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HILARIO vs.

SALVADOR
G.R. No. 160384 . April 29, 2005, CALLEJO, SR. , J .
FACTS: Petitioners herein are co-owners of a parcel of land located in Romblon. In
1996, they filed a complaint with the RTC of Romblon against herein, respondent,
alleging that as co-owners, they are entitled to possession of the lot, and that
respondent constructed his house thereon without their knowledge and refused to
vacate the property despite demands to do so. They prayed for the private
respondent to vacate the property and restore possession thereof to them. The
complaint, however, failed to allege the assessed value of the land. Nevertheless,
petitioners were able to present during the trial the most recent tax declaration,
which shows that the assessed value of the property was Php 5,950.00.
The respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of
jurisdiction because of the failure to allege the value of the land. The motion was
denied.
Respondent then filed an Answer, traversing the material allegations of the
complaint, contending that petitioners had no cause of action against him since the
property in dispute was the conjugal property of his grandparents, the spouses
Salustiano Salvador and Concepcion Mazo-Salvador.
The RTC ruled in favor of the petitioners. On appeal, the CA reversed the
decision, holding that the action was one for the recovery of ownership and
possession of real property, and that absent any allegation in the complaint of the
assessed value of the property, the MTC had exclusive jurisdiction over the action
(citing Sec. 33 of R.A. No. 7691). The CA then ordered the refiling of the case in the
proper court.
ISSUES: Whether the RTC has jurisdiction over the action
HELD: NO. Petitioner argues that the RTC has jurisdiction since their action is an
accion reivindicatoria, an action incapable of pecuniary estimation. Thus, regardless
of the assessed value of the subject property, exclusive jurisdiction falls within the
said court. This argument is without merit.
The jurisdiction of the court over an action involving title to or possession
of land is now determined by the assessed value of the said property and not the
market value thereof. [] In the case at bar, the complaint does not contain an
allegation stating the assessed value of the property subject of the complaint. The
court cannot take judicial
notice of the assessed or market value of land. The Court noted that during the
trial, the petitioners adduced in evidence at ax de c l a r a t ion, showing that the
assessed value of the property in 1991 was Php5,950.00. The petitioners, however,
did not bother to adduce in evidence the tax declaration containing the assessed
value of the property when they filed their complaint in 1996. Even assuming that
the assessed value of the property in 1991 was the same in 1995 or 1996, the MTC,
and not the RTC had jurisdiction over the action of the petitioners, since the case

involved title to or possession of real property with an assessed value of less than
Php20,000.00. As the Court of Appeals had held:
The determining jurisdictional element for the accion reinvindicatoria [sic]
is, as RA 7691 discloses, the assessed value of the property in question.
For properties in the provinces, the RTC has jurisdiction if the
assessed value exceeds Php20,000.00, and the MTC, if the value is
Php20,000.00 or below. An assessed value can have reference only to the
tax rolls in the municipality where the property is located, and is contained
in the tax declaration. In the case at bench, the most recent tax declaration
secured and presented by the plaintiffs-appellees is Exhibit B. The loose
remark made by them that the property was worth 3.5 million pesos, not
to mention that there is absolutely no evidence for this, is irrelevant in the
light of the fact that there is an assessed value. It is the amount in the tax
declaration that should be consulted and no other kind of value, and as
appearing in Exhibit B, this is Php5,950.00. The case, therefore, falls within
the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Court of Romblon
which has jurisdiction over the territory where the property is located, and
not the court a quo. 24
In an obiter, the Court discussed the nature of an accion publiciana, thus:
The action of the petitioners was an accion publiciana, or one for the recovery of
possession of the real property subject matter thereof. It does
not involve a claim of ownership over the property. An accion reinvindicatoria is a
suit which has for its object the recovery of possession over the real property as
owner. It involves recovery of ownership and possession based on the said
ownership. On the other hand, an accion publiciana is one for the recovery of pos
session of the right to possess. It is also referred to as an ejectment suit filed after
the expiration of one year after the occurrence of the cause of action or from the
unlawful withholding
of possession of the realty. []
The Supreme Court finally held that all proceedings before the RTC, including the
RTC decision, are null and void, since the RTC had no jurisdiction over the action of
the petitioners.
Criticism of the ponencia: The discussion about the distinction between an
accion reivindicatoria and an accion publiciana is inappropriate. The issue to be
resolved by the court is: which court has jurisdiction, the MTC or the RTC? It is
immaterial whether the case is one for accion reivindicatoria or accion publiciana;
only one court will have exclusive jurisdiction. I submit that what should have been
discussed in the obiter is that if the claim of co-ownership by the defendant is true,
may a plaintiff co-owner then file an action in ejectment against another co-owner?

