which states, "(I)n no case may possession be acquired through force or intimidation as long as there is a possessor who objects thereto. He who believes that he has an action or right to deprive another of the holding of a thing, must invoke the aid of the competent court, if the holder should refuse to deliver the thing."

WHEREFORE, the Court resolved to DENY the instant petition. The decision of the Court of Appeals dated July 24,1986 is hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner. SO ORDERED. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. L-28716 November 18, 1970 FELIX CAISIP, IGNACIO ROJALES and FEDERICO VILLADELREY, petitioners, vs. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and THE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. Godofredo F. Trajano and Rafael A. Francisco for petitioners. Office of the Solicitor General Felix V. Makasiar, Assistant Solicitor General Antonio G. Ibarra and Solicitor Conrado T. Limcaoco for respondents. CONCEPCION, C.J.: This case is before Us upon petition of defendants Felix Caisip, Ignacio Rojales and Federico Villadelrey, for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals which affirmed that of the Court of First Instance of Batangas, convicting them of the crime of Grave Coercion, with which they are charged, and sentencing each to four (4) months and one (1) day of arresto mayor and to pay a fine of P200.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, not to exceed one-third of the principal penalty, as well as one-third of the costs. As set forth in the trial court's decision, the background of the present case is this:
The complainant Gloria Cabalag is the wife of Marcelino Guevarra who cultivated a parcel of land known as Lot 105-A of Hacienda Palico situated in sitio Bote-bote, barrio Tampisao, Nasugbu, Batangas. The said parcel of land used to be tenanted by the deceased father of the complainant. Hacienda Palico is owned by Roxas y Cia. and administered by Antonio Chuidian. The overseer of the said hacienda is Felix Caisip, one of the accused herein. Even before the occurrence of the incident presently involved, there had been a series of misunderstandings and litigations involving the complainant and her husband, on one hand, and the men of Hacienda Palico on the other. It appears that on December 23, 1957, Marcelino Guevarra filed an action with the Court of Agrarian Relations seeking recognition as a lawful tenant of Roxas y Cia. over lot No. 105-A of Hacienda Palico. In a decision dated February 22, 1958, the Court of Agrarian Relations declared it has no jurisdiction over the case, inasmuch as Guevarra is not a tenant on the said parcel of land. An appeal was taken by Guevarra to the Supreme Court, but the appeal was dismissed in a resolution dated April 10, 1958. On May 17, 1958, Roxas y Cia. filed an action against Marcelino Guevarra in the justice of the peace court of Nasugbu, Batangas, for forcible entry, praying therein that Guevarra be ejected from the premises of Lot No. 105A. After due hearing, the said Court in a decision dated May 2, 1959 ordered Guevarra to vacate the lot and to pay damages and accrued rentals. A writ of execution was issued by Justice of the Peace Rodolfo A. Castillo of Nasugbu, which was served on Guevarra on June 6, 1959, and the return of which was made by Deputy Sheriff Leonardo R. Aquino of this Court on June 23, 1959 (Exhibit "10"). The writ recites among other things that the possession of the land was delivered to the Roxas y Cia. thru Felix Caisip, the overseer, and Guevarra was given twenty days from June 6, 1959 within which to leave the premises.

The record before Us does not explain why said decision was executed. According to the complainant, her husband's counsel had appealed from said decision. The justice of the peace who rendered it, Hon. Rodolfo Castillo, said that there really had been an attempt to appeal, which was not given due course because the reglementary period therefor had expired; that a motion to reconsider his order to this effect was denied by him; and that a second motion for reconsideration was "still pending consideration," and it was October 19, 1959 when such testimony was given. Continuing the narration of the antecedent facts, His Honor, the Trial Judge, added:
On June 15, 1959, some trouble occurred between the complainant and Caisip regarding the cutting of sugar cane on Lot 105-A. The following day June 16, 1959, the complainant allegedly again entered the premises of Lot 105-A and refused to be driven out by Felix Caisip. Due to the aforementioned incidents, Gloria Cabalag was charged in the justice of the peace court of Nasugbu, Batangas, with grave coercion for the incident of June 15, 1959, docketed in the said court as Criminal Case No. 968 (Exhibit "3"); and with the crime of unjust vexation for the incident of June 16, 1959, docketed in the said court as Criminal Case No. 970. Both cases, however, were filed only on June 25, 1959.

In other words, these criminal cases, Nos. 968 and 970, against Gloria Cabalag, were filed eight (8) days after the incident involved in the case at bar. It is, also, noteworthy that both cases were on motion of the prosecution, filed after a reinvestigation thereof provisionally dismissed, on November 8, 1960, by the Court of First Instance of Batangas, upon the ground "that the evidence of record ... are insufficient to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt." The decision of said court, in the case at bar, goes on to say:
It further appears that due to the tenacious attitude of Gloria Cabalag to remain in the premises, Caisip sought the help of the chief of police of Nasugbu who advised him to see Deputy Sheriff Aquino about the matter. The latter, however, informed Caisip that he could not act on the request to eject Gloria Cabalag and to stop her from what she was doing without a proper court order. Caisip then consulted Antonio Chuidian, the hacienda administrator, who, in turn, went to the chief of police and requested for the detail of policemen in sitio Bote-bote. The chief of police, acting on said request, assigned the accused Ignacio Rojales and Federico Villadelrey, police sergeant and police corporal, respectively, of the Nasugbu Police Force, to sitio Bote-bote. 1

On June 17, 1959, at about 5:00 p.m., Gloria Cabalag was seen weeding the portion of Lot 105-A which was a ricefield. Appellant Caisip approached her and bade her to leave, but she refused to do so, alleging that she and her husband had the right to stay there and that the crops thereon belong to them. She having stuck to this attitude, even when he threatened to call the police, Caisip went to his co-defendants, Sgt. Rojales and Cpl. Villadelrey, both of the local police, who were some distance away, and brought them with him. Rojales told Gloria, who was then in a squatting position, to stop weeding. As Gloria insisted on her right to stay in said lot, Rojales grabbed her right hand and, twisting the same, wrested therefrom the trowel she was holding. Thereupon, Villadelrey held her left hand and, together with Rojales, forcibly dragged her northward towards a forested area, where there was a banana plantation as Caisip stood nearby, with a drawn gun. Inasmuch as Gloria shouted "Ina ko po! Ina ko po!" 2her neighbors, Librada Dulutan, followed, soon later, by Francisca Andino, came and asked the policemen why they were dragging her. The policemen having answered that they would take Gloria to town which was on the west Francisca Andino pleaded that Gloria be released, saying that, if their purpose was as stated by them, she (Gloria) would willingly go with them. By this time, Gloria had already been dragged about eight meters and her dress, as well as her blouse 3were torn. She then agreed to proceed westward to the municipal building, and asked to be allowed to pass by her house, within Lot 105-A, in order to breast-feed her nursing infant, but, the request was turned down. As they passed, soon later, near the house of Zoilo Rivera, head of the tenant organization to which she was affiliated, in the barrio of Camachilihan, Gloria called out for him, whereupon, he went down the house and accompanied them to the municipal building. Upon arrival thereat, Rojales and Villadelrey turned her over to the policeman on duty, and then departed. After being interrogated by the chief of police, Gloria was, upon representations made by Zoilo Rivera, released and allowed to go home.

