Is a survey plan necessary for identification of land?
In recovering a parcel of land, it is essential that the property must be identified.
This is in consonance with Article 434 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines which states that: "In an action to recover, the property must be identified, and the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his title and not on the weakness of the defendant's claim. (n)"
The certificate of title containing the technical description may not be sufficient to prove the identity of your land. This finds support in the case of Gemina vs. Heirs of Espejo Jr. (GR 232682, Sept. 13, 2021) where the Supreme Court stated that:
"If only to shed light on a few questions of law to serve as guide, Article 434 of the Civil Code is controlling in this case. It provides that '[i]n an action to recover, the property must be identified, and the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his title and not on the weakness of the defendant's claim.' It is hornbook doctrine that the entitlement to the possession of real property belongs to its registered owner. However, the registered owner must seek proper judicial remedy and comply with the requisites of the chosen action in order to recover possession of a real property from the occupant who has actual and physical possession thereof. Furthermore, it must be emphasized that the plaintiff must not bank on the weakness of the defendant's title, hence, must establish his title and the identity of the property because of the possibility that neither the plaintiff nor the defendant is entitled or even more the true owner of the property in dispute.
"It appears on record that the identity of the subject property was ascertained by the trial court and the appellate court based on the technical description stated in TCT 93309 and the Judicial Affidavit of Ma. Teresa R. Espejo which merely identified TCT 93809 as one registered in the names of Gerardo and Nenafe. To our mind, the technical description that provides for the metes and bounds of a parcel of land cannot stand alone, much more be considered as foolproof evidence exactly pointing to the subject property. The identity of the disputed land sought to be recovered or of the subject property in this case may be established through a survey plan of the said property. Absent such evidence or any other proof to such effect. We cannot subscribe hook, line and sinker to the conclusion that the subject property had been sufficiently identified."
Applying the above-cited decision, the technical description as reflected in the certificate of title (Torrens Title) which provides for the metes and bounds of the land cannot stand alone in an action for recovery of the same. The identity of the land may be established through a survey plan of the property.
Source: Manila Times