Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 174

SECOND DIVISION Rodolfo filed a complaint8 for annulment of deed of sale and The spouses Martinez alleged in their

of deed of sale and The spouses Martinez alleged in their position paper that earnest
cancellation of TCT No. 237936 against his brother Manolo and his efforts toward a compromise had been made and/or exerted by
G.R. No. 162084 June 28, 2005 sister-in-law Lucila before the RTC. He also filed a criminal complaint them, but that the same proved futile. 14 No amicable settlement
for estafa through falsification of a public document in the Office of was, likewise, reached by the parties during the preliminary
APRIL MARTINEZ, FRITZ DANIEL MARTINEZ and MARIA OLIVIA the City Prosecutor against Manolo, which was elevated to the conference because of irreconcilable differences. The MTC was,
MARTINEZ, petitioners, Department of Justice.9 thus, impelled to terminate the conference. 15
vs.
RODOLFO G. MARTINEZ, respondent. On motion of the defendants, the RTC issued an Order 10 on March On February 21, 2000, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of
29, 1999, dismissing the complaint for annulment of deed of sale on the spouses Martinez. The fallo of the decision reads:
DECISION the ground that the trial court had no jurisdiction over the action
since there was no allegation in the complaint that the last will of WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is rendered in favor of
Daniel Martinez, Sr. had been admitted to probate. Rodolfo plaintiff. The defendant, including any person claiming right under
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
appealed the order to the CA.11 him, is ordered:
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision1 of the
On October 4, 1999, Rodolfo filed a Petition with the RTC of Manila 1) To vacate the subject premises;
Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 59420 setting aside and
for the probate of the last will of the deceased Daniel Martinez, Sr. 12
reversing the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila,
Branch 30, in Civil Case No. 00-96962 affirming, on appeal, the 2) To pay plaintiff the sum of ₱10,000.00 a month starting
decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC) of Manila in Civil In the meantime, the spouses Manolo and Lucila Martinez wrote July 17, 1999, the date of last demand until he vacates the
Case No. 164761 (CV) for ejectment. Rodolfo, demanding that he vacate the property. Rodolfo ignored same;
the letter and refused to do so. This prompted the said spouses to
file a complaint for unlawful detainer against Rodolfo in the MTC of 3) To pay the sum of ₱10,000.00 as and for attorney’s fees;
The Antecedents
Manila. They alleged that they were the owners of the property and
covered by TCT No. 237936, and that pursuant to Presidential
The spouses Daniel P. Martinez, Sr. and Natividad de Guzman-
Decree (P.D.) No. 1508, the matter was referred to the barangayfor
Martinez were the owners of a parcel of land identified as Lot 18-B- 4) Costs of suit.
conciliation and settlement, but none was reached. They appended
2 covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 54334, as well as
the certification to file action executed by the barangay chairman to
the house constructed thereon.2 On March 6, 1993, Daniel, Sr. SO ORDERED.16
the complaint.
executed a Last Will and Testament3 directing the subdivision of the
property into three lots, namely, Lots 18-B-2-A, 18-B-2-B and 18-B- The trial court declared that the spouses Martinez had substantially
In his Answer13 to the complaint filed on October 11, 1999, Rodolfo
2-C. He then bequeathed the three lots to each of his sons, namely, complied with Article 151 of the Family Code of the
alleged, inter alia, that the complaint failed to state a condition
Rodolfo, Manolo and Daniel, Jr.; Manolo was designated as the Philippines17 based on the allegations of the complaint and the
precedent, namely, that earnest efforts for an amicable settlement
administrator of the estate. appended certification to file action issued by the barangay captain.
of the matter between the parties had been exerted, but that none
was reached. He also pointed out that the dispute had not been
In May 1995, Daniel, Sr. suffered a stroke which resulted in the Rodolfo appealed the decision to the RTC. On May 31, 2000, the RTC
referred to the barangay before the complaint was filed.
paralysis of the right side of his body. Natividad died on October 26, rendered judgment affirming the appealed decision. He then filed a
1996.4 Daniel, Sr. passed away on October 6, 1997.5 petition for review of the decision with the CA, alleging that:
On October 20, 1999, the spouses Martinez filed an Amended
Complaint in which they alleged that earnest efforts toward a
On September 16, 1998, Rodolfo found a deed of sale purportedly 1. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC WHICH
settlement had been made, but that the same proved futile. Rodolfo
signed by his father on September 15, 1996, where the latter FOUND WITHOUT MERIT THE DEFENSE OF PETITIONER THAT THERE
filed his opposition thereto, on the ground that there was no motion
appears to have sold Lot 18-B-2 to Manolo and his wife Lucila.6 He IS NO ALLEGATION IN THE COMPLAINT THAT PETITIONER HAS
for the admission of the amended complaint. The trial court failed
also discovered that TCT No. 237936 was issued to the vendees UNLAWFULLY WITHHELD POSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY FROM
to act on the matter.
based on the said deed of sale.7 RESPONDENTS – A REQUIREMENT IN [AN] UNLAWFUL DETAINER
SUIT.
2. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC WHICH Upon the denial of their motion for reconsideration of the said respondent; hence, there was no need for the petitioners 21 to
FOUND THAT PETITIONER’S POSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY IS BY decision, the spouses Martinez filed the present petition for review comply with Article 151 of the Family Code.
MERE TOLERANCE OF RESPONDENTS. on certiorari, in which they raise the following issues:
The petition is meritorious.
3. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC WHICH I.
FOUND THAT THE RESPONDENTS HAVE A CAUSE OF ACTION. Article 151 of the Family Code provides:
WHETHER OR NOT THE CERTIFICATION TO FILE ACTION AND THE
4. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC WHICH ALLEGATIONS IN THE COMPLAINT THAT THE CASE PASSED Art. 151. No suit between members of the same family shall prosper
DID NOT RESOLVE THE SIXTH ISSUE, TO WIT, "Whether or not this [THROUGH] THE BARANGAY BUT NO SETTLEMENT WAS REACHED, unless it should appear from the verified complaint or petition that
Court has jurisdiction over this case considering that the allegations ARE SUFFICIENT COMPLIANCE TO PROVE THAT, INDEED, EARNEST earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made, but that the
in the complaint makes out a case of accion publiciana." EFFORTS WERE, IN FACT, MADE BUT THE SAME HAVE FAILED PRIOR same have failed. If it is shown that no such efforts were, in fact,
TO THE FILING OF THE COMPLAINT. made, the case must be dismissed.
5. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC WHICH
HAS NO JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE. II. This rule shall not apply to cases which may not be the subject of
compromise under the Civil Code.
6. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC WHICH WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY AND
FOUND THAT THE MANDATORY REQUIREMENT OF CONCILIATION SERIOUSLY ERRED IN FINDING THAT THERE WAS NON-COMPLIANCE The phrase "members of the family" must be construed in relation
HAS BEEN COMPLIED WITH. WITH THE REQUIREMENT PROVIDED FOR UNDER ARTICLE 151 OF to Article 150 of the Family Code, to wit:
THE FAMILY CODE, CONSIDERING THAT ONE OF THE PARTIES TO A
7. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC WHICH SUIT IN THIS CASE IS NOT A MEMBER OF THE SAME FAMILY. 19 Art. 150. Family relations include those:
FOUND THAT THERE WAS SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE WITH THE
KATARUNGANG PAMBARANGAY LAW. The petitioners alleged that they substantially complied with Article (1) Between husband and wife;
151 of the Family Code, since they alleged the following in their
8. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC WHICH original complaint:
(2) Between parents and children;
FOUND THAT THE PENDENCY OF CIVIL CASE NO. 98-91147 AND
SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS NO. 99-95281, INVOLVING THE PETITIONER 2. In compliance with P.D. 1508, otherwise known as the
(3) Among other ascendants and descendants; and
AND RESPONDENTS AND INVOLVING THE SAME PROPERTY DID NOT "Katarungang Pambarangay," this case passed [through] the
DIVEST THE MTC OF AUTHORITY TO DECIDE THE CASE. Barangay and no settlement was forged between plaintiffs and
(4) Among brothers and sisters, whether of the full or half-
defendant as a result of which Certification to File Action was
blood.
9. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC WHICH issued by Barangay 97, Zone 8, District I, Tondo, Manila. xxx"
GRANTED THE RELIEF PRAYED FOR BY THE RESPONDENTS. (Underscoring supplied)20
Article 151 of the Family code must be construed strictly, it being an
exception to the general rule. Hence, a sister-in-law or brother-in-
10. THE RTC ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE MTC. 18 Further, the petitioners averred, they alleged in their position paper
law is not included in the enumeration.22
that they had exerted earnest efforts towards a compromise which
On November 27, 2003, the CA rendered judgment granting the proved futile. They also point out that the MTC resolved to
terminate the preliminary conference due to irreconcilable As pointed out by the Code Commission, it is difficult to imagine a
petition and reversing the decision of the RTC. The appellate court
difference between the parties. Besides, even before they filed their sadder and more tragic spectacle than a litigation between
ruled that the spouses Martinez had failed to comply with Article
original complaint, animosity already existed between them and the members of the same family. It is necessary that every effort should
151 of the Family code. The CA also held that the defect in their
respondent due to the latter’s filing of civil and criminal cases be made toward a compromise before a litigation is allowed to
complaint before the MTC was not cured by the filing of an
against them; hence, the objective of an amicable settlement could breed hate and passion in the family and it is known that a lawsuit
amended complaint because the latter pleading was not admitted
not have been attained. Moreover, under Article 150 of the Family between close relatives generates deeper bitterness than between
by the trial court.
Code, petitioner Lucila Martinez had no familial relations with the strangers.23
respondent, being a mere sister-in-law. She was a stranger to the
Thus, a party’s failure to comply with Article 151 of the Family Code follows that the same does not come within the purview of Art. 222,
before filing a complaint against a family member would render and plaintiff’s failure to seek a compromise before filing the
such complaint premature. complaint does not bar the same.24

In this case, the decision of the CA that the petitioners were Second. The petitioners were able to comply with the requirements
mandated to comply with Article 151 of the Family code and that of Article 151 of the Family Code because they alleged in their
they failed to do so is erroneous. complaint that they had initiated a proceeding against the
respondent for unlawful detainer in the Katarungang Pambarangay,
First. Petitioner Lucila Martinez, the respondent’s sister-in-law, was in compliance with P.D. No. 1508; and that, after due proceedings,
one of the plaintiffs in the MTC. The petitioner is not a member of no amicable settlement was arrived at, resulting in
the same family as that of her deceased husband and the the barangay chairman’s issuance of a certificate to file action.25 The
respondent: Court rules that such allegation in the complaint, as well as the
certification to file action by the barangay chairman, is sufficient
As regards plaintiff’s failure to seek a compromise, as an alleged compliance with article 151 of the Family Code. It bears stressing
obstacle to the present case, Art. 222 of our Civil Code provides: that under Section 412(a) of Republic Act No. 7160, no complaint
involving any matter within the authority of the Lupon shall be
instituted or filed directly in court for adjudication unless there has
"No suit shall be filed or maintained between members of the same
been a confrontation between the parties and no settlement was
family unless it should appear that earnest efforts toward a
reached.26
compromise have been made, but that the same have failed, subject
to the limitations in Article 2035."
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED. The
Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 59420 is
It is noteworthy that the impediment arising from this provision
REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. The Decision of the Metropolitan Trial
applies to suits "filed or maintained between members of the same
Court of Manila, as affirmed on appeal by the Regional Trial Court of
family." This phrase, "members of the same family," should,
Manila, Branch 30, in Civil Case No. 164761(CV) is REINSTATED. No
however, be construed in the light of Art. 217 of the same Code,
costs.
pursuant to which:

SO ORDERED.
"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."

