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PRIVATIZATION AND MANAGEMENT OFFICE VS.

LEGASPI TOWERS
PERALTA, J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to annul and set aside the
Decision[1] dated February 16, 2001, of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 48984, affirming

After the completion of the condominium project, it was constituted pursuant to the
Condominium Act (Republic Act No. 4726), as the Legaspi Towers 300, Inc.

However, for Caruffs failure to pay its loan with PNB, the latter foreclosed the mortgage
and acquired some of the properties of Caruff at the sheriffs auction sale held on January 30, 1985.[4]

the Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC).


Thereafter, Proclamation No. 50[5] was issued. It was aimed to promote privatization for the
The factual and procedural antecedents are as follows:

prompt disposition of the large number of non-performing assets of the government financial
institutions, and certain government-owned and controlled corporations, which have been found

Caruff Development Corporation owned several parcels of land along the stretch of Roxas
Boulevard, Manila. Among them were contiguous lots covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT)

unnecessary or inappropriate for the government sector to maintain. It also provided for the creation
of the Asset Privatization Trust (APT).

Nos. 120311, 120312, 120313, and 127649 (now TCT No. 200760).
By virtue of Administrative Order No. 14 and the Deed of Transfer executed by PNB, the
Sometime in December 1975, Caruff obtained a loan from the Philippine National Bank
(PNB) to finance the construction of a 21-storey condominium along Roxas Boulevard.[2] The loan
accommodation was secured by a real estate mortgage over three (3) parcels of land covered by TCT

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

Nos. 120311, 120312, and 120313,[3] where Caruff planned to erect the condominium.
Meanwhile, Caruff filed a case against PNB before the RTC of Manila, Branch 2, whereby
In 1979, Caruff started constructing a multi-storey building on the mortgaged parcels of
land. Along with the other appurtenances of the building constructed by Caruff, it built a powerhouse

Caruff sought the nullification of PNBs foreclosure of its properties.[6] The case was docketed as Civil
Case No. 85-29512.

(generating set) and two sump pumps in the adjacent lot covered by TCT No. 127649 (now TCT No.
200760).

A Compromise Agreement[7] dated August 31, 1988 was later entered into by Caruff, PNB,
and the National Government thru APT. The parties agreed, among other things, that Caruff would
transfer and convey in favor of the National Government, thru the APT, the lot covered by TCT No.
127649 (now TCT No. 200760), where it built the generating set and sump pumps.

On January 12, 1995, after trial on the merits, the RTC rendered a Decision[11] declaring the
On September 9, 1988, the RTC rendered a Decision approving the Compromise Agreement
executed and submitted by the parties. The dispositive portion of said Decision reads:
x x x and finding the foregoing compromise agreement to be well-taken, the Court
hereby approves the same and renders judgment in accordance with the terms
and conditions set forth [sic] therein and enjoins the parties to comply strictly
therewith.
SO ORDERED.[8]
Thus, by virtue of the Decision, the subject property was among those properties that were
conveyed by Caruff to PNB and the National Government thru APT.

existence of an easement over the portion of the land covered by TCT No. 127649 (TCT No. 200760),
the decretal portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the petitioner
and against the respondents hereby declaring the existence of an easement over
the portion of land covered by TCT No. 200760 (previously No. 127649) occupied
at present [by the] powerhouse and sump pumps nos. 1 and 2 only, of Legaspi
Towers 300, in favor of Legaspi Towers 300, Incorporated. The Register of Deeds
of Manila is, likewise, hereby directed to annotate this easement at the back of
the said certificate of title. The counterclaim and cross-claim are dismissed
accordingly.
SO ORDERED.

On July 5, 1989, respondent filed a case for Declaration of the existence of an easement
before the RTC of Manila, docketed as Spec. Proc. No. 89-49563. Respondent alleged that the act of
Caruff of constructing the powerhouse and sump pumps on its property constituted a voluntary
easement in favor of the respondent. It prayed, among other things, that judgment be rendered
declaring the existence of an easement over the portion of the property covered by TCT No.
127649 (now TCT No. 200760) that was being occupied by the powerhouse and the sump pumps in
its favor, and that the Register of Deeds of Manila annotate the easement at the back of said
certificate of title.[9]
In its Answer with Counterclaim and Cross-claim,[10] APT alleged that respondent had no
cause of action against it, because it was but a mere transferee of the land. It acquired absolute
ownership thereof by virtue of the Compromise Agreement in Civil Case No. 85-2952, free from any
liens and/or encumbrances. It was not a privy to any transaction or agreement entered into by and
between Caruff, respondent, and the bank. It further alleged that the continued use of the subject
property by respondent and the condominium owners without its consent was an encroachment
upon its rights as absolute owner and for which it should be properly compensated.

Aggrieved, APT sought recourse before the CA in CA-G.R. CV No. 48984.


Subsequently, the term of existence of APT expired and, pursuant to Section 2, Article III of Executive
Order No. 323, the powers, functions, duties and responsibilities of APT, as well as all the properties,
real or personal assets, equipments and records held by it and its obligations and liabilities that were
incurred, was transferred to petitioner Privatization and Management Office (PMO).Thus, the PMO
substituted APT in its appeal.
On February 16, 2001, finding no reversible error on the part of the RTC, the CA rendered a
Decision[12] affirming the decision appealed from. PMO filed a Motion for Reconsideration, but it was
denied in the Resolution[13] dated May 3, 2001.
Hence, the present petition assigning the following errors:
I
THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE
DECISION OF THE COURT A QUO IN FINDING THAT [THE] PRESENCE OF THE
GENERATOR SET (GENERATING SET) AND SUMP PUMPS CONSTITUES AN
EASEMENT.
II
THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE
DECISION OF THE COURT A QUO IN DECLARING THE EXISTENCE OF AN EASEMENT
OVER THE PORTION OF LAND COVERED BY TCT NO. [200760] OCCUPIED BY THE

GENERATOR SET AND SUMP PUMPS NOS. 1 AND 2, PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 688
OF THE CIVIL CODE.
III
THE PUBLIC RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE
DECISION OF THE COURT A QUO IN NOT REQUIRING THE RESPONDENTPETITIONER TO PAY ANY COMPENSATION TO PETITIONER, THE OWNER OF THE
LAND, FOR THE USE OF ITS PROPERTY.[14]
Petitioner argues that the presence of the generator set and sump pumps does not
constitute an easement. They are mere improvements and/or appurtenances complementing the
condominium complex, which has not attained the character of immovability. They were placed on
the subject property as accessories or improvements for the general use and comfort of the
occupants of the condominium complex.
Petitioner maintains that, as the generator set and sump pumps are improvements of the
condominium, the same should have been removed after Caruff undertook to deliver the subject
property free from any liens and encumbrances by virtue of the Decision of the RTC in Civil Case No.
85-29512 approving the parties Compromise Agreement. It adds that, in alienating the property in
favor of APT/PMO, Caruff could not have intended to include as encumbrance the voluntary
easement.
Petitioner posits that respondent failed to present any evidence to prove the existence of
the necessary requisites for the establishment of an easement. There is no concrete evidence to show
that Caruff had a clear and unequivocal intention to establish the placing of the generator set and
sump pumps on the subject property as an easement in favor of respondent.
Lastly, petitioner contends that respondent is a squatter for having encroached on the
formers property without its consent and without paying any rent or indemnity. Petitioner submits
that respondents presence on the subject property is an encroachment on ownership and, thus,
cannot be properly considered an easement. It adds that an easement merely produces a limitation
on ownership, but the general right of ownership of the servient tenement must not be impaired so

as to amount to a taking of property. When the benefit being imposed is so great as to impair
usefulness of the servient estate, it would amount to a cancellation of the rights of the latter.
Petitioner insists that, for having unjustly enriched itself at the expense of the National
Government and for encroaching on the latters rights as the absolute owner, respondent should
rightfully compensate the National Government for the use of the subject property which dates back
to August 28, 1989 up to the present.
For its part, respondent argues that it was the intention of Caruff to have a voluntary
easement in the subject property and for it to remain as such even after the property was
subsequently assigned to APT. It was Caruff who constructed the generating set and sump pumps on
its adjacent property for the use and benefit of the condominium adjoining it. Also, the manner in
which the sump pumps were installed is permanent in nature, since their removal and transfer to
another location would render the same worthless and would cut off the supply of electricity and
water to the condominium and its owners.
Respondent maintains that petitioner cannot assume that Caruff intended to renounce the
voluntary easement over the subject property by virtue of the Compromise Agreement, since such
defense can only be presented by Caruff and not the petitioner. It added that petitioner had actual
notice of the presence of the generating set and sump pumps when they were negotiating with Caruff
regarding the compromise agreement and at the time the subject property was transferred to
petitioner. Also, petitioner cannot claim the payment of rent, considering that there was no written
demand for respondent to pay rent or indemnity.
Respondent submits that the mandate of petitioner to privatize or dispose of the nonperforming assets transferred to it does not conflict with the issue of the declaration of the easement
over the subject property, considering that petitioner is not prevented from privatizing the same
despite the presence of the voluntary easement.

The petition is meritorious.


