Correct timing to file a third party claim


CASE DIGEST: HEIRS OF HONORATA P. TRIA V. JAIME B. CHUA AND CARLOS B. SARTE. G.R. NO. 195250. 08 AUGUST 2011.

Considering that no substantial arguments have been raised to warrant the reversal of the Court's Resolution dated 11 April 2011, the Motion for Reconsideration dated 27 May 2011 filed by petitioners, Heirs of Honorata P. Tria, is hereby DENIED.

Counsel did not sufficiently demonstrate that all the petitioners had specifically clothed her with special authority to file, sign, and certify the instant Petition before this Court. That the appellate court showed leniency in permitting counsel to sign the Rule 65 Petition in the proceedings below is not binding on this Court, especially since only one of the petitioners (Pniepp Tria) signed it in the Court of Appeals; whereas none of the petitioners signed the instant Petition.

Even if, in the interest of equity and liberality, the Court were to excuse petitioners' procedural misstep, possession of the executed properties is deemed to have already been turned over to respondents. Petitioners' cause, which is to prevent turnover of possession of the properties in the instant case is thus rendered moot and academic.

In Fort Bonifacio Development Corp. v. Yllas Lending Corp. (G.R. No. 158997, 06 October 2008, 567 SCRA 454), the Court underscored that "the timing of the filing of the third party claim is important because the timing determines the remedies that a third party is allowed to file," which is significant to the instant case. Any person other than the judgment debtor or his agent may, at any time, file a third-party claim with the sheriff levying on the property, as long as the latter has possession of the property levied upon. (Mangaoang v. Provincial Sheriff of La Union, 91 Phil. 368 (1952])Since the sheriff already lost possession of the levied properties, whether in whole or in part, by their delivery to respondents, petitioners' third party claim under Rule 39, Section 16, is rendered nugatory because the purpose of the filing thereof is limited only to preventing the court officer from enforcing a writ of possession in light of the timely filing of an adverse claim. Nevertheless, petitioners, as third parties to the final and executory judgment, may fully vindicate their claims of ownership over the properties in a separate reinvindicatory action.

That the instant Petition was dismissed through a minute resolution is not violative of the constitutional provisions requiring the signature of the members of the Court voting thereon and the certification by the Chief Justice. A minute resolution dismissing a petition for review on certiorari is an adjudication on the merits of the controversy and is as valid and effective as a full-length decision. (Borromeo v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 82273, 01 June 1990, 186 SCRA 6; Komatsu Industries (Phils.), Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 127682, 28 April 1998, 289 SCRA 604).

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