Mrs. Gayon is plaintiff’s sister-in-law, whereas her children are his


nephews and/or nieces. Inasmuch as none of them is included in the
enumeration contained in said Art. 217 – which should be construed
strictly, it being an exception to the general rule – and Silvestre
Gayon must necessarily be excluded as party in the case at bar, it
EN BANC the consolidation of the title in and to a land acquired through a in the property in question. Moreover, her own motion to dismiss
conditional sale, and, accordingly, praying that an order be issued in indicated merely "a necessity of amending the complaint," to the
plaintiff's favor for the consolidation of ownership in and to the end that the other successors in interest of Silvestre Gayon, instead
aforementioned property. of the latter, be made parties in this case. In her opposition to the
G.R. No. L-28394 November 26, 1970 aforesaid motion for reconsideration of the plaintiff, Mrs. Gayon
In her answer to the complaint, Mrs. Gayon alleged that her alleged, inter alia, that the "heirs cannot represent the dead
husband, Silvestre Gayon, died on January 6, 1954, long before the defendant, unless there is a declaration of heirship." Inasmuch,
PEDRO GAYON, plaintiff-appellant,
institution of this case; that Annex "A" to the complaint is fictitious, however, as succession takes place, by operation of law, "from the
vs.
for the signature thereon purporting to be her signature is not hers; moment of the death of the decedent" 3 and "(t)he inheritance
SILVESTRE GAYON and GENOVEVA DE GAYON, defendants-
that neither she nor her deceased husband had ever executed "any includes all the property, rights and obligations of a person which
appellees.
document of whatever nature in plaintiff's favor"; that the are not extinguished by his death,"4 it follows that if his heirs were
complaint is malicious and had embarrassed her and her children; included as defendants in this case, they would be sued, not as
German M. Lopez for plaintiff-appellant.
that the heirs of Silvestre Gayon had to "employ the services of "representatives" of the decedent, but as owners of an aliquot
counsel for a fee of P500.00 and incurred expenses of at least interest in the property in question, even if the precise extent of
Pedro R. Davila for defendants-appellees. their interest may still be undetermined and they have derived it
P200.00"; and that being a brother of the deceased Silvestre Gayon,
plaintiff "did not exert efforts for the amicable settlement of the from the decent. Hence, they may be sued without a previous
case" before filing his complaint. She prayed, therefore, that the declaration of heirship, provided there is no pending special
same be dismissed and that plaintiff be sentenced to pay damages. proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the decedent. 5
CONCEPCION, C.J.:
Soon later, she filed a motion to dismiss, reproducing substantially As regards plaintiff's failure to seek a compromise, as an alleged
Appeal, taken by plaintiff Pedro Gayon, from an order of the Court the averments made in her answer and stressing that, in view of the obstacle to the present case, Art. 222 of our Civil Code provides:
of First Instance of Iloilo dismissing his complaint in Civil Case No. death of Silvestre Gayon, there is a "necessity of amending the
7334 thereof. complaint to suit the genuine facts on record." Presently, or on No suit shall be filed or maintained between
September 16, 1967, the lower court issued the order appealed members of the same family unless it should
The records show that on July 31, 1967, Pedro Gayon filed said from, reading: appear that earnest efforts toward a compromise
complaint against the spouses Silvestre Gayon and Genoveva de have been made, but that the same have failed,
Gayon, alleging substantially that, on October 1, 1952, said spouses Considering the motion to dismiss and it appearing subject to the limitations in article 2035.
executed a deed — copy of which was attached to the complaint, as from Exhibit "A" annexed to the complaint that
Annex "A" — whereby they sold to Pedro Gelera, for the sum of Silvestre Gayon is the absolute owner of the land It is noteworthy that the impediment arising from this provision
P500.00, a parcel of unregistered land therein described, and in question, and considering the fact that Silvestre applies to suits "filed or maintained between members of the same
located in the barrio of Cabubugan, municipality of Guimbal, Gayon is now dead and his wife Genoveva de family." This phrase, "members of the same family," should,
province of Iloilo, including the improvements thereon, subject to Gayon has nothing to do with the land subject of however, be construed in the light of Art. 217 of the same Code,
redemption within five (5) years or not later than October 1, 1957; plaintiff's complaint, as prayed for, this case is pursuant to which:
that said right of redemption had not been exercised by Silvestre hereby dismissed, without pronouncement as to
Gayon, Genoveva de Gayon, or any of their heirs or successors, costs.1 Family relations shall include those:
despite the expiration of the period therefor; that said Pedro Gelera
and his wife Estelita Damaso had, by virtue of a deed of sale — copy A reconsideration of this order having been denied, plaintiff (1) Between husband and wife;
of which was attached to the complaint, as Annex "B" — dated interposed the present appeal, which is well taken.
March 21, 1961, sold the aforementioned land to plaintiff Pedro (2) Between parent and child;
Gayon for the sum of P614.00; that plaintiff had, since 1961, Said order is manifestly erroneous and must be set aside. To begin
introduced thereon improvements worth P1,000; that he had, with, it is not true that Mrs. Gayon "has nothing to do with the land (3) Among other ascendants and their
moreover, fully paid the taxes on said property up to 1967; and that subject of plaintiff's complaint." As the widow of Silvestre Gayon, descendants;
Articles 1606 and 1616 of our Civil Code require a judicial decree for she is one of his compulsory heirs2and has, accordingly, an interest
(4) Among brothers and sisters.

Mrs. Gayon is plaintiff's sister-in-law, whereas her children are his


nephews and/or nieces. Inasmuch as none of them is included in the
enumeration contained in said Art. 217 — which should be
construed strictly, it being an exception to the general rule — and
Silvestre Gayon must necessarily be excluded as party in the case at
bar, it follows that the same does not come within the purview of
Art. 222, and plaintiff's failure to seek a compromise before filing
the complaint does not bar the same.

WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is hereby set aside and the
case remanded to the lower court for the inclusion, as defendant or
defendants therein, of the administrator or executor of the estate of
Silvestre Gayon, if any, in lieu of the decedent, or, in the absence of
such administrator or executor, of the heirs of the deceased
Silvestre Gayon, and for further proceedings, not inconsistent with
this decision, with the costs of this instance against defendant-
appellee, Genoveva de Gayon. It is so ordered.
