Inaction for 49 years to recover possession

In this case, petitioner filed its complaint in court only after forty nine (49) years had lapsed since the donation in its behalf of the subject property to private respondents prodecessor-in-interest. There is neither an explanation for the long delay in the filing by petitioner of the complaint in the case at bench, and that inaction for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time constitutes laches. As such, petitioner cannot claim nullity of the donation as an excuse to avoid the consequences of its own unjustified inaction and as a basis for the assertion of a right on which they had slept for so long. Courts cannot look with favor at parties who, by their silence, delay and inaction, knowingly induce another to spend time, effort, and expense in cultivating the land, paying taxes and making improvements thereon for an unreasonable period only to spring an ambush and claim title when the possessors efforts and the rise of land values offer an opportunity to make easy profit at their own expense. Considerable delay in asserting ones right before a court of justice is strongly persuasive of the lack of merit of his claim, since it is human nature for a person to enforce his right when same is threatened or invaded; thus, it can also be said that petitioner is estopped by laches from questioning private respondents ownership of the subject property. At any rate, petitioners right to recover the possession of the subject property from private respondent has, by the latter's long period of possession and by petitioners inaction and neglect, been converted into a stale demand. Such passivity in the face of what might have given rise to an action in court is visited with the loss of such right, and ignorance resulting from inexcusable negligence does not suffice to explain such failure to file seasonably the necessary suit. [G.R. No. 112519. November 14, 1996]

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