An easement or servitude is a real right constituted on anothers property, corporeal and
immovable, by virtue of which the owner of the same has to abstain from doing or to allow somebody
else to do something on his property for the benefit of another thing or person.[15] The statutory basis

Also, Article 624 of the Civil Code is controlling, as it contemplates a situation where there
exists an apparent sign of easement between two estates established or maintained by the owner of
both. The law provides:

Art. 613. An easement or servitude is an encumbrance imposed upon


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

Art. 624. The existence of an apparent sign of easement between two


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

The immovable in favor of which the easement is established is called the


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

From the foregoing, it can be inferred that when the owner of two properties alienates one

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

There are two sources of easements: by law or by the will of the owners. Article 619 of the
Civil Code states:

Art. 619. Easements are established either by law or by the will of the
owners. The former are called legal and the latter voluntary easements.

of them and an apparent sign of easement exists between the two estates, entitlement to it
continues, unless there is a contrary agreement, or the indication that the easement exists is removed
before the execution of the deed.
In relation thereto, the Compromise Agreement, as approved by the court, clearly states,
among other things, that:

In the present case, neither type of easement was constituted over the subject property.
In its allegations, respondent claims that Caruff constituted a voluntary easement when it
constructed the generating set and sump pumps over the disputed portion of the subject property
for its benefit. However, it should be noted that when the appurtenances were constructed on the
subject property, the lands where the condominium was being erected and the subject property
where the generating set and sump pumps were constructed belonged to Caruff. Therefore, Article
613 of the Civil Code does not apply, since no true easement was constituted or existed, because both
properties were owned by Caruff.

xxxx
2.0 That in consideration of the covenants hereunder stipulated,
plaintiff [Caruff] Development Corporation (CDC), hereby terminates the instant
case against defendants Philippine National Bank (PNB) and the National
Government/APT, and hereby:
2.1 Assigns, transfers and conveys in favor of defendant National
government thru APT, CDCs rights, title and interest in the Maytubig property,
situated at the back of the Legaspi Towers 300 Condominium, consisting of seven
(7) contiguous lots with an aggregate area of 1,504.90 square meters, covered by
the following Transfer Certificate of Title, viz: TCT No. 23663 Pasay City Registry;
TCT No. 142497 Metro Manila 1 Registry; TCT No. 142141 Metro Manila 1
Registry; TCT No. 127649 Metro Manila 1 Registry; x x x; all titles, free from any
and all liens and encumbrances, to be delivered, and the necessary papers and
documents to be turned over/executed to effect transfer in favor of the National
Government/APT, upon approval of this Compromise Agreement;

x x x x.[17]

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

Thus, when the subject property was assigned to the National Government thru the APT,
no easement arose or was voluntarily created from the transfer of ownership, considering that the
parties, more particularly, Caruff, pledged that it was assigning, transferring, and conveying the
subject property in favor of the National Government thru the APT free from any and all liens and

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

encumbrances.

From the records, APT/PMO submitted, as part of its evidence, a letter [21] dated June 18,
Compromise agreements are contracts, whereby the parties undertake reciprocal
obligations to resolve their differences, thus, avoiding litigation, or put an end to one already
commenced.[18]As a contract, when the terms of the agreement are clear and explicit that they

do not

justify an attempt to read into it any alleged intention of the parties; the terms are to be understood

1992, wherein it fixed the monthly rental fee per square meter of the entire property at P56.25,
orP1.81 per square meter per day. Hence, respondent should pay the National Government
reasonable rent in the amount of P56.25 per square meter per month, to be reckoned from August
28, 1989up to the time when the generating set and sump pumps are completely removed therefrom.

literally, just as they appear on the face of the contract.[19] Considering that Caruff never intended to
transfer the subject property to PMO, burdened by the generating set and sump pumps, respondent
should remove them from the subject property.
As regards PMOs claim for rent, respondent has been enjoying the use of the subject
property for free from the time the rights over the property were transferred and conveyed by Caruff
to the National Government.
We have held that [t]here is unjust enrichment when a person unjustly retains a benefit to
the loss of another, or when a person retains money or property of another against the fundamental
principles of justice, equity and good conscience. Article 22 of the Civil Code provides that [e]very
person who, through an act or performance by another, or any other means, acquires or comes into
possession of something at the expense of the latter, without just or legal ground, shall return the
same to him. The principle of unjust enrichment under Article 22 of the Civil Code requires two
conditions: (1) that a person is benefited without a valid basis or justification, and (2) that such benefit
is derived at anothers expense or damage.[20]

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court in Spec.
Proc. No. 89-49563 dated January 12, 1995, and the Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals
in CA-G.R. CV No. 48984 dated February 16, 2001 and May 3, 2001, respectively, are REVERSED and
SET ASIDE.
Legaspi Towers 300, Inc. is DIRECTED to REMOVE the generating set and sump pumps 1 and
2 from the property covered by TCT No. 200760 and to PAY reasonable rent at the rate ofP56.25 per
square meter/per month from August 28, 1989 until the same are completely removed.
SO ORDERED.

NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, Petitioner


vs.
LUCMAN G. IBRAHIM, OMAR, G. MARUHOM, ELIAS G. MARUHOM,

is a failure to state a cause of action since respondents seek possession of the sub-terrain portion
when they were never in possession of the same, (2) respondents have no cause of action because
they failed to show proof that they were the owners of the property, and (3) the tunnels are a
government project for the benefit of all and all private lands are subject to such easement as may
be necessary for the same.

BUCAY G. MARUHOM, FAROUK G. MARUHOM, HIDJARA G. MARUHOM,


ROCANIA G. MARUHOM, POTRISAM G. MARUHOM, LUMBA G. MARUHOM,
SINAB G. MARUHOM, ACMAD G. MARUHOM, SOLAYMAN G. MARUHOM
G.R. No. 168732, June 29, 2007

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

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

NAPOCOR filed a Manifestation and Motion withdrawing its Notice of Appeal purposely to give way
to the hearing of its motion for reconsideration.

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

NAPOCOR filed its Notice of Appeal by registered mail which was denied by the RTC on the ground of
having been filed out of time. Meanwhile, the Decision of the RTC was executed pending appeal and
funds of NAPOCOR were garnished by respondents Ibrahim and his co-heirs.

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

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

Disputing respondents claim, NAPOCOR filed an answer with counterclaim denying the material
allegations of the complaint and interposing affirmative and special defenses, namely that (1) there

The RTC granted the petition and rendered a modified judgment.

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

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

Ruling:

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

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

The contention lacks merit.

Registered landowners may even be ousted of ownership and possession of their properties in the
event the latter are reclassified as mineral lands because real properties are characteristically
indivisible. For the loss sustained by such owners, they are entitled to just compensation under the
Mining Laws or in appropriate expropriation proceedings.

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

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

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

The Court of Appeals justified this by saying there is no conflict of interest between the owners of
the surface rights and the owners of the sub-surface rights. This is rather strange doctrine, for it is a
well-known principle that the owner of a piece of land has rights not only to its surface but also to
everything underneath and the airspace above it up to a reasonable height. Under the aforesaid
ruling, the land is classified as mineral underneath and agricultural on the surface, subject to separate
claims of title. This is also difficult to understand, especially in its practical application.

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

Petitioner contends that the underground tunnels in this case constitute an easement upon the
property of respondents which does not involve any loss of title or possession. The manner in which
the easement was created by petitioner, however, violates the due process rights of respondents as
it was without notice and indemnity to them and did not go through proper expropriation
proceedings. Petitioner could have, at any time, validly exercised the power of eminent domain to
acquire the easement over respondents property as this power encompasses not only the taking or
appropriation of title to and possession of the expropriated property but likewise covers even the
imposition of a mere burden upon the owner of the condemned property. Significantly, though,
landowners cannot be deprived of their right over their land until expropriation proceedings are
instituted in court. The court must then see to it that the taking is for public use, that there is payment
of just compensation and that there is due process of law.

In disregarding this procedure and failing to recognize respondents ownership of the sub-terrain
portion, petitioner took a risk and exposed itself to greater liability with the passage of time. It must
be emphasized that the acquisition of the easement is not without expense. The underground tunnels

impose limitations on respondents use of the property for an indefinite period and deprive them of
its ordinary use. Based upon the foregoing, respondents are clearly entitled to the payment of just
compensation. Notwithstanding the fact that petitioner only occupies the sub-terrain portion, it is
liable to pay not merely an easement fee but rather the full compensation for land. This is so because
in this case, the nature of the easement practically deprives the owners of its normal beneficial use.
Respondents, as the owners of the property thus expropriated, are entitled to a just compensation
which should be neither more nor less, whenever it is possible to make the assessment, than the
money equivalent of said property.

and vehicles. Even then, however, the defendant filed with the court below on that very same day,
May 21, 1954, a motion for the reconsideration of the order granting discretionary execution.
Thereafter, and upon the lower court's suggestion, the parties entered into an amicable agreement
which was later embodied in an order or "auto" dated May 24, 1954, to wit:
A raiz de la mocion del demandado pidiendo antre otras cosas, la reconsideracion de la orden de
ejecucion de la decision dictada en esta causa, el 22 del Mayo de 1954, el Juez que preside esta sala
se constituyo para una inspeccion ocular en el lugar en conflicto.
Durante la inspeccion ocular, los demandantes y demandado, Antonio Legaspi, llegaron a un acuerdo:

G.R. No. L-17482

March 31, 1966

1. Los demandantes no instalaran en su terreno su taller de reparacion de vehiculos de motor.

GENOVEVA R. JABONETE, ET AL., plaintiffs,


vs.
JULIANA MONTEVERDE, ET AL., defendants,
ANTONIO LEGASPI, respondent-appellant,
DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner-appellee,
MRS. LUZ ARCILLA, petitioner-intervenor-appellee.

2. Los demandantes pueden construir su garaje dentro de su terreno para su jeep (AC), pero no los
tendran parados en la calle privada del demandados construida por este en su terreno a lo largo del
terreno de los demandantes;

Zuo and Mojica for the respondents-appellants.


Jesus Avancea for the plaintiffs.

4. El demandado, Antonio Legaspi, permitira el uso y paso en la calle privada construida por el en su
terreno a lo largo del terreno de los demandantes, a estos, su familia, sus amigos, chofers,
servidumbre y de sus jeeps.