THIRD DIVISION P3,359,218.45. Instead of filing an answer, petitioner and 174180 could not be considered a family home on the
his company entered into a compromise agreement with grounds that petitioner was already living abroad and that
private respondent, the salient portion of which provides: the property, having been acquired in 1972, should have
been judicially constituted as a family home to exempt it
G.R. No. 97898 August 11, 1997 c. That defendants will undertake to pay the from execution.
amount of P2,000,000.00 as and when their
FLORANTE F. MANACOP, petitioner, means permit, but expeditiously as possible as On September 26, 1989, the lower court denied the motion
vs. their collectibles will be collected. (sic) to quash the writ of execution and the prayers in the
COURT OF APPEALS and E & L MERCANTILE, INC., respondents. subsequent pleadings filed by petitioner and his company.
On April 20, 1986, the trial court rendered judgment Finding that petitioner and his company had not paid their
approving the aforementioned compromise agreement. It indebtedness even though they collected receivables
enjoined the parties to comply with the agreement in good amounting to P57,224,319.75, the lower court held that
faith. On July 15, 1986, private respondent filed a motion the case had become final and executory. It also ruled that
PANGANIBAN, J.: petitioner's residence was not exempt from execution as it
for execution which the lower court granted on September
23, 1986. However, execution of the judgment was was not duly constituted as a family home, pursuant to the
May a writ of execution of a final and executory judgment delayed. Eventually, the sheriff levied on several vehicles Civil Code.
issued before the effectivity of the Family Code be executed on a and other personal properties of petitioner. In partial
house and lot constituted as a family home under the provision of satisfaction of the judgment debt, these chattels were sold Hence, petitioner and his company filed with the Court of
said Code? at public auction for which certificates of sale were Appeals a petition for certiorari assailing the lower court's
correspondingly issued by the sheriff. Orders of September 23, 1986 and September 26, 1989. On
State of the Case February 21, 1990, Respondent Court of Appeals rendered
On August 1, 1989, petitioner and his company filed a its now questioned Decision dismissing the petition
This is the principal question posed by petitioner in motion to quash the alias writs of execution and to stop the for certiorari. The appellate court quoted with approval the
assailing the Decision of Respondent Court of Appeals1 in sheriff from continuing to enforce them on the ground that findings of the lower court that: (a) the judgment based on
CA-G.R. SP No. 18906 promulgated on February 21, 1990 the judgment was not yet executory. They alleged that the the compromise agreement had become final and
and its Resolution promulgated on March 21, 1991, compromise agreement had not yet matured as there was executory, stressing that petitioner and his company had
affirming the orders issued by the trial court commanding no showing that they had the means to pay the collected the total amount of P57,224,319.75 but still failed
the issuance of various writs of execution to enforce the indebtedness or that their receivables had in fact been to pay their indebtedness and (b) there was no showing
latter's decision in Civil Case No. 53271. collected. They buttressed their motion with supplements that petitioner's residence had been duly constituted as a
and other pleadings. family home to exempt it from execution. On the second
The Facts finding, the Court of Appeals added that:
On August 11, 1989, private respondent opposed the
Petitioner Florante F. Manacop2 and his wife Eulaceli motion on the following grounds: (a) it was too late to . . . . We agree with the respondent judge that
purchased on March 10, 1972 a 446-square-meter question the September 23, 1986 Order considering that there is no showing in evidence that petitioner
residential lot with a bungalow, in consideration of more than two years had elapsed; (b) the second alias writ Mañacop's residence under TCT 174180 has been
P75,000.00.3 The property, located in Commonwealth of execution had been partially implemented; and (c) duly constituted as a family home in accordance
Village, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City, is covered by petitioner and his company were in bad faith in refusing to with law. For one thing, it is the clear implication
Transfer Certificate of Title No. 174180. pay their indebtedness notwithstanding that from February of Article 153 that the family home continues to
1984 to January 5, 1989, they had collected the total be so deemed constituted so long as any of its
On March 17, 1986, Private Respondent E & L Merchantile, amount of P41,664,895.56. On September 21, 1989, private beneficiaries enumerated in Article 154 actually
Inc. filed a complaint against petitioner and F.F. Manacop respondent filed an opposition to petitioner and his resides therein. Conversely, it ceases to continue
Construction Co., Inc. before the Regional Trial Court of company's addendum to the motion to quash the writ of as such family home if none of its beneficiaries
Pasig, Metro Manila to collect an indebtedness of execution. It alleged that the property covered by TCT No. actually occupies it. There is no showing in
evidence that any of its beneficiaries is actually The Issue should take the necessary precautions to protect
residing therein. On the other hand, the unrefuted their interest before extending credit to the
assertion of private respondent is that petitioner As stated in the opening sentence of this Decision, the issue spouses or head of the family who owns the
Florante Mañacop had already left the country in this case boils down to whether a final and executory home.
and is now, together with all the members of his decision promulgated and a writ of execution issued before
family, living in West Covina, Los Angeles, the effectivity of the Family Code can be executed on a Article 155 of the Family Code also provides as
California, U.S.A. family home constituted under the provisions of the said follows:
Code.
Petitioner and his company filed a motion for Art. 155. The family home shall be exempt from
reconsideration of this Decision on the ground that the The Court's Ruling execution, forced sale or attachment except:
property covered by TCT No. 174180 was exempt from
execution. On March 21, 1991, the Court of Appeals We answer the question in the affirmative. The Court of (1) For nonpayment of taxes;
rendered the challenged Resolution denying the motion. It Appeals committed no reversible error. On the contrary, its
anchored its ruling on Modequillo v. Breva,4 which held that Decision and Resolution are supported by law and (2) For debts incurred prior to the constitution of
"all existing family residences at the time of the effectivity applicable jurisprudence. the family home;
of the Family Code are considered family homes and
are prospectively entitled to the benefits accorded to a
No Novel Issue (3) For debts secured by mortgages on the
family home under the Family Code."
premises before or after such constitution; and
At the outset, the Court notes that the issue submitted for
Applying the foregoing pronouncements to this case, the
resolution in the instant case is not entirely new. (4) For debts due to laborer, mechanics,
Court of Appeals explained:
In Manacop v. Court of Appeals,5 petitioner himself as a architects, builders, materialmen and others who
party therein raised a similar question of whether this very have rendered service or furnished material for
The record of the present case shows that same property was exempt from preliminary the construction of the building.
petitioners incurred the debt of P3,468,000.00 attachment for the same excuse that it was his family
from private respondent corporation on February home. In said case, F.F. Cruz & Co., Inc. filed a complaint for The exemption provided as aforestated is effective
18, 1982 (Annex "A", Petition). The judgment a sum of money. As an incident in the proceedings before from the time of the constitution of the family
based upon the compromise agreement was it, the trial court issued writ of attachment on the said home as such, and lasts so long as any of its
rendered by the court on April 18, 1986 (Annex house and lot. In upholding the trial court (and the Court of beneficiaries actually resides therein.