Dr. Tolentino is of the opinion that a co-owner may bring such an action against
another co-owner who takes exclusive possession of and asset ownership in himself
alone. The effect of the action will be to obtain recognition of the co-ownership.
The defendant co-owner, however, cannot be excluded from possession because as
co-owner, he also has the right to possess.
SAMPAYAN vs . COURT OF APPEALS
G.R. No. 156360. January 14, 2005 GARCIA , J .
FACTS: On July 8, 1992, in the MCTC of Bayugan and Sibagat, Agusan del Sur, the
siblings Crispulo Vasquez and Florencia Vasquez-Gilsano filed complaint for forcible
entry against Cesar Sampayan for allegedly having entered and occupied a parcel of
land, identified as Lot No. 1959, PLS-225, and built a house thereon without their
knowledge, consent or authority, the entry having been supposedly effected
through strategy and stealth. In their complaint, Crispulo and Florencia asserted
that they were co-owners pro-indiviso of the said lot, their mother Cristita Quita
being the ownerand actual possessor thereof. Upon the latters death and while
they were absent from the said lot, Cesar Sampayan, through strategy and stealth,
allegedly built a house on the lot, to their exclusion. After repeated demands, Cesar
Sampayan allegedly refused to vacate the said lot. Thus, they filed an action for
unlawful detainer.
In his defense, Cesar Sampayan asserted that his occupation of the lot was
by tolerance of the lots true owners, Mr. and Mrs. Terrado, who were then residing
in Cebu. The permission was given by the lots overseer, Maria Ybanez. Sampayan
further asserted that Crispulo and Valencias action had long prescribed, inasmuch
as the said lot had already been owned and possessed by the spouses Oriol since
1960, as evidenced by the latters payment of taxes. The Oriols, in turn, sold half
the land to the Terrados. Together, they maintained possession of their respective
portions.
Both the plaintiff siblings and defendant Sampayan submitted their
respective evidence consisting of affidavits and tax declarations. Meanwhile, the
MCTC judge also conducted an ocular inspection of the premises, where he found
improvements. The findings in the ocular inspection have confirmed the allegation
of the defendant that his predecessors-in-interest have introduced improvements
by planting caimito trees, coconut trees, and others on the land in question. The
MCTC dismissed the complaint. It held that it is clear that defendants have been in
possession for more than one year and that the appropriate remedy would have
been accion publiciana or lenaria de possession. Upon appeal to the RTC, it
reversed the decision, relying on the involvement of Cristita Quita, plaintiffs
mother, in a cadastral case involving the lot in 1957.
Sampayan then appealed to the CA, which denied the same. Thus this
petition for certiorari.

