Case Digest: Dichoso, Jr. vs. Marcos

G.R. No. 180282 : April 11, 2011

CRISPIN DICHOSO, JR., EVELYN DICHOSO VALDEZ, and ROSEMARIE DICHOSO PE BENITO, Petitioners, v.PATROCINIO L. MARCOS, Respondent.

NACHURA, J.:


FACTS:

On August 2, 2002, petitioners filed a Complaint for Easement of Right of Way against respondent Patrocinio L. Marcos. In their complaint, petitioners alleged that they are the owners of Lot No. 21553 of the Cadastral Survey of Laoag City; while respondent is the owner of Lot No. 1. As petitioners had no access to a public road to and from their property, they claimed to have used a portion of Lot No. 1 in accessing the road since 1970. Respondent, however, blocked the passageway with piles of sand. Though petitioners have been granted another passageway by the spouses Benjamin and Sylvia Arce (Spouses Arce), the owners of another adjacent lot, the former instituted the complaint before the RTC and prayed that they be granted a right of way over an area of 54 sqm of Lot 01 by paying the defendant the amount ofP54,000.00, and that the right be annotated on defendant’s title. In addition to that, the defendant will pay the plaintiffs the sum of P30,000.00 as damages for attorney’s fees and costs of suit.

In the defendant’s answer, he denied that he allowed anybody to use Lot No. 1 as passageway. Moreover, he stated that petitioners’ claim of right of way is only due to expediency and not necessity for there already is an existing easement of right of way available to petitioners granted by the Spouses Arce. Thus, there is no need to establish another easement over respondent’s property.

The RTC rendered a decision in favor of the petitioners by finding that they had adequately established the requisites to justify an easement of right of way in accordance with Articles 649 and 650 of the Civil Code. Also, the trial court declared petitioners in good faith as they expressed their willingness to pay proper indemnity. however, the he CA reversed and set aside the RTC decision ruling that a right of way had already been granted by the sevient estate. Thus, there is no need to establish an easement over the respondent’s property.

ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioners are entitled to a grant of legal easement of right of way from their landlocked property through the property of private respondent which is the shortest route in going to and from their property to the public street.

HELD:

The petition is without merit.

CIVIL LAW : Easement

An easement involves an abnormal restriction on the property rights of the servient owner and is regarded as a charge or encumbrance on the servient estate. It is incumbent upon the owner of the dominant estate to establish by clear and convincing evidence the presence of all the preconditions before his claim for easement of right of way may be granted.

To be entitled to an easement of right of way, the following requisites should be met: first, the dominant estate is surrounded by other immovables and has no adequate outlet to a public highway; second, there is payment of proper indemnity; third, the isolation is not due to the acts of the proprietor of the dominant estate; and fourth, the right of way claimed is at the point least prejudicial to the servient estate; and insofar as consistent with this rule, where the distance from the dominant estate to a public highway may be the shortest.

In the case at hand, the petitioners failed to show sufficient factual evidence to satisfy the above-enumerated requirements. Admittedly, they had been granted a right of way through the other adjacent lot owned by the Spouses Arce. In fact, other lot owners use the said outlet in going to and coming from the public highway. Clearly, there is an existing outlet to and from the public road.

However, petitioners claim that the outlet is longer and circuitous, and they have to pass through other lots owned by different owners before they could get to the highway. We find petitioners’ concept of what is “adequate outlet” a complete disregard of the well-entrenched doctrine that in order to justify the imposition of an easement of right of way, there must be real, not fictitious or artificial, necessity for it. Mere convenience for the dominant estate is not what is required by law as the basis of setting up a compulsory easement. Even in the face of necessity, if it can be satisfied without imposing the easement, the same should not be imposed.

The convenience of the dominant estate has never been the gauge for the grant of compulsory right of way. To be sure, the true standard for the grant of the legal right is “adequacy.” Hence, when there is already an existing adequate outlet from the dominant estate to a public highway, as in this case, even when the said outlet, for one reason or another, be inconvenient, the need to open up another servitude is entirely unjustified.

Therefore, the petition is denied.

The Court affirms the ruling of the CA.

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