The foregoing is the prosecution's version. That of the defense is to the effect that, upon being asked by the policemen to stop weeding and leave the premises, Gloria, not only refused to do so, but, also, insulted them, as well as Caisip. According to the defense, she was arrested because of the crime of slander then committed by her. Appellants Rojales and Villadelrey, moreover, testified that, as they were heading towards the barrio of Camachilihan, Gloria proceeded to tear her clothes. His Honor, the Trial Judge, accepted, however, the version of the prosecution and found that of the defense unworthy of credence. The findings of fact of the Court of Appeals, which fully concurred in this view, are "final," and our authority to review on certiorari its appealed decision is limited to questions purely of law. 4 Appellants maintain that the Court of Appeals has erred: (1) in not finding their acts "justified under Article 429 of the New Civil Code"; (2) in holding that the 20-day period of grace given to Marcelino Guevarra and his wife, Gloria Cabalag, by the sheriff, to vacate Lot 105-A, was valid and lawful; (3) in finding that the elements of the crime of grave coercion are present in the case at bar; and (4) in finding appellants guilty as charged. This pretense is clearly untenable. Art. 429 of our Civil Code, reading:
The owner or lawful possessor of a thing has the right to exclude any person from the enjoyment and disposal thereof. For this purpose, he may use such force as may be reasonably necessary to repel or prevent an actual or threatened unlawful physical invasion or usurpation of his property.

upon which appellants rely is obviously inapplicable to the case at bar, for, having been given 20 days from June 6, 1959, within which to vacate Lot 105-A, complainant did not, on June 17, 1959 or within said period invade or usurp said lot. She had merely remained in possession thereof, even though the hacienda owner may have become its copossessor. Appellants did not "repel or prevent in actual or threatened ... physical invasion or usurpation." They expelled Gloria from a property of which she and her husband were in possession even before the action for forcible entry was filed against them on May 17, 1958, despite the fact that the Sheriff had explicitly authorized them to stay in said property up to June 26, 1959, and had expressed the view that he could not oust them therefrom on June 17, 1959, without a judicial order therefor. It is urged, that, by weeding and refusing to leave Lot 105-A, Gloria had committed a crime in the presence of the policemen, despite the aforementioned 20-day period, which, appellants claim, the sheriff had no authority to grant. This contention is manifestly untenable, because: (1) said period was granted in the presence of the hacienda owner's representative, appellant Caisip, who, by not objecting thereto, had impliedly consented to or ratified the act performed by the sheriff; (2) Gloria and her husband were thereby allowed to remain, and had, in fact, remained, in possession of the premises, perhaps together with the owner of the hacienda or his representative, Caisip; (3) the act of removing weeds from the ricefield was beneficial to its owner and to whomsoever the crops belonged, and, even if they had not authorized it, does not constitute a criminal offense; and (4) although Gloria and her husband had been sentenced to vacate the land, the judgment against them did not necessarily imply that they, as the parties who had tilled it and planted thereon, had no rights, of any kind whatsoever, in or to the standing crops, inasmuch as "necessary expenses shall be refunded to every possessor," 5 and the cost of cultivation, production and upkeep has been held to partake of the nature of necessary expenses. 6 It is, accordingly, clear that appellants herein had, by means of violence, and without legal authority therefor, prevented the complainant from "doing something not prohibited by law," (weeding and being in Lot 105-A), and compelled her "to do something against" her will (stopping the weeding and leaving said lot), "whether it be right or wrong," thereby taking the law into their hands, in violation of Art. 286 of the Revised Penal Code. 7 Appellant Caisip argues that, not having used violence against the complaining witness, he should be acquitted of the charge. In this connection, His Honor, the Trial Judge, correctly observed:

... While it is true that the accused Caisip did not lay hands on the complainant, unlike the accused Rojales and Villadelrey who were the ones who used force against Gloria, and while the Court is also inclined to discredit the claim of the complainant that Felix Caisip drew a gun during the incident, it sufficiently appears from the record that the motivation and inducement for the coercion perpetrated on the complainant came from the accused Caisip. It was his undisguised and particular purpose to prevent Gloria from entering the land and working on the same. He was the one who first approached Gloria with this objective in mind, and tried to prevent her from weeding the land. He had tried to stop Gloria from doing the same act even the day previous to the present incident. It was Caisip who fetched the policemen in order to accomplish his purpose of preventing Gloria from weeding the land and making her leave the premises. The policemen obeyed his bidding, and even when the said policemen were already over-asserting their authority as peace officers, Caisip simply stood by without attempting to stop their abuses. He could be hardly said to have disapproved an act which he himself induced and initiated. 8

In other words, there was community of purpose between the policemen and Caisip, so that the latter is guilty of grave coercion, as a co-conspirator, apart from being a principal by induction. 9 In the commission of the offense, the aggravating circumstances of abuse of superior strength 10 and disregard of the respect due the offended party, by reason of her sex, 11 were present, insofar as the three appellants herein are concerned. As regards appellants Rojales and Villadelrey, there was the additional aggravating circumstance of having taken advantage of their positions as members of the local police force. Hence, the penalty of imprisonment meted out to appellants herein, which is the minimum of the maximum prescribed in said Art. 286, 12 and the fine imposed upon them, are in accordance with law. WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against the defendantsappellants. It is so ordered. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G.R. No. 116100 February 9, 1996

SPOUSES CRISTINO and BRIGIDA CUSTODIO and SPOUSES LITO and MARIA CRISTINA SANTOS, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, HEIRS OF PACIFICO C. MABASA and REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF PASIG, METRO MANILA, BRANCH 181, respondents. DECISION REGALADO, J.: This petition for review on certiorari assails the decision of respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 29115, promulgated on November 10, 1993, which affirmed with modification the decision of the trial court, as well as its resolution dated July 8, 1994 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration. 1 On August 26, 1982, Civil Case No. 47466 for the grant of an easement of right of way was filed by Pacifico Mabasa against Cristino Custodio, Brigida R. Custodio, Rosalina R. Morato, Lito Santos and Maria Cristina C. Santos before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig and assigned to Branch 22 thereof.2 The generative facts of the case, as synthesized by the trial court and adopted by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:

Perusing the record, this Court finds that the original plaintiff Pacifico Mabasa died during the pendency of this case and was substituted by Ofelia Mabasa, his surviving spouse [and children]. The plaintiff owns a parcel of land with a two-door apartment erected thereon situated at Interior P. Burgos St., Palingon, Tipas, Tagig, Metro Manila. The plaintiff was able to acquire said property through a contract of sale with spouses Mamerto Rayos and Teodora Quintero as vendors last September 1981. Said property may be described to be surrounded by other immovables pertaining to defendants herein. Taking P. Burgos Street as the point of reference, on the left side, going to plaintiff's property, the row of houses will be as follows: That of defendants Cristino and Brigido Custodio, then that of Lito and Maria Cristina Santos and then that of Ofelia Mabasa. On the right side (is) that of defendant Rosalina Morato and then a Septic Tank (Exhibit "D"). As an access to P. Burgos Street from plaintiff's property, there are two possible passageways. The first passageway is approximately one meter wide and is about 20 meters distan(t) from Mabasa's residence to P. Burgos Street. Such path is passing in between the previously mentioned row of houses. The second passageway is about 3 meters in width and length from plaintiff Mabasa's residence to P. Burgos Street; it is about 26 meters. In passing thru said passageway, a less than a meter wide path through the septic tank and with 5-6 meters in length, has to be traversed. When said property was purchased by Mabasa, there were tenants occupying the remises and who were acknowledged by plaintiff Mabasa as tenants. However, sometime in February, 1982, one of said tenants vacated the apartment and when plaintiff Mabasa went to see the premises, he saw that there had been built an adobe fence in the first passageway making it narrower in width. Said adobe fence was first constructed by defendants Santoses along their property which is also along the first passageway. Defendant Morato constructed her adobe fence and even extended said fence in such a way that the entire passageway was enclosed. (Exhibit "1-Santoses and Custodios, Exh. "D" for plaintiff, Exhs. "1-C", "1-D" and "1-E") And it was then that the remaining tenants of said apartment vacated the area. Defendant Ma. Cristina Santos testified that she constructed said fence because there was an incident when her daughter was dragged by a bicycle pedalled by a son of one of the tenants in said apartment along the first passageway. She also mentioned some other inconveniences of having (at) the front of her house a pathway such as when some of the tenants were drunk and would bang their doors and windows. Some of their footwear were even lost. . . .3 (Emphasis in original text; corrections in parentheses supplied) On February 27, 1990, a decision was rendered by the trial court, with this dispositive part: Accordingly, judgment is hereby rendered as follows: 1) Ordering defendants Custodios and Santoses to give plaintiff permanent access ingress and egress, to the public street; 2) Ordering the plaintiff to pay defendants Custodios and Santoses the sum of Eight Thousand Pesos (P8,000) as indemnity for the permanent use of the passageway. The parties to shoulder their respective litigation expenses. 4 Not satisfied therewith, therein plaintiff represented by his heirs, herein private respondents, went to the Court of Appeals raising the sole issue of whether or not the lower court erred in not awarding damages in their favor. On November 10, 1993, as earlier stated, the Court of Appeals rendered its decision affirming the judgment of the trial court with modification, the decretal portion of which disposes as follows: WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the lower court is hereby AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION only insofar as the herein grant of damages to plaintiffs-appellants. The Court hereby orders defendantsappellees to pay plaintiffs-appellants the sum of Sixty Five Thousand (P65,000) Pesos as Actual Damages, Thirty Thousand (P30,000) Pesos as Moral Damages, and Ten Thousand (P10,000) Pesos as Exemplary Damages. The rest of the appealed decision is affirmed to all respects.5