ISSUE: Whether or not the complaint for forcible entry would prosper
HELD: YES. In Sarmiento vs. CA, the Court held:
[t]o give the court jurisdiction to effect the ejectment of an occupant or
deforciant on the land, it is necessary that the complaint should embody such a
statement of facts as brings the party clearly within the class of cases for which the
statutes provide a remedy, as these proceedings are summary in nature. The
complaint must show enough on its face to give the court jurisdiction without
resort to parol testimony. The jurisdictional facts must appear on the face of the
complaint. . . .
It is clear it is from the above that for the MCTC to acquire jurisdiction over
a forcible entry case, it is enough that the complaint avers the jurisdictional facts,
i.e. that the plaintiff had prior physical possession and that he was deprived thereof
by the defendant through force, intimidation, threats, strategy and stealth. The
complaint in this case makes such an averment. Hence, the irrelevant circumstance
that the evidence adduced during the hearing rendered improper an action for
forcible entry is of no moment and cannot deprive the MCTC of its jurisdiction over
the case. The MCTC continues to have that jurisdiction.
ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioner had prior physical possession
HELD: YES. To begin with, the Court is at once confronted by the uncontested
findings of the MCTC judge himself during his ocular inspection of the premises in
dispute that what he saw thereat confirmed the allegations of the defendant [now
petitioner Sampayan] that his predecessors-in-interest have introduced
improvements by planting caimito trees, coconut trees, and others on the land in
question, adding that [N]othing can be seen on the land that plaintiff had once
upon a time been in possession of the land, and categorically stating that [T]he
allegation that Cristita Quita, the predecessor-in-interest of the plaintiffs had been
in possession of the said property since 1957, openly, exclusively, continuously,
adversely and in the concept of an owner is a naked claim, unsupported by any
evidence.
x x x
The Court noted that in the assailed decision herein, the Court of Appeals
attached much significance to the fact that private respondents mother, Cristita
Quita, was an oppositor in Cadastral Case No. 149. The Court ruled and held that
the mothers being an oppositor in said cadastral case does not, by itself, establish
prior physical possession because not all oppositors in cadastral cases are actual
possessors of the lots or lands subject thereof.

SANTOS v s . AYON
G.R. No. 137013, Ma y 6, 2005, SANDOVAL -GUTIERREZ, J .
FACTS: In 1996, the petitioner, Santos, filed with the Municipal Trial Court in Cities
(MTCC) in Davao City a complaint for illegal detainer against the respondents,
spouses Ayon. In his complaint, he averred that a building used by the respondents
as a warehouse, encroached on a portion of his land. As early as 1985, he had
allegedly already informed respondents that the said building occupies a portion of
his land, but allowed them to continue using the building. In 1996, needing the
entire portion of his lot, he demanded that respondents remove the part of the
building encroaching
on his property, but respondents refused and continued to occupy the contested
portion.
The MTCC ruled in favor of petitioner and ordered the respondents to
vacate and surrender possession of the property. On appeal, the RTC affirmed in
toto the MTCC judgment, and upheld the finding that respondents occupation of
the contested portion was by mere tolerance. On petition for review however, the
CA held that petitioners proper remedy should have been an accion publiciana
before the RTC and not anaction for unlawful detainer, and thus dismissing the
complaint.

the latters tolerance or permission, without any contract between them, is


necessarily bound by an implied promise that he will vacate upon demand, failing
which, a summary action for ejectment is the proper remedy against him.

GANILA vs . COURT OF APPEALS


G.R. No. 150755, 06/28/2005 QUISUMBING, J .
FACTS: Private respondent, Violeta Herrera, filed 21 ejectment complaints in the
MCTC, which ordered the 21 defendants, now petitioners, to vacate the property in
question (Lot 1227). The RTC sustained the decision as to 19 defendants but
dismissed the case against 2. The 19 defendants who were ordered to vacate Lot
1227 filed a petition for review with the CA based on two arguments, namely: first,
that they possessed lot 1227 in good faith for more than 30 years in the concept of
owners, and second, that there was no withholding of possession since private
respondent was not in prior possession of the lot.
I S S U E S / H E L D:
Whether prior physical possession by the plaintiff is necessary for a complaint for
unlawful detainer to prosper

