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G.R. No. 125465 June 29, 1999 On November 23, 1995, the trial court denied petitioners' motion.

On November 23, 1995, the trial court denied petitioners' motion. At the same time, however, it
dismissed the case on the ground that the complaint was not verified as required by Art. 151 of
the Family Code and, therefore, it did not believe that earnest efforts had been made to arrive at
SPOUSES AUGUSTO HONTIVEROS and MARIA HONTIVEROS, petitioners,
a compromise. The order of the trial court reads:6
vs.
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, Branch 25, Iloilo City and SPOUSES GREGORIO HONTIVEROS
and TEODORA AYSON, respondents. The Court, after an assessment of the diverging views and arguments
presented by both parties, is of the opinion and so holds that judgment on
the pleadings is inappropriate not only for the fact that the defendants in
MENDOZA, J.:
their answer, particularly in its paragraph 3 to the amended complaint,
specifically denied the claim of damages against them, but also because of
On December 3, 1990, petitioners, the spouses Augusto and Maria Hontiveros, filed a complaint the ruling in De Cruz vs. Cruz, G.R. No. 27759, April 17, 1970 (32 SCRA
for damages against private respondents Gregorio Hontiveros and Teodora Ayson before the 307), citing Rili vs. Chunaco, 98 Phil. 505, which ruled that the party
Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City, Branch 25, where it was docketed as Civil Case No. 19504. In claiming damages must satisfactorily prove the amount thereof and that
said complaint, petitioners alleged that they are the owners of a parcel of land, in the town of though the rule is that failure to specifically deny the allegations in the
Jamindan, Province of Capiz, as shown by OCT No. 0-2124, issued pursuant to the decision of complaint or counter-claim is deemed an admission of said allegations,
the Intermediate. Appellate Court, dated April 12, 1984, which modified the decision of the Court there is however an exception to it, that is, that when the allegations refer to
of First Instance of Capiz, dated January 23, 1975, in a land registration case 1 filed by private the amount of damages, the allegations must still be proved. This ruling is in
respondent Gregorio Hontiveros; that petitioners were deprived of income from the land as a accord with the provision of Section 1, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court.
result of the filing of the land registration case; that such income consisted of rentals from
tenants of the land in the amount of P66,000.00 per year from 1968 to 1987, and P595,000.00
That while the plaintiffs in their amended complaint alleged that earnest
per year thereafter; and that private respondents filed the land registration case and withheld
efforts towards a compromise with the defendants were made, the fact is
possession of the land from petitioners in bad faith. 2
that their complaint was not verified as provided in Article 151 of the Family
Code. Besides, it is not believed that there were indeed earnest efforts
In their answer, private respondents denied that they were married and alleged that private made to patch up and/or reconcile the two feuding brothers, Gregorio and
respondent Hontiveros was a widower while private respondent Ayson was single. They denied Augusto, both surnamed Hontiveros.
that they had deprived petitioners of possession of and income from the land. On the contrary,
they alleged that possession of the property in question had already been transferred to
The submission of the plaintiffs that, assuming no such earnest efforts were
petitioners on August 7, 1985, by virtue of a writ of possession, dated July 18, 1985, issued by
made, the same is not necessary or jurisdictional in the light of the ruling
the clerk of court of the Regional Trial Court of Capiz, Mambusao, the return thereof having been
in Rufino Magbaleta, et al., petitioner, vs. Hon. Arsenio M. Ganong, et al.,
received by petitioners' counsel; that since then, petitioners have been directly receiving rentals
respondents, No. L-44903, April 22, 1977, is, to the mind of this Court, not
from the tenants of the land, that the complaint failed to state a cause of action since it did not
applicable to the case at bar for the fact is the rationale in that case is not
allege that earnest efforts towards a compromise had been made, considering that petitioner
present in the instant case considering these salient points:
Augusto Hontiveros and private respondent Gregorio Hontiveros are brothers; that the decision
of the Intermediate Appellate Court in Land Registration Case No. N-581-25 was null and void
since it was based upon a ground which was not passed upon by the trial court; that petitioners' a) Teodora Ayson, the alleged wife of defendant Gregorio Hontiveros and
claim for damages was barred by prescription with respect to claims before 1984; that there allegedly not a member of the Hontiveros Family, is not shown to be really
were no rentals due since private respondent Hontiveros was a possessor in good faith and for the wife of Gregorio also denied in their verified answer to the amended
value; and that private respondent Ayson had nothing to do with the case as she was not complaint.
married to private respondent Gregorio Hontiveros and did not have any proprietary interest in
the subject property. Private respondents prayed for the dismissal of the complaint and for an
b) Teodora Ayson has not been shown to have acquired any proprietary
order against petitioners to pay damages to private respondents by way of counterclaim, as well
right or interest in the land that was litigated by Gregorio and Augusto,
as reconveyance of the subject land to private respondents. 3
unlike the cited case of Magbaleta where it was shown that a stranger to the
family acquired certain right;
On May 16, 1991, petitioners filed an Amended Complaint to insert therein an allegation that
"earnest efforts towards a compromise have been made between the parties but the same were
c) In the decision rendered by the appellate court no mention was made at
unsuccessful."
all of the name of Teodora Ayson as part-awardee of Lot 37 that was
adjudged to Gregorio other than himself who was therein described as a
In due time, private respondents filed an Answer to Amended Complaint with Counterclaim, in widower. Moreover, Teodora was never mentioned in said decision, nor in
which they denied, among other things, that earnest efforts had been made to reach a the amended complaint and in the amended motion for judgment on the
compromise but the parties was unsuccessful. pleadings that she ever took any part in the act of transaction that gave rise
to the damages allegedly suffered by the plaintiffs for which they now claim
some compensation.
On July 19, 1995, petitioners moved for a judgment on the pleadings on the ground that private
respondents' answer did not tender an issue or that it otherwise admitted the material allegations
of the complaint. 4 Private respondents opposed the motion alleging that they had denied WHEREFORE, in the light of all the foregoing premises, the Court orders,
petitioners' claims and thus tendered certain issues of fact which could only be resolved after as it hereby orders, the dismissal of this case with cost against the plaintiffs.
trial. 5
SO ORDERED. should be taken to the Supreme Court by petition for
review oncertiorari in accordance with Rules 42 and 45
of the Rules of Court.
Petitioners moved for a reconsideration of the order of dismissal, but their motion was
denied. 7 Hence, this petition for review on certiorari. Petitioner contend:
By way of implementation of the aforestated provisions of law, this Court
issued on March 9, 1930 Circular No. 2-90, paragraph 2 of which provides:
I. THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT PALPABLY ERRED IN DISMISSING THE
COMPLAINT ON THE GROUND THAT IT DOES NOT ALLEGE UNDER
OATH THAT EARNEST EFFORTS TOWARD A COMPROMISE WERE 2. Appeals from Regional Courts to the Supreme Court.
MADE PRIOR TO THE FILING THEREOF AS REQUIRED BY ARTICLE Except in criminal cases where the penalty imposed
151 OF THE FAMILY CODE. is life imprisonment or reclusion perpetua, judgments of
regional trial courts may be appealed to the Supreme
Court only by petition for review on certiorari in
II. THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT PALPABLY ERRED IN NOT DENYING
accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court in
THE MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS AND ORDERING A
relation to Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948, as
TRIAL ON THE MERITS.
amended, this being the clear intendment of the
provision of the Interim Rules that (a)ppeals to the
Private respondents raise a preliminary question. They argue that petitioners should have Supreme Court shall be taken by petition
brought this case on appeal to the Court of Appeals since the order of the trial court judge was forcertiorari which shall be governed by Rule 45 of the
actually a decision on the merits. On the other hand, even if petition for certiorari were the Rules of Court.
proper remedy, they contend that the petition is defective because the judge of the trial court has
not been impleaded as a respondent. 8
Under the foregoing considerations, therefore, the inescapable conclusion is
that herein petitioner adopted the correct mode of appeal in G.R. No. 88354
Private respondents' contention is without merit. The petition in this case was filed pursuant to by filing with this Court petition to review oncertiorari the decision of the
Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. As explained in Atlas Consolidated Mining Development Regional Trail Court of Pasig in Civil Case No. 25528 and raising therein
Corporation v. Court of Appeals: 9 purely questions of law.

Under Section 5, subparagraph (2)(e), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution, In Meneses v. Court of Appeals, it was held: 10
the Supreme Court is vested with the power to review, revise, reverse,
modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari as the law or the Rules of Court may
It must also be stressed that the trial court's order of 5 June 1992 dismissing
provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in all cases in which only
the petitioner's complaint was, whether it was right or wrong, a final order
an error or question of law is involved. A similar provision is contained in
because it had put an end to the particular matter resolved, or settled
Section 17, fourth paragraph, subparagraph (4) of the Judiciary Act of 1948,
definitely the matter therein disposed of and left nothing more to be done by
as amended by Republic Act No. 5440. And, in such cases where only
the trial court except the execution of the order. It is a firmly settled rule that
questions of law are involved, Section 25 of the Interim Rules and
the remedy against such order is the remedy of appeal and not certiorari.
Guidelines implementing Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, in conjunction with
That appeal may be solely on questions of law, in which case it may be
Section 3 of Republic Act No. 5440, provides that the appeal to the
taken only to this Court; or on questions of fact and law, in which case the
Supreme Court shall be taken by petition for certiorari which shall be
appeal should be brought to the Court of Appeals. Pursuant to Murillo v.
governed by Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
Consul, the appeal to this Court should be by petition for review
on certiorari in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
The rule, therefore, is that direct appeals to this Court from the trial court on
questions of law have to be through the filing of a petition for review
As private respondents themselves admit, the order of November 23, 1995 is a final order from
on certiorari. It has been held that:
which an appeal can be taken. It is final in the sense that it disposes of the pending action
before the court and puts an end to the litigation so that nothing more was left for the trial court
. . . when a CFI (RTC) adjudicates a case in the to do. 11 Furthermore, as the questions raised as the questions of law, petition for review
exercise of its original jurisdiction, the correct mode of on certiorari is the proper mode of appeal. These questions are: (1) whether after denying
elevating the judgment to the Court of Appeals is by petitioners' motion for judgment on the pleadings, the trial court could dismiss their
ordinary appeal, or appeal by writ of error, involving complaint motu proprio for failure to comply with Art. 151 of the Family Code which provides that
merely the filing of a notice of appeal except only if no suit between members of the same family shall prosper unless it appears from the complaint,
the appeal is taken in special proceedings and other which must be verified, that earnest efforts towards a compromise have been made but the
cases wherein multiple appeals are allowed under the same have failed; and (2) whether Art. 151 applies to this case. These questions do not require
law, in which even the filing of a record on appeal is an examination of the probative value of evidence presented and the truth or falsehood of facts
additionally required. Of course, when the appeal would asserted which questions of fact would entail. 12
involve purely questions of law or any of the other
cases (except criminal cases as stated hereunder)
On the other hand, petitioners contend that the trial court erred in dismissing the complaint when
specified in Section 5(2), Article X of the Constitution, it
no motion to that effect was made by any of the parties. They point out that, in opposing the
motion for judgment on the pleadings, private respondents did not seek the dismissal of the case efforts had been made toward a compromise but the parties' efforts proved unsuccessful is not a
but only the denial of petitioners' motion. Indeed, what private respondents asked was that trial ground for the dismissal of an action. Only if it is later shown that such efforts had not really
be held on the merits. been exerted would the court be justified in dismissing the action. Thus, Art. 151 provides:

Of course, there are instances when the trial court may order the dismissal of the case even No suit between members of the same family shall prosper unless it should
without a motion to that effect filed by any of the parties. In Baja v. Macandog, 13 this Court appear from the verified complaint or petition that earnest efforts toward a
mentioned these cases, to wit: compromise have been made, but that the same have failed. It if is shown
that no such efforts were in fact made, the case must be dismissed.
The court cannot dismiss a case motu proprio without violating the plaintiff's
right to be heard, except in the following instances: if the plaintiff fails to This rule shall not apply to cases which may not be the subject of
appear at the time of the trial; if he fails to prosecute his action for compromise under the Civil Code.
unreasonable length of time; or if he fails to comply with the rules or any
order of the court; or if the court finds that it has no jurisdiction over the
Moreover, as petitioners contend, Art. 151 of the Family Code does not apply in this case since
subject matter of the suit.
the suit is not exclusively among the family members. Citing several cases 18 decided by this
Court, petitioners claim that whenever a stranger is a party in the case involving the family
However, none of these exceptions appears in this case. members, the requisite showing the earnest efforts to compromise is no longer mandatory. They
argue that since private respondent Ayson is admittedly a stranger to the Hontiveros family, the
case is not covered by the requirements of Art. 151 of the Family Code.
Moreover, the trial court itself found that "judgment on the pleadings is inappropriate not only for
the fact that [private respondents] in their answer . . . specifically denied the claim of damages
against them, but also because of the [rule] . . . that the party claiming damages must We agree with petitioners. The inclusion of private respondent Ayson as defendant and
satisfactorily prove the amount thereof. . . . " Necessarily, a trial must be held. petitioner Maria Hontiveros as plaintiff takes the case out of the ambit of Art. 151 of the Family
Code. Under this provision, the phrase "members of the same family" refers to the husband and
wife, parents and children, ascendants and descendants, and brothers and sisters, whether full
Rule 19 of the Rules of Court provides: 14
or half-blood. 19 As this Court held in Guerrero v. RTC, Ilocos Norte, Br. XVI: 20

Sec. 1. Judgment on the pleadings. Where an answer fails to tender an


As early as two decades ago, we already ruled in Gayon v. Gayon that the
issue, or otherwise admits the material allegation of the adverse party's
enumeration of "brothers and sisters" as member of the same family does
pleadings, the court may, on motion of the party, direct judgment on such
not comprehend "sisters-in-law." In that case, then Chief Justice
pleading. But in actions for annulment of marriage or for legal separation the
Concepcion emphasized that "sisters-in-law" (hence, also "brother-in-law")
material facts alleged in the complaint shall always be proved.
are not listed under Art. 217 of the New Civil Code as members of the same
family. Since Art. 150 of the Family Code repeats essentially the same
Under the rules, if there is no controverted matter in the case after the answer is filed, enumeration of "members of the family," we find no reason to alter existing
the trial court has the discretion to grant a motion for judgment on the pleadings filed jurisprudence on the mater. Consequently, the court a quo erred in ruling
by a party. 15 When there are actual issues raised in the answer, such as one involving that petitioner Guerrero, being a brother-in-law of private respondent
damages, which require the presentation of evidence and assessment thereof by the Hernando, was required to exert earnest efforts towards a compromise
trial court, it is improper for the judge to render judgment based on the pleadings before filing the present suit.
alone. 16 In this case, aside from the amount of damages, the following factual issues
have to be resolved, namely, (1) private respondent Teodora Ayson's participation
Religious relationship and relationship by affinity are not given any legal effect in this
and/or liability, if any to petitioners and (2) the nature, extent, and duration of private
jurisdiction. 21Consequently, private respondent Ayson, who is described in the
respondents' possession of the subject property. The trial court, therefore, correctly
complaint as the spouse of respondent Hontiveros, and petitioner Maria Hontiveros,
denied petitioners' motion for judgment on the pleadings.
who is admittedly the spouse of petitioner Augusto Hontiveros, are considered
strangers to the Hontiveros family, for purposes of Art. 151.
However, the trial court erred in dismissing petitioners' complaint on the ground that, although it
alleged that earnest efforts had been made toward the settlement of the case but they proved
Petitioners finally question the constitutionality of Art. 151 of the Family Code on the ground that
futile, the complaint was not verified for which reason the trial court could not believe the veracity
it in effect amends the Rules of Court. This, according to them, cannot be done since the
of the allegation.
Constitution reserves in favor of the Supreme Court the power to promulgate rules of pleadings
and procedure. Considering the conclusion we have reached in this case, however, it is
The absence of the verification required in Art. 151 does not affect the jurisdiction of the court unnecessary for present purposes to pass upon this question. Courts do not pass upon
over the subject matter of the complaint. The verification is merely a formal requirement intended constitutional questions unless they are the very lis mota of the case.
to secure an assurance that matters which are alleged are true and correct. If the court doubted
the veracity of the allegations regarding efforts made to settle the case among members of the
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the Order, dated November 23, 1995 of the
same family, it could simply have ordered petitioners to verify them. As this Court has already
Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City, Branch 25 is SET ASIDE and the case is remanded to the trial
ruled, the court may simply order the correction of unverified pleadings or act on it and waive
court for further proceedings not inconsistent with this decision. SO ORDERED. Bellosillo, Puno,
strict compliance with the rules in order that the ends of justice may be served. 17Otherwise,
Quisumbing and Buena, JJ., concur.
mere suspicion or doubt on the part of the trial court as to the truth of the allegation that earnest
G.R. No. 109068 January 10, 1994 The Constitution protects the sanctity of the family and endeavors to strengthen it as a basic
autonomous social institution. 2 This is also embodied in Art. 149, 3 and given flesh in Art. 151, of
the Family Code, which provides:
GAUDENCIO GUERRERO, petitioner,
vs.
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF ILOCOS NORTE, BR. XVI, JUDGE LUIS B. BELLO, JR., Art. 151. No suit between members of the same family shall prosper unless
PRESIDING, and PEDRO G. HERNANDO, respondents. it should appear from the verified complaint or petition that earnest efforts
toward a compromise have been made, but that the same had failed. If it is
shown that no such efforts were in fact made, the case must be dismissed.
Juan Jacito for petitioner.

This rule shall not apply to cases which may not be the subject of
Alipio V. Flores for private respondent.
compromise under the Civil Code.

BELLOSILLO, J.:
Considering that Art. 151 herein-quoted starts with the negative word "No", the requirement is
mandatory 4 that the complaint or petition, which must be verified, should allege that earnest
1
Filed by petitioner as an accion publicana against private respondent, this case assumed efforts towards a compromise have been made but that the same failed, so that "[i]f it is shown
another dimension when it was dismissed by respondent Judge on the ground that the parties that no such efforts were in fact made, the case must be dismissed."
being brother-in-law the complaint should have alleged that earnest efforts were first exerted
towards a compromise.
Further, Art. 151 is contemplated by Sec. 1, par. (j), Rule 16, of the Rules of Court which
provides as a ground for motion to dismiss "(t)hat the suit is between members of the same
Admittedly, the complaint does not allege that the parties exerted earnest towards a compromise family and no earnest efforts towards a compromise have been made."
and that the same failed. However, private respondent Pedro G. Hernando apparently
overlooked this alleged defect since he did not file any motion to dismiss nor attack the
The Code Commission, which drafted the precursor provision in the Civil Code, explains the
complaint on this ground in his answer. It was only on 7 December 1992, at the pre-trial
reason for the requirement that earnest efforts at compromise be first exerted before a complaint
conference, that the relationship of petitioner Gaudencio Guerrero and respondent Hernando
is given due course
was noted by respondent Judge Luis B. Bello, Jr., they being married to half-sisters hence are
brothers-in-law, and on the basis thereof respondent Judge gave petitioner five (5) days "to file
his motion and amended complaint" to allege that the parties were very close relatives, their This rule is introduced because it is difficult to imagine a sadder and more
respective wives being sisters, and that the complaint to be maintained should allege that tragic spectacle than a litigation between members of the same family. It is
earnest efforts towards a compromise were exerted but failed. Apparently, respondent Judge necessary that every effort should be made toward a compromise before a
considered this deficiency a jurisdictional defect. litigation is allowed to breed hate and passion in the family. It is known that
a lawsuit between close relatives generates deeper bitterness than between
strangers . . . A litigation in a family is to be lamented far more than a lawsuit
On 11 December 1992, Guerrero moved to reconsider the 7 December 1992 Order claiming that
between strangers . . . 5
since brothers by affinity are not members of the same family, he was not required to exert
efforts towards a compromise. Guerrero likewise argued that Hernando was precluded from
raising this issue since he did not file a motion to dismiss nor assert the same as an affirmative But the instant case presents no occasion for the application of the
defense in his answer. above-quoted provisions. As early as two decades ago, we already ruled in Gayon
v. Gayon 6 that the enumeration of "brothers and sisters" as members of the same family does
not comprehend "sisters-in-law". In that case, then Chief Justice Concepcion emphasized that
On 22 December 1992, respondent Judge denied the motion for reconsideration holding that
"sisters-in-law" (hence, also "brothers-in-law") are not listed under Art. 217 of the New Civil Code
"[f]ailure to allege that earnest efforts towards a compromise is jurisdictional such that for failure
as members of the same family. Since Art. 150 of the Family Code repeats essentially the same
to allege same the court would be deprived of its jurisdiction to take cognizance of the case." He
enumeration of "members of the family", we find no reason to alter existing jurisprudence on the
warned that unless the complaint was amended within five (5) days the case would be
matter. Consequently, the court a quo erred in ruling that petitioner Guerrero, being a brother-in-
dismissed.
law of private respondent Hernando, was required to exert earnest efforts towards a compromise
before filing the present suit.
On 29 January 1993, the 5-day period having expired without Guerrero amending his complaint,
respondent Judge dismissed the case, declaring the dismissal however to be without prejudice.
In his Comment, Hernando argues that ". . . although both wives of the parties were not
impleaded, it remains a truism that being spouses of the contending parties, and the litigation
Guerrero appeals by way of this petition for review the dismissal by the court a quo. He raises involves ownership of real property, the spouses' interest and participation in the land in question
these legal issues: (a) whether brothers by affinity are considered members of the same family cannot be denied, making the suit still a suit between half-sisters . . ." 7
contemplated in Art. 217, par. (4), and Art. 222 of the New Civil Code, as well as under Sec. 1,
par. (j), Rule 16, of the Rules of Court requiring earnest efforts towards a compromise before a
Finding this argument preposterous, Guerrero counters in his Reply that his "wife has no actual
suit between them may be instituted and maintained; and, (b) whether the absence of an
interest and participation in the land subject of the . . . suit, which the petitioner bought,
allegation in the complaint that earnest efforts towards a compromise were exerted, which efforts
according to his complaint, before he married his wife." 8 This factual controversy however may
failed, is a ground for dismissal for lack of jurisdiction.
be best left to the court a quo to resolve when it resumes hearing the case.
As regards the second issue, we need only reiterate our ruling in
O'Laco v. Co Cho Chit, 9 citing Mendoza v. Court of Appeals, 10 that the attempt to compromise
as well as the inability to succeed is a condition precedent to the filing of a suit between
members of the same family, the absence of such allegation in the complaint being assailable at
any stage of the proceeding, even on appeal, for lack of cause of action.

It is not therefore correct, as petitioner contends, that private respondent may be deemed to
have waived the aforesaid defect in failing to move or dismiss or raise the same in the Answer.
On the other hand, we cannot sustain the proposition of private respondent that the case was,
after all, also dismissed pursuant to Sec. 3, Rule 17, of the Rules of Court 11 for failure of
petitioner to comply with the court's order to amend his complaint.

A review of the assailed orders does not show any directive which Guerrero supposedly defied.
The Order of 7 December 1992 merely gave Guerrero five (5) days to file his motion and
amended complaint with a reminder that the complaint failed to allege that earnest efforts were
exerted towards a compromise. The Order of 22 December 1992, which denied Guerrero's
motion for reconsideration, simply stated that "Plaintiff if it (sic) so desire must
amend the complaint otherwise, the court will have to dismiss the case (emphasis supplied) . . ."
The Order of 29 January 1993 dismissing the case without prejudice only made reference to an
earlier order "admonishing" counsel for Guerrero to amend the complaint, and an "admonition" is
not synonymous with "order". Moreover, since the assailed orders do not find support in our
jurisprudence but, on the other hand, are based on an erroneous interpretation and application
of the law, petitioner could not be bound to comply with them. 12

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the appealed Orders of


7 December 1992, 22 December 1992 and 29 January 1993 are SET ASIDE. The Regional Trial
Court of Laoag City, Branch 16, or whichever branch of the court the case may now be
assigned, is directed to continue with Civil Case
No. 10084-16 with deliberate dispatch.

SO ORDERED.

Cruz, Davide, Jr. and Quiason, JJ., concur.


G.R. NO. 154132 August 31, 2006 strangers to the family. As aptly pointed out in the cases cited by plaintiff, Magbaleta v. G[o]nong,
L-44903, April 25, 1977 and Mendez v. [B]iangon, L-32159, October 28, 1977, if one of the
parties is a stranger, failure to allege in the complaint that earnest efforts towards a compromise
HIYAS SAVINGS and LOAN BANK, INC. Petitioner,
had been made by plaintiff before filing the complaint, is not a ground for motion to dismiss.
vs.
HON. EDMUNDO T. ACUA, in his capacity as Pairing Judge of Regional Trial Court,
Branch 122, Caloocan City, and ALBERTO MORENO, Respondent. Insofar as plaintiffs prayer for declaration of default against defendants, the same is meritorious
only with respect to defendants Remedios Moreno and the Register of Deeds of Kaloocan City.
A declaration of default against defendant bank is not proper considering that the filing of the
DECISION
Motion to Dismiss by said defendant operates to stop the running of the period within which to
file the required Answer. 9
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
Petitioner filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration. 10 Private respondent filed his
Before the Court is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeking to nullify Comment, 11 after which petitioner filed its Reply. 12 Thereafter, private respondent filed his
the Orders 1 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Caloocan City, Branch 122, dated November 8, Rejoinder. 13
2001 2 and May 7, 2002 3denying herein petitioners Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Partial
Reconsideration, respectively.
On May 7, 2002, the RTC issued the second assailed Order denying petitioners Motion for
Partial Reconsideration. The trial court ruled:
The antecedent facts are as follows:
Reiterating the resolution of the court, dated November 8, 2001, considering that the above-
On November 24, 2000, Alberto Moreno (private respondent) filed with the RTC of Caloocan City entitled case involves parties who are strangers to the family, failure to allege in the complaint
a complaint against Hiyas Savings and Loan Bank, Inc. (petitioner), his wife Remedios, the that earnest efforts towards a compromise were made by plaintiff, is not a ground for a Motion to
spouses Felipe and Maria Owe and the Register of Deeds of Caloocan City for cancellation of Dismiss.
mortgage contending that he did not secure any loan from petitioner, nor did he sign or execute
any contract of mortgage in its favor; that his wife, acting in conspiracy with Hiyas and the
Additionally, the court agrees with plaintiff that inasmuch as it is defendant Remedios Moreno
spouses Owe, who were the ones that benefited from the loan, made it appear that he signed
who stands to be benefited by Art. 151 of the Family Code, being a member of the same family
the contract of mortgage; that he could not have executed the said contract because he was
as that of plaintiff, only she may invoke said Art. 151. 14
then working abroad. 4

xxx
On May 17, 2001, petitioner filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that private respondent
failed to comply with Article 151 of the Family Code wherein it is provided that no suit between
members of the same family shall prosper unless it should appear from the verified complaint or Hence, the instant Petition for Certiorari on the following grounds:
petition that earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made, but that the same have
failed. Petitioner contends that since the complaint does not contain any fact or averment that
I. Public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of
earnest efforts toward a compromise had been made prior to its institution, then the complaint
jurisdiction when he ruled that lack of earnest efforts toward a compromise is not a ground for a
should be dismissed for lack of cause of action. 5
motion to dismiss in suits between husband and wife when other parties who are strangers to
the family are involved in the suit. Corollarily, public respondent committed grave abuse of
Private respondent filed his Comment on the Motion to Dismiss with Motion to Strike Out and to discretion amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction when he applied the decision in the case
Declare Defendants in Default. He argues that in cases where one of the parties is not a of Magbaleta v. Gonong instead of the ruling in the case of De Guzman v. Genato.
member of the same family as contemplated under Article 150 of the Family Code, failure to
allege in the complaint that earnest efforts toward a compromise had been made by the plaintiff
II. Public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of
before filing the complaint is not a ground for a motion to dismiss. Alberto asserts that since
jurisdiction when he ruled that a party who is a stranger to the family of the litigants could not
three of the party-defendants are not members of his family the ground relied upon by Hiyas in
invoke lack of earnest efforts toward a compromise as a ground for the dismissal of the
its Motion to Dismiss is inapplicable and unavailable. Alberto also prayed that defendants be
complaint. 15
declared in default for their failure to file their answer on time. 6

At the outset, the Court notes that the instant Petition for Certiorari should have been filed with
Petitioner filed its Reply to the Comment with Opposition to the Motion to Strike and to Declare
the Court of Appeals (CA) and not with this Court pursuant to the doctrine of hierarchy of courts.
Defendants in Default. 7 Private respondent, in turn, filed his Rejoinder. 8
Reiterating the established policy for the strict observance of this doctrine, this Court held
in Heirs of Bertuldo Hinog v. Melicor 16 that:
On November 8, 2001, the RTC issued the first of its assailed Orders denying the Motion to
Dismiss, thus:
Although the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and the Regional Trial Courts have concurrent
jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and
The court agrees with plaintiff that earnest efforts towards a compromise is not required before injunction, such concurrence does not give the petitioner unrestricted freedom of choice of court
the filing of the instant case considering that the above-entitled case involves parties who are forum. As we stated in People v. Cuaresma:
This Court's original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari is not exclusive. It is shared by this This rule shall not apply to cases which may not be the subject of compromise under the Civil
Court with Regional Trial Courts and with the Court of Appeals. This concurrence of jurisdiction Code.
is not, however, to be taken as according to parties seeking any of the writs an absolute,
unrestrained freedom of choice of the court to which application therefor will be directed. There
Article 222 of the Civil Code from which Article 151 of the Family Code was taken, essentially
is after all a hierarchy of courts. That hierarchy is determinative of the venue of appeals, and
contains the same provisions, to wit:
also serves as a general determinant of the appropriate forum for petitions for the extraordinary
writs. A becoming regard for that judicial hierarchy most certainly indicates that petitions for the
issuance of extraordinary writs against first level ("inferior") courts should be filed with the No suit shall be filed or maintained between members of the same family unless it should
Regional Trial Court, and those against the latter, with the Court of Appeals. A direct invocation appear that earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made, but that the same have
of the Supreme Courts original jurisdiction to issue these writs should be allowed only when failed, subject to the limitations in Article 2035. 20
there are special and important reasons therefor, clearly and specifically set out in the petition.
This is [an] established policy. It is a policy necessary to prevent inordinate demands upon the
The Code Commission that drafted Article 222 of the Civil Code from which Article 151 of the
Courts time and attention which are better devoted to those matters within its exclusive
Family Code was taken explains:
jurisdiction, and to prevent further over-crowding of the Courts docket.

[I]t is difficult to imagine a sadder and more tragic spectacle than a litigation between members
The rationale for this rule is two-fold: (a) it would be an imposition upon the precious time of this
of the same family. It is necessary that every effort should be made toward a compromise before
Court; and (b) it would cause an inevitable and resultant delay, intended or otherwise, in the
a litigation is allowed to breed hate and passion in the family. It is known that a lawsuit between
adjudication of cases, which in some instances had to be remanded or referred to the lower
close relatives generates deeper bitterness than between strangers. 21
court as the proper forum under the rules of procedure, or as better equipped to resolve the
issues because this Court is not a trier of facts.
In Magbaleta, the case involved brothers and a stranger to the family, the alleged owner of the
subject property. The Court, taking into consideration the explanation made by the Code
Thus, this Court will not entertain direct resort to it unless the redress desired cannot be
Commision in its report, ruled that:
obtained in the appropriate courts, and exceptional and compelling circumstances, such as
cases of national interest and of serious implications, justify the availment of the extraordinary
remedy of writ of certiorari, calling for the exercise of its primary jurisdiction. Exceptional and [T]hese considerations do not, however, weigh enough to make it imperative that such efforts to
compelling circumstances were held present in the following cases: (a)Chavez vs. Romulo on compromise should be a jurisdictional pre-requisite for the maintenance of an action whenever a
citizens right to bear arms; (b) Government of the United States of America vs. Purgananon bail stranger to the family is a party thereto, whether as a necessary or indispensable one. It is not
in extradition proceedings; (c) Commission on Elections vs. Quijano-Padilla on government always that one who is alien to the family would be willing to suffer the inconvenience of, much
contract involving modernization and computerization of voters registration list; (d) Buklod ng less relish, the delay and the complications that wranglings between or among relatives more
Kawaning EIIB vs. Zamoraon status and existence of a public office; and (e) Fortich vs. often than not entail. Besides, it is neither practical nor fair that the determination of the rights of
Corona on the so-called "Win-Win Resolution" of the Office of the President which modified the a stranger to the family who just happened to have innocently acquired some kind of interest in
approval of the conversion to agro-industrial area. 17 any right or property disputed among its members should be made to depend on the way the
latter would settle their differences among themselves. 22 x x x.
In the present case, petitioner failed to advance a satisfactory explanation as to its failure to
comply with the principle of judicial hierarchy. There is no reason why the instant petition could Hence, once a stranger becomes a party to a suit involving members of the same family, the law
not have been brought before the CA. On this basis, the instant petition should be dismissed. no longer makes it a condition precedent that earnest efforts be made towards a compromise
before the action can prosper.
And even if this Court passes upon the substantial issues raised by petitioner, the instant petition
likewise fails for lack of merit. In the subsequent case of De Guzman, the case involved spouses and the alleged paramour of
the wife. The Court ruled that due to the efforts exerted by the husband, through the Philippine
Constabulary, to confront the wife, there was substantial compliance with the law, thereby
Restating its arguments in its Motion for Partial Reconsideration, petitioner argues that what is
implying that even in the presence of a party who is not a family member, the requirements that
applicable to the present case is the Courts decision in De Guzman v. Genato 18 and not
earnest efforts towards a compromise have been exerted must be complied with, pursuant to
in Magbaleta v. Gonong, 19 the former being a case involving a husband and wife while the latter
Article 222 of the Civil Code, now Article 151 of the Family Code.
is between brothers.

While De Guzman was decided after Magbaleta, the principle enunciated in the Magbaleta is the
The Court is not persuaded.
one that now prevails because it is reiterated in the subsequent cases of Gonzales v.
Lopez, 23 Esquivias v. Court of Appeals,24 Spouses Hontiveros v. Regional Trial Court, Branch
Article 151 of the Family Code provides as follows: 25, Iloilo City, 25 and the most recent case of Martinez v. Martinez. 26 Thus, Article 151 of the
Family Code applies to cover when the suit is exclusively between or among family members.
No suit between members of the same family shall prosper unless it should appear from the
verified complaint or petition that earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made, but that The Court finds no cogent reason why the ruling in Magbaleta as well as in all of the
the same have failed. If it is shown that no such efforts were in fact made, the case must be aforementioned cases should not equally apply to suits involving husband and wife.
dismissed.
Petitioner makes much of the fact that the present case involves a husband and his wife
while Magbaleta is a case between brothers. However, the Court finds no specific, unique, or
special circumstance that would make the ruling in Magbaleta as well as in the abovementioned
cases inapplicable to suits involving a husband and his wife, as in the present case. In the first
place, Article 151 of the Family Code and Article 222 of the Civil Code are clear that the
provisions therein apply to suits involving "members of the same family" as contemplated under
Article 150 of the Family Code, to wit:

ART. 150. Family relations include those:

(1) Between husband and wife;

(2) Between parents and children;

(3) Among other ascendants and descendants; and

(4) Among brothers and sisters, whether of the full or half blood.

and Article 217 of the Civil Code, to wit:

ART. 217. Family relations shall include those:

(1) Between husband and wife;

(2) Between parent and child;

(3) Among other ascendants and their descendants;

(4) Among brothers and sisters.

Petitioner also contends that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion when it ruled
that petitioner, not being a member of the same family as respondent, may not invoke the
provisions of Article 151 of the Family Code.

Suffice it to say that since the Court has ruled that the requirement under Article 151 of the
Family Code is applicable only in cases which are exclusively between or among members of
the same family, it necessarily follows that the same may be invoked only by a party who is a
member of that same family.

WHEREFORE, the instant Petition for Certiorari is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ


G.R. No. 86355 May 31, 1990
JOSE MODEQUILLO, petitioner, 3. Both plaintiff-appellants Salinas and Culan-Culan, P7,000.00 for
vs. attorney's fees and litigation expenses.
HON. AUGUSTO V. BREVA FRANCISCO SALINAS, FLORIPER ABELLAN-SALINAS,
JUANITO CULAN-CULAN and DEPUTY SHERIFF FERNANDO PLATA respondents. 1
All counterclaims and other claims are hereby dismissed.

Josefina Brandares-Almazan for petitioner.


The said judgment having become final and executory, a writ of execution was issued by the
Regional Trial Court of Davao City to satisfy the said judgment on the goods and chattels of the
ABC Law Offices for private respondents. defendants Jose Modequillo and Benito Malubay at Malalag, Davao del Sur.

On July 7, 1988, the sheriff levied on a parcel of residential land located at Poblacion Malalag,
Davao del Sur containing an area of 600 square meters with a market value of P34,550.00 and
assessed value of P7,570.00 per Tax Declaration No. 87008-01359, registered in the name of
GANCAYCO, J.:
Jose Modequillo in the office of the Provincial Assessor of Davao del Sur; and a parcel of
agricultural land located at Dalagbong Bulacan, Malalag, Davao del Sur containing an area of 3
The issue in this petition is whether or not a final judgment of the Court of Appeals in an action hectares with a market value of P24,130.00 and assessed value of P9,650.00 per Tax
for damages may be satisfied by way of execution of a family home constituted under the Family Declaration No. 87-08-01848 registered in the name of Jose Modequillo in the office of the
Code. Provincial Assessor of Davao del Sur. 2

The facts are undisputed. A motion to quash and/or to set aside levy of execution was filed by defendant Jose Modequillo
alleging therein that the residential land located at Poblacion Malalag is where the family home
is built since 1969 prior to the commencement of this case and as such is exempt from
On January 29, 1988, a judgment was rendered by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. execution, forced sale or attachment under Articles 152 and 153 of the Family Code except for
09218 entitled"Francisco Salinas, et al. vs. Jose Modequillo, et al.," the dispositive part of which liabilities mentioned in Article 155 thereof, and that the judgment debt sought to be enforced
read as follows: against the family home of defendant is not one of those enumerated under Article 155 of the
Family Code. As to the agricultural land although it is declared in the name of defendant it is
WHEREFORE, the decision under appeal should be, as it is hereby, alleged to be still part of the public land and the transfer in his favor by the original possessor
reversed and set aside. Judgment is hereby rendered finding the and applicant who was a member of a cultural minority was not approved by the proper
defendants-appellees Jose Modequillo and Benito Malubay jointly and government agency. An opposition thereto was filed by the plaintiffs.
severally liable to plaintiffs-appellants as hereinbelow set forth. Accordingly,
defendants-appellees are ordered to pay jointly and severally to: In an order dated August 26, 1988, the trial court denied the motion. A motion for reconsideration
thereof was filed by defendant and this was denied for lack of merit on September 2, 1988.
1. Plaintiffs-appellants, the Salinas spouses:
Hence, the herein petition for review on certiorari wherein it is alleged that the trial court erred
a. the amount of P30,000.00 by way of compensation for the death of their and acted in excess of its jurisdiction in denying petitioner's motion to quash and/or to set aside
son Audie Salinas; levy on the properties and in denying petitioner' motion for reconsideration of the order dated
August 26, 1988. Petitioner contends that only a question of law is involved in this petition. He
asserts that the residential house and lot was first occupied as his family residence in 1969 and
b. P10,000.00 for the loss of earnings by reason of the death of said Audie was duly constituted as a family home under the Family Code which took effect on August 4,
Salinas; 1988. Thus, petitioner argues that the said residential house and lot is exempt from payment of
the obligation enumerated in Article 155 of the Family Code; and that the decision in this case
c. the sum of P5,000.00 as burial expenses of Audie Salinas; and pertaining to damages arising from a vehicular accident took place on March 16, 1976 and
which became final in 1988 is not one of those instances enumerated under Article 155 of the
Family Code when the family home may be levied upon and sold on execution. It is further
d. the sum of P5,000.00 by way of moral damages. alleged that the trial court erred in holding that the said house and lot became a family home
only on August 4, 1988 when the Family Code became effective, and that the Family Code
2. Plaintiffs-appellants Culan-Culan: cannot be interpreted in such a way that all family residences are deemed to have been
constituted as family homes at the time of their occupancy prior to the effectivity of the said Code
and that they are exempt from execution for the payment of obligations incurred before the
a. the sum of P5,000.00 for hospitalization expenses of Renato Culan- effectivity of said Code; and that it also erred when it declared that Article 162 of the Family
Culan; and Code does not state that the provisions of Chapter 2, Title V have a retroactive effect.

b. P5,000.00 for moral damages. Articles 152 and 153 of the Family Code provide as follows:
Art. 152. The family home, constituted jointly by the husband and the wife or entitled to the benefits accorded to a family home under the Family Code. Article 162 does not
by an unmarried head of a family, is the dwelling house where they and their state that the provisions of Chapter 2, Title V have a retroactive effect.
family reside, and the land on which it is situated.
Is the family home of petitioner exempt from execution of the money judgment aforecited No.
Art. 153. The family home is deemed constituted on a house and lot from The debt or liability which was the basis of the judgment arose or was incurred at the time of the
the time it is occupied as a family residence. From the time of its constitution vehicular accident on March 16, 1976 and the money judgment arising therefrom was rendered
and so long as any of its beneficiaries actually resides therein, the family by the appellate court on January 29, 1988. Both preceded the effectivity of the Family Code on
home continues to be such and is exempt from execution, forced sale or August 3, 1988. This case does not fall under the exemptions from execution provided in the
attachment except as hereinafter provided and to the extent of the value Family Code.
allowed by law.
As to the agricultural land subject of the execution, the trial court correctly ruled that the levy to
Under the Family Code, a family home is deemed constituted on a house and lot from the time it be made by the sheriff shall be on whatever rights the petitioner may have on the land.
is occupied as a family residence. There is no need to constitute the same judicially or
extrajudicially as required in the Civil Code. If the family actually resides in the premises, it is,
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. No pronouncement as to costs.
therefore, a family home as contemplated by law. Thus, the creditors should take the necessary
precautions to protect their interest before extending credit to the spouses or head of the family
who owns the home. SO ORDERED.

Article 155 of the Family Code also provides as follows: Narvasa (Chairman), Cruz and Medialdea, JJ., concur. Grio-Aquino, J., is on leave.

Art. 155. The family home shall be exempt from execution, forced sale or
attachment except:

(1) For non-payment of taxes;

(2) For debts incurred prior to the constitution of the family home;

(3) For debts secured by mortgages on the premises before or after such
constitution; and

(4) For debts due to laborers, mechanics, architects, builders, material men
and others who have rendered service or furnished material for the
construction of the building.

The exemption provided as aforestated is effective from the time of the constitution of the family
home as such, and lasts so long as any of its beneficiaries actually resides therein.

In the present case, the residential house and lot of petitioner was not constituted as a family
home whether judicially or extrajudicially under the Civil Code. It became a family home by
operation of law only under Article 153 of the Family Code. It is deemed constituted as a family
home upon the effectivity of the Family Code on August 3, 1988 not August 4, one year after its
publication in the Manila Chronicle on August 4, 1987 (1988 being a leap year).

The contention of petitioner that it should be considered a family home from the time it was
occupied by petitioner and his family in 1969 is not well- taken. Under Article 162 of the Family
Code, it is provided that "the provisions of this Chapter shall also govern existing family
residences insofar as said provisions are applicable." It does not mean that Articles 152 and 153
of said Code have a retroactive effect such that all existing family residences are deemed to
have been constituted as family homes at the time of their occupation prior to the effectivity of
the Family Code and are exempt from execution for the payment of obligations incurred before
the effectivity of the Family Code. Article 162 simply means that all existing family residences at
the time of the effectivity of the Family Code, are considered family homes and are prospectively
G.R. No. 104875 November 13, 1992 While Article 153 of the Family Code provides that the family home is
deemed constituted on a house and lot from the time it is occupied as a
family residence, it does not mean that said article has a retroactive effect
FLORANTE F. MANACOP, petitioner,
such that all existing family residences, petitioner's included, are deemed to
vs.
have been constituted as family homes at the time of their occupation prior
COURT OF APPEALS and F.F. CRUZ & CO., INC., respondents.
to the effectivity of the Family Code and henceforth, are exempt from
execution for the payment of obligations incurred before the effectivity of the
Family Code on August 3, 1988 (Mondequillo vs. Breva, 185 SCRA 766).
Neither does Article 162 of said Code state that the provisions of Chapter 2,
Title V thereof have retroactive effect. It simply means that all existing family
MELO, J.: residences at the time of the effectivity of the Family Code are considered
family homes and are prospectively entitled to the benefits accorded to a
Following the dismissal of his petition for certiorari in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 23651 by the Thirteenth family home under the Family Code (Mondequillo vs. Breva, supra). Since
Division of respondent Court (Justice Buena (P), Gonzaga-Reyes and Abad Santos, Jr., JJ.; petitioner's debt was incurred as early as November 25, 1987, it preceded
Page 60, Rollo), petitioner airs his concern over the propriety thereof by claiming in the petition the effectivity of the Family Code. His property is therefore not exempt from
at hand that the disposition, in practical effect, allows a writ of preliminary attachment issued by attachment (Annex "O", Plaintiff's Position Paper and Memorandum of
the court of origin against his corporation to be implemented on his family home which is Authorities, p. 78). (pp. 5-6, Decision; pp. 64-65, Rollo).
ordinarily exempt from the mesne process.
The attempt to reconsider respondent court's stance was to no avail (page 75, Rollo); hence, the
Owing to the failure to pay the sub-contract cost pursuant to a deed of assignment signed petition at bar.
between petitioner's corporation and private respondent herein, the latter filed on July 3, 1989, a
complaint for a sum of money, with a prayer for preliminary attachment, against the former. As a Did respondent court err in dismissing the challenge posed by petitioner against the denial of his
consequence of the order on July 28, 1989, the corresponding writ for the provisional remedy omnibus motion?
was issued on August 11, 1989 which triggered the attachment of a parcel of land in Quezon
City owned by Manacop Construction President Florante F. Manacop, herein petitioner.
We are not ready to accept the negative aspersions put forward by petitioner against respondent
court in the petition before Us.
In lieu of the original complaint, private respondent submitted an amended complaint on August
18, 1989 intended to substitute Manacop Construction with Florante F. Manacop as defendant
who is "doing business under the name and style of F.F. Manacop Construction Co., Inc.". After Petitioner harps on the supposition that the appellate court should not have pierced the veil of
the motion for issuance of summons to the substituted defendant below was granted, petitioner corporate fiction because he is distinct from the personality of his corporation and, therefore, the
filed his answer to the amended complaint on November 20, 1989. writ of attachment issued against the corporation cannot be used to place his own family home
in custodia legis. This puerile argument must suffer rejection since the doctrine in commercial
law adverted to and employed in exculpation by petitioner, during the pendency of his petition
Petitioner's Omnibus Motion filed on September 5, 1990 grounded on (1) irregularity that for certiorari in the appellate court and even at this stage, may not be permitted to simply sprout
attended the issuance of the disputed writ inspite the absence of an affidavit therefor; (2) the from nowhere for such subtle experiment is prescribed by the omnibus motion rule under
feasibility of utilizing the writ prior to his submission as party-defendant, and (3) exemption from Section 8, Rule 15 of the Revised Rules of Court, thus:
attachment of his family home (page 3, Petition; page 8,Rollo), did not merit the serious
consideration of the court of origin. This nonchalant response constrained petitioner to elevate
the matter to respondent court which, as aforesaid, agreed with the trial court on the strength of A motion attacking a pleading or a proceeding shall include all objections
the ensuing observations: then available, and all objections not so included shall be deemed waived.

