VALDERRAMA V. THE NORTH NEGROS SUGAR CO., INC.- Easement Right of Way
What is prohibited by Art. 543 is that in extending the line or repairing or using the same, a larger area of land is occupied or excavations or materials deposited are outside the area occupied not by causing wagons to pass just because of a change of ownership of the objects being transported.
Several hacienda owners in Manapla, Occidental Negros, entered into a milling contract with Miguel Osorio wherein the latter would build a sugar central of a minimum capacity of 300 tons for the milling and grinding of all the sugar cane to be grown by the hacienda owners who in turn would furnish the central with all the cane they might produce in their estates for 30 years from the execution of the contract. Later on, Osorio’s rights and interests were acquired by the North Negros Sugar Co., Inc.
2 years after, the current petitioners, Catalino Valderrama, Emilio Rodriguez, Santos Urra et. al, made other milling contracts identical to the first one with the North Negros Sugar, Co., Inc. The hacienda owners, however, could not furnish the central sufficient cane for milling as required by its capacity, so the North Negros made other milling contracts with the various hacienda owners of Cadiz, Occidental Negros. This prompted Valderrama et. al to each file a complaint against North Negros.
The CFI entered 1 single judgment for all of them, ruling in Valderrama et. al’s favor finding that North Negros had no right to pass through the lands of the hacienda owners for the transportation of sugar cane not grown from their lands. Thus the appeal to the SC.
Whether or not the easement of way established was restricted to transporting only sugar cane from the hacienda owners’ lands
(the SC also made 1 judgment for all the 3 cases)
The contract entered into by each of the hacienda owners contained a clause that granted the North Negros an easement of way 7 meters wide for the period of 50 years upon their properties for the construction of a railroad. The owners allege ambiguity since it could permit the transportation of sugar cane which they did not produce which is contrary to their intent but the SC held that it is clear that the easement was established for the benefit of all producers and of the corporation as it is the intent of the milling contract.
Since the easement is a voluntary, apparent, continuous easement of way in favor of the corporation, it is contrary to the nature of the contract that it is only limited to canes produced by the servient estates since it is a well settled rule that things serve their owner by reason of ownership and not by reason of easement. The owners also cannot limit its use for there is nothing in the contract prohibiting the central from obtaining other sources.
Transporting cane from Cadiz also does not make it more burdensome since what is prohibited in Art. 543 of the CC is that in extending the road or in repairing it, it should occupy a greater area or deposit excavations outside the granted 7 meters. This does not happen in this case when the North Negros transports sugar cane from Cadiz, crossing the servient estates, since it continues to occupy the same area and the encumbrance is still the same regardless of the number of times it passes through the estates.
Also the period of the easement is longer than the period of the milling contracts, so even if the owners no longer desire to furnish the central canes for milling, the North Negros still has the right to the easement for the remaining period so the contention that it should be limited to the canes produced by the owners has no basis.