Case Digest: Castro vs. Monsod

G.R. No. 183719 : February 2, 2011

MARGARITA F. CASTRO, Petitioner, v. NAPOLEON A. MONSOD, Respondent.



Petitioner is the registered owner of a parcel of land located on Garnet Street, Manuela Homes, Pamplona, Las Piñas City. Respondent, on the other hand, is the owner of the property adjoining the lot of petitioner, located on Lyra Street, Moonwalk Village, Phase 2, Las Piñas City.

In 2000, respondent caused the annotation of an adverse claim against sixty-five (65) sq.m. of the property of petitioner. The adverse claim was filed without any claim of ownership over the property. Respondent was merely asserting the existing legal easement of lateral and subjacent support at the rear portion of his estate.

Petitioner averred that when she bought the property from Manuela Homes in 1994, there was no annotation or existence of any easement over the property.

The trial court ratiocinated that the adverse claim of respondent was non-registrable considering that the basis of his claim was an easement and not an interest adverse to the registered owner, and neither did he contest the title of petitioner.

On appeal, the CA reversed the decision of the trial court and ruled that while respondent’s adverse claim could not be sanctioned because it did not fall under the requisites for registering an adverse claim, the same might be duly annotated in the title as recognition of the existence of a legal easement of subjacent and lateral support. The purpose of the annotation was to prevent petitioner from making injurious excavations.

ISSUES: Whether or not the easement of lateral and subjacent support exists on the subject adjacent properties and, if it does, whether the same may be annotated at the back of the title of the servient estate.


CIVIL LAW: Easement

Article 684 of the Civil Code provides that no proprietor shall make such excavations upon his land as to deprive any adjacent land or building of sufficient lateral or subjacent support. An owner, by virtue of his surface right, may make excavations on his land, but his right is subject to the limitation that he shall not deprive any adjacent land or building of sufficient lateral or subjacent support. Between two adjacent landowners, each has an absolute property right to have his land laterally supported by the soil of his neighbor, and if either, in excavating on his own premises, he so disturbs the lateral support of his neighbor’s land as to cause it, or, in its natural state, by the pressure of its own weight, to fall away or slide from its position, the one so excavating is liable. Here, the residential house and lot of respondent is located on an elevated plateau of fifteen (15) feet above the level of petitioner’s property; hence, an easement of subjacent and lateral support exists in favor of respondent.

However, respondent’s assertion that he has an adverse claim over the 65 sq.m. property of petitioner is misplaced since he does not have a claim over the ownership of the land. The annotation of an adverse claim over registered land under Section 70 of Presidential Decree 1529 requires a claim on the title of the disputed land. Therefore, an annotation of the existence of the subjacent and lateral support is no longer necessary.