Anent the petitioner's claim that the writ of attachment was issued without The spirit that surrounds the foregoing statutory norm is to require the movant to raise all
jurisdiction because of the lack of supporting affidavit, We subscribe to the available exceptions for relief during a single opportunity so that multiple and piece-meal
recent ruling of the Highest Tribunal that a verified statement incorporated in objections may be avoided (Rafanan, et al. vs. Rafanan, 98 Phil. 162 [1955]; 1 Martin, Rules of
the complaint without a separate affidavit is sufficient and valid to obtain the Court with Notes and Comments, 1989 Rev. Edition, p. 492; Savit vs. Rodas, 73 Phil. 310
attachment (Nasser vs. Court of Appeals, 191 SCRA 783). In the case at [1941]).
bar, the original as well as the amended complaint filed by herein private
respondent were verified, in substantial compliance with the requirements of
Another mistaken notion entertained by petitioner concerns the impropriety of issuing the writ of
the law.
attachment on August 11, 1989 when he "was not yet a defendant in this case." This erroneous
perception seems to suggest that jurisdiction over the person of petitioner, as defendant below,
Finally, the petitioner insists that the attached property is a family home, must initially attach before the provisional remedy involved herein can be requested by a
having been occupied by him and his family since 1972, and is therefore plaintiff. A contrario, Chief Justice Narvasa obliterated this unfounded assertion in Davao Light
exempt from attachment. and Power Co., Inc. vs. Court of Appeals (204 SCRA [1991]) whose dissertation on the subject
as related and applied to the present inquiry is quite enlightening:
The contention is not well-taken.
It is incorrect to theorize that after an action or proceeding has been as above pointed out, is the date that marks "the commencement of the
commenced and jurisdiction over the person of the plaintiff has been vested action; and the reference plainly is to a time before summons is served on
in the court, but before the acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of the the defendant, or even before summons issues. What the rule is saying
defendant (either by service of summons or his voluntary submission to the quite clearly is that after an action is properly commenced by the filing of
court's authority), nothing can be validly done by the plaintiff or the court. It the complaint and the payment of all requisite docket and other fees the
is wrong to assume that the validity of acts done during this period should plaintiff may apply for and obtain a writ of preliminary attachment upon
be dependent on, or held in suspension until, the actual obtention of fulfillment of the pertinent requisites laid down by law, and that he may do
jurisdiction over the defendant's person. The obtention by the court of so at any time, either before or after service of summons on the defendant.
jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is one thing; quite another is And this indeed, has been the immemorial practice sanctioned by the
the acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of the plaintiff or over the courts: for the plaintiff or other proper party to incorporate the application for
subject-matter or nature of the action, or the res or object thereof. attachment in the complaint or other appropriate pleading (counterclaim,
cross-claim, third-party claim) and for the Trial Court to issue the writ ex-
parte at the commencement application otherwise sufficient in form and
An action or proceeding is commenced by the filing of the complaint or other
substance. (at pp. 347-350.)
initiatory pleading. By that act, the jurisdiction of the court over the subject
matter or nature of the action or proceeding is invoked or called into activity,
and it thus that the court acquires over said subject matter or nature of the Petitioner seeks to capitalize on the legal repercussion that ipso facto took place when the
action. And it is by that self-same act of the plaintiff (or petitioner) of filing complaint against him was amended. He proffers the idea that the extinction of a complaint via a
the complaint (or other appropriate pleading) by which he signifies his superseding one carries with it the cessation of the ancilliary writ of preliminary attachment. We
submission to the court's power and authority that jurisdiction is acquired could have agreed with petitioner along this line had he expounded the adverse aftermath of an
by the court over his person. On the other hand, jurisdiction over the person amended complaint in his omnibus motion. But the four corners of his motion in this respect filed
of the defendant is obtained, as above stated, by the service of summons or on September 5, 1990 are circumscribed by other salient points set forth by Us relative to the
other coercive process upon him or by his voluntary submission to the propriety of the assailed writ itself. This being so, petitioner's eleventh hour effort in pressing a
authority of the court. crucial factor for exculpation must be rendered ineffective and barred by the omnibus motion
rule.
The events that follow the filing of the complaint as a matter of routine are
well known. After the complaint is filed, summons issues to the defendant, Lastly, petitioner is one of the belief that his abode at Quezon City since 1972 is a family home
the summons is then transmitted to the sheriff, and finally, service of the within the purview of the Family Code and therefore should not have been subjected to the
summons is effected on the defendant in any of the ways authorized by the vexatious writ. Yet, petitioner must concede that respondent court properly applied the
Rules of Court. There is thus ordinarily some appreciable interval of time discussion conveyed by Justice Gancayco in this regard when he spoke for the First Division of
between the day of filing of the complaint and the day of service of this Court in Modequillo vs. Breva (185 SCRA 766 [1990]) that:
summons of the defendant. During this period, different acts may be done
by the plaintiff or by the Court, which are of unquestionable validity and
Article 155 of the Family Code also provides as follows:
propriety. Among these, for example, are the appointment of a guardian ad
litem, the grant of authority to the plaintiff to prosecute the suit as a pauper
litigant, the amendment of the complaint by the plaintiff as a matter of right Art. 155. The family home shall be exempt from
without leave of court, authorization by the Court of service of summons by execution, forced sale or attachment except:
publication, the dismissal of the action by the plaintiff on mere notice.
(1) For non-payment of taxes;
This, too, is true with regard to the provisional remedies of preliminary
attachment, preliminary injunction, receivership or replevin. They may be
(2) For debts incurred prior to the constitution of the
validly and properly applied for and granted even before the defendant is
family home;
summoned or heard from.

(3) For debts secured by mortgages on the premises


A preliminary attachment may be defined, paraphrasing the Rules of Court,
before or after such constitution; and
as the provisional remedy in virtue of which a plaintiff or other proper party
may, at the commencement of the action or at any time thereafter, have the
property of the adverse party taken into the custody of the court as security (4) For debts due to laborers, mechanics, architects,
for the satisfaction of any judgment that may be recovered. It is a remedy builders, materialmen and others who have rendered
which is purely statutory in respect of which the law requires a strict service for the construction of the building.
construction of the provisions granting it. Withal no principle, statutory or
jurisprudential, prohibits its issuance by any court before acquisition of
jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. The exemption provided as aforestated is effective from the time of the
constitution of the family home as such, and lasts so long as any of its
beneficiaries actually resides therein.
Rule in fact speaks of the grant of the remedy "at the commencement of the
action or at any time thereafter," The phrase, "at the commencement of the
action," obviously refers to the date of the filing of the complaint which,
In the present case, the residential house and lot of petitioner was
constituted as a family home whether judicially or extrajudicially under the
Civil Code. It became a family home by operation of law under Article 153 of
the Family Code. It is deemed constituted as a family home upon the
effectivity of the Family Code on August 3, 1988 not August 4, one year after
its publication in the Manila Chronicle on August 4, 1987 (1988 being a leap
year).

The contention of petitioner that it should be considered a family home from


the time it was occupied by petitioner and his family in 1969 is not well-
taken. Under Article 162 of the Family Code, it is provided that "the
provisions of this Chapter shall also govern existing family residences
insofar as said provisions are applicable." It does not mean that Articles 152
and 153 of said Code have a retroactive effect such that all existing family
residences are deemed to have been constituted as family homes at the
time of their occupation prior to the effectivity of the Family Code and are
exempt from execution for the payment of obligations incurred before the
effectivity of the Family Code. Article 162 simply means that all existing
family residences at the time of the effectivity of the Family Code, are
considered family homes and are prospectively entitled to the benefits
accorded to a family home under the Family Code. Article 162 does not
state that the provisions of Chapter 2, Title V have a retroactive effect.

Is the family home of petitioner exempt from execution of the money


judgment aforecited? No. The debt or liability which was the basis of the
judgment arose or was incurred at the time of the vehicular accident on
March 16, 1976 and the money judgment arising therefrom was rendered by
the appellate court on January 29, 1988. Both preceded the effectivity of the
Family Code on August 3, 1988. This case does not fall under the
exemptions from execution provided in the Family Code. (at pp. 771-772).

Verily, according to petitioner, his debt was incurred in 1987 or prior to the effectivity on August
3, 1988 of the Family Code (page 17, petition; page 22, Rollo). This fact alone will militate
heavily against the so-called exemption by sheer force of exclusion embodied under paragraph
2, Article 155 of the Family Code cited inModequillo.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED, with costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

Bidin, Davide and Romero, JJ., concur.


G.R. No. 170829 November 20, 2006 Hence, the instant petition on the following issues:

PERLA G. PATRICIO, Petitioner, I.


vs.
MARCELINO G. DARIO III and THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, Second
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS PATENTLY ERRED IN REVERSING ITS
Division, Respondents.
EARLIER DECISION OF OCTOBER 19, 2005 WHICH AFFIRMED IN TOTO THE
DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT DATED 03 OCTOBER 2002 GRANTING THE
DECISION PARTITION AND SALE BY PUBLIC AUCTION OF THE SUBJECT PROPERTY.

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: II.

This petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeks to annul and set COROLLARILY, THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS PATENTLY ERRED IN
aside the Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated December 9, 20051 in CA-G.R. CV No. APPLYING ARTICLE 159 IN RELATION TO ARTICLE 154 OF THE FAMILY CODE
80680, which dismissed the complaint for partition filed by petitioner for being contrary to law ON FAMILY HOME INSTEAD OF ARTICLE 494 IN RELATION TO ARTICLES 495
and evidence. AND 498 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE ON CO-OWNERSHIP.7

On July 5, 1987, Marcelino V. Dario died intestate. He was survived by his wife, petitioner Perla The sole issue is whether partition of the family home is proper where one of the co-owners
G. Patricio and their two sons, Marcelino Marc Dario and private respondent Marcelino G. Dario refuse to accede to such partition on the ground that a minor beneficiary still resides in the said
III. Among the properties he left was a parcel of land with a residential house and a pre-school home.
building built thereon situated at 91 Oxford corner Ermin Garcia Streets in Cubao, Quezon City,
as evidenced by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. RT-30731 (175992) of the Quezon City
Private respondent claims that the subject property which is the family home duly constituted by
Registry of Deeds, covering an area of seven hundred fifty five (755) square meters, more or
spouses Marcelino and Perla Dario cannot be partitioned while a minor beneficiary is still living
less.2
therein namely, his 12-year-old son, who is the grandson of the decedent. He argues that as
long as the minor is living in the family home, the same continues as such until the beneficiary
On August 10, 1987, petitioner, Marcelino Marc and private respondent, extrajudicially settled becomes of age. Private respondent insists that even after the expiration of ten years from the
the estate of Marcelino V. Dario. Accordingly, TCT No. RT-30731 (175992) was cancelled and date of death of Marcelino on July 5, 1987, i.e., even after July 1997, the subject property
TCT No. R-213963 was issued in the names of petitioner, private respondent and Marcelino continues to be considered as the family home considering that his minor son, Marcelino
Marc. Lorenzo R. Dario IV, who is a beneficiary of the said family home, still resides in the premises.

Thereafter, petitioner and Marcelino Marc formally advised private respondent of their intention On the other hand, petitioner alleges that the subject property remained as a family home of the
to partition the subject property and terminate the co-ownership. Private respondent refused to surviving heirs of the late Marcelino V. Dario only up to July 5, 1997, which was the 10th year
partition the property hence petitioner and Marcelino Marc instituted an action for partition before from the date of death of the decedent. Petitioner argues that the brothers Marcelino Marc and
the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City which was docketed as Civil Case No. Q-01-44038 and private respondent Marcelino III were already of age at the time of the death of their
raffled to Branch 78. father,8 hence there is no more minor beneficiary to speak of.

On October 3, 2002,3 the trial court ordered the partition of the subject property in the following The family home is a sacred symbol of family love and is the repository of cherished memories
manner: Perla G. Patricio, 4/6; Marcelino Marc G. Dario, 1/6; and Marcelino G. Dario III, 1/6. The that last during ones lifetime.9 It is the dwelling house where husband and wife, or by an
trial court also ordered the sale of the property by public auction wherein all parties concerned unmarried head of a family, reside, including the land on which it is situated. 10 It is constituted
may put up their bids. In case of failure, the subject property should be distributed accordingly in jointly by the husband and the wife or by an unmarried head of a family.11 The family home is
the aforestated manner.4 deemed constituted from the time it is occupied as a family residence. From the time of its
constitution and so long as any of its beneficiaries actually resides therein, the family home
continues to be such and is exempt from execution, forced sale or attachment except as
Private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the trial court on
hereinafter provided and to the extent of the value allowed by law.12
August 11, 2003,5hence he appealed before the Court of Appeals, which denied the same on
October 19, 2005. However, upon a motion for reconsideration filed by private respondent on
December 9, 2005, the appellate court partially reconsidered the October 19, 2005 Decision. In The law explicitly provides that occupancy of the family home either by the owner thereof or by
the now assailed Resolution, the Court of Appeals dismissed the complaint for partition filed by "any of its beneficiaries" must be actual. That which is "actual" is something real, or actually
petitioner and Marcelino Marc for lack of merit. It held that the family home should continue existing, as opposed to something merely possible, or to something which is presumptive or
despite the death of one or both spouses as long as there is a minor beneficiary thereof. The constructive. Actual occupancy, however, need not be by the owner of the house specifically.
heirs could not partition the property unless the court found compelling reasons to rule Rather, the property may be occupied by the "beneficiaries" enumerated in Article 154 of the
otherwise. The appellate court also held that the minor son of private respondent, who is a Family Code, which may include the in-laws where the family home is constituted jointly by the
grandson of spouses Marcelino V. Dario and Perla G. Patricio, was a minor beneficiary of the husband and wife. But the law definitely excludes maids and overseers. They are not the
family home.6 beneficiaries contemplated by the Code.13
Article 154 of the Family Code enumerates who are the beneficiaries of a family home: (1) The head who constituted the family home, or of the spouse who consented to the constitution of his
husband and wife, or an unmarried person who is the head of a family; and (2) Their parents, or her separate property as family home. After 10 years and a minor beneficiary still lives
ascendants, descendants, brothers and sisters, whether the relationship be legitimate or therein, the family home shall be preserved only until that minor beneficiary reaches the age of
illegitimate, who are living in the family home and who depend upon the head of the family for majority. The intention of the law is to safeguard and protect the interests of theminor
legal support. beneficiary until he reaches legal age and would now be capable of supporting
himself. However, three requisites must concur before a minor beneficiary is entitled to the
benefits of Art. 159: (1) the relationship enumerated in Art. 154 of the Family Code; (2) they live
To be a beneficiary of the family home, three requisites must concur: (1) they must be among
in the family home, and (3) they are dependent for legal support upon the head of the family.
the relationships enumerated in Art. 154 of the Family Code; (2) they live in the family home; and
(3) they are dependent for legal support upon the head of the family.
Thus, the issue for resolution now is whether Marcelino Lorenzo R. Dario IV, the minor son of
private respondent, can be considered as a beneficiary under Article 154 of the Family Code.
Moreover, Article 159 of the Family Code provides that the family home shall continue despite
the death of one or both spouses or of the unmarried head of the family for a period of 10 years
or for as long as there is a minor beneficiary, and the heirs cannot partition the same unless the As to the first requisite, the beneficiaries of the family home are: (1) The husband and wife, or an
court finds compelling reasons therefor. This rule shall apply regardless of whoever owns the unmarried person who is the head of a family; and (2) Their parents, ascendants, descendants,
property or constituted the family home. brothers and sisters, whether the relationship be legitimate or illegitimate. The term
"descendants" contemplates all descendants of the person or persons who constituted the family
home without distinction; hence, it must necessarily include the grandchildren and great
Article 159 of the Family Code applies in situations where death occurs to persons who
grandchildren of the spouses who constitute a family home. Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos
constituted the family home.1wphi1 Dr. Arturo M. Tolentino comments on the effect of death of
distinguire debemos. Where the law does not distinguish, we should not distinguish. Thus,
one or both spouses or the unmarried head of a family on the continuing existence of the family
private respondents minor son, who is also the grandchild of deceased Marcelino V. Dario
home:
satisfies the first requisite.

Upon the death of the spouses or the unmarried family head who constituted the family home, or
As to the second requisite, minor beneficiaries must be actually living in the family home to avail
of the spouse who consented to the constitution of his or her separate property as family home,
of the benefits derived from Art. 159. Marcelino Lorenzo R. Dario IV, also known as Ino, the son
the property will remain as family home for ten years or for as long as there is a minor
of private respondent and grandson of the decedent Marcelino V. Dario, has been living in the
beneficiary living in it. If there is no more beneficiary left at the time of death, we believe the
family home since 1994, or within 10 years from the death of the decedent, hence, he satisfies
family home will be dissolved or cease, because there is no more reason for its
the second requisite.
existence. If there are beneficiaries who survive living in the family home, it will continue
for ten years, unless at the expiration of the ten years, there is still a minor beneficiary, in
which case the family home continues until that beneficiary becomes of age. However, as to the third requisite, Marcelino Lorenzo R. Dario IV cannot demand support from
his paternal grandmother if he has parents who are capable of supporting him. The liability for
legal support falls primarily on Marcelino Lorenzo R. Dario IVs parents, especially his father,
After these periods lapse, the property may be partitioned by the heirs. May the heirs who are
herein private respondent who is the head of his immediate family. The law first imposes the
beneficiaries of the family home keep it intact by not partitioning the property after the period
obligation of legal support upon the shoulders of the parents, especially the father, and only in
provided by this article? We believe that although the heirs will continue in ownership by
their default is the obligation imposed on the grandparents.
not partitioning the property, it will cease to be a family home.14 (Emphasis supplied)

Marcelino Lorenzo R. Dario IV is dependent on legal support not from his grandmother, but from
Prof. Ernesto L. Pineda further explains the import of Art. 159 in this manner:
his father.1wphi1Thus, despite residing in the family home and his being a descendant of
Marcelino V. Dario, Marcelino Lorenzo R. Dario IV cannot be considered as beneficiary
The family home shall continue to exist despite the death of one or both spouses or of the contemplated under Article 154 because he did not fulfill the third requisite of being dependent
unmarried head of the family. Thereafter, the length of its continued existence is dependent on his grandmother for legal support. It is his father whom he is dependent on legal support, and
upon whether there is still a minor-beneficiary residing therein. For as long as there is who must now establish his own family home separate and distinct from that of his parents,
one beneficiary even if the head of the family or both spouses are already dead, the being of legal age.
family home will continue to exist (Arts. 153, 159). If there is no minor-beneficiary, it will
subsist until 10 years and within this period, the heirs cannot partition the same except
Legal support, also known as family support, is that which is provided by law, comprising
when there are compelling reasons which will justify the partition. This rule applies
everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and
regardless of whoever owns the property or who constituted the family home.15 (Emphasis
transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family.16 Legal support has the
supplied)
following characteristics: (1) It is personal, based on family ties which bind the obligor and the
obligee; (2) It is intransmissible; (3) It cannot be renounced; (4) It cannot be compromised; (5) It
The rule in Article 159 of the Family Code may thus be expressed in this wise: If there are is free from attachment or execution; (6) It is reciprocal; (7) It is variable in amount.17
beneficiaries who survive and are living in the family home, it will continue for 10 years, unless at
the expiration of 10 years, there is still a minor beneficiary, in which case the family home
Professor Pineda is of the view that grandchildren cannot demand support directly from their
continues until that beneficiary becomes of age.
grandparents if they have parents (ascendants of nearest degree) who are capable of
supporting them. This is so because we have to follow the order of support under Art. 199.18 We
It may be deduced from the view of Dr. Tolentino that as a general rule, the family home may be agree with this view.
preserved for a minimum of 10 years following the death of the spouses or the unmarried family
The reasons behind Art. 199 as explained by Pineda and Tolentino: the closer the relationship of a PARTITION BY COMMISSIONERS and effect the actual physical partition of the subject
the relatives, the stronger the tie that binds them. Thus, the obligation to support under Art. 199 property, as well as the improvements that lie therein, in the following manner: Perla G. Dario,
which outlines the order of liability for support is imposed first upon the shoulders of the closer 4/6; Marcelino Marc G. Dario, 1/6 and Marcelino G. Dario III, 1/6. The trial court is DIRECTED to
relatives and only in their default is the obligation moved to the next nearer relatives and so on. appoint not more than three (3) competent and disinterested persons, who should determine the
technical metes and bounds of the property and the proper share appertaining to each heir,
including the improvements, in accordance with Rule 69 of the Rules of Court. When it is made
There is no showing that private respondent is without means to support his son; neither is there
to the commissioners that the real estate, or a portion thereof, cannot be divided without great
any evidence to prove that petitioner, as the paternal grandmother, was willing to voluntarily
prejudice to the interest of the parties, the court a quo may order it assigned to one of the parties
provide for her grandsons legal support. On the contrary, herein petitioner filed for the partition
willing to take the same, provided he pays to the other parties such sum or sums of money as
of the property which shows an intention to dissolve the family home, since there is no more
the commissioners deem equitable, unless one of the parties interested ask that the property be
reason for its existence after the 10-year period ended in 1997.
sold instead of being so assigned, in which case the court shall order the commissioners to sell
the real estate at public sale, and the commissioners shall sell the same accordingly, and
With this finding, there is no legal impediment to partition the subject property. thereafter distribute the proceeds of the sale appertaining to the just share of each heir. No
pronouncement as to costs.
The law does not encourage co-ownerships among individuals as oftentimes it results in
inequitable situations such as in the instant case. Co-owners should be afforded every available SO ORDERED.
opportunity to divide their co-owned property to prevent these situations from arising.
CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO
As we ruled in Santos v. Santos,19 no co-owner ought to be compelled to stay in a co-ownership Associate Justice
indefinitely, and may insist on partition on the common property at any time. An action to
demand partition is imprescriptible or cannot be barred by laches. Each co-owner may demand
at any time the partition of the common property.20

Since the parties were unable to agree on a partition, the court a quo should have ordered a
partition by commissioners pursuant to Section 3, Rule 69 of the Rules of Court. Not more than
three competent and disinterested persons should be appointed as commissioners to make the
partition, commanding them to set off to the plaintiff and to each party in interest such part and
proportion of the property as the court shall direct.

When it is made to appear to the commissioners that the real estate, or a portion thereof, cannot
be divided without great prejudice to the interest of the parties, the court may order it assigned to
one of the parties willing to take the same, provided he pays to the other parties such sum or
sums of money as the commissioners deem equitable, unless one of the parties interested ask
that the property be sold instead of being so assigned, in which case the court shall order the
commissioners to sell the real estate at public sale, and the commissioners shall sell the same
accordingly.21

The partition of the subject property should be made in accordance with the rule embodied in
Art. 996 of the Civil Code.22 Under the law of intestate succession, if the widow and legitimate
children survive, the widow has the same share as that of each of the children. However, since
only one-half of the conjugal property which is owned by the decedent is to be allocated to the
legal and compulsory heirs (the other half to be given exclusively to the surviving spouse as her
conjugal share of the property), the widow will have the same share as each of her two surviving
children. Hence, the respective shares of the subject property, based on the law on intestate
succession are: (1) Perla Generosa Dario, 4/6; (2) Marcelino Marc G. Dario II, 1/6 and (3)
Marcelino G. Dario III, 1/6.

In Vda. de Daffon v. Court of Appeals,23 we held that an action for partition is at once an action
for declaration of co-ownership and for segregation and conveyance of a determinate portion of
the properties involved. If the court after trial should find the existence of co-ownership among
the parties, the court may and should order the partition of the properties in the same action.24

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV
No. 80680 dated December 9, 2005, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The case
is REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 78, who is directed to conduct
G.R. No. L-2474 May 30, 1951 Since the boy was born on June 17, 1943, and Emiliano Andal died on January 1, 1943, that boy
is presumed to be the legitimate son of Emiliano and his wife, he having been born within three
hundred (300) days following the dissolution of the marriage. This presumption can only be
MARIANO ANDAL, assisted by mother Maria Dueas as guardian ad litem, and MARIA
rebutted by proof that it was physically impossible for the husband to have had access to his
DUEAS, plaintiffs, vs. EDUVIGIS MACARAIG, defendant.
wife during the first 120 days of the 300 next preceding the birth of the child. Is there any
evidence to prove that it was physically impossible for Emiliano to have such access? Is the fact
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.: that Emiliano was sick of tuberculosis and was so weak that he could hardly move and get up
from his bed sufficient to overcome this presumption?
Mariano Andal, a minor, assisted by his mother Maria Dueas, as guardian ad litem, brought an
action in the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur for the recovery of the ownership and Manresa on this point says: Impossibility of access by husband to wife would include (1)
possession of a parcel of land situated in the barrio of Talacop, Calabanga, Camarines Sur. absence during the initial period of conception, (2) impotence which is patent, continuing and
incurable, and (3) imprisonment, unless it can be shown that cohabitation took place through
corrupt violation of prison regulations. Manresa, 492-500, Vol. I, cited by Dr. Arturo Tolentino in
The complaint alleges that Mariano Andal is the surviving son of Emiliano Andal and Maria his book "Commentaries and Jurisprudence on the Civil Code, Vol. 1, p.90)."
Dueas; that Emiliano Andal died on September 24, 1942; that Emiliano Andal was the owner of
the parcel of land in question having acquired it from his mother Eduvigis Macaraig by virtue of a
donation propter nuptias executed by the latter in favor of the former; that Emiliano Andal had There was no evidence presented that Emiliano Andal was absent during the initial period of
been in possession of the land from 1938 up to 1942, when Eduvigis Macaraig, taking conception, specially during the period comprised between August 21, 1942 and September 10,
advantage of the abnormal situation then prevailing, entered the land in question. 1942, which is included in the 120 days of the 300 next preceding the birth of the child Mariano
Andal. On the contrary, there is enough evidence to show that during that initial period, Emiliano
Andal and his wife were still living under the marital roof. Even if Felix, the brother, was living in
The lower court rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs (a) declaring Mariano Andal the the same house, and he and the wife were indulging in illicit intercourse since May, 1942, that
legitimate son of Emiliano Andal and such entitled to inherit the land in question; (b) declaring does not preclude cohabitation between Emiliano and his wife. We admit that Emiliano was
Mariano Andal owner of said land; and (c) ordering the defendant to pay the costs of suit. already suffering from tuberculosis and his condition then was so serious that he could hardly
Defendant took the case to this Court upon the plea that only question of law are involved. move and get up from bed, his feet were swollen and his voice hoarse. But experience shows
that this does not prevent carnal intercourse. There are cases where persons suffering from this
It appears undisputed that the land in question was given by Eduvigis Macaraig to her son sickness can do the carnal act even in the most crucial stage because they are more inclined to
Emiliano Andal by virtue of a donation propter nuptias she has executed in his favor on the sexual intercourse. As an author has said, "the reputation of the tuberculosis towards eroticism
occasion of his marriage to Maria Dueas. If the son born to the couple is deemed legitimate, (sexual propensity) is probably dependent more upon confinement to bed than the
then he is entitled to inherit the land in question. If otherwise, then the land should revert back to consequences of the disease." (An Integrated Practice of Medicine, by Hyman, Vol. 3, p.2202).
Eduvigis Macaraig as the next of kin entitled to succeed him under the law. The main issue, There is neither evidence to show that Emiliano was suffering from impotency, patent,
therefore, to be determined hinges on the legitimacy of Mariano Andal in so far as his relation to continuous and incurable, nor was there evidence that he was imprisoned. The presumption of
Emiliano Andal is concerned. The determination of this issue much depends upon the legitimacy under the Civil Code in favor of the child has not, therefore, been overcome.
relationship that had existed between Emiliano Andal and his wife during the period of
conception of the child up to the date of his birth in connection with the death of the alleged We can obtain the same result viewing this case under section 68, par. (c) of Rule 123, of the
father Emiliano Andal. Rules of Court, which is practically based upon the same rai'son d'etre underlying the Civil
Code. Said section provides:
The following facts appear to have been proven: Emiliano Andal became sick of tuberculosis in
January 1941. Sometime thereafter, his brother, Felix, went to live in his house to help him work The issue of a wife cohabiting with the husband who is not impotent, is indisputably
his house to help him work his farm. His sickness became worse that on or about September 10, presumed to be legitimate, if not born within one hundred eighty days immediately
1942, he became so weak that he could hardly move and get up from his bed. On September succeeding the marriage, or after the expiration of three hundred days following its
10, 1942, Maria Duenas, his wife, eloped with Felix, and both went to live in the house of Maria's dissolution.
father, until the middle of 1943. Since May, 1942, Felix and Maria had sexual intercourse and
treated each other as husband and wife. On January 1, 1943, Emiliano died without the
presence of his wife, who did not even attend his funeral. On June 17, 1943, Maria Dueas gave We have already seen that Emiliano and his wife were living together, or at least had access one
birth to a boy, who was given the name of Mariano Andal. Under these facts, can the child be to the other, and Emiliano was not impotent, and the child was born within three (300) days
considered as the legitimate son of Emiliano? following the dissolution of the marriage. Under these facts no other presumption can be drawn
than that the issue is legitimate. We have also seen that this presumption can only be rebutted
by clear proof that it was physically or naturally impossible for them to indulge in carnal
Article 108 of the Civil Code provides: Children born after the one hundred and eighty days intercourse. And here there is no such proof. The fact that Maria Dueas has committed adultery
next following that of the celebration of marriage or within the three hundred days next following can not also overcome this presumption (Tolentino's Commentaries on the Civil Code, Vol. I, p.
its dissolution or the separation of the spouses shall be presumed to be legitimate. 92).

This presumption may be rebutted only by proof that it was physically impossible for In view of all the foregoing, we are constrained to hold that the lower court did not err in
the husband to have had access to his wife during the first one hundred and twenty declaring Mariano Andal as the legitimate son of the spouses Emiliano Andal and Maria Dueas.
days of the three hundred next preceding the birth of the child.

Wherefore, the decision appealed from is affirmed, without pronouncement as to costs.


G.R. No. 138493 June 15, 2000 in the Civil Registry of Iligan City. The case was docketed as Special Proceedings No.
3046.
TEOFISTA BABIERA, petitioner,
vs. From the petition filed, PRESENTACION asserted "that she is the only surviving child
PRESENTACION B. CATOTAL, respondent. of the late spouses Eugenio Babiera and Hermogena Cariosa, who died on May 26,
1996 and July 6, 1990 respectively; that on September 20, 1996 a baby girl was
delivered by "hilot" in the house of spouses Eugenio and Hermogena Babiera and
PANGANIBAN, J.:
without the knowledge of said spouses, Flora Guinto, the mother of the child and a
housemaid of spouses Eugenio and Hermogena Babiera, caused the
A birth certificate may be ordered cancelled upon adequate proof that it is fictitious. Thus, void is registration/recording of the facts of birth of her child, by simulating that she was the
a certificate which shows that the mother was already fifty-four years old at the time of the child's child of the spouses Eugenio, then 65 years old and Hermogena, then 54 years old,
birth and which was signed neither by the civil registrar nor by the supposed mother. Because and made Hermogena Babiera appear as the mother by forging her signature . . .; that
her inheritance rights are adversely affected, the legitimate child of such mother is a proper party petitioner, then 15 years old, saw with her own eyes and personally witnessed Flora
in the proceedings for the cancellation of the said certificate. Guinto give birth to Teofista Guinto, in their house, assisted by "hilot"; that the birth
certificate . . . of Teofista Guinto is void ab initio, as it was totally a simulated birth,
signature of informant forged, and it contained false entries, to wit: a) The child is
Statement of the Case made to appear as the legitimate child of the late spouses Eugenio Babiera and
Hermogena Cariosa, when she is not; b) The signature of Hermogena Cariosa, the
Submitted for this Court's consideration is a Petition for Review on Certiorari1 under Rule 45 of mother, is falsified/forged. She was not the informant; c) The family name BABIERA is
the Rules of Court, seeking reversal of the March 18, 1999 Decision2 of the Court of false and unlawful and her correct family name is GUINTO, her mother being single;
Appeals3 (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 56031. Affirming the Regional Trial Court of Lanao del Norte in d) Her real mother was Flora Guinto and her status, an illegitimate child; The natural
Special Proceedings No. 3046, the CA ruled as follows: father, the carpenter, did not sign it; that the respondent Teofista Barbiera's birth
certificate is void ab initio, and it is patently a simulation of birth, since it is clinically
and medically impossible for the supposed parents to bear a child in 1956 because: a)
IN VIEW HEREOF, the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED. Accordingly, the Hermogena Cariosa Babiera, was already 54 years old; b) Hermogena's last child
instant appeal is DISMISSED for lack of merit. Costs against the defendant-appellant, birth was in the year 1941, the year petitioner was born; c) Eugenio was already 65
TEOFISTA BABIERA, a.k.a. Teofista Guinto.4 years old, that the void and simulated birth certificate of Teofista Guinto would affect
the hereditary rights of petitioner who inherited the estate of cancelled and declared
The dispositive portion of the affirmed RTC Decision reads: void and theretofore she prays that after publication, notice and hearing, judgment [be]
render[ed] declaring . . . the certificate of birth of respondent Teofista Guinto as
declared void, invalid and ineffective and ordering the respondent local civil registrar of
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing findings and pronouncements of the Court, Iligan to cancel from the registry of live birth of Iligan City BIRTH CERTIFICATE
judgment is hereby rendered, to wit[:] recorded as Registry No. 16035.

1) Declaring the Certificate of Birth of respondent Teofista Guinto as null and Finding the petition to be sufficient in form and substance, the trial court issued an
void "ab initio"; order directing the publication of the petition and the date of hearing thereof in a
newspaper, the Local Civil Registrar of Iligan City, the office of the City Prosecutor of
2) Ordering the respondent Local Civil Registrar of Iligan to cancel from the Iligan City and TEOFISTA.
registry of live birth of Iligan City BIRTH CERTIFICATE recorded as Registry
No. 16035; TEOFISTA filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that "the petition states no cause
of action, it being an attack on the legitimacy of the respondent as the child of the
Furnish copies of this-decision to the Local Civil Registrar of Iligan City, the City spouses Eugenio Babiera and Hermogena Cariosa Babiera; that plaintiff has no legal
Prosecutor, counsel for private respondent Atty. Tomas Cabili and to counsel for capacity to file the instant petition pursuant to Article 171 of the Family Code; and
petitioner. finally that the instant petition is barred by prescription in accordance with Article 170
of the Family Code." The trial court denied the motion to dismiss.
SO ORDERED.
Subsequently, "Attys. Padilla, Ulindang and Padilla appeared and filed an
answer/opposition in behalf of private respondent Teofista Babiera, [who] was later on
The Facts substituted by Atty. Cabili as counsel for private respondent."

The undisputed facts are summarized by the Court of Appeals in this wise: In the answer filed, TEOFISTA averred "that she was always known as Teofista
Babiera and not Teofista Guinto; that plaintiff is not the only surviving child of the late
Presentacion B. Catotal (hereafter referred to as PRESENTACION) filed with the spouses Eugenio Babiera and Hermogena C. Babiera, for the truth of the matter [is
Regional Trial Court of Lanao del Node, Branch II, Iligan City, a petition for the that] plantiff Presentacion B. V. Catotal and [defendant] Teofista Babiera are sisters of
cancellation of the entry of birth of Teofista Babiera (herafter referred to as TEOFISTA) the full-blood. Her Certificate of Birth, signed by her mother Hermogena Babiera, . . .
Certificate of Baptism, . . . Student's Report Card . . . all incorporated in her answer,
are eloquent testimonies of her filiation. By way of special and affirmative defenses, Petitioner contends that respondent has no standing to sue, because Article 171 8 of the Family
defendant/respondent contended that the petition states no cause of action, it being Code states that the child's filiation can be impugned only by the father or, in special
an attack on the legitimacy of the respondent as the child of the spouses Eugenio circumstances, his heirs. She adds that the legitimacy of a child is not subject to a collateral
Babiera and Hermogena Carioza Babiera; that plaintiff has no legal capacity to file attack.
the instant petition pursuant to Article 171 of the Family Code; and finally that the
instant petition is barred by prescription in accordance with Article 170 of the Family
This argument is incorrect. Respondent has the requisite standing to initiate the present action.
Code.5
Section 2, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, provides that a real party in interest is one "who stands
to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or the party entitled to the avails of the
Ruling of the Court of Appeals suit."9 The interest of respondent in the civil status of petitioner stems from an action for partition
which the latter filed against the former. 10 The case concerned the properties inherited by
respondent from her parents.
The Court of Appeals held that the evidence adduced during trial proved that petitioner was not
the biological child of Hermogena Babiera. It also ruled that no evidence was presented to show
that Hermogena became pregnant in 1959. It further observed that she was already 54 years old Moreover, Article 171 of the Family Code is not applicable to the present case. A close reading
at the time, and that her last pregnancy had occurred way back in 1941. The CA noted that the of this provision shows that it applies to instances in which the father impugns the legitimacy of
supposed birth took place at home, notwithstanding the advanced age of Hermogena and its his wife's child. The provision, however, presupposes that the child was the undisputed offspring
concomitant medical complications. Moreover, petitioner's Birth Certificate was not signed by the of the mother. The present case alleges and shows that Hermogena did not give birth to
local civil registrar, and the signature therein, which was purported to be that of Hermogena, was petitioner. In other words, the prayer herein is not to declare that petitioner is an illegitimate child
different from her other signatures. of Hermogena, but to establish that the former is not the latter's child at all. Verily, the present
action does not impugn petitioner's filiation to Spouses Eugenio and Hermogena Babiera,
because there is no blood relation to impugn in the first place.
The CA also deemed inapplicable Articles 170 and 171 of the Family Code, which stated that
only the father could impugn the child's legitimacy, and that the same was not subject to a
collateral attack. It held that said provisions contemplated a situation wherein the husband or his In Benitez-Badua v. Court of Appeals, 11 the Court ruled thus:
heirs asserted that the child of the wife was not his. In this case, the action involved the
cancellation of the child's Birth Certificate for being void ab initio on the ground that the child did
Petitioner's insistence on the applicability of Articles 164, 166, 170 and 171 of the
not belong to either the father or the mother.
Family Code to the case at bench cannot be sustained. These articles provide:

Hence, this appeal.6


xxx xxx xxx

Issues
A careful reading of the above articles will show that they do not contemplate a
situation, like in the instant case, where a child is alleged not to be the child of nature
Petitioner presents the following assignment of errors: or biological child of a certain couple. Rather, these articles govern a situation where a
husband (or his heirs) denies as his own a child of his wife. Thus, under Article 166, it
is the husband who can impugn the legitimacy of said child by proving: (1) it was
1) Respondent (plaintiff in the lower court a quo) does not have the legal capacity to
physically impossible for him to have sexual intercourse, with his wife within the first
file the special proceeding of appeal under CA GR No. CV-56031 subject matter of
120 days of the 300 days which immediately preceded the birth of the child; (2) that
this review on certiorari;
for biological or other scientific reasons, the child could not have been his child; (3)
that in case of children conceived insemination, the written authorization or ratification
2) The special proceeding on appeal under CA GR No. CV-56031 is improper and is by either parent was obtained through mistake, fraud, violence, intimidation or undue
barred by [the] statute of limitation (prescription); [and] influence. Articles 170 and 171 reinforce this reading as they speak of the prescriptive
period within which the husband or any of his heirs should file the action impugning
the legitimacy of said child. Doubtless then, the appellate court did not err when it
3) The Honorable Court of Appeals, the fifteenth division utterly failed to hold, that the refused to apply these articles to the case at bench. For the case at bench is not one
ancient public record of petitioner's birth is superior to the self-serving oral testimony where the heirs of the late Vicente are contending that petitioner is not his child by
of respondent.7 Isabel. Rather, their clear submission is that petitioner was not horn to Vicente and
Isabel. Our ruling in Cabatbat-Lim vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 166 SCRA 451,
The Court's Ruling 457 cited in the impugned decision is apropos, viz:

The Petition is not meritorious. "Petitioners" recourse to Article 263 of the New Civil Code [now Art. 170 of
the Family Code] is not well-taken. This legal provision refers to an action to
impugn legitimacy. It is inapplicable to this case because this is not an
First Issue: Subject of action to impugn the legitimacy of a child, but an action of the private
respondents to claim their inheritance as legal heirs of their childless
the Present Action deceased aunt. They do not claim that petitioner Violeta Cabatbat Lim is an
illegitimate child of the deceased, but that she is not the decedent's child at
all. Being neither [a] legally adopted child, nor an acknowledged natural
child, nor a child by legal fiction of Esperanza Cabatbat, Violeta is not a q Who are your children?
legal heir of the deceased. 12(Emphasis supplied.)
a Presentation and Florentino Babiera.
Second Issue: Prescription
q Now, this Teofista Babiera claims that she is your legitimate child with your husband
Petitioner next contends that the action to contest her status as a child of the late Hermogena Eugenio Babiera, what can you say about that?
Babiera has already prescribed. She cites Article 170 of the Family Code which provides the
prescriptive period for such action:
a She is not our child.

Art. 170. The action to impugn the legitimacy of the child shall be brought within one
xxx xxx xxx
year from the knowledge of the birth or its recording in the civil register, if the husband
or, in a proper case, any of his heirs, should reside in the city or municipality where the
birth took place or was recorded. q Do you recall where she was born?

If the husband or, in his default, all of his heirs do not reside at the place of birth as a In our house because her mother was our house helper.
defined in the first paragraph or where it was recorded, the period shall be two years if
they should reside in the Philippines; and three years if abroad. If the birth of the child
q Could you recall for how long if ever this Teofista Babiera lived with you in your
has been concealed from or was unknown to the husband or his heirs, the period shall
residence?
be counted from the discovery or knowledge of the birth of the child or of the fact of
registration of said birth, whichever is earlier.
a Maybe in 1978 but she [would] always go ou[t] from time to time.
This argument is bereft of merit. The present action involves the cancellation of petitioner's Birth
Certificate; it does not impugn her legitimacy. Thus, the prescriptive period set forth in Article 170 q Now, during this time, do you recall if you ever assert[ed] her as your daughter with
of the Family Code does not apply. Verily, the action to nullify the Birth Certificate does not your husband?
prescribe, because it was allegedly void ab initio. 1
a No, sir. 15
Third Issue:
Relying merely on the assumption of validity of the Birth Certificate, petitioner has presented no
Presumption in Favor of the Birth Certificate other evidence other than the said document to show that she is really Hermogena's child;
Neither has she provided any reason why her supposed mother would make a deposition stating
that the former was not the latter's child at all.
Lastly, petitioner argues that the evidence presented, especially Hermogena's testimony that
petitioner was not her real child, cannot overcome the presumption of regularity in the issuance
of the Birth Certificate. All in all, we find no reason to reverse or modify the factual finding of the trial and the appellate
courts that petitioner was not the child of respondent's parents.
While it is true that an official document such as petitioner's Birth Certificate enjoys the
presumption of regularity, the specific facts attendant in the case at bar, as well as the totality of WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DENIED and the assailed Decision AFFIRMED. Costs
the evidence presented during trial, sufficiently negate such presumption. First, there were against petitioner.
already irregularities regarding the Birth Certificate itself. It was not signed by the local civil
registrar. 14 More important, the Court of Appeals observed that the mother's signature therein
was different from her signatures in other documents presented during the trial. SO ORDERED.

Second, the circumstances surrounding the birth of petitioner show that Hermogena is not the Melo, Purisima and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.
former's real mother. For one, there is no evidence of Hermogena's pregnancy, such as medical Vitug, J., abroad on official business.
records and doctor's prescriptions, other than the Birth Certificate itself. In fact, no witness was
presented to attest to the pregnancy of Hermogena during that time.1awphil Moreover, at the
time of her supposed birth, Hermogena was already 54 years old. Even if it were possible for her
to have given birth at such a late age, it was highly suspicious that she did so in her own home,
when her advanced age necessitated proper medical care normally available only in a hospital.

