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Facts: A survey was made for Santiago Quimson. Land was registered under his n
ame and an OCT was issued by the Registry of Deeds. Subsequently a cadastral su
rvey (Orani survey) was conducted which resulted in an increase in the land. The
Cadastral court confirmed Quimson s title. The lot was subdivided and subsequent
ly acquired by Eligio Naval. Potenciano Gabriel had a parcel of land surveyed (
2,792,712 sq m designated as Psu 9742) and later it was amended to exclude porti
ons of land owned by Quimson. OCT 1264 with a reduced area (2,436,280 sq m) was
issued to Gabriel. Another cadastral survey was conducted (Hermosa survey) and
Gabriel s lot covered by Psu-9742 became Lot No. 557 with a further reduced area (
2,096,433 sq m) but no new certificate of title was issued such that the OCT 126
4 continued to subsist with an area of 2,436,280 sq m. Gabriel passed away and
his heirs (petitioners) divided the land according to Psu 9742 under OCT 1264 (i
ncludes land owned by Naval). Petitioners filed a complaint against Pascual and
Santiago (administrators of Naval estate) claiming that respondents usurped the
land and that the land was merely loaned to the respondents for dike and water
control purposes of the latter s fishpond. The TC dismissed the complaint on the
ground that the land was in the possession of Naval in the concept of an owner a
nd the petitioner s claim that the land was loaned to Naval was not supported by s
ufficient evidence. Further the TC found that the right of petitioners was lost
by prescription and that they were guilty of laches. TC ORDERED THE NECESSARY
CA affirmed.
Issue: WON the courts have the authority to order the necessary corrections of
an erroneous technical description and make it conform to the correct area.
Held: Yes. Petition dismissed. Decision affirmed.
Ratio: In cadastral cases, jurisdiction of the court over lands already registe
red is limited to the necessary correction of technical errors in the descriptio
n of lands, provided such corrections do not impair the substantial rights of th
e registered owner, and that such jurisdiction cannot operate to deprive a regis
tered owner of his title. The court also has the power to determine the priorit
y of overlapping or over-laying registered title. This power is necessary for a
complete settlement of the title to the land, which is the express purpose of c
adastral proceedings. Furthermore, in the case at bar, it was not as if the cou
rt reopened or set aside a final decree. Therefore the action of the lower cour
t in correcting the error in the technical description appearing in Psu 9742 is
well within its jurisdiction.
The fact that Gabriel did not own the land is shown by the Hermose and O
rani Cadastre, and by the behavior of Gabriel himself (even after discovering oc
cupation he allowed Naval to use and occupy the land). The claim that the land
was loaned was supported by mere oral evidence which the SC believes to be insuf
ficient to defeat title and possession of registered owners.
For failure to prosecute their claims for 20 years, petitioners have los
t by laches their right to recover their property.