ISSUE: Whether the MTCC properly exercised jurisdiction over the complaint.
HELD: YES. All actions for forcible entry or unlawful detainer shall be filed with the
proper Metropolitan Trial Courts, the Municipal Trial Courts and the Municipal
Circuit Trial Courts, which actions shall include not only the plea for restoration of
possession but also all claims for damages and costs arising therefrom. The said
courts are not divested of jurisdiction over such cases even if the defendants
therein raises the question of ownership over the litigated property in his pleadings
and the question of possession cannot be resolved without deciding the issue of
ownership.
The Court found no error in the MTCC assuming jurisdiction over
petitioners complaint. A complaint for unlawful detainer is sufficient if it alleges
that the withholding of the possession or the refusal to vacate is unlawful, without
necessarily employing the terminology of the law. Here, there is an allegation in
petitioners complaint that respondents occupancy on the portion of his property is
by virtue of his tolerance.
Petitioners cause of action for unlawful detainer springs from
respondents failure to vacate the questioned premises upon his demand sometime
in 1996.
It bears stressing that possession by tolerance is lawful, but such
possession becomes unlawful when the possessor by tolerance refuses to vacate
upon demand made by the owner. Our ruling in Roxas vs. Court of Appeals 391
SCRA 351 is applicable in this case: A person who occupies the land of another at

NO. While petitioners assert that this case involves only deprivation of
possession, they confuse the remedy of an action for forcible entry with that of
unlawful detainer. In unlawful detainer, prior physical possession by the plaintiff is
not necessary. It is enough that plaintiff has a better right of possession. Actual and
prior physical possession of a property by a party is indispensable only in forcible
entry cases. In unlawful detainer cases, the defendant is necessarily in prior lawful
possession of the property but his possession eventually becomes unlawful upon
termination or expiration of his right to possess. Thus, the fact that petitioners are
in possession of the lot does not automatically entitle them to remain in possession.
And the issue of prior lawful possession by the defendants does not arise at all in a
suit for unlawful detainer simply because prior lawful possession by virtue of
contract or other reasons is given or admitted. Unlike in a forcible entry where
defendants, by force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth, deprive the palintiff
or the prior physical possessor of possession, here there is no evidence to show that
petitioners entered the lot by any of these acts.
Whether private respondent properly filed complaints for unlawful detainer
YES. If only to stress the fundamental principles related to the present
controversy, jurisdiction over unlawful detainer suits is vested in Municipal Trial
Courts. And in ejectment cases, the jurisdiction of the court is determined by the
allegations of the complaint. In the case for ejectment, private respondents

allegations sufficiently present a case of unlawful detainer. She alleged that (1) she
owns Lot 1227, (2) she tolerated petitioners to construct their houses thereon; (3)
she withdrew her tolerance; and (4) petitioners refused to heed her demand to
vacate the lot. The Complaints were also filed within one year from the date of her
demand. The cause of action for unlawful detainer between the parties springs
from the failure of petitioners to vacate the lot upon lawful demand
of the private respondent. When they refused to vacate the lot after her demand,
petitioners continued possession became unlawful. Her complaint for ejectment
against respondent, to put it simply, is not without sufficient basis.
Whether private respondent should have filed an action to recover possession de
jure, as argued by petitioners on appeal
NO. Petitioners contention that private respondent should have filed an
action to recover possession de jure with the TC is not supported by law or
jurisprudence. The distinction between a summary action of ejectment and a
plenary action for recovery of possession and/or ownership of the land is settled in
our jurisprudence. Petitioners present contention was first raised only in their
appeal to the RTC. Raising it before the appellate tribunal is barred by estoppel.
They should have raised it in the proceedings before the MCTC. In our view, this
issue is a mere afterthought, when the MCTC decided against them. Basic rules of
fair play, justice and due process require that as a rule an issue cannot be raised by
the petitioners for the first time on appeal.
The Court noted with dismay petitioners insistence that it must order the
MCTC to conduct the requisite preliminary conference. The summary character of
ejectment suits will be disregarded if the Court would allow petitioners to further
delay this case by allowing a second preliminary conference. Ejectment by way of
forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases are summary proceedings, designed to
provide an expeditious means of protecting actual possession or the right to
possession over the property involved. It is a timely procedure designed to remedy
the delay in the resolution of such cases.
In sum, the Court found no reversible error much less any grave abuse of
discretion committed by the Court of Appeals. A person who occupies the land of
another at the latters tolerance or permission, without any contract between
them, is necessarily bound by an implied promise that he will vacate upon demand,
failing which a summary action for ejectment is the proper remedy against him. His
status is analogous to that of a lessee or tenant whose term of lease has expired but
whose occupancy continued by tolerance of the owner. In such a case, the date of
unlawful deprivation or withholding of possession is to be counted from the date of
the demand
to vacate.