The most significant piece of evidence, however, is the deposition of Hermogena Babiera which
states that she did not give birth to petitioner, and that the latter was not hers nor her husband
Eugenio's. The deposition reads in part:
G.R. No. 105625 January 24, 1994 beget a child during their marriage; that the late Isabel, then thirty six (36) years of age, was
even referred to Dr. Constantino Manahan, a noted obstetrician-gynecologist, for treatment.
Their primary witness, Victoria Benitez-Lirio, elder sister of the late Vicente, then 77 years of
MARISSA BENITEZ-BADUA, petitioner,
age, 2 categorically declared that petitioner was not the biological child of the said spouses who
vs.
were unable to physically procreate.
COURT OF APPEALS, VICTORIA BENITEZ LIRIO AND FEODOR BENITEZ
AGUILAR, respondents.
On December 17, 1990, the trial court decided in favor of the petitioner. It dismissed the private
respondents petition for letters and administration and declared petitioner as the legitimate
Reynaldo M. Alcantara for petitioner.
daughter and sole heir of the spouses Vicente O. Benitez and Isabel Chipongian. The trial court
relied on Articles 166 and 170 of the Family Code.
Augustus Cesar E. Azura for private respondents.
On appeal, however, the Decision of the trial court was reversed on May 29, 1992 by the 17th
Division of the Court of Appeals. The dispositive portion of the Decision of the appellate court
states:
PUNO, J.:
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from herein is REVERSED and
another one entered declaring that appellee Marissa Benitez is not the
This is a petition for review of the Decision of the 12th Division of the Court of Appeals in CA- biological daughter or child by nature of the spouse Vicente O. Benitez and
G.R. No. CV No. 30862 dated May 29, 1992. 1 Isabel Chipongian and, therefore, not a legal heir of the deceased Vicente
O. Benitez. Her opposition to the petition for the appointment of an
The facts show that the spouses Vicente Benitez and Isabel Chipongian owned various administrator of the intestate of the deceased Vicente O. Benitez is,
properties especially in Laguna. Isabel died on April 25, 1982. Vicente followed her in the grave consequently, DENIED; said petition and the proceedings already
on November 13, 1989. He died intestate. conducted therein reinstated; and the lower court is directed to proceed with
the hearing of Special proceeding No. SP-797 (90) in accordance with law
and the Rules.
The fight for administration of Vicente's estate ensued. On September 24, 1990, private
respondents Victoria Benitez-Lirio and Feodor Benitez Aguilar (Vicente's sister and nephew,
respectively) instituted Sp. Proc. No. 797 (90) before the RTC of San Pablo City, 4th Judicial Costs against appellee.
Region, Br. 30. They prayed for the issuance of letters of administration of Vicente's estate in
favor of private respondent Aguilar. They alleged, inter alia, viz.: SO ORDERED.

xxx xxx xxx In juxtaposition, the appellate court held that the trial court erred in applying Articles 166 and 170
of the Family Code.
4. The decedent is survived by no other heirs or relatives be they
ascendants or descendants, whether legitimate, illegitimate or legally In this petition for review, petitioner contends:
adopted; despite claims or representation to the contrary, petitioners can
well and truly establish, given the chance to do so, that said decedent and
his spouse Isabel Chipongian who pre-deceased him, and whose estate 1. The Honorable Court of Appeals committed error of law and
had earlier been settled extra-judicial, were without issue and/or without misapprehension of facts when it failed to apply the provisions, more
descendants whatsoever, and that one Marissa Benitez-Badua who was particularly, Arts. 164, 166, 170 and 171 of the Family Code in this case and
raised and cared by them since childhood is, in fact, not related to them by in adopting and upholding private respondent's theory that the instant case
blood, nor legally adopted, and is therefore not a legal heir; . . . does not involve an action to impugn the legitimacy of a child;

On November 2, 1990, petitioner opposed the petition. She alleged that she is the sole heir of 2. Assuming arguendo that private respondents can question or impugn
the deceased Vicente Benitez and capable of administering his estate. The parties further directly or indirectly, the legitimacy of Marissa's birth, still the respondent
exchanged reply and rejoinder to buttress their legal postures. appellate Court committed grave abuse of discretion when it gave more
weight to the testimonial evidence of witnesses of private respondents
whose credibility and demeanor have not convinced the trial court of the
The trial court then received evidence on the issue of petitioner's heirship to the estate of the truth and sincerity thereof, than the documentary and testimonial evidence
deceased. Petitioner tried to prove that she is the only legitimate child of the spouses Vicente of the now petitioner Marissa Benitez-Badua;
Benitez and Isabel Chipongian. She submitted documentary evidence, among others: (1) her
Certificate of Live Birth (Exh. 3); (2) Baptismal Certificate (Exh. 4); (3) Income Tax Returns and
Information Sheet for Membership with the GSIS of the late Vicente naming her as his daughter 3. The Honorable Court of Appeals has decided the case in a way not in
(Exhs. 10 to 21); and (4) School Records (Exhs. 5 & 6). She also testified that the said spouses accord with law or with applicable decisions of the supreme Court, more
reared an continuously treated her as their legitimate daughter. On the other hand, private particularly, on prescription or laches.
respondents tried to prove, mostly thru testimonial evidence, that the said spouses failed to
We find no merit to the petition. Art. 171. The heirs of the husband may impugn the filiation of the child
within the period prescribed in the preceding Article only in the following
case:
Petitioner's insistence on the applicability of Articles 164, 166, 170 and 171 of the Family Code
to the case at bench cannot be sustained. These articles provide:
1) If the husband should die before the expiration of the period fixed for
bringing his action;
Art. 164. Children conceived or born during the marriage of the parents are
legitimate.
2) If he should die after the filing of the complaint, without having desisted
therefrom; or
Children conceived as a result of artificial insemination of the wife with
sperm of the husband or that of a donor or both are likewise legitimate
children of the husband and his wife, provided, that both of them authorized 3) If the child was born after the death of the husband.
or ratified such insemination in a written instrument executed and signed by
them before the birth of the child. The instrument shall be recorded in the
A careful reading of the above articles will show that they do not contemplate a situation, like in
civil registry together with the birth certificate of the child.
the instant case, where a child is alleged not to be the child of nature or biological child of a
certain couple. Rather, these articles govern a situation where a husband (or his heirs) denies as
Art. 166. Legitimacy of child may be impugned only on the following his own a child of his wife. Thus, under Article 166, it is the husband who can impugn the
grounds: legitimacy of said child by proving: (1) it was physically impossible for him to have sexual
intercourse, with his wife within the first 120 days of the 300 days which immediately preceded
the birth of the child; (2) that for biological or other scientific reasons, the child could not have
1) That it was physically impossible for the husband to have sexual
been his child; (3) that in case of children conceived through artificial insemination, the written
intercourse with his wife within the first 120 days of the 300 days which
authorization or ratification by either parent was obtained through mistake, fraud, violence,
immediately preceded the birth of the child because of:
intimidation or undue influence. Articles 170 and 171 reinforce this reading as they speak of the
prescriptive period within which the husband or any of his heirs should file the action impugning
a) the physical incapacity of the husband to have the legitimacy of said child. Doubtless then, the appellate court did not err when it refused to
sexual intercourse with his wife; apply these articles to the case at bench. For the case at bench is not one where the heirs of the
late Vicente are contending that petitioner is not his child by Isabel. Rather, their clear
submission is that petitioner was not born to Vicente and Isabel. Our ruling in Cabatbat-Lim
b) the fact that the husband and wife were living vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 166 SCRA 451, 457 cited in the impugned decision is
separately in such a way that sexual intercourse was apropos, viz.:
not possible; or

Petitioners' recourse to Article 263 of the New Civil Code [now Article 170 of
c) serious illness of the husband, which absolutely the Family Code] is not well-taken. This legal provision refers to an action to
prevented sexual intercourse. impugn legitimacy. It is inapplicable to this case because this is not an
action to impugn the legitimacy of a child, but an action of the private
2) That it is proved that for biological or other scientific reasons, the child respondents to claim their inheritance as legal heirs of their childless
could not have been that of the husband except in the instance provided in deceased aunt. They do not claim that petitioner Violeta Cabatbat Lim is an
the second paragraph of Article 164; or illegitimate child of the deceased, but that she is not the decedent's child at
all. Being neither legally adopted child, nor an acknowledged natural child,
nor a child by legal fiction of Esperanza Cabatbat, Violeta is not a legal heir
3) That in case of children conceived through artificial insemination, the of the deceased.
written authorization or ratification of either parent was obtained through
mistake, fraud, violence, intimidation, or undue influence.
We now come to the factual finding of the appellate court that petitioner was not the biological
child or child of nature of the spouses Vicente Benitez and Isabel Chipongian. The appellate
Art. 170. The action to impugn the legitimacy of the child shall be brought court exhaustively dissected the evidence of the parties as follows:
within one year from the knowledge of the birth or its recording in the civil
register, if the husband or, in a proper case, any of his heirs, should reside
in the city or municipality where the birth took place or was recorded. . . . And on this issue, we are constrained to say that appellee's evidence is
utterly insufficient to establish her biological and blood kinship with the
aforesaid spouses, while the evidence on record is strong and convincing
If the husband or, in his default, all of his heirs do not reside at the place of that she is not, but that said couple being childless and desirous as they
birth as defined in the first paragraph or where it was recorded, the period were of having a child, the late Vicente O. Benitez took Marissa from
shall be two years if they should reside in the Philippines; and three years if somewhere while still a baby, and without he and his wife's legally adopting
abroad. If the birth of the child has been concealed from or was unknown to her treated, cared for, reared, considered, and loved her as their own true
the husband or his heirs, the period shall be counted from the discovery or child, giving her the status as not so, such that she herself had believed that
knowledge of the birth of the child or of the fact of registration of said birth, she was really their daughter and entitled to inherit from them as such.
which ever is earlier.
The strong and convincing evidence referred to us are the following: Vicente in her birth certificate, should the child not have been born in a
hospital under the experienced, skillful and caring hands of Isabel's
obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Constantino Manahan, since delivery of a child
First, the evidence is very cogent and clear that Isabel Chipongian never
at that late age by Isabel would have been difficult and quite risky to her
became pregnant and, therefore, never delivered a child. Isabel's own only
health and even life? How come, then, that as appearing in appellee's birth
brother and sibling, Dr. Lino Chipongian, admitted that his sister had already
certificate, Marissa was supposedly born at the Benitez home in Avenida
been married for ten years and was already about 36 years old and still she
Rizal, Nagcarlan, Laguna, with no physician or even a midwife attending?
has not begotten or still could not bear a child, so that he even had to refer
her to the late Dr. Constantino Manahan, a well-known and eminent
obstetrician-gynecologist and the OB of his mother and wife, who treated his At this juncture, it might be meet to mention that it has become a practice in
sister for a number of years. There is likewise the testimony of the elder recent times for people who want to avoid the expense and trouble of a
sister of the deceased Vicente O. Benitez, Victoria Benitez Lirio, who then, judicial adoption to simply register the child as their supposed child in the
being a teacher, helped him (he being the only boy and the youngest of the civil registry. Perhaps Atty. Benitez, though a lawyer himself, thought that he
children of their widowed mother) through law school, and whom Vicente could avoid the trouble if not the expense of adopting the child Marissa
and his wife highly respected and consulted on family matters, that her through court proceedings by merely putting himself and his wife as the
brother Vicente and his wife Isabel being childless, they wanted to adopt her parents of the child in her birth certificate. Or perhaps he had intended to
youngest daughter and when she refused, they looked for a baby to adopt legally adopt the child when she grew a little older but did not come around
elsewhere, that Vicente found two baby boys but Isabel wanted a baby girl doing so either because he was too busy or for some other reason. But
as she feared a boy might grow up unruly and uncontrollable, and that definitely, the mere registration of a child in his or her birth certificate as the
Vicente finally brought home a baby girl and told his elder sister Victoria he child of the supposed parents is not a valid adoption, does not confer upon
would register the baby as his and his wife's child. Victoria Benitez Lirio was the child the status of an adopted child and the legal rights of such child,
already 77 years old and too weak to travel and come to court in San Pablo and even amounts of simulation of the child's birth or falsification of his or
City, so that the taking of her testimony by the presiding judge of the lower her birth certificate, which is a public document.
court had to be held at her residence in Paraaque, MM. Considering, her
advanced age and weak physical condition at the time she testified in this
Third, if appellee Marissa Benitez is truly the real, biological daughter of the
case, Victoria Benitez Lirio's testimony is highly trustworthy and credible, for
late Vicente O. Benitez and his wife Isabel Chipongian, why did he and
as one who may be called by her Creator at any time, she would hardly be
Isabel's only brother and sibling Dr. Nilo Chipongian, after Isabel's death on
interested in material things anymore and can be expected not to lie,
April 25, 1982, state in the extrajudicial settlement
especially under her oath as a witness. There were also several
Exh. "E" that they executed her estate, "that we are the sole heirs of the
disinterested neighbors of the couple Vicente O. Benitez and Isabel
deceased ISABEL CHIPONGIAN because she died without descendants or
Chipongian in Nagcarlan, Laguna (Sergio Fule, Cecilia Coronado, and
ascendants?" Dr. Chipongian, placed on a witness stand by appellants,
Benjamin C. Asendido) who testified in this case and declared that they
testified that it was his brother-in-law Atty. Vicente O. Benitez who prepared
used to see Isabel almost everyday especially as she had drugstore in the
said document and that he signed the same only because the latter told him
ground floor of her house, but they never saw her to have been pregnant, in
to do so (p. 24, tsn, Nov. 22, 1990). But why would Atty. Benitez make such
1954 (the year appellee Marissa Benitez was allegedly born, according to
a statement in said document, unless appellee Marissa Benitez is not really
her birth certificate Exh. "3") or at any time at all, and that it is also true with
his and his wife's daughter and descendant and, therefore, not his
the rest of their townmates. Ressureccion A. Tuico, Isabel Chipongian's
deceased wife's legal heir? As for Dr. Chipongian, he lamely explained that
personal beautician who used to set her hair once a week at her (Isabel's)
he signed said document without understanding completely the meaning of
residence, likewise declared that she did not see Isabel ever become
the words "descendant and ascendant" (p. 21, tsn, Nov. 22, 1990). This we
pregnant, that she knows that Isabel never delivered a baby, and that when
cannot believe, Dr. Chipongian being a practicing pediatrician who has even
she saw the baby Marissa in her crib one day she went to Isabel's house to
gone to the United States (p. 52, tsn, Dec. 13, 1990). Obviously,
set the latter's hair, she was surprised and asked the latter where the baby
Dr. Chipongian was just trying to protect the interests of appellee, the foster-
came from, and "she told me that the child was brought by Atty. Benitez and
daughter of his deceased sister and brother-in-law, as against those of the
told me not to tell about it" (p. 10, tsn, Nov. 29, 1990).
latter's collateral blood relatives.

The facts of a woman's becoming pregnant and growing big with child, as
Fourth, it is likewise odd and strange, if appellee Marissa Benitez is really
well as her delivering a baby, are matters that cannot be hidden from the
the daughter and only legal heir of the spouses Vicente O. Benitez and
public eye, and so is the fact that a woman never became pregnant and
Isabel Chipongian, that the latter, before her death, would write a note to her
could not have, therefore, delivered a baby at all. Hence, if she is suddenly
husband and Marissa stating that:
seen mothering and caring for a baby as if it were her own, especially at the
rather late age of 36 (the age of Isabel Chipongian when appellee Marissa
Benitez was allegedly born), we can be sure that she is not the true mother even without any legal papers, I wish that my husband
of that baby. and my child or only daughter will inherit what is legally
my own property, in case I die without a will,
Second, appellee's birth certificate Exh. "3" with the late Vicente O. Benitez
appearing as the informant, is highly questionable and suspicious. For if and in the same handwritten note, she even implored her husband
Vicente's wife Isabel, who wads already 36 years old at the time of the
child's supposed birth, was truly the mother of that child, as reported by
that any inheritance due him from my property when
he die to make our own daughter his sole heir. This
do [sic] not mean what he legally owns or his inherited
property. I leave him to decide for himself regarding
those.

(Exhs. "F-1", "F-1-A" and "F-1-B")

We say odd and strange, for if Marissa Benitez is really the daughter of the
spouses Vicente O. Benitez and Isabel Chipongian, it would not have been
necessary for Isabel to write and plead for the foregoing requests to her
husband, since Marissa would be their legal heir by operation of law.
Obviously, Isabel Chipongian had to implore and supplicate her husband to
give appellee although without any legal papers her properties when she
dies, and likewise for her husband to give Marissa the properties that he
would inherit from her (Isabel), since she well knew that Marissa is not truly
their daughter and could not be their legal heir unless her (Isabel's) husband
makes her so.

Finally, the deceased Vicente O. Benitez' elder sister Victoria Benitez Lirio
even testified that her brother Vicente gave the date
December 8 as Marissa's birthday in her birth certificate because that date
is the birthday of their (Victoria and Vicente's) mother. It is indeed too much
of a coincidence for the child Marissa and the mother of Vicente and Victoria
to have the same birthday unless it is true, as Victoria testified, that Marissa
was only registered by Vicente as his and his wife's child and that they gave
her the birth date of Vicente's mother.

We sustain these findings as they are not unsupported by the evidence on record. The weight of
these findings was not negated by documentary evidence presented by the petitioner, the most
notable of which is her Certificate of Live Birth (Exh. "3") purportedly showing that her parents
were the late
Vicente Benitez and Isabel Chipongian. This Certificate registered on December 28, 1954
appears to have been signed by the deceased Vicente Benitez. Under Article 410 of the New
Civil Code, however, "the books making up the Civil Registry and all documents relating thereto
shall be considered public documents and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein
stated." As related above, the totality of contrary evidence, presented by the private respondents
sufficiently rebutted the truth of the content of petitioner's Certificate of Live Birth. of said
rebutting evidence, the most telling was the Deed of Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate of
the Deceased Isabel Chipongian (Exh. "E") executed on July 20, 1982 by Vicente Benitez, and
Dr. Nilo Chipongian, a brother of Isabel. In their notarized document, they stated that "(they) are
the sole heirs of the deceased Isabel Chipongian because she died without descendants or
ascendants". In executing this Deed, Vicente Benitez effectively repudiated the Certificate of
Live Birth of petitioner where it appeared that he was petitioner's father. The repudiation was
made twenty-eight years after he signed petitioner's Certificate of Live Birth.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition for review is dismissed for lack of merit. Costs against
petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado, JJ., concur.

Nocon, J., is on leave.


G.R. No. L-49162 July 28, 1987 In this connection, ARLENE contends that she first met JAO sometime in the third or
fourth week of November, 1967 at the Saddle and Sirloin, Bayside Club; that after
several dates, she had carnal knowledge with him at her house at 30 Long beach,
JANICE MARIE JAO, represented by her mother and guardian ad litem, ARLENE S.
Merville, Paranaque. Rizal in the evening of November 30, 1967, and that he started
SALGADO, petitioner,
to live with her at her dwelling after December 16, 1967, the date they finished their
vs.
cruise to Mindoro Island.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and PERICO V. JAO, respondents.

On the other hand, JAO, albeit admitting that he met ARLENE at the Saddle and
PADILLA, J.:
Sirloin, Bayside Club, however, maintains that this was on December 14, 1967
because the day following, he and his guests: ARLENE, Melvin Yabut, Didi Crescini
Appeal by certiorari from the decision* of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 51078-R, dated 29 and Charlie Litonjua went to Mindoro by boat. He dated ARLENE four times in
August 1978, which dismissed petitioner"s action for recognition and support against private January, 1968. He remembered he had carnal knowledge of her for the first time on
respondent, and from the respondent Court"s resolution, dated 11 October 1978, denying January 18, 1968, because that was a week after his birthday and it was only in May,
petitioner"s motion for reconsideration of said decision. 1968 that he started cohabiting with her at the Excelsior Apartments on Roxas
Boulevard.
On 28 October 1968, petitioner Janice Marie Jao, then a minor, represented by her mother and
guardian-ad-litemArlene Salgado, filed a case for recognition and support with the Juvenile and These conflicting versions of the parties emphasize, in resolving the paternity of
Domestic Relations Court against private respondent Perico V. Jao. The latter denied paternity JANICE, the role of the blood grouping tests conducted by the NBI and which resulted
so the parties agreed to a blood grouping test which was in due course conducted by the in the negative finding that in a union with ARLENE, JAO could not be the father of
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) upon order of the trial court. The result of the blood JANICE.
grouping test, held 21 January 1969, indicated that Janice could not have been the possible
offspring of Perico V. Jao and Arlene S. Salgado.1
We cannot sustain the conclusion of the trial court that the NBI is not in a position to
determine with mathematical precision the issue of parentage by blood grouping test,
The trial court initially found the result of the tests legally conclusive but upon plaintiff"s (herein considering the rulings of this Court ... where the blood grouping tests of the NBI were
petitioner"s) second motion for reconsideration, it ordered a trial on the merits, after which, admitted; especially where, in the latter case, it was Dr. Lorenzo Sunico who
Janice was declared the child of Jao, thus entitling her to his monthly support. conducted the test and it appears that in the present case, the same Dr. Sunico
approved the findings and report. ... In Co Tao vs. Court of Appeals, 101 Phil. 188, the
Supreme Court had given weight to the findings of the NBI in its blood grouping test.
Jao appealed to the Court of Appeals, questioning the trial court"s failure to appreciate the result Thus, it cannot be gainsaid that the competency of the NBI to conduct blood grouping
of the blood grouping tests. As there was no showing whatsoever that there was any irregularity tests has been recognized as early as the 1950"s.
or mistake in the conduct of the tests, Jao argued that the result of the tests should have been
conclusive and indisputable evidence of his non-paternity.
The views of the Court on blood grouping tests may be stated as follows:
The Court of Appeals upheld Jao"s contentions and reversed the trial court"s decision. In its
decision, the Court of Appeals held: Paternity Science has demonstrated that by the analysis of blood
samples of the mother, the child, and the alleged father, it can be
established conclusively that the man is not the father of the child. But group
From the evidence of the contending parties, it appears undisputed that JAO was blood testing cannot show that a man is the father of a particular child, but
introduced to ARLENE at the Saddle and Sirloin, Bay Side Club, by Melvin Yabut. at least can show only a possibility that he is. Statutes in many states, and
After this meeting, JAO dated and courted ARLENE. Not long thereafter, they had courts in others, have recognized the value and the limitations of such tests.
their first sexual intercourse and subsequently, they lived together as husband and Some of the decisions have recognized the conclusive presumption of non-
wife. ... paternity where the results of the test, made in the prescribed manner, show
the impossibility of the alleged paternity. This is one of the few cases in
It further appears undisputed that in April 1968, JAO accompanied ARLENE to the which the judgment of the Court may scientifically be completely accurate,
Marian General Hospital for medical check-up and her confinement was with JAO"s and intolerable results avoided, such as have occurred where the finding is
consent. JAO paid the rentals where they lived, the salaries of the maids, and other allowed to turn on oral testimony conflicting with the results of the test.
household expenses. ...
The findings of such blood tests are not admissible to prove the fact of
The record discloses that ARLENE gave birth to JANICE on August 16, 1968, after paternity as they show only a possibility that the alleged father or any one of
completing 36 weeks of pregnancy, which indicates that ARLENE must have many others with the same blood type may have been the father of the
conceived JANICE on or about the first week of December, 1967. "Thus, one issue to child. But the Uniform Act recognizes that the tests may have some
be resolved in this appeal is whether on or about that time, JAO and ARLENE had probative value to establish paternity where the blood type and the
sexual intercourse and were already living with one another as husband and wife. combination in the child is shown to be rare, in which case the judge is
given discretion to let it in (I Jones on Evidence, 5th Ed., pp. 193-194).
In one specific biological trait, viz, blood groups, scientific opinion is now in December 16, 1967, then it cannot be gainsaid that JANICE was not conceived during
accord in accepting the fact that there is a causative relation between the this cohabitation. Hence, no recognition will lie. Necessarily, recognition cannot be had
trait of the progenitor and the trait of the progeny. In other words, the blood under paragraph 4 as JANICE has no other evidence or proof of her alleged paternity.
composition of a child may be some evidence as to the child"s paternity. But
thus far this trait (in the present state of scientific discovery as generally
Apart from these, there is the claim of JAO that, at the critical time of conception,
accepted) can be used only negatively i.e. to evidence that a particular man
ARLENE had carnal knowledge with two other men: "Oying" Fernandez and Melvin
F is not the father of a particular child C. (I Wigmore on Evidence 3rd Ed.,
Yabut, which was not even rebutted; and considering that it was Melvin Yabut, who
pp. 610-611).
introduced ARLENE to JAO at the Bayside Club. Moreover, the testimony of ARLENE
is not wholly reliable. When the trial court said that "the Court is further convinced of
In a last ditch effort to bar the admissibility and competency of the blood test, JANICE plaintiff"s cause by ARLENE"s manner of testifying in a most straight-forward and
claims that probative value was given to blood tests only in cases where they tended candid manner," the fact that ARLENE was admittedly a movie actress may have been
to establish paternity; and that there has been no case where the blood test was overlooked so that not even the trial court could detect, by her acts, whether she was
invoked to establish non-paternity, thereby implying that blood tests have probative lying or not.
value only when the result is a possible affirmative and not when in the negative. This
contention is fallacious and must be rejected. To sustain her contention, in effect,
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby set aside and a new one
would be recognizing only the possible affirmative finding but not the blood grouping
entered dismissing plaintiff-appellee"s complaint. Without pronouncement as to costs.
test itself for if the result were negative, the test is regarded worthless. Indeed, this is
SO ORDERED.
illogical. .... As an admitted test, it is admissible in subsequent similar proceedings
whether the result be in the negative or in the affirmative. ...
The petitioner now brings before this Court the issue of admissibility and conclusiveness of the
result of blood grouping tests to prove non-paternity.
The Court of Appeals also found other facts that ran contrary to petitioner"s contention that
JAO"s actions before and after JANICE was born were tantamount to recognition. Said the
respondent appellate court: In this jurisdiction, the result of blood tests, among other evidence, to, affirm paternity was dealt
with in Co Tao v. Court of Appeals,2 an action for declaration of filiation, support and damages. In
said case, the NBI expert"s report of the blood tests stated that "from their blood groups and
On the contrary, after JANICE was born, JAO did not recognize her as his own. In fact,
types, the defendant Co Tao is a possible father of the child." From this statement the defendant
he filed a petition that his name as father of JANICE in the latter"s certificate of live
contended that the child must have been the child of another man. The Court noted: "For
birth be deleted, evidencing his repudiation, rather than recognition. The mere acts of
obvious reasons, the NBI expert cannot give assurance that the appellant was the father of the
JAO in cohabiting with ARLENE, the attention given to her during her pregnancy and
child; he can only give his opinion that he is a "possible father." This possibility, coupled with the
the financial assistance extended to her cannot overcome the result of the blood
other facts and circumstances brought out during the trial, tends to definitely establish that
grouping test. These acts of JAO cannot be evaluated as recognizing the unborn
appellant Co Tao is the father of the child Manuel."3
JANICE as his own as the possession of such status cannot be founded on
conjectures and presumptions, especially so that, We have earlier said, JAO refused
to acknowledge JANICE after the latter"s birth. Where the issue is admissibility and conclusiveness of blood grouping tests to disprove
paternity, rulings have been much more definite in their conclusions. For the past three decades,
the use of blood typing in cases of disputed parentage has already become an important legal
JAO cannot be compelled to recognize JANICE based on paragraph 2 of Article 283 in
procedure. There is now almost universal scientific agreement that blood grouping tests are
relation to Article 289 of the New Civil Code which provides: "When the child is in
conclusive as to non-paternity, although inconclusive as to paternity that is, the fact that the
continuous possession of status of a child of the alleged father by the direct acts of the
blood type of the child is a possible product of the mother and alleged father does not
latter.
conclusively prove that the child is born by such parents; but, if the blood type of the child is not
the possible blood type when the blood of the mother and that of the alleged father are
Nor can there be compulsory recognition under paragraphs 3 or 4 of said article which crossmatched, then the child cannot possibly be that of the alleged father.4
states:
In jurisdictions like the United States, the admissibility of blood tests results to prove non-
(3) When the child was conceived during the time when the mother paternity has already been passed upon in several cases. In Gilpin v. Gilpin5 the positive results
cohabited with the supposed father; of blood tests excluding paternity, in a case in which it was shown that proper safeguards were
drawn around the testing procedures, were recognized as final on the question of paternity.
In Cuneo v. Cuneo6 evidence of non-paternity consisting of the result of blood grouping tests
(4) When the child has in his favor any evidence or proof that the defendant
was admitted despite a finding that the alleged father had cohabited with the mother within the
is his father.
period of gestation. The Court said that the competent medical testimony was overwhelmingly in
favor of the plaintiff, and to reject such testimony would be tantamount to rejecting scientific fact.
As aptly appreciated by the court below, JANICE could have been conceived from Courts, it was stated, should apply the results of science when competently obtained in aid of
November 20, 1967 to December 4, 1967. Indeed, ARLENE claims that her first situations presented, since to reject said result was to deny progress.7 This ruling was also
sexual intercourse with JAO was on November 30, 1967 while the latter avers it was echoed in Clark v. Rysedorph,8 a filiation proceeding where an uncontradicted blood grouping
one week after January 18, 1968. However, to satisfy paragraph 3 as above-quoted, test evidence, excluding paternity, was held conclusive.9 Legislation expressly recognizing the
JANICE must have been conceived when ARLENE and JAO started to cohabit with use of blood tests is also in force in several states.10 Tolentino,11 affirms this rule on blood tests
one another. Since ARLENE herself testified that their cohabitation started only after as proof of non-paternity, thus
Medical science has shown that there are four types of blood in man which can be
transmitted through heredity. Although the presence of the same type of blood in two
persons does not indicate that one was begotten by the other, yet the fact that they
are of different types will indicate the impossibility of one being the child of the other.
Thus, when the supposed father and the alleged child are not in the same blood
group, they cannot be father and child by consanguinity. The Courts of Europe today
regard a blood test exclusion as an unanswerable and indisputable proof of non-
paternity. 12

Moreover,

The cohabitation between the mother and the supposed father cannot be a ground for
compulsory recognition if such cohabitation could not have produced the conception
of the child. This would be the case, for instance, if the cohabitation took place outside
of the period of conception of the child. Likewise, if it can be proved by blood tests that
the child and the supposed father belong to different blood groups, the cohabitation by
itself cannot be a ground for recognition. 13

Petitioner has attempted to discredit the result of the blood grouping tests in the instant case by
impugning the qualifications of the NBI personnel who performed the tests and the conduct of
the tests themselves. Her allegations, in this regard, appear to be without merit. The NBI"s
forensic chemist who conducted the tests is also a serologist, and has had extensive practice in
this area for several years. The blood tests were conducted six (6) times using two (2)
scientifically recognized blood grouping systems, the MN Test and the ABO System, 14 under
witness and supervision.15

Even the allegation that Janice was too young at five months to have been a proper subject for
accurate blood tests must fall, since nearly two years after the first blood test, she, represented
by her mother, declined to undergo the same blood test to prove or disprove their allegations,
even as Jao was willing to undergo such a test again.161avvphi1

Accordingly, the Court affirms the decision of the Court of Appeals and holds that the result of
the blood grouping tests involved in the case at bar, are admissible and conclusive on the non-
paternity of respondent Jao vis-a-vis petitioner Janice. No evidence has been presented
showing any defect in the testing methods employed or failure to provide adequate safeguards
for the proper conduct of the tests. The result of such tests is to be accepted therefore as
accurately reflecting a scientific fact.

In view of the findings of fact made by the Court of Appeals, as heretofore quoted, which are
binding on this Court, we do not find it necessary to further pass upon the issue of recognition
raised by petitioner.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review is hereby denied. Without pronouncement as to
costs.

SO ORDERED.

Yap (Chairman), Melencio-Herrera, Paras and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.


G.R. No. 104376 February 23, 1994 During the time that petitioner and Leoncia were living as husband and wife, he showed concern
as the father of Merceditas. When Merceditas was in Grade I at the St. Joseph Parochial
School, he signed her Report Card for the fourth and fifth grading periods 10 as her parent. Those
ARTEMIO G. ILANO, petitioner,
signatures were both identified by Leoncia and Merceditas because he signed them in their
vs.
residence in their presence and of Elynia. 11 Since Merceditas started to have discernment, he
THE COURT OF APPEALS and MERCEDITAS (sic) S. ILANO, represented by her mother,
was already the one whom she recognized as her Daddy. 12 He treated her as a father would to
LEONCIA DE LOS SANTOS, respondent.
his child. He would bring home candies, toys, and anything a child enjoys. He would take her for
a drive, eat at restaurants, and even cuddle her to sleep. 13
Ernesto P. Pangalangan for petitioner.Eduardo S. Rodriguez for private respondent.
When petitioner ran as a candidate in the Provincial Board of Cavite, he gave Leoncia his
NOCON, J.: picture with the following dedication: "To Nene, with best regards, Temiong." 14

After the great flood, man was commanded to go forth, be fertile, multiply and fill the earth. In May, 1963, Ruth Elynia Mabanglo, niece of Leoncia, lived with Leoncia and petitioner. She
Others did not heed the sequence of this command because they multiply first and then go. accompanied her aunt when she started having labor pains in the morning of December 30,
Corollarily, it is now commonplace for an abandoned illegitimate offspring to sue his father for 1963. Petitioner arrived after five o'clock in the afternoon. When the nurse came to inquire about
recognition and support. the child, Leoncia was still unconscious so it was from petitioner that the nurse sought the
information. Inasmuch as it was already past seven o'clock in the evening, the nurse promised to
return the following morning for his signature. However, he left an instruction to give birth
The antecedent facts are narrated in the trial court's decision, as follows: certificate to Leoncia for her signature, as he was leaving early the following morning.

Leoncia first met petitioner Artemio G. Ilano while she was working as secretary to Atty. Mariano Prior to the birth of Merceditas, Elynia used to accompany her aunt and sometimes with
C. Virata. Petitioner was one of the clients of petitioner in his car to the Manila Sanitarium for prenatal
Atty. Virata. On several occasions, she and petitioner took lunch together. In less that a year's check-up. At times, she used to go to his office at 615 Sales St., Sta. Cruz, Manila, upon his
time, she resigned from her work. instructions to get money as support and sometimes he would send notes of explanation if he
cannot come which she in turn gave to her aunt. 15 They stayed at 112 Arellano St., then Sta.
Sometime in 1957, Leoncia, then managing a business of her own as Namarco distributor, met Cruz, Manila in 1966 before they finally transferred to Gagalangin in 1967. Petitioner lived with
petitioner again who was engaged in the same business and they renewed acquaintances. them up to June, 1971 when he stopped coming home.
Since then, he would give her his unsold allocation of goods. Later, he courted her more than
four years. Their relationship became intimate and with his promise of marriage, they eloped to Petitioner's defense was a total and complete denial of any relationship with Leoncia and
Guagua, Pampanga in April, 1962. They stayed at La Mesa Apartment, located behind the Merceditas. He disowned the handwritten answers and signatures opposite column 16 of the
Filipinas Telephone Company branch office, of which he is the president and general manager. death certificate of a female child surnamed Ilano, although in column 13 thereof opposite
He came home to her three or four times a week. father's name the typewritten name, Artemio G. Ilano, appears. He also denied the following: all
the notes alleged to have been received from him by Elynia for delivery to Leoncia; the
The apartment was procured by Melencio Reyes, Officer-in-Charge of the Filipinas Telephone signatures appearing in Merceditas' Report Card; and being the source of a photo of himself with
Company branch office. He also took care of the marketing and paid rentals, lights and water a handwritten dedication. He admitted that Manila Banking Corporation Check No. 81532
bills. 1 Unable to speak the local dialect, Leoncia was provided also by Melencio with a maid by including the signature is his. He was sick on December 30, 1963 and was hospitalized on
the name of Nena. Petitioner used to give her P700.00 a month for their expenses at home. January 7, 1964. 16 He does not understand why this case was filed against him. 17

In June, 1962, Leoncia, who was conceiving at that time, was fetched by petitioner and they Melencio admitted that he was the one who procured the apartment for Leoncia, leased it in his
transferred to San Juan St., Pasay City. In October, 1962, she delivered a still-born female child name, paid the rentals and bought the necessities therefor. He and Leoncia lived together and
at the Manila Sanitarium. The death certificate was signed by petitioner. 2 Thereafter, while they shared the same bed. They later transferred to San Juan St., Pasay City and to Highway 54,
were living at Highway 54, Makati, private respondent Merceditas S. Ilano was born on Makati. He stopped visiting her in March or April, 1963 because he planned to get married with
December 30, 1963 also at the Manila Sanitarium. Her birth was recorded as Merceditas de los another which he eventually did in September, 1963.
Santos Ilano, child of Leoncia Aguinaldo de los Santos and Artemio Geluz Ilano. 3 Leoncia
submitted receipts issued by the Manila Sanitarium to show that she was confined there from Diosdado Datu, fish vendor, usually delivered to the apartment fishes ordered by Melencio which
December 30, 1963 until January 2, 1964 under the name of Mrs. Leoncia Ilano. 4 were received by Leoncia.

The support by petitioner for Leoncia and Merceditas was sometimes in the form of cash Nilda Ilano Ramos, daughter of petitioner, does not know Leoncia; neither has she been brought
personally delivered by him, thru Melencio, thru Elynia (niece of Leoncia) 5 or thru Merceditas to their family home in Imus, Cavite. On December 30, 1963, her father was at their home
herself; 6 and sometimes in the form of a check like Manila Banking Corporation Check No. because he got sick on December 25, 1963 and was advised to have a complete bed rest. Her
81532, 7 the signature appearing thereon having been identified by Leoncia as that of petitioner father was hospitalized on January 7, 1964. She denied that her father was at the Manila
because he often gives her checks which he issues at home and saw him sign the Sanitarium on December 30, 1963; that he fetched a certain woman on January 2, 1964, at the
checks. 8 Both petitioner and his daughter admitted that the check and the signature are those of Manila Sanitarium because he was at their home at that time; and that her father lived with a
the former. 9 certain woman in 1963 up to June, 1971 because all this time he was living with them in Imus,
Cavite. He was working and reporting to the office everyday and when he goes to Guagua or Hence, the present petition.
Manila on business, her mother or brother goes with him.
We shall resolve the following pertinent errors allegedly committed by respondent court:
Victoria J. Ilano, petitioner's wife, further corroborated the previous testimonies about petitioner's
sickness on December 30, 1963 and hospitalization on January 7, 1964. It could not be true that
1) in awarding "back support" even in the absence of recognition or of a judgment declaring
her husband, during the years 1963 to 1968, lived three (3) times a week with a certain Leoncia
petitioner father of Merceditas with finality;
de los Santos because her husband never slept out of their house and that in his capacity as
President and Chairman of the Board of the Filipinas Telephone Company he does not go to
Guagua even once a year because they have a branch manager, Melencio Reyes. 2) in not ruling that an adulterous child cannot file an action for recognition; and

After weighing the contradictory testimonies and evidence of the parties, the trial court was not 3) in deciding matters of substance manifestly against established decisions of this Court.
fully satisfied that petitioner is the father of Merceditas, on the basis of the following:
Petitioner argues that since the complaint against him has been dismissed by the trial court,
1) petitioner and Leoncia were not in cohabitation during the period of Merceditas' conception; therefore was absolutely no obligation on his part to give support to Merceditas. It would have
been only from the date of the judgment of the trial court that support should have commenced,
if so granted. Under the law in force when the complaint was filed, an adulterous child cannot
2) testimony of Melencio that he frequented the apartment where Leoncia was living, took care
maintain an action for compulsory recognition. In order that the birth certificate may constitute a
of all the bills and shared the same bed with her;
voluntary recognition, it must be signed by the father. Equivocal act, such as signing under the
caption "parent" in the report card, is not sufficient. Merceditas has never been to the family
3) the birth certificate of Merceditas was not signed by petitioner; home of petitioner at Imus, Cavite; nor introduced to his family; nor brought around town by him,
treated as his child, introduced to other people as his child, led people to believe that she was
part of his family.
4) petitioner denied his signature in the monthly report card of Merceditas; and

The petition utterly lacks merit.


5) there is no clear and sufficient showing that support was given by petitioner to Merceditas.

Under the then prevailing provisions of the Civil Code, illegitimate children or those who are
Thus it rendered judgment on April 24, 1981 dismissing the complaint. 18
conceived and born out of wedlock were generally classified into two groups: (1) Natural,
whether actual or by fiction, were those born outside of lawful wedlock of parents who, at the
Fortunately for private respondent, respondent Court of Appeals did not share the same view as time of conception of the child, were not disqualified by any impediment to marry each other
the trial court. A review of the testimonial and documentary evidenced adduced by private (Article 119, old Civil Code; Article 269, new Civil Code) and (2) Spurious, whether incestuous,
respondent led respondent court to the firm conclusion that petitioner is her father, entitling her were disqualified to marry each other on account of certain legal impediments. 21 Since petitioner
to support. The dispositive portion of its decision dated December 17, 1991 reads: had a subsisting marriage to another at the time Merceditas was conceived, 22 she is a spurious
child. In this regard, Article 287 of the Civil Code provides that illegitimate children other than
natural in accordance with Article 269 23and other than natural children by legal fiction are
WHEREFORE, the Decision appealed from is REVERSED and judgment is entitled to support and such successional rights as are granted in the Civil Code. The Civil Code
hereby rendered declaring plaintiff MERCEDITAS S. ILANO as the duly has given these rights to them because the transgressions of social conventions committed by
acknowledged and recognized illegitimate child of defendant ARTEMIO G. the parents should not be visited upon them. They were born with a social handicap and the law
ILANO with all the right appurtenant to such status. should help them to surmount the disadvantages facing them through the misdeeds of their
parents. 24 However, before Article 287 can be availed of, there must first be a recognition of
Defendant is directed to pay the plaintiff support in arrears at the rate of paternity 25 either voluntarily or by court action. This arises from the legal principle that an
EIGHT HUNDRED (P800.00) PESOS a month from the date of the filing of unrecognized spurious child like a natural child has no rights from his parents or to their estate
the complaint on August 16, 1972 up to August 15, 1975; ONE THOUSAND because his rights spring not from the filiation or blood relationship but from his acknowledgment
(P1,000.00) PESOS a month from August 16, 1975 to August 15, 1978; by the parent. In other words, the rights of an illegitimate child arose not because he was the
ONE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED (P1,300.00) PESOS a month from true or real child of his parents but because under the law, he had been recognized or
August 16, 1978 to August 15, 1981; and ONE THOUSAND FIVE acknowledged as such a child. 26 The relevant law on the matter is Article 283 of the Civil Code,
HUNDRED (P1,500.00) a month from August 16, 1981 up to the time she which provides:
reached the age of majority on December 30, 1984.
Art. 283. In any of the following cases, the father is obliged to recognize the
Defendant is further ordered to pay the plaintiff the sum of P10,000.00 as child as his natural child:
attorney's fees plus the costs.
(1) In cases of rape, abduction or seduction, when the period of the offense
SO ORDERED. 19 coincides more or less with that of the conception;

The motion for reconsideration was denied in the resolution dated February 26, 1992. 20
(2) When the child is in continuos possession of status of a child of the At the Guagua apartment, Artemio would visit Leoncia three of four times a
alleged father by the direct acts of the latter or of his family; week and sleeps there (TSN, p. 47, 8/13/73). Artemio was giving Leoncia an
allowance of P700.00 a month (TSN, p. 38, 7/18/73).
(3) When the child was conceived during the time when the mother
cohabited with the supposed father; Leoncia got pregnant and Artemio found it difficult to commute between
Cavite and Guagua so that in June 1962, Artemio transferred Leoncia to
Calle San Juan, Pasay City (TSN, pp. 19-20, 7/18/73) where they were
(4) When the child has in his favor any evidence or proof that the defendant
known as husband and wife (id. p. 41). In leaving Guagua for San Juan,
is his father.
Pasay City, Leoncia was fetched by Artemio in a car driven by Artemio
himself. (pp. 9-11, Appellant's Brief)
While the aforementioned provision speaks of the obligation of the father to recognize the child
as his naturalchild, for the purpose of the present case, petitioner is obliged to recognize
Even as Artemio and Leoncia lived and transferred to several places
Merceditas as his spurious child. This provision should be read in conjunction with Article 289 of
heretofore mentioned, Melencio continued to be a trusted man Friday of
the Civil Code which provides:
Artemio who would deliver notes (Exhs. "F", "F-1" and "F-3") and money
from Artemio to Leoncia. For reference, among the notes identified by
Art. 289. Investigation of the paternity or maternity of (other illegitimate) Leoncia as having come from defendant were the following:
children . . . under the circumstances specified in articles 283 and 284.
Exh. "F-1"
In reversing the decision of the trial court, respondent court found, as it is likewise our finding,
that private respondent's evidence to establish her filiation with and the paternity of petitioner is
"Dear Ne,
too overwhelming to be ignored or brushed aside by the highly improbable and fatally flawed
testimony of Melencio and the inherently weak denials of petitioner:
Magsimula akong makausap ni Gracing ay nagkaroon ako ng diferencia sa
paa at ngayon ay masakit pa.
Significantly, the Court a quo believed that plaintiff's mother and defendant
carried an intimate relations. It nonetheless was not satisfied that defendant
is the father of the plaintiff because it is not convinced that her mother and Si Miling ay ngayon lamang nakarating dito kung hindi ka aalis diyan ay si
defendant were in cohabitation during the period of her conception, and Miling na lamang ang utusan mo sa Makati kung may kailangan ka
took into account the testimony of Melencio S. Reyes who frequented the dian.Sgn."
apartment where Leoncia de los Santos was living and who positively
testified that he took care of all the bills and that he shared the same bed
"Mayroon akong nakitang bahay na mayayari malapit sa municipio ng
with plaintiffs mother.
Makati. Ipakikita ko sa iyo kung papayag ka.

The court a quo completely ignored the fact that the apartment at Guagua
Sabihin mo kay Miling kung hindi ka aalis diyan bukas ay pupunta ako.
was rented by the defendant, and that Melencio Reyes, who was a mere
employee and godson of the defendant with a monthly salary of P560.00
was a mere subaltern of the latter, and only frequented the place upon Walang makitang bahay sa San Juan.Sgn."
instruction of the defendant to take care of the needs of the plaintiff.
Exh. "F-2"
As pointed out by appellant, Leoncia and Artemio stayed in an apartment at
the back of the Guagua Telephone System owned by and of which Artemio
"Ne, sa Viernes ay pupunta ako dian marami akong ginagawa.Sgn."
was the General Manager (TSN, p. 46, 8/18/73) and Melencio was the
Officer-in-Charge in the absence of Artemio whose residence and main
office was in Cavite. There, for the first time, Leoncia met Melencio (TSN, Exh. "F-3"
pp. 3-4, 1/25/74). The apartment in Guagua was rented in the name of
Melencio. As Leoncia does not speak the Pampango dialect (TSN, p. 50,
8/18/73), Artemio gave Leoncia the instruction to call upon Melencio for "Ne, si Miling ay bukas pupunta dito ay sa tanghali ay pupunta ako diyan
whatever Leoncia needs (TSN, pp. 11-12, 1/25/74). Thus, it was Melencio (11:30 am). Wala akong pera ngayon kaya bukas na, sigurado yon.
who procured all the supplies and services needed in the apartment for
which procurement Melencio gives to Leoncia the corresponding receipts of Sgn."
payment for liquidation of cash advances Artemio or the Guagua Telephone
System or Leoncia herself, gives to Melencio (Exhs. A, A-1 to 14; TSN, p.
32, 8/13/73; TSN, pp. 7, 12 and 14, 1/25/74). Exh. "F-4"

"Dear Ne, Pacencia ka na at hindi ako nakapaglalakad gawa ng mataas ang


dugo, kaya minsan-minsan lamang ako makapunta sa oficena.
Ibigay mo ang bayad sa bahay sa Sabado ng umaga, pipilitin kong requirements. "Continuous" does not, however, mean that the concession of
makarating dian sa Jueves.Sgn." status shall continue forever but only that it shall not be of an intermittent
character while it continues (De Jesus v. Syquia, 58 Phil. 866). The
possession of such status means that the father has treated the child as his
The address "Ne" in the beginning of these notes refer to Leoncia whose
own, directly and not through other, spontaneously and without concealment
nickname is "Nene" but which Artemio shortens to "Ne". Miling is the
though without publicity (since the relation is illegitimate) (J.B.L. Reyes and
nickname of Melencio. The "Gracing" mentioned in Exh. "F-1" refers to
R.C. Puno, Outline of Philippine Civil Law, Vol. 1, 1964 ed., pp. 269-270
Gracia delos Santos, a sister-in-law of Leoncia who was with Artemio when
citing Coquia vs. Coquia, CA 50, O.G. 3701) There must be a showing of
Leoncia was removed from the hospital during the birth of Merceditas. (pp.
the permanent intention of the supposed father to consider the child as his
17-19, Appellant's Brief). These tiny bits of evidence when pieced together
own, by continuous and clear manifestation of paternal affection and care.
ineluctably gives lie to defendants' diversionary defense that it was with
(Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. 1, 1983 ed., p. 602). (Mendoza
Melencio S. Reyes with whom the mother lived with during her period of
vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 86302, September 24, 1991.)
conception.