REGALA, J.:
This is an appeal from an order of the Court of First Instance of Davao, dated March 11, 1960, finding
the respondent-appellant, Antonio Legaspi, guilty of contempt of court, and imposing upon him a fine
of P100.
On March 11, 1954, the Court of First Instance of Davao, in view of its finding in Case No. 824,
entitled Jabonete vs. Monteverde, et al., that Antonio Legaspi acquired the lot in question with the
knowledge that a "gravamen" or easement of right of way existed thereon, promulgated a decision
the dispositive portion of which reads:
Ordena al demandado Antonio Legaspi la demolicion de la parte del corral construido a lo largo de su
terreno que impide a lote demandantes tener acceso con la vereda que communica con la carretera
principal, Tomas Claudio.
Declara que los demandantes tienen derecho el uso de la vereda (Exh. A-3), de 3 metros de ancho,
unico paso que disponen para communicarse con la Calle Tomas Claudio, para el paso de sus jeeps, y
los vehiculos, reparados que entran y salen del taller de reparacion de aquellos.
The respondent-appellant received a copy of the decision on May 12, 1954. Two days later, May 14,
1954 he filed his notice of appeal therefrom. On May 21, 1954 however, upon a previous motion of
the plaintiffs, the lower court issued an order granting discretionary execution of the said decision. In
view of this last mentioned order, the plaintiffs immediately proceeded to the premises in question
and opened in the fence of the defendant Antonio Legaspi a sufficient opening for the passage of men

3. Los demandantes contribuiran a prorata con el demandado los gastos de reparacion de la calle
privada construida por el referido demandado en su terreno a lo largo del terreno de los
demandantes.1wph1.t

5. Para los fines del uso de la calle, el demandado permitira a los demandantes, frente de la casa de
estos, abrir una puerta de 4 metros de ancho en el corral construido por el demandado que separa la
calle privada y el terreno de los demandantes, a su (demandantes) costa; sus hojas tendran por
dentro, que los demandantes tendran cerradas para evitar que los nios, hijos de los inquilinos del
demandado tengan acceso a los jeeps de los demandantes, cuyo garaje tendran dentro de su
(demandantes) terreno.
El Juzgado ordena a las partes litigantes complan estrictamente con lo estipulado; de los contrario,
los mismos estaran sujetos a las ordenes de este Juzgado.
As a result of the above agreement and Order of May 24, 1954, the defendant abandoned the
prosecution of his appeal. At the same time, both parties complied with its terms until the plaintiffs,
unable to continue with their repair shop, transferred to another place in December 1959 whereupon
the defendant reconstructed his fence and its footing, closing thereby the opening previously made
by the plaintiffs.
In the course of time, the plaintiffs' lot was foreclosed by the Development Bank of the Philippines
(DBP) which, later still, conveyed it under a conditional sale to Mrs. Luz Arcilla. On her acquisition of
the said lot, Mrs. Arcilla demanded of the defendant the re-opening of the fence in question as it was
her plan to construct her house in the said lot. When the defendant refused, the Development Bank
filed with the lower court a petition to hold the said defendant in contempt. To this petition, Mrs. Luz
Arcilla later intervened and was so allowed by the lower court. The Development Bank of the

Philippines and Mrs. Luz Arcilla contended that the refusal of the defendant to cause or allow the
making of an opening in his fence was a defiance of the said court's decision of March 11, 1954 and
was, therefore, contemptuous. After due hearing, the lower court sustained the petitioners and found
the defendant guilty of contempt with orders "to pay a fine of One Hundred Pesos (P100.00) and to
open the vereda or alley leading to the lot owned by the Development Bank of the Philippines and
conveyed to Mrs. Luz S. Arcilla under a conditional deed of sale, otherwise he should be imprisoned
until he does so." Thus, the instant appeal.
The respondent-appellant maintains that the lower court erred in finding him guilty of contempt
because:
1. The decision of March 11, 1954 was novated by the order of May 24, 1954. Consequently, he could
not have violated the former decree since with its novation it ceased to have any legal effect.
2. Even assuming that the said decision was not novated by the subsequent order of May 24, 1954,
still he could not be deemed to have violated the said decision because the same never became final
and executory. The respondent-appellant argued that since the decision of March 11, 1954 ordered
the opening of a right of way in his property without providing for this corresponding compensation
to him, contrary to Article 649 of the Civil Code,1 there was in the said decision "a void which ought
to be filled or to be done in order to completely dispose of the case. It was not clear, specific and
definitive," and consequently, a judgment that could not have acquired finality.
3. The right to file contempt proceedings against him, with respect to the decrees contained in the
decision of March 11, 1954, has prescribed. The respondent-appellant conceded that there is no
prescriptive period for the institution of contempt proceedings. However, he contended that
inasmuch as contempt under Rule 64 of the Rules of Court is punishable by arresto mayor, it should
prescribe in five years just as crimes for which the said penalty is imposed prescribe, under the Penal
Code, in five years.
Without passing on the merits or demerits of the foregoing arguments, this Court believes that the
order finding the respondent-appellant guilty of contempt should be reversed. It is clear that the
order of May 24, 1954 superseded and was fully intended by the lower court to modify or stand in
substitution of the decision of March 11, 1954. More than the expression of the parties amicable
agreement on the dispute, the said order was the lower court's resolution of the respondentappellant's motion for reconsideration of the decision of March 11, 1954. In the determination,
therefore, of the said appellant's obligation relative to the easement in question, the latter and not
the decision of March 11, 1954 is the proper point in reference.
Under the aforesaid order of May 24, 1954, the easement awarded or secured by the lower court to
the plaintiffs was strictly a personal one. The right of way granted was expressly limited to the latter
and their "family, friends, drivers, servants and jeeps." In the very language of the agreement the
following appears:
El demandado Antonio Legaspi, permitira el uso y paso en la calle privada construida por el en su
terreno a lo largo del terreno de los demandantes, a estos, su familia, sus amigos, chofers,
servidumbre y de sus jeeps.

The servitude established was clearly for the benefit alone of the plaintiffs and the persons above
enumerated and it is clear that the lower court, as well as the parties addressed by the said order, did
not
intend
the
same
to
pass
on
to
the
plaintiffs'
successors-in-interest. In other words, the right acquired by the original plaintiffs was a personal
servitude under Article 614 of the Civil Code, and not a predial servitude that inures to the benefit of
whoever owns the dominant estate.
In resisting the extension of the aforementioned easement to the latter, the plaintiffs' successors-ininterest, the respondent-appellant, therefore, was not defying the decision of March 11, 1954 which
was then no longer subsisting, nor the order of May 24, 1954 since the said successors-in-interest had
no right thereunder.
Another evidence that the servitude in question was personal to the plaintiffs is the fact that the same
was granted to the latter without any compensation to the respondent-appellant.
Wherefore, the order of the lower court dated March 11, 1960 finding the respondent-appellant
guilty of contempt is hereby reversed, without pronouncement as to costs.

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


EDILBERTO ALCANTARA, FLORENCIO VILLARMIA, POLICARPIO OBREGON,+ RICARDO ROBLE,
ESCOLASTICA ONDONG, ESTEBAN RALLOS, HENRY SESBINO, SERGIO SESBINO, MANUEL
CENTENO,+ RENATO CRUZ, MARCELINO CENEZA, BUENAVENTURA ONDONG, and BENJAMIN
HALASAN, petitioners, vs. CORNELIO B. RETA, JR. respondent.
DECISION
PARDO, J. :
The Case
In this petition for review,[1] petitioners seek to review the decision[2] of the
Court of Appeals affirming the decision[3] of the Regional Trial Court, Davao City, Branch 14,
dismissing petitioners complaint for the exercise of the right of first refusal under Presidential Decree
No. 1517, injunction with preliminary injunction, attorneys fees and nullity of amicable settlement.
The Facts
Edilberto Alcantara, Florencio Villarmia, Policarpio Obregon, Ricardo Roble, Escolastica Ondong,
Esteban Rallos, Henry Sesbino, Sergio Sesbino, Manuel Centeno, Renato Cruz, Marcelo Ceneza,
Buenaventura Ondong and Benjamin Halasan, filed with the Regional Trial Court, Davao City, Branch
14, a complaint[4] against Cornelio B. Reta, Jr. for the exercise of the right of right of first refusal under
Presidential Decree No. 1517, injunction with preliminary injunction, attorneys fees and nullity of
amicable settlement.