ROSS RICA SALES CENTER vs. SPS. ONG


G.R. No. 132197. 08/16/2005, TINGA , J .
FACTS: The spouses Ong are the original owners of 3 parcels of land which they
occupy. They sold it to Mandaue Prime Estate Realty, which then sold it to Ross Rica
Sales Center, Inc. The spouses Ong filed an action to annul the sale and transfer of
property to Mandaue Prime Estate Realty and at present, the case is still pending. In
the meantime, an ejectment case was filed against spouses Ong in the MTC, which
ruled against the latter. On appeal to the RTC, the judgment was affirmed by a
decision dated March 1, 1997. The spouses Ong received a copy of the decision on
April 28, 1997.
The spouses Ong first filed a Notice of Appeal with the RTC (May 8, 1997)
but on the very next day filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which was denied on
June 23, 1997. The spouses Ong received a copy of the order on July 9, 1997. On
July 24, 1997 respondents filed with the CA a motion for an additional 10 days to
file their Petition for Review, which they would eventually file on July 30, 1997.
The CA gave their petition for review due course and reversed the decision
of the RTC on the finding that the action filed was not one for unlawful detainer
based on two grounds: that the allegations fail to show that petitioners were
deprived of possession by force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth; and that
there is no contract, express or implied, between the parties that would qualify the
case as one of unlawful detainer.
ISSUES/HELD
Whether the complaint satisfies the jurisdictional requirements for a case of
unlawful detainer properly cognizable by the MTC
- YES. Well-settled is the rule that what determines the nature of an action
as well as which court has jurisdiction over it are the allegations of the complaint
and the character of the relief sought. In Javelosa vs. Court of the Appeals, it was
held that the allegation in the complaint that there was unlawful withholding of
possession is sufficient to make out a case for unlawful detainer. It is equally settled
that in an action for unlawful detainer, an allegation that the defendant is
unlawfully withholding possession from the plaintiff is deemed sufficient, without
necessarily employing the terminology of the law.
Hence, the phrase unlawful withholding has been held to imply possession on the
part of defendant, which was legal in the beginning, having no other source than a
contract, express or implied, and which later expired as a right and is being withheld
by defendant. In Rosanna B. Barba vs. Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court held
that a simple allegation that the defendant is unlawfully withholding possession

from plaintiff is sufficient. Based on this premise, the allegation in the Complaint
that:

title and/or reconveyance, the rights asserted and the relief prayed for are not the
same.

. . . . despite demand to vacate, the defendants have refused and still


refuse to vacate said lots, thus, unlawfully withholding possession of said lots from
plaintiffs and depriving plaintiffs of the use of their lots; is already sufficient to
constitute an unlawful detainer case.