It was Artemio who made arrangement for the delivery of Merceditas (sic) at
The attempt of Melencio S. Reyes to show that he was the lover of Leoncia
the Manila Sanitarium and Hospital. Prior to the delivery, Leoncia underwent
being in the apartment and sharing the same bedroom and the same bed
prenatal examination by Artemio (TSN, p. 33, 5/17/74). After delivery, they
hardly inspires belief.
went home to their residence at EDSA in a car owned and driven by Artemio
himself (id. p. 36).
xxx xxx xxx
Merceditas (sic) bore the surname of "Ilano" since birth without any
Undoubtedly, the role played by Melencio S. Reyes in the relationship objection on the part of Artemio, the fact that since Merceditas (sic) had her
between Leoncia and appellant (sic) was that of a man Friday although discernment she had always known and called Artemio as her "Daddy"
appellant (sic) would not trust him to the hilt and unwittingly required him to (TSN, pp. 28-29, 10/18/74); the fact that each time Artemio was at home, he
submit to Leoncia an accounting of his expenditures would play with Merceditas (sic), take her for a ride or restaurants to eat,
(Exhs. A, A-1 to A-14) for cash advances given to him by Leoncia, Artemio and sometimes sleeping with Merceditas (sic) (id. p. 34) and does all what a
or Guagua Telephone System which would not have been the case, if it father should do for his child bringing home goodies, candies, toys and
were true that there was an intimate relationship between him and plaintiff's whatever he can bring her which a child enjoys which Artemio gives
mother. Merceditas (sic) (TSN, pp. 38-39, 5/17/74) are positive evidence that
Merceditas (sic) is the child of Artemio and recognized by Artemio as such.
Special attention is called to Exh. "E-7" where Artemio was telling Leoncia
Evidently, following the instruction of his employer and Godfather, Melencio the need for a "frog test" to know the status of Leoncia.
foisted on the court a quothe impression that he was the lover and
paramour of Leoncia but since there was really no such relationship, he
could not state the place in San Juan or Highway 54 where he took Leoncia, Plaintiff pointed out that the support by Artemio for Leoncia and Merceditas
nor how long they stayed there belying his pretense (sic) of an intimate (sic) was sometimes in the form of cash personally delivered to her by
relationship with plaintiffs mother. 27 Artemio, thru Melencio, thru Elynia (Exhs. "E-2" and "E-3",
and "D-6"), or thru Merceditas (sic) herself (TSN, p. 40, 5/17/74) and
sometimes in the form of a check as the Manila Banking Corporation Check
Having discredited the testimonies of petitioner and Melencio, respondent court then applied No. 81532 (Exh. "G") and the signature appearing therein which was
paragraph (2) of Article 283: identified by Leoncia as that of Artemio because Artemio often gives her
checks and Artemio would write the check at home and saw Artemio sign
The court a quo did not likewise consider the evidences as sufficient to the check (TSN, p. 49, 7/18/73). Both Artemio and Nilda admitted that the
establish that plaintiff was in continuous possession of status of a child in check and signature were those of Artemio (TSN, p. 53, 10/17/77;
view of the denial by appellee of his paternity, and there is no clear and TSN, p. 19, 10/9/78).
sufficient evidence that the support was really given to plaintiff's mother. The
belated denial of paternity after the action has been filed against the During the time that Artemio and Leoncia were living as husband and wife,
putative father is not the denial that would destroy the paternity of the child Artemio has shown concern as the father of Merceditas (sic). When
which had already been recognized by defendant by various positive acts Merceditas (sic) was in Grade 1 at the St. Joseph Parochial School, Artemio
clearly evidencing that he is plaintiff's father. A recognition once validly made signed the Report Card of Merceditas (sic) (Exh. "H") for the fourth and fifth
is irrevocable. It cannot be withdrawn. A mere change of mind would be grading period(s) (Exh. "H-1" and "H-2") as the parent of Merceditas (sic).
incompatible with the stability of the civil status of person, the permanence Those signatures of Artemio were both identified by Leoncia and Merceditas
of which affects public interest. Even when the act in which it is made (sic) because Artemio signed Exh. "H-1" and
should be revocable, the revocation of such act will not revoke the "H-2" at their residence in the presence of Leoncia, Merceditas (sic) and of
recognition itself (1 Tolentino, pp. 579-580, 1983 Ed.). Elynia (TSN, p. 57, 7/18/73; TSN, p. 28, 10/1/73). . . .

To be sure, to establish "the open and continuous possession of the status xxx xxx xxx
of an illegitimate child," it is necessary to comply with certain jurisprudential
When Artemio run as a candidate in the Provincial Board of Cavite, Artemio 30, 1963 (id. p. 26). As pointed out in Castro vs. Court of Appeals, 173
gave Leoncia his picture with the following dedication: "To Nene, with best SCRA 656:
regards, Temiong". (Exh. "I"). (pp. 19-20, Appellant's Brief)
The ruling in Roces vs. Local Civil Registrar of
The mere denial by defendant of his signature is not sufficient to offset the Manila (102 Phil. 1050 [1958] andBerciles
totality of the evidence indubitably showing that the signature thereon v. Government Service Insurance System (128 SCRA
belongs to him. The entry in the Certificate of Live Birth that Leoncia and 53 [1984] that if the father did not sign in the birth
Artemio was falsely stated therein as married does not mean that Leoncia is certificate, the placing of his name by the mother,
not appellee's daughter. This particular entry was caused to be made by doctor, register, or other person is incompetent
Artemio himself in order to avoid embarrassment. evidence of paternity does not apply to this case
because it was Eustaquio himself who went to the
municipal building and gave all the data about his
It is difficult to believe that plaintiffs mother, who is a mere dressmaker, had
daughter's birth. . . .
long beforehand diabolically conceived of a plan to make it appear that
defendant, who claims to be a total stranger to be a total stranger, was the
father of her child, and in the process falsified the latter's signatures and . . . the totality of the evidence, as pointed to above, is more than sufficient
handwriting. 28 to establish beyond reasonable doubt that appellee is the father of the
plaintiff Merceditas (sic) Ilano.
Granting ex gratia argument that private respondent's evidence is not sufficient proof of
continuos possession of status of a spurious child, respondent court applied next paragraph (4) As elucidated in Mendoza vs. Court of Appeals, Supra:
of Article 283:
xxx xxx xxx
. . . plaintiffs testimonial and documentary evidence . . . (is) too replete with
details that are coherent, logical and natural which cannot be categorized as
. . . although Teopista has failed to show that she was in open and
mere fabrications of an inventive and malicious mind of which Leoncia de
continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child of Casimiro, we
los Santos was not shown to possess.
find that she has nevertheless established that status by another method.

The natural, logical and coherent evidence of plaintiff from the genesis of
What both the trial court and the respondent did not take into account is that
the relationship between Leoncia and appellee, their living together as
an illegitimate child is allowed to establish his claimed affiliation by "any
circumstances of plaintiff's birth, the acts of appellee in recognizing and
other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws," according to
supporting plaintiff, find ample support from the testimonial and
the Civil Code, . . . Such evidence may consist of his baptismal certificate, a
documentary evidence which leaves no room to reasonably doubt his
judicial admission, a family Bible in which his name has been entered,
paternity which may not be infirmed by his belated denials.
common reputation respecting his pedigree, admission by silence, the
testimonies of witnesses, and other kinds of proof admissible under Rule
Notably, the court a quo did not consider plaintiff's evidence as lacking in 130 of the Rules of Court. 29
credibility but did not deem as convincing proof that defendant is the father
since the Certificate of Live Birth was not signed by appellee and since the
The last paragraph of Article 283 contains a blanket provision that practically covers all the other
monthly report card is not sufficient to establish recognition, considering the
cases in the preceding paragraphs. "Any other evidence or proof" that the defendant is the father
denial of the defendant of his signature appearing thereon.
is broad enough to render unnecessary the other paragraphs of this article. When the evidence
submitted in the action for compulsory recognition is not sufficient to meet requirements of the
While defendant's signature does not appear in the Certificate of Live Birth, first three paragraphs, it may still be enough under the last paragraph. 30 This paragraph permits
the evidence indubitably disclose(s) that Leoncia gave birth on December hearsay and reputation evidence, as provided in the Rules of Court, with respect to illegitimate
30, 1963 to Merceditas (sic) at 4:27 p.m. at the Manila Sanitarium. Artemio filiation. 31
arrived at about 5:00 (TSN, p. 25, 5/17/74). At about 7:00 p.m., a nurse
came (id. p. 26) who made inquiries about the biodata of the born child. The
As a necessary consequence of the finding that private respondent is the spurious child of
inquiries were directed to Artemio in the presence of Elynia who heard the
petitioner, she is entitled to support. In awarding support to her, respondent court took into
answers of Artemio which the nurse took down in a sheet of paper (id. p.
account the following:
28). The inquiries were about the name of the father, mother and child. After
the interview the nurse told them that the information has to be recorded in
the formal form and has to be signed by Artemio (id. p. 30) but because The obligation to give support shall be demandable from the time the
there is no office, as it was past 7:00 p.m., the nurse would just return in the person who has a right to recover the same needs it for maintenance, but it
morning for Artemio's signature. Artemio gave the instruction to the nurse to shall not be paid except from the date of judicial or extrajudicial demand.
give the biodata to Leoncia for her signature as he was leaving very early (Article 203, Family Code of the Philippines.)
the following morning as in fact Artemio left at 5:00 a.m. of December 31,
1963 (id. p. 33). Artemio stayed in the hospital in the evening of December
The complaint in this case was filed on August 14, 1972. Plaintiff, having
been born on December 30, 1963, was about nine (9) years old at the time
and was already of school age spending about P400.00 to P500.00 a month
for her school expenses alone, while defendant was earning about
P10,000.00 a month. She attained the age of majority on December 30,
1984 (Article 234, Supra). She is therefore entitled to support in arrears for
a period of twelve (12) years, four (4) months and fourteen (14) days, which
is hereby fixed at P800.00 a month for the first three (3) years; and
considering the declining value of the peso as well as her needs as she
grows older, at a graduated increase of P1,000.00 a month for the next
three (3) years; P1,300.00 a month for the succeeding three (3) years; and
P1,500.00 a month for the last three (3) years, four (4) months and fourteen
(14) days until she attained the age of majority.

This being an action for legal support, the award of attorney's fees is
appropriate under Article 2208 (6) of the Civil Code. Moreover, the court
deems it just and equitable under the given facts and circumstances that
attorney's fees and expenses of litigation should be recovered. 32

We concur with the foregoing disposition, in the absence of proof that it was arrived at arbitrarily.

The other allegation of petitioner that the appeal was prosecuted almost ten years after the
decision of the trial court was rendered does not deserve any consideration because it appears
that it is being raised for the first time in this petition. 33

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. The decision of


the Court of Appeals dated December 17, 1991 and its resolution dated February 26, 1992 are
AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado and Puno, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 95229 June 9, 1992

CORITO OCAMPO TAYAG, petitioner,


vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS and EMILIE DAYRIT CUYUGAN, respondent.
. . . I have vowed to recognize him and be my heir.

REGALADO, J.: . . . How is CHAD and you . . .

The instant petition seeks to reverse and set aside the decision 1 of respondent Court of Appeals . . . Why should we not start now to own him, jointly
in CA-G.R. SP No. 20222, entitled "Corito Ocampo Tayag vs. Hon. Norberto C. Ponce, Judge, against the whole world. After all we love each other
Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, Pampanga and Emilde Dayrit Cuyugan," promulgated on and CHAD is the product of our love.
May 10, 1990, and its resolution denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration. 2 Said decision,
now before us for review, dismissed petitioner's Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with
5. The minor, Chad D. Cuyugan, although illegitimate is nevertheless
Preliminary Injunction on the ground that the denial of the motion to dismiss Civil Case No. 7938
entitled to a share in the intestate estate left by his deceased father, Atty.
of the court a quo is an interlocutory order and cannot be the subject of the said special civil
Ricardo Ocampo as one of the surviving heirs;
action, ordinary appeal in due time being petitioner's remedy.

6. The deceased Atty. Ricardo Ocampo, at the time of his death was the
In said Civil Case No, 7938, herein private respondent, in her capacity as mother and legal
owner of real and personal property, located in Baguio City, Angeles City
guardian of minor Chad D. Cuyugan, filed on April 9, 1987 a complaint denominated "Claim for
and in the Province of Pampanga with approximate value of several millions
Inheritance" against herein petitioner as the administratrix of the estate of the late Atty. Ricardo
of pesos;
Ocampo. The operative allegations in said complaint are as follows:

7. The estate of the late Atty. Ocampo has not as yet been inventoried by
xxx xxx xxx
the defendant and the inheritance of the surviving heirs including that of
said Chad has not likewise been ascertained;
2. Plaintiff is the mother and legal guardian of her minor son, Chad
Cuyugan, by the father of the defendant, the late Atty. Ricardo Ocampo; and
8. The only known surviving heirs of the deceased Atty. Ricardo Ocampo
the defendant is the known administratrix of the real and personal properties
are his children, namely: Corito O. Tayag, Rivina O. Tayag, Evita O.
left by her deceased father, said Atty. Ocampo, who died intestate in
Florendo, Felina Ocampo, and said minor Chad, for and in whose behalf
Angeles City on September 28, 1983;
this instant complaint is filed;

3. Plaintiff has been estranged from her husband, Jose Cuyugan, for
9. Plaintiff has no means of livelihood and she only depends on the charity
several years now and during which time, plaintiff and Atty. Ricardo Ocampo
of friends and relatives for the sustenance of her son, Chad, such that it is
had illicit amorous relationship with each other that, as a consequence
urgent, necessary and imperative that said child be extended financial
thereof, they begot a child who was christened Chad Cuyugan in
support from the estate of his putative father, Atty. Ricardo Ocampo;
accordance with the ardent desire and behest of said Atty. Ocampo;

10. Several demands, verbal and written, have been made for defendant to
4. Chad, the son of plaintiff by the late Atty. Ricardo Ocampo, who was born
grant Chad's lawful inheritance, but despite said demands, defendant failed
in Angeles City on October 5, 1980 bad been sired, showered with
and refused and still fails and refused and still fails and refuses to satisfy the
exceptional affection, fervent love and care by his putative father for being
claim for inheritance against the estate of the late Atty. Ocampo; 3
his only son as can be gleaned from indubitable letters and documents of
the late Atty. Ocampo to herein plaintiff, excerpts from some of which are
hereunder reproduced; xxx xxx xxx

. . . Keep good keep faith keep Chad and yourself for Plaintiff thereafter prays, among others, that judgment be rendered ordering defendant to render
me alone and for me all the time. As I have now I shall an inventory and accounting of the real and personal properties left by Atty. Ricardo Ocampo; to
save my heart to you and to Chad. determine and deliver the share of the minor child Chad in the estate of the deceased; and to
give him support pendente lite.
. . . Please take good care and pray to Sto. Nio for our
sake and for the child sake. Petitioner, as defendant therein, filed her answer with counterclaim on June 3, 1987, disputing
the material allegations in the complaint. She maintained by way of affirmative defenses, inter
alia, that the complaint states no cause of action; that the action is premature; that the suit as
. . . Keep him. Take good care of him.
barred by prescription; that respondent Cuyugan has no legal and judicial personality to bring
the suit; that the lower court was no jurisdiction over the nature of the action; and that there is
. . . I'm proud that you are his mother. . . I'm proud of improper joinder of causes of action. 4
him and you. Let me bless him by my name and let me
entitle him to all what I am and what I've got.
After the hearing of the motion to dismiss on the grounds asserted as affirmative defenses, the
trial court issued the following order on October 20, 1987:
xxx xxx xxx No. 6. The Court being a court of general jurisdiction, and of special
jurisdiction, such as a probate court has capacity to entertain a complaint
such as the one now before it.
The Court is of the considered opinion that there is a need of further
proceedings to adduce evidence on the various claims of the parties so as
to hear their respective sides The nature of the case "CLAIM FOR INHERITANCE" does not control the
body of the complaint.
WHEREFORE, resolution on the preliminary hearing which partakes of the
nature of a motion to dismiss requiring additional evidence is in the From all the foregoing, the Court finds that the complaint is sufficient' in form
meantime held in abeyance. The Motion to Dismiss is hereby denied and and substance and, therefore, the motion to dismiss could not be granted
the case as set for pre-trial . . . 5 until after trial on the merits in which it should be shown that the allegations
of the complaint are unfounded or a special defense to the action exists.
With the denial of her motion for reconsideration of said order on November 19,
1987, 6 petitioner filed on December 10, 1987 a petition for certiorari and prohibition before the WHEREFORE, the Motion to Dismiss is hereby DENIED. 8
Court of Appeals, docketed therein as CA-G.R. SP No. 13464, which was granted by the Sixth
Division of respondent court on August 2, 1989 and enjoined respondent judge to resolve
Petitioner's motion for reconsideration of said order was denied by the trial court on January 30,
petitioner's motion praying for the dismissal of the complaint based on the affirmative defenses
1990. 9 As a consequence, another petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary
within ten (10) days from notice thereof. 7
injunction was filed by petitioner on March 12, 1990 with respondent court, docketed as CA-G.R.
SP No. 20222, praying that the orders dated October 24, 1989 and January 30, 1990 of the trial
In compliance with said decision of respondent court, the trial court acted on and thereafter court be annulled and set aside for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting
denied the motion to dismiss, which had been pleaded in the affirmative defenses in Civil Case to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
No. 7938, in an order dated October 24, 1989, resolving the said motion in the following manner:
On May 10, 1990, as earlier stated, respondent court promulgated its decision dismissing the
xxx xxx xxx petition, and likewise denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration in a resolution dated
September 5, 1990, hence the present petition for review on certiorari.
The Court now resolves:
In elevating the case before us, petitioner relies on these grounds:
No. 1. The complaint sufficiently shows that a cause of action exists in favor
of the plaintiff. A cause of action being the "primary right to redress a wrong" a. The Honorable Respondent Court of Appeals dismissed Petitioner's
(Marquez vs. Valera, 48 OG 5272), which apparently on the face of the Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition in UTTER DISREGARD OF
complaint, plaintiff has a right to enforce through this case. Defendant's APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT providing clear
protestation that there is no sufficient cause of action is therefore untenable. exceptions to the general rule that interlocutory orders may not be elevated
by way of the special civil action of certiorari;
No. 2. The present action. despite the claim of defendant is not premature. It
is exactly filed in order to prove filiation, and then recognition. To go about b. Respondent Court refused to resolve certain issues raised by Petitioner
the step by step procedure outlined by the defendant by filing one action before the Regional Trial Court and before Respondent Court of Appeals
after another is definitely violative of the prohibition against splitting a cause involving QUESTIONS OF SUBSTANCE not theretofore determined by this
of action. Honorable Court, such as the interpretation and application of Art. 281 of
the Civil Code requiring judicial approval when the recognition of an
illegitimate minor child does not take place in a record of birth or in a will: of
No. 3. It is not the plaintiff that is now bringing the case before the Court. It
Art. 175, Par. 2, in relation to Art. 172, Par. 2 of the Family Code, providing
is (her) spurious child that she represents as natural guardian that is
for the prescriptive period with respect to the action to establish illegitimate
instituting the action.
filiation; and of Art. 285 of the Civil Code, providing for the prescriptive
period with respect to the action for recognition of a natural child; and
No. 4. Prescription has not set in if we consider that a spurious child may file
an action for recognition within four years from his attainment of majority
c. Respondent Court has sanctioned a DEPARTURE by the Regional Trial
(New Civil Code. Art, 285, No. 2). Whether the letters of the putative father,
Court from the accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings. 10
Atty. Ocampo, is evidence, that should be inquired into in a hearing on the
merits.
Petitioner contends that the action to claim for inheritance filed by herein private respondent in
behalf of the minor child, Chad Cuyugan, is premature and the complaint states no cause of
No. 5. Several causes of action may be joined in one complaint as was
action, she submits that the recognition of the minor child, either voluntarily or by judicial action,
done in this case. The defendant's claim that there was a misjoinder is
by the alleged putative father must first be established before the former can invoke his right to
untenable.
succeed and participate in the estate of the latter. Petitioner asseverates that since there is no
allegation of such recognition in the complaint denominated as "Claim for Inheritance," then
there exists no basis for private respondent's aforesaid claim and, consequently, the complaint distribution of the estate of his deceased natural father, or mother . . . In
should be dismissed. neither of these situations has it been thought necessary for the plaintiff to
show a prior decree compelling acknowledgment. The obvious reason is
that in partition suits and distribution proceedings the other persons who
The instant case is similar to the case of Paulino vs. Paulino, et al., 11 wherein the petitioner, as
might take by inheritance are before the court; and the declaration of
plaintiff, brought an action against the private respondents, as defendants, to compel them to
heirship is appropriate to such proceedings.
give her share of inheritance in the estate of the late Marcos Paulino, claiming and alleging, inter
alia, that she is the illegitimate child of the deceased; that no proceedings for the settlement of
the deceased's estate had been commenced in court; and that the defendants had refused and The next question to be resolved is whether the action to compel recognition has prescribed.
failed to deliver her share in the estate of the deceased. She accordingly prayed that the
defendants therein be ordered to deliver her aforesaid share. The defendants moved for the
Petitioner argues that assuming arguendo that the action is one to compel recognition, private
dismissal of her complaint on the ground that it states no cause of action and that, even if it
respondent's cause of action has prescribed for the reason that since filiation is sought to be
does, the same is barred by prescription.
proved by means of a private handwritten instrument signed by the parent concerned, then
under paragraph 2, Article 175 of the Family Code, the action to establish filiation of the
The only difference between the aforecited case and the case at bar is that at the time of the illegitimate minor child must be brought during the lifetime of the alleged putative father. In the
filing of the complaint therein, the petitioner in that case had already reached the age of majority, case at bar, considering that the complaint was filed after the death of the alleged parent, the
whereas the claimant in the present case is still a minor. In Paulino, we held that an illegitimate action has prescribed and this is another ground for the dismissal of the complaint. Petitioner
child, to be entitled to support and successional rights from the putative or presumed parent, theorizes that Article 285 of the Civil Code is not applicable to the case at bar and, instead,
must prove his filiation to the latter. We also said that it is necessary to allege in the complaint paragraph 2, Article 175 of the Family Code should be given retroactive effect. The theory is
that the putative father had acknowledged and recognized the illegitimate child because such premised on the supposition that the latter provision of law being merely procedural in nature, no
acknowledgment is essential to and is the basis of the right to inherit. There being no allegation vested rights are created, hence it can be made to apply retroactively.
of such acknowledgment, the action becomes one to compel recognition which cannot be
brought after the death of the putative father. The ratio decidendi in Paulino, therefore, is not the
Article 285 of the Civil Code provides:
absence of a cause of action for failure of the petitioner to allege the fact of acknowledgment in
the complaint, but the prescription of the action.
Art. 285. The action for the recognition of natural children may be brought
only during the lifetime of the presumed parents, except in the following
Applying the foregoing principles to the case at bar, although petitioner contends that the
cases:
complaint filed by herein private respondent merely alleges that the minor Chad Cuyugan is an
illegitimate child of the deceased and is actually a claim for inheritance, from the allegations
therein the same may be considered as one to compel recognition. Further that the two causes (1) If the father or mother died during the minority of the child, in which case
of action, one to compel recognition and the other to claim inheritance, may be joined in one the latter may file the action before the expiration of four years from the
complaint is not new in our jurisprudence. attainment of his majority;

As early as 1922, we had occasion to rule thereon in Briz vs. Briz, et xxx xxx xxx
al., 12 wherein we said:
On the other hand, Article 175 of the Family Code reads:
The question whether a person in the position of the present plaintiff can
any event maintain a complex action to compel recognition as a natural
Art. 175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the
child and at the same time to obtain ulterior relief in the character of heir, is
same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children.
one which, in the opinion of this court must be answered in the affirmative,
provided always that the conditions justifying the joinder of the two distinct
causes of action are present in the particular case. In, other words, there is The action must be brought within the same period specified in Article 173,
no absolute necessity requiring that the action to compel acknowledgment except when the action is based on the second paragraph of Article 172, in
should have been instituted and prosecuted to a successful conclusion prior which case the action may be brought during the lifetime of the alleged
to the action in which that same plaintiff seers additional relief in the parent.
character of heir. Certainly, there is nothing so peculiar to the action to
compel acknowledgment as to require that a rule should be here applied
different from that generally applicable in other cases. . . Under the last-quoted provision of law, therefore, if the action is based on the record of birth of
the child, a final judgment, or an admission by the parent of the child's filiation in a public
document or in a private handwritten signed instrument, then the action may be brought during
The conclusion above stated, though not heretofore explicitly formulated by the lifetime of the child. However, if the action is based on the open and continuous possession
this court, is undoubtedly to some extent supported by our prior decisions. by the child of the status of an illegitimate child, or on other evidence allowed by the Rules of
Thus, we have held in numerous cases, and the doctrine must be Court and special laws, the view has been expressed that the action must be brought during the
considered well settled, that a natural child having a right to compel lifetime of the alleged parent. 13
acknowledgment, but who has not been in fact legally acknowledged, may
maintain partition proceedings for the division of the inheritance against his
co-heirs . . .; and the same person may intervene in proceedings for the
Petitioner submits that Article 175 of the Family Code applies in which case the complaint should
have been filed during the lifetime of the putative father, failing which the same must be
dismissed on the ground of prescription. Private respondent, however, insists that Article 285 of
the Civil Code is controlling and, since the alleged parent died during the minority of the child,
the action for filiation may be filed within four years from the attainment of majority of the minor
child.

Article 256 of the Family Code states that "[t]his Code shall have retroactive effect insofar as it
does not prejudice or impair vested or acquired rights in accordance with the Civil Code or other
laws." It becomes essential, therefore, to determine whether the right of the minor child to file an
action for recognition is a vested right or not.

Under the circumstances obtaining in the case at bar, we hold that the right of action of the
minor child bas been vested by the filing of the complaint in court under the regime of the Civil
Code and prior to the effectivity of the Family Code. 14 We herein adopt our ruling in the recent
case of Republic of the Philippines vs. Court of Appeals, et al. 15where we held that the fact of
filing of the petition already vested in the petitioner her right to file it and to have the same
proceed to final adjudication in accordance with the law in force at the time, and such right can
no longer be prejudiced or impaired by the enactment of a new law.

Even assuming ex gratia argumenti that the provision of the Family Code in question is
procedural in nature, the rule that a statutory change in matters of procedure may affect pending
actions and proceedings, unless the language of the act excludes them from its operation, is not
so pervasive that it may be used to validate or invalidate proceedings taken before it goes into
effective, since procedure must be governed by the law regulating it at the time the question of
procedure arises especially where vested rights may be prejudiced. Accordingly, Article 175 of
the Family Code finds no proper application to the instant case since it will ineluctably affect
adversely a right of private respondent and, consequentially, of the mind child she represents,
both of which have been vested with the filing of the complaint in court. The trial court is
therefore, correct in applying the provisions of Article 285 of the Civil Code and in holding that
private respondent's cause of action has not yet prescribed.

Finally, we conform with the holding of the Court of Appeals that the questioned order of the
court below denying the motion to dismiss is interlocutory and cannot be the subject of a petition
for certiorari. The exceptions to this rule invoked by petitioner and allegedly obtaining in the case
at bar, are obviously not present and may not be relied upon.

WHEREFORE, the petition at bar is DENIED and the assailed decision and resolution of
respondent Court of Appeals are hereby AFFIRMED in toto.

SO ORDERED.

Narvasa, C.J., Paras and Padilla, JJ., concur.

Nocon, J., is on leave.

G.R. No. 108366 February 16, 1994

JOHN PAUL E. FERNANDEZ, ET AL., petitioners,


vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS and CARLITO S. FERNANDEZ, respondents.

Erlinda B. Espejo for petitioners.


C.B. Carbon & Associates for private respondent. Based on the evidence adduced by the parties, the trial court ruled in favor of petitioners, viz.:

In view of the above, the Court concludes and so holds that the plaintiffs
minors (petitioners herein) are entitled to the relief's prayed for in the
complaint. The defendant (herein private respondent) is hereby ordered to
PUNO, J.:
recognize Claro Antonio Carlito Fernandez, now aged 6, and John Paul
Fernandez, now aged 41/2 as his sons. As the defendant has admitted that
The legal dispute between the parties began when the petitioners filed Civil Case No. Q-45567 he has a supervisory job at the Meralco, he shall give the plaintiffs support
for support against the private respondent before the RTC of Quezon City. The complaint was in the amount of P2,000 each a month, payment to be delivered to Violeta
dismissed on December 9, 1986 by Judge Antonio P. Solano, 1 who found that "(t)here is nothing Esguerra, the children's mother and natural guardian, with arrears reckoned
in the material allegations in the complaint that seeks to compel (private respondent) to as of the filing of the complaint on February 19, 1987.
recognize or acknowledge (petitioners) as his illegitimate children," and that there was no
sufficient and competent evidence to prove the petitioners filiation. 2
SO ORDERED.

Petitioners plodded on. On February 19, 1987, they file the case at bench, another action for
On appeal, the decision was set aside and petitioners complaint dismissed by the respondent
recognition and support against the private respondent before another branch of the RTC of
Court of Appeals 8in its impugned decision, dated October 20, 1992. It found that the "proof
Quezon City, Branch 87. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. Q-50111.
relied upon by the (trial) court (is) inadequate to prove the (private respondent's) paternity and
filiation of (petitioners)." It further held that the doctrine of res judicata applied because of the
The evidence shows that VIOLETA P. ESGUERRA, single, is the mother and guardian ad dismissal of the petitioners complaint in Civil Case No. Q-45567. Petitioners' motion for
litem of the two petitioners, CLARO ANTONIO FERNANDEZ and JOHN PAUL FERNANDEZ, reconsideration was denied on December 22, 1992.
met sometime in 1983, at the Meralco Compound tennis courts. A Meralco employee and a
tennis enthusiast, Carlito used to spend his week-ends regularly at said courts, where Violeta's
Petitioners now contend that the respondent appellate court erred in: (1) not giving full faith and
father served as tennis instructor.
credit to the testimony in of Violeta Esguerra; (2) not giving weight and value to the testimony of
Father Liberato Fernandez; (3) not giving probative value to the numerous pictures of
Violeta pointed to Carlito as the father of her two sons. She claimed that they started their illicit respondent Carlito Fernandez taken during the baptismal ceremony and inside the bedroom of
sexual relationship six (6) months after their first meeting. The tryst resulted in the birth of Violeta Esguerra; (4) not giving probative value to the birth certificates of petitioners; (5) giving
petitioner Claro Antonio on March 1, 1984, and of petitioner John Paul on not know that Carlito so much credence to the self-serving and incredible testimony of respondent Carlito Fernandez;
was married until the birth of her two children. She averred they were married in civil rites in and (6) holding that the principle of res judicata is applicable in the case at bar.
October, 1983. In March, 1985, however, she discovered that the marriage license which they
used was spurious.
We find no merit in the petition.

To bolster their case, petitioners presented the following documentary evidence: their certificates
The rule is well-settled that findings of facts of the Court of Appeals may be reviewed by this
of live birth, identifying respondent Carlito as their father; the baptismal certificate of petitioner
court only under exceptional circumstances. One such situation is when the findings of the
Claro which also states that his father is respondent Carlito; photographs of Carlito taken during
appellate court clash with those of the trial court as in the case at bench. It behooves us
the baptism of petitioner Claro; and pictures of respondent Carlito and Claro taken at the home
therefore to exercise our extraordinary power, and settle the issue of whether the ruling of the
of Violeta Esguerra.
appellate court that private respondent is not the father of the petitioners is substantiated by the
evidence on record.
Petitioners likewise presented as witnesses, Rosario Cantoria, 3 Dr. Milagros Villanueva, 4 Ruby
Chua Cu, 5 and Fr. Liberato Fernandez. 6 The first three witnesses told the trial court that Violeta
We shall first examine the documentary evidence offered by the petitioners which the
Esguerra had, at different times, 7 introduced the private respondent to them as her "husband".
respondent court rejected as insufficient to prove their filiation. Firstly, we hold that petitioners
Fr. Fernandez, on the other hand, testified that Carlito was the one who presented himself as the
cannot rely on the photographs showing the presence of the private respondent in the baptism
father of petitioner Claro during the latter's baptism.
of petitioner Claro (Exh. "B-8", Exh. "B-12", Exh. "H" and Exh. "I"). These photographs are far
from proofs that private respondent is the father of petitioner Claro. As explained by the private
In defense, respondent Carlito denied Violeta's allegations that he sired the two petitioners. He respondent, he was in the baptism as one of the sponsors of petitioner Claro. His testimony was
averred he only served as one of the sponsors in the baptism of petitioner Claro. This claim was corroborated by Rodante Pagtakhan.
corroborated by the testimony of Rodante Pagtakhan, an officemate of respondent Carlito who
also stood as a sponsor of petitioner Claro during his baptism. The Private respondent also
Secondly, the pictures taken in the house of Violeta showing private respondent showering
presented as witness, Fidel Arcagua, a waiter of the Lighthouse Restaurant. He disputed
affection to Claro fall short of the evidence required to prove paternity (Exhibits "B", "B-1", "B-2",
Violeta's allegation that she and respondent Carlito frequented the said restaurant during their
"B-7", "B-14" and "B-15"). As we held in Tan vs. Trocio, 192 SCRA 764, viz:
affair. Arcagua stated he never saw Violeta Esguerra and respondent Carlito together at the said
restaurant. Private respondent also declared he only learned he was named in the birth
certificates of both petitioners as their father after he was sued for support in Civil Case No. . . . The testimonies of complainant and witness Marilou Pangandaman,
Q-45567. another maid, to show unusual closeness between Respondent and Jewel,
like playing with him and giving him paternity. The same must be said of . . .
(the) pictures of Jewels and Respondent showing allegedly their physical
likeness to each other. Said evidence is inconclusive to prove paternity and A Yes.
much less would prove violation of complaint's person and honor.
(Emphasis supplied)
Q Would you able to recognized the father and the
mother who were present at that time?
Thirdly, the baptismal certificates (Exh. "D") of petitioner Claro naming private respondent as his
father has scant evidentiary value. There is no showing that private respondent participated in its
A Yes.
preparation. On this score, we held in Berciles vs. Systems, et al. 128 SCRA 53 (1984):

Q Please point to the court?


As to the baptismal certificates, Exh. "7-A", the rule is that although the
baptismal record of a natural child describes her as a child of the record the
decedent had no intervening, the baptismal record cannot be held to be a A There (witness pointing to the defendant, Carlito
voluntary recognition of parentage. . . . The reason for this rule that Fernandez).
canonical records do not constitute the authentic document prescribed by
Arts. 115 and 117 to prove the legitimate filiation of a child is that such
Q For instance, just give us more specifically what
canonical record is simply proof of the only act to which the priest may
question do you remember having asked him?
certify by reason of his personal knowledge, an act done by himself or in his
presence, like the administration of the sacrament upon a day stated; it is
no proof of the declarations in the record with respect to the parentage of A Yes, like for example, do you renounce Satan and his
the child baptized, or of prior and distinct facts which require separate and works?
concrete evidence.
Q What was the answer of Fernandez?
In Macandang vs. Court of Appeals, 100 SCRA 73 (1980), we also ruled that while baptismal
certificates may be considered public documents, they can only serve as evidence of the
administration of the sacraments on the dates so specified. They are not necessarily competent A Yes, I do.
evidence of the veracity of entries therein with respect to the child's paternity.
Q I just want to be sure, Father, will you please look at
Fourth, the certificates of live birth (Exh. "A"; Exh. "B") of the petitioners identifying private the defendant again. I want to be sure if he is the
respondent as their father are not also competent evidence on the issue of their paternity. Again, person who appeared before you on that occasion?
the records do no show that private respondent had a hand in the preparation of said
certificates. In rejecting these certificates, the ruling of the respondent court is in accord with our A I am sure.
pronouncement in Roces vs. Local Civil Registrar, 102 Phil. 1050 (1958),viz:
(TSN, May 23, 1986, pp. 14-16)
. . . Section 5 of Act No. 3793 and Article 280 of the Civil Code of the
Philippines explicity prohibited, not only the naming of the father or the child
born outside wedlock, when the birth certificates, or the recognition, is not However, on cross examination, Father Fernandez admitted that he has to be shown a picture of
filed or made by him, but, also, the statement of any information or the private respondent by Violeta Esguerra to recognize the private respondent, viz:
circumstances by which he could be identified. Accordingly, the Local Civil
Registrar had no authority to make or record the paternity of an illegitimate Q When was the, approximately, when you were first
child upon the information of a third person and the certificate of birth of an shown this picture by Violeta Esguerra?
illegitimate child, when signed only by the mother of the latter, is
incompetent evidence of fathership of said child. (Emphasis supplied)
A I cannot recall.

We reiterated this rule in Berciles, op. cit., when we held that "a birth certificate no signed by the
alleged father therein indicated is not competent evidence of paternity." Q At least the month and the year?

We have also reviewed the relevant testimonies of the witnesses for the petitioners and we are A It must be in 1986.
satisfied that the respondent appellate court properly calibrated their weight. Petitioners
capitalize on the testimony of Father Liberato Fernandez who solemnized the baptismal Q What month in 1986.
ceremony of petitioner Claro. He declared on the witness stand:

A It is difficult. . .
Q Do you recall Father, whether on that occasion when
you called for the father and the mother of the child,
that both father and mother were present? Q When was the first time you know you are going to
testify here?
A Let us see, you came there two times and first one
was you want to get a baptismal certificate and then the
second time was I asked you for what is this? And you
said it is for the court.

Q On the second time that Ms. Violeta Esguerra went to


your place, you were already informed that you will
testify here before this Honorable Court?

A Yes.

Q And you were informed by this Ms. Violeta Esguerra


that this man wearing the blue T-shirt is the father?

A Yes, sir.

Q So, it was Violeta Esguerra who. . .

A Yes.

(TSN, May 23, 1986, pp. 18 to 22)

Indeed, there is no proof that Father Fernandez is a close friend of Violeta Esguerra and the
private respondent which should render unquestionable his identification of the private
respondent during petitioner Claro's baptism. In the absence of this proof, we are not prepared
to concede that Father Fernandez who officiates numerous baptismal ceremonies day in and
day out can remember the parents of the children he has baptized.

We cannot also disturb the findings of the respondent court on the credibility of Violeta Esguerra.
Her testimony is highly suspect as it is self-serving and by itself, is insufficient to prove the
paternity of the petitioners.

We shall not pass upon the correctness of the ruling of the respondent appellate court applying
the doctrine of res judicata as additional reason in dismissing petitioners action for recognition
and support. It is unnecessary considering our findings that petitioners evidence failed to
substantiate their cause of action.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is DISMISSED and the Decision of the respondent court in CA-
G.R. CV No. 29182 is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 124814 October 21, 2004
Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado, and Nocon, JJ., concur.
CAMELO CABATANIA, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and CAMELO REGODOS, respondents.

DECISION

CORONA, J.:
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the The child was presented before the Court, and if the Court is to decide this case,
March 15, 1996 decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. 36708 which in turn affirmed the based on the personal appearance of the child then there can never be a doubt that
decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cadiz City, Branch 60 in Spec. Proc. No. 88-C which the plaintiff-minor is the child of the defendant with plaintiff-minors mother, Florencia
compelled petitioner Camelo Cabatania to acknowledge private respondent Camelo Regodos as Regodos.
his illegitimate son and to give support to the latter in the amount of P500 per month.
xxx xxx xxx
This controversy stemmed from a petition for recognition and support filed by Florencia Regodos
in behalf of her minor son, private respondent Camelo Regodos.
In view of the evidence presented by the plaintiff, the Court finds the evidence of the
plaintiff in support of the claim to "be meritorious; defendant admitted having a sexual
During the trial, Florencia testified that she was the mother of private respondent who was born intercourse with the plaintiffs mother, Florencia Regodos, but denied paternity to the
on September 9, 1982 and that she was the one supporting the child. She recounted that after child. The child was presented before the Court, and if the Court is to decide this case,
her husband left her in the early part of 1981, she went to Escalante, Negros Occidental to look based on the personal appearance of the child, then there can never be a doubt that
for work and was eventually hired as petitioners household help. It was while working there as a the plaintiff-minor is the child of the defendant with plaintiff-minors mother, Florencia
maid that, on January 2, 1982, petitioner brought her to Bacolod City where they checked in at Regodos."2
the Visayan Motel and had sexual intercourse. Petitioner promised to support her if she got
pregnant.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the RTC:

Florencia claimed she discovered she was carrying petitioners child 27 days after their sexual
The misrepresentation made by Florencia in the petition that she was a widow should
encounter. The sexual intercourse was repeated in March 1982 in San Carlos City. Later, on
not prejudice the right of petitioner-appellee. As held by the Supreme Court, even
suspicion that Florencia was pregnant, petitioners wife sent her home. But petitioner instead
where a witness has been found to have deliberately falsified the truth in some
brought her to Singcang, Bacolod City where he rented a house for her. On September 9, 1982,
particulars, it is not required that the whole of her testimony be rejected (People vs.
assisted by a hilot in her aunts house in Tiglawigan, Cadiz City, she gave birth to her child,
Bohol, 170 SCRA 585). It is perfectly reasonable to believe the testimony of a witness
private respondent Camelo Regodos.
with respect to some facts and disbelieve it with respect to other facts (People vs.
Delas, 199 SCRA 574, 575). There is therefore no reason to disbelieve Florencia that
Petitioner Camelo Cabatanias version was different. He testified that he was a sugar planter her first intercourse with appellant occurred on January 2, 1982 and nine (9) months
and a businessman. Sometime in December, 1981, he hired Florencia as a servant at home. later or on September 9, 1982, she gave birth to appellee (TSN, Hearing of June 10,
During the course of her employment, she would often go home to her husband in the afternoon 1991 and Exhibit "A").
and return to work the following morning. This displeased petitioners wife, hence she was told to
look for another job.
In the absence of arbitrariness in the evaluation of the evidence adduced before the
trial court and there being no evidence that the latter had overlooked or
In the meantime, Florencia asked permission from petitioner to go home and spend New Years misappreciated, we find no cogent reason to disturb the trial courts findings.
Eve in Cadiz City. Petitioner met her on board the Ceres bus bound for San Carlos City and
invited her to dinner. While they were eating, she confided that she was hard up and petitioner
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is AFFIRMED.3
offered to lend her save money. Later, they spent the night in San Carlos City and had sexual
intercourse. While doing it, he felt something jerking and when he asked her about it, she told
him she was pregnant with the child of her husband. They went home the following day. Hence this petition which assigns the following errors:

In March 1982, Florencia, then already working in another household, went to petitioners house A. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ITS APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 283 OF
hoping to be re-employed as a servant there. Since petitioners wife was in need of one, she THE CIVIL CODE ON THE COMPULSORY RECOGNITION AND AWARD OF
was re-hired. However petitioners wife noticed that her stomach was bulging and inquired about SUPPORT IN FAVOR OF RESPONDENT-APPELLEE CAMELO REGODOS;
the father of the unborn child. She told petitioners wife that the baby was by her husband.
Because of her condition, she was again told to go home and they did not see each other
B. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ITS DECISION BASED ON THE
anymore.
EVIDENCE ADDUCED BY RESPONDENT CAMELO REGODOS BEFORE THE
TRIAL COURT.4
Petitioner was therefore surprised when summons was served on him by Florencias counsel.
She was demanding support for private respondent Camelo Regodos. Petitioner refused,
Clearly, this petition calls for a review of the factual findings of the two lower courts. As a general
denying the alleged paternity. He insisted she was already pregnant when they had sex. He
rule, factual issues are not within the province of this Court. Factual findings of the trial court,
denied going to Bacolod City with her and checking in at the Visayan Motel. He vehemently
when adopted and confirmed by the Court of Appeals, become final and conclusive and may not
denied having sex with her on January 2, 1982 and renting a house for her in Singcang, Bacolod
be reviewed on appeal except (1) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or
City.
impossible; (2) when there is a grave abuse of discretion; (3) when the finding is grounded
entirely on speculation, surmises or conjectures; (4) when the judgment of the Court of Appeals
After trial, the court a quo gave more probative weight to the testimony of Florencia despite its is based on misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) when the
discovery that she misrepresented herself as a widow when, in reality, her husband was alive. Court of Appeals, in making its findings, goes beyond the issues of the case and the same is
Deciding in favor of private respondent, the trial court declared: contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee; (7) when the findings of the Court of
Appeals are contrary to those of the trial court; (8) when the findings of fact are conclusions Aside from Florencias self-serving testimony that petitioner rented a house for her in Singcang,
without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (9) when the Court of Appeals Bacolod City, private respondent failed to present sufficient proof of voluntary recognition.
manifestly overlooks certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties and which, if properly
considered, justifies a different conclusion, and (10) when the findings of fact of the Court of
We now proceed to the credibility of Florencias testimony. Both the trial court and the appellate
Appeals are premised on the absence of evidence and are contradicted by the evidence on
court brushed aside the misrepresentation of Florencia in the petition for recognition that she
record. The Court is convinced that this case falls within one of the exceptions.5
was a widow. Both courts dismissed the lie as minor which did not affect the rest of her
testimony. We disagree. The fact that Florencias husband is living and there is a valid subsisting
The trial courts finding of a paternal relationship between petitioner and private respondent was marriage between them gives rise to the presumption that a child born within that marriage is
based on the testimony of the childs mother and "the personal appearance of the child." legitimate even though the mother may have declared against its legitimacy or may have been
sentenced as an adulteress.11 The presumption of legitimacy does not only flow out of a
declaration in the statute but is based on the broad principles of natural justice and the
Time and again, this Court has ruled that a high standard of proof is required to establish
supposed virtue of the mother. The presumption is grounded on the policy to protect innocent
paternity and filiation.6An order for recognition and support may create an unwholesome
offspring from the odium of illegitimacy.12
situation or may be an irritant to the family or the lives of the parties so that it must be issued
only if paternity or filiation is established by clear and convincing evidence.7
In this age of genetic profiling and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analysis, the extremely
subjective test of physical resemblance or similarity of features will not suffice as evidence to
The applicable provisions of the law are Articles 172 and 175 of the Civil Code:
prove paternity and filiation before the courts of law.

Art. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the following:
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby granted. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. 36708 dated March 15, 1996, affirming the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cadiz
(1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or City, Branch 60, in Spec. Proc. No. 88-C is reversed and set aside. Private respondents
petition for recognition and support is dismissed.
(2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private
handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. SO ORDERED.

In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be proved by: Panganiban, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio Morales, and Garcia, JJ., concur.

(1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child;
or

(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws.

Art. 175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way
and on the same evidence as legitimate children.

xxx xxx xxx

Private respondent presented a copy of his birth and baptismal certificates, the
preparation of which was without the knowledge or consent of petitioner. A certificate
of live birth purportedly identifying the putative father is not competent evidence of
paternity when there is no showing that the putative father had a hand in the G.R. No. 180284, September 11, 2013
preparation of said certificate. The local civil registrar has no authority to record the
paternity of an illegitimate child on the information of a third person.8
NARCISO SALAS, Petitioners, v.ANNABELLE MATUSALEM, Respondent.

In the same vein, we have ruled that, while a baptismal certificate may be considered a public
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
document, it can only serve as evidence of the administration of the sacrament on the date
specified but not the veracity of the entries with respect to the childs paternity.9 Thus, certificates
issued by the local civil registrar and baptismal certificates are per se inadmissible in evidence Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari which seeks to reverse and set aside the
as proof of filiation and they cannot be admitted indirectly as circumstantial evidence to prove Decision1 dated July 18, 2006 and Resolution2 dated October 19, 2007 of the Court of Appeals
the same.10 (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 64379.