"C", ibid). Paraphrasing the aforecited Modequillo Appeals) in that case, we ruled that petitioner incurred the
case, both the debt and the judgment preceded indebtedness in 1987 or prior to the effectively of the
the effectivity of the Family Code on August 3, In the present case, the residential house and lot
Family Code on August 3, 1988. Hence, petitioner's family
1988. Verily, the case at bar does not fall under of petitioner was not constituted as a family home
home was not exempt from attachment "by sheer force of
the exemptions from execution provided under whether judicially or extrajudicially under the Civil
exclusion embodied in paragraph 2, Article 155 of the
Article 155 of the Family Code. Code. It became a family home by operation of
Family Code cited in Modequillo," where the Court
law only under Article 153 of the Family Code. It is
categorically ruled:
deemed constituted as a family home upon the
Undeterred, petitioner filed the instant petition for review
effectivity of the Family Code on August 3, 1988
on certiorari arguing that the Court of Appeals Under the Family Code, a family home is deemed not August 4, one year after its publication in the
misapplied Modequillo. He contends that there was no constituted on a house and lot from the time it is Manila Chronicle on August 4, 1987 (1988 being a
need for him to constitute his house and lot as a family occupied as a family residence. There is no need to leap year).
home for it to be treated as such since he was and still is a constitute the same judicially or extrajudicially as
resident of the same property from the time "it was levied required in the Civil Code. If the family actually
upon and up to this moment." The contention of petitioner that it should be
resides in the premises, it is, therefore, a family
considered a family home from the time it was
home as contemplated by law. Thus, the creditors
occupied by petitioner and his family in 1960 is without need for its judicial or extrajudicial constitution as (1) The husband and wife, or an unmarried person
not well-taken. Under Article 162 of the Family a family home.7 who is the head of the family; and
Code, it is provided that "the provisions of this
Chapter shall also govern existing family Petitioner is only partly correct. True, under the Family (2) Their parents, ascendants, descendants,
residences insofar as said provisions are Code which took effect on August 3, 1988, 8 the subject brothers and sisters, whether the relationship be
applicable." It does not mean that Articles 152 and property became his family home under the simplified legitimate or illegitimate, who are living in the
153 of said Code have a retroactive effect such process embodied in Article 153 of said code. family home and who depend upon the head of
that all existing family residences are deemed to However, Modequillo explicitly ruled that said provision of the family for lead support.
have been constituted as family homes at the time the Family Code does not have retroactive effect. In other
of their occupation prior to the effectivity of the words, prior to August 3, 1988, the procedure mandated by This enumeration may include the in-laws where the family
Family Code and are exempt from execution for the Civil Code9 had to be followed for a family home to be home is constituted jointly by the husband and wife. 11 But
the payment of obligations incurred before the constituted as such. There being absolutely no proof that the law definitely excludes maids and overseers. They are
effectivity of the Family Code. Article 162 simply the subject property was judicially or extrajudicially not the beneficiaries contemplated by the Code.
means that all existing family residences at the constituted as a family home, it follows that the law's Consequently, occupancy of a family home by an overseer
time of the effectivity of the Family Code, are protective mantle cannot be availed of by petitioner. Since like Carmencita V. Abat in this case 12 is insufficient
considered family homes and are prospectively the debt involved herein was incurred and the assailed compliance with the law.
entitled to the benefits accorded to a family home orders of the trial court issued prior to August 3, 1988, the
under the Family Code, Article 162 does not state petitioner cannot be shielded by the benevolent provisions WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED for utter lack of
that provisions of Chapter 2, Title V have a of the Family Code. merit. This Decision is immediately executory. Double costs
retroactive effect.
against petitioner.
List of Beneficiary-Occupants Restricted
Is the family home of petitioner exempt from to Those Enumerated in the Code
execution of the money judgment aforecited? No.
The debt or liability which was the basis of the In view of the foregoing discussion, there is no reason to
judgment arose or was incurred at the time of the address the other arguments of petitioner other than to
vehicular accident on March 16, 1976 and the correct his misconception of the law. Petitioner contends
money judgment arising therefrom was rendered that he should be deemed residing in the family home
by the appellate court on January 29, 1988. Both because his stay in the United States is merely temporary.
preceded the effectivity of the Family Code on He asserts that the person staying in the house is his
August 3, 1988. This case does not fall under the overseer and that whenever his wife visited this country,
exemptions from execution provided in the Family she stayed in the family home. This contention lacks merit.
Code.6 (Emphasis supplied.)
The law explicitly provides that occupancy of the family
Article 153 of the Family Code home either by the owner thereof or by "any of its
Has No Retroactive Effect beneficiaries" must be actual. That which is "actual" is
something real, or actually existing, as opposed to
Petitioner contends that the trial court erred in holding something merely possible, or to something which is
that his residence was not exempt from execution in view presumptive or constructive. 10 Actual occupancy, however,
of his failure to show that the property involved "has been need not be by the owner of the house specifically. Rather,
duly constituted as a family home in accordance with law." the property may be occupied by the "beneficiaries"
He asserts that the Family Code and Modequillo require enumerated by Article 154 of the Family Code.
