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CID v. JavierJune 30, 1960 | Barrera, CJ. | EasementsDigester: Villafuerte, Beatriz C.

SUMMARY: The issue in the present case is whether respondents owners of building standing on their lot with windows overlooking the adjacent lor had acquired by prescription an enforceable easement of light and view arising from a verbal prohibition to obstruct such view and light. The Court held that respondents did not acquire the easement. Doctrine: 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 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 toke, negative easements cannot be acquired by less formal means. Hence, the requirement that the prohibition should be by a formal act, an instrument acknowledged before a notary public

FACTS: Parties in this case are neighbors. Respondents Irene Javier et.al are owners of a building standing on their lot with windows overlooking the adjacent lot, owned by petitioners Laureana Cid. The respondents house as well as that of the petitioner, are within their respective properties. The respondents wall stands only 50 cm from the boundary of the 2 lots. Whereas, the wall of the petitioners building was constructed 1 meter from the boundary or 1m and 50cm from the wall of the house of respondents. As a result, it was found by the lower court that the eaves of the 2 houses overlap by 24 centimeters. (This fact was derived from the 1961 resolution of the Supreme Court) Allegedly in 1913 or 1914, before the New Civil Code took effect, the predecessors-in-interest of petitioner were verbally prohibited by the respondent to obstruct view and light. It was found by the Court of Appeals that both lots were covered by Original Certificates of Title. However, in both of them, it does not appear any annotation in respect to the easement supposedly acquired by prescription, which counting the 20 years from 1913or1914, would have already ripened by 1937, date of the decrees of registration. Trial Court ruled in favor of Javier. Repsondents acquired the easement CA affirmed trial courts decision

RULING: Decision of the CA is reversed

Whether the respondents Javier had acquired by prescription an enforceable easement of light and view arising from a verbal prohibition to obstruct such view and lightNO. The alleged prohibition having been made in 1913 or 1914 before the present CC took effect, the applicable leagal provision is Article 538 of the Spanish Civil Code which provides that: to acquire by prescription of negative easement, the time of possession shall be computed 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. The law is explicit. It requires not any form of prohibition but exacts the doing not only of a specific, particular act, but a formal act. Formal or pertaining to form, characterized by one due form or order, done in due form with a solemnity regular; relating to matters of form. Actin civil law. A writing which states in legal form that a thing has been done, said or agreed. From these definitions, it would appear that the phrase formal act would required not merely any writing but on executed in due form or solemnity. That this is the intendment of the law although not expressed in exact language is the reason for the clarification made in Art. 621 of the Civil Code which specifically requires the prohibition to be in an instrument be acknowledged before a notary public. 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 cannot 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."

FRANCISCO v. PAEZ AND JABSONSeptember 20, 2010 | Romualdez, J. | Easement- extinguishmentDigester: Venturanza, Maria

SUMMARY: Francisco claims a right of way across the land of defendants Paez and Jabson. However, the trial court ruled that his action is barred by prescription because he filed it only 18 years after the right of the original owners to claim a right of way arose. The Court held that this is not a case of prescription by non-use, but a claim to exercise legal easement. Thus, the action is imprescriptible. DOCTRINE: Prescription affects all easements lawfully arisen although they may not have been used. Nevertheless, the second paragraph of article [631] refers to an easement in use, for one cannot discontinue using what one has never used. Regarding legal easement, the right or the power to claim the exercise of legal easement does not prescribe.

FACTS: In a complaint filed on 1 September 1927, plaintiff Marcelo Francisco claims a right of way, upon payment of indemnity, across the land of defendants Timoteo Paez and Ricardo Jabson; that the latter recognize the plaintiff's ownership of a piece of land of 23.46 square meters, that they vacate it, and that the defendant indemnify him for the damages arising from said occupation. Defendant Paez answered with a general denial and set up the special defense of prescription. Defendant Jabson, in turn, also answered with a general denial, and by way of special defense denied that the plaintiff has any right of way over his land, because outside of it there is another possible way to the street, which is shorter and less prejudicial. CFI of Manila The trial court held that the plaintiffs action to enforce his right of way over defendant Paezs land is barred by the statute of limitations based on the following grounds (the court now narrates the origin of dispute): The parcels of land originally belonged to a certain Paulino Castaeda y Francisco. He obtained decree No. 3138 in proceeding No. 4865, and subsequently, certificate of title No. 1449. On 20 October 1909, this parcel of land was subdivided into two parts, one containing 193.66 square meters, situated in the inner portion of the space between Padre Rada and Ilaya Streets, and the other containing 173.71 square meters, conterminous with said streets. The first of these parcels, that is, the interior portion, after successive transfers became the property of the plaintiff herein, and the second portion, after several transfers also, became the property of defendant Jabson. From 20 October 1909, or when the property was subdivided, there arose the right of the original owners of the interior parcel to claim a right of way over the adjacent land which was then the land abutting upon P. Rada and Ilaya Streets, through which was the nearest and shortest way to said streets. However, none of the previous owners exercised the said right until plaintiff filed the complaint 18 years later. Section 40 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that the action to recover ownership or possession of real property, or an interest therein, may only be exercised within ten years after the cause of said action arises. Thus, plaintiffs action is barred by the statute of limitations.

RULING: The judgment appealed from is modified and it is held that, upon payment of the proper indemnity, the plaintiff is entitled to a right of way through the shortest and least prejudicial portion of the servient estate, from plaintiff's lot designated No. 3 in the plan Exhibit A, through defendant Timoteo Paez's lot No. 12 according to said plan, to P. Rada Street, as provided in articles 564, 565 and concordant articles of the Civil Code.

Whether the plaintiffs right of way over defendant Paezs land has prescribed NO. It is true that easements are extinguished by nonuser for twenty years (no. 1 of article 546, now 631 of the NCC). Nevertheless, the case at bar does not deal with an easement which has been used, while the legal provision cited is only applicable to easements which being in use are later abandoned. The Court cites Manresa, who says: Prescription affects all easements lawfully arisen although they may not have been used. Nevertheless, the second paragraph of article [631], number 2, refers to an easement in use, for one cannot discontinue using what one has never used, and there can be no act, at least in all the cases, adverse to an inchoate easement. Regarding legal easement, such as the one in question, Manresa also says: the right or the power to claim the exercise of legal easement does not prescribe, as occurs especially in the case of the right of way and easement of aqueduct. In his appeal, plaintiff cites No. 5 of the said provision, which refers to extinction of easement by waiver. However, the Court says that in the case of intermittent easements, such as the right of way, the waiver must be, if not formal and solemn, at least such as may be obviously gathered from positive acts, and the mere refraining from claiming the right is not sufficient for the purpose. Manresa says: It seems then that as a general rule, an express waiver should be required, but without prejudice to having the courts decide in exceptional cases that there is an evident waiver, inferred from acts which reveal it beyond all doubt. The mere fact that the plaintiff and his predecessors refrained from claiming the easement, without any positive act to imply a real waiver, does not bring the case within the provision of the aforesaid article [631], No. 5, of the Civil Co