The factual antecedents:


give respondent money so she can go abroad. When she refused this offer, petitioner stopped
On May 26, 1995, Annabelle Matusalem (respondent) filed a complaint for Support/Damages seeing her and sending money to her. She and her baby survived through the help of relatives
against Narciso Salas (petitioner) in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) ofCabanatuan City (Civil and friends. Depressed, she tried to commit suicide by drug overdose and was brought to the
Case No. 2124-AF). hospital by Murillo who paid the bill. Murillo sought the help of the Cabanatuan City Police
Station which set their meeting with petitioner. However, it was only petitioners wife who showed
Respondent claimed that petitioner is. the father of her son Christian Paulo Salas who was born up and she was very mad, uttering unsavory words against respondent.6
on December 28, 1994. Petitioner, already 56 years old at the time, enticed her as she was then
only 24 years old, making her believe that he is a widower. Petitioner rented an apartment where Murillo corroborated respondents testimony as to the payment by petitioner of apartment rental,
respondent stayed and shouldered all expenses in the delivery of their child, including the cost his weekly visits to respondent and financial support to her, his presence during and after
of caesarian operation and hospital confinement. However, when respondent refused the offer of delivery of respondents baby, respondents attempted suicide through sleeping pills overdose
petitioners family to take the child from her, petitioner abandoned respondent and her child and and hospitalization for which she paid the bill, her complaint before the police authorities and
left them to the mercy of relatives and friends. Respondent further alleged that she attempted meeting with petitioners wife at the headquarters.7
suicide due to depression but still petitioner refused to support her and their child.
On April 5, 1999, the trial court rendered its decision8 in favor of respondent, the dispositive
Respondent thus prayed for support pendente lite and monthly support in the amount of portion of which reads:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
P20,000.00, as well as actual, moral and exemplary damages, and attorneys fees.

Petitioner filed his answer4 with special and affirmative defenses and counterclaims. He WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and
described respondent as a woman of loose morals, having borne her first child also out of against the defendant as follows:
wedlock when she went to work in Italy. Jobless upon her return to the country, respondent
spent time riding on petitioners jeepney which was then being utilized by a female real estate
agent named Felicisima de Guzman. Respondent had seduced a senior police officer in San 1. Ordering the defendant to give as monthly support of TWO THOUSAND (P2,000.00)
Isidro and her charge of sexual abuse against said police officer was later withdrawn in PESOS for the child Christian Paulo through the mother;
exchange for the quashing of drug charges against respondents brother-in-law who was then
detained at the municipal jail. It was at that time respondent introduced herself to petitioner
whom she pleaded for charity as she was pregnant with another child. Petitioner denied 2. Directing the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of P20,000.00 by way of litigation
paternity of the child Christian Paulo; he was motivated by no other reason except genuine expenses; and
altruism when he agreed to shoulder the expenses for the delivery of said child, unaware of
respondents chicanery and deceit designed to scandalize him in exchange for financial favor. 3. To pay the costs of suit.
At the trial, respondent and her witness Grace Murillo testified. Petitioner was declared to have
waived his right to present evidence and the case was considered submitted for decision based SO ORDERED.9
on respondents evidence.
Petitioner appealed to the CA arguing that: (1) the trial court decided the case without affording
Respondent testified that she first met petitioner at the house of his kumadre Felicisima de him the right to introduce evidence on his defense; and (2) the trial court erred in finding that
Guzman at Bgy. Malapit, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija. During their subsequent meeting, petitioner petitioner is the putative father of Christian Paulo and ordering him to give monthly support.
told her he is already a widower and he has no more companion in life because his children are
all grown-up. She also learned that petitioner owns a rice mill, a construction business and a By Decision dated July 18, 2006, the CA dismissed petitioners appeal. The appellate court
housing subdivision (petitioner offered her a job at their family-owned Ma. Cristina Village). found no reason to disturb the trial courts exercise of discretion in denying petitioners motion
Petitioner at the time already knows that she is a single mother as she had a child by her former for postponement on April 17, 1998, the scheduled hearing for the initial presentation of
boyfriend in Italy. He then brought her to a motel, promising that he will take care of her and defendants evidence, and the motion for reconsideration of the said order denying the motion
marry her. She believed him and yielded to his advances, with the thought that she and her child for postponement and submitting the case for decision.
will have a better life. Thereafter, they saw each other weekly and petitioner gave her money for
her child. When she became pregnant with petitioners child, it was only then she learned that he On the paternity issue, the CA affirmed the trial courts ruling that respondent satisfactorily
is in fact not a widower. She wanted to abort the baby but petitioner opposed it because he established the illegitimate filiation of her son Christian Paulo, and consequently no error was
wanted to have another child.5 committed by the trial court in granting respondents prayer for support. The appellate court thus
held:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
On the fourth month of her pregnancy, petitioner rented an apartment where she stayed with a
housemaid; he also provided for all their expenses. She gave birth to their child on December
28, 1994 at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Cabanatuan City. Before delivery, petitioner even Christian Paulo, in instant case, does not enjoy the benefit of a record of birth in the civil registry
walked her at the hospital room and massaged her stomach, saying he had not done this to his which bears acknowledgment signed by Narciso Salas. He cannot claim open and continuous
wife. She filled out the form for the childs birth certificate and wrote all the information supplied possession of the status of an illegitimate child.
by petitioner himself. It was also petitioner who paid the hospital bills and drove her baby home.
He was excited and happy to have a son at his advanced age who is his look-alike, and this It had been established by plaintiffs evidence, however, that during her pregnancy, Annabelle
was witnessed by other boarders, visitors and Grace Murillo, the owner of the apartment unit was provided by Narciso Salas with an apartment at a rental of P1,500.00 which he paid for
petitioner rented. However, on the 18th day after the babys birth, petitioner went to Baguio City (TSN, October 6, 1995, p. 18). Narciso provided her with a household help with a salary of
for a medical check-up. He confessed to her daughter and eventually his wife was also informed P1,500.00 a month (TSN, October 6, 1995, ibid). He also provided her a monthly food allowance
about his having sired an illegitimate child. His family then decided to adopt the baby and just of P1,500.00 (Ibid, p. 18). Narciso was with Annabelle at the hospital while the latter was in
labor, walking her around and massaging her belly (Ibid, p. 11). Narciso brought home In personal actions such as the instant case, the Rules give the plaintiff the option of choosing
Christian Paulo to the rented apartment after Annabelles discharge from the hospital. People where to file his complaint. He can file it in the place (1) where he himself or any of them
living in the same apartment units were witnesses to Narcisos delight to father a son at his age resides, or (2) where the defendant or any of the defendants resides or may be found.13 The
which was his look alike. It was only after the 18th day when Annabelle refused to give him plaintiff or the defendant must be residents of the place where the action has been instituted at
Christian Paulo that Narciso withdrew his support to him and his mother. the time the action is commenced.14

Said testimony of Annabelle aside from having been corroborated by Grace Murillo, the owner of However, petitioner raised the issue of improper venue for the first time in the Answer itself and
the apartment which Narciso rented, was never rebutted on record. Narciso did not present any no prior motion to dismiss based on such ground was filed. Under the Rules of Court before the
evidence, verbal or documentary, to repudiate plaintiffs evidence. 1997 amendments, an objection to an improper venue must be made before a responsive
pleading is filed. Otherwise, it will be deemed waived.15 Not having been timely raised,
In the cases of Lim vs. CA (270 SCRA 1) and Rodriguez vs. CA (245 SCRA 150), the Supreme petitioners objection on venue is therefore deemed waived.
Court made it clear that Article 172 of the Family Code is an adaptation of Article 283 of the Civil
Code. Said legal provision provides that the father is obliged to recognize the child as his natural As to the denial of the motion for postponement filed by his counsel for the resetting of the initial
child x x 3) when the child has in his favor any evidence or proof that the defendant is his presentation of defense evidence on April 17, 1998, we find that it was not the first time
father. petitioners motion for postponement was denied by the trial court.

In fact, in Ilano vs. CA (230 SCRA 242, 258-259), it was held that Records disclosed that after the termination of the testimony of respondents last witness on
The last paragraph of Article 283 contains a blanket provision that practically covers all the November 29, 1996, the trial court as prayed for by the parties, set the continuation of hearing
other cases in the preceding paragraphs. Any other evidence or proof that the defendant is the for the reception of evidence for the defendant (petitioner) on January 27, February 3, and
father is broad enough to render unnecessary the other paragraphs of this article. When the February 10, 1997. In the Order dated December 17, 1996, petitioner was advised to be ready
evidence submitted in the action for compulsory recognition is not sufficient to meet [the] with his evidence at those hearing dates earlier scheduled. At the hearing on January 27, 1997,
requirements of the first three paragraphs, it may still be enough under the last paragraph. This petitioners former counsel, Atty. Rolando S. Bala, requested for the cancellation of the February
paragraph permits hearsay and reputation evidence, as provided in the Rules of Court, with 3 and 10, 1997 hearings in order to give him time to prepare for his defense, which request was
respect to illegitimate filiation. granted by the trial court which thus reset the hearing dates to March 3, 14 and 17, 1997. On
As a necessary consequence of the finding that Christian Paulo is the son of defendant Narciso March 3, 1997, upon oral manifestation by Atty. Bala and without objection from respondents
Salas, he is entitled to support from the latter (Ilano vs. CA, supra). counsel, Atty. Feliciano Wycoco, the trial court again reset the hearing to March 14 and 17,
1997. With the non-appearance of both petitioner and Atty. Bala on March 14, 1997, the trial
It shall be demandable from the time the person who has the right to recover the same needs it court upon oral manifestation by Atty. Wycoco declared their absence as a waiver of their right to
for maintenance x x. (Art. 203, Family Code of the Philippines).10 present evidence and accordingly deemed the case submitted for decision.16

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied by the CA. On July 4, 1997, Atty. Bala withdrew as counsel for petitioner and Atty. Rafael E. Villarosa filed
his appearance as his new counsel on July 21, 1997. On the same date he filed entry of
Hence, this petition submitting the following arguments:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary appearance, Atty. Villarosa filed a motion for reconsideration of the March 14, 1997 Order
pleading for liberality and magnanimity of the trial court, without offering any explanation for Atty.
Balas failure to appear for the initial presentation of their evidence. The trial court thereupon
1. THE VENUE OF THE CASE WAS IMPROPERLY LAID BEFORE THE REGIONAL TRIAL reconsidered its March 14, 1997 Order, finding it better to give petitioner a chance to present his
COURT OF CABANATUAN CITY CONSIDERING THAT BOTH PETITIONER AND evidence. On August 26, 1997, Atty. Villarosa received a notice of hearing for the presentation of
RESPONDENT ARE ACTUAL RESIDENTS OF BRGY. MALAPIT, SAN ISIDRO, NUEVA ECIJA. their evidence scheduled on September 22, 1997. On August 29, 1997, the trial court received
his motion requesting that the said hearing be re-set to October 10, 1997 for the reason that he
2. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN PRONOUNCING THAT PETITIONER had requested the postponement of a hearing in another case which was incidentally scheduled
WAS AFFORDED THE FULL MEASURE OF HIS RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW AND IN on September 22, 23 and 24, 1997. As prayed for, the trial court reset the hearing to October 10,
UPHOLDING THAT THE TRIAL COURT DID NOT GRAVELY ABUSE ITS DISCRETION 1997. On said date, however, the hearing was again moved to December 15, 1997. On February
AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT DECIDED THE INSTANT 16, 1998, the trial court itself reset the hearing to April 17, 1998 since it was unclear whether
CASE WITHOUT AFFORDING PETITIONER THE RIGHT TO INTRODUCE EVIDENCE IN HIS Atty. Wycoco received a copy of the motion.17
DEFENSE.
On April 17, 1998, petitioner and his counsel failed to appear but the trial court received on April
3. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE FILIATION OF 16, 1998 an urgent motion to cancel hearing filed by Atty. Villarosa. The reason given by the
CHRISTIAN PAULO WAS DULY ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 175 IN RELATION latter was the scheduled hearing on the issuance of writ of preliminary injunction in another case
TO ARTICLE 172 OF THE FAMILY CODE AND EXISTING JURISPRUDENCE AND under the April 8, 1998 Order issued by the RTC of Gapan, Nueva Ecija, Branch 36 in Civil Case
THEREFORE ENTITLED TO SUPPORT FROM THE PETITIONER.11 No. 1946. But as clearly stated in the said order, it was the plaintiffs therein who requested the
postponement of the hearing and it behoved Atty. Villarosa to inform the RTC of Gapan that he
We grant the petition. had a previous commitment considering that the April 17, 1998 hearing was scheduled as early
as February 16, 1998. Acting on the motion for postponement, the trial court denied for the
It is a legal truism that the rules on the venue of personal actions are fixed for the convenience second time petitioners motion for postponement. Even at the hearing of their motion for
of the plaintiffs and their witnesses. Equally settled, however, is the principle that choosing the reconsideration of the April 17, 1998 Order on September 21, 1998, Atty. Villarosa failed to
venue of an action is not left to a plaintiffs caprice; the matter is regulated by the Rules of appear and instead filed another motion for postponement. The trial court thus ordered that the
Court.12 case be submitted for decision stressing that the case had long been pending and that petitioner
and his counsel have been given opportunities to present their evidence. It likewise denied a
second motion for reconsideration filed by Atty. Villarosa, who arrived late during the hearing
thereof on December 4, 1998.18 We have held that a certificate of live birth purportedly identifying the putative father is not
competent evidence of paternity when there is no showing that the putative father had a hand in
A motion for continuance or postponement is not a matter of right, but a request addressed to the preparation of the certificate.25 Thus, if the father did not sign in the birth certificate, the
the sound discretion of the court. Parties asking for postponement have absolutely no right to placing of his name by the mother, doctor, registrar, or other person is incompetent evidence of
assume that their motions would be granted. Thus, they must be prepared on the day of the paternity.26Neither can such birth certificate be taken as a recognition in a public instrument27 and
hearing.19Indeed, an order declaring a party to have waived the right to present evidence for it has no probative value to establish filiation to the alleged father.28
performing dilatory actions upholds the trial courts duty to ensure that trial proceeds despite the
deliberate delay and refusal to proceed on the part of one party.20 As to the Baptismal Certificate29 (Exhibit B) of Christian Paulo Salas also indicating petitioner
as the father, we have ruled that while baptismal certificates may be considered public
Atty. Villarosas plea for liberality was correctly rejected by the trial court in view of his own documents, they can only serve as evidence of the administration of the sacraments on the
negligence in failing to ensure there will be no conflict in his trial schedules. As we held dates so specified. They are not necessarily competent evidence of the veracity of entries
in Tiomico v. Court of Appeals21:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary therein with respect to the childs paternity.30

The rest of respondents documentary evidence consists of handwritten notes and letters,
Motions for postponement are generally frowned upon by Courts if there is evidence of bad faith, hospital bill and photographs taken of petitioner and respondent inside their rented apartment
malice or inexcusable negligence on the part of the movant. The inadvertence of the defense unit.
counsel in failing to take note of the trial dates and in belatedly informing the trial court of any
conflict in his schedules of trial or court appearances, constitutes inexcusable negligence. It Pictures taken of the mother and her child together with the alleged father are inconclusive
should be borne in mind that a client is bound by his counsels conduct, negligence and evidence to prove paternity.31 Exhibits E and F32 showing petitioner and respondent inside the
mistakes in handling the case.22 rented apartment unit thus have scant evidentiary value. The Statement of Account33 (Exhibit
C) from the Good Samaritan General Hospital where respondent herself was indicated as the
With our finding that there was no abuse of discretion in the trial courts denial of the motion for payee is likewise incompetent to prove that petitioner is the father of her child notwithstanding
postponement filed by petitioners counsel, petitioners contention that he was deprived of his petitioners admission in his answer that he shouldered the expenses in the delivery of
day in court must likewise fail. The essence of due process is that a party is given a reasonable respondents child as an act of charity.
opportunity to be heard and submit any evidence one may have in support of ones defense.
Where a party was afforded an opportunity to participate in the proceedings but failed to do so, As to the handwritten notes34 (Exhibits D to D-13) of petitioner and respondent showing their
he cannot complain of deprivation of due process. If the opportunity is not availed of, it is exchange of affectionate words and romantic trysts, these, too, are not sufficient to establish
deemed waived or forfeited without violating the constitutional guarantee. 23 Christian Paulos filiation to petitioner as they were not signed by petitioner and contained no
statement of admission by petitioner that he is the father of said child. Thus, even if these notes
We now proceed to the main issue of whether the trial and appellate courts erred in ruling that were authentic, they do not qualify under Article 172 (2) vis-- vis Article 175 of the Family Code
respondents evidence sufficiently proved that her son Christian Paulo is the illegitimate child of which admits as competent evidence of illegitimate filiation an admission of filiation in a private
petitioner. handwritten instrument signed by the parent concerned.35

Under Article 175 of the Family Code of the Philippines, illegitimate filiation may be established Petitioners reliance on our ruling in Lim v. Court of Appeals36 is misplaced. In the said case, the
in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children. handwritten letters of petitioner contained a clear admission that he is the father of private
respondents daughter and were signed by him. The Court therein considered the totality of
Article 172 of the Family Code of the Philippines states:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary evidence which established beyond reasonable doubt that petitioner was indeed the father of
private respondents daughter. On the other hand, in Ilano v. Court of Appeals,37 the Court
sustained the appellate courts finding that private respondents evidence to establish her filiation
with and paternity of petitioner was overwhelming, particularly the latters public
The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the following: acknowledgment of his amorous relationship with private respondents mother, and private
respondent as his own child through acts and words, her testimonial evidence to that effect was
(1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or fully supported by documentary evidence. The Court thus ruled that respondent had adduced
sufficient proof of continuous possession of status of a spurious child.
(2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument
and signed by the parent concerned. Here, while the CA held that Christian Paulo Salas could not claim open and continuous
possession of status of an illegitimate child, it nevertheless considered the testimonial evidence
In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be proved by: sufficient proof to establish his filiation to petitioner.

(1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child; or An illegitimate child is now also allowed to establish his claimed filiation by any other means
allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws, like his baptismal certificate, a judicial
(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. (Underscoring supplied.) admission, a family Bible in which his name has been entered, common reputation respecting
his pedigree, admission by silence, the testimonies of witnesses, and other kinds of proof
Respondent presented the Certificate of Live Birth24 (Exhibit A-1) of Christian Paulo Salas in admissible under Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.38 Reviewing the records, we find the totality of
which the name of petitioner appears as his father but which is not signed by him. Admittedly, it respondents evidence insufficient to establish that petitioner is the father of Christian Paulo.
was only respondent who filled up the entries and signed the said document though she claims it
was petitioner who supplied the information she wrote therein. The testimonies of respondent and Murillo as to the circumstances of the birth of Christian
Paulo, petitioners financial support while respondent lived in Murillos apartment and his regular paternity and filiation. An order for recognition and support may create an unwholesome
visits to her at the said apartment, though replete with details, do not approximate the situation or may be an irritant to the family or the lives of the parties so that it must be issued
overwhelming evidence, documentary and testimonial presented in Ilano. In that case, we only if paternity or filiation is established by clear and convincing evidence.40
sustained the appellate courts ruling anchored on the following factual findings by the appellate
court which was quoted at length in the ponencia:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary Finally, we note the Manifestation and Motion41 filed by petitioners counsel informing this Court
that petitioner had died on May 6, 2010.

It was Artemio who made arrangement for the delivery of Merceditas (sic) at the Manila The action for support having been filed in the trial court when petitioner was still alive, it is not
Sanitarium and Hospital. Prior to the delivery, Leoncia underwent prenatal examination barred under Article 175 (2)42 of the Family Code. We have also held that the death of the
accompanied by Artemio (TSN, p. 33, 5/17/74). After delivery, they went home to their residence putative father is not a bar to the action commenced during his lifetime by one claiming to be his
at EDSA in a car owned and driven by Artemio himself (id. p. 36). illegitimate child.43 The rule on substitution of parties provided in Section 16, Rule 3 of the 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure, thus applies.
Merceditas (sic) bore the surname of Ilano since birth without any objection on the part of
Artemio, the fact that since Merceditas (sic) had her discernment she had always known and
called Artemio as her Daddy (TSN, pp. 28-29, 10/18/74); the fact that each time Artemio was at SEC. 16. Death of party; duty of counsel. Whenever a party to a pending action dies, and the
home, he would play with Merceditas (sic), take her for a ride or restaurants to eat, and claim is not thereby extinguished, it shall be the duty of his counsel to inform the court within
sometimes sleeping with Merceditas (sic) (id. p. 34) and does all what a father should do for his thirty (30) days after such death of the fact thereof, and to give the name and address of his
child bringing home goodies, candies, toys and whatever he can bring her which a child legal representative or representatives. Failure of counsel to comply with his duty shall be a
enjoys which Artemio gives to Merceditas (sic) (TSN, pp. 38-39, 5/17/74) are positive evidence ground for disciplinary action.
that Merceditas (sic) is the child of Artemio and recognized by Artemio as such. Special attention
is called to Exh. E-7 where Artemio was telling Leoncia the need for a frog test to know the The action must be brought within the same period specified in Article 173, except when the
status of Leoncia. action is based on the second paragraph of Article 172, in which case the action may be brought
during the lifetime of the alleged parent.
Plaintiff pointed out that the support by Artemio for Leoncia and Merceditas (sic) was sometimes
in the form of cash personally delivered to her by Artemio, thru Melencio, thru Elynia (Exhs. E-2 The heirs of the deceased may be allowed to be substituted for the deceased, without requiring
and E-3, and D-6), or thru Merceditas (sic) herself (TSN, p. 40, 5/17/74) and sometimes in the appointment of an executor or administrator and the court may appoint a guardian ad
the form of a check as the Manila Banking Corporation Check No. 81532 (Exh. G) and the litem for the minor heirs.
signature appearing therein which was identified by Leoncia as that of Artemio because Artemio
often gives her checks and Artemio would write the check at home and saw Artemio sign the The court shall forthwith order said legal representative or representatives to appear and be
check (TSN, p. 49, 7/18/73). Both Artemio and Nilda admitted that the check and signature were substituted within a period of thirty (30) days from notice.
those of Artemio (TSN, p. 53, 10/17/77; TSN, p. 19, 10/9/78).
If no legal representative is named by the counsel for the deceased party, or if the one so named
During the time that Artemio and Leoncia were living as husband and wife, Artemio has shown shall fail to appear within the specified period, the court may order the opposing party, within a
concern as the father of Merceditas (sic). When Merceditas (sic) was in Grade 1 at the St. specified time to procure the appointment of an executor or administrator for the estate of the
Joseph Parochial School, Artemio signed the Report Card of Merceditas (sic) (Exh. H) for the deceased and the latter shall immediately appear for and on behalf of the deceased. The court
fourth and fifth grading period(s) (Exh. H-1 and H-2) as the parent of Merceditas (sic). Those charges in procuring such appointment, if defrayed by the opposing party, may be recovered as
signatures of Artemio [were] both identified by Leoncia and Merceditas (sic) because Artemio costs.
signed Exh. H-1 and H-2 at their residence in the presence of Leoncia, Merceditas (sic) and
of Elynia (TSN, p. 57, 7/18/73; TSN, p. 28, 10/1/73). x x x.
WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED. The Decision dated July 18,
2006 and Resolution dated October 19, 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR. CV No. 64379
are herebyREVERSED and SET ASIDE. Civil Case No. 2124-AF of the Regional Trial Court of
xxx xxx xxx Cabanatuan City, Branch 26 is DISMISSED.

When Artemio run as a candidate in the Provincial Board of Cavite[,] Artemio gave Leoncia his No pronouncement as to costs. SO ORDERED. Sereno, C.J., (Chairperson), Leonardo-De
picture with the following dedication: To Nene, with best regards, Temiong. (Exh. I). (pp. 19- Castro, Bersamin, and Reyes, JJ., concur.
20, Appellants Brief)

The mere denial by defendant of his signature is not sufficient to offset the totality of the
evidence indubitably showing that the signature thereon belongs to him. The entry in the G.R. Nos. 89224-25 January 23, 1992
Certificate of Live Birth that Leoncia and Artemio was falsely stated therein as married does not
mean that Leoncia is not appellees daughter. This particular entry was caused to be made by
Artemio himself in order to avoid embarrassment.39 MAURICIO SAYSON, ROSARIO SAYSON-MALONDA, BASILISA SAYSON-LIRIO,
REMEDIOS SAYSON-REYES and JUANA C. BAUTISTA, petitioners,
In sum, we hold that the testimonies of respondent and Murillo, by themselves are not vs.
competent proof of paternity and the totality of respondents evidence failed to establish THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, DELIA SAYSON, assisted by her husband,
Christian Paulos filiation to petitioner. CIRILO CEDO, JR., EDMUNDO SAYSON AND DORIBEL SAYSON, respondents.

Time and again, this Court has ruled that a high standard of proof is required to establish
SO ORDERED.

CRUZ, J.: That judgment is now before us in this petition for review by certiorari. Reversal of the
respondent court is sought on the ground that it disregarded the evidence of the petitioners and
misapplied the pertinent law and jurisprudence when it declared the private respondents as the
At issue in this case is the status of the private respondents and their capacity to inherit from
exclusive heirs of Teodoro and Isabel Sayson.
their alleged parents and grandparents. The petitioners deny them that right, asserting if for
themselves to the exclusion of all others.
The contention of the petitioners is that Delia and Edmundo were not legally adopted because
Doribel had already been born on February 27, 1967, when the decree of adoption was issued
The relevant genealogical facts are as follows.
on March 9, 1967. The birth of Doribel disqualified her parents from adopting. The pertinent
provision is Article 335 of the Civil Code, naming among those who cannot adopt "(1) Those who
Eleno and Rafaela Sayson begot five children, namely, Mauricio, Rosario, Basilisa, Remedios have legitimate, legitimated, acknowledged natural children, or natural children by legal fiction."
and Teodoro. Eleno died on November 10, 1952, and Rafaela on May 15, 1976. Teodoro, who
had married Isabel Bautista, died on March 23, 1972. His wife died nine years later, on March
Curiously enough, the petitioners also argue that Doribel herself is not the legitimate daughter of
26, 1981. Their properties were left in the possession of Delia, Edmundo, and Doribel, all
Teodoro and Isabel but was in fact born to one Edita Abila, who manifested in a petition for
surnamed Sayson, who claim to be their children.
guardianship of the child that she was her natural mother. 6

On April 25, 1983, Mauricio, Rosario, Basilisa, and Remedios, together with Juana C. Bautista,
The inconsistency of this position is immediately apparent. The petitioners seek to annul the
Isabel's mother, filed a complaint for partition and accounting of the intestate estate of Teodoro
adoption of Delia and Edmundo on the ground that Teodoro and Isabel already had a legitimate
and Isabel Sayson. It was docketed as Civil Case No. 1030 in Branch 13 of the Regional Trial
daughter at the time but in the same breath try to demolish this argument by denying that
Court of Albay. The action was resisted by Delia, Edmundo and Doribel Sayson, who alleged
Doribel was born to the couple.
successional rights to the disputed estate as the decedents' lawful descendants.

On top of this, there is the vital question of timeliness. It is too late now to challenge the decree
On July 11, 1983, Delia, Edmundo and Doribel filed their own complaint, this time for the
of adoption, years after it became final and executory. That was way back in 1967. 7 Assuming
accounting and partition of the intestate estate of Eleno and Rafaela Sayson, against the
the the petitioners were proper parties, what they should have done was seasonably appeal the
couple's four surviving children. This was docketed as Civil Case No. 1042 in the Regional Trial
decree of adoption, pointing to the birth of Doribel that disqualified Teodoro and Isabel from
Court of Albay, Branch 12. The complainants asserted the defense they raised in Civil Case No.
adopting Delia and Edmundo. They did not. In fact, they should have done this earlier, before the
1030, to wit, that Delia and Edmundo were the adopted children and Doribel was the legitimate
decree of adoption was issued. They did not, although Mauricio claimed he had personal
daughter of Teodoro and Isabel. As such, they were entitled to inherit Teodoro's share in his
knowledge of such birth.
parents' estate by right of representation.

As the respondent court correctly observed:


Both cases were decided in favor of the herein private respondents on the basis of practically
the same evidence.
When Doribel was born on February 27, 1967, or about TEN (10) days
before the issuance of the Order of Adoption, the petitioners could have
Judge Rafael P. Santelices declared in his decision dated May 26,
notified the court about the fact of birth of DORIBEL and perhaps withdrew
1986, 1 that Delia and Edmundo were the legally adopted children of Teodoro and Isabel Sayson
the petition or perhaps petitioners could have filed a petition for the
by virtue of the decree of adoption dated March 9, 1967. 2 Doribel was their legitimate daughter
revocation or rescission of the adoption (although the birth of a child is not
as evidenced by her birth certificate dated February 27, 1967. 3 Consequently, the three children
one of those provided by law for the revocation or rescission of an
were entitled to inherit from Eleno and Rafaela by right of representation.
adoption). The court is of the considered opinion that the adoption of the
plaintiffs DELIA and EDMUNDO SAYSON is valid, outstanding and binding
In his decision dated September 30, 1986, 4 Judge Jose S. Saez dismissed Civil Case No. to the present, the same not having been revoked or rescinded.
1030, holding that the defendants, being the legitimate heirs of Teodoro and Isabel as
established by the aforementioned evidence, excluded the plaintiffs from sharing in their estate.
Not having any information of Doribel's birth to Teodoro and Isabel Sayson, the trial judge cannot
be faulted for granting the petition for adoption on the finding inter alia that the adopting parents
Both cases were appealed to the Court of Appeals, where they were consolidated. In its own were not disqualified.
decision dated February 28, 1989, 5 the respondent court disposed as follows:
A no less important argument against the petitioners is that their challenge to the validity of the
WHEREFORE, in Civil Case No. 1030 (CA-G.R. No. 11541), the appealed adoption cannot be made collaterally, as in their action for partition, but in a direct proceeding
decision is hereby AFFIRMED. In Civil case No. 1042 (CA-G.R. No. 12364), frontally addressing the issue.
the appealed decision is MODIFIED in that Delia and Edmundo Sayson are
disqualified from inheriting from the estate of the deceased spouses Eleno
The settled rule is that a finding that the requisite jurisdictional facts exists,
and Rafaela Sayson, but is affirmed in all other respects.
whether erroneous or not,cannot be questioned in a collateral proceeding,
for a presumption arises in such cases where the validity of the judgment is
thus attacked that the necessary jurisdictional facts were proven [Freeman The legitimacy of the child cannot be contested by way of defense or as a
on Judgments, Vol. I, Sec. 350, pp. 719-720]. (Emphasis supplied.) collateral issue in another action for a different purpose. . . . 12 (Emphasis
supplied.)
In the case of Santos v. Aranzanso, 8 this Court declared:
In consequence of the above observations, we hold that Doribel, as the legitimate daughter of
Teodoro and Isabel Sayson, and Delia and Edmundo, as their adopted children, are the
Anent this point, the rulings are summed up in 2 American Jurisprudence,
exclusive heirs to the intestate estate of the deceased couple, conformably to the following
2nd Series, Adoption, Sec. 75, p. 922, thus:
Article 979 of the Civil Code:

An adoption order implies the finding of the necessary


Art. 979. Legitimate children and their descendants succeed the parents
facts and the burden of proof is on the party attacking it;
and other ascendants, without distinction as to sex or age, and even if they
it cannot be considered void merely because the fact
should come from different marriages.
needed to show statutory compliance is obscure. While
a judicial determination of some particular fact, such as
the abandonment of his next of kin to the adoption, may An adopted child succeeds to the property of the adopting parents in the
be essential to the exercise of jurisdiction to enter the same manner as a legitimate child.
order of adoption, this does not make it essential to the
jurisdictional validity of the decree that the fact be
The philosophy underlying this article is that a person's love descends first to his children and
determined upon proper evidence, or necessarily in
grandchildren before it ascends to his parents and thereafter spreads among his collateral
accordance with the truth; a mere error cannot affect
relatives. It is also supposed that one of his purposes in acquiring properties is to leave them
the jurisdiction, and the determination must stand until
eventually to his children as a token of his love for them and as a provision for their continued
reversed on appeal, and hence cannot be collaterally
care even after he is gone from this earth.
attacked. If this were not the rule, the status of adopted
children would always be uncertain, since the evidence
might not be the same at all investigations, and might Coming now to the right of representation, we stress first the following pertinent provisions of the
be regarded with different effect by different tribunals, Civil Code:
and the adoption might be held by one court to have
been valid, while another court would hold it to have
Art. 970. Representation is a right created by fiction of law, by virtue of
been of no avail. (Emphasis supplied.)
which the representative is raised to the place and the degree of the person
represented, and acquires the rights which the latter would have if he were
On the question of Doribel's legitimacy, we hold that the findings of the trial courts as affirmed by living or if he could have inherited.
the respondent court must be sustained. Doribel's birth certificate is a formidable piece of
evidence. It is one of the prescribed means of recognition under Article 265 of the Civil Code and
Art. 971. The representative is called to the succession by the law and not
Article 172 of the Family Code. It is true, as the petitioners stress, that the birth certificate offers
by the person represented. The representative does not succeed the person
only prima facie evidence 9 of filiation and may be refuted by contrary evidence. However, such
represented but the one who the person represented would have
evidence is lacking in the case at bar.
succeeded.

Mauricio's testimony that he was present when Doribel was born to Edita Abila was
Art. 981. Should children of the deceased and descendants of other children
understandbly suspect, coming as it did from an interested party. The affidavit of Abila 10 denying
who are dead, survive, the former shall inherit in their own right, and the
her earlier statement in the petition for the guardianship of Doribel is of course hearsay, let alone
latter by right of representation.
the fact that it was never offered in evidence in the lower courts. Even without it, however, the
birth certificate must be upheld in line with Legaspi v. Court of Appeals, 11 where we ruled that
"the evidentiary nature of public documents must be sustained in the absence of strong, There is no question that as the legitimate daughter of Teodoro and thus the granddaughter of
complete and conclusive proof of its falsity or nullity." Eleno and Rafaela, Doribel has a right to represent her deceased father in the distribution of the
intestate estate of her grandparents. Under Article 981, quoted above, she is entitled to the
share her father would have directly inherited had he survived, which shall be equal to the
Another reason why the petitioners' challenge must fail is the impropriety of the present
shares of her grandparents' other children. 13
proceedings for that purpose. Doribel's legitimacy cannot be questioned in a complaint for
partition and accounting but in a direct action seasonably filed by the proper party.
But a different conclusion must be reached in the case of Delia and Edmundo, to whom the
grandparents were total strangers. While it is true that the adopted child shall be deemed to be a
The presumption of legitimacy in the Civil Code . . . does not have this
legitimate child and have the same right as the latter, these rights do not include the right of
purely evidential character. It serves a more fundamental purpose. It
representation. The relationship created by the adoption is between only the adopting parents
actually fixes a civil status for the child born in wedlock, and that civil
and the adopted child and does not extend to the blood relatives of either party. 14
status cannot be attacked collaterally. The legitimacy of the child can be
impugned only in a direct action brought for that purpose, by the proper
parties, and within the period limited by law.
In sum, we agree with the lower courts that Delia and Edmundo as the adopted children and
Doribel as the legitimate daughter of Teodoro Sayson and Isabel Bautista, are their exclusive
heirs and are under no obligation to share the estate of their parents with the petitioners. The
Court of Appeals was correct, however, in holding that only Doribel has the right of
representation in the inheritance of her grandparents' intestate estate, the other private
respondents being only the adoptive children of the deceased Teodoro.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, and the challenged decision of the Court of Appeals is
AFFIRMED in toto, with costs against the petitioners.

Narvasa, C.J., Grio-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 138961 March 7, 2002

WILLIAM LIYAO, JR., represented by his mother Corazon Garcia, petitioner,


vs.
JUANITA TANHOTI-LIYAO, PEARL MARGARET L. TAN, TITA ROSE L. TAN AND LINDA
CHRISTINA LIYAO,respondents.

DECISION
DE LEON, JR., J.: can still make a good looking son."9 Since birth, Billy had been in continuous possession and
enjoyment of the status of a recognized and/or acknowledged child of William Liyao by the
latters direct and overt acts. William Liyao supported Billy and paid for his food, clothing and
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the decision dated June 4, 1999 of the
other material needs. However, after William Liyaos death, it was Corazon who provided sole
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. C.V. No. 453941 which reversed the decision of the Regional Trial
support to Billy and took care of his tuition fees at La Salle, Greenhills. William Liyao left his
Court (RTC) of Pasig, Metro Manila, Branch 167 in declaring William Liyao, Jr. as the illegitimate
personal belongings, collections, clothing, old newspaper clippings and laminations at the house
(spurious) son of the deceased William Liyao and ordering Juanita Tanhoti-Liyao, Pearl Margaret
in White Plains where he shared his last moments with Corazon.
L. Tan, Tita Rose L. Tan and Linda Christina Liyao to recognize and acknowledge William Liyao,
Jr. as a compulsory heir of the deceased William Liyao and entitled to all successional rights as
such and to pay the costs of the suit. Testifying for the petitioner, Maurita Pasion declared that she knew both Corazon G. Garcia and
William Liyao who were godparents to her children. She used to visit Corazon and William Liyao
from 1965-1975. The two children of Corazon from her marriage to Ramon Yulo, namely,
On November 29,1976, William Liyao, Jr., represented by his mother Corazon G. Garcia, filed
Bernadette and Enrique (Ike), together with some housemaids lived with Corazon and William
Civil Case No. 24943 before the RTC of Pasig, Branch 167 which is an action for compulsory
Liyao as one family. On some occasions like birthdays or some other celebrations, Maurita
recognition as "the illegitimate (spurious) child of the late William Liyao" against herein
would sleep in the couples residence and cook for the family. During these occasions, she
respondents, Juanita Tanhoti-Liyao, Pearl Margaret L. Tan, Tita Rose L. Tan and Linda Christina
would usually see William Liyao in sleeping clothes. When Corazon, during the latter part of
Liyao.2 The complaint was later amended to include the allegation that petitioner "was in
1974, was pregnant with her child Billy, Maurita often visited her three (3) to four (4) times a
continuous possession and enjoyment of the status of the child of said William Liyao," petitioner
week in Greenhills and later on in White Plains where she would often see William Liyao. Being
having been "recognized and acknowledged as such child by the decedent during his lifetime."3
a close friend of Corazon, she was at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital during the birth of
Billy. She continuously visited them at White Plains and knew that William Liyao, while living with
The facts as alleged by petitioner are as follows: her friend Corazon, gave support by way of grocery supplies, money for household expenses
and matriculation fees for the two (2) older children, Bernadette and Enrique. During William
Liyaos birthday on November 22, 1975 held at the Republic Supermarket Office, he was
Corazon G. Garcia is legally married to but living separately from Ramon M. Yulo for more than carrying Billy and told everybody present, including his two (2) daughters from his legal
ten (10) years at the time of the institution of the said civil case. Corazon cohabited with the late marriage, "Look, this is my son, very guapo and healthy."10He then talked about his plan for the
William Liyao from 1965 up to the time of Williams untimely demise on December 2, 1975. They baptism of Billy before Christmas. He intended to make it "engrande" and "make the bells of San
lived together in the company of Corazons two (2) children from her subsisting marriage, Sebastian Church ring."11 Unfortunately, this did not happen since William Liyao passed away on
namely: December 2, 1975. Maurita attended Mr. Liyaos funeral and helped Corazon pack his clothes.
She even recognized a short sleeved shirt of blue and gray12 which Mr. Liyao wore in a
Enrique and Bernadette, both surnamed Yulo, in a succession of rented houses in Quezon City photograph13 as well as another shirt of lime green14 as belonging to the deceased. A note was
and Manila. This was with the knowledge of William Liyaos legitimate children, Tita Rose L. Tan also presented with the following inscriptions: "To Cora, Love From William."15 Maurita
and Linda Christina Liyao-Ortiga, from his subsisting marriage with Juanita Tanhoti Liyao. Tita remembered having invited the couple during her mothers birthday where the couple had their
Rose and Christina were both employed at the Far East Realty Investment, Inc. of which pictures taken while exhibiting affectionate poses with one another. Maurita knew that Corazon
Corazon and William were then vice president and president, respectively. is still married to Ramon Yulo since her marriage has not been annulled nor is Corazon legally
separated from her said husband. However, during the entire cohabitation of William Liyao with
Corazon Garcia, Maurita had not seen Ramon Yulo or any other man in the house when she
Sometime in 1974, Corazon bought a lot from Ortigas and Co. which required the signature of usually visited Corazon.
her husband, Ramon Yulo, to show his consent to the aforesaid sale. She failed to secure his
signature and, had never been in touch with him despite the necessity to meet him. Upon the
advice of William Liyao, the sale of the parcel of land located at the Valle Verde Subdivision was Gloria Panopio testified that she is the owner of a beauty parlor and that she knew that Billy is
registered under the name of Far East Realty Investment, Inc. the son of her neighbors, William Liyao and Corazon Garcia, the latter being one of her
customers. Gloria met Mr. Liyao at Corazons house in Scout Delgado, Quezon City in the
Christmas of 1965. Gloria had numerous occasions to see Mr. Liyao from 1966 to 1974 and
On June 9, 1975, Corazon gave birth to William Liyao, Jr. at the Cardinal Santos Memorial even more so when the couple transferred to White Plains, Quezon City from 1974-1975. At the
Hospital. During her three (3) day stay at the hospital, William Liyao visited and stayed with her time Corazon was conceiving, Mr. Liyao was worried that Corazon might have another
and the new born baby, William, Jr. (Billy). All the medical and hospital expenses, food and miscarriage so he insisted that she just stay in the house, play mahjong and not be bored. Gloria
clothing were paid under the account of William Liyao. William Liyao even asked his confidential taught Corazon how to play mahjong and together with Atty. Brillantes wife and sister-in-law,
secretary, Mrs. Virginia Rodriguez, to secure a copy of Billys birth certificate. He likewise had mahjong sessions among themselves. Gloria knew that Mr. Liyao provided Corazon with a
instructed Corazon to open a bank account for Billy with the Consolidated Bank and Trust rented house, paid the salary of the maids and food for Billy. He also gave Corazon financial
Company4 and gave weekly amounts to be deposited therein.5 William Liyao would bring Billy to support. Gloria knew that Corazon is married but is separated from Ramon Yulo although Gloria
the office, introduce him as his good looking son and had their pictures taken together.6 never had any occasion to see Mr. Yulo with Corazon in the house where Mr. Liyao and Corazon
lived.
During the lifetime of William Liyao, several pictures were taken showing, among others, William
Liyao and Corazon together with Billys godfather, Fr. Julian Ruiz, William Liyaos legal staff and Enrique Garcia Yulo testified that he had not heard from his father, Ramon Yulo, from the time
their wives while on vacation in Baguio.7 Corazon also presented pictures in court to prove that that the latter abandoned and separated from his family. Enrique was about six (6) years old
that she usually accompanied William Liyao while attending various social gatherings and other when William Liyao started to live with them up to the time of the latters death on December 2,
important meetings.8 During the occasion of William Liyaos last birthday on November 22, 1975 1975. Mr. Liyao was very supportive and fond of Enriques half brother, Billy. He identified
held at the Republic Supermarket, William Liyao expressly acknowledged Billy as his son in the several pictures showing Mr. Liyao carrying Billy at the house as well as in the office. Enriques
presence of Fr. Ruiz, Maurita Pasion and other friends and said, "Hey, look I am still young, I testimony was corroborated by his sister, Bernadette Yulo, who testified that the various pictures
showing Mr. Liyao carrying Billy could not have been superimposed and that the negatives were The last witness who testified for the respondents was Ramon Pineda, driver and bodyguard of
in the possession of her mother, Corazon Garcia. William Liyao from 1962 to 1974, who said that he usually reported for work at San Lorenzo
Village, Makati to pick up his boss at 8:00 oclock in the morning. At past 7:00 oclock in the
evening, either Carlos Palamigan or Serafin Villacillo took over as night shift driver. Sometime
Respondents, on the other hand, painted a different picture of the story.
between April and May 1974, Mr. Liyao got sick. It was only after a month that he was able to
report to the office. Thereafter, Mr. Liyao was not able to report to the office regularly. Sometime
Linda Christina Liyao-Ortiga stated that her parents, William Liyao and Juanita Tanhoti-Liyao, in September 1974, Mr. Liyao suffered from another heart attack. Mr. Pineda added that as a
were legally married.16 Linda grew up and lived with her parents at San Lorenzo Village, Makati, driver and bodyguard of Mr. Liyao, he ran errands for the latter among which was buying
Metro Manila until she got married; that her parents were not separated legally or in fact and that medicine for him like capasid and aldomet. On December 2, 1975, Mr. Pineda was called inside
there was no reason why any of her parents would institute legal separation proceedings in the office of Mr. Liyao. Mr. Pineda saw his employer leaning on the table. He tried to massage
court. Her father lived at their house in San Lorenzo Village and came home regularly. Even Mr. Liyaos breast and decided later to carry and bring him to the hospital but Mr. Liyao died
during out of town business trips or for conferences with the lawyers at the office, her father upon arrival thereat. Mrs. Liyao and her daughter, Linda Liyao-Ortiga were the first to arrive at
would change his clothes at home because of his personal hygiene and habits. Her father the hospital.
reportedly had trouble sleeping in other peoples homes. Linda described him as very
conservative and a strict disciplinarian. He believed that no amount of success would
Mr. Pineda also declared that he knew Corazon Garcia to be one of the employees of the
compensate for failure of a home. As a businessman, he was very tough, strong, fought for what
Republic Supermarket. People in the office knew that she was married. Her husband, Ramon
he believed in and did not give up easily. He suffered two strokes before the fatal attack which
Yulo, would sometimes go to the office. One time, in 1974, Mr. Pineda saw Ramon Yulo at the
led to his death on December 2, 1975. He suffered a stroke at the office sometime in April-May
office garage as if to fetch Corazon Garcia. Mr. Yulo who was also asking about cars for sale,
1974 and was attended by Dr. Santiago Co. He then stayed in the house for two (2) to three (3)
represented himself as car dealer.
months for his therapy and acupuncture treatment. He could not talk, move, walk, write or sign
his name. In the meantime, Linda and her sister, Tita Rose Liyao-Tan, ran the office. She
handled the collection of rents while her sister referred legal matters to their lawyers. William Witness Pineda declared that he did not know anything about the claim of Corazon. He freely
Liyao was bedridden and had personally changed. He was not active in business and had relayed the information that he saw Mr. Yulo in the garage of Republic Supermarket once in
dietary restrictions. Mr. Liyao also suffered a milder stroke during the latter part of September to 1973 and then in 1974 to Atty. Quisumbing when he went to the latters law office. Being the
October 1974. He stayed home for two (2) to three (3) days and went back to work. He felt driver of Mr. Liyao for a number of years, Pineda said that he remembered having driven the
depressed, however, and was easily bored. He did not put in long hours in the office unlike group of Mr. Liyao, Atty. Astraquillo, Atty. Brillantes, Atty. Magno and Atty. Laguio to Baguio for a
before and tried to spend more time with his family. vacation together with the lawyers wives. During his employment, as driver of Mr. Liyao, he
does not remember driving for Corazon Garcia on a trip to Baguio or for activities like shopping.
Linda testified that she knew Corazon Garcia is still married to Ramon Yulo. Corazon was not
legally separated from her husband and the records from the Local Civil Registrar do not On August 31, 1993, the trial court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads as
indicate that the couple obtained any annulment17 of their marriage. Once in 1973, Linda follows:
chanced upon Ramon Yulo picking up Corazon Garcia at the company garage. Immediately
after the death of Lindas father, Corazon went to Lindas office for the return of the formers
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants
alleged investments with the Far East Realty Investment, Inc. including a parcel of land sold by
as follows:
Ortigas and Company. Linda added that Corazon, while still a Vice-President of the company,
was able to take out documents, clothes and several laminated pictures of William Liyao from
the office. There was one instance when she was told by the guards, "Mrs. Yulo is leaving and (a) Confirming the appointment of Corazon G. Garcia as the guardian ad litem of the
taking out things again."18 Linda then instructed the guards to bring Mrs. Yulo to the office minor William Liyao, Jr.;
upstairs but her sister, Tita Rose, decided to let Corazon Garcia go. Linda did not recognize any
article of clothing which belonged to her father after having been shown three (3) large suit
(b) Declaring the minor William Liyao, Jr. as the illegitimate (spurious) son of the
cases full of mens clothes, underwear, sweaters, shorts and pajamas.
deceased William Liyao;