The long settled rule is that the issue of ownership cannot be the subject of a
collateral attack. In Apostol vs. Court of Appeals, this Court had the occasion to
clarify this:

Likewise, the case of Co Tiamco vs. Diaz provides for a liberal approach in
considering the sufficiency of a complaint for unlawful detainer, thus:
. . . The principle underlying the brevity and simplicity of pleadings in forcible entry
and unlawful detainer cases rests upon considerations of public policy. Cases of
forcible entry and detainer are summary in nature, for they involve perturbation of
social order which must be restored as promptly as possible and, accordingly,
technicalities or details of procedure
should be carefully avoided.
Whether the case should be considered as one for accion reivindicatoria, and thus
the jurisdiction would lie with the RTC
- NO. The issue involved in accion reivindicatoria is the recovery of
ownership of real property. This differs from accion publiciana where the issue is
the better right of possession or possession de jure, and accion interdictal where
the issue is material possession or possession de facto. In an action for unlawful
detainer, the question of possession is primordial, while the issue of ownership is
generally unessential. Petitioners, in all their pleadings, only sought to recover
physical possession of the subject property. The mere fact that they claim
ownership over the parcels of land as well did not deprive the MTC of jurisdiction to
try the ejectment case. Even if respondents claim ownership as a defense to the
complaint for ejectment, the conclusion would be the same, for mere assertion of
ownership by the defendant in an ejectment case will not oust the municipal court
of its summary jurisdiction.
This Court in Ganadin vs. Ramos stated that if what is prayed for is ejectment or
recovery of possession, it does not matter if ownership is claimed by either party.
Therefore, the pending actions for Declaration of Nullity of Deed of Sale and
Transfer Certificates of Title and quieting of title in Civil Case No. MAN-2356 will not
abate the ejectment case.
In Drilon vs. Gaurana, this Court ruled that the filing of an action for reconveyance
of title over the same property or for annulment of the deed of sale over the land
does not divest the MTC of its jurisdiction to try the forcible entry or unlawful
detainer case before it, the rationale being that, while there may be identity of
parties and subject matter in the forcible entry case and the suit for annulment of

. . . Under Section 48 of Presidential Decree No. 1529, a certificate


of title shall not be subject to collateral attack. It cannot be altered,
modified or cancelled, except in a direct proceeding for that purpose in
accordance with law. The issue of the validity of the title of the respondents
can only be assailed in an action expressly instituted for that purpose.
Whether or not the petitioners have the right to claim ownership over
the property is beyond the power of the court a quo to determine in an
action for unlawful detainer.
PERALTA -LABRADOR v s . BUGARIN
G.R. No. 165177. August 25, 2005 YNARES-SANTIAGO, J .
FACTS: Petitioner Peralta-Labrador was the owner of a 400 sq. m. parcel of land,
purchased in 1976 from the spouses Pronto. In 1990, the DPWH constructed a road
which traversed her lot and separated 108 sq. m. from it. She was subsequently
issued Tax Declaration No. 02-2460R for the separated lot. Sometime in 1994,
respondent Silverio Bugarin forcibly took possession of the 108 sq. m. lot and
refused to vacate the same despite the pleas of petitioner. Hence, on January 18,
1996, she instituted a complaint for recovery of possession and ownership against
respondent before the MTC.
In his Answer with Counterclaims, respondent Bugarin contended that the area
claimed by petitioner is included in the 4,473 square-meter lot, covered by the
Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. P-13011, and that he has been in continuous
possession and occupation thereof since 1955. In his Amended Answer with
Counterclaim, respondent failed to allege that the questioned lot is covered by the
OCT No. P-13011 and instead asserted that he planted fruit-bearing trees in the
property. Respondent further pleaded the defenses of lack of cause of action and
prescription.
The MTC decided in favor of respondent declaring him as the owner of the
controverted lot on the basis of the OCT No. P-13011. The complaint was dismissed
for failure of petitioner to prove prior physical possession and ownership thereof.
The decision was affirmed by the RTC. Petitioner further filed a petition for review
before the CA, but the same was denied for insufficiency of evidence and

petitioners failure to adduce evidence to prove either ownership or prior physical