The plaintiffs claimed that they were tenants or lessees of the land located in Barangay Sasa, Davao
City, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-72594, owned by Reta; that the land has been
converted by Reta into a commercial center; and that Reta is threatening to eject them from the land.
They assert that they have the right of first refusal to purchase the land in accordance with Section
3(g) of Presidential Decree No. 1517 since they are legitimate tenants or lessees thereof.
They also claimed that the amicable settlement executed between Reta and Ricardo Roble was void
ab initio for being violative of Presidential Decree No. 1517.
On the other hand, Reta claimed that the land is beyond the ambit of Presidential Decree No. 1517
since it has not been proclaimed as an Urban Land Reform Zone; that the applicable law is Batas
Pambansa Blg. 25 for failure of the plaintiffs to pay the rentals for the use of the land; and that the
amicable settlement between him and Ricardo Roble was translated to the latter and fully explained
in his own dialect.
On March 8, 1994, the trial court rendered a decision dismissing the complaint and ordering the
plaintiffs to pay Reta certain sums representing rentals that had remained unpaid.[5]
On April 6, 1994, plaintiffs appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals.[6]
On December 9, 1998, the Court of Appeals promulgated a decision[7] affirming in toto the decision
of the trial court.
Hence, this appeal.[8]
The Issue
The issue is whether petitioners have the right of first refusal under Presidential Decree No. 1517.
The Courts Ruling
The petition is without merit.
The area involved has not been proclaimed an Urban Land Reform Zone (ULRZ). In fact, petitioners
filed a petition with the National Housing Authority requesting that the land they were occupying be
declared as an ULRZ. On May 27, 1986, the request was referred to Mr. Jose L. Atienza, General
Manager, National Housing Authority, for appropriate action.[9] The request was further referred to
acting mayor Zafiro Respicio, Davao City, as per 2ndIndorsement dated July 1, 1986.[10] Clearly, the
request to have the land proclaimed as an ULRZ would not be necessary if the property was an ULRZ.

entitled to the right of first refusal to purchase the property should the owner of the land decide to
sell the same at a reasonable price within a reasonable time.[12]
Respondent Reta denies that he has lease agreements with petitioners Edilberto Alcantara and
Ricardo Roble.[13] Edilberto Alcantara, on the other hand, failed to present proof of a lease
agreement other than his testimony in court that he bought the house that he is occupying from his
father-in-law.[14]
Respondent Reta allowed petitioner Ricardo Roble to use sixty-two (62) coconut trees for P186 from
where he gathered tuba. This arrangement would show that it is a usufruct and not a lease. Usufruct
gives a right to enjoy the property of another with the obligation of preserving its form and substance,
unless the title constituting it or the law otherwise provides.[15]
Petitioner Roble was allowed to construct his house on the land because it would facilitate his
gathering of tuba. This would be in the nature of a personal easement under Article 614 of the Civil
Code.[16]
Whether the amicable settlement[17] is valid or not, the conclusion would still be the same since the
agreement was one of usufruct and not of lease. Thus, petitioner Roble is not a legitimate tenant as
defined by Presidential Decree No. 1517.
As to the other petitioners, respondent Reta admitted that he had verbal agreements with them. This
notwithstanding, they are still not the legitimate tenants contemplated by Presidential Decree No.
1517, who can exercise the right of first refusal.
A contract has been defined as a meeting of the minds between two persons whereby one binds
himself, with respect to the other, to give something or to render some service.[18]
Clearly, from the moment respondent Reta demanded that the petitioners vacate the premises, the
verbal lease agreements, which were on a monthly basis since rentals were paid monthly,[19] ceased
to exist as there was termination of the lease.
Indeed, none of the petitioners is qualified to exercise the right of first refusal under P. D. No. 1517.
Another factor which militates against petitioners claim is the fact that there is no intention on the
part of respondent Reta to sell the property. Hence, even if the petitioners had the right of first
refusal, the situation which would allow the exercise of that right, that is, the sale or intended sale of
the land, has not happened. P. D. No. 1517 applies where the owner of the property intends to sell it
to a third party.[20]

Presidential Decree No. 1517, otherwise known as The Urban Land Reform Act, pertains to areas
proclaimed as Urban Land Reform Zones.[11] Consequently, petitioners cannot claim any right under
the said law since the land involved is not an ULRZ.

The Fallo

To be able to qualify and avail oneself of the rights and privileges granted by the said decree, one
must be: (1) a legitimate tenant of the land for ten (10) years or more; (2) must have built his home
on the land by contract; and, (3) has resided continuously for the last ten (10) years. Obviously, those
who do not fall within the said category cannot be considered legitimate tenants and, therefore, not

No costs.

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

SO ORDERED.

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


G.R. No. 911
March 12, 1903
DOCTRINE: An easement of light and view is a negative easement. A notarial prohibition is needed to
commence prescriptive period. An easement of light and view is only positive in relation to party walls
and apparent signs of easement.
FACTS:
House No. 65 owned by the wife of Maximo Cortes has certain windows, which have been in existence
since 1843, through which it receives light and air, said windows opening on the adjacent house, No.
63 of the same street. The tenant of No. 63, Yu-tibo, commenced certain work with the view to raising
the roof of the house in such a manner that one-half of the windows in house No. 65 has been
covered, thus depriving the building of a large part of the air and light formerly received through the
window. It is to be noted that Cortes has, by any formal act, prohibited the owner of house No. 63,
from making improvements of any kind at any time prior to the complaint.
The contention of the plaintiff is that by the constant and uninterrupted use of the windows during a
period of fifty-nine years he acquired from prescription an easement of light in favor of the house No.
65, and as a servitude upon house No. 63, and, consequently, has acquired the right to restrain the
making of any improvements. He contends that the easement of light is positive; and that therefore
the period of possession for the purposes of the acquisition of a prescriptive title is to begin from the
date on which the enjoyment of the same commenced (from the time that said windows were opened
with the knowledge of the owner of the house No. 63, and without opposition on this part).
The defendant, on the contrary, contends that the easement is negative, and that therefore the time
for the prescriptive acquisition thereof must begin from the date on which the owner of the dominant
estate may have prohibited, by a formal act, the owner of the servient estate from doing something
which would be lawful but for the existence of the easement.

It is not true that article 533 of the Civil Code says that the easement of light is positive, because it
does nothing more than give in general terms the definition of positive easements and negative
easements, without attempting to specify whether the easement of lights pertains to the first or to
the second class.
It would appear, judging from his allegations as a whole, that the appellant confuses positive
easements with continuous easements. If all continuous easements were positive and all
discontinuous easements were negative, then the express division of easements into positive and
negative made by the Code, after establishing the division of the same as continuous or
discontinuous, would be entirely unnecessary, as they would be entirely merged or included in the
latter classification. It is sufficient to read the text of the Code to understand beyond the possibility
of a doubt that a negative easement may be continuous, and that a positive easement may be
discontinuous, according to the special nature of each one.

Solid Manila Corp vs Bio Hong Trading Co. Inc.


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

ISSUE:
Whether the easement in this case is positive or negative
ISSUE: Whether or not an easement exists on the property.
RULING/RATIO:
The Court ruled that the easement of light which is the object of this litigation is of a negative
character, and therefore pertains to the class which can not be acquired by prescription as provided
by article 538 of the Civil Code, except by counting the time of possession from the date on which the
owner of the dominant estate has, in a formal manner, forbidden the owner of the servient estate to
do an act which would be lawful were it not for the easement.
In consequence thereof, the plaintiff, not having executed any formal act of opposition to the right of
the owner of the house No. 63, has not acquired, nor could he acquire by prescription, such easement
of light, no matter how long a time have elapsed since the windows were opened in the wall of the
said house No. 65, because the period which the law demands for such prescriptive acquisition could
not have commenced to run, the act with which it must necessarily commence not having been
performed.

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

Servitudes are merely accessories to the tenements of which they form part. The fact, however, that
the alley in question is inseparable from the main lot is immaterial to defeat petitioners claim. Even
if private respondent owns the property, it did not acquire the right to close that alley or put up

obstructions to prevent the public from using such alley. Respondents contention regarding the
merger does not apply in the case here since the servitude spoken of here is a personal servitude. In
a personal servitude, there is no owner of a dominant servient and the easement pertains to
persons without a dominant estate or in this case, the general public.

G.R. No. L-14116

June 30, 1960

LAUREANA A. CID, petitioner,


vs.
IRENE P. JAVIER, MANUEL P. JAVIER, JOSEFINA P. JAVIER, FERNANDO P. JAVIER, JOSE P. JAVIER,
GUILLERMO P. JAVIER, ISIDORA P. JAVIER, BENJAMIN P. JAVIER, and LEONOR
CRISOLOGO, respondents.
Antonio V. Raquiza for petitioner.
Cesar D. Javier for respondents.
BARRERA, J.:
The legal issue presented in this petition to review by certiorari a decision of the Court of appeals, is
whether the respondents Irene P. Javier, et al., owners of a building standing on their lot with
windows overlooking the adjacent lot, had acquired by prescription an enforceable easement of
light and view arising from a verbal prohibition to obstruct such view and light, alleged to have been
made upon petitioner's
predecessor-in-interest as owner of the adjoining lot, both of which lots being covered by Torrens
titles. Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals are of the view and so declared that respondents
Javier et al., did acquire such easement and gave judgment accordingly. Hence, petitioner has come
to us seeking review, alleging that both courts are in error.
The windows in question are admittedly in respondents' own building erected on their own lot. The
easement, if there is any, is therefore a negative one.1 The alleged prohibition having been
avowedly made in 1913 or 1914, before the present Civil Code took effect, the applicable legal
provision is Article 538 of the Spanish Civil Code which provides:
Art. 538. In order to acquire by prescription the easements referred to in the next
preceding article, the time of the possession shall be computed, ... in negative easements,
from the day on which the owner of the dominant estate has, by a formal act, forbidden
the owner of the servient estate to perform any act which would be lawful without the
easement. (Emphasis supplied.)
As may be seen, the only question hinges on the interpretation of the phrase "a formal act". The
lower court and the Court of Appeals considered any prohibition made by the owner of the
dominant estate, be it oral or written, sufficient compliance with the law. The Court of Appeals
declared:

In the light of the foregoing decisions, (Cortes vs. Yu Tibo, 2 Phil., 26 and the decisions of
the Supreme Court of Spain therein cited), we agree with the trial court that the "formal
act" of prohibition contemplated by Art. 538 of the old Civil Code may be either a written
or verbal act. The decisions of the Supreme Court of Spain above-quoted do not at all
mention written but merely some act of prohibition. . . . .
We are inclined to take the contrary view. The law is explicit. It requires not any form of prohibition,
but exacts, in a parenthetical expression, for emphasis, the doing not only of a specific, particular
act, but a formal act. The following definitions are pertinent:
Formalor pertaining to form, characterized by one due form or order, done in due form
with a solemnity regular; relating to matters of form. (C. J. S. vol. 37, p. 115.)
ActIn civil law, a writing which states in legal form that a thing has been done, said or
agreed. (1 Bouvier's Law Dictionary, p. 150, citing Marlin Report.)
From these definitions, it would appear that the phrase "formal act" would require not merely any
writing, but one executed in due form and/or with solemnity. That this is the intendment of the law
although not expressed in exact language is the reason for the clarification2 made in Article 621 of
the new Civil Code which specifically requires the prohibition to be in "an instrument acknowledged
before a notary public". This is as it should be. Easements are in the nature of an encumbrance on
the servient estate. They constitute a limitation of the dominical right of the owner of the subjected
property. Hence, they can be acquired only by title and by prescription, in the case of positive
easement, only as a result of some sort of invasion, apparent and continuous, of the servient estate.
By the same token, negative easements can not be acquired by less formal means. Hence, the
requirement that the prohibition (the equivalent of the act of invasion) should be by "a formal act",
"an instrument acknowledged before a notary public."
The Court of Appeals found as undisputed the fact 'that plaintiffs' lot (dominant) as well as
defendant's lot (servient) are covered by Original Certificates of Title Nos. 7225 and 7545,
respectively", both issued by the Register of Deeds of Ilocos Norte, in pursuance of the decrees of
registration issued on December 27, 1937, in Cadastral Case No. 51, G.L.R.O. Cadastral Record No.
1212 of Laoag, Ilocos Norte. Certified copies of these certificates of title are found as Annexes "A"
and "B", pages 77 to 80 inclusive of the Record on Appeal. In both of them, it does not appear any
annotation in respect to the easement supposedly acquired by prescription which, counting the
twenty (20) years from 1913 or 1914, would have already ripened by 1937, date of the decrees of
registration. Consequently, even conceding arguendo that such an easement has been acquired, it
had been cut off or extinguished by the registration of the servient estate under the Torrens System
without the easement being annotated on the corresponding certificate of title, pursuant to Section
39 of the Land Registration Act.3
Wherefore, the decision of the Court of Appeals appealed from is hereby reversed; the injunction
issued herein dissolved; and the case remanded to the court of origin for adjudication of the
damages, if any, occasioned by the issuance of the injunction. Without pronouncement as to costs.
So ordered.

RESOLUTION
January 20, 1961

BARRERA, J.:
The Decision in this case, promulgated on June 30, 1960, provided, among others, for the lifting of
the preliminary injunction issued by the lower court directed against petitioner's construction of a
building allegedly being made in violation of Municipal Ordinance No. 3, series of 1909 of the
municipality of Laoag, and in disregard of respondents' right to light and view.
In their motion for reconsideration timely presented, respondents claim that the findings of the
lower court, affirmed by the Court of Appeals, that the building under construction violated the
aforementioned ordinance (from which no appeal was interposed) having become final, justify the
issuance of and making permanent the injunction already issued.
There is no question that respondents' house, as well as that of petitioner, are within their
respective properties; that respondents' wall stands only 50 centimeters from the boundary of the 2
lots, whereas, the wall of the petitioner's building was constructed 1 meter from the boundary or 1
meter and 50 centimeters from the wall of the house of respondents. As a result, the lower court
found that the eaves of the two houses overlap each other by 24 centimeters. This, the Court of
Appeals declared to be violative of Ordinance No. 3, series of 1903, amending Sections 1, 5, 6, and
13 of the Municipal Ordinance of June 3, 1903, which requires a distance of 2 meters, measured
from eaves to eaves of adjoining buildings of strong materials.
It must be noted, however, that the Ordinance in question was adopted since 1909 and was,
therefore, already in force at the time the house of respondents was reconstructed in 1946 after the
building originally erected thereon was burned in 1942. If respondents constructed their house at
least one meter from the boundary line, as petitioner has constructed hers, there would be no
overlapping of the eaves and there would not be any violation of the ordinance. As things now
stand, in view of such construction by the respondents, the overlapping of the eaves and the
consequential violation of the ordinance can not entirely be attributed to petitioner, as to require
her alone to make the adjustments necessary for the observance of the 2-meter eaves-to-eaves
distance from her neighbors. If any compliance with the ordinance would be made not only by
petitioner, but also by the respondents. There is, therefore, no reason for the continuation of the
injunction.
In view of the foregoing, and as the other grounds respondents' motion for reconsideration had
been already duly considered in the Decision, the said motion is hereby denied, for lack of merit. So
ordered.

G.R. No. L-14652

June 30, 1960

JUAN GARGANTOS, petitioner,


vs.
TAN YANON and THE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
Jose T. Nery for petitioner.
Constantino P. Tadena for respondents.
GUTIERREZ DAVID, J.:
Juan Gargantos appeals by certiorari from the decision of the Court of Appeals reversing the judgment
of the Court of First Instance of Romblon.
The record discloses that the late Francisco Sanz was the former owner of a parcel of land containing
888 square meters, with the buildings and improvements thereon, situated in the poblacion of
Romblon. He subdivided the lot into three and then sold each portion to different persons. One
portion was purchased by Guillermo Tengtio who subsequently sold it to Vicente Uy Veza. Another
portion, with the house of strong materials thereon, was sold in 1927 to Tan Yanon, respondent
herein. This house has on its northeastern side, doors and windows over-looking the third portion,
which, together with the camarin and small building thereon, after passing through several hands,
was finally acquired by Juan Gargantos, petitioner herein.
On April 23, 1955, Gargantos applied to the Municipal Mayor for a permit to demolish the roofing of
the oldcamarin. The permit having been granted, Gargantos tore down the roof of the camarin. On
May 11, 1955, Gargantos asked the Municipal Council of Romblon for another permit, this time in
order to construct a combined residential house and warehouse on his lot. Tan Yanon opposed
approval of this application.
Because both the provincial fiscal and district engineer of Romblon recommended granting of the
building permit to Gargantos, Tan Yanon filed against Gargantos an action to restrain him from
constructing a building that would prevent plaintiff from receiving light and enjoying the view trough
the window of his house, unless such building is erected at a distance of not less than three meters
from the boundary line between the lots of plaintiff and defendant, and to enjoin the members of
Municipal Council of Romblon from issuing the corresponding building permit to defendant. The case
as against the members of the Municipal Council was subsequently dismissed with concurrence of
plaintiff's council. After trial, the Court of First Instance of Romblon rendered judgment dismissing
the complaint and ordering plaintiff to pay defendant the sum of P12,500.00 by way of compensatory,
exemplary, moral and moderate damages.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals set aside the decision of the Court of First Instance of Romblon and
enjoined defendant from constructing his building unless "he erects the same at a distance of not less
than three meters from the boundary line of his property, in conformity with Article 673 of the New
Civil Code."

So Juan Gargantos filed this petition for review of the appellate Court's decision. The focal issue herein
is whether the property of respondent Tan Yanon has an easement of light and view against the
property of petitioner Gargantos.
The kernel of petitioner's argument is that respondent never acquired any easement either by title
or by prescription. Assuredly, there is no deed establishing an easement. Likewise, neither petitioner
nor his predecessors-in-interest have ever executed any deed whereby they recognized the existence
of the easement, nor has there been final judgment to that effect. Invoking our decision in Cortes vs.
Yu-Tibo (2 Phil., 24), petitioner maintains that respondent has not acquired an easement by
prescription because he has never formally forbidden petitioner from performing any act which
would be lawful without the easement, hence the prescriptive period never started.
It is obvious, however, that Article 538, O.C.C. (now Article 621, N.C.C.) and the doctrine in the YuTibo case are not applicable herein because the two estates, that now owned by petitioner, and that
owner by respondent, were formerly owned by just one person, Francisco Sanz. It was Sanz who
introduced improvements on both properties. On that portion presently belonging to respondent, he
constructed a house in such a way that the northeastern side thereof extends to the wall of
the camarin on the portion now belonging to petitioner. On said northeastern side of the house, there
are windows and doors which serve as passages for light and view. These windows and doors were in
existence when respondent purchased the house and lot from Sanz. The deed sale did not provide
that the easement of light and view would not be established. This then is precisely the case covered
by Article 541, O.C.C (now Article 624, N.C.C) which provides that the existence of an apparent sign
of easement between two estates, established by the proprietor of both, shall be considered, if one
of them is alienated, as a title so that the easement will continue actively and passively, unless at the
time the ownership of the two estate is divided, the contrary is stated in the deed of alienation of
either of them, or the sign is made to disappear before the instrument is executed. The existence of
the doors and windows on the northeastern side of the aforementioned house, is equivalent to a title,
for the visible and permanent sign of an easement is the title that characterizes its existence (Amor vs.
Florentino, 74 Phil., 403). It should be noted, however, that while the law declares that the easement
is to "continue" the easement actually arises for the first time only upon alienation of either estate,
inasmuch as before that time there is no easement to speak of, there being but one owner of both
estates (Articles 530, O.C.C., now Articles 613, N.C.C).
We find that respondent Tan Yanon's property has an easement of light and view against petitioner's
property. By reason of his easement petitioner cannot construct on his land any building unless he
erects it at a distance of not less than three meters from the boundary line separating the two estates.
Wherefore, the appealed decision is hereby affirmed with costs against petitioner.