Tita Rose Liyao-Tan testified that her parents were legally married and had never been
(c) Ordering the defendants Juanita Tanhoti Liyao, Pearl Margaret L. Tan, Tita Rose L.
separated. They resided at No. 21 Hernandez Street, San Lorenzo Village, Makati up to the time
Tan and Christian Liyao, to recognize, and acknowledge the minor William Liyao, Jr.
of her fathers death on December 2, 1975.19 Her father suffered two (2) minor cardio-vascular
as a compulsory heir of the deceased William Liyao, entitled to all succesional rights
arrests (CVA) prior to his death. During the first heart attack sometime between April and May
as such; and
1974, his speech and hands were affected and he had to stay home for two (2) to three (3)
months under strict medication, taking aldomet, serpadil and cifromet which were prescribed by
Dr. Bonifacio Yap, for high blood pressure and cholesterol level control.20 Tita Rose testified that (d) Costs of suit.21
after the death of Mr. Liyao, Corazon Garcia was paid the amount of One Hundred Thousand
Pesos (P100,000.00) representing her investment in the Far East Realty Investment Inc. Tita
Rose also stated that her family never received any formal demand that they recognize a certain In ruling for herein petitioner, the trial court said it was convinced by preponderance of evidence
William Liyao, Jr. as an illegitimate son of her father, William Liyao. After assuming the position that the deceased William Liyao sired William Liyao, Jr. since the latter was conceived at the
of President of the company, Tita Rose did not come across any check signed by her late father time when Corazon Garcia cohabited with the deceased. The trial court observed that herein
representing payment to lessors as rentals for the house occupied by Corazon Garcia. Tita Rose petitioner had been in continuous possession and enjoyment of the status of a child of the
added that the laminated photographs presented by Corazon Garcia are the personal collection deceased by direct and overt acts of the latter such as securing the birth certificate of petitioner
of the deceased which were displayed at the latters office. through his confidential secretary, Mrs. Virginia Rodriguez; openly and publicly acknowledging
petitioner as his son; providing sustenance and even introducing herein petitioner to his 2) By the fact that husband and wife were living separately in such a way that access
legitimate children. was not possible;

The Court of Appeals, however, reversed the ruling of the trial court saying that the law favors 3) By the serious illness of the husband.
the legitimacy rather than the illegitimacy of the child and "the presumption of legitimacy is
thwarted only on ethnic ground and by proof that marital intimacy between husband and wife
Petitioner insists that his mother, Corazon Garcia, had been living separately for ten (10) years
was physically impossible at the period cited in Article 257 in relation to Article 255 of the Civil
from her husband, Ramon Yulo, at the time that she cohabited with the late William Liyao and it
Code." The appellate court gave weight to the testimonies of some witnesses for the
was physically impossible for her to have sexual relations with Ramon Yulo when petitioner was
respondents that Corazon Garcia and Ramon Yulo who were still legally married and have not
conceived and born. To bolster his claim, petitioner presented a document entitled, "Contract of
secured legal separation, were seen in each others company during the supposed time that
Separation,"25 executed and signed by Ramon Yulo indicating a waiver of rights to any and all
Corazon cohabited with the deceased William Liyao. The appellate court further noted that the
claims on any property that Corazon Garcia might acquire in the future. 26
birth certificate and the baptismal certificate of William Liyao, Jr. which were presented by
petitioner are not sufficient to establish proof of paternity in the absence of any evidence that the
deceased, William Liyao, had a hand in the preparation of said certificates and considering that The fact that Corazon Garcia had been living separately from her husband, Ramon Yulo, at the
his signature does not appear thereon. The Court of Appeals stated that neither do family time petitioner was conceived and born is of no moment. While physical impossibility for the
pictures constitute competent proof of filiation. With regard to the passbook which was husband to have sexual intercourse with his wife is one of the grounds for impugning the
presented as evidence for petitioner, the appellate court observed that there was nothing in it to legitimacy of the child, it bears emphasis that the grounds for impugning the legitimacy of the
prove that the same was opened by William Liyao for either petitioner or Corazon Garcia since child mentioned in Article 255 of the Civil Code may only be invoked by the husband, or in
William Liyaos signature and name do not appear thereon. proper cases, his heirs under the conditions set forth under Article 262 of the Civil
Code.27Impugning the legitimacy of the child is a strictly personal right of the husband, or in
exceptional cases, his heirs for the simple reason that he is the one directly confronted with the
His motion for reconsideration having been denied, petitioner filed the present petition.
scandal and ridicule which the infidelity of his wife produces and he should be the one to decide
whether to conceal that infidelity or expose it in view of the moral and economic interest
It must be stated at the outset that both petitioner and respondents have raised a number of involved.28 It is only in exceptional cases that his heirs are allowed to contest such legitimacy.
issues which relate solely to the sufficiency of evidence presented by petitioner to establish his Outside of these cases, none - even his heirs - can impugn legitimacy; that would amount o an
claim of filiation with the late William Liyao. Unfortunately, both parties have consistently insult to his memory.29
overlooked the real crux of this litigation: May petitioner impugn his own legitimacy to be able to
claim from the estate of his supposed father, William Liyao?
It is therefor clear that the present petition initiated by Corazon G. Garcia as guardian ad litem of
the then minor, herein petitioner, to compel recognition by respondents of petitioner William
We deny the present petition. Liyao, Jr, as the illegitimate son of the late William Liyao cannot prosper. It is settled that a child
born within a valid marriage is presumed legitimate even though the mother may have declared
against its legitimacy or may have been sentenced as an adulteress. 30 We cannot allow
Under the New Civil Code, a child born and conceived during a valid marriage is presumed to be
petitioner to maintain his present petition and subvert the clear mandate of the law that only the
legitimate.22The presumption of legitimacy of children does not only flow out from a declaration
husband, or in exceptional circumstances, his heirs, could impugn the legitimacy of a child born
contained in the statute but is based on the broad principles of natural justice and the supposed
in a valid and subsisting marriage. The child himself cannot choose his own filiation. If the
virtue of the mother. The presumption is grounded in a policy to protect innocent offspring from
husband, presumed to be the father does not impugn the legitimacy of the child, then the status
the odium of illegitimacy.23
of the child is fixed, and the latter cannot choose to be the child of his mothers alleged
paramour. On the other hand, if the presumption of legitimacy is overthrown, the child cannot
The presumption of legitimacy of the child, however, is not conclusive and consequently, may be elect the paternity of the husband who successfully defeated the presumption.31
overthrown by evidence to the contrary. Hence, Article 255 of the New Civil Code24 provides:
Do the acts of Enrique and Bernadette Yulo, the undisputed children of Corazon Garcia with
Article 255. Children born after one hundred and eighty days following the celebration of the Ramon Yulo, in testifying for herein petitioner amount to impugnation of the legitimacy of the
marriage, and before three hundred days following its dissolution or the separation of the latter?
spouses shall be presumed to be legitimate.
We think not. As earlier stated, it is only in exceptional cases that the heirs of the husband are
Against this presumption no evidence shall be admitted other than that of the physical allowed to contest the legitimacy of the child. There is nothing on the records to indicate that
impossibility of the husband having access to his wife within the first one hundred and twenty Ramon Yulo has already passed away at the time of the birth of the petitioner nor at the time of
days of the three hundred which preceded the birth of the child. the initiation of this proceedings. Notably, the case at bar was initiated by petitioner himself
through his mother, Corazon Garcia, and not through Enrique and Bernadette Yulo. It is settled
that the legitimacy of the child can be impugned only in a direct action brought for that purpose,
This physical impossibility may be caused: by the proper parties and within the period limited by law.1wphi1

1) By the impotence of the husband; Considering the foregoing, we find no reason to discuss the sufficiency of the evidence
presented by both parties on the petitioners claim of alleged filiation with the late William Liyao.
In any event, there is no clear, competent and positive evidence presented by the petitioner that
his alleged father had admitted or recognized his paternity.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. CV No. 45394 is hereby AFFIRMED. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Bellosillo, (Chairman), Mendoza, Quisumbing, and Buena, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 142877 October 2, 2001

JINKIE CHRISTIE A. DE JESUS and JACQUELINE A. DE JESUS minors, represented by


their mother, CAROLINA A. DE JESUS, petitioners,
vs.
THE ESTATE OF DECEDENT JUAN GAMBOA DIZON, ANGELINA V. DIZON, CARLOS
DIZON, FELIFE DIZON, JUAN DIZON, JR. and MARYLIN DIZON and as proper parties:
FORMS MEDIA CORP., QUAD MANAGEMENT CORP., FILIPINAS PAPER SALES CO., INC.
and AMITY CONSTRUCTION & INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISES, INC. respondents.
VITUG, J.: In the comment, respondents submit that the rule in Divinagracia being relied by petitioners is
inapplicable to the case because there has been no attempt to impugn legitimate filiation
in Divinagracia. In praying for the affirmance of dismissal of the complaint, respondents count on
The petitioner involves the case of the illegitimate children who, having been born in lawful
the case of Sayson vs. Court of Appeals,3 which has ruled that the issue of legitimacy cannot be
wedlock, claim to be the illegitimate scions of the decedent in order to enforce their respective
questioned in a complaint for partition and accounting but must be seasonably brought up in
shares in the latter's estate under the rules of succession.
direct action frontally addressing the issue.

Danilo B. de Jesus and Carolina Aves de Jesus got married on 23 August 1964. It was during
The controversy between the parties has been pending for much too long, and it is time that this
this marriage that Jacqueline A. de Jesus and Jinkie Christie A. de Jesus, herein petitioners,
matter draws to a close.
were born, the former on 01 March 1979 and the latter on 06 July 1982.

The filiation of illegitimate children, like legitimate children, is established by (1) the record of
In a notarized document, dated 07 June 1991, Juan G. Dizon acknowledged Jacqueline and
birth appearing the civil register or a final judgement; or (2) an admission of legitimate filiation in
Jinkie de Jesus as being his own illegitimate children by Carolina Aves de Jesus. Juan G. Dizon
a public document or a private handwritten and signed by the parent concerned. In the absence
died intestate on 12 March 1992, leaving behind considerable assets consisting of shares of
thereof, filiation shall be proved by (1) the open and continuos possession of the status of a
stock in various corporations and some real property. It was on the strength of his notarized
legitimate child; or (2) any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. 4 The
acknowledgement that petitioners filed a complaint on 01 July 1993 for "Partition with Inventory
due recognition of an illegitimate child in a record of birth, a will, a statement before a
and Accounting" of the Dizon estate with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 88, of Quezon City.
court or record, or in any authentic writing is, in itself, a consummated act of
acknowledgement of the child, and no further court action is required.5 In fact, any writing
Respondent, the surviving spouse and legitimate children of the decedent Juan G. Dizon, is treated not just a ground for compulsory recognition; it is in itself voluntary recognition that
including the corporations of which the deceased was a stockholder, sought the dismissal of the does not require a separate action for judicial approval.6 Where, instead, a claim for
case, arguing that the complaint, even while denominated as being one for partition, would recognition is predicted on other evidence merely tending to prove paternity, i.e., outside
nevertheless call for altering the status of petitioners from being the legitimate children of the of a record of birth, a will, a statement before a court or record or an authentic writing,
spouses Danilo de Jesus and Carolina de Jesus to instead be the illegitimate children of judicial action within the applicable statue of limitations is essential in order to establish
Carolina de Jesus and deceased Juan Dizon. The trial court denied, due to lack of merit, the the child's acknowledgement.7
motion to dismiss and subsequent motion for reconsideration on, respectively, 13 September
1993 and 15 February 1994. Respondents assailed the denial of said motions before the Court
A scrutiny of the records would show that petitioners were born during the marriage of their
of Appeals.
parents. The certificates of live would also identify Danilo de Jesus as being their father.

On 20 May 1994, the appellate court upheld the decision of the lower court and ordered the
There is perhaps no presumption of the law more firmly established and founded on sounder
case to be remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. It ruled that the veracity of the
morality and more convincing reason than the presumption that children born in wedlock are
conflicting assertions should be threshed out at the trial considering that the birth certificates
legitimate.8 this presumption indeed becomes conclusive in the absence of proof that there is
presented by respondents appeared to have effectively contradicted petitioners' allegation of
physical impossibility of access between the spouses during the first 120 days of the 300 days
illegitimacy.1wphi1.nt
which immediately precedes the birth of the child due to (a) the physical incapacity of the
husband to have sexual intercourse with his wife; (b) the fact the husband and wife are living
On 03 January 2000, long after submitting their answer, pre-trial brief and several other motions, separately in such a way that sexual intercourse is not possible; or (c) serious illness of the
respondents filed an omnibus motion, again praying for the dismissal of the complaint on the husband, which absolutely prevents sexual intercourse.9 Quite remarkably, upon the expiration
ground that the action instituted was, in fact, made to compel the recognition of petitioners as of the periods set forth in Article 170,10 and in proper cases Article 171,11 of the Family Code
being the illegitimate children of decedent Juan G. Dizon and that the partition sought was (which took effect on 03 August 1988), the action to impugn the legitimacy of a child would no
merely an ulterior relief once petitioners would have been able the establish their status as such longer be legally feasible and the status conferred by the presumption becomes fixed and
heirs. It was contended, in fine that an action for partition was not an appropriate forum to unassailable,12
likewise ascertain the question of paternity and filiation, an issue that could only be taken up in
an independent suit or proceeding.
Succinctly, in an attempt to establish their illegitimate filiation to the late Juan G. Dizon,
petitioners, in effect, would impugn their legitimate status as being children of Danilo de Jesus
Finding credence in the argument of respondents, the trial court, ultimately, dismissed the and Carolina Aves de Jesus. This step cannot be aptly done because the law itself establishes
complaint of petitioners for lack of cause of action and for being improper.1 It decreed that the the legitimacy of children conceived or born during the marriage of the parents. The
declaration of heirship could only be made in a special proceeding in asmuch as petitioners presumption of legitimacy fixes a civil status for the child born in wedlock, and only the
were seeking the establishment of a status or right. father,13 or in exceptional instances the latter's heirs,14 can contest in an appropriate
action the legitimacy of a child born to his wife. Thus, it is only when the legitimacy of a
child has been successfully impugned that the paternity of the husband can be rejected.
Petitioners assail the foregoing order of the trial court in the instant petition for review
on certiorari. Basically, petitioners maintain that their recognition as being illegitimate children of
the decedent, embodied in an authentic writing, is in itself sufficient to establish their status as Respondents correctly argued that petitioners hardly could find succor in Divinagracia. In said
such and does not require a separate action for judicial approval following the doctrine case, the Supreme Court remanded to the trial court for further proceedings the action for
enunciated in Divinagracia vs. Bellosillo.2 partition filed by an illegitimate child who had claimed to be an acknowledgement spurious child
by virtue of a private document. Signed by the acknowledging parent, evidencing such
recognition. It was not a case of legitimate children asserting to be somebody else's illegitimate
children. Petitioners totally ignored the fact that it was not for them, given the attendant
circumstances particularly, to declare that they could not have been the legitimate children,
clearly opposed to the entries in their respective birth certificates, of Danilo and Carolina de
Jesus.

The rule that the written acknowledgement made by the deceased Juan G. Dizon establishes
petitioners' alleged illegitimate filiation to the decedent cannot be validly invoked to be of any
relevance in this instance. This issue, i.e whether petitioners are indeed the acknowledge
illegitimate offsprings of the decedent, cannot be aptly adjudicated without an action having been
first instituted to impugn their legitimacy as being the children of Danilo B. de Jesus and Carolina
Aves de Jesus born in lawful wedlock. Jurisprudence is strongly settled that the paramount
declaration of legitimacy by law cannot be attacked collaterally,15 one that can only be repudiated
or contested in a direct suit specifically brought for that purpose.16 Indeed, a child so born in
such wedlock shall be considered legitimate although the mother may have declared against its
legitimacy or may have been sentenced as having been an adulteress.17

WHEREFORE, the foregoing disquisitions considered, the instant petition is DENIED. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Melo, Panganiban, Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 123450. August 31, 2005

GERARDO B. CONCEPCION, Petitioners,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and MA. THERESA ALMONTE, Respondent.

DECISION

CORONA, J.:
The child, by reason of his mental and physical immaturity, needs special safeguard and care, "In all questions regarding the care, custody, education and property of the child, his welfare
including appropriate legal protection before as well as after birth.1 In case of assault on his shall be the paramount consideration."
rights by those who take advantage of his innocence and vulnerability, the law will rise in his
defense with the single-minded purpose of upholding only his best interests.
WHEREFORE, the respondents Motion for Reconsideration has to be, as it is hereby
DENIED.12
This is the story of petitioner Gerardo B. Concepcion and private respondent Ma. Theresa
Almonte, and a child named Jose Gerardo. Gerardo and Ma. Theresa were married on
Ma. Theresa elevated the case to the Court of Appeals, assigning as error the ruling of the trial
December 29, 1989.2 After their marriage, they lived with Ma. Theresas parents in Fairview,
court granting visitation rights to Gerardo. She likewise opposed the continued use of Gerardos
Quezon City.3 Almost a year later, on December 8, 1990, Ma. Theresa gave birth to Jose
surname (Concepcion) despite the fact that Jose Gerardo had already been declared illegitimate
Gerardo.4
and should therefore use her surname (Almonte). The appellate court denied the petition and
affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court.13
Gerardo and Ma. Theresas relationship turned out to be short-lived, however. On December 19,
1991, Gerardo filed a petition to have his marriage to Ma. Theresa annulled on the ground of
On the issue raised by Ma. Theresa that there was nothing in the law that granted a putative
bigamy.5 He alleged that nine years before he married Ma. Theresa on December 10, 1980, she
father visitation rights over his illegitimate child, the appellate court affirmed the "best interest of
had married one Mario Gopiao, which marriage was never annulled. 6 Gerardo also found out
the child" policy invoked by the court a quo. It ruled that "[a]t bottom, it (was) the childs welfare
that Mario was still alive and was residing in Loyola Heights, Quezon City.7
and not the convenience of the parents which (was) the primary consideration in granting
visitation rights a few hours once a week."14
Ma. Theresa did not deny marrying Mario when she was twenty years old. She, however,
averred that the marriage was a sham and that she never lived with Mario at all.8
The appellate court likewise held that an illegitimate child cannot use the mothers
surname motu proprio. The child, represented by the mother, should file a separate proceeding
The trial court ruled that Ma. Theresas marriage to Mario was valid and subsisting when she for a change of name under Rule 103 of the Rules of Court to effect the correction in the civil
married Gerardo and annulled her marriage to the latter for being bigamous. It declared Jose registry.15
Gerardo to be an illegitimate child as a result. The custody of the child was awarded to Ma.
Theresa while Gerardo was granted visitation rights.9
Undaunted, Ma. Theresa moved for the reconsideration of the adverse decision of the appellate
court. She also filed a motion to set the case for oral arguments so that she could better
Ma. Theresa felt betrayed and humiliated when Gerardo had their marriage annulled. She held ventilate the issues involved in the controversy.
him responsible for the bastardization of Gerardo. She moved for the reconsideration of the
above decision "INSOFAR ONLY as that portion of the decision which grant(ed) to the
After hearing the oral arguments of the respective counsels of the parties, the appellate court
petitioner so-called visitation rights between the hours of 8 in the morning to 12:00 p.m. of
resolved the motion for reconsideration. It reversed its earlier ruling and held that Jose Gerardo
any Sunday."10 She argued that there was nothing in the law granting "visitation rights in favor of
was not the son of Ma. Theresa by Gerardo but by Mario during her first marriage:
the putative father of an illegitimate child."11 She further maintained that Jose Gerardos surname
should be changed from Concepcion to Almonte, her maiden name, following the rule that an
illegitimate child shall use the mothers surname. It is, therefore, undeniable established by the evidence in this case that the appellant [Ma.
Theresa] was married to Mario Gopiao, and that she had never entered into a lawful marriage
with the appellee [Gerardo] since the so-called "marriage" with the latter was void ab initio. It
Gerardo opposed the motion. He insisted on his visitation rights and the retention of
was [Gerardo] himself who had established these facts. In other words, [Ma. Theresa] was
Concepcion as Jose Gerardos surname.
legitimately married to Mario Gopiao when the child Jose Gerardo was born on December 8,
1990. Therefore, the child Jose Gerardo under the law is the legitimate child of the legal and
Applying the "best interest of the child" principle, the trial court denied Ma. Theresas motion and subsisting marriage between [Ma. Theresa] and Mario Gopiao; he cannot be deemed to be the
made the following observations: illegitimate child of the void and non-existent marriage between [Ma. Theresa] and [Gerardo],
but is said by the law to be the child of the legitimate and existing marriage between [Ma.
Theresa] and Mario Gopiao (Art. 164, Family Code). Consequently, [she] is right in firmly saying
It is a pity that the parties herein seem to be using their son to get at or to hurt the other,
that [Gerardo] can claim neither custody nor visitorial rights over the child Jose Gerardo. Further,
something they should never do if they want to assure the normal development and well-being
[Gerardo] cannot impose his name upon the child. Not only is it without legal basis (even
of the boy.
supposing the child to be his illegitimate child [Art. 146, The Family Code]); it would tend to
destroy the existing marriage between [Ma. Theresa] and Gopiao, would prevent any possible
The Court allowed visitorial rights to the father knowing that the minor needs a father, especially rapproachment between the married couple, and would mean a judicial seal upon an illegitimate
as he is a boy, who must have a father figure to recognize something that the mother alone relationship.16
cannot give. Moreover, the Court believes that the emotional and psychological well-being of the
boy would be better served if he were allowed to maintain relationships with his father.
The appellate court brushed aside the common admission of Gerardo and Ma. Theresa that
Jose Gerardo was their son. It gave little weight to Jose Gerardos birth certificate showing that
There being no law which compels the Court to act one way or the other on this matter, the he was born a little less than a year after Gerardo and Ma. Theresa were married:
Court invokes the provision of Art. 8, PD 603 as amended, otherwise known as the Child and
Youth Welfare Code, to wit:
We are not unaware of the movants argument that various evidence exist that appellee and the To rebut the presumption, the separation between the spouses must be such as to make marital
appellant have judicially admitted that the minor is their natural child. But, in the same vein, We intimacy impossible.32 This may take place, for instance, when they reside in different countries
cannot overlook the fact that Article 167 of the Family Code mandates: or provinces and they were never together during the period of conception. 33 Or, the husband
was in prison during the period of conception, unless it appears that sexual union took place
through the violation of prison regulations.34
"The child shall be considered legitimate although the mother may have declared against its
legitimacy or may have been sentenced as an adulteress." (underscoring ours)
Here, during the period that Gerardo and Ma. Theresa were living together in Fairview, Quezon
City, Mario was living in Loyola Heights which is also in Quezon City. Fairview and Loyola
Thus, implicit from the above provision is the fact that a minor cannot be deprived of his/her
Heights are only a scant four kilometers apart.
legitimate status on the bare declaration of the mother and/or even much less, the supposed
father. In fine, the law and only the law determines who are the legitimate or illegitimate
children for ones legitimacy or illegitimacy cannot ever be compromised. Not even the Not only did both Ma. Theresa and Mario reside in the same city but also that no evidence at all
birth certificate of the minor can change his status for the information contained therein are was presented to disprove personal access between them. Considering these circumstances,
merely supplied by the mother and/or the supposed father. It should be what the law says and the separation between Ma. Theresa and her lawful husband, Mario, was certainly not such as
not what a parent says it is.17 (Emphasis supplied) to make it physically impossible for them to engage in the marital act.

Shocked and stunned, Gerardo moved for a reconsideration of the above decision but the same Sexual union between spouses is assumed. Evidence sufficient to defeat the assumption should
was denied.18Hence, this appeal. be presented by him who asserts the contrary. There is no such evidence here. Thus, the
presumption of legitimacy in favor of Jose Gerardo, as the issue of the marriage between Ma.
Theresa and Mario, stands.
The status and filiation of a child cannot be compromised.19 Article 164 of the Family Code is
clear. A child who is conceived or born during the marriage of his parents is legitimate.20
Gerardo relies on Ma. Theresas statement in her answer35 to the petition for annulment of
marriage36 that she never lived with Mario. He claims this was an admission that there was never
As a guaranty in favor of the child21 and to protect his status of legitimacy, Article 167 of the
any sexual relation between her and Mario, an admission that was binding on her.
Family Code provides:

Gerardos argument is without merit.


Article 167. The child shall be considered legitimate although the mother may have declared
against its legitimacy or may have been sentenced as an adulteress.
First, the import of Ma. Theresas statement is that Jose Gerardo is not her legitimate son with
22 Mario but her illegitimate son with Gerardo. This declaration an avowal by the mother that her
The law requires that every reasonable presumption be made in favor of legitimacy. We
child is illegitimate is the very declaration that is proscribed by Article 167 of the Family Code.
explained the rationale of this rule in the recent case of Cabatania v. Court of Appeals23:

The language of the law is unmistakable. An assertion by the mother against the legitimacy of
The presumption of legitimacy does not only flow out of a declaration in the statute but is based
her child cannot affect the legitimacy of a child born or conceived within a valid marriage.
on the broad principles of natural justice and the supposed virtue of the mother. It is grounded
on the policy to protect the innocent offspring from the odium of illegitimacy.
Second, even assuming the truth of her statement, it does not mean that there was never an
instance where Ma. Theresa could have been together with Mario or that there occurred
Gerardo invokes Article 166 (1)(b)24 of the Family Code. He cannot. He has no standing in law to
absolutely no intercourse between them. All she said was that she never lived with Mario. She
dispute the status of Jose Gerardo. Only Ma. Theresas husband Mario or, in a proper case,25 his
never claimed that nothing ever happened between them.
heirs, who can contest the legitimacy of the child Jose Gerardo born to his wife.26 Impugning the
legitimacy of a child is a strictly personal right of the husband or, in exceptional cases, his
heirs.27 Since the marriage of Gerardo and Ma. Theresa was void from the very beginning, he Telling is the fact that both of them were living in Quezon City during the time material to Jose
never became her husband and thus never acquired any right to impugn the legitimacy of her Gerardos conception and birth. Far from foreclosing the possibility of marital intimacy, their
child. proximity to each other only serves to reinforce such possibility. Thus, the impossibility of
physical access was never established beyond reasonable doubt.
The presumption of legitimacy proceeds from the sexual union in marriage, particularly during
the period of conception.28 To overthrow this presumption on the basis of Article 166 (1)(b) of the Third, to give credence to Ma. Theresas statement is to allow her to arrogate unto herself a right
Family Code, it must be shown beyond reasonable doubt that there was no access that could exclusively lodged in the husband, or in a proper case, his heirs.37 A mother has no right to
have enabled the husband to father the child.29 Sexual intercourse is to be presumed where disavow a child because maternity is never uncertain.38 Hence, Ma. Theresa is not permitted by
personal access is not disproved, unless such presumption is rebutted by evidence to the law to question Jose Gerardos legitimacy.
contrary.30
Finally, for reasons of public decency and morality, a married woman cannot say that she had no
The presumption is quasi-conclusive and may be refuted only by the evidence of physical intercourse with her husband and that her offspring is illegitimate.39 The proscription is in
impossibility of coitus between husband and wife within the first 120 days of the 300 days which consonance with the presumption in favor of family solidarity. It also promotes the intention of
immediately preceded the birth of the child.31 the law to lean toward the legitimacy of children.40
Gerardos insistence that the filiation of Jose Gerardo was never an issue both in the trial court now comes to his aid to write finis to the controversy which has unfairly hounded him since his
and in the appellate court does not hold water. The fact that both Ma. Theresa and Gerardo infancy.
admitted and agreed that Jose Gerardo was born to them was immaterial. That was, in effect, an
agreement that the child was illegitimate. If the Court were to validate that stipulation, then it
Having only his best interests in mind, we uphold the presumption of his legitimacy.
would be tantamount to allowing the mother to make a declaration against the legitimacy of her
child and consenting to the denial of filiation of the child by persons other than her husband.
These are the very acts from which the law seeks to shield the child. As a legitimate child, Jose Gerardo shall have the right to bear the surnames of his father Mario
and mother Ma. Theresa, in conformity with the provisions of the Civil Code on surnames.50 A
persons surname or family name identifies the family to which he belongs and is passed on
Public policy demands that there be no compromise on the status and filiation of a
from parent to child.51 Hence, Gerardo cannot impose his surname on Jose Gerardo who is, in
child.41 Otherwise, the child will be at the mercy of those who may be so minded to exploit his
the eyes of the law, not related to him in any way.
defenselessness.

The matter of changing Jose Gerardos name and effecting the corrections of the entries in the
The reliance of Gerardo on Jose Gerardos birth certificate is misplaced. It has no evidentiary
civil register regarding his paternity and filiation should be threshed out in a separate
value in this case because it was not offered in evidence before the trial court. The rule is that
proceeding.
the court shall not consider any evidence which has not been formally offered.42

In case of annulment or declaration of absolute nullity of marriage, Article 49 of the Family Code
Moreover, the law itself establishes the status of a child from the moment of his birth.43 Although
grants visitation rights to a parent who is deprived of custody of his children. Such visitation
a record of birth or birth certificate may be used as primary evidence of the filiation of a
rights flow from the natural right of both parent and child to each others company. There being
child,44 as the status of a child is determined by the law itself, proof of filiation is necessary only
no such parent-child relationship between them, Gerardo has no legally demandable right to visit
when the legitimacy of the child is being questioned, or when the status of a child born after 300
Jose Gerardo.
days following the termination of marriage is sought to be established. 45

Our laws seek to promote the welfare of the child. Article 8 of PD 603, otherwise known as the
Here, the status of Jose Gerardo as a legitimate child was not under attack as it could not be
Child and Youth Welfare Code, is clear and unequivocal:
contested collaterally and, even then, only by the husband or, in extraordinary cases, his heirs.
Hence, the presentation of proof of legitimacy in this case was improper and uncalled for.
Article 8. Childs Welfare Paramount. In all questions regarding the care, custody, education
and property of the child, his welfare shall be the paramount consideration.
In addition, a record of birth is merely prima facie evidence of the facts contained
therein.46 As prima facieevidence, the statements in the record of birth may be rebutted by more
preponderant evidence. It is not conclusive evidence with respect to the truthfulness of the Article 3 (1) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child of which the Philippines is
statements made therein by the interested parties.47Between the certificate of birth which a signatory is similarly emphatic:
is prima facie evidence of Jose Gerardos illegitimacy and the quasi-conclusive presumption of
law (rebuttable only by proof beyond reasonable doubt) of his legitimacy, the latter shall prevail.
Article 3
Not only does it bear more weight, it is also more conducive to the best interests of the child and
in consonance with the purpose of the law.
1. In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare
institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the
It perplexes us why both Gerardo and Ma. Theresa would doggedly press for Jose Gerardos
child shall be a primary consideration.
illegitimacy while claiming that they both had the childs interests at heart. The law, reason and
common sense dictate that a legitimate status is more favorable to the child. In the eyes of the
law, the legitimate child enjoys a preferred and superior status. He is entitled to bear the The State as parens patriae affords special protection to children from abuse, exploitation and
surnames of both his father and mother, full support and full inheritance.48 On the other hand, an other conditions prejudicial to their development. It is mandated to provide protection to those of
illegitimate child is bound to use the surname and be under the parental authority only of his tender years.52 Through its laws, the State safeguards them from every one, even their own
mother. He can claim support only from a more limited group and his legitime is only half of that parents, to the end that their eventual development as responsible citizens and members of
of his legitimate counterpart.49 Moreover (without unwittingly exacerbating the discrimination society shall not be impeded, distracted or impaired by family acrimony. This is especially
against him), in the eyes of society, a bastard is usually regarded as bearing a stigma or mark significant where, as in this case, the issue concerns their filiation as it strikes at their very
of dishonor. Needless to state, the legitimacy presumptively vested by law upon Jose Gerardo identity and lineage.
favors his interest.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. The September 14, 1995 and January 10, 1996
It is unfortunate that Jose Gerardo was used as a pawn in the bitter squabble between the very resolutions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 40651 are hereby AFFIRMED.
persons who were passionately declaring their concern for him. The paradox was that he was
made to suffer supposedly for his own sake. This madness should end.
Costs against petitioner.

This case has been pending for a very long time already. What is specially tragic is that an
innocent child is involved. Jose Gerardo was barely a year old when these proceedings began. SO ORDERED.
He is now almost fifteen and all this time he has been a victim of incessant bickering. The law
Panganiban, (Chairman), Sandoval-Gutierrez, and Garcia, JJ., concur.

Carpio-Morales, J., no part.

G.R. No. 125901 March 8, 2001

EDGARDO A. TIJING and BIENVENIDA R TIJING, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS


(Seventh Division) and ANGELITA DIAMANTE, respondents.

QUISUMBING, J.:

For review is the decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 6, 1996, in CA-G.R. SP No.
39056, reversing the decision of the Regional Trial Court in a petition for habeas corpus of
Edgardo Tijing, Jr., allegedly the child of petitioners.

Petitioners are husband and wife. They have six children. The youngest is Edgardo Tijing, Jr.,
who was born on April 27, 1989, at the clinic of midwife and registered nurse Lourdes Vasquez
in Sta. Ana, Manila. Petitioner Bienvenida served as the laundrywoman of private respondent WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, judgment is hereby rendered GRANTING
Angelita Diamante, then a resident of Tondo, Manila. the petition for Habeas Corpus, as such, respondent Angelita Diamante is ordered to
immediately release from her personal custody minor John Thomas D. Lopez, and
turn him over and/or surrender his person to petitioners, Spouses Edgardo A. Tijing
According to Bienvenida in August 1989, Angelita went to her house to fetch her for an urgent
and Bienvenida R. Tijing, immediately upon receipt hereof.
laundry job. Since Bienvenida was on her way to do some marketing, she asked Angelita to wait
until she returned. She also left her four-month old son, Edgardo, Jr., under the care of Angelita
as she usually let Angelita take care of the child while Bienvenida was doing laundry. Branch Sheriff of this Court, Carlos Bajar, is hereby commanded to implement the
decision of this Court by assisting herein petitioners in the recovery of the person of
their minor son, Edgardo Tijing Jr., the same person as John Thomas D. Lopez.
When Bienvenida returned from the market, Angelita and Edgardo, Jr., were gone. Bienvenida
forthwith proceeded to Angelita's house in Tondo, Manila, but did not find them there. Angelita's
maid told Bienvenida that her employer went out for a stroll and told Bienvenida to come back SO ORDERED.6
later. She returned to Angelita's house after three days, only to discover that Angelita had moved
to another place. Bienvenida then complained to her barangay chairman and also to the police
Angelita seasonably filed her notice of appeal.7 Nonetheless, on August 3, 1994, the sheriff
who seemed unmoved by her pleas for assistance.
implemented the order of the trial court by taking custody of the minor. In his report, the sheriff
stated that Angelita peacefully surrendered the minor and he turned over the custody of said
Although estranged from her husband, Bienvenida could not imagine how her spouse would child to petitioner Edgardo Tijing.8
react to the disappearance of their youngest child and this made her problem even more
serious. As fate would have it, Bienvenida and her husband reconciled and together, this time,
On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed and set aside the decision rendered by the trial court.
they looked for their missing son in other places. Notwithstanding their serious efforts, they saw
The appellate court expressed its doubts on the propriety of the habeas corpus. In its view, the
no traces of his whereabouts.
evidence adduced by Bienvenida was not sufficient to establish that she was the mother of the
minor. It ruled that the lower court erred in declaring that Edgardo Tijing, Jr., and John Thomas
Four years later or in October 1993, Bienvenida read in a tabloid about the death of Tomas Lopez are one and the same person,9 and disposed of the case, thus:
Lopez, allegedly the common-law husband of Angelita, and whose remains were lying in state in
Hagonoy, Bulacan.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision of the lower court dated March 10, 1995
is hereby REVERSED, and a new one entered dismissing the petition in Spec. Proc.
Bienvenida lost no time in going to Hagonoy, Bulacan, where she allegedly saw her son No. 94-71606, and directing the custody of the minor John Thomas Lopez to be
Edgardo, Jr., for the first time after four years. She claims that the boy, who was pointed out to returned to respondent Angelita Diamante, said minor having been under the care of
her by Benjamin Lopez, a brother of the late Tomas Lopez, was already named John Thomas said respondent at the time of the filing of the petition herein.
Lopez.1 She avers that Angelita refused to return to her the boy despite her demand to do so.
SO ORDERED.10
Bienvenida and Edgardo filed their petition for habeas corpus with the trial court in order to
recover their son. To substantiate their petition, petitioners presented two witnesses, namely,
Petitioners sought reconsideration of the abovequoted decision which was denied. Hence, the
Lourdes Vasquez and Benjamin Lopez. The first witness, Vasquez, testified that she assisted in
instant petition alleging:
the delivery of one Edgardo Tijing, Jr. on April 27, 1989 at her clinic in Sta. Ana, Manila. She
supported her testimony with her clinical records.2 The second witness, Benjamin Lopez,
declared that his brother, the late Tomas Lopez, could not have possibly fathered John Thomas I
Lopez as the latter was sterile. He recalled that Tomas met an accident and bumped his private
part against the edge of a banca causing him excruciating pain and eventual loss of his child-
THAT THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE ERROR
bearing capacity. Benjamin further declared that Tomas admitted to him that John Thomas
WHEN IT DECLARED THAT THE PETITIONERS' ACTION FOR HABEAS CORPUS
Lopez was only an adopted son and that he and Angelita were not blessed with children.3
IS MERELY SECONDARY TO THE QUESTION OF FILIATION THAT THE
PETITIONERS HAD LIKEWISE PROVEN.
For her part, Angelita claimed that she is the natural mother of the child. She asserts that at age
42, she gave birth to John Thomas Lopez on April 27, 1989, at the clinic of midwife Zosima
II
Panganiban in Singalong, Manila. She added, though, that she has two other children with her
real husband, Angel Sanchez.4 She said the birth of John Thomas was registered by her
common-law husband, Tomas Lopez, with the local civil registrar of Manila on August 4, 1989. THAT THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN REVERSING THE
DECISION OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT DISMISSING THE PETITION FOR
On March 10, 1995, the trial court concluded that since Angelita and her common-law husband "HABEAS CORPUS" AND DIRECTING THAT THE CUSTODY OF THE MINOR JOHN
THOMAS LOPEZ WHO WAS PROVEN TO THE SAME MINOR AS EDGARDO R.
could not have children, the alleged birth of John Thomas Lopez is an impossibility.5 The trial
TIJING, JR., BE RETURNED TO THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT.11
court also held that the minor and Bienvenida showed strong facial similarity. Accordingly, it ruled
that Edgardo Tijing, Jr., and John Thomas Lopez are one and the same person who is the
natural child of petitioners. The trial court decreed: In our view, the crucial issues for resolution are the following:
(1) Whether or not habeas corpus is the proper remedy? Third, we find unusual the fact that the birth certificate of John Thomas Lopez was filed by
Tomas Lopez instead of the midwife and on August 4, 1989, four months after the alleged birth
of the child. Under the law, the attending physician or midwife in attendance at birth should
(2) Whether or not Edgardo Tijing, Jr., and John Thomas Lopez are one and the same
cause the registration of such birth. Only in default of the physician or midwife, can the parent
person and is the son of petitioners?
register the birth of his child. The certificate must be filed with the local civil registrar within thirty
days after the birth.16 Significantly, the birth certificate of the child stated Tomas Lopez and
We shall discuss the two issues together since they are closely related. private respondent were legally married on October 31, 1974, in Hagonoy, Bulacan, which is
false because even private respondent had admitted she is a "common-law wife".17 This false
entry puts to doubt the other data in said birth certificate.
The writ of habeas corpus extends to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any
person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any person is withheld from
the person entitled thereto.12 Thus, it is the proper legal remedy to enable parents to regain the Fourth, the trial court observed several times that when the child and Bienvenida were both in
custody of a minor child even if the latter be in the custody of a third person of his own free will. court, the two had strong similarities in their faces, eyes, eyebrows and head shapes.
It may even be said that in custody cases involving minors, the question of illegal and Resemblance between a minor and his alleged parent is competent and material evidence to
involuntary restraint of liberty is not the underlying rationale for the availability of the writ as a establish parentage.18 Needless to stress, the trial court's conclusion should be given high
remedy. Rather, it is prosecuted for the purpose of determining the right of custody over a respect, it having had the opportunity to observe the physical appearances of the minor and
child.13 It must be stressed too that in habeas corpus proceedings, the question of identity is petitioner concerned.
relevant and material, subject to the usual presumptions including those as to identity of the
person.
Fifth, Lourdes Vasquez testified that she assisted in Bienvenida's giving birth to Edgardo Tijing,
Jr., at her clinic. Unlike private respondent, she presented clinical records consisting of a log
In this case, the minor's identity is crucial in determining the propriety of the writ sought. Thus, it book, discharge order and the signatures of petitioners.
must be resolved first whether the Edgardo Tijing, Jr., claimed by Bienvenida to be her son, is
the same minor named John Thomas Lopez, whom Angelita insists to be her offspring. We must
All these considered, we are constrained to rule that subject minor is indeed the son of
first determine who between Bienvenida and Angelita is the minor's biological mother. Evidence
petitioners. The writ ofhabeas corpus is proper to regain custody of said child.
must necessarily be adduced to prove that two persons, initially thought of to be distinct and
separate from each other, are indeed one and the same.14 Petitioners must convincingly
establish that the minor in whose behalf the application for the writ is made is the person upon A final note. Parentage will still be resolved using conventional methods unless we adopt the
whom they have rightful custody. If there is doubt on the identity of the minor in whose behalf the modern and scientific ways available. Fortunately, we have now the facility and expertise in
application for the writ is made, petitioners cannot invoke with certainty their right of custody using DNA test19 for identification and parentage testing. The University of the Philippines
over the said minor. Natural Science Research Institute (UP-NSRI) DNA Analysis Laboratory has now the capability
to conduct DNA typing using short tandem repeat (STR) analysis. The analysis is based on the
fact that the DNA of a child/person has two (2) copies, one copy from the mother and the other
True, it is not the function of this Court to examine and evaluate the probative value of all
from the father. The DNA from the mother, the alleged father and child are analyzed to establish
evidence presented to the concerned tribunal which formed the basis of its impugned decision,
parentage.20 Of course, being a novel scientific technique, the use of DNA test as evidence is
resolution or order.15 But since the conclusions of the Court of Appeals contradict those of the
still open to challenge.21 Eventually, as the appropriate case comes, courts should not hesitate to
trial court, this Court may scrutinize the evidence on the record to determine which findings
rule on the admissibility of DNA evidence. For it was said, that courts should apply the results of
should be preferred as more conformable to the evidentiary facts.
science when competently obtained in aid of situations presented, since to reject said result is to
deny progress.22 Though it is not necessary in this case to resort to DNA testing, in future it
A close scrutiny of the records of this case reveals that the evidence presented by Bienvenida is would be useful to all concerned in the prompt resolution of parentage and identity issues.
sufficient to establish that John Thomas Lopez is actually her missing son, Edgardo Tijing, Jr.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The assailed DECISION of the Court of
First, there is evidence that Angelita could no longer bear children. From her very lips, she Appeals is REVERSED and decision of the Regional Trial Court is REINSTATED. Costs against
admitted that after the birth of her second child, she underwent ligation at the Martinez Hospital the private respondent.
in 1970, before she lived with Tomas Lopez without the benefit of marriage in 1974. Assuming
she had that ligation removed in 1978, as she claimed, she offered no evidence she gave birth
SO ORDERED. Bellosillo, Mendoza, Buena and De Leon, Jr., JJ ., concur.
to a child between 1978 to 1988 or for a period of ten years. The midwife who allegedly
delivered the child was not presented in court. No clinical records, log book or discharge order
from the clinic were ever submitted. G.R. No. 162571 June 15, 2005

Second, there is strong evidence which directly proves that Tomas Lopez is no longer capable of ARNEL L. AGUSTIN, petitioner,
siring a son. Benjamin Lopez declared in court that his brother, Tomas, was sterile because of vs.
the accident and that Tomas admitted to him that John Thomas Lopez was only an adopted son. HON. COURT OF APPEALS AND MINOR MARTIN JOSE PROLLAMANTE, REPRESENTED
Moreover, Tomas Lopez and his legal wife, Maria Rapatan Lopez, had no children after almost BY HIS MOTHER/GUARDIAN FE ANGELA PROLLAMANTE, respondents.
fifteen years together. Though Tomas Lopez had lived with private respondent for fourteen
years, they also bore no offspring.
DECISION
CORONA, J.: On July 23, 2002, Fe and Martin moved for the issuance of an order directing all the parties to
submit themselves to DNA paternity testing pursuant to Rule 28 of the Rules of Court. 12
At issue in this petition for certiorari 1 is whether or not the Court of Appeals (CA) gravely erred in
exercising its discretion, amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, in issuing a decision 2 and Arnel opposed said motion by invoking his constitutional right against self-incrimination. 13 He
resolution3 upholding the resolution and order of the trial court,4 which denied petitioners motion also moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of cause of action, considering that his signature on
to dismiss private respondents complaint for support and directed the parties to submit the birth certificate was a forgery and that, under the law, an illegitimate child is not entitled to
themselves to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) paternity testing. support if not recognized by the putative father.14 In his motion, Arnel manifested that he had
filed criminal charges for falsification of documents against Fe (I.S. Nos. 02-5723 and 02-7192)
and a petition for cancellation of his name appearing in Martins birth certificate (docketed as
Respondents Fe Angela and her son Martin Prollamante sued Martins alleged biological father,
Civil Case No. Q-02-46669). He attached the certification of the Philippine National Police Crime
petitioner Arnel L. Agustin, for support and support pendente lite before the Regional Trial Court
Laboratory that his signature in the birth certificate was forged.
(RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 106.5

The trial court denied the motion to dismiss the complaint and ordered the parties to submit
In their complaint, respondents alleged that Arnel courted Fe in 1992, after which they entered
themselves to DNA paternity testing at the expense of the applicants. The Court of Appeals
into an intimate relationship. Arnel supposedly impregnated Fe on her 34th birthday on
affirmed the trial court.
November 10, 1999. Despite Arnels insistence on abortion, Fe decided otherwise and gave birth
to their child out of wedlock, Martin, on August 11, 2000 at the Capitol Medical Hospital in
Quezon City. The babys birth certificate was purportedly signed by Arnel as the father. Arnel Thus, this petition.
shouldered the pre-natal and hospital expenses but later refused Fes repeated requests for
Martins support despite his adequate financial capacity and even suggested to have the child
In a nutshell, petitioner raises two issues: (1) whether a complaint for support can be converted
committed for adoption. Arnel also denied having fathered the child.
to a petition for recognition and (2) whether DNA paternity testing can be ordered in a
proceeding for support without violating petitioners constitutional right to privacy and right
On January 19, 2001, while Fe was carrying five-month old Martin at the Capitol Hills Golf and against self-incrimination.15
Country Club parking lot, Arnel sped off in his van, with the open car door hitting Fes leg. This
incident was reported to the police. In July 2001, Fe was diagnosed with leukemia and has,
The petition is without merit.
since then, been undergoing chemotherapy. On March 5, 2002, Fe and Martin sued Arnel for
support.6
First of all, the trial court properly denied the petitioners motion to dismiss because the private
respondents complaint on its face showed that they had a cause of action against the petitioner.
In his amended answer, Arnel denied having sired Martin because his affair and intimacy with Fe
The elements of a cause of action are: (1) the plaintiffs primary right and the defendants
had allegedly ended in 1998, long before Martins conception. He claimed that Fe had at least
corresponding primary duty, and (2) the delict or wrongful act or omission of the defendant, by
one other secret lover. Arnel admitted that their relationship started in 1993 but "he never really
which the primary right and duty have been violated. The cause of action is determined not by
fell in love with (Fe) not only because (she) had at least one secret lover, a certain Jun, but also
the prayer of the complaint but by the facts alleged.16
because she proved to be scheming and overly demanding and possessive. As a result, theirs
was a stormy on-and-off affair. What started as a romantic liaison between two consenting adults
eventually turned out to be a case of fatal attraction where (Fe) became so obsessed with In the complaint, private respondents alleged that Fe had amorous relations with the petitioner,
(Arnel), to the point of even entertaining the idea of marrying him, that she resorted to various as a result of which she gave birth to Martin out of wedlock. In his answer, petitioner admitted
devious ways and means to alienate (him) from his wife and family. Unable to bear the that he had sexual relations with Fe but denied that he fathered Martin, claiming that he had
prospect of losing his wife and children, Arnel terminated the affair although he still treated her ended the relationship long before the childs conception and birth. It is undisputed and even
as a friend such as by referring potential customers to the car aircon repair shop"7 where she admitted by the parties that there existed a sexual relationship between Arnel and Fe. The only
worked. Later on, Arnel found out that Fe had another erstwhile secret lover. In May 2000, Arnel remaining question is whether such sexual relationship produced the child, Martin. If it did, as
and his entire family went to the United States for a vacation. Upon their return in June 2000, respondents have alleged, then Martin should be supported by his father Arnel. If not, petitioner
Arnel learned that Fe was telling people that he had impregnated her. Arnel refused to and Martin are strangers to each other and Martin has no right to demand and petitioner has no
acknowledge the child as his because their "last intimacy was sometime in 1998." 8 Exasperated, obligation to give support.
Fe started calling Arnels wife and family. On January 19, 2001, Fe followed Arnel to the Capitol
Hills Golf and Country Club parking lot to demand that he acknowledge Martin as his child.
Preliminaries aside, we now tackle the main issues.
According to Arnel, he could not get through Fe and the discussion became so heated that he
had no "alternative but to move on but without bumping or hitting any part of her body." 9 Finally,
Arnel claimed that the signature and the community tax certificate (CTC) attributed to him in the Petitioner refuses to recognize Martin as his own child and denies the genuineness and
acknowledgment of Martins birth certificate were falsified. The CTC erroneously reflected his authenticity of the childs birth certificate which he purportedly signed as the father. He also
marital status as single when he was actually married and that his birth year was 1965 when it claims that the order and resolution of the trial court, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals,
should have been 1964.10 effectively converted the complaint for support to a petition for recognition, which is supposedly
proscribed by law. According to petitioner, Martin, as an unrecognized child, has no right to ask
for support and must first establish his filiation in a separate suit under Article 283 17 in relation to
In his pre-trial brief filed on May 17, 2002, Arnel vehemently denied having sired Martin but
Article 26518 of the Civil Code and Section 1, Rule 10519 of the Rules of Court.
expressed willingness to consider any proposal to settle the case.11

The petitioners contentions are without merit.