On July 8, 1994, the Court of Appeals denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration. 6 Petitioners then took the present recourse to us, raising two issues, namely, whether or not the grant of right of way to herein private respondents is proper, and whether or not the award of damages is in order. With respect to the first issue, herein petitioners are already barred from raising the same. Petitioners did not appeal from the decision of the court a quo granting private respondents the right of way, hence they are presumed to be satisfied with the adjudication therein. With the finality of the judgment of the trial court as to petitioners, the issue of propriety of the grant of right of way has already been laid to rest. For failure to appeal the decision of the trial court to the Court of Appeals, petitioners cannot obtain any affirmative relief other than those granted in the decision of the trial court. That decision of the court below has become final as against them and can no longer be reviewed, much less reversed, by this Court. The rule in this jurisdiction is that whenever an appeal is taken in a civil case, an appellee who has not himself appealed may not obtain from the appellate court any affirmative relief other than what was granted in the decision of the lower court. The appellee can only advance any argument that he may deem necessary to defeat the appellant's claim or to uphold the decision that is being disputed, and he can assign errors in his brief if such is required to strengthen the views expressed by the court a quo. These assigned errors, in turn, may be considered by the appellate court solely to maintain the appealed decision on other grounds, but not for the purpose of reversing or modifying the judgment in the appellee's favor and giving him other affirmative reliefs.7 However, with respect to the second issue, we agree with petitioners that the Court of Appeals erred in awarding damages in favor of private respondents. The award of damages has no substantial legal basis. A reading of the decision of the Court of Appeals will show that the award of damages was based solely on the fact that the original plaintiff, Pacifico Mabasa, incurred losses in the form of unrealized rentals when the tenants vacated the leased premises by reason of the closure of the passageway. However, the mere fact that the plaintiff suffered losses does not give rise to a right to recover damages. To warrant the recovery of damages, there must be both a right of action for a legal wrong inflicted by the defendant, and damage resulting to the plaintiff therefrom. Wrong without damage, or damage without wrong, does not constitute a cause of action, since damages are merely part of the remedy allowed for the injury caused by a breach or wrong.8 There is a material distinction between damages and injury. Injury is the illegal invasion of a legal right; damage is the loss, hurt, or harm which results from the injury; and damages are the recompense or compensation awarded for the damage suffered. Thus, there can be damage without injury in those instances in which the loss or harm was not the result of a violation of a legal duty. These situations are often called damnum absque injuria.9 In order that a plaintiff may maintain an action for the injuries of which he complains, he must establish that such injuries resulted from a breach of duty which the defendant owed to the plaintiff a concurrence of injury to the plaintiff and legal responsibility by the person causing it.10 The underlying basis for the award of tort damages is the premise that an individual was injured in contemplation of law. Thus, there must first be the breach of some duty and the imposition of liability for that breach before damages may be awarded; it is not sufficient to state that there should be tort liability merely because the plaintiff suffered some pain and suffering.11 Many accidents occur and many injuries are inflicted by acts or omissions which cause damage or loss to another but which violate no legal duty to such other person, and consequently create no cause of action in his favor. In such cases, the consequences must be borne by the injured person alone. The law affords no remedy for damages resulting from an act which does not amount to a legal injury or wrong.12 In other words, in order that the law will give redress for an act causing damage, that act must be not only hurtful, but wrongful. There must be damnum et injuria.13 If, as may happen in many cases, a person sustains actual damage, that is, harm or loss to his person or property, without sustaining any legal injury, that is, an act or omission which the law does not deem an injury, the damage is regarded as damnum absque injuria.14

In the case at bar, although there was damage, there was no legal injury. Contrary to the claim of private respondents, petitioners could not be said to have violated the principle of abuse of right. In order that the principle of abuse of right provided in Article 21 of the Civil Code can be applied, it is essential that the following requisites concur: (1) The defendant should have acted in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy; (2) The acts should be willful; and (3) There was damage or injury to the plaintiff.15 The act of petitioners in constructing a fence within their lot is a valid exercise of their right as owners, hence not contrary to morals, good customs or public policy. The law recognizes in the owner the right to enjoy and dispose of a thing, without other limitations than those established by law.16 It is within the right of petitioners, as owners, to enclose and fence their property. Article 430 of the Civil Code provides that "(e)very owner may enclose or fence his land or tenements by means of walls, ditches, live or dead hedges, or by any other means without detriment to servitudes constituted thereon." At the time of the construction of the fence, the lot was not subject to any servitudes. There was no easement of way existing in favor of private respondents, either by law or by contract. The fact that private respondents had no existing right over the said passageway is confirmed by the very decision of the trial court granting a compulsory right of way in their favor after payment of just compensation. It was only that decision which gave private respondents the right to use the said passageway after payment of the compensation and imposed a corresponding duty on petitioners not to interfere in the exercise of said right. Hence, prior to said decision, petitioners had an absolute right over their property and their act of fencing and enclosing the same was an act which they may lawfully perform in the employment and exercise of said right. To repeat, whatever injury or damage may have been sustained by private respondents by reason of the rightful use of the said land by petitioners is damnum absque injuria.17 A person has a right to the natural use and enjoyment of his own property, according to his pleasure, for all the purposes to which such property is usually applied. As a general rule, therefore, there is no cause of action for acts done by one person upon his own property in a lawful and proper manner, although such acts incidentally cause damage or an unavoidable loss to another, as such damage or loss is damnum absque injuria. 18 When the owner of property makes use thereof in the general and ordinary manner in which the property is used, such as fencing or enclosing the same as in this case, nobody can complain of having been injured, because the incovenience arising from said use can be considered as a mere consequence of community life. 19 The proper exercise of a lawful right cannot constitute a legal wrong for which an action will lie, 20 although the act may result in damage to another, for no legal right has been invaded. 21 One may use any lawful means to accomplish a lawful purpose and though the means adopted may cause damage to another, no cause of action arises in the latter's favor. An injury or damage occasioned thereby is damnum absque injuria. The courts can give no redress for hardship to an individual resulting from action reasonably calculated to achieve a lawful means. 22 WHEREFORE, under the compulsion of the foregoing premises, the appealed decision of respondent Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the judgment of the trial court is correspondingly REINSTATED. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G.R. No. 74761 November 6, 1990 NATIVIDAD V. ANDAMO and EMMANUEL R. ANDAMO, petitioners, vs.

INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT (First Civil Cases Division) and MISSIONARIES OF OUR LADY OF LA SALETTE, INC., respondents. Lope E. Adriano for petitioners. Padilla Law Office for private respondent. FERNAN, C.J.: The pivotal issue in this petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus is whether a corporation, which has built through its agents, waterpaths, water conductors and contrivances within its land, thereby causing inundation and damage to an adjacent land, can be held civilly liable for damages under Articles 2176 and 2177 of the Civil Code on quasi-delicts such that the resulting civil case can proceed independently of the criminal case. The antecedent facts are as follows: Petitioner spouses Emmanuel and Natividad Andamo are the owners of a parcel of land situated in Biga (Biluso) Silang, Cavite which is adjacent to that of private respondent, Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, Inc., a religious corporation. Within the land of respondent corporation, waterpaths and contrivances, including an artificial lake, were constructed, which allegedly inundated and eroded petitioners' land, caused a young man to drown, damaged petitioners' crops and plants, washed away costly fences, endangered the lives of petitioners and their laborers during rainy and stormy seasons, and exposed plants and other improvements to destruction. In July 1982, petitioners instituted a criminal action, docketed as Criminal Case No. TG-907-82, before the Regional Trial Court of Cavite, Branch 4 (Tagaytay City), against Efren Musngi, Orlando Sapuay and Rutillo Mallillin, officers and directors of herein respondent corporation, for destruction by means of inundation under Article 324 of the Revised Penal Code. Subsequently, on February 22, 1983, petitioners filed another action against respondent corporation, this time a civil case, docketed as Civil Case No. TG-748, for damages with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction before the same court. 1 On March 11, 1983, respondent corporation filed its answer to the complaint and opposition to the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. Hearings were conducted including ocular inspections on the land. However, on April 26, 1984, the trial court, acting on respondent corporation's motion to dismiss or suspend the civil action, issued an order suspending further hearings in Civil Case No, TG-748 until after judgment in the related Criminal Case No. TG-907-82. Resolving respondent corporation's motion to dismiss filed on June 22, 1984, the trial court issued on August 27, 1984 the disputed order dismissing Civil Case No. TG-748 for lack of jurisdiction, as the criminal case which was instituted ahead of the civil case was still unresolved. Said order was anchored on the provision of Section 3 (a), Rule III of the Rules of Court which provides that "criminal and civil actions arising from the same offense may be instituted separately, but after the criminal action has been commenced the civil action cannot be instituted until final judgment has been rendered in the criminal action." 2 Petitioners appealed from that order to the Intermediate Appellate Court. 3 On February 17, 1986, respondent Appellate Court, First Civil Cases Division, promulgated a decision 4 affirming the questioned order of the trial court. 5 A motion for reconsideration filed by petitioners was denied by the Appellate Court in its resolution dated May 19, 1986. 6

Directly at issue is the propriety of the dismissal of Civil Case No. TG-748 in accordance with Section 3 (a) of Rule 111 of the Rules of Court. Petitioners contend that the trial court and the Appellate Court erred in dismissing Civil Case No. TG-748 since it is predicated on a quasi-delict. Petitioners have raised a valid point. It is axiomatic that the nature of an action filed in court is determined by the facts alleged in the complaint as constituting the cause of action. 7 The purpose of an action or suit and the law to govern it, including the period of prescription, is to be determined not by the claim of the party filing the action, made in his argument or brief, but rather by the complaint itself, its allegations and prayer for relief. 8 The nature of an action is not necessarily determined or controlled by its title or heading but the body of the pleading or complaint itself. To avoid possible denial of substantial justice due to legal technicalities, pleadings as well as remedial laws should be liberally construed so that the litigants may have ample opportunity to prove their respective claims. 9 Quoted hereunder are the pertinent portions of petitioners' complaint in Civil Case No. TG-748:
4) That within defendant's land, likewise located at Biga (Biluso), Silang, Cavite, adjacent on the right side of the aforesaid land of plaintiffs, defendant constructed waterpaths starting from the middle-right portion thereof leading to a big hole or opening, also constructed by defendant, thru the lower portion of its concrete hollow-blocks fence situated on the right side of its cemented gate fronting the provincial highway, and connected by defendant to a man height inter-connected cement culverts which were also constructed and lain by defendant cross-wise beneath the tip of the said cemented gate, the left-end of the said inter-connected culverts again connected by defendant to a big hole or opening thru the lower portion of the same concrete hollowblocks fence on the left side of the said cemented gate, which hole or opening is likewise connected by defendant to the cemented mouth of a big canal, also constructed by defendant, which runs northward towards a big hole or opening which was also built by defendant thru the lower portion of its concrete hollow-blocks fence which separates the land of plaintiffs from that of defendant (and which serves as the exit-point of the floodwater coming from the land of defendant, and at the same time, the entrance-point of the same floodwater to the land of plaintiffs, year after year, during rainy or stormy seasons. 5) That moreover, on the middle-left portion of its land just beside the land of plaintiffs, defendant also constructed an artificial lake, the base of which is soil, which utilizes the water being channeled thereto from its water system thru inter-connected galvanized iron pipes (No. 2) and complimented by rain water during rainy or stormy seasons, so much so that the water below it seeps into, and the excess water above it inundates, portions of the adjoining land of plaintiffs. 6) That as a result of the inundation brought about by defendant's aforementioned water conductors, contrivances and manipulators, a young man was drowned to death, while herein plaintiffs suffered and will continue to suffer, as follows: a) Portions of the land of plaintiffs were eroded and converted to deep, wide and long canals, such that the same can no longer be planted to any crop or plant. b) Costly fences constructed by plaintiffs were, on several occasions, washed away. c) During rainy and stormy seasons the lives of plaintiffs and their laborers are always in danger. d) Plants and other improvements on other portions of the land of plaintiffs are exposed to destruction. ... 10

A careful examination of the aforequoted complaint shows that the civil action is one under Articles 2176 and 2177 of the Civil Code on quasi-delicts. All the elements of a quasi-delict are present, to wit: (a) damages suffered by the plaintiff, (b) fault or negligence of the defendant, or some other person for whose acts he must respond; and (c) the connection of cause and effect between the fault or negligence of the defendant and the damages incurred by the plaintiff. 11 Clearly, from petitioner's complaint, the waterpaths and contrivances built by respondent corporation are alleged to have inundated the land of petitioners. There is therefore, an assertion of a causal connection

between the act of building these waterpaths and the damage sustained by petitioners. Such action if proven constitutes fault or negligence which may be the basis for the recovery of damages. In the case of Samson vs. Dionisio, 12 the Court applied Article 1902, now Article 2176 of the Civil Code and held that "any person who without due authority constructs a bank or dike, stopping the flow or communication between a creek or a lake and a river, thereby causing loss and damages to a third party who, like the rest of the residents, is entitled to the use and enjoyment of the stream or lake, shall be liable to the payment of an indemnity for loss and damages to the injured party. While the property involved in the cited case belonged to the public domain and the property subject of the instant case is privately owned, the fact remains that petitioners' complaint sufficiently alleges that petitioners have sustained and will continue to sustain damage due to the waterpaths and contrivances built by respondent corporation. Indeed, the recitals of the complaint, the alleged presence of damage to the petitioners, the act or omission of respondent corporation supposedly constituting fault or negligence, and the causal connection between the act and the damage, with no pre-existing contractual obligation between the parties make a clear case of a quasi delict or culpa aquiliana. It must be stressed that the use of one's property is not without limitations. Article 431 of the Civil Code provides that "the owner of a thing cannot make use thereof in such a manner as to injure the rights of a third person." SIC UTERE TUO UT ALIENUM NON LAEDAS. Moreover, adjoining landowners have mutual and reciprocal duties which require that each must use his own land in a reasonable manner so as not to infringe upon the rights and interests of others. Although we recognize the right of an owner to build structures on his land, such structures must be so constructed and maintained using all reasonable care so that they cannot be dangerous to adjoining landowners and can withstand the usual and expected forces of nature. If the structures cause injury or damage to an adjoining landowner or a third person, the latter can claim indemnification for the injury or damage suffered. Article 2176 of the Civil Code imposes a civil liability on a person for damage caused by his act or omission constituting fault or negligence, thus:
Article 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 negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this chapter.

Article 2176, whenever it refers to "fault or negligence", covers not only acts "not punishable by law" but also acts criminal in character, whether intentional and voluntary or negligent. Consequently, a separate civil action lies against the offender in a criminal act, whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and found guilty or acquitted, provided that the offended party is not allowed, (if the tortfeasor is actually charged also criminally), to recover damages on both scores, and would be entitled in such eventuality only to the bigger award of the two, assuming the awards made in the two cases vary. 13 The distinctness of quasi-delicta is shown in Article 2177 of the Civil Code, which states:
Article 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence under the preceding article is entirely separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from negligence under the Penal Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the same act or omission of the defendant.