simply the occupancy of the property by the petitioner,
Art. 154. The beneficiaries of a family home are:
FIRST DIVISION free patent, such property is therefore inalienable and not subject a) Declaring OCT No. P-12820
to any encumbrance for the payment of debt, pursuant to and Free Patent No 548906 both
Commonwealth Act No. 141. Petitioners further alleged that they in the name of Pablo Taneo as
were in continuous, open and peaceful possession of the land and null and void and directing the
G.R. No. 108532 March 9, 1999 that on February 9, 1968. Deputy Provincial Sheriff Jose V. Yasay Register of Deeds to cancel the
issued a Sheriffs Deed of Conveyance in favor of the private same, without prejudice
respondent over the subject property including their family home however on the part of the
PABLITO TANEO, JR., JOSE TANEO, NENA T. CATUBIG and
which was extrajudicially constituted in accordance with law. As a defendant to institute legal
HUSBAND, CILIA T. MORING and HUSBAND, petitioners,
result of the alleged illegal deed of conveyance, private respondent proceedings for the transfer of
vs.
was able to obtain in his name Tax Declaration No. 851920 over the the said title in the name of
COURT OF APPEALS and ABDON GILIG, respondents.
land, thus casting a cloud of doubt over the title and ownership of defendant Abdon Gilig;
petitioners over said property.
b) Declaring Abdon Gilig as the
Private respondent refuted petitioners' contentions alleging that he absolute and legal owner of the
KAPUNAN, J.:
lawfully acquired the subject properties described as Lot No. 5545, land covered by OCT No. P-
Cad. 237 which was a private land, by virtue of a Sheriffs Sale on 12820, and covered by Tax
The issues in this case are not novel: whether or not the conveyance February 12, 1996. Said sale has become final as no redemption was Declaration No. 851920, and
made by way of the sheriff's sale pursuant to the writ of execution made within one year from the registration of the Sheriffs hence entitled to the possession
issued by the trial court in Civil Case No. 590 is prohibited under Sec. Certificate of Sale. The validity of the sale in favor of Abdon Gilig was of the same and as a necessary
118 of Commonwealth Act No. 141; and whether or not the family even confirmed by the Court of Appeals in a related case (CA No. concomitant, admonishing the
home is exempt from execution. 499965-R) entitled "Arriola v. Gilig," where one Rufino Arriola also plaintiffs to refrain from
claimed ownership over the subject property. disturbing the peaceful
As a result of a judgment in Civil Case No. 590 (for recovery of possession of the defendant
property) in favor of private respondent, two (2) of petitioners' Private respondent averred that the subject land was originally over the land in question.
properties were levied to satisfy the judgment amount of about owned by Lazaro Ba-a who sold the land to Pablo Taneo on
P5,000.00: one was a parcel of land located in Barrio Igpit, September 18, 1941, as evidenced by an Escritura de Venta. Despite c) Likewise declaring the
Municipality of Opol, Misamis Oriental with an area of about five (5) it being a private land, Pablo Taneo filed an application for free defendant Abdon Gilig as the
hectares, and the other was the family home also located at Igpit, patent which was final only in 1979. true and absolute owner of the
Opol, Misamis Oriental. The subject properties were sold at public house in question formerly
auction on February 12, 1966 to the private respondent as the declared under Tax Declaration
As counterclaim, private respondent alleged that since petitioners
highest bidder. Consequently, after petitioners' failure to redeem No. 4142 in the name of Pablo
are still in possession of the subject property, he has been deprived
the same, a final deed of conveyance was executed on February 9, Taneo and presently declared
of acts of ownership and possession and therefore, prayed for
1968, definitely selling, transferring, and conveying said properties under Tax Declaration No
payment of rentals from February, 1968 until possession has been
to the private respondent. 851916 in the name of Abdon
restored to them.
Gilig; ordering the plaintiffs or
To forestall such conveyance, petitioners filed an action on any of their representatives to
In its decision of March 27, 1989, the RTC dismissed the complaint.
November 5, 1985 (docketed as Civil Case No. 10407) to declare the vacate and return the possession
deed of conveyance void and to quiet title over the land with a of the same to defendant Abdon
The dispositive portion thereof reads as follows:
prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction. In their complaint, it was Gilig;
alleged that petitioners are the children and heirs of Pablo Taneo
and Narcisa Valaceras who died on February 12, 1977 and Premises considered, Judgment is hereby
d) Ordering the plaintiffs, except
September 12, 1984, respectively. Upon their death, they left the rendered in favor of the defendant and against the
the nominal parties herein, to
subject property covered by OCT No. P-12820 and Free Patent No. plaintiffs, ordering the dismissal of the complaint
pay to defendant Abdon Gilig the
548906. Considering that said property has been acquired through filed by the plaintiffs;
amount of P500.00 a month as latter to pay damages in the course, Rufino Arriola filed Civil
reasonable rental of the house in amount of P5,000.00 (Exh. 2); Case No. 2667 entitled Arriola vs.
question to be reckoned from Abdon Gilig, et al., for Recovery
February 9, 1968 until the 3. That by virtue of said decision, of Property and/or annulment of
possession of the same is a writ of Execution was issued on Sale with Damages;
returned to the defendant. November 22, 1965 against the
properties of Pablo Taneo and 7. That Judgment was rendered
e) To pay to defendant the on December 1, 1965, a Notice by the Court thru Judge
amount of P5,000.00 as of Levy was executed by the Bernardo Teves dismissing the
attorney's fees and to pay the Clerk of Court Pedro Perez case with costs on February 21,
costs. wherein the properties in 1969;
question were among the
SO ORDERED. 1 properties levied by the Sheriff 8. That said decision was
(Exh 3); appealed to the Court of Appeals
On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the decision of the which affirmed the decision in
RTC. 4. That the said properties were toto on June 20, 979, declaring
sold at public auction wherein the alleged Deed of Sale
Hence, this petition. the defendant Abdon Gilig came executed by Abdon Gilig in favor
out as the highest bidder and on of the plaintiff as null and void
February 12, 1965, a Sheriffs for being simulated or fictitious
The petition is devoid of merit.