The assailed resolution and order did not convert the action for support into one for recognition a multiplicity of suits, given how intimately related the main issues in both cases are. To
but merely allowed the respondents to prove their cause of action against petitioner who had paraphrase Tayag, the declaration of filiation is entirely appropriate to these proceedings.
been denying the authenticity of the documentary evidence of acknowledgement. But even if the
assailed resolution and order effectively integrated an action to compel recognition with an
On the second issue, petitioner posits that DNA is not recognized by this Court as a conclusive
action for support, such was valid and in accordance with jurisprudence. In Tayag v. Court of
means of proving paternity. He also contends that compulsory testing violates his right to privacy
Appeals,20 we allowed the integration of an action to compel recognition with an action to claim
and right against self-incrimination as guaranteed under the 1987 Constitution. These
ones inheritance:
contentions have no merit.

In Paulino, we held that an illegitimate child, to be entitled to support and successional rights
Given that this is the very first time that the admissibility of DNA testing as a means for
from the putative or presumed parent, must prove his filiation to the latter. We also said that it is
determining paternity has actually been the focal issue in a controversy, a brief historical sketch
necessary to allege in the complaint that the putative father had acknowledged and recognized
of our past decisions featuring or mentioning DNA testing is called for.
the illegitimate child because such acknowledgment is essential to and is the basis of the right to
inherit. There being no allegation of such acknowledgment, the action becomes one to compel
recognition which cannot be brought after the death of the putative father. The ratio In the 1995 case of People v. Teehankee21 where the appellant was convicted of murder on the
decidendi in Paulino, therefore, is not the absence of a cause of action for failure of the testimony of three eyewitnesses, we stated as an obiter dictum that "while eyewitness
petitioner to allege the fact of acknowledgment in the complaint, but the prescription of the identification is significant, it is not as accurate and authoritative as the scientific forms of
action. identification evidence such as the fingerprint or the DNA test result (emphasis supplied)."

Applying the foregoing principles to the case at bar, although petitioner contends that the Our faith in DNA testing, however, was not quite so steadfast in the previous decade. In Pe Lim
complaint filed by herein private respondent merely alleges that the minor Chad Cuyugan is an v. Court of Appeals,22 promulgated in 1997, we cautioned against the use of DNA because
illegitimate child of the deceased and is actually a claim for inheritance, from the allegations "DNA, being a relatively new science, (had) not as yet been accorded official recognition by our
therein the same may be considered as one to compel recognition. Further, that the two courts. Paternity (would) still have to be resolved by such conventional evidence as the relevant
causes of action, one to compel recognition and the other to claim inheritance, may be incriminating acts, verbal and written, by the putative father."
joined in one complaint is not new in our jurisprudence.
In 2001, however, we opened the possibility of admitting DNA as evidence of parentage, as
As early as [1922] we had occasion to rule thereon in Briz vs. Briz, et al. (43 Phil. 763 [1922]) enunciated in Tijing v. Court of Appeals:23
wherein we said:
A final note. Parentage will still be resolved using conventional methods unless we adopt the
The question whether a person in the position of the present plaintiff can in any event maintain a modern and scientific ways available. Fortunately, we have now the facility and expertise in
complex action to compel recognition as a natural child and at the same time to obtain ulterior using DNA test for identification and parentage testing. The University of the Philippines Natural
relief in the character of heir, is one which in the opinion of this court must be answered in the Science Research Institute (UP-NSRI) DNA Analysis Laboratory has now the capability to
affirmative, provided always that the conditions justifying the joinder of the two distinct causes of conduct DNA typing using short tandem repeat (STR) analysis. The analysis is based on the fact
action are present in the particular case. In other words, there is no absolute necessity that the DNA of a child/person has two (2) copies, one copy from the mother and the other from
requiring that the action to compel acknowledgment should have been instituted and the father. The DNA from the mother, the alleged father and child are analyzed to establish
prosecuted to a successful conclusion prior to the action in which that same plaintiff parentage. Of course, being a novel scientific technique, the use of DNA test as evidence is still
seeks additional relief in the character of heir. Certainly, there is nothing so peculiar to the open to challenge. Eventually, as the appropriate case comes, courts should not hesitate to rule
action to compel acknowledgment as to require that a rule should be here applied different from on the admissibility of DNA evidence. For it was said, that courts should apply the results of
that generally applicable in other cases. x x x science when competently obtained in aid of situations presented, since to reject said result is to
deny progress.
The conclusion above stated, though not heretofore explicitly formulated by this court, is
undoubtedly to some extent supported by our prior decisions. Thus, we have held in numerous The first real breakthrough of DNA as admissible and authoritative evidence in Philippine
cases, and the doctrine must be considered well settled, that a natural child having a jurisprudence came in 2002 with our en banc decision in People v. Vallejo24 where the rape and
right to compel acknowledgment, but who has not been in fact legally acknowledged, murder victims DNA samples from the bloodstained clothes of the accused were admitted in
may maintain partition proceedings for the division of the inheritance against his coheirs evidence. We reasoned that "the purpose of DNA testing (was) to ascertain whether an
x x x; and the same person may intervene in proceedings for the distribution of the estate of his association exist(ed) between the evidence sample and the reference sample. The samples
deceased natural father, or mother x x x. In neither of these situations has it been thought collected (were) subjected to various chemical processes to establish their profile."
necessary for the plaintiff to show a prior decree compelling acknowledgment. The obvious
reason is that in partition suits and distribution proceedings the other persons who might take by
A year later, in People v. Janson,25 we acquitted the accused charged with rape for lack of
inheritance are before the court; and the declaration of heirship is appropriate to such
evidence because "doubts persist(ed) in our mind as to who (were) the real malefactors. Yes, a
proceedings. (Underscoring supplied)
complex offense (had) been perpetrated but who (were) the perpetrators? How we wish we had
DNA or other scientific evidence to still our doubts!"
Although the instant case deals with support rather than inheritance, as in Tayag, the basis or
rationale for integrating them remains the same. Whether or not respondent Martin is entitled to
In 2004, in Tecson, et al. v. COMELEC26 where the Court en banc was faced with the issue of
support depends completely on the determination of filiation. A separate action will only result in
filiation of then presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr., we stated:
In case proof of filiation or paternity would be unlikely to satisfactorily establish or would be Significantly, we upheld the constitutionality of compulsory DNA testing and the admissibility of
difficult to obtain, DNA testing, which examines genetic codes obtained from body cells of the the results thereof as evidence. In that case, DNA samples from semen recovered from a rape
illegitimate child and any physical residue of the long dead parent could be resorted to. A victims vagina were used to positively identify the accused Joel "Kawit" Yatar as the rapist. Yatar
positive match would clear up filiation or paternity. In Tijing vs. Court of Appeals, this Court has claimed that the compulsory extraction of his blood sample for DNA testing, as well as the
acknowledged the strong weight of DNA testing testing itself, violated his right against self-incrimination, as embodied in both Sections 12 and
17 of Article III of the Constitution. We addressed this as follows:
Moreover, in our en banc decision in People v. Yatar,27 we affirmed the conviction of the accused
for rape with homicide, the principal evidence for which included DNA test results. We did a The contention is untenable. The kernel of the right is not against all compulsion, but against
lengthy discussion of DNA, the process of DNA testing and the reasons for its admissibility in the testimonial compulsion. The right against self-incrimination is simply against the legal process of
context of our own Rules of Evidence: extracting from the lips of the accused an admission of guilt. It does not apply where the
evidence sought to be excluded is not an incrimination but as part of object evidence.
Deoxyribonucleic Acid, or DNA, is a molecule that encodes the genetic information in all living
organisms. A persons DNA is the same in each cell and it does not change throughout a Over the years, we have expressly excluded several kinds of object evidence taken from the
persons lifetime; the DNA in a persons blood is the same as the DNA found in his saliva, sweat, person of the accused from the realm of self-incrimination. These include
bone, the root and shaft of hair, earwax, mucus, urine, skin tissue, and vaginal and rectal cells. photographs,28 hair,29 and other bodily substances.30 We have also declared as constitutional
Most importantly, because of polymorphisms in human genetic structure, no two individuals have several procedures performed on the accused such as pregnancy tests for women accused of
the same DNA, with the notable exception of identical twins. adultery,31 expulsion of morphine from ones mouth32 and the tracing of ones foot to determine
its identity with bloody footprints.33 In Jimenez v. Caizares,34 we even authorized the
examination of a womans genitalia, in an action for annulment filed by her husband, to verify his
xxx xxx xxx
claim that she was impotent, her orifice being too small for his penis. Some of these procedures
were, to be sure, rather invasive and involuntary, but all of them were constitutionally sound.
In assessing the probative value of DNA evidence, courts should consider, inter alia, the DNA testing and its results, per our ruling in Yatar,35are now similarly acceptable.
following factors: how the samples were collected, how they were handled, the possibility of
contamination of the samples, the procedure followed in analyzing the samples, whether proper
Nor does petitioners invocation of his right to privacy persuade us. In Ople v. Torres,36 where we
standards and procedures were followed in conducting the tests, and the qualification of the
struck down the proposed national computerized identification system embodied in
analyst who conducted the tests.
Administrative Order No. 308, we said:

In the case at bar, Dr. Maria Corazon Abogado de Ungria was duly qualified by the prosecution
In no uncertain terms, we also underscore that the right to privacy does not bar all incursions
as an expert witness on DNA print or identification techniques. Based on Dr. de Ungrias
into individual privacy. The right is not intended to stifle scientific and technological
testimony, it was determined that the gene type and DNA profile of appellant are identical to that
advancements that enhance public service and the common good... Intrusions into the right
of the extracts subject of examination. The blood sample taken from the appellant showed that
must be accompanied by proper safeguards that enhance public service and the common good.
he was of the following gene types: vWA 15/19, TH01 7/8, DHFRP29/10 and CSF1PO 10/11,
which are identical with semen taken from the victims vaginal canal. Verily, a DNA match exists
between the semen found in the victim and the blood sample given by the appellant in open Historically, it has mostly been in the areas of legality of searches and seizures,37 and the
court during the course of the trial. infringement of privacy of communication38 where the constitutional right to privacy has been
critically at issue. Petitioners case involves neither and, as already stated, his argument that his
right against self-incrimination is in jeopardy holds no water. His hollow invocation of his
Admittedly, we are just beginning to integrate these advances in science and technology in the
constitutional rights elicits no sympathy here for the simple reason that they are not in any way
Philippine criminal justice system, so we must be cautious as we traverse these relatively
being violated. If, in a criminal case, an accused whose very life is at stake can be compelled to
uncharted waters. Fortunately, we can benefit from the wealth of persuasive jurisprudence that
submit to DNA testing, we see no reason why, in this civil case, petitioner herein who does not
has developed in other jurisdictions. Specifically, the prevailing doctrine in the U.S. has proven
face such dire consequences cannot be ordered to do the same.
instructive.

DNA paternity testing first came to prominence in the United States, where it yielded its first
In Daubert v. Merrell Dow (509 U.S. 579 (1993); 125 L. Ed. 2d 469) it was ruled that pertinent
official results sometime in 1985. In the decade that followed, DNA rapidly found widespread
evidence based on scientifically valid principles could be used as long as it was relevant and
general acceptance.39 Several cases decided by various State Supreme Courts reflect the total
reliable. Judges, under Daubert, were allowed greater discretion over which testimony they
assimilation of DNA testing into their rules of procedure and evidence.
would allow at trial, including the introduction of new kinds of scientific techniques. DNA typing is
one such novel procedure.
The case of Wilson v. Lumb40 shows that DNA testing is so commonly accepted that, in some
instances, ordering the procedure has become a ministerial act. The Supreme Court of St.
Under Philippine law, evidence is relevant when it relates directly to a fact in issue as to induce
Lawrence County, New York allowed a party who had already acknowledged paternity to
belief in its existence or non-existence. Applying the Daubert test to the case at bar, the DNA
subsequently challenge his prior acknowledgment. The Court pointed out that, under the law,
evidence obtained through PCR testing and utilizing STR analysis, and which was appreciated
specifically Section 516 of the New York Family Court Act, the Family Court examiner had the
by the court a quo is relevant and reliable since it is reasonably based on scientifically valid
duty, upon receipt of the challenge, to order DNA tests:41
principles of human genetics and molecular biology.
516-a. Acknowledgment of paternity. (a) An acknowledgment of paternity executed DNA tests of a type generally acknowledged as reliable by an accreditation body
pursuant to section one hundred eleven-k of the social services law or section four designated by the secretary of the federal department of health and human services
thousand one hundred thirty-five-b of the public health law shall establish the paternity and performed by a laboratory approved by such an accreditation body and by the
of and liability for the support of a child pursuant to this act. Such acknowledgment commissioner of health or by a duly qualified physician to aid in the determination of
must be reduced to writing and filed pursuant to section four thousand one hundred whether the alleged father is or is not the father of the child. No such test shall be
thirty-five-b of the public health law with the registrar of the district in which the birth ordered, however, upon a written finding by the court that it is not in the best
occurred and in which the birth certificate has been filed. No further judicial or interests of the child on the basis of res judicata, equitable estoppel, or the
administrative proceedings are required to ratify an unchallenged acknowledgment of presumption of legitimacy of a child born to a married woman. The record or
paternity. report of the results of any such genetic marker or DNA test ordered pursuant to this
section or pursuant to section one hundred eleven-k of the social services law shall be
received in evidence by the court pursuant to subdivision (e) of rule forty-five hundred
(b) An acknowledgment of paternity executed pursuant to section one hundred eleven-
eighteen of the civil practice law and rules where no timely objection in writing has
k of the social services law or section four thousand one hundred thirty-five-b of the
been made thereto and that if such timely objections are not made, they shall be
public health law may be rescinded by either signators filing of a petition with the
deemed waived and shall not be heard by the court. If the record or report of the
court to vacate the acknowledgment within the earlier of sixty days of the date of
results of any such genetic marker or DNA test or tests indicate at least a
signing the acknowledgment or the date of an administrative or a judicial proceeding
ninety-five percent probability of paternity, the admission of such record or
(including a proceeding to establish a support order) relating to the child in which
report shall create a rebuttable presumption of paternity, and shall establish, if
either signator is a party. For purposes of this section, the "date of an administrative or
unrebutted, the paternity of and liability for the support of a child pursuant to
a judicial proceeding" shall be the date by which the respondent is required to answer
this article and article four of this act.
the petition. After the expiration of sixty days of the execution of the acknowledgment,
either signator may challenge the acknowledgment of paternity in court only on the
basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact, with the burden of proof on the party (b) Whenever the court directs a genetic marker or DNA test pursuant to this section, a
challenging the voluntary acknowledgment. Upon receiving a partys challenge to report made as provided in subdivision (a) of this section may be received in evidence
an acknowledgment, the court shall order genetic marker tests or DNA tests for pursuant to rule forty-five hundred eighteen of the civil practice law and rules if offered
the determination of the childs paternity and shall make a finding of paternity, if by any party.
appropriate, in accordance with this article. Neither signators legal obligations,
including the obligation for child support arising from the acknowledgment, may be
(c) The cost of any test ordered pursuant to subdivision (a) of this section shall be, in
suspended during the challenge to the acknowledgment except for good cause as the
the first instance, paid by the moving party. If the moving party is financially unable to
court may find. If a party petitions to rescind an acknowledgment and if the court
pay such cost, the court may direct any qualified public health officer to conduct such
determines that the alleged father is not the father of the child, or if the court finds that
test, if practicable; otherwise, the court may direct payment from the funds of the
an acknowledgment is invalid because it was executed on the basis of fraud, duress,
appropriate local social services district. In its order of disposition, however, the court
or material mistake of fact, the court shall vacate the acknowledgment of paternity and
may direct that the cost of any such test be apportioned between the parties according
shall immediately provide a copy of the order to the registrar of the district in which the
to their respective abilities to pay or be assessed against the party who does not
childs birth certificate is filed and also to the putative father registry operated by the
prevail on the issue of paternity, unless such party is financially unable to pay.
department of social services pursuant to section three hundred seventy-two-c of the
(emphasis supplied)
social services law. In addition, if the mother of the child who is the subject of the
acknowledgment is in receipt of child support services pursuant to title six-A of article
three of the social services law, the court shall immediately provide a copy of the order In R.E. v. C.E.W.,43 a decision of the Mississippi Supreme Court, DNA tests were used to prove
to the child support enforcement unit of the social services district that provides the that H.W., previously thought to be an offspring of the marriage between A.C.W. and C.E.W.,
mother with such services. was actually the child of R.E. with whom C.E.W. had, at the time of conception, maintained an
adulterous relationship.
(c) A determination of paternity made by any other state, whether established through
the parents acknowledgment of paternity or through an administrative or judicial In Erie County Department of Social Services on behalf of Tiffany M.H. v. Greg G.,44 the 4th
process, must be accorded full faith and credit, if and only if such acknowledgment Department of the New York Supreme Courts Appellate Division allowed G.G., who had been
meets the requirements set forth in section 452(a)(7) of the social security act. adjudicated as T.M.H.s father by default, to have the said judgment vacated, even after six
years, once he had shown through a genetic marker test that he was not the childs father. In this
case, G.G. only requested the tests after the Department of Social Services, six years after G.G.
(emphasis supplied)
had been adjudicated as T.M.H.s father, sought an increase in his support obligation to her.

DNA testing also appears elsewhere in the New York Family Court Act: 42
In Greco v. Coleman,45 the Michigan Supreme Court while ruling on the constitutionality of a
provision of law allowing non-modifiable support agreements pointed out that it was because of
532. Genetic marker and DNA tests; admissibility of records or reports of test results; costs of the difficulty of determining paternity before the advent of DNA testing that such support
tests. agreements were necessary:

a) The court shall advise the parties of their right to one or more genetic marker tests As a result of DNA testing, the accuracy with which paternity can be proven has increased
or DNA tests and, on the courts own motion or the motion of any party, shall order the significantly since the parties in this lawsuit entered into their support agreement(current
mother, her child and the alleged father to submit to one or more genetic marker or testing methods can determine the probability of paternity to 99.999999% accuracy). However,
at the time the parties before us entered into the disputed agreement, proving paternity was a shall conduct additional genetic paternity testing until all but 1 of the putative
very significant obstacle to an illegitimate child's access to child support. The first reported fathers is eliminated, unless the dispute involves 2 or more putative fathers who
results of modern DNA paternity testing did not occur until 1985. ("In fact, since its first reported have identical DNA.
results in 1985, DNA matching has progressed to 'general acceptance in less than a decade'").
Of course, while prior blood-testing methods could exclude some males from being the possible
(6) Upon the establishment of the presumption of paternity as provided in subsection
father of a child, those methods could not affirmatively pinpoint a particular male as being the
(5), either party may move for summary disposition under the court rules. this section
father. Thus, when the settlement agreement between the present parties was entered in 1980,
does not abrogate the right of either party to child support from the date of birth of the
establishing paternity was a far more difficult ordeal than at present. Contested paternity actions
child if applicable under section 7. (emphasis supplied)
at that time were often no more than credibility contests. Consequently, in every contested
paternity action, obtaining child support depended not merely on whether the putative father
was, in fact, the child's biological father, but rather on whether the mother could prove to a court In Rafferty v. Perkins,47 the Supreme Court of Mississippi ruled that DNA test results showing
of law that she was only sexually involved with one man--the putative father. Allowing parties the paternity were sufficient to overthrow the presumption of legitimacy of a child born during the
option of entering into private agreements in lieu of proving paternity eliminated the risk that the course of a marriage:
mother would be unable meet her burden of proof.
The presumption of legitimacy having been rebutted by the results of the blood test eliminating
It is worth noting that amendments to Michigans Paternity law have included the use of DNA Perkins as Justin's father, even considering the evidence in the light most favorable to Perkins,
testing:46 we find that no reasonable jury could find that Easter is not Justin's father based upon the
99.94% probability of paternity concluded by the DNA testing.
722.716 Pretrial proceedings; blood or tissue typing determinations as to mother, child, and
alleged father; court order; refusal to submit to typing or identification profiling; qualifications of In S.J.F. and J.C.F. v. R.C.W.,48 the North Dakota Supreme Court upheld an order for genetic
person conducting typing or identification profiling; compensation of expert; result of typing or testing given by the Court of Appeals, even after trial on the merits had concluded without such
identification profiling; filing summary report; objection; admissibility; presumption; burden of order being given. Significantly, when J.C.F., the mother, first filed the case for paternity and
proof; summary disposition. support with the District Court, neither party requested genetic testing. It was only upon appeal
from dismissal of the case that the appellate court remanded the case and ordered the testing,
which the North Dakota Supreme Court upheld.
Sec. 6.

The case of Kohl v. Amundson,49 decided by the Supreme Court of South Dakota, demonstrated
(1) In a proceeding under this act before trial, the court, upon application made
that even default judgments of paternity could be vacated after the adjudicated father had,
by or on behalf of either party, or on its own motion, shall order that the mother,
through DNA testing, established non-paternity. In this case, Kohl, having excluded himself as
child, and alleged father submit to blood or tissue typing determinations, which
the father of Amundsons child through DNA testing, was able to have the default judgment
may include, but are not limited to, determinations of red cell antigens, red cell
against him vacated. He then obtained a ruling ordering Amundson to reimburse him for the
isoenzymes, human leukocyte antigens, serum proteins, or DNA identification
amounts withheld from his wages for child support. The Court said "(w)hile Amundson may have
profiling, to determine whether the alleged father is likely to be, or is not, the
a remedy against the father of the child, she submit(ted) no authority that require(d) Kohl to
father of the child. If the court orders a blood or tissue typing or DNA
support her child. Contrary to Amundson's position, the fact that a default judgment was entered,
identification profiling to be conducted and a party refuses to submit to the
but subsequently vacated, (did) not foreclose Kohl from obtaining a money judgment for the
typing or DNA identification profiling, in addition to any other remedies
amount withheld from his wages."
available, the court may do either of the following:

In M.A.S. v. Mississippi Dept. of Human Services,50 another case decided by the Supreme Court
(a) Enter a default judgment at the request of the appropriate party.
of Mississippi, it was held that even if paternity was established through an earlier agreed order
of filiation, child support and visitation orders could still be vacated once DNA testing established
(b) If a trial is held, allow the disclosure of the fact of the refusal unless someone other than the named individual to be the biological father. The Mississippi High Court
good cause is shown for not disclosing the fact of refusal. reiterated this doctrine in Williams v. Williams.51

(2) A blood or tissue typing or DNA identification profiling shall be conducted by a The foregoing considered, we find no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the public
person accredited for paternity determinations by a nationally recognized scientific respondent for upholding the orders of the trial court which both denied the petitioners motion to
organization, including, but not limited to, the American association of blood banks. dismiss and ordered him to submit himself for DNA testing. Under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of
Civil Procedure, the remedy of certiorari is only available "when any tribunal, board or officer has
acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to
xxx xxx xxx
lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy and adequate
remedy in the ordinary course of law."52 In Land Bank of the Philippines v. the Court of
(5) If the probability of paternity determined by the qualified person described in Appeals53 where we dismissed a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65, we discussed at
subsection (2) conducting the blood or tissue typing or DNA identification length the nature of such a petition and just what was meant by "grave abuse of discretion":
profiling is 99% or higher, and the DNA identification profile and summary
report are admissible as provided in subsection (4), paternity is presumed. If the
Grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is
results of the analysis of genetic testing material from 2 or more persons
equivalent to lack of jurisdiction or, in other words, where the power is exercised in an
indicate a probability of paternity greater than 99%, the contracting laboratory
arbitrary manner by reason of passion, prejudice, or personal hostility, and it must be so
patent or gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to
perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law.

The special civil action for certiorari is a remedy designed for the correction of errors of
jurisdiction and not errors of judgment. The raison detre for the rule is when a court exercises its
jurisdiction, an error committed while so engaged does not deprive it of the jurisdiction being
exercised when the error is committed. If it did, every error committed by a court would deprive it
of its jurisdiction and every erroneous judgment would be a void judgment. In such a scenario,
the administration of justice would not survive. Hence, where the issue or question involved
affects the wisdom or legal soundness of the decisionnot the jurisdiction of the court to render
said decisionthe same is beyond the province of a special civil action for certiorari.

The proper recourse of the aggrieved party from a decision of the CA is a petition for review on
certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court. On the other hand, if the error subject of
the recourse is one of jurisdiction, or the act complained of was perpetrated by a quasi-judicial
officer or agency with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, the
proper remedy available to the aggrieved party is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the
said Rules. (emphasis supplied)

In the instant case, the petitioner has in no way shown any arbitrariness, passion, prejudice or
personal hostility that would amount to grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Court of
Appeals. The respondent court acted entirely within its jurisdiction in promulgating its decision
and resolution, and any error made would have only been an error in judgment. As we have
discussed, however, the decision of the respondent court, being firmly anchored in law and
jurisprudence, was correct.

Epilogue

For too long, illegitimate children have been marginalized by fathers who choose to deny their
existence. The growing sophistication of DNA testing technology finally provides a much needed
equalizer for such ostracized and abandoned progeny. We have long believed in the merits of
DNA testing and have repeatedly expressed as much in the past. This case comes at a perfect
time when DNA testing has finally evolved into a dependable and authoritative form of evidence
gathering. We therefore take this opportunity to forcefully reiterate our stand that DNA testing is
a valid means of determining paternity.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is hereby DENIED. The Court of Appeals
decision dated January 28, 2004 in CA-G.R. SP No. 80961 is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.

Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

Panganiban, (Chairman), Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio-Morales, and Garcia, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 159966. March 30, 2005

IN RE: PETITION FOR CHANGE OF NAME AND/OR CORRECTION/CANCELLATION OF


ENTRY IN CIVIL REGISTRY OF JULIAN LIN CARULASAN WANG also known as JULIAN
LIN WANG, to be amended/corrected as JULIAN LIN WANG, JULIAN LIN WANG, duly
represented by his mother ANNA LISA WANG, Petitioners,
vs.
CEBU CITY CIVIL REGISTRAR, duly represented by the Registrar OSCAR B. intends to study there. The dropping of the middle name would be tantamount to giving due
MOLO, Respondents. recognition to or application of the laws of Singapore instead of Philippine law which is
controlling. That the change of name would not prejudice public interest or would not be for a
fraudulent purpose would not suffice to grant the petition if the reason for the change of name is
DECISION
itself not reasonable.5

TINGA, J.:
Petitioner then filed this Petition for Review on Certiorari (Under Rule 45)6 arguing that the trial
court has decided a question of substance not theretofore determined by the Court, that is:
I will not blot out his name out of the book of life. whether or not dropping the middle name of a minor child is contrary to Article 174 7 of the Family
Code. Petitioner contends that "[W]ith globalization and mixed marriages, there is a need for the
Supreme Court to rule on the matter of dropping of family name for a child to adjust to his new
Revelation 3:5 environment, for consistency and harmony among siblings, taking into consideration the "best
interest of the child."8 It is argued that convenience of the child is a valid reason for changing the
On 22 September 2002, petitioner Julian Lin Carulasan Wang, a minor, represented by his name as long as it will not prejudice the State and others. Petitioner points out that the middle
mother Anna Lisa Wang, filed a petition dated 19 September 2002 for change of name and/or name "Carulasan" will cause him undue embarrassment and the difficulty in writing or
correction/cancellation of entry in the Civil Registry of Julian Lin Carulasan Wang. Petitioner pronouncing it will be an obstacle to his social acceptance and integration in the Singaporean
sought to drop his middle name and have his registered name changed from Julian Lin community. Petitioner also alleges that it is error for the trial court to have denied the petition for
Carulasan Wang to Julian Lin Wang. change of name until he had reached the age of majority for him to decide the name to use,
contrary to previous cases9 decided by this Court that allowed a minor to petition for change of
name.10
The petition was docketed as Special Proceedings Case No. 11458 CEB and raffled to the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City, Branch 57.
The Court required the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to comment on the petition. The
OSG filed itsComment11 positing that the trial court correctly denied the petition for change of
The RTC established the following facts: name. The OSG argues that under Article 174 of the Family Code, legitimate children have the
right to bear the surnames of their father and mother, and such right cannot be denied by the
Julian Lin Carulasan Wang was born in Cebu City on February 20, 1998 to parents Anna Lisa mere expedient of dropping the same. According to the OSG, there is also no showing that the
Wang and Sing-Foe Wang who were then not yet married to each other. When his parents dropping of the middle name "Carulasan" is in the best interest of petitioner, since mere
subsequently got married on September 22, 1998, ...they executed a deed of legitimation of their convenience is not sufficient to support a petition for change of name and/or cancellation of
son so that the childs name was changed from Julian Lin Carulasan to Julian Lin Carulasan entry.12The OSG also adds that the petitioner has not shown any compelling reason to justify the
Wang. change of name or the dropping of the middle name, for that matter. Petitioners allegation that
the continued use of the middle name may result in confusion and difficulty is allegedly more
imaginary than real. The OSG reiterates its argument raised before the trial court that the
The parents of Julian Lin Carulasan Wang plan to stay in Singapore for a long time because dropping of the childs middle name could only trigger much deeper inquiries regarding the true
they will let him study there together with his sister named Wang Mei Jasmine who was born in parentage of petitioner. Hence, while petitioner Julian has a sister named Jasmine Wei Wang,
Singapore. Since in Singapore middle names or the maiden surname of the mother are not there is no confusion since both use the surname of their father, Wang. Even assuming that it is
carried in a persons name, they anticipate that Julian Lin Carulasan Wang will be discriminated customary in Singapore to drop the middle name, it has also not been shown that the use of
against because of his current registered name which carries a middle name. Julian and his such middle name is actually proscribed by Singaporean law.13
sister might also be asking whether they are brother and sister since they have different
surnames. Carulasan sounds funny in Singapores Mandarin language since they do not have
the letter "R" but if there is, they pronounce it as "L." It is for these reasons that the name of We affirm the decision of the trial court. The petition should be denied.
Julian Lin Carulasan Wang is requested to be changed to Julian Lin Wang.1
The Court has had occasion to express the view that the State has an interest in the names
On 30 April 2003, the RTC rendered a decision denying the petition.2 The trial court found that borne by individuals and entities for purposes of identification, and that a change of name is a
the reason given for the change of name sought in the petitionthat is, that petitioner Julian privilege and not a right, so that before a person can be authorized to change his name given
may be discriminated against when studies in Singapore because of his middle namedid not him either in his certificate of birth or civil registry, he must show proper or reasonable cause, or
fall within the grounds recognized by law. The trial court ruled that the change sought is merely any compelling reason which may justify such change. Otherwise, the request should be
for the convenience of the child. Since the State has an interest in the name of a person, names denied.14
cannot be changed to suit the convenience of the bearers. Under Article 174 of the Family Code,
legitimate children have the right to bear the surnames of the father and the mother, and there is The touchstone for the grant of a change of name is that there be proper and reasonable cause
no reason why this right should now be taken from petitioner Julian, considering that he is still a for which the change is sought.15 To justify a request for change of name, petitioner must show
minor. The trial court added that when petitioner Julian reaches the age of majority, he could not only some proper or compelling reason therefore but also that he will be prejudiced by the
then decide whether he will change his name by dropping his middle name.3 use of his true and official name. Among the grounds for change of name which have been held
valid are: (a) when the name is ridiculous, dishonorable or extremely difficult to write or
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision but this was denied in a resolution pronounce; (b) when the change results as a legal consequence, as in legitimation; (c) when the
dated 20 May 2004.4 The trial court maintained that the Singaporean practice of not carrying a change will avoid confusion; (d) when one has continuously used and been known since
middle name does not justify the dropping of the middle name of a legitimate Filipino child who childhood by a Filipino name, and was unaware of alien parentage; (e) a sincere desire to adopt
a Filipino name to erase signs of former alienage, all in good faith and without prejudicing
anybody; and (f) when the surname causes embarrassment and there is no showing that the mother, unless their father recognizes their filiation, in which case they may bear the fathers
desired change of name was for a fraudulent purpose or that the change of name would surname.22
prejudice public interest.16
Applying these laws, an illegitimate child whose filiation is not recognized by the father bears
In granting or denying petitions for change of name, the question of proper and reasonable only a given name and his mothers surname, and does not have a middle name. The name of
cause is left to the sound discretion of the court. The evidence presented need only be the unrecognized illegitimate child therefore identifies him as such. It is only when the illegitimate
satisfactory to the court and not all the best evidence available. What is involved is not a mere child is legitimated by the subsequent marriage of his parents or acknowledged by the father in a
matter of allowance or disallowance of the request, but a judicious evaluation of the sufficiency public document or private handwritten instrument that he bears both his mothers surname as
and propriety of the justifications advanced in support thereof, mindful of the consequent results his middle name and his fathers surname as his surname, reflecting his status as a legitimated
in the event of its grant and with the sole prerogative for making such determination being child or an acknowledged illegitimate child.
lodged in the courts.17
Accordingly, the registration in the civil registry of the birth of such individuals requires that the
The petition before us is unlike other petitions for change of name, as it does not simply seek to middle name be indicated in the certificate. The registered name of a legitimate, legitimated and
change the name of the minor petitioner and adopt another, but instead seeks to drop the middle recognized illegitimate child thus contains a given or proper name, a middle name, and a
name altogether. Decided cases in this jurisdiction involving petitions for change of name usually surname.
deal with requests for change of surname. There are only a handful of cases involving requests
for change of the given name18 and none on requests for changing or dropping of the middle
Petitioner theorizes that it would be for his best interest to drop his middle name as this would
name. Does the law allow one to drop the middle name from his registered name? We have to
help him to adjust more easily to and integrate himself into Singaporean society. In support, he
answer in the negative.
cites Oshita v. Republic23 andCalderon v. Republic,24 which, however, are not apropos both.

A discussion on the legal significance of a persons name is relevant at this point. We quote,
In Oshita, the petitioner therein, a legitimate daughter of a Filipino mother, Buena Bartolome,
thus:
and a Japanese father, Kishimatsu Oshita, sought to change her name from Antonina B. Oshita
to Antonina Bartolome. The Court granted her petition based on the following considerations:
For all practical and legal purposes, a man's name is the designation by which he is known she had elected Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority; her other siblings who
and called in the community in which he lives and is best known. It is defined as the word or had also elected Philippine citizenship have been using their mothers surname; she was
combination of words by which a person is distinguished from other individuals and, also, as the embarrassed to bear a Japanese surname there still being ill feeling against the Japanese due
label or appellation which he bears for the convenience of the world at large addressing him, or to the last World War; and there was no showing that the change of name was motivated by a
in speaking of or dealing with him. Names are used merely as one method of indicating the fraudulent purpose or that it will prejudice public interest.
identity of persons; they are descriptive of persons for identification, since, the identity is the
essential thing and it has frequently been held that, when identity is certain, a variance in, or
In Calderon, the Court allowed petitioner Gertrudes Josefina del Prado, an illegitimate minor
misspelling of, the name is immaterial.
child acting through her mother who filed the petition in her behalf, to change her name to
Gertudes Josefina Calderon, taking the surname of her stepfather, Romeo C. Calderon, her
The names of individuals usually have two parts: the given name or proper name, and the mothers husband. The Court held that a petition for change of name of an infant should be
surname or family name. The given or proper name is that which is given to the individual at granted where to do is clearly for the best interest of the child. The Court took into consideration
birth or baptism, to distinguish him from other individuals. The name or family name is that which the opportunity provided for the minor petitioner to eliminate the stigma of illegitimacy which she
identifies the family to which he belongs and is continued from parent to child. The given name would carry if she continued to use the surname of her illegitimate father. The Court pronounced
may be freely selected by the parents for the child; but the surname to which the child is entitled that justice dictates that every person be allowed to avail of any opportunity to improve his social
is fixed by law. standing as long as doing so he does not cause prejudice or injury to the interests of the State or
of other people.
A name is said to have the following characteristics: (1) It is absolute, intended to protect the
individual from being confused with others. (2) It is obligatory in certain respects, for nobody can Petitioner cites Alfon v. Republic,25 in arguing that although Article 174 of the Family Code gives
be without a name. (3) It is fixed, unchangeable, or immutable, at least at the start, and may be the legitimate child the right to use the surnames of the father and the mother, it is not
changed only for good cause and by judicial proceedings. (4) It is outside the commerce of man, mandatory such that the child could use only one family name, even the family name of the
and, therefore, inalienable and intransmissible by act inter vivos or mortis causa. (5) It is mother. In Alfon, the petitioner therein, the legitimate daughter of Filomeno Duterte and Estrella
imprescriptible.19 Alfon, sought to change her name from Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte (her name as
registered in the Local Civil Registry) to Estrella S. Alfon (the name she had been using since
childhood, in her school records and in her voters registration). The trial court denied her
This citation does not make any reference to middle names, but this does not mean that middle
petition but this Court overturned the denial, ruling that while Article 364 of the Civil Code states
names have no practical or legal significance. Middle names serve to identify the maternal
that she, as a legitimate child, should principally use the surname of her father, there is no legal
lineage or filiation of a person as well as further distinguish him from others who may have the
obstacle for her to choose to use the surname of herm other to which she is entitled. In addition,
same given name and surname as he has.
the Court found that there was ample justification to grant her petition,i.e., to avoid confusion.

Our laws on the use of surnames state that legitimate and legitimated children shall principally
Weighing petitioners reason of convenience for the change of his name against the standards
use the surname of the father.20 The Family Code gives legitimate children the right to bear the
set in the cases he cites to support his contention would show that his justification is amorphous,
surnames of the father and the mother,21 while illegitimate children shall use the surname of their
to say the least, and could not warrant favorable action on his petition.
The factual antecedents and unique circumstances of the cited cases are not at all analogous to
the case at bar. The instant case is clearly distinguishable from the cases of Oshita and Alfon,
where the petitioners were already of age when they filed their petitions for change of name.
Being of age, they are considered to have exercised their discretion and judgment, fully knowing
the effects of their decision to change their surnames. It can also be unmistakably observed that
the reason for the grant of the petitions for change of name in these two cases was the presence
of reasonable or compelling grounds therefore. The Court, in Oshita, recognized the tangible
animosity most Filipinos had during that time against the Japanese as a result of World War II, in
addition to the fact of therein petitioners election of Philippine citizenship. In Alfon, the Court
granted the petition since the petitioner had been known since childhood by a name different
from her registered name and she had not used her registered name in her school records and
voters registration records; thus, denying the petition would only result to confusion.

Calderon, on the other hand, granted the petition for change of name filed by a mother in behalf
of her illegitimate minor child. Petitioner cites this case to buttress his argument that he does not
have to reach the age of majority to petition for change of name. However, it is manifest
in Calderon that the Court, in granting the petition for change of name, gave paramount
consideration to the best interests of the minor petitioner therein.

In the case at bar, the only reason advanced by petitioner for the dropping his middle name is
convenience. However, how such change of name would make his integration into Singaporean
society easier and convenient is not clearly established. That the continued use of his middle
name would cause confusion and difficulty does not constitute proper and reasonable cause to
drop it from his registered complete name.

In addition, petitioner is only a minor. Considering the nebulous foundation on which his petition
for change of name is based, it is best that the matter of change of his name be left to his
judgment and discretion when he reaches the age of majority.26 As he is of tender age, he may
not yet understand and appreciate the value of the change of his name and granting of the same
at this point may just prejudice him in his rights under our laws.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Petition for Review on Certiorari is DENIED.

SO ORDERED.

Puno, (Chairman), Austria-Martinez, Callejo, Sr., and Chico-Nazario, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 156343 October 18, 2004

JOEY D. BRIONES, petitioner,


vs.
MARICEL P. MIGUEL, FRANCISCA P. MIGUEL and LORETA P. MIGUEL, respondents.

DECISION

PANGANIBAN, J.:
An illegitimate child is under the sole parental authority of the mother. In the exercise of that "On May 2, 2001, respondents Maricel P. Miguel and Francisca P. Miguel came to the
authority, she is entitled to keep the child in her company. The Court will not deprive her of house of the petitioner in Caloocan City on the pretext that they were visiting the minor
custody, absent any imperative cause showing her unfitness to exercise such authority and care. child and requested that they be allowed to bring the said child for recreation at the
SM Department store. They promised him that they will bring him back in the
afternoon, to which the petitioner agreed. However, the respondents did not bring him
The Case
back as promised by them.

The Petition for Review1 before the Court seeks to reverse and set aside the August 28, 2002
"The petitioner went several times to respondent Maricel P. Miguel at Tanza,
Decision2 and the December 11, 2002 Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR SP No.
Tuguegarao City but he was informed that the child is with the latters mother at Batal
69400.4 The dispositive portion of the assailed Decision reads as follows:
Heights, Santiago City. When he went there, respondent Francisca P. Miguel told him
that Michael Kevin Pineda is with her daughter at Tuguegarao City.
"WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED. Respondent Loreta P. Miguel shall
have custody over the child Michael Kevin Pineda until he reaches ten (10) years of
"He sought the assistance of the police and the Department of Social Welfare to
age. Once the said child is beyond ten (10) years of age, the Court allows him to
locate his son and to bring him back to him, but all his efforts were futile.
choose which parent he prefers to live with pursuant to Section 6, Rule 99 of the 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended. The petitioner, Joey D. Briones, shall help
support the child, shall have visitorial rights at least once a week, and may take the "Hence, he was constrained to file a Petition for Habeas Corpus with the Regional
child out upon the written consent of the mother. Trial Court of Caloocan City which was docketed as SPC No. 2711. However, the said
case was withdrawn ex-parte.
"Acting on the petitioners Urgent Motion for a Hold Departure Order, and finding it to
be without merit, the same is DENIED."5 "The petitioner prays that the custody of his son Michael Kevin Pineda be given to him
as his biological father and [as] he has demonstrated his capability to support and
educate him.
The challenged Resolution denied reconsideration.

"On May 6, 2002, the respondents filed their Comment, in compliance with the May 2,
The Facts
2002 Resolution of this Court.