According to the Report of the Code Commission "the foregoing provision though at first sight startling, is not so novel or extraordinary when we consider the exact nature of criminal and civil negligence. The former is a violation of the criminal law, while the latter is a distinct and independent negligence, which is a "culpa aquiliana" or quasi-delict, of ancient origin, having always had its own foundation and individuality, separate from criminal negligence. Such distinction between criminal negligence and "culpa extra-contractual" or "cuasi-delito" has been sustained by decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain ... 14

In the case of Castillo vs. Court of Appeals, 15 this Court held that a quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana is a separate legal institution under the Civil Code with a substantivity all its own, and individuality that is entirely apart and independent from a delict or crime a distinction exists between the civil liability arising from a crime and the responsibility for quasi-delicts or culpa extra-contractual. The same negligence causing damages may produce civil liability arising from a crime under the Penal Code, or create an action for quasidelicts or culpa extra-contractual under the Civil Code. Therefore, the acquittal or conviction in the criminal case is entirely irrelevant in the civil case, unless, of course, in the event of an acquittal where the court has declared that the fact from which the civil action arose did not exist, in which case the extinction of the criminal liability would carry with it the extinction of the civil liability. In Azucena vs. Potenciano, 16 the Court declared that in quasi-delicts, "(t)he civil action is entirely independent of the criminal case according to Articles 33 and 2177 of the Civil Code. There can be no logical conclusion than this, for to subordinate the civil action contemplated in the said articles to the result of the criminal prosecution whether it be conviction or acquittal would render meaningless the independent character of the civil action and the clear injunction in Article 31, that his action may proceed independently of the criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter." WHEREFORE, the assailed decision dated February 17, 1986 of the then Intermediate Appellate Court affirming the order of dismissal of the Regional Trial Court of Cavite, Branch 18 (Tagaytay City) dated August 17, 1984 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The trial court is ordered to reinstate Civil Case No. TG-748 entitled "Natividad V. Andamo and Emmanuel R. Andamo vs. Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette Inc." and to proceed with the hearing of the case with dispatch. This decision is immediately executory. Costs against respondent corporation. SO ORDERED. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G.R. No. 183297 December 23, 2009

NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, Petitioner, vs. OMAR G. MARUHOM, ELIAS G. MARUHOM, BUCAY G. MARUHOM, MAMOD G. MARUHOM, FAROUK G. MARUHOM, HIDJARA G. MARUHOM, ROCANIA G. MARUHOM, POTRISAM G. MARUHOM, LUMBA G. MARUHOM, SINAB G. MARUHOM, ACMAD G. MARUHOM, SOLAYMAN G. MARUHOM, MOHAMAD M. IBRAHIM, CAIRORONESA M. IBRAHIM, and LUCMAN IBRAHIM, represented by his heirs ADORA B. IBRAHIM, NASSER B. IBRAHIM, JAMALODIN B. IBRAHIM, RAJID NABBEL B. IBRAHIM, AMEER B. IBRAHIM and SARAH AIZAH B. IBRAHIM,* Respondents. DECISION NACHURA, J.: Petitioner National Power Corporation (NPC) filed this Petition for Review on Certiorari, seeking to nullify the May 30, 2008 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 02065-MIN, affirming the Order dated November 13, 2007 issued by Hon. Amer R. Ibrahim, which granted respondents motion for issuance of a writ of execution. The antecedents.

Lucman G. Ibrahim and his co-heirs Omar G. Maruhom, Elias G. Maruhom, Bucay G. Maruhom, Mamod G. Maruhom, Farouk G. Maruhom, Hidjara G. Maruhom, Rocania G. Maruhom, Potrisam G. Maruhom, Lumba G. Maruhom, Sinab G. Maruhom, Acmad G. Maruhom, Solayman G. Maruhom, Mohamad M. Ibrahim and Cairoronesa M. Ibrahim (respondents) are owners of a 70,000-square meter lot in Saduc, Marawi City. Sometime in 1978, NPC, without respondents knowledge and consent, took possession of the subterranean area of the land and constructed therein underground tunnels. The tunnels were used by NPC in siphoning the water of Lake Lanao and in the operation of NPCs Agus II, III, IV, V, VI, and VII projects located in Saguiran, Lanao del Sur; Nangca and Balo-i in Lanao del Norte; and Ditucalan and Fuentes in Iligan City. Respondents only discovered the existence of the tunnels sometime in July 1992. Thus, on October 7, 1992, respondents demanded that NPC pay damages and vacate the subterranean portion of the land, but the demand was not heeded. Hence, on November 23, 1994, respondents instituted an action for recovery of possession of land and damages against NPC with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Lanao del Sur, docketed as Civil Case No. 1298-94. After trial, the RTC rendered a decision, 2 the decretal portion of which reads: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered: 1. Denying [respondents] prayer for [NPC] to dismantle the underground tunnels constructed beneath the lands of [respondents] in Lots 1, 2, and 3 of Survey Plan FP (VII-5) 2278; 2. Ordering [NPC] to pay to [respondents] the fair market value of said 70,000 square meters of land covering Lots 1, 2, and 3 as described in Survey Plan FP (VII-5) 2278 less the area of 21,995 square meters at P1,000.00 per square meter or a total of P48,005,000.00 for the remaining unpaid portion of 48,005 square meters; with 6% interest per annum from the filing of this case until paid; 3. Ordering [NPC] to pay [respondents] a reasonable monthly rental of P0.68 per square meter of the total area of 48,005 square meters effective from its occupancy of the foregoing area in 1978 or a total of P7,050,974.40. 4. Ordering [NPC] to pay [respondents] the sum of P200,000.00 as moral damages; and 5. Ordering [NPC] to pay the further sum of P200,000.00 as attorneys fees and the costs. SO ORDERED. 3 Respondents then filed an Urgent Motion for Execution of Judgment Pending Appeal. On the other hand, NPC filed a Notice of Appeal. Thereafter, it filed a vigorous opposition to the motion for execution of judgment pending appeal with a motion for reconsideration of the RTC decision. On August 26, 1996, NPC withdrew its Notice of Appeal to give way to the hearing of its motion for reconsideration. On August 28, 1996, the RTC issued an Order granting execution pending appeal and denying NPCs motion for reconsideration. The Decision of the RTC was executed pending appeal and the funds of NPC were garnished by respondents. On October 4, 1996, Lucman Ibrahim and respondents Omar G. Maruhom, Elias G. Maruhom, Bucay G. Maruhom, Mamod G. Maruhom, Farouk G. Maruhom, Hidjara G. Maruhom, Potrisam G. Maruhom and Lumba G. Maruhom filed a Petition for Relief from Judgment,4 asserting as follows: 1. They did not file a motion to reconsider or appeal the decision within the reglementary period of fifteen (15) days from receipt of judgment because they believed in good faith that the decision was for damages and rentals and attorneys fees only as prayed for in the complaint;

2. It was only on August 26, 1996 that they learned that the amounts awarded to the respondents represented not only rentals, damages and attorneys fees but the greatest portion of which was payment of just compensation which, in effect, would make the petitioner NPC the owner of the parcels of land involved in the case; 3. When they learned of the nature of the judgment, the period of appeal had already expired; 4. They were prevented by fraud, mistake, accident, or excusable negligence from taking legal steps to protect and preserve their rights over their parcels of land insofar as the part of the decision decreeing just compensation for respondents properties; 5. They would never have agreed to the alienation of their property in favor of anybody, considering the fact that the parcels of land involved in this case were among the valuable properties they inherited from their dear father and they would rather see their land crumble to dust than sell it to anybody. 5 After due proceedings, the RTC granted the petition and rendered a modified judgment dated September 8, 1997, thus: WHEREFORE, a modified judgment is hereby rendered: 1. Reducing the judgment award of [respondents] for the fair market value of P48,005,000.00 by [P]9,526,000.00 or for a difference [of] P38,479,000.00 and by the further sum of P33,603,500.00 subject of the execution pending appeal leaving a difference of [P]4,878,500.00 which may be the subject of execution upon the finality of this modified judgment with 6% interest per annum from the filing of the case until paid. 2. Awarding the sum of P1,476,911.00 to herein [respondents] Omar G. Maruhom, Elias G. Maruhom, Bucay G. Maruhom, Mahmod G. Maruhom, Farouk G. Maruhom, Hidjara G. Maruhom, Portrisam G. Maruhom and Lumba G. Maruhom as reasonable rental deductible from the awarded sum of P7,050,974.40 pertaining to [respondents]. 3. Ordering [NPC] embodied in the August 7, 1996 decision to pay [respondents] the sum of P200,000.00 as moral damages; and further sum of P200,000.00 as attorneys fees and costs. SO ORDERED. 6 Lucman Ibrahim and NPC then filed their separate appeals with the CA, docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 57792. On June 8, 2005, the CA rendered a Decision,7 setting aside the modified judgment and reinstating the original Decision, amending it further by deleting the award of moral damages and reducing the amount of rentals and attorneys fees, thus: WHEREFORE, premises considered, herein Appeals are hereby partially GRANTED, the Modified Judgment is ordered SET ASIDE and rendered of no force and effect and the original Decision of the court a quo dated 7 August 1996 is hereby RESTORED with the MODIFICATION that the award of moral damages is DELETED and the amounts of rentals and attorneys fees are REDUCED to P6,887,757.40 and P50,000.00, respectively. In this connection, the Clerk of Court of RTC Lanao del Sur is hereby directed to reassess and determine the additional filing fee that should be paid by Plaintiff-Appellant IBRAHIM taking into consideration the total amount of damages sought in the complaint vis--vis the actual amount of damages awarded by this Court. Such additional filing fee shall constitute as a lien on the judgment. SO ORDERED 8