possession.
ISSUE: Whether petitioner has a cause of action for forcible entry against
respondent
HELD: NO. In Lopez vs. David Jr., it was held that an action for forcible entry is a
quieting process and the one year time bar for filing a suit is in pursuance of the
summary nature of the action. Thus, the Court has nullified proceedings in theMTCs
when it improperly assumed jurisdiction of a case in which the unlawful deprivation
or withholding of possession had exceeded one year. After the lapse of the one year
period, the suit must be commenced in the RTC via an accion publiciana, a suit for
recovery of the right to possess. It is an ordinary civil proceeding to determine the
better right of possession of realty independently of title. It also refers to an
ejectment suit filed after the expiration of one year from the accrual of the cause of
action or from the unlawful withholding of possession of the realty
independently of title. Likewise, the case may be instituted before the same court
as an accion reivindicatoria, which is an action to recover ownership as well as
possession.
It is clear that petitioners averment make out a case for forcible entry because she
alleged prior physical possession of the subject lot way back in 1976, and the
forcible entry thereon by respondent. Considering her allegation that the unlawful
possession of respondent occurred two years prior to the filing of the complaint on
January 18, 1996, the cause of action for forcible entry has prescribed and the MTC
had no jurisdiction to entertain the case. Therefore petitioners complaint should
have been filed with the proper RTC.
On this point, the Court held in Bongato vs. Malvar that:
It is wise to be reminded that forcible entry is a quieting process, and that the
restrictive time-bar is prescribed to complement the summary nature of such
process. Indeed, the one-year period within which to bring an action for forcible
entry is generally counted from the date of actual entry to the land. However, when
entry is made through stealth, then the one-year period is counted from the time
the plaintiff learned about it.
After the lapse of the one-year period, the party dispossessed of a parcel
of land may file either an accion publiciana, which is a plenary action to recover the
right of possession; or an accion reivindicatoria, which is an action to recover
ownership as well as possession.

Lunod et al vs. Meneses | Torres, J.


G.R. No. 4223 | August 19, 1908
FACTS

Plaintiifs (Appellees) Nicolas Lunod and 7 others are owners of farmlands


on the upper estates near a lake (Calalaran).

Defendant-Appellant Higno Meneses is the owner of a fishpond and a strip


of land in Paraanan adjoining said lake on one side and a river on the other. Paraan
is the only outlet of water to the river from the lands of Lunod et al during rainy
season.

In 1901 Meneses converted the land in Paraan to a fishpond and by means


of a dam and a bamboo net prevented the free passage of water through Paraan
causing flood and damage of plantations in the upper estates.

Lunod et al filed a complaint alleging that there exists in favor of their rice
fields a statutory easement for more than 20 years before 1901 and praying that
Meneses be ordered to remove the obstructions that impede the passage of water
through Paraanan.

TC ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.


ISSUE
WON Meneses can be permitted to obstruct the flow of waters through his lands.
HELD
NO. But Lunod et al cannot prevent the defendant from building works to prevent
his lands against influx of waters.
RATIO

Where a statutory easement exists between adjoining estates, the owner


of the lower lands must not construct any work that may impair or obstruct an
easement which consists in receiving the waters which naturally, and without the
intervention of man, descend from more elevated lands; neither shall the owner of
the latter construct any work that may increase the easement.

The Civil Code allows that every owner may enclose his property by means
of walls, dikes, fences, or any other device, but his right is limited by the easement
with which his estate is charged.

Since the plaintiffs can not prevent the defendant from protecting his lands
against the influx of salt water; but the defendant could never be permitted to
obstruct the flow of the waters through his lands to the river during the heavy rains,
when the high lands in Calalaran and the lake in said place are flooded, thereby
impairing the right of the owners of the dominant estates; the court advised that it
is perhaps useful and advantageous to all parties that Meneses be made to build a
another dike in addition to the old dike between the lake of said place and the low
lands in Paraanan, for the purpose of preventing the salt waters of the river
flooding (at high tide) not only the lowlands in Paraanan but also the higher ones of
Calalaran and its lake.