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Fernandez vs. Fernandez Facts: The late Spouses Dr. Jose K. Fernandez and Generosa A.

de Venecia were the registered owners of a parcel of land located at Dagupan City covered and the two-storey building constructed thereon covered by Tax Declaration 22-592-1. It is undisputed that Generosa gave birth to a baby boy named Rogelio who died when he was only twelve years old as paralytic. In the testimony of Romeo Fernandez it was revealed that the late Spouses being childless by the death of their son, purchased from a certain Miliang for P20.00 a one month baby boy. The boy being referred to was later on identified as Rodolfo Fernandez, the herein appellant. Appellant was taken care of by the couple and was sent to school and became a dental technician. He lived with the couple until they became old and disabled. On July 20, 1982, Jose K. Fernandez died thereby leaving his wife Generosa A. de Venecia and Rodolfo Fernandez and an estate consisting of a parcel of land situated in the Barrio of Pantal, City of Dagupan, and a two storey residential building made of concrete and wood. Rodolfo Fernandez and Generosa executed a deed of extra-judicial partition dividing and allocating to themselves the properties of Dr. Fernandez. On the same day, Generosa de Venecia executed a Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of Eddie Fernandez, appellant's son over some partitions of a land which belonged to Dr. Fernandez as well. After learning of the transaction, Dr. Fernandezs nephews and nieces filed an action to declare the ExtraJudicial Partition of Estate and Deed of Sale void ab initio. They alleged that the defendants (appellants) deprived the plaintiff and other heirs (appellees) of the deceased spouses, without basis of heirship or any iota (jot, or small amount) of rights to succession or inheritance, they took advantafe of the total physical and mental incapacity of the deceased Generosa de Venecia. Appellees thus prayed that the Deed of Extra-judicial Partition, Deed of Absolute Sale and Transfer Certificate of Title No. 54641 be declared void from the beginning. In their answer, the defendants alleged that the deceased spouses was blessed with one child, herein defendant Rodolfo, whom they acknowledged during their lifetime. The contracts executed by the late Generosa and defendant Rodolfo were made with the full knowledge, consent and approval of the parties. Regional Trial Court rendered a decision in favor of the plaintiffs. The TC found that Rodolfo was not a legitimate nor a legally adopted child of the spouses, hence he could not inherit from them. His claim was negated by the fact that (1) he only reached HS and was told to stop studying so that he could help in Dr. Fernandezs clinic. (2) he failed to present any birth certificate. (3) the book Fercolla clan which was compiled and edited by respected people showed the geneology of the family of the spouses without a child, (4) the certification issued by the Records Management and Archives Office that there was no available information about the birth of petitioner Rodolfo to the spouses, (5) the application of Dr. Jose Fernandez for backpay certificate naming petitioner Rodolfo as his son was doubtful considering that there were blemishes or alteration in the original copy; (6) that Rodolfo's baptismal certificate was spurious and falsified since there were no available records of baptism with the parish from June 7, 1930 to August 8, 1936, while Rodolfo's baptismal certificate which was issued in 1989 showed that he was baptized on November 24, 1934. The court found that the extra-judicial partition and the deed of absolute sale were prepared and executed under abnormal, unusual and irregular circumstances which rendered the documents null and void. Defendants Rodolfo Fernandez et. al appealed to the respondent Court of Appeals which affirmed the trial court's judgment. Appellants Rodolfo Fernandez et al filed their motion for reconsideration which was denied in a resolution dated May 17, 2000. Issue: W/N THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE TRIAL COURT'S FINDING THAT THE PETITIONER RODOLFO FERNANDEZ WAS NOT THE CHILD OF SPOUSES DR. JOSE K. FERNANDEZ AND GENEROSA DE VENECIA. Held: The principal issue for resolution in this case concerns the rights of the parties to the conjugal property of the deceased spouses Fernandez. Although respondents' principal action was for the declaration of absolute nullity of two documents, namely: deed of extra-judicial partition and deed of absolute sale, and not an action to impugn one's legitimacy. It is necessary to pass upon the relationship of petitioner Rodolfo Fernandez to the deceased spouses Fernandez for the purpose of determining what legal right Rodolfo has in the property subject of the extra-judicial partition.