The above decision was affirmed by this Court on June 29, 2007 in G.R. No. 168732, viz.: WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the Decision of the Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. CV No. 57792 dated June 8, 2005 is AFFIRMED. No costs. SO ORDERED.9 NPC moved for reconsideration of the Decision, but this Court denied it on August 29, 2007. To satisfy the judgment, respondents filed with the RTC a motion for execution of its August 7, 1996 decision, as modified by the CA. On November 13, 2007, the RTC granted the motion, and issued the corresponding writ of execution. Subsequently, a notice of garnishment was issued upon NPCs depositary bank. NPC then filed a Petition for Certiorari (with Urgent Prayer for the Immediate Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction) with the CA, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 02065-MIN. It argued that the RTC gravely abused its discretion when it granted the motion for execution without ordering respondents to transfer their title in favor of NPC. By allowing the payment of just compensation for a parcel of land without the concomitant right of NPC to get title thereto, the RTC clearly varied the terms of the judgment in G.R. No. 168732, justifying the issuance of a writ of certiorari. NPC also prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) to enjoin the implementation of the writ of execution and notice of garnishment. On November 29, 2007, the CA granted NPCs prayer and issued a TRO, enjoining the implementation of the writ of execution and the notice of garnishment. On May 30, 2008, the CA rendered the now assailed Decision, 10 dismissing NPCs petition for certiorari. Rejecting NPCs argument, the CA declared that this Courts Decision in G.R. No. 168732 intended NPC to pay the full value of the property as compensation without ordering the transfer of respondents title to the land. According to the CA, in a plethora of cases involving lands traversed by NPCs transmission lines, it had been consistently ruled that an easement is compensable by the full value of the property despite the fact that NPC was only after a right-of-way easement, if by such easement it perpetually or indefinitely deprives the land owner of his proprietary rights by imposing restrictions on the use of the property. The CA, therefore, ordered NPC to pay its admitted obligation to respondents amounting to P36,219,887.20.11 NPC is now before us faulting the CA for dismissing the formers petition for certiorari. It also prayed for a TRO to enjoin respondents and all persons acting under their authority from implementing the May 30, 2008 Decision of the CA. In its July 9, 2008 Resolution, 12 this Court granted NPCs prayer, and issued a TRO enjoining the execution of the assailed CA Decision. In the main, NPC insists that the payment of just compensation for the land carries with it the correlative right to obtain title or ownership of the land taken. It stresses that this Courts Decision in G.R. No. 168732 is replete with pronouncements that the just compensation awarded to respondents corresponds to compensation for the entire land and not just for an easement or a burden on the property, thereby necessitating a transfer of title and ownership to NPC upon satisfaction of judgment. NPC added that by granting respondents motion for execution, and consequently issuing the writ of execution and notice of garnishment, the RTC and the CA allowed respondents to retain title to the property even after the payment of full compensation. This, according to NPC, was a clear case of unjust enrichment. The petition lacks merit. It is a fundamental legal axiom that a writ of execution must conform strictly to the dispositive portion of the decision sought to be executed. A writ of execution may not vary from, or go beyond, the terms of the judgment it

seeks to enforce. When a writ of execution does not conform strictly to a decisions dispositive portion, it is null and void.13 Admittedly, the tenor of the dispositive portion of the August 7, 1996 RTC decision, as modified by the CA and affirmed by this Court, did not order the transfer of ownership upon payment of the adjudged compensation. Neither did such condition appear in the text of the RTC decision, and of this Courts Decision in G.R. No. 168732. As aptly pointed out by the CA in its assailed Decision: [NPC], by its selective quotations from the Decision in G.R. No. 168732, would have Us suppose that the High Court, in decreeing that [NPC] pay the full value of the property as just compensation, implied that [NPC] was entitled to the entire land, including the surface area and not just the subterranean portion. No such inference can be drawn from [the] reading of the entirety of the High Courts Decision. On the contrary, a perusal of the subject Decision yields to this Court the unmistakable sense that the High Court intended [NPC] to pay the full value of the subject property as just compensation without ordering the transfer o[f] respondents title to the land. This is patent from the following language of the High Court as quoted by [NPC] itself: In disregarding this procedure and failing to recognize respondents ownership of the sub-terrain portion, petitioner took a risk and exposed itself to greater liability with the passage of time. It must be emphasized that the acquisition of the easement is not without expense. The underground tunnels impose limitations on respondents use of the property for an indefinite period and deprive them of its ordinary use. Based upon the foregoing, respondents are clearly entitled to the payment of just compensation. Notwithstanding the fact that [NPC] only occupies the subterrain portion, it is liable to pay not merely an easement but rather the full compensation for land. This is so because in this case, the nature of the easement practically deprives the owners of its normal beneficial use. Respondents, as the owners of the property thus expropriated, are entitled to a just compensation which should be neither more nor less, whenever it is possible to make the assessment, than the money equivalent of said property.14 Clearly, the writ of execution issued by the RTC and affirmed by the CA does not vary, but is, in fact, consistent with the final decision in this case. The assailed writ is, therefore, valid. Indeed, expropriation is not limited to the acquisition of real property with a corresponding transfer of title or possession. The right-of-way easement resulting in a restriction or limitation on property rights over the land traversed by transmission lines also falls within the ambit of the term expropriation. 15 As we explained in Camarines Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. v. Court of Appeals: 16 The acquisition of an easement of a right-of-way falls within the purview of the power of eminent domain. Such conclusion finds support in easements of right-of-way where the Supreme Court sustained the award of just compensation for private property condemned for public use. The Supreme Court, in Republic v. PLDT thus held that: "Normally, of course, the power of eminent domain results in the taking or appropriation of title to, and possession of, the expropriated property; but no cogent reason appears why said power may not be availed of to impose only a burden upon the owner of condemned property, without loss of title and possession. It is unquestionable that real property may, through expropriation, be subjected to an easement of right-of-way." However, a simple right-of-way easement transmits no rights, except the easement. Vines Realty retains full ownership and it is not totally deprived of the use of the land. It can continue doing what it wants to do with the land, except those that would result in contact with the wires.1avvphi1 The acquisition of this easement, nevertheless, is not gratis. Considering the nature and effect of the installation power lines, the limitations on the use of the land for an indefinite period deprives private respondents of its