Certificate of Sale was executed and executed in fraud or (sic)
by Ex-Oficio Provincial Sheriff creditors;
In resolving the issues, the lower court made the following findings
Pedro Perez (Exh. 1) ceding the
of fact which this Court finds no cogent reason to disturb:
said properties in favor of Abdon 9. That on March 7, 1964, Pablo
Gilig and which Certificate of Taneo constituted the house in
1. That the land in question Sale was registered with the question erected on the land of
originally belonged to Lazaro Ba- Register of Deeds on March 2, Plutarco Vacalares as a family
a who sold the same to the late 1966; home (Exh. F) but was however,
Pablito (sic) Taneo father of the
notarized only on May 2, 1965
herein plaintiff on September 18,
5. That for failure to redeem the and registered with the Register
1941, by virtue of an Escritura de
said property within the of Deeds on June 24, 1966.
Venta identified as Reg. Not. 50;
reglementary period, a Sheriffs
pages 53, Foleo Not. V, Series of
final Deed of Conveyance was 10. That in the meanwhile,
1941 of the Notarial Register of
executed by same Provincial unknown to the defendant,
Ernie Pelaez (Exh. 10); Sheriff Jose V. Yasay on February Pablo Taneo applied for a free
1968, (Exhs. 4, 4-A) conveying patent on the land in question
2. That on July 19, 1951 Abdon the property definitely to Abdon which was approved on October
Gilig with his wife filed a Civil Gilig. 13, 1973, (Exh. B) and the Patent
Case No. 590 for recovery of
and Title issued on December
property against Pablo
6. That on April 20, 1966, after 10, 1980 (Oct No. P-12820 - Exh.
Taneo, et al., wherein Judgment
his third-party claim which he 12);
was rendered on June 24, 1964,
filed with the Sheriff in Civil Case
in favor of Abdon Gilig and
No. 590 was not given due
against Pablo Taneo ordering the
11. On November 3, 1985, the The intent of the law is undisputable but under the facts of the case, the issuance of the patent. But the prohibition of
plaintiff filed the present the prohibition invoked by the petitioners under Section 118 does alienation commences from the date the
action. 2 not apply to them. application is approved which comes earlier.
(Emphasis ours.)
Petitioners contend that under Section 118 of Commonwealth Act Sec. 118 of Commonwealth Act No. 141 reads:
No. 141, the subject land which they inherited from their father Following this ruling, we agree with the respondent court that the
under free patent cannot be alienated or encumbered in violation of Except in favor of the Government or any of its conveyance made by way of the sheriff's sale was not violative of
the law. Citing in particular the cases of Oliveros v. branches, units or institution, or legally the law. The judgment obligation of the petitioners against Abdon
Porciongcola 3 and Gonzaga v. Court of Appeals, 4 the execution or constituted banking corporations, lands acquired Gilig arose on June 24, 1964. The properties were levied and sold at
auction sale of the litigated land falls within the prohibited period under free patent or homestead provisions shall public auction with Abdon Gilig as the highest bidder on February
and is. likewise, a disavowal of the rationale of the law which is to not be subject to encumbrance or alienation from 12, 1966. On February 9, 1968, the final deed of conveyance ceding
give the homesteader or patentee every chance to preserve for the date of the approval of the application and for the subject property to Abdon Gilig was issued after the petitioners
himself and his family the land which the State had gratuitously a term of five years from and after the date of failed to redeem the property after the reglementary period. Pablo
given to him as a reward for his labor in cleaning and cultivating it. 5 issuance of the patent or grant, nor shall they Taneo`s application for free parent was approved only on October
become liable to the satisfaction of any debt 19, 1973.
We are not unmindful of the intent of the law. In fact, in Republic v. contracted prior to the expiration of said period,
Court of Appeals, 6 the Court elucidated, to wit: but the improvements or crops on the land may The sequence of the events leads us to the inescapable conclusion
be mortgaged or pledged to qualified persons, that even before the application for homestead had been approved,
It is well-known that the homestead laws were associations, or corporations. Pablo Taneo was no longer the owner of the land. The deed of
designed to distribute disposable agricultural lots conveyance issued on February 9, 1968 finally transferred the
of the State to land-destitute citizens for their xxx xxx xxx property to Abdon Gilig. As of that date, Pablo Taneo did not
home and cultivation. Pursuant to such actually have transferred to herein petitioners. The petitioners are
benevolent intention the State prohibits the sale The prohibition against alienation of lands acquired by homestead not the owners of the land and cannot claim to be such by invoking
or encumbrance of the homestead (Section 116) or free patent commences on the date of the approval of the Commonwealth Act No. 141. The prohibition does not apply since it
within five years after the grant of the patent. application for free patent and the five-year period is counted from is clear from the records that the judgment debt and the execution
After that five-year period the law impliedly the issuance of the patent. The reckoning point is actually the date sale took place prior to the approval of the application for free
permits alienation of the favor homestead; but in of approval of the application. In Amper v. Presiding Judge, 7 the patent. We quote with favor the respondent court's valid
line with the primordial purpose to favor the Court held that: observation on the matter:
homesteader and his family the statute provides
that such alienation or conveyance (Section 117) . . . The date when the prohibition against the . . . the application of Pablo Taneo for a free
shall be subject to the right of repurchase by the alienation of lands acquired by homesteads or free patent was approved only on 19 October 1973 and
homesteader, his widow of heirs within five years. patents commences is "the date of the approval of Free Patent was issued on 10 December 1980.
This Section 117 is undoubtedly a complement of the application" and the prohibition embraces the Under the aforecited provision, the subject land
Section 116. It aims to preserve and keep in the entire five-year period "from and after the date of could not be made liable for the satisfaction of any
family of the homesteader that portion of public issuance of the patent or, grant." As stated debt contracted from the time of the application
land which the State had gratuitously given to him. in Beniga v. Bugas, (35 SCRA 111), the provision and during the 5-year period following 10
It would, therefore, be in keeping with this would make no sense if the prohibition starting December 1980, or until 10 December 1985.
fundamental idea to hold, as we hold, that the "from the date of the approval of the application" However, debts contracted prior to the approval
right to repurchase exists not only when the would have no termination date. of the application for free patent, that is prior to
original homesteader makes the conveyance, but 18 October 1973, are not covered by the
also when it is made by his widow or heirs. This prohibition. This is because they do not fall within
The specific period of five years within which the
construction is clearly deducible from the terms of the scope of the prohibited period. In this case,
alienation or encumbrance of a homestead is
the statute. the judgment debt in favor of defendant-appellee
restricted starts to be computed from the date of
was rendered on 24 June 1964, the writ of attachment, except as hereinafter provided and to and Memorandum of Authorities, p. 78)." (pp. 5-6,
execution issued on 22 November 1965, notice of the extent of the value allowed by law. Decision; pp. 64-65, Rollo) (emphasis ours)
levy made on 1 December 1965, the execution
sale held on 12 February 1966, and the certificate It is under the foregoing provision which petitioners seek refuge to The applicable law, therefore. in the case at bar is still the Civil Code
of sale registered on 2 March 1966, all before avert execution of the family home arguing that as early as 1964, where registration of the declaration of a family home is a
Pablo Taneo's application for free patent was Pablo Taneo had already constituted the house in question as their prerequisite. Nonetheless, the law provides certain instances where
approved on 19 October 1973. The execution, family home. However, the retroactive effect of the Family Code, the family home is not exempted from execution, forced sale or
therefore, was not violative of the law. 8 particularly on the provisions on the family home has been clearly attachment.
laid down by the court as explained in the case of Manacop v. Court
Anent the second issue, petitioners aver that the house which their of Appeals 11 to wit: Art. 243 reads:
father constituted as family home is exempt from execution. In a
last ditch effort to save their property, petitioners invoke the Finally, the petitioner insists that the attached The family home extrajudicially formed shall be
benefits accorded to the family home under the Family Code. property is a family home, having been occupied exempt from execution, forced sale or
by him and his family since 1972, and is therefore attachment, except:
A family home is the dwelling place of a person and his family. It is exempt from attachment.
said, however, that the family home is a real right, which is (1) For nonpayment of taxes;
gratuitous, inalienable and free from attachment, constituted over The contention is not well-taken.
the dwelling place and the land on which it is situated, which
(2) For debts incurred before the declaration was
confers upon a particular family the right to enjoy such properties, While Article 153 of the Family Code provides that recorded in the Registry of Property;
which must remain with the person constituting it and his heirs. 9 It the family home is deemed constituted on a house
cannot be seized by creditors except in certain specials cases. and lot from the time it is occupied as a family (3) For debts secured by mortgages on the
residence, it does not mean that said article has a premises before or after such record of the
Under the Civil Code (Articles 224 to 251), a family home may be retroactive effect such that all existing family declaration;
constituted judicial and extrajudicially, the former by the filing of residences, petitioner's included, are deemed to
the petition and with the approval of the proper court, and the have been constituted as family homes at the time
(4) For debts due to laborers, mechanics,
latter by the recording of a public instrument in the proper registry of their occupation prior to the effectivity of the
architects, builders, material-men and others who
of property declaring the establishment of the family home. The Family Code and henceforth, are exempt from
have rendered service or furnished material for
operative act then which created the family home extrajudicially execution for the payment of obligations incurred
the construction of the building. 12
was the registration in the Registry of Property of the declaration before the effectivity of the Family Code on August
prescribed by Articles 240 and 241 of the Civil Code. 10 3, 1988 (Mondequillo vs. Breva, 185 SCRA 766).
The trial court found that on March 7, 1964, Pablo Taneo
Neither does Article 162 of said Code state that
constituted the house in question, erected on the land of Plutarco
Under the Family Code, however. registration was no longer the provisions of Chapter 2, Title V thereof have
Vacalares, as the family home. The instrument constituting the
necessary Article 153 of the Family Code provides that the family retroactive effect. It simply means that all existing
family home was registered only on January 24, 1966. The money
home is deemed constituted on a house and lot from the time it is family residences at the time of the effectivity of
judgment against Pablo Taneo was rendered on January 24, 1964.
occupied in the family. It reads: the Family Code are considered family homes and
Thus, at that time when the "debt" was incurred, the family home
are prospectively entitled to the benefits accorded
was not yet constituted or even registered. Clearly, petitioners'
The family home is deemed constituted on a to a family home under the Family Code
alleged family home, as constituted by their father is not exempt as
house and lot from the time it is occupied as (Modequillo vs. Breva, supra). Since petitioner's
it falls under the exception of Article 243 (2).
family residence. From the time of its constitution debt was incurred as early as November 25, 1987,
and so long as its beneficiaries actually resides it preceded the effectivity of the Family Code. His
property is therefore not exempt from Moreover, the constitution of the family home by Pablo Taneo is
therein, the family home continues to be such and
attachment (Annex "O," Plaintiff's Position Paper even doubtful considering that such constitution did not comply
is exempt from execution, forced sale or
with the requirements of the law. The trial court found that the
house was erected not on the land which the Taneos owned but on
the land of one Plutarco Vacalares. By the very definition of the law
that the "family home is the dwelling house where a person and his
family resides and the land on which it is situated," 13 it is
understood that the house should be constructed on a
land not belonging to another. Apparently, the constitution of a
family home by Pablo Taneo in the instant case was merely an
afterthought in order to escape execution of their property but to
no avail.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.
FIRST DIVISION a. the amount of P30,000.00 by way of name of Jose Modequillo in the office of the Provincial Assessor of
compensation for the death of their son Audie Davao del Sur. 2
G.R. No. 86355 May 31, 1990 Salinas;
A motion to quash and/or to set aside levy of execution was filed by
JOSE MODEQUILLO, petitioner, b. P10,000.00 for the loss of earnings by reason of defendant Jose Modequillo alleging therein that the residential land
vs. the death of said Audie Salinas; located at Poblacion Malalag is where the family home is built since
HON. AUGUSTO V. BREVA FRANCISCO SALINAS, FLORIPER 1969 prior to the commencement of this case and as such is exempt
ABELLAN-SALINAS, JUANITO CULAN-CULAN and DEPUTY SHERIFF c. the sum of P5,000.00 as burial expenses of from execution, forced sale or attachment under Articles 152 and
FERNANDO PLATA respondents. Audie Salinas; and 153 of the Family Code except for liabilities mentioned in Article 155
thereof, and that the judgment debt sought to be enforced against
Josefina Brandares-Almazan for petitioner. d. the sum of P5,000.00 by way of moral damages. 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 alleged to be still part of
ABC