SC orders Las Brisas resort to return encroached land to neighbor
The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered Las Brisas Resort Corporation to vacate a portion of the land belonging to its neighbor which it encroached upon.
In a recent 17-page decision, the SC 1st Division affirmed the Court of Appeals’ (CA) July 2013 ruling which directed the Antipolo City resort to return the land and pay P100,000 in nominal damages to Martinez Leyba, Inc.
The SC gave weight to the verification survey plan presented by Martinez which showed Las Brisas’ titles overlapped that of the firm’s.
It noted Las Brisas failed to contradict the land survey and merely claimed to have bought its property in good faith.
Las Brisas only objected to the survey by citing a technical ground that it was not authenticated during trial. The SC disregarded this because the survey was a public document that enjoyed the presumption of regularity.
Even if Las Brisas bought its property in good faith, the SC said this did not rule out the allegation that the resort encroached upon Martinez’s land in bad faith.
This was because Martinez had repeatedly raised the dispute with Las Brisas as early as 1968, which the resort consistently brushed off.
“The evidence suggests otherwise: despite being apprised of the encroachment, petitioners turned a blind eye and deaf ear and continued to construct on the disputed area,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo.
“They did not bother to conduct their own survey to put the issue to rest, and to avoid the possibility of being adjudged as builders in bad faith upon land that did not belong to them,” it added.