ordinary use. For these reasons, Vines Realty is entitled to payment of just compensation, which must be neither more nor less than the money equivalent of the property.17 It is, therefore, clear that NPCs acquisition of an easement of right-of-way on the lands of respondents amounted to expropriation of the portions of the latters property for which they are entitled to a reasonable and just compensation. The term just compensation had been defined as the full and fair equivalent of the property taken from its owner by the expropriator. The measure is not the taker's gain, but the owner's loss. The word just is used to intensify the meaning of the word compensation and to convey thereby the idea that the equivalent to be rendered for the property to be taken shall be real, substantial, full, and ample.18 In Camarines Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. v. Court of Appeals19 and National Power Corporation v. Manubay Agro-Industrial Development Corporation, 20 this Court sustained the award of just compensation equivalent to the fair and full value of the property even if petitioners only sought the continuation of the exercise of their right-ofway easement and not the ownership over the land. There is simply no basis for NPC to claim that the payment of fair market value without the concomitant transfer of title constitutes an unjust enrichment. In fine, the issuance by the RTC of a writ of execution and the notice of garnishment to satisfy the judgment in favor of respondents could not be considered grave abuse of discretion. The term grave abuse of discretion, in its juridical sense, connotes capricious, despotic, oppressive, or whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse must be of such degree as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and capricious manner by reason of passion and hostility. The word capricious, usually used in tandem with the term arbitrary, conveys the notion of willful and unreasoning action. Thus, when seeking the corrective hand of certiorari, a clear showing of caprice and arbitrariness in the exercise of discretion is imperative.21 In this case, NPC utterly failed to demonstrate caprice or arbitrariness on the part of the RTC in granting respondents motion for execution. Accordingly, the CA committed no reversible error in dismissing NPCs petition for certiorari. It is almost trite to say that execution is the fruit and the end of the suit and is the life of the law. A judgment, if left unexecuted, would be nothing but an empty victory for the prevailing party. Litigation must end sometime and somewhere. An effective and efficient administration of justice requires that once a judgment has become final, the winning party be not deprived of the fruits of the verdict. Courts must, therefore, guard against any scheme calculated to bring about that result. Constituted as they are to put an end to controversies, courts should frown upon any attempt to prolong them.22 We, therefore, write finis to this litigation. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 02065MIN is AFFIRMED. The temporary restraining order issued by this Court on July 9, 2008 is LIFTED. SO ORDERED. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G.R. No. L-43938 April 15, 1988 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES (DIRECTOR OF FOREST DEVELOPMENT), petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS (THIRD DIVISION) and JOSE Y. DE LA ROSA, respondents.

G.R. No. L-44081 April 15, 1988 BENGUET CONSOLIDATED, INC., petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, JOSE Y. DE LA ROSA, VICTORIA, BENJAMIN and EDUARDO, all surnamed DE LA ROSA, represented by their father JOSE Y. DE LA ROSA, respondents. G.R. No. L-44092 April 15, 1988 ATOK-BIG WEDGE MINING COMPANY, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, JOSE Y. DE LA ROSA, VICTORlA, BENJAMIN and EDUARDO, all surnamed DE LA ROSA, represented by their father, JOSE Y. DE LA ROSA, respondents. CRUZ, J.: The Regalian doctrine reserves to the State all natural wealth that may be found in the bowels of the earth even if the land where the discovery is made be private. 1 In the cases at bar, which have been consolidated because they pose a common issue, this doctrine was not correctly applied. These cases arose from the application for registration of a parcel of land filed on February 11, 1965, by Jose de la Rosa on his own behalf and on behalf of his three children, Victoria, Benjamin and Eduardo. The land, situated in Tuding, Itogon, Benguet Province, was divided into 9 lots and covered by plan Psu-225009. According to the application, Lots 1-5 were sold to Jose de la Rosa and Lots 6-9 to his children by Mamaya Balbalio and Jaime Alberto, respectively, in 1964. 2 The application was separately opposed by Benguet Consolidated, Inc. as to Lots 1-5, Atok Big Wedge Corporation, as to Portions of Lots 1-5 and all of Lots 6-9, and by the Republic of the Philippines, through the Bureau of Forestry Development, as to lots 1-9. 3 In support of the application, both Balbalio and Alberto testified that they had acquired the subject land by virtue of prescription Balbalio claimed to have received Lots 1-5 from her father shortly after the Liberation. She testified she was born in the land, which was possessed by her parents under claim of ownership. 4 Alberto said he received Lots 6-9 in 1961 from his mother, Bella Alberto, who declared that the land was planted by Jaime and his predecessors-in-interest to bananas, avocado, nangka and camote, and was enclosed with a barbed-wire fence. She was corroborated by Felix Marcos, 67 years old at the time, who recalled the earlier possession of the land by Alberto's father. 5 Balbalio presented her tax declaration in 1956 and the realty tax receipts from that year to 1964, 6 Alberto his tax declaration in 1961 and the realty tax receipts from that year to 1964. 7 Benguet opposed on the ground that the June Bug mineral claim covering Lots 1-5 was sold to it on September 22, 1934, by the successors-in-interest of James Kelly, who located the claim in September 1909 and recorded it on October 14, 1909. From the date of its purchase, Benguet had been in actual, continuous and exclusive possession of the land in concept of owner, as evidenced by its construction of adits, its affidavits of annual assessment, its geological mappings, geological samplings and trench side cuts, and its payment of taxes on the land. 8 For its part, Atok alleged that a portion of Lots 1-5 and all of Lots 6-9 were covered by the Emma and Fredia mineral claims located by Harrison and Reynolds on December 25, 1930, and recorded on January 2, 1931, in the office of the mining recorder of Baguio. These claims were purchased from these locators on November 2, 1931, by Atok, which has since then been in open, continuous and exclusive possession of the said lots as evidenced by its annual assessment work on the claims, such as the boring of tunnels, and its payment of annual taxes thereon. 9

The location of the mineral claims was made in accordance with Section 21 of the Philippine Bill of 1902 which provided that:
SEC. 21. All valuable mineral deposits in public lands in the philippine Islands both surveyed and unsurveyed are hereby declared to be free and open to exploration, occupation and purchase and the land in which they are found to occupation and purchase by the citizens of the United States, or of said islands.

The Bureau of Forestry Development also interposed its objection, arguing that the land sought to be registered was covered by the Central Cordillera Forest Reserve under Proclamation No. 217 dated February 16, 1929. Moreover, by reason of its nature, it was not subject to alienation under the Constitutions of 1935 and 1973. 10 The trial court * denied the application, holding that the applicants had failed to prove their claim of possession and ownership of the land sought to be registered. 11 The applicants appealed to the respondent court, * which reversed the trial court and recognized the claims of the applicant, but subject to the rights of Benguet and Atok respecting their mining claims. 12 In other words, the Court of Appeals affirmed the surface rights of the de la Rosas over the land while at the same time reserving the sub-surface rights of Benguet and Atok by virtue of their mining claims. Both Benguet and Atok have appealed to this Court, invoking their superior right of ownership. The Republic has filed its own petition for review and reiterates its argument that neither the private respondents nor the two mining companies have any valid claim to the land because it is not alienable and registerable. It is true that the subject property was considered forest land and included in the Central Cordillera Forest Reserve, but this did not impair the rights already vested in Benguet and Atok at that time. The Court of Appeals correctly declared that:
There is no question that the 9 lots applied for are within the June Bug mineral claims of Benguet and the "Fredia and Emma" mineral claims of Atok. The June Bug mineral claim of plaintiff Benguet was one of the 16 mining claims of James E. Kelly, American and mining locator. He filed his declaration of the location of the June Bug mineral and the same was recorded in the Mining Recorder's Office on October 14, 1909. All of the Kelly claims ha subsequently been acquired by Benguet Consolidated, Inc. Benguet's evidence is that it had made improvements on the June Bug mineral claim consisting of mine tunnels prior to 1935. It had submitted the required affidavit of annual assessment. After World War II, Benguet introduced improvements on mineral claim June Bug, and also conducted geological mappings, geological sampling and trench side cuts. In 1948, Benguet redeclared the "June Bug" for taxation and had religiously paid the taxes. The Emma and Fredia claims were two of the several claims of Harrison registered in 1931, and which Atok representatives acquired. Portions of Lots 1 to 5 and all of Lots 6 to 9 are within the Emma and Fredia mineral claims of Atok Big Wedge Mining Company. The June Bug mineral claim of Benguet and the Fredia and Emma mineral claims of Atok having been perfected prior to the approval of the Constitution of the Philippines of 1935, they were removed from the public domain and had become private properties of Benguet and Atok. It is not disputed that the location of the mining claim under consideration was perfected prior to November 15, 1935, when the Government of the Commonwealth was inaugurated; and according to the laws existing at that time, as construed and applied by this court in McDaniel v. Apacible and Cuisia (42 Phil. 749), a valid location of a mining claim segregated the area from the public domain. Said the court in that case: The moment the locator discovered a valuable mineral deposit on the lands located, and perfected his location in accordance with law, the power of the United States Government to deprive him of the exclusive right to the possession and enjoyment of the located claim was gone, the lands had become mineral lands and they were exempted from lands that could be granted to any other person. The reservations of public lands cannot be made so as to include prior mineral perfected locations; and, of course, if a valid mining location is made upon public lands afterwards included in a reservation, such inclusion or reservation does not affect the validity of the former location. By such location and perfection, the land located is segregated from the public domain even as against the Government. (Union Oil Co. v. Smith, 249 U.S. 337; Van Mess v. Roonet, 160 Cal. 131; 27 Cyc. 546).