Unisource Commercial and Development Corporation is the registered owner of a parcel of which
contains a memorandum of encumbrance of a voluntary easement carried over from the OCT of
Encarnacion S. Sandico declaring that Francisco Hidalgo has the right to open doors in the course of
his lot and to pass through the land of Encarnacion Sandico, until the bank of the estero that goes to
the Pasig River, and towards the right of a Callejon. The annotation does not expressly provide that it
will be binding to the heirs and assigns of the parties. Furthermore, the property of Hidalgo was
already subdivided.
The memorandum of encumbrance was consistently annotated at the back of every title covering
Sandicos property until it was acquired by the petitioner. Hidalgos property, on the other hand was
eventually transferred to respondents Joseph, Kia and Cleto all surnamed Chung.
Petitioner filed a Petition to Cancel the Encumbrance of Voluntary Easement of Right of Way on the
ground that the dominant estate has an adequate access to a public road which is Matienza Street
which was granted but the trial court but eventually reversed by the Court of Appeals.
ISSUES
WON the can be cancelled by the petitioners who owns the servient estate on the ground that that
the dominant estate has an adequate access to a public road
WON the easement is binding only between Hidalgo and Sandico since the annotation did not
expressly provides the intention to bind their heirs and assigns.
RULING:
An easement is a real right on anothers property, corporeal and immovable, whereby the owner of
the latter must refrain from doing or allowing somebody else to do or something to be done on his
property, for the benefit of another person or tenement. These are established either by law (legal
easement) or by the will of the owner (voluntary easement).
(1) Petitioner itself admitted that the existing easement is voluntary. The opening of an adequate
outlet to a highway can extinguish only legal or compulsory easements, not voluntary easements like
in the case at bar. The fact that an easement by grant may have also qualified as an easement of
necessity does not detract from its permanency as a property right, which survives the termination
of the necessity. This easement of right of way, like any other contract, could be extinguished only by
mutual agreement or by renunciation of the owner of the dominant estate. (Art. 631,NCC)
(2) A voluntary easement of right of way is like any other contract that is generally effective between
the parties, their heirs and assigns, except in case where the rights and obligations arising from the
contract are not transmissible by their nature, or by stipulation or by provision of law.

Unisource Commercial and Development Corporation v. Chung


FACTS:

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

EMILIO PURUGGANAN, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
FELISA PAREDES and TRANQUILINO BARRERAS, defendants-appellants.
The main issue in this appeal is whether or not the summary judgment of the Court of First Instance
of Abra based on the pleadings and reports submitted by the commissioner in Civil Case No. 738
entitled Emilio P. Purugganan vs. Felisa Paredes, et al., was correctly rendered.
Plaintiff-appellee Emilio Purugganan is the owner of a piece of a residential lot subdivided as Lot 1
and Lot 2, situated at the poblacion of Bangued, Abra and technically described under Torrens Title
No. R-6 in his name, adjacent to and bounded on the North by the lot of defendant-appellant Felisa
Paredes. The lots of the plaintiff-appellee are subject to an easement of drainage in favor of the
defendants-appellants fully quoted in the Decree of Registration of the Court of First Instance of Abra,
G.L.R.O. Rec. No. 3256 to wit:
That the oppositor (Felisa Paredes) withdraws her opposition to the registration
of the lots Nos. 1 and 2 of the applicant, and in compensation to said withdrawal
by the oppositor of her opposition, the applicant agrees to respect an easement
or servitude over a portion of the lots Nos. 1 and 2 which is EIGHT AND ONE HALF
(8-) meters in length commencing from point 4 of Lot No. 2 and stretching
towards Lot No. 1 going Eastward, and the width is ONE (1) meter, in order that
the rain water coming from the roofing of a house to be constructed by the
oppositor over the ruins of her brick wall now standing along the Northeastern
boundary of Lot 1 shall fall into the land of the applicant.
In or about the month of March 1951, the defendants-appellants constructed a house on their lot
adjacent to Lots 1 and 2 of plaintiff-appellee in such a manner that the southern side of their house
is exactly on the brick wall, the southern side of which is the demarcation line between the plaintiffappellee and the defendants-appellants, demolishing said brick wall and built thereon the southern
wall of their house with 3 windows. The house constructed by the defendants-appellants is 2-
meters longer than the length of roofing allowed in the abovequoted Decree of Registration, and has
an outer roofing (eaves) of 1.20 meters, protruding over the property of the plaintiff-appellee which
is .20 meters wider than that allowed in the same Decree of Registration, and the rain water from the
GI roofing falls about 3 meters inside Lots 1 and 2 of the plaintiff-appellee. The defendants-appellants
also placed 3 windows each on the first and second floors of their house on the side facing Lots 1 and
2 of plaintiff-appellee. From the time the defendants-appellants started to construct their house, the
plaintiff-appellee has repeatedly and continuously been demanding from the defendants-appellants
that the construction of their house be in accordance with the easement, but the defendantsappellants refused to observe the easement and to close their windows. They also prohibited the
plaintiff-appellee from constructing a party wall between points 1 and 2 of Lot 2 and between points
2 and 3 and 4 of Lot 1.
In their answer, defendants-appellants admitted the allegations in paragraph 4 of the complaint with
respect to the existence of an "Amicable Settlement" with the plaintiff-appellee but interposing a
denial of the rest and alleging that the ruined brick wall which stands between the properties of the
plaintiff-appellee and their properties solely and exclusively belongs to them to the exclusion of the

plaintiff-appellee, the same having been inherited by defendant-appellant Felisa Paredes from her
ascendants from time immemorial, possessing them, peacefully, continuously and adversely against
any other party for so many years up to the present; they also admitted having constructed a house
on the very lot owned by them, with windows on the side facing the south, the same as the house
which turned into ruins by reason of the bombing of Bangued in March 1945, but they denied that
the same was constructed in or about March 1951, as said house was reconstructed and re-erected
on the ruins of a Spanish-built house sometime in later months of 1950. They further alleged that the
house standing on the dominant estate pertaining to Felisa Paredes was constructed long before the
issuance of the Decree of Registration alluded to in the complaint and that they have not violated the
terms of the Decree of Registration referred to in paragraph 4 the complaint; had long existed before
the Decree of Registration in question was issued, in the same way that said windows existed long
before the bombing of Bangued in March 1945 and therefore, plaintiff-appellee, as owner of the
servient estate, is estopped from questioning the existence of said windows; that since time
immemorial, the house bombed in March 1945, on which ruins stands the present house, had
windows facing Lot No. 1, in the same way the windows of the present house are so constructed
facing same lot No. 1 a long time with notice, knowledge and acquiescence of the plaintiff-appellee
as owner of the servient estate. Defendants-appellants prayed that plaintiff-appellee be ordered to
respect all existing construction on their lot and to refrain from constructing a party wall to obstruct
the easement of light, and view; that the easement of light and view be inscribed on the title of
plaintiff-appellee's lots as well as to pay the actual moral and consequential damages.
On September 7, 1959, the trial court pursuant to a pre-trial agreement issued an order appointing
the Provincial Land Officer of the Bureau of Lands, Ilocos Norte, or his duly authorized representative
to relocate the monuments and determine the boundary line between the lots of the parties involved.
On May 5, 1962 plaintiff-appellee filed a motion for summary judgment in accordance with the prayer
of his complaint except the portion relative to damages where he reserved his right to present his
evidence. He supported his motion for summary judgment with an affidavit of merits to which he has
attached the Original Certificate of Title No. R-6 the Decree of Registration for the issuance of said
certificate of title, the Order dated September 7, 1959 and the report of the Commissioner. In asking
for summary judgment plaintiff-appellee contended that from the respective pleadings of the parties
and the Commissioner's Report relative to the relocation and boundaries of his lands and the adjacent
lands of defendants-appellants which are both covered by Torrens Certificate of Title, it is evident
that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, except as to the amount of damages.
On June 4, 1962 defendants-appellants opposed the motion for summary judgment on the ground
that their answer to the plaintiff-appellee's complaint has raised genuine and material issues of facts.
In their supporting affidavit, defendants-appellants alleged that the plaintiff-appellee was the private
surveyor who surveyed their lot in 1925 and that in the course of his survey he had acted in bad faith
when he excluded the portion of their land, which was the subject matter of their opposition to the
registration of plaintiff-appellee's lots; that they constructed their house in 1950 without any protest
from the plaintiff-appellee and was almost complete when the Decree of Registration was issued by
the court; that the plaintiff-appellee knew fully well that the defendants-appellants were merely
reconstructing a house which had been existing prior to the bombing of Bangued in 1945; and that
the brick wall standing along the house is exclusively owned by them.

On July 30, 1962, the lower court rendered the now questioned Summary Judgment, the dispositive
portion of which reads:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATION, summary judgment is hereby
rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants:

On December 4, 1962 the Clerk of Court submitted his report. After receiving a copy of said report
defendants-appellants manifested to the court that they agree with the findings of facts therein and
prayed that judgment be rendered in accordance therewith and that their ownership of the brick wall
mentioned in said report be confirmed.
On July 23, 1963 the trial court denied the motion for reconsideration of its summary judgment.

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

Hence, this appeal.


Defendants-appellants contended that the lower court erred in rendering a summary judgment
because (1) there is actually a genuine issue of material facts raised in the pleadings; (2) that it made
a finding of fact not supported by any evidence; and (3) that it rendered summary judgment without
any legal basis. They claimed that after denying the allegations of plaintiff-appellee's complaint that
they have violated the easement of drainage there was actually a genuine issue of material fact
presented. The allegation referred to is that contained in paragraph 6 which states that the roof of
defendants' house protrudes by .2 meter wider and 2- meters longer than that allowed by the
Decree of Registration. This denial in paragraph 4 of the Answer of the defendants-appellants reads
as follows:
That the defendants deny the allegations in paragraph 6 of the complaint, and
allege that the house standing on the dominant estate pertaining to Felisa
Paredes, was constructed long before the issuance of the Decree of Registration
alluded to in the complaint, the herein defendants not having violated the terms
of the Decree of Registration to in paragraph 4 of the complaint.
Again in their opposition to the motion for summary judgment, defendants-appellants repeated the
same denial and averments by alleging therein:
Defendants specifically denied these allegations of the plaintiff and alleged that
(a) the house of the defendants was constructed sometime in the latter months
of 1950, before the issuance of the Decree of Registration adverted to by the
plaintiff, and therefore could not have violated that said Decree, and (b) that the
windows complained of by the plaintiff are reconstructed windows of the
reconstructed house of the dominant estate which had been in existence since
the Spanish Regime, with the knowledge, acquiescence and toleration of the
plaintiff and his predecessors in interests for more than sixty (60) years.
Even the supporting affidavit of defendants-appellants alleged that the brick wall standing along their
house and adjacent to the land of the plaintiff-appellee is owned by them. A close look at the
foregoing denials however, will show that the allegations defendants-appellants were trying to
challenge relate to the validity of the easement of drainage as annotated in the Certificate of Title of
plaintiff-appellee and not to the allegation that the roof of defendants-appellants protrudes by .2
meter wider and 2- meters longer than that allowed by the Decree of Registration. This must be the
reason why in his summary judgment, the trial judge noted the first issue as: "(1) that the house now
standing on the lot of the defendants was constructed before the issuance of the Decree of

Registration and, therefore, such construction did not violate said Decree of Registration particularly
the easement annotated on the Original Certificate of Title No. R-6 ...."
It is only in their Motion for Reconsideration that defendants-appellants made the clarification that
the issue is not whether their house was constructed before or subsequent to the Amicable
Settlement but whether or not the roofing was .2 meter wider and 2- meters longer than the
distance allowed in the Decree of Registration. So after the clarification, the trial judge ordered that
an ocular inspection of the premises of the lots in question be made and the eaves of the house of
the defendants-appellants be measured whether it conforms with the annotation contained in the
Torrens Certificate of Title of plaintiff-appellee. After the ocular inspection defendants-appellants
readily manifested their conformity to the findings of fact made by the commissioner appointed by
the court. Under such a situation, it would seem that there was no need for a trial on the merits to
resolve the question as to whether the defendants-appellants' roof was constructed in violation of
the easement of drainage of plaintiff-appellee. All that remained for the trial court, to do was to
evaluate the facts and the arguments in the pleadings and the reports of the commissioner.
Defendants-appellants faulted the trial court for concluding that they have violated the conditions of
the easement of drainage without taking into consideration the report of the commissioner
appointed by it. After going over the pleadings of the parties and the reports of the commissioner,
we find no substantial ground to disturb the conclusion of the trial court. Defendants-appellants have
made a mistake in applying the distances prescribed in the Decree of Registration to the roofing of
their house. They failed to comprehend the meaning of the phrase "servidumbre de vertiente de los
tejados" constitutes on the land of plaintiff. Translated, it means the easement of receiving water
falling from the roof which is an encumbrance imposed on the land of the plaintiff-appellee.
Consequently, the distances prescribed in the Decree of Registration should not correspond to the
width and length of the roof of the defendants-appellants' house but to the distance of the rain water
falling inside the land of the plaintiff-appellee because the encumbrance is not the roof itself but the
rain water falling inside the property of the plaintiff-appellee. The Amicable Settlement, which was
the basis of the Decree of Registration, clearly states that the servitude on the land is to the extent of
the distances setforth thus:
... the applicant agrees to respect an easement of servitude over a portion of the
lots Nos. 1 and 2 which is EIGHT AND ONE HALF (8-) meters in length
commencing from point 4 of Lot No. 2 and stretching towards Lot No. 1 going
Eastward, and the width is ONE (1) meter, in order that the rain water coming
from the roofing of a house to be constructed by the oppositor over the ruins of
her brick wall now standing along the Northeastern boundary of Lot 1 shall fall
into the land of the applicant.
And the Decree of Registration tersely states that a portion of Lot 1 and Lot 2 consisting of 8- meters
long and 1 meter wide is subject to the easement of receiving water falling from the roof. If these
distances were made to correspond to the measurement of the roof then the encumbrance on
plaintiff-appellee's property would be more than the distances specified in the Certificate of Title. The
report submitted by the Commissioner appointed by the lower court to make an ocular of the
premises involved shows that the eaves of the house of defendants-appellee and measures 8 meters
and 20 centimeters in length; that during ordinary rain the water falling from the eaves of the

defendants-appellants' house fall within one meter from the boundary line of plaintiff-appellee's
property and during heavy rains more than one meter from said boundary line. The foregoing findings
and observations of the Commissioner weaken defendants-appellants' disclaimer that they did not
violate the conditions of the easement of drainage of plaintiff-appellee. There is such violation
because the roof of the defendants-appellants protrudes by 98 centimeters over the property of
plaintiff-appellee, so that during a heavy rainfall the propulsion of the water would go as far as one
meter over the property of the latter. Obviously the lower court is correct in finding the defendantsappellants to have violated the conditions of the easement of drainage of plaintiff-appellee.
Defendants-appellants also blamed the trial court for ruling that they have not acquired an easement
of light and view of the property of the plaintiff-appellee. The trial court's ruling that defendantsappellants have not acquired an easement of light and view on the property of the plaintiff-appellee
is premised on Section 39 of Act 496 in accordance with which the servient estate was registered.
Said Section provides:
Every person receiving a certificate of title in pursuance of a decree of registration
... shall hold the same free of all encumbrance except those noted on said
certificates ...
The same section, however, provides: "But if there are easement or other rights appurtenant to a
parcel of registered land which for any reason have failed to be registered, such easement or rights
shall remain so appurtenant notwithstanding such failure, and shall be held to pass with the land until
cut off or extinguished by the registration of the servient estate or in any other manner (Sec. 39, Act
No. 496, as amended by Act No. 2011, and Sec, 4, Act No. 3621). In the case of Cid vs. Javier, 108 Phil.
850, 853, plaintiff's lot (dominant) as well as defendants' lot (servient) are covered by Original
Certificate of Title Nos. 7225 and 7545 respectively. In both of them, there does not appear any
annotation with respect to the easement supposedly acquired by prescription which counting the
twenty, (20) years from 1931 or 1914 would have already ripened by 1937, date of the decrees of
registration. In said case our Supreme Court held:
Granting that in the instant case an easement of light and view was acquired by
prescription, it was cut off or extinguished by the of the registration of the
servient estate under the Torrens System without the easement being annotated
on the corresponding certificate of title, pursuant to Sec. 39 of the Land
Registration Act (Act 496).
The lower court correctly applied the foregoing doctrine to the case at bar.
Indeed if defendants-appellants had acquired the said easement of light and view by prescription
through user since time immemorial why did they not intervene in the registration proceedings for
the inclusion of said easement in the Certificate of Title of plaintiff-appellee as an encumbrance
thereon, in the same manner that the easement of drainage was annotated in the Certificate of Title
of plaintiff-appellee? The easement of drainage was inscribed in the Certificate of Title of plaintiffappellee in their favor by virtue of an amicable settlement resulting from their opposition to the

registration of plaintiff-appellee's property. In this light, their defense of user "since time
immemorial" becomes flimsy and is merely being used to simulate a factual issue.
Finally, defendants-appellants argued that the summary judgment of the lower court has no legal
basis. Summary judgment is employed as a method of disposing a case when the pleadings,
depositions, admission and affidavits filed by the parties show that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law (Section 3 of Rule 34).
In the case at bar the plaintiff-appellee's right to the reliefs sought is dependent on the existence or
non-existence of the easement of drainage and of light and view of favor of the defendants-appellants
as well as on the conditions attached to such easements. There is no dispute that plaintiff-appellee's
property was registered in 1951 under the Torrens System and that only the easement of drainage is
annotated on his Certificate of Title, subject to prescribed distances. But what defendants-appellants
have advanced as factual issues are: (1) that they have not violated the prescribed distances of the
easement of drainage; and (2) that the easement of light and view was in existence since time
imemorial. The first factual issue was resolved by the report submitted by the commissioner to which
defendants-appellants have given their conformity. The second factual issue is immaterial to the
disposition of the case because the servient estate was registered in 1951 without the easement of
light and view being annotated on the title. Since the supposed easement of light and view is not
annotated on the title, it becomes immaterial whether such easement existed since time immemorial.
On this point, there is no need to have a trial on the merits and a summary judgment would appear
to be in order.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the summary judgment appealed from is hereby affirmed with costs
against defendants-appellants.
SO ORDERED.
[G.R. NO. 130845. November 27, 2000]
BRYAN U. VILLANUEVA, petitioner, vs. HON. TIRSO D.C. VELASCO in his capacity as Presiding Judge
of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 88, JULIO N. SEBASTIAN and SHIRLEY
LORILLA, respondents.
DECISION
QUISUMBING, J.:
This petition for certiorari assails (1) the decision [1] dated December 27, 1996 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 39166, dismissing petitioners petition for review under Rule 65 with prayer
for the issuance of a cease and desist order and/or temporary restraining order, and (2) the
resolution[2]dated August 14, 1997 denying the subsequent motion for reconsideration.
Petitioner Bryan Villanueva is the registered owner of the parcel of land covered by Transfer
Certificate of Title No. 127862 of the Register of Deeds of Quezon City. He bought it from Pacific
Banking Corporation, the mortgagee of said property. The bank had acquired it from the spouses
Maximo and Justina Gabriel at a public auction on March 19, 1983. When petitioner bought the parcel
of land there was a small house on its southeastern portion. It occupied one meter of the two-meter

wide easement of right of way the Gabriel spouses granted to the Espinolas, predecessors-in-interest
of private respondents, in a Contract of Easement of Right of Way. The pertinent portion of the
contract dated November 28, 1979, states:
. . . in order to have an access to and from their aforementioned land where their houses are
constructed and to have an outlet to Tandang Sora Ave. which is the nearest public road and the least
burdensome to the servient estate and to third persons, it would be necessary for them to pass
through spouses MAXIMO GABRIEL and JUSTINA CAPUNOs land and for this purpose, a path or
passageway of not less than two (2) meters wide of said spouses property is necessary for the use
of ROMEO, RODOLFO, NENITA and AURORA ESPINOLA and for all their needs in entering their
property.
xxx
WHEREFORE, in view of the fact that the property of the ESPINOLA had been bought by them from
MAXIMO CAPUNO, father of MAXIMO GABRIEL, spouses MAXIMO GABRIEL and JUSTINA CAPUNO
hereby agree and permit RODOLFO, ROMEO, NENITA and AURORA ESPINOLA and their families to
have a permanent easement of right of way over the aforementioned property of said spouses
limited to not more than two meters wide, throughout the whole length of the southeast side of said
property and as specifically indicated in the attached plan which is made an integral part of this
Contract as Annex A;
This Agreement shall be binding between the parties and upon their heirs, successors, assigns,
without prejudice in cases of sale of subject property that will warrant the circumstances.[3]
Unknown to petitioner, even before he bought the land, the Gabriels had constructed the
aforementioned small house that encroached upon the two-meter easement. Petitioner was also
unaware that private respondents, Julio Sebastian and Shirley Lorilla, had filed on May 8, 1991, Civil
Case No. Q-91-8703, for easement, damages and with prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction
and/or restraining order against the spouses Gabriel.[4] As successors-in-interest, Sebastian and Lorilla
wanted to enforce the contract of easement.
On May 15, 1991, the trial court issued a temporary restraining order. On August 13, 1991, it
issued a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction ordering the Gabriels to provide the right of way
and to demolish the small house encroaching on the easement. On August 15, 1991, the Gabriels filed
a motion for reconsideration which was also denied. Thus, they filed a petition for certiorari before
the Court of Appeals.
On March 26, 1992, the Eighth Division of the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition and
upheld the RTCs issuances. The decision became final and executory on July 31, 1992.[5]
On January 5, 1995, Judge Tirso Velasco of the RTC in Quezon City, Branch 88, issued an Alias
Writ of Demolition. On June 20, 1995, the sheriff tried to demolish the small house pursuant to the
writ.Petitioner filed a Third Party Claim with Prayer to Quash Alias Writ of Demolition. He maintains
that the writ of demolition could not apply to his property since he was not a party to the civil case. His
Third Party Claim with prayer to quash the writ of demolition was denied for lack of merit on August

16, 1995.[6] The motion for reconsideration as well as the Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration
dated September 12, 1995 were denied on October 19, 1995.[7]

cannot be bound by the writ of demolition and be forcibly divested of a portion of his land without
having his day in court.

Petitioner, thereafter, filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals, docketed as
CA-G.R. SP No. 39166, asserting that the existence of the easement of right of way was not annotated
in his title and that he was not a party to Civil Case No. Q-91-8703, hence the contract of easement
executed by the Gabriels in favor of the Espinolas could not be enforced against him. The Court of
Appeals dismissed the petition for lack of merit and denied the reconsideration, disposing thus:

Private respondents Sebastian and Lorilla, for their part, adopted the disquisition of the
appellate court as their Comment and asked for the dismissal of the petition and P100,000.00 in
damages. In its decision the appellate court, citing the decision of the lower court, stressed that unlike
other types of encumbrance of real property, a servitude like a right of way can exist even if they are
not expressly stated or annotated as an encumbrance in a Torrens title because servitudes are
inseparable from the estates to which they actively or passively belong. Moreover, Villanueva was
bound by the contract of easement, not only as a voluntary easement but as
a legal easement. A legal easement is mandated by law, and continues to exists unless its removal is
provided for in a title of conveyance or the sign of the easement is removed before the execution of
the conveyance conformably with Article 649[12]in accordance with Article 617[13] of the Civil Code.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby dismissed by this court for lack of merit.
No costs considering the failure of private respondents to file their comment, despite notice. [8]
Hence, this instant petition.
Petitioner now avers that the appellate court erred in declaring,
(1) THAT FOLLOWING THE ESSENCE OF INHERENCE AND INTRANSMISSIBILITY OF AN EASEMENT, A
RIGHT OF WAY CAN EXIST EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT EXPRESSLY STATED OR ANNOTATED ON THE
TORRENS TITLE;
(2) THAT PETITIONER, AS PROSPECTIVE BUYER, SHOULD HAVE EXERCISED ORDINARY PRUDENCE BY
TAKING THE INITIATIVE TO DETERMINE THAT AN EASEMENT HAS BEEN CONSTITUTED ON THE
PROPERTY HE INTENDS TO BUY; AND,
(3) THAT IN AS MUCH AS THE HEREIN PETITIONER IS NOT A PARTY TO CIVIL CASE NO. Q-91-8703, HE
CANNOT BE BOUND BY ANY JUDGMENT OR ORDER RENDERED THEREIN. [9]
Primarily, the issue is whether the easement on the property binds petitioner.
Petitioner argues it could not be enforced against him. First, he says that a right of way cannot
exist when it is not expressly stated or annotated on the Torrens title. According to him, even if an
easement is inherent and inseparable from the estate to which it actively belongs as provided in Art.
617 of the Civil Code,[10] the same is extinguished when the servient estate is registered and the
easement was not annotated in said title conformably with Section 39 of the Land Registration
Law. Second, petitioner points out that the trial court erred when it faulted him for relying solely on
the clean title of the property he bought, as it is well-settled that a person dealing with registered
land is not required to go beyond what is recorded in the title. He adds that it is private respondents
who should have made sure their right of way was safeguarded by having the same annotated on the
title with the Register of Deeds. He adds that Section 76 of P.D. No. 1529[11] also requires that when
a case is commenced involving any right to registered land under the Land Registration Law (now the
Property Registration Decree), any decision on it will only be effectual between or among the parties
thereto, unless a notice of lis pendens of such action is filed and registered in the registry office where
the land is recorded. There was no such annotation in the title of the disputed land, according to
petitioner. Lastly, since he was not a party to Civil Case No. Q-91-8703, petitioner argues that he

At the outset, we note that the subject easement (right of way) originally was voluntarily
constituted by agreement between the Gabriels and the Espinolas. But as correctly observed by the
Court of Appeals, the easement in the instant petition is both (1) an easement by grant or a voluntary
easement, and (2) an easement by necessity or a legal easement. A legal easement is one mandated
by law, constituted for public use or for private interest, and becomes a continuing property
right.[14] As a compulsory easement, it is inseparable from the estate to which it belongs, as provided
for in said Article 617 of the Civil Code.The essential requisites for an easement to be compulsory are:
(1) the dominant estate is surrounded by other immovables and has no adequate outlet to a public
highway; (2) proper indemnity has been paid; (3) the isolation was not due to acts of the proprietor
of the dominant estate; (4) the right of way claimed is at a point least prejudicial to the servient estate;
and (5) to the extent consistent with the foregoing rule, where the distance from the dominant estate
to a public highway may be the shortest.[15] The trial court and the Court of Appeals have declared
the existence of said easement (right of way). This finding of fact of both courts below is conclusive
on this Court,[16] hence we see no need to further review, but only to re-affirm, this finding. The small
house occupying one meter of the two-meter wide easement obstructs the entry of private
respondents cement mixer and motor vehicle. One meter is insufficient for the needs of private
respondents. It is well-settled that the needs of the dominant estate determine the width of the
easement.[17] Conformably then, petitioner ought to demolish whatever edifice obstructs the
easement in view of the needs of private respondents estate.
Petitioners second proposition, that he is not bound by the contract of easement because the
same was not annotated in the title and that a notice of lis pendens of the complaint to enforce the
easement was not recorded with the Register of Deeds, is obviously unmeritorious. As already
explained, it is in the nature of legal easement that the servient estate (of petitioner) is legally bound
to provide the dominant estate (of private respondents in this case) ingress from and egress to the
public highway.
Petitioners last argument that he was not a party to Civil Case No. Q-91-8703 and that he had
not been given his day in court, is also without merit. Rule 39, Sec. 47, of the Revised Rules of Court:
SEC. 47. Effect of judgments or final orders. The effect of a judgment or final order rendered by a court
of the Philippines, having jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment or final order, may be as follows:

(a) In case of a judgment or final order against a specific thing, or in respect to the probate of a will,
or the administration of the estate of a deceased person, or in respect to the personal, political, or
legal condition or status of a particular person or his relationship to another, the judgment or final
order is conclusive upon the title to the thing, the will or administration, or the condition, status or
relationship of the person; however, the probate of a will or granting of letters of administration shall
only be prima facie evidence of the death of the testator or intestate;
(b) In other cases, the judgment or final order is, with respect to the matter directly adjudged or as
to any other matter that could have been raised in relation thereto, conclusive between the parties
and their successors in interest by title subsequent to the commencement of the action or special
proceeding, litigating for the same thing and under the same title and in the same capacity; and
(c) In any other litigation between the same parties or their successors in interest, that only is deemed
to have been adjudged in a former judgment or final order which appears upon its face to have been
so adjudged, or which was actually and necessarily included therein or necessary thereto. (Emphasis
ours).
Simply stated, a decision in a case is conclusive and binding upon the parties to said case and
those who are their successor in interest by title after said case has been commenced or filed in
court.[18] In this case, private respondents, Julio Sebastian and Shirley Lorilla, initiated Civil Case No.
Q-91-8703 on May 8, 1991,[19] against the original owners, the spouses Maximo and Justina
Gabriel. Title in the name of petitioner was entered in the Register of Deeds [20] on March 24, 1995,
after he bought the property from the bank which had acquired it from the Gabriels. Hence, the
decision in Civil Case No. Q-91-8703 binds petitioner. For, although not a party to the suit, he is a
successor-in-interest by title subsequent to the commencement of the action in court.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The assailed decision and resolution of the Court
of Appeals are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.