We agree with the respondent court when it found that petitioner Rodolfo failed to prove his filiation with the deceased spouses Fernandez. Such is a factual issue which has been thoroughly passed upon and settled both by the trial court and the appellate court. The respondent court presented that The Records Management and Archives Office lacks any proof of the birth certificate of Rodolfo V. Fernandez alleged to have been born on November 24, 1934 to the spouses Jose. K. Fernandez and Generosa de Vemecia. They also contend that the Application for Recognition of Back Pay Rights is a public document and a conclusive proof of the legitimate filiation between him and the deceases spouses; however this document was not executed to admit the filiation of Jose Fernandez with Rodolfo V. Fernandez. Article 172 of the FC refers to the written admission of filiation embodied in a public document purposely executed as an admission of filiation and not as obtaining, in this case, as an application for the recognition of rights to back pays. Rodolfo also claims that he enjoyed and possessed the status of being a legitimate child of the spouses openly and continually until they died. However, possession of status of a child does not in itself constitute acknowledgement; it is only a ground for a child to compel recognition by his assumed parent. Rodolfo also presented a birth certificate to further substantiate his claim as a legitimate child of the spouses. However, it may be argued that a baptismal certificate is one of the other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws of proving filiation but in this case, the authenticity of the baptismal certificated was doubtful because a certificated was issued attesting that the records were all damaged. Neither do family portraits constitute proof of filiation. The appellant did not acquire evidentiary weight to prove his filiation. As an effect, the extra-judicial partition executed by him and Generosa de Venecia is null and void. Locsin vs. Juan Locsin Jr. Facts: On November 11, 1991, or eleven months after Juan Jhonny Locsin Sr. died intestate on December 11, 1990, respondent Juan E. Locsin Jr. filed with the RTC a Petition for Letters of Administration asking that he be appointed Administrator of the Intestate Estate of the deceased. He alleged that he is an acknowledged natural child of the late Juan C. Locsin, that during his lifetime, Juan owned personal properties which include bank savings and real properties owned by him and his siblings namely: Jose Locsin, Jr., Manuel Locsin, Maria Locsin Yulo, Lourdes Locsin and Ester Locsin, and that he is the only surviving legal heir of the decedent. On November 13, 1991, the trial court issued an order setting the petition for hearing on January 13, 1992, which order was duly published, thereby giving notice to all persons who may have opposition to the said petition. Before the scheduled hearing the heirs of Jose Locsin, Jr., the heirs of Maria Locsin, Manuel Locsin and Ester Jarantilla, claiming to be the lawful heirs of the deceased, filed an opposition to respondent's petition for letters of administration. They averred that respondent is not a child or an acknowledged natural child of the late Juan C. Locsin, who during his lifetime, never affixed "Sr." in his name. Another opposition to the petition was filed by Lucy Salinop (sole heir of the late Maria Locsin Vda. De Araneta, sister of the deceased), Manuel Locsin and the successors of the late Lourdes C. Locsin alleging that respondent's claim as a natural child is barred by prescription or the statute of limitations. The Intestate Estate of the late Jose Locsin, Jr. (brother of the deceased) also entered its appearance in the estate proceedings, joining the earlier oppositors. This was followed by an appearance and opposition of Ester Locsin Jarantilla (another sister of Juan C. Locsin), likewise stating that there is no filial relationship between herein respondent and the deceased. To support his claim, respondent submitted a machine copy of his Certificate of Live Birth found in the bound volume of birth records in the Office of the Local Clerk Registrar of Iloilo City. It contains the information that respondents father is Juan C. Locsin Sr. and that he was the informant of the facts stated therein, as evidenced by his signatures. To prove its authenticity, respondent presented the Civil Registrar of Iloilo City which produced and identified in court the bound volume of 1957 records of birth where the alleged original of the said certificate is included. Respondent also showed pictures showing him and his mother Amparo Escamilla in front of the coffin of Juan C. Locsin. The photograph, respondent claims, shows that he and his mother have been recognized as family members of the deceased. In their oppositions, petitioners claimed that Certificate of Live Birth is fake. They submitted a certified true copy of the said certificate found in the Civil Registrar General, Metro Manila indicating that the birth of respondent was reported by his mother, Amparo Escamilla, and that the same does not contain the signature of the late Juan C. Locsin. They observed as anomalous the fact that while respondent was born on October 22, 1956 and his birth was recorded on January 30, 1957, however, his Certificate of Live Birth was recorded on a December 1, 1958 revised form. Petitioners presented as witness, Col. Pedro L. Elvas, a handwriting expert. He testified that the signatures of Juan C. Locsin and Emilio G. Tomesa (then Civil Registrar of Iloilo City) appearing in the said certificate are forgeries. He thus concluded that the said

Certificate is a spurious document deceitfully inserted into the bound volume of birth records of the Local Civil Registrar of Iloilo City TC granted the petition. On appeal, the Court of Appeals rendered the challenged Decision affirming in toto the order of the trial court Issue: W/n the Certificate of Live Births presented was genuine. Held: Respondent, in order to establish his filiation with the deceased, presented to the trial court his Certificate of Live Birth and a photograph taken during the burial of the deceased. Regarding the genuineness and probative value of subject certificate, the trial court made the following findings, affirmed by the Appellate Court. This Court cannot subscribe to the above findings. Although it would be unlikely that the employees of the Civil Registrar General in Metro Manila, where all the records from all the cities and municipalities are forwarded, would have reason to falsify the birth record originating from the Local Civil Registry of Iloilo City, access to Local Civil Registries are obviously easier. Therefore in proving the authenticity of said certificate more convincing evidence than those considered by the TC should have been presented. The TC took the testimony of Rosita Vencer, Local Civil Registrar of Iloilo City as evidenced to disprove any doubts of the authenticity of said certificate. However, it was found out that at the time of the record of respondents birth, she was not the civil registrar. Her knowledge of the entry was then based merely on her general impressions of the existing records in that Office. When entries in the Certificate of Live Birth recorded in the Local Civil Registry vary from those appearing in the copy transmitted to the Civil Registry General, pursuant to the Civil Registry Law, the variance has to be clarified in more persuasive and rational manner. In this regard, we find Vencer's explanation not convincing. There are other indications of irregularity relative to Exhibit "D." The back cover of the 1957 bound volume in the Local Civil Registry of Iloilo is torn. Said certificate is merely pasted with the bound volume, not sewn like the other entries. The documents bound into one volume are original copies, said certificate is only a carbon copy of the alleged original and it sticks out because the entries are typewritten, while the records of all other certificates are hand written and many others. A birth certificate is a formidable piece of evidence prescribed by both the Civil Code and Article 172 of the Family Code for purposes of recognition and filiation. However, birth certificate offers only prima facie evidence of filiation and may be refuted by contrary evidence. 18 Its evidentiary worth cannot be sustained where there exists strong, complete and conclusive proof of its falsity or nullity. In this case, respondent's Certificate of Live Birth entered in the records of the Local Civil Registry has all the badges of nullity. Without doubt, the authentic copy on file in that office was removed and substituted with a falsified Certificate of Live Birth. Incidentally, respondent's photograph with his mother near the coffin of the late Juan C. Locsin cannot and will not constitute proof of filiation. Anybody can have a picture taken while standing before a coffin with others and thereafter utilize it in claiming the estate of the deceased. Respondent Juan E. Locsin, Jr. failed to prove his filiation with the late Juan C. Locsin, Sr.. His Certificate of Live Birth No is spurious. Indeed, respondent is not an interested person entitled to the issuance of letters of administration. WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The challenged Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 57708 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Respondent's petition for issuance of letters of administration is ORDERED DISMISSED.