"The legal effect of a valid location of a mining claim is not only to segregate the area from the public domain, but to grant to the locator the beneficial ownership of the claim and the right to a patent therefor upon compliance with the terms and conditions prescribed by law. Where there is a valid location of a mining claim, the area becomes segregated from the public domain and the property of the locator." (St. Louis Mining & Milling Co. v. Montana Mining Co., 171 U.S. 650; 655; 43 Law ed., 320, 322.) "When a location of a mining claim is perfected it has the effect of a grant by the United States of the right of present and exclusive possession, with the right to the exclusive enjoyment of all the surface ground as well as of all the minerals within the lines of the claim, except as limited by the extralateral right of adjoining locators; and this is the locator's right before as well as after the issuance of the patent. While a lode locator acquires a vested property right by virtue of his location made in compliance with the mining laws, the fee remains in the government until patent issues."(18 R.C.L. 1152) (Gold Creek Mining Corporation v. Hon. Eulogio Rodriguez, Sec. of Agriculture and Commerce, and Quirico Abadilla, Director of the Bureau of Mines, 66 Phil. 259, 265-266) It is of no importance whether Benguet and Atok had secured a patent for as held in the Gold Creek Mining Corp. Case, for all physical purposes of ownership, the owner is not required to secure a patent as long as he complies with the provisions of the mining laws; his possessory right, for all practical purposes of ownership, is as good as though secured by patent. We agree likewise with the oppositors that having complied with all the requirements of the mining laws, the claims were removed from the public domain, and not even the government of the Philippines can take away this right from them. The reason is obvious. Having become the private properties of the oppositors, they cannot be deprived thereof without due process of law. 13

Such rights were not affected either by the stricture in the Commonwealth Constitution against the alienation of all lands of the public domain except those agricultural in nature for this was made subject to existing rights. Thus, in its Article XIII, Section 1, it was categorically provided that:
SEC. 1. All agricultural, timber and mineral lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy and other natural resources of the Philipppines belong to the State, and their disposition, exploitation, development, or utilization shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations or associations at least 60% of the capital of which is owned by such citizens, subject to any existing right, grant, lease or concession at the time of the inauguration of the government established under this Constitution. Natural resources with the exception of public agricultural lands, shall not be alienated, and no license, concession, or lease for the exploitation, development or utilization of any of the natural resources shall be granted for a period exceeding 25 years, except as to water rights for irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of water power, in which case beneficial use may be the measure and the limit of the grant.

Implementing this provision, Act No. 4268, approved on November 8, 1935, declared:
Any provision of existing laws, executive order, proclamation to the contrary notwithstanding, all locations of mining claim made prior to February 8, 1935 within lands set apart as forest reserve under Sec. 1826 of the Revised Administrative Code which would be valid and subsisting location except to the existence of said reserve are hereby declared to be valid and subsisting locations as of the date of their respective locations.

The perfection of the mining claim converted the property to mineral land and under the laws then in force removed it from the public domain. 14 By such act, the locators acquired exclusive rights over the land, against even the government, without need of any further act such as the purchase of the land or the obtention of a patent over it. 15 As the land had become the private property of the locators, they had the right to transfer the same, as they did, to Benguet and Atok. It is true, as the Court of Appeals observed, that such private property was subject to the "vicissitudes of ownership," or even to forfeiture by non-user or abandonment or, as the private respondents aver, by acquisitive prescription. However, the method invoked by the de la Rosas is not available in the case at bar, for two reasons. First, the trial court found that the evidence of open, continuous, adverse and exclusive possession submitted by the applicants was insufficient to support their claim of ownership. They themselves had acquired the land only in 1964 and applied for its registration in 1965, relying on the earlier alleged

possession of their predecessors-in-interest. 16 The trial judge, who had the opportunity to consider the evidence first-hand and observe the demeanor of the witnesses and test their credibility was not convinced. We defer to his judgment in the absence of a showing that it was reached with grave abuse of discretion or without sufficient basis. 17 Second, even if it be assumed that the predecessors-in-interest of the de la Rosas had really been in possession of the subject property, their possession was not in the concept of owner of the mining claim but of the property as agricultural land, which it was not. The property was mineral land, and they were claiming it as agricultural land. They were not disputing the lights of the mining locators nor were they seeking to oust them as such and to replace them in the mining of the land. In fact, Balbalio testified that she was aware of the diggings being undertaken "down below" 18 but she did not mind, much less protest, the same although she claimed to be the owner of the said land. The Court of Appeals justified this by saying there is "no conflict of interest" between the owners of the surface rights and the owners of the sub-surface rights. This is rather doctrine, for it is a well-known principle that the owner of piece of land has rights not only to its surface but also to everything underneath and the airspace above it up to a reasonable height. 19 Under the aforesaid ruling, the land is classified as mineral underneath and agricultural on the surface, subject to separate claims of title. This is also difficult to understand, especially in its practical application. Under the theory of the respondent court, the surface owner will be planting on the land while the mining locator will be boring tunnels underneath. The farmer cannot dig a well because he may interfere with the operations below and the miner cannot blast a tunnel lest he destroy the crops above. How deep can the farmer, and how high can the miner, go without encroaching on each other's rights? Where is the dividing line between the surface and the sub-surface rights? The Court feels that the rights over the land are indivisible and that the land itself cannot be half agricultural and half mineral. The classification must be categorical; the land must be either completely mineral or completely agricultural. In the instant case, as already observed, the land which was originally classified as forest land ceased to be so and became mineral and completely mineral once the mining claims were perfected. 20 As long as mining operations were being undertaken thereon, or underneath, it did not cease to be so and become agricultural, even if only partly so, because it was enclosed with a fence and was cultivated by those who were unlawfully occupying the surface. What must have misled the respondent court is Commonwealth Act No. 137, providing as follows:
Sec. 3. All mineral lands of the public domain and minerals belong to the State, and their disposition, exploitation, development or utilization, shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations, or associations, at least 60% of the capital of which is owned by such citizens, subject to any existing right, grant, lease or concession at the time of the inauguration of government established under the Constitution. SEC. 4. The ownership of, and the right to the use of land for agricultural, industrial, commercial, residential, or for any purpose other than mining does not include the ownership of, nor the right to extract or utilize, the minerals which may be found on or under the surface. SEC. 5. The ownership of, and the right to extract and utilize, the minerals included within all areas for which public agricultural land patents are granted are excluded and excepted from all such patents. SEC. 6. The ownership of, and the right to extract and utilize, the minerals included within all areas for which Torrens titles are granted are excluded and excepted from all such titles.

This is an application of the Regalian doctrine which, as its name implies, is intended for the benefit of the State, not of private persons. The rule simply reserves to the State all minerals that may be found in public and even private land devoted to "agricultural, industrial, commercial, residential or (for) any purpose other than mining." Thus, if a person is the owner of agricultural land in which minerals are discovered, his

ownership of such land does not give him the right to extract or utilize the said minerals without the permission of the State to which such minerals belong. The flaw in the reasoning of the respondent court is in supposing that the rights over the land could be used for both mining and non-mining purposes simultaneously. The correct interpretation is that once minerals are discovered in the land, whatever the use to which it is being devoted at the time, such use may be discontinued by the State to enable it to extract the minerals therein in the exercise of its sovereign prerogative. The land is thus converted to mineral land and may not be used by any private party, including the registered owner thereof, for any other purpose that will impede the mining operations to be undertaken therein, For the loss sustained by such owner, he is of course entitled to just compensation under the Mining Laws or in appropriate expropriation proceedings. 21 Our holding is that Benguet and Atok have exclusive rights to the property in question by virtue of their respective mining claims which they validly acquired before the Constitution of 1935 prohibited the alienation of all lands of the public domain except agricultural lands, subject to vested rights existing at the time of its adoption. The land was not and could not have been transferred to the private respondents by virtue of acquisitive prescription, nor could its use be shared simultaneously by them and the mining companies for agricultural and mineral purposes. WHEREFORE, the decision of the respondent court dated April 30, 1976, is SET ASIDE and that of the trial court dated March 11, 1969, is REINSTATED, without any pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED.