Who may intervene in a case? When shall intervention be allowed?

Notwithstanding the intervenors’ compliance with the procedural requirements, their attempt to intervene is doomed to fail.

Intervention is a remedy by which a third party, not originally impleaded in the proceedings, becomes a litigant therein to enable him, her or it to protect or preserve a right or interest which may be affected by such proceedings.[16] It is a proceeding in a suit or action by which a third person is permitted by the court to make himself a party, either joining plaintiff in claiming what is sought by the complaint, or uniting with defendant in resisting the claims of plaintiff, or demanding something adversely to both of them; the act or proceeding by which a third person becomes a party in a suit pending between others; the admission, by leave of court, of a person not an original party to pending legal proceedings, by which such person becomes a party thereto for the protection of some right of interest alleged by him to be affected by such proceedings.[17]

Section 1, Rule 19 of the Rules of Court states:

SECTION 1. Who may intervene. — A person who has a legal interest in the matter in litigation, or in the success of either of the parties, or an interest against both, or is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or other disposition of property in the custody of the court or of an officer thereof may, with leave of court, be allowed to intervene in the action. The court shall consider whether or not the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties, and whether or not the intervenor’s rights may be fully protected in a separate proceeding.

Under this Rule, intervention shall be allowed when a person has (1) a legal interest in the matter in litigation; (2) or in the success of any of the parties; (3) or an interest against the parties; (4) or when he is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or disposition of property in the custody of the court or an officer thereof.[18]  Moreover, the court must take into consideration whether or not the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties, and whether or not the intervenor’s right or interest can be adequately pursued and protected in a separate proceeding.

In the case at bar, the intervenors are claiming that they are the legitimate heirs of Estanislao Miñoza and Inocencia Togono and not the original plaintiffs represented by Leila Hermosisima. True, if their allegations were later proven to be valid claims, the intervenors would surely have a legal interest in the matter in litigation.  Nonetheless, this Court has ruled that the interest contemplated by law must be actual, substantial, material, direct and immediate, and not simply contingent or expectant. It must be of such direct and immediate character that the intervenor will either gain or lose by the direct legal operation and effect of the judgment.[19]  Otherwise, if persons not parties to the action were allowed to intervene, proceedings would become unnecessarily complicated, expensive and interminable.[20]

Moreover, the intervenors’ contentions that Leila’s predecessors-in-interest executed, in fraud of the intervenors, an extra judicial settlement of the estate of the late spouses Estanislao Miñoza and Inocencia Togono and adjudicated unto themselves the estate of the deceased spouses, and that subsequently, her predecessors-in-interest fraudulently and deceitfully sold the subject lots to the NAC, would unnecessarily complicate and change the nature of the proceedings.

In addition to resolving who the true and legitimate heirs of Estanislao Miñoza and Inocencia Togono are, the parties would also present additional evidence in support of this new allegation of fraud, deceit, and bad faith and resolve issues of conflicting claims of ownership, authenticity of certificates of titles, and regularity in their acquisition.  Verily, this would definitely cause unjust delay in the adjudication of the rights claimed by the original parties, which primarily hinges only on the issue of whether or not the heirs represented by Leila have a right to repurchase the subject properties from the MCIAA.

Verily, the allegation of fraud and deceit is an independent controversy between the original parties and the intervenors.  In general, an independent controversy cannot be injected into a suit by intervention, hence, such intervention will not be allowed where it would enlarge the issues in the action and expand the scope of the remedies. It is not proper where there are certain facts giving the intervenor’s case an aspect peculiar to himself and differentiating it clearly from that of the original parties; the proper course is for the would-be intervenor to litigate his claim in a separate suit.[21]  Intervention is not intended to change the nature and character of the action itself, or to stop or delay the placid operation of the machinery of the trial. The remedy of intervention is not proper where it will have the effect of retarding the principal suit or delaying the trial of the action.[22]

To be sure, not only will the intervenors’ rights be fully protected in a separate proceeding, it would best determine the rights of the parties in relation to the subject properties and the issue of who the legitimate heirs of Estanislao Miñoza and Inocencia Togono, would be laid to rest.

Furthermore, the allowance or disallowance of a motion for intervention rests on the sound discretion of the court after consideration of the appropriate circumstances.[23]  It is not an absolute right.  The statutory rules or conditions for the right of intervention must be shown.  The procedure to secure the right to intervene is to a great extent fixed by the statute or rule, and intervention can, as a rule, be secured only in accordance with the terms of the applicable provision.[24]

Consequently, the denial of the motion to intervene by the RTC was but just and proper.  The conclusion of the RTC is not bereft of rational bases.  It denied the motion to intervene in the exercise of its sound discretion and after taking into consideration the particular circumstances of the case.

http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2011/february2011/186045.htm

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About Erineus

Born on December 28, 1965, Surallah, South Cotabato, Southern Mindanao, Philippines.
This entry was posted in Intervenors, Question and Answers and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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