The CA summarized the antecedents of the case in this wise:


"In their Comment, the respondent Loreta P. Miguel denies the allegation of the
petitioner that he was the one who brought their child to the Philippines and stated
"On March 5, 2002, petitioner Joey D. Briones filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus that she was the one who brought him here pursuant to their agreement.
against respondents Maricel Pineda Miguel and Francisca Pineda Miguel, to obtain
custody of his minor child Michael Kevin Pineda.
"Respondent Loreta P. Miguel likewise denies petitioners allegation that respondents
Maricel P. Miguel and Francisca P. Miguel were the ones who took the child from the
"On April 25, 2002, the petitioner filed an Amended Petition to include Loreta P. petitioner or the latters parents. She averred that she was the one who took Michael
Miguel, the mother of the minor, as one of the respondents. Kevin Pineda from the petitioner when she returned to the Philippines and that the
latter readily agreed and consented.
"A Writ of Habeas Corpus was issued by this Court on March 11, 2002 ordering the
respondents to produce before this Court the living body of the minor Michael Kevin "Respondent Loreta P. Miguel alleges that sometime in October 2001, the petitioner
Pineda on March 21, 2002 at 2:00 oclock in the afternoon. was deported from Japan under the assumed name of Renato Juanzon when he was
found to have violated or committed an infraction of the laws of Japan. She further
stated that since the time the petitioner arrived in the Philippines, he has not been
"The petitioner alleges that the minor Michael Kevin Pineda is his illegitimate son with gainfully employed. The custody of the child, according to respondent Loreta P. Miguel
respondent Loreta P. Miguel. He was born in Japan on September 17, 1996 as was entrusted to petitioners parents while they were both working in Japan. She
evidenced by his Birth Certificate. The respondent Loreta P. Miguel is now married to added that even before the custody of the child was given to the petitioners parents,
a Japanese national and is presently residing in Japan. she has already been living separately from the petitioner in Japan because the latter
was allegedly maintaining an illicit affair with another woman until his deportation.
"The petitioner further alleges that on November 4, 1998 he caused the minor child to
be brought to the Philippines so that he could take care of him and send him to "She likewise stated in her Comment that her marriage to a Japanese national is for
school. In the school year 2000-2001, the petitioner enrolled him at the nursery school the purpose of availing of the privileges of staying temporarily in Japan to pursue her
of Blessed Angels L.A. School, Inc. in Caloocan City, where he finished the nursery work so she could be able to send money regularly to her son in the Philippines. She
course. further stated that she has no intention of staying permanently in Japan as she has
been returning to the Philippines every six (6) months or as often as she could.
"According to the petitioner, his parents, who are both retired and receiving monthly
pensions, assisted him in taking care of the child.
"Respondent Loreta P. Miguel prays that the custody of her minor child be given to her mother, and shall be entitled to support in conformity with this Code." This is the rule regardless
and invokes Article 213, Paragraph 2 of the Family Code and Article 363 of the Civil of whether the father admits paternity.13
Code of the Philippines."
Previously, under the provisions of the Civil Code, illegitimate children were generally classified
Ruling of the Court of Appeals into two groups: (1) natural, whether actual or by legal fiction; and (2) spurious, whether
incestuous, adulterous or illicit.14 A natural child is one born outside a lawful wedlock of parents
who, at the time of conception of the child, were not disqualified by any impediment to marry
Applying Article 213 (paragraph 2) of the Family Code, the CA awarded the custody of Michael
each other.15 On the other hand, a spurious child is one born of parents who, at the time of
Kevin Pineda Miguel to his mother, Respondent Loreta P. Miguel. While acknowledging that
conception, were disqualified to marry each other on account of certain legal impediments. 16
petitioner truly loved and cared for his son and considering the trouble and expense he had
spent in instituting the legal action for custody, it nevertheless found no compelling reason to
separate the minor from his mother. Petitioner, however, was granted visitorial rights. Parental authority over recognized natural children who were under the age of majority was
vested in the father or the mother recognizing them.17 If both acknowledge the child, authority
was to be exercised by the one to whom it was awarded by the courts; if it was awarded to both,
Hence, this Petition.6
the rule as to legitimate children applied. In other words, in the latter case, parental authority
resided jointly in the father and the mother.18
Issue
The fine distinctions among the various types of illegitimate children have been eliminated in the
In his Memorandum, petitioner formulated the "ultimate" issue as follows: "x x x [w]hether or not Family Code.19Now, there are only two classes of children -- legitimate (and those who, like the
[he], as the natural father, may be denied the custody and parental care of his own child in the legally adopted, have the rights of legitimate children) and illegitimate. All children conceived and
absence of the mother who is away."7 born outside a valid marriage are illegitimate, unless the law itself gives them legitimate status. 20

The Courts Ruling Article 54 of the Code provides these exceptions: "Children conceived or born before the
judgment of annulment or absolute nullity of the marriage under Article 36 has become final and
executory shall be considered legitimate. Children conceived or born of the subsequent
The Petition has no merit. However, the assailed Decision should be modified in regard to its marriage under Article 53 shall likewise be legitimate."
erroneous application of Section 6 of Rule 99 of the Rules of Court.

Under Article 176 of the Family Code, all illegitimate children are generally placed under one
Sole Issue category, without any distinction between natural and spurious.21 The concept of "natural child" is
important only for purposes of legitimation.22 Without the subsequent marriage, a natural child
Who Should Have Custody of the Child? remains an illegitimate child.

Petitioner concedes that Respondent Loreta has preferential right over their minor child. He Obviously, Michael is a natural ("illegitimate," under the Family Code) child, as there is nothing in
insists, however, that custody should be awarded to him whenever she leaves for Japan and the records showing that his parents were suffering from a legal impediment to marry at the time
during the period that she stays there. In other words, he wants joint custody over the minor, of his birth. Both acknowledge that Michael is their son. As earlier explained and pursuant to
such that the mother would have custody when she is in the country. But when she is abroad, he Article 176, parental authority over him resides in his mother, Respondent Loreta,
-- as the biological father -- should have custody. notwithstanding his fathers recognition of him.

According to petitioner, Loreta is not always in the country. When she is abroad, she cannot take David v. Court of Appeals23 held that the recognition of an illegitimate child by the father could be
care of their child. The undeniable fact, he adds, is that she lives most of the time in Japan, as a ground for ordering the latter to give support to, but not custody of, the child. The law explicitly
evidenced by her Special Power of Attorney dated May 28, 2001,8 granting to her sister confers to the mother sole parental authority over an illegitimate child; it follows that only if she
temporary custody over the minor. defaults can the father assume custody and authority over the minor. Of course, the putative
father may adopt his own illegitimate child;24 in such a case, the child shall be considered a
legitimate child of the adoptive parent.25
At present, however, the child is already with his mother in Japan, where he is studying, 9 thus
rendering petitioners argument moot. While the Petition for Habeas Corpus was pending before
the CA, petitioner filed on July 30, 2002, an "Urgent Motion for a Hold Departure There is thus no question that Respondent Loreta, being the mother of and having sole parental
Order,"10 alleging therein that respondents were preparing the travel papers of the minor so the authority over the minor, is entitled to have custody of him.26 She has the right to keep him in her
child could join his mother and her Japanese husband. The CA denied the Motion for lack of company.27 She cannot be deprived of that right,28 and she may not even renounce or transfer it
merit.11 "except in the cases authorized by law."29

Having been born outside a valid marriage, the minor is deemed an illegitimate child of petitioner Not to be ignored in Article 213 of the Family Code is the caveat that, generally, no child under
and Respondent Loreta. Article 176 of the Family Code of the Philippines12 explicitly provides seven years of age shall be separated from the mother, except when the court finds cause to
that "illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parental authority of their order otherwise.
Only the most compelling of reasons, such as the mothers unfitness to exercise sole parental
authority, shall justify her deprivation of parental authority and the award of custody to someone
else.30 In the past, the following grounds have been considered ample justification to deprive a
mother of custody and parental authority: neglect or abandonment,31 unemployment,
immorality,32 habitual drunkenness, drug addiction, maltreatment of the child, insanity, and
affliction with a communicable disease.

Bearing in mind the welfare and the best interest of the minor as the controlling factor,33 we hold
that the CA did not err in awarding care, custody, and control of the child to Respondent Loreta.
There is no showing at all that she is unfit to take charge of him.

We likewise affirm the visitorial right granted by the CA to petitioner. In Silva v. Court of
Appeals,34 the Court sustained the visitorial right of an illegitimate father over his children in view
of the constitutionally protected inherent and natural right of parents over their children.35 Even
when the parents are estranged and their affection for each other is lost, their attachment to and
feeling for their offspring remain unchanged. Neither the law nor the courts allow this affinity to
suffer, absent any real, grave or imminent threat to the well-being of the child.

However, the CA erroneously applied Section 6 of Rule 99 of the Rules of Court. This provision
contemplates a situation in which the parents of the minor are married to each other, but are
separated either by virtue of a decree of legal separation or because they are living separately
de facto. In the present case, it has been established that petitioner and Respondent Loreta
were never married. Hence, that portion of the CA Decision allowing the child to choose which
parent to live with is deleted, but without disregarding the obligation of petitioner to support the
child.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision AFFIRMED with
the MODIFICATION that the disposition allowing the child, upon reaching ten (10) years of age,
to choose which parent to live with isDELETED for lack of legal basis. Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

Sandoval-Gutierrez, Corona, and Carpio Morales*, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. 206248 February 18, 2014

GRACE M. GRANDE, Petitioner,


vs.
PATRICIO T. ANTONIO, Respondent.

DECISION

VELASCO, JR., J.:


Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45, assailing the July 24, 2012 Aggrieved, petitioner Grande moved for reconsideration. However, her motion was denied by the
Decision1 and March 5, 2013 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. trial court in its Resolution dated November 22, 20108 for being pro forma and for lack of merit.
96406.
Petitioner Grande then filed an appeal with the CA attributing grave error on the part of the RTC
As culled from the records, the facts of this case are: for allegedly ruling contrary to the law and jurisprudence respecting the grant of sole custody to
the mother over her illegitimate children.9 In resolving the appeal, the appellate court modified in
part the Decision of the RTC. The dispositive portion of the CA Decision reads:
Petitioner Grace Grande (Grande) and respondent Patricio Antonio (Antonio) for a period of time
lived together as husband and wife, although Antonio was at that time already married to
someone else.3 Out of this illicit relationship, two sons were born: Andre Lewis (on February 8, WHEREFORE, the appeal is partly GRANTED. Accordingly, the appealed Decision of the
1998) and Jerard Patrick (on October 13, 1999).4The children were not expressly recognized by Regional Trial Court Branch 8, Aparri Cagayan in SP Proc. Case No. 11-4492 is MODIFIED in
respondent as his own in the Record of Births of the children in the Civil Registry. The parties part and shall hereinafter read as follows:
relationship, however, eventually turned sour, and Grande left for the United States with her two
children in May 2007. This prompted respondent Antonio to file a Petition for Judicial Approval of
a. The Offices of the Civil Registrar General and the City Civil Registrar of Makati City
Recognition with Prayer to take Parental Authority, Parental Physical Custody,
are DIRECTED to enter the surname Antonio as the surname of Jerard Patrick and
Correction/Change of Surname of Minors and for the Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction
Andre Lewis, in their respective certificates of live birth, and record the same in the
before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 8 of Aparri, Cagayan (RTC), appending a notarized
Register of Births;
Deed of Voluntary Recognition of Paternity of the children.5

b. [Antonio] is ORDERED to deliver the minor children Jerard Patrick and Andre Lewis
On September 28, 2010, the RTC rendered a Decision in favor of herein respondent Antonio,
to the custody of their mother herein appellant, Grace Grande who by virtue hereof is
ruling that "[t]he evidence at hand is overwhelming that the best interest of the children can be
hereby awarded the full or sole custody of these minor children;
promoted if they are under the sole parental authority and physical custody of [respondent
Antonio]."6 Thus, the court a quo decreed the following:
c. [Antonio] shall have visitorial rights at least twice a week, and may only take the
children out upon the written consent of [Grande]; and
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Court hereby grants [Antonios] prayer for
recognition and the same is hereby judicially approved. x x x Consequently, the Court forthwith
issues the following Order granting the other reliefs sought in the Petition, to wit: d. The parties are DIRECTED to give and share in support of the minor children
Jerard Patrick and Andre Lewis in the amount of P30,000.00 per month at the rate of
70% for [Antonio] and 30% for [Grande]. (Emphasis supplied.)
a. Ordering the Office of the City Registrar of the City of Makati to cause the entry of
the name of [Antonio] as the father of the aforementioned minors in their respective
Certificate of Live Birth and causing the correction/change and/or annotation of the In ruling thus, the appellate court ratiocinated that notwithstanding the fathers recognition of his
surnames of said minors in their Certificate of Live Birth from Grande to Antonio; children, the mother cannot be deprived of her sole parental custody over them absent the most
compelling of reasons.10Since respondent Antonio failed to prove that petitioner Grande
committed any act that adversely affected the welfare of the children or rendered her unsuitable
b. Granting [Antonio] the right to jointly exercise Parental Authority with [Grande] over
to raise the minors, she cannot be deprived of her sole parental custody over their children.
the persons of their minor children, Andre Lewis Grande and Jerard Patrick Grande;

The appellate court, however, maintained that the legal consequence of the recognition made by
c. Granting [Antonio] primary right and immediate custody over the parties minor
respondent Antonio that he is the father of the minors, taken in conjunction with the universally
children Andre Lewis Grandre and Jerard Patrick Grande who shall stay with
protected "best-interest-of-the-child" clause, compels the use by the children of the surname
[Antonios] residence in the Philippines from Monday until Friday evening and to
"ANTONIO."11
[Grandes] custody from Saturday to Sunday evening;

As to the issue of support, the CA held that the grant is legally in order considering that not only
d. Ordering [Grande] to immediately surrender the persons and custody of minors
did Antonio express his willingness to give support, it is also a consequence of his
Andre Lewis Grande and Jerard Patrick Grande unto [Antonio] for the days covered
acknowledging the paternity of the minor children.12 Lastly, the CA ruled that there is no reason
by the Order;
to deprive respondent Antonio of his visitorial right especially in view of the constitutionally
inherent and natural right of parents over their children.13
e. Ordering parties to cease and desist from bringing the aforenamed minors outside
of the country, without the written consent of the other and permission from the court.
Not satisfied with the CAs Decision, petitioner Grande interposed a partial motion for
reconsideration, particularly assailing the order of the CA insofar as it decreed the change of the
f. Ordering parties to give and share the support of the minor children Andre Lewis minors surname to "Antonio." When her motion was denied, petitioner came to this Court via the
Grande and Jerard Patrick Grande in the amount of P30,000 per month at the rate of present petition. In it, she posits that Article 176 of the Family Codeas amended by Republic
70% for [Antonio] and 30% for [Grande].7(Emphasis supplied.) Act No. (RA) 9255, couched as it is in permissive languagemay not be invoked by a father to
compel the use by his illegitimate children of his surname without the consent of their mother.
We find the present petition impressed with merit. interpretation.16 Respondents position that the court can order the minors to use his surname,
therefore, has no legal basis.
The sole issue at hand is the right of a father to compel the use of his surname by his illegitimate
children upon his recognition of their filiation. Central to the core issue is the application of Art. On its face, Art. 176, as amended, is free from ambiguity. And where there is no ambiguity, one
176 of the Family Code, originally phrased as follows: must abide by its words. The use of the word "may" in the provision readily shows that an
acknowledged illegitimate child is under no compulsion to use the surname of his illegitimate
father. The word "may" is permissive and operates to confer discretion17 upon the illegitimate
Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parental authority of their
children.
mother, and shall be entitled to support in conformity with this Code. The legitime of each
illegitimate child shall consist of one-half of the legitime of a legitimate child. Except for this
modification, all other provisions in the Civil Code governing successional rights shall remain in It is best to emphasize once again that the yardstick by which policies affecting children are to
force. be measured is their best interest. On the matter of childrens surnames, this Court has, time
and again, rebuffed the idea that the use of the fathers surname serves the best interest of the
minor child. In Alfon v. Republic,18 for instance, this Court allowed even a legitimate child to
This provision was later amended on March 19, 2004 by RA 925514 which now reads:
continue using the surname of her mother rather than that of her legitimate father as it serves
her best interest and there is no legal obstacle to prevent her from using the surname of her
Art. 176. Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parental authority mother to which she is entitled. In fact, in Calderon v. Republic,19 this Court, upholding the best
of their mother, and shall be entitled to support in conformity with this Code. However, interest of the child concerned, even allowed the use of a surname different from the surnames
illegitimate children may use the surname of their father if their filiation has been expressly of the childs father or mother. Indeed, the rule regarding the use of a childs surname is second
recognized by their father through the record of birth appearing in the civil register, or when an only to the rule requiring that the child be placed in the best possible situation considering his
admission in a public document or private handwritten instrument is made by the father. circumstances.
Provided, the father has the right to institute an action before the regular courts to prove non-
filiation during his lifetime. The legitime of each illegitimate child shall consist of one-half of the
In Republic of the Philippines v. Capote,20 We gave due deference to the choice of an illegitimate
legitime of a legitimate child. (Emphasis supplied.)
minor to use the surname of his mother as it would best serve his interest, thus:

From the foregoing provisions, it is clear that the general rule is that an illegitimate child shall
The foregoing discussion establishes the significant connection of a persons name to his
use the surname of his or her mother. The exception provided by RA 9255 is, in case his or her
identity, his status in relation to his parents and his successional rights as a legitimate or
filiation is expressly recognized by the father through the record of birth appearing in the civil
illegitimate child. For sure, these matters should not be taken lightly as to deprive those who
register or when an admission in a public document or private handwritten instrument is made
may, in any way, be affected by the right to present evidence in favor of or against such change.
by the father. In such a situation, the illegitimate child may use the surname of the father.

The law and facts obtaining here favor Giovannis petition. Giovanni availed of the proper
In the case at bar, respondent filed a petition for judicial approval of recognition of the filiation of
remedy, a petition for change of name under Rule 103 of the Rules of Court, and complied with
the two children with the prayer for the correction or change of the surname of the minors from
all the procedural requirements. After hearing, the trial court found (and the appellate court
Grande to Antonio when a public document acknowledged before a notary public under Sec. 19,
affirmed) that the evidence presented during the hearing of Giovannis petition sufficiently
Rule 132 of the Rules of Court15 is enough to establish the paternity of his children. But he
established that, under Art. 176 of the Civil Code, Giovanni is entitled to change his name as he
wanted more: a judicial conferment of parental authority, parental custody, and an official
was never recognized by his father while his mother has always recognized him as her child. A
declaration of his childrens surname as Antonio.
change of name will erase the impression that he was ever recognized by his father. It is also to
his best interest as it will facilitate his mothers intended petition to have him join her in the
Parental authority over minor children is lodged by Art. 176 on the mother; hence, respondents United States. This Court will not stand in the way of the reunification of mother and son.
prayer has no legal mooring. Since parental authority is given to the mother, then custody over (Emphasis supplied.)
the minor children also goes to the mother, unless she is shown to be unfit.
An argument, however, may be advanced advocating the mandatory use of the fathers surname
Now comes the matter of the change of surname of the illegitimate children. Is there a legal upon his recognition of his illegitimate children, citing the Implementing Rules and Regulations
basis for the court a quo to order the change of the surname to that of respondent? (IRR) of RA 9255,21 which states:

Clearly, there is none. Otherwise, the order or ruling will contravene the explicit and unequivocal Rule 7. Requirements for the Child to Use the Surname of the Father
provision of Art. 176 of the Family Code, as amended by RA 9255.
7.1 For Births Not Yet Registered
Art. 176 gives illegitimate children the right to decide if they want to use the surname of their
father or not. It is not the father (herein respondent) or the mother (herein petitioner) who is
7.1.1 The illegitimate child shall use the surname of the father if a public document is executed
granted by law the right to dictate the surname of their illegitimate children.
by the father, either at the back of the Certificate of Live Birth or in a separate document.

Nothing is more settled than that when the law is clear and free from ambiguity, it must be taken
7.1.2 If admission of paternity is made through a private instrument, the child shall use the
to mean what it says and it must be given its literal meaning free from any
surname of the father, provided the registration is supported by the following documents:
xxxx After all, the power of administrative officials to promulgate rules in the implementation of a
statute is necessarily limited to what is found in the legislative enactment itself. The
implementing rules and regulations of a law cannot extend the law or expand its coverage, as
7.2. For Births Previously Registered under the Surname of the Mother
the power to amend or repeal a statute is vested in the Legislature. Thus, if a discrepancy
occurs between the basic law and an implementing rule or regulation, it is the former that
7.2.1 If filiation has been expressly recognized by the father, the child shall use the surname of prevails, because the law cannot be broadened by a mere administrative issuance an
the father upon the submission of the accomplished AUSF [Affidavit of Use of the Surname of administrative agency certainly cannot amend an act of Congress.
the Father].
Thus, We can disregard contemporaneous construction where there is no ambiguity in law
7.2.2 If filiation has not been expressly recognized by the father, the child shall use the surname and/or the construction is clearly erroneous.23 What is more, this Court has the constitutional
of the father upon submission of a public document or a private handwritten instrument prerogative and authority to strike down and declare as void the rules of procedure of special
supported by the documents listed in Rule 7.1.2. courts and quasi- judicial bodies24 when found contrary to statutes and/or the
Constitution.25 Section 5(5), Art. VIII of the Constitution provides:
7.3 Except in Item 7.2.1, the consent of the illegitimate child is required if he/she has reached
the age of majority. The consent may be contained in a separate instrument duly notarized. Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:

xxxx xxxx

Rule 8. Effects of Recognition (5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights,
pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the
Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified
8.1 For Births Not Yet Registered and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of
the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. Rules of
8.1.1 The surname of the father shall be entered as the last name of the child in the Certificate of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved
Live Birth. The Certificate of Live Birth shall be recorded in the Register of Births. by the Supreme Court. (Emphasis supplied.)

xxxx Thus, We exercise this power in voiding the above-quoted provisions of the IRR of RA 9255
insofar as it provides the mandatory use by illegitimate children of their fathers surname upon
the latters recognition of his paternity.
8.2 For Births Previously Registered under the Surname of the Mother

To conclude, the use of the word "shall" in the IRR of RA 9255 is of no moment. The clear,
8.2.1 If admission of paternity was made either at the back of the Certificate of Live Birth or in a unambiguous, and unequivocal use of "may" in Art. 176 rendering the use of an illegitimate
separate public document or in a private handwritten document, the public document or AUSF fathers surname discretionary controls, and illegitimate children are given the choice on the
shall be recorded in the Register of Live Birth and the Register of Births as follows: surnames by which they will be known.

"The surname of the child is hereby changed from (original surname) to (new surname) pursuant At this juncture, We take note of the letters submitted by the children, now aged thirteen (13) and
to RA 9255." fifteen (15) years old, to this Court declaring their opposition to have their names changed to
"Antonio."26 However, since these letters were not offered before and evaluated by the trial court,
The original surname of the child appearing in the Certificate of Live Birth and Register of Births they do not provide any evidentiary weight to sway this Court to rule for or against petitioner.27 A
shall not be changed or deleted. proper inquiry into, and evaluation of the evidence of, the children's choice of surname by the
trial court is necessary.
8.2.2 If filiation was not expressly recognized at the time of registration, the public document or
AUSF shall be recorded in the Register of Legal Instruments. Proper annotation shall be made WHEREFORE, the instant petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The July 24, 2012 Decision of the
in the Certificate of Live Birth and the Register of Births as follows: Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 96406 is MODIFIED, the dispositive portion of which shall
read:
"Acknowledged by (name of father) on (date). The surname of the child is hereby changed from
(original surname) on (date) pursuant to RA 9255." (Emphasis supplied.) WHEREFORE, the appeal is partly GRANTED. Accordingly. the appealed Decision of the
Regional Trial Court Branch 8, Aparri Cagayan in SP Proc. Case No. 11-4492 is MODIFIED in
part and shall hereinafter read as follows:
Nonetheless, the hornbook rule is that an administrative issuance cannot amend a legislative
act. In MCC Industrial Sales Corp. v. Ssangyong Corporation,22 We held:
a. [Antonio] is ORDERED to deliver the minor children Jerard Patrick and Andre Lewis
to the custody of their mother herein appellant, Grace Grande who by virtue hereof is
hereby awarded the full or sole custody of these minor children;
b. [Antonio] shall have visitation rights28 at least twice a week, and may only take the
children out upon the written consent of [Grande]:

c. The parties are DIRECTED to give and share in support of the minor children Jerard
Patrick and Andre Lewis in the amount of P30,000.00 per month at the rate of 70% for
[Antonio] and 30% for [Grande]; and

d. The case is REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court, Branch 8 of Aparri, Cagayan
for the sole purpose of determining the surname to be chosen by the children Jerard
Patrick and Andre Lewis.

Rule 7 and Rule 8 of the Office of the Civil Registrar General Administrative Order No. 1, Series
of 2004 are DISAPPROVED and hereby declared NULL and VOID.

SO ORDERED.

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice

G.R. No. 105619 December 12, 1995

MARIA ROSARIO DE SANTOS, petitioner,


vs.
HON. ADORACION G. ANGELES, JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF CALOOCAN CITY,
BRANCH 121 and CONCHITA TALAG DE SANTOS, respondents.
ROMERO, J.: Art. 269. Only natural children can be legitimated. Children born outside
wedlock of parents who, at the time of the conception of the former, were
not disqualified by any impediment to marry each other, are natural.
Can natural children by legal fiction be legitimized?

In other words, a child's parents should not have been disqualified to marry each other at the
There being no explicit provision of law in point, the Court is called upon to cast illumination in a
time of conception for him to qualify as a "natural child."
gray area even as it fills up unintentional interstices in the fabric of Civil Law with overlays of
philosophical, historical and sociological strands. For an understanding of how the issue arose,
we now proceed to unravel the pertinent factual background. In the case at bench, there is no question that all the children born to private respondent and
deceased Antonio de Santos were conceived and born when the latter's valid marriage to
petitioner's mother was still subsisting. That private respondent and the decedent were married
On February 7, 1941, Dr. Antonio de Santos married Sofia Bona, which union was blessed with
abroad after the latter obtained in Nevada, U.S.A. a decree of divorce from his legitimate wife
a daughter, herein petitioner Maria Rosario de Santos. After some time, their relationship
does not change this fact, for a divorce granted abroad was not recognized in this jurisdiction at
became strained to the breaking point. Thereafter, Antonio fell in love with a fellow doctor,
the time. Evidently, the decedent was aware of this fact, which is why he had to have the
Conchita Talag, private respondent herein. Antonio sought a formal dissolution of his first
marriage solemnized in Tokyo, outside of the Philippines. It may be added here that he was
marriage by obtaining a divorce decree from a Nevada court in 1949.
likewise aware of the nullity of the Tokyo marriage for after his legitimate, though estranged wife
died, he hastily contracted another marriage with private respondent, this time here in Tagaytay.
Obviously aware that said decree was a worthless scrap of paper in our jurisdiction which then,
as now, did not recognize divorces, Antonio proceeded to Tokyo, Japan in 1951 to marry private
It must be noted that while Article 269, which falls under the general heading of "Paternity and
respondent, with whom he had been cohabiting since his de facto separation from Sofia. This
Filiation," specifically deals with "Legitimated Children," Article 89, a provision subsumed under
union produced eleven children. On March 30, 1967, Sofia died in Guatemala. Less than a
the general title on "Marriage," deals principally with void and voidable marriages and
month later, on April 23, 1967, Antonio and private respondent contracted a marriage in Tagaytay
secondarily, on the effects of said marriages on their offspring. It creates another category of
City celebrated under Philippine laws. On March 8, 1981, Antonio died intestate leaving
illegitimate children, those who are "conceived or born of marriages which are void from the
properties with an estimated value of P15,000,000.00.
beginning," but because there has been a semblance of marriage, they are classified as
"acknowledged natural children" and, accordingly, enjoy the same status, rights and obligations
On May 15, 1981, private respondent went to court 1 asking for the issuance of letters of as such kind of children. In the case at bench, the marriage under question is considered "void
administration in her favor in connection with the settlement of her late husband's estate. She from the beginning" because bigamous, contracted when a prior valid marriage was still
alleged, among other things, that the decedent was survived by twelve legitimate heirs, namely, subsisting. It follows that the children begotten of such union cannot be considered natural
herself, their ten surviving children, and petitioner. There being no opposition, her petition was children proper for at the time of their conception, their parents were disqualified from marrying
granted. each other due to the impediment of a prior subsisting marriage.

After six years of protracted intestate proceedings, however, petitioner decided to intervene. What term should then be coined to distinguish them from natural children proper (those "born
Thus, in a motion she filed sometime in November 1987, she argued inter alia that private outside of wedlock of parents who, at the time of the conception of the former, were not
respondent's children were illegitimate. This was challenged by private respondent although the disqualified by any impediment to marry each other")? A legal fiction had to be resorted to, that
latter admitted during the hearing that all her children were born prior to Sofia's death in 1967. device contrived by law to simulate a fact or condition which, strictly and technically speaking, is
not what it purports to be. In this case, the term "natural children by legal fiction" was invented,
thus giving rise to another category of illegitimate children, clearly not to be confused with
On November 14, 1991, after approval of private respondent's account of her administration, the "natural children" as defined under Art. 269 but by fiction of law to be equated with
court a quopassed upon petitioner's motion. The court, citing the case of Francisco acknowledged natural children and, consequently, enjoying the status, rights and obligations of
H. Tongoy, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al. (23 SCRA 99 [1983]), declared private respondent's the latter. Does this cluster of rights include the right to be legitimated?
ten children legitimated and thereupon instituted and declared them, along with petitioner and
private respondent, as the heirs of Antonio de Santos.
Under the Civil Code, there exists a hierarchy of children classified on the basis of rights granted
by law, which must be preserved by strictly construing the substantive provisions of the law in
Petitioner sought a reconsideration of said order but this was denied in the court's order dated force.
January 9, 1992.

Under the prevailing Civil Code (which may be considered "old" in light of the new provisions of
Hence, she filed the instant petition for certiorari on June 16, 1992, contending that since only the Family Code on "Persons"), much emphasis is laid on the classification of children vis-a-
natural children can be legitimized, the trial court mistakenly declared as legitimated her half vis their parents, and the corresponding rights they are entitled to under the law. Thus, the title
brothers and sisters. on "Paternity and Filiation" devotes two whole chapters to legitimate children alone, and one
chapter on those deemed by law to be possessed of the rights of the former, such as legitimated
This argument is tenable. children, because of their compliance with certain requisites laid down by law; two other
chapters deal with illegitimate children composed of recognized natural children, and those other
than natural, or spurious, whether recognized or not. The well-ordered delineation of such
Article 269 of the Civil Code expressly states: distinctions among these groups demonstrates a clear intent on the part of the framers of the
Civil Code to compartmentalize and separate one from the other, for legitimacy/illegitimacy
determines the substantive rights accruing to the different categories of children.
It must be noted that before said Code was enacted, other classes of illegitimate children were estate which the child shares with the surviving spouse, may be reduced if it should exceed said
recognized, such as, "manceres" or the offspring of prostitutes and the "sacrilegious" or children portion. 15
of those who had received Holy Orders. Subsequently, the Civil Code, in an effort to keep in step
with modern times, limited illegitimate filiation to those which are incestuous, adulterous and
Unrecognized illegitimate children are not entitled to any of the rights above mentioned. 16
illicit.

These distinctions gain more relevance if we were to consider that while a legitimated child may
At the core of the institution of legitimacy held sacrosanct by Spanish tradition and culture, lies
enjoy the same successional rights granted to legitimate children, a natural child by legal fiction
the "inviolable social institution" known as marriage. This union, absent any formal or substantial
cannot rise beyond that to which an acknowledged natural child is entitled, insofar as his
defect or of any vice of consent, is virtually adamantine. On the whole, the status of a marriage
hereditary rights are concerned.
determines in large part the filiation of its resultant issue. Thus, a child born within a valid
marriage is legitimate, while one born outside of wedlock is illegitimate. If, however, the latter's
parents were, at the time of the child's conception, not legally barred from marrying each other It is thus incongruous to conclude, as private respondent maintains, that petitioner's half siblings
and subsequently do so, the child's filiation improves as he becomes legitimized and the can rise to her level by the fact of being legitimized, for two reasons: First, they failed to meet the
"legitimated" child eventually enjoys all the privileges and rights associated with legitimacy. most important requisite of legitimation, that is, that they be natural children within the meaning
Without such marriage, the natural child's rights depend on whether he is acknowledged or of Article 269; second, natural children by legal fiction cannot demand that they be legitimized
recognized by his parents, but he does not rise to the level of a legitimate child in the manner simply because it is one of the rights enjoyed by acknowledged natural children.
that the legitimated child does.
It may be argued that legitimation is a right vouchsafed to acknowledged natural children and,
A child conceived or born of a marriage which is void ab initio or one which is declared a nullity therefore, by the same token, to natural children by legal fiction. This conclusion is arrived at
is illegitimate since there is no marriage to speak of, but it is the law which accords him the through a syllogism as simple as it is deceptive, which runs as follows:
rights of an acknowledged natural child.
The respondent's children are natural children by legal fiction.
Finally, there are illegitimate children who are referred to as "spurious" or derisively denominated
as "bastards" because of their doubtful origins. There is no marriage valid or otherwise
Therefore, they have the same status, rights and
which would give any semblance of legality to the child's existence. Nothing links child to parent
obligations as acknowledged natural children.
aside from the information appearing in the birth certificate. When such child is recognized by
one or both parents, he acquires certain rights nowhere approaching those of his legitimate
counterparts. Acknowledged natural children have the right to be legitimated.

The Civil Code provides three rights which, in varying degrees, are enjoyed by children, Ergo, respondent's children have the right to be
depending on their filiation: use of surname, succession, and support. legitimated (as in fact they were "deemed legitimated"
by the subsequent valid marriage of their parents in the
Philippines in 1967).
Legitimate children and legitimated children are entitled to all three. 2 Thus, they "shall principally
use the surname of the father," 3 and shall be entitled to support from their legitimate ascendants
and descendants, 4 as well as to a legitime consisting of one-half of the hereditary estate of both The above line of reasoning follows the Euclidian geometric proposition that things equal to the
parents, 5 and to other successional rights, such as the right of representation. "These rights as same thing are equal to each other. This may hold true in the realm of instructional, as opposed
effects of legitimacy cannot be renounced." 6 to descriptive science, where the former calls for the application of absolute, mathematical rules
with precision but not to the latter, particularly those which deal with the social sciences where
human relationships are central to a study whose main concern is not to leave out anything of
Natural children recognized by both parents and natural children by legal fiction shall principally
significance. The former deals with inanimate things, those which a scientist has described as
use the surname of the father. 7 If a natural child is recognized by only one parent, the child shall
the "dead aspect of nature," excluding all factors regarded as superfluous to obtaining absolute
follow the surname of such recognizing parent. 8 Both types of children are entitled to receive
results and nothing more. It does not concern itself so much with the whole truth as with those
support from the parent recognizing them. 9 They also cannot be deprived of their legitime
aspects or parts only through which the inexorable result can be obtained. To apply the strict
equivalent to one-half of that pertaining to each of the legitimate children or descendants of the
rules of syllogism, where the basic premise is defective, to the arena of paternity and filiation,
recognizing parent, to be taken from the free disposable portion of the latter's estate. 10
especially in the determination of the status and rights of the different kinds of illegitimate
children vis-a-vis the legitimate ones, is bound to spawn mischief and results never intended by
Recognized illegitimate children other than natural, or spurious issues, are, in their minority, the framers of the provisions of the law under review.
under the parental authority of their mothers and, naturally, take the latter's surname. 11 The only
support which they are entitled to is from the recognizing parent, 12 and their legitime, also to be
Pursued to its logical, undeviating conclusion, it may eventually be postulated that "adulterous
taken from the free portion, consists of four-fifths of the legitime of an acknowledged natural
children shall enjoy the status, rights and obligations of legitimate children," a doctrine which no
child or two-fifths that of each legitimate child. 13
moral philosophy under our social and cultural milieu can countenance.

It must also be observed that while the legitime of a legitimate child is fairly secured by law, 14 the
This conclusion not only presumes that children other than those who are "natural" can be
legitime of any recognized illegitimate child, taken as it is from the free portion of the hereditary
legitimized in the first place, but also grants acknowledged natural children (and, consequently,
natural children by legal fiction) a "right" to be legitimized when no such right exists. Legitimation
is not a "right" which is demandable by a child. It is a privilege, available only to natural children
proper, as defined under Art. 269. Although natural children by legal fiction have the same rights
as acknowledged natural children, it is a quantum leap in the syllogism to conclude that,
therefore, they likewise have the right to be legitimated, which is not necessarily so, especially,
as in this case, when the legally existing marriage between the children's father and his
estranged first wife effectively barred a "subsequent marriage" between their parents.

The question that must be confronted next is: How are the offspring of the second union affected
by the first wife's death and the ensuing celebration of a valid marriage between her widower
and his ostensible second wife?

Natural children by legal fiction cannot be legitimized in this fashion. Our archaic law on family
relations, patterned as it is after Spanish Civil Law, frowns upon illegal relations such that the
benefits of legitimation under Chapter 3 of Title VIII do not extend, nor were they intended to
extend, to natural children by legal fiction. Article 269 itself clearly limits the privilege of
legitimation to natural children as defined thereunder. There was, therefore, from the outset, an
intent to exclude children conceived or born out of illicit relations from the purview of the law.

Another point to be considered is that although natural children can be legitimized, and natural
children by legal fiction enjoy the rights of acknowledged natural children, this does not
necessarily lead to the conclusion that natural children by legal fiction can likewise be
legitimized. As has been pointed out, much more is involved here than the mere privilege to be
legitimized. The rights of other children, like the petitioner in the case at bench, may be
adversely affected as her testamentary share may well be reduced in the event that her ten
surviving half siblings should be placed on par with her, when each of them is rightfully entitled
to only half of her share.

The provisions of law invoked by private respondent are couched in simple and unmistakable
language, not at all subject to interpretation, and they all point to the correctness of petitioner's
claim. If it should be asserted that we now trench on a gray area of law that calls for
interpretation, or a lacuna that cries for filling up, then we have to pierce the shroud
unintentionally created by the letter of the law and expose its spirit as evincing intent, in this
case one which decidedly favors legitimacy over illegitimacy. The hierarchy of children so
painstakingly erected by law and the corresponding gradation of their rights may conceivably be
shattered by elevating natural children by legal fiction who are incontestably illegitimate children
to the level of natural children proper, whose filiation would otherwise be legitimate had their
parents blessed their union with a valid marriage.

Finally, attention must be drawn to the fact that this case has been decided under the provisions
of the Civil Code, not the Family Code which now recognizes only two classes of children:
legitimate and illegitimate. "Natural children by legal fiction" are nothing if not pure fiction.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. The assailed orders of the court a
quo dated November 14, 1991 and January 9, 1992, are NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner
Maria Rosario de Santos is hereby declared the SOLE LEGITIMATE CHILD of the decedent
Antonio de Santos and, as such, entitled to all the rights accorded to her by law.
G.R. No. 157043 February 2, 2007
SO ORDERED.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner,
Feliciano, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Melo, Puno, Vitug and Mendoza, JJ., concur. vs.
TRINIDAD R.A. CAPOTE, Respondent.

DECISION
CORONA, J.: xxx xxx xxx4

This petition for review on certiorari1 seeks to set aside the Court of Appeals (CA) Respondent prayed for an order directing the local civil registrar to effect the change of name on
decision2 dated January 13, 2003 in CA-G.R. CV No. 66128, which affirmed the decision of the Giovannis birth certificate. Having found respondents petition sufficient in form and substance,
Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 23 of San Juan, Southern Leyte dated September 14, 1999 the trial court gave due course to the petition.5 Publication of the petition in a newspaper of
granting a petition for change of name. general circulation in the province of Southern Leyte once a week for three consecutive weeks
was likewise ordered.6 The trial court also directed that the local civil registrar be notified and
that the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) be sent a copy of the petition and order.7
Respondent Trinidad R. A. Capote filed a petition for change of name of her ward from Giovanni
N. Gallamaso toGiovanni Nadores on September 9, 1998. In Special Proceeding No. R-
481,3 Capote as Giovannis guardian ad litem averred: Since there was no opposition to the petition, respondent moved for leave of court to present her
evidence ex parte before a court-appointed commissioner. The OSG, acting through the
Provincial Prosecutor, did not object; hence, the lower court granted the motion.
xxx xxx xxx

After the reception of evidence, the trial court rendered a decision ordering the change of name
1. [Respondent] is a Filipino citizen, of legal age, married, while minor GIOVANNI N.
from Giovanni N. Gallamaso to Giovanni Nadores.8
GALLAMASO, is also a Filipino citizen, sixteen (16) years old and both are residents
of San Juan, Southern Leyte where they can be served with summons and other court
processes; From this decision, petitioner Republic of the Philippines, through the OSG, filed an appeal with
a lone assignment of error: the court a quo erred in granting the petition in a summary
proceeding.
2. [Respondent] was appointed guardian [ad litem] of minor Giovanni N. Gallamaso by
virtue of a court order in Special [Proc.] No. R-459, dated [August 18, 1998] xxx xxx
authorizing her to file in court a petition for change of name of said minor in Ruling that the proceedings were sufficiently adversarial in nature as required, the CA affirmed
accordance with the desire of his mother [who is residing and working abroad]; the RTC decision ordering the change of name.9

3. Both [respondent] and minor have permanently resided in San Juan, Southern In this petition, the Republic contends that the CA erred in affirming the trial courts decision
Leyte, Philippines for more than fifteen (15) years prior to the filing of this instant which granted the petition for change of name despite the non-joinder of indispensable
petition, the former since 1970 while the latter since his birth [in 1982]; parties.10 Petitioner cites Republic of the Philippines v. Labrador11 and claims that the purported
parents and all other persons who may be adversely affected by the childs change of name
should have been made respondents to make the proceeding adversarial. 12
4. The minor was left under the care of [respondent] since he was yet nine (9) years
old up to the present;
We deny the petition.
5. Minor GIOVANNI N. GALLAMASO is the illegitimate natural child of Corazon P.
Nadores and Diosdado Gallamaso. [He] was born on July 9, 1982 [,] prior to the "The subject of rights must have a fixed symbol for individualization which serves to distinguish
effectivity of the New Family Code and as such, his mother used the surname of the him from all others; this symbol is his name."13 Understandably, therefore, no person can change
natural father despite the absence of marriage between them; and [Giovanni] has his name or surname without judicial authority.14 This is a reasonable requirement for those
been known by that name since birth [as per his birth certificate registered at the Local seeking such change because a persons name necessarily affects his identity, interests and
Civil Register of San Juan, Southern Leyte]; interactions. The State must be involved in the process and decision to change the name of any
of its citizens.
6. The father, Diosdado Gallamaso, from the time [Giovanni] was born and up to the
present, failed to take up his responsibilities [to him] on matters of financial, physical, The Rules of Court provides the requirements and procedure for change of name. Here, the
emotional and spiritual concerns. [Giovannis pleas] for attention along that line [fell] appropriate remedy is covered by Rule 103,15 a separate and distinct proceeding from Rule 108
on deaf ears xxx xxx xxx; on mere cancellation and correction of entries in the civil registry (usually dealing only with
innocuous or clerical errors thereon).16
7. [Giovanni] is now fully aware of how he stands with his father and he desires to
have his surname changed to that of his mothers surname; The issue of non-joinder of alleged indispensable parties in the action before the court a quo is
intertwined with the nature of the proceedings there. The point is whether the proceedings were
sufficiently adversarial.
8. [Giovannis] mother might eventually petition [him] to join her in the United States
and [his] continued use of the surname Gallamaso, the surname of his natural father,
may complicate [his] status as natural child; and Summary proceedings do not extensively address the issues of a case since the reason for their
conduct is expediency. This, according to petitioner, is not sufficient to deal with substantial or
contentious issues allegedly resulting from a change of name, meaning, legitimacy as well as
9. The change of name [from] GIOVANNI N. GALLAMASO to GIOVANNI NADORES
successional rights.17 Such issues are ventilated only in adversarial proceedings wherein all
will be for the benefit of the minor.
interested parties are impleaded and due process is observed.18
When Giovanni was born in 1982 (prior to the enactment and effectivity of the Family Code of case. While the OSG is correct in its stance that the proceedings for change of name should be
the Philippines),19the pertinent provision of the Civil Code then as regards his use of a surname, adversarial, the OSG cannot void the proceedings in the trial court on account of its own failure
read: to participate therein. As the CA correctly ruled:

Art. 366. A natural child acknowledged by both parents shall principally use the surname of the The OSG is correct in stating that a petition for change of name must be heard in an adversarial
father. If recognized by only one of the parents, a natural child shall employ the surname of proceeding. Unlike petitions for the cancellation or correction of clerical errors in entries in the
the recognizing parent. (emphasis ours) civil registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, a petition for change of name under Rule 103
cannot be decided through a summary proceeding. There is no doubt that this petition does not
fall under Rule 108 for it is not alleged that the entry in the civil registry suffers from clerical or
Based on this provision, Giovanni should have carried his mothers surname from birth. The
typographical errors. The relief sought clearly goes beyond correcting erroneous entries in the
records do not reveal any act or intention on the part of Giovannis putative father to actually
civil registry, although by granting the petition, the result is the same in that a corresponding
recognize him. Meanwhile, according to the Family Code which repealed, among others, Article
change in the entry is also required to reflect the change in name. In this regard, [appellee]
366 of the Civil Code:
Capote complied with the requirement for an adversarial proceeding by posting in a
newspaper of general circulation notice of the filing of the petition. The lower court also
Art. 176. Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parental furnished the OSG a copy thereof. Despite the notice, no one came forward to oppose the
authority of their mother, and shall be entitled to support in conformity with this Code. xxx xxx petition including the OSG. The fact that no one opposed the petition did not deprive the
xxx (emphasis ours) court of its jurisdiction to hear the same nor does it make the proceeding less adversarial
in nature. The lower court is still expected to exercise its judgment to determine whether the
petition is meritorious or not and not merely accept as true the arguments propounded.
Our ruling in the recent case of In Re: Petition for Change of Name and/or Considering that the OSG neither opposed the petition nor the motion to present its evidence ex
Correction/Cancellation of Entry in Civil Registry of Julian Lin Carulasan Wang20 is enlightening: parte when it had the opportunity to do so, it cannot now complain that the proceedings in the
lower court were not adversarial enough.23 (emphasis supplied)
Our laws on the use of surnames state that legitimate and legitimated children shall principally
use the surname of the father. The Family Code gives legitimate children the right to bear the A proceeding is adversarial where the party seeking relief has given legal warning to the other
surnames of the father and the mother, while illegitimate children shall use the surname of their party and afforded the latter an opportunity to contest it.24 Respondent gave notice of the petition
mother, unless their father recognizes their filiation, in which case they may bear the fathers through publication as required by the rules.25 With this, all interested parties were deemed
surname. notified and the whole world considered bound by the judgment therein. In addition, the trial
court gave due notice to the OSG by serving a copy of the petition on it. Thus, all the
Applying these laws, an illegitimate child whose filiation is not recognized by the father requirements to make a proceeding adversarial were satisfied when all interested parties,
bears only a given name and his mother surname, and does not have a middle name. The including petitioner as represented by the OSG, were afforded the opportunity to contest the
name of the unrecognized illegitimate child therefore identifies him as such. It is only when petition.
the illegitimate child is legitimated by the subsequent marriage of his parents or acknowledged
by the father in a public document or private handwritten instrument that he bears both his WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED and the January 13, 2003 decision of the Court of
mothers surname as his middle name and his fathers surname as his surname, reflecting his Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 66128 AFFIRMED.
status as a legitimated child or an acknowledged child.1awphi1.net21

SO ORDERED.
The foregoing discussion establishes the significant connection of a persons name to his
identity, his status in relation to his parents and his successional rights as a legitimate or
illegitimate child. For sure, these matters should not be taken lightly as to deprive those who RENATO C. CORONA
may, in any way, be affected by the right to present evidence in favor of or against such change. Associate Justice

The law and facts obtaining here favor Giovannis petition. Giovanni availed of the proper
remedy, a petition for change of name under Rule 103 of the Rules of Court, and complied with
all the procedural requirements. After hearing, the trial court found (and the appellate court
affirmed) that the evidence presented during the hearing of Giovannis petition sufficiently
established that, under Art. 176 of the Civil Code, Giovanni is entitled to change his name as he
was never recognized by his father while his mother has always recognized him as her child. A
change of name will erase the impression that he was ever recognized by his father. It is also to
his best interest as it will facilitate his mothers intended petition to have him join her in the
United States. This Court will not stand in the way of the reunification of mother and son.

Moreover, it is noteworthy that the cases cited by petitioner22 in support of its position deal with
cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry, a proceeding separate and distinct from
the special proceedings for change of name. Those cases deal with the application and
interpretation of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court while this case was correctly filed under Rule
103. Thus, the cases cited by petitioner are irrelevant and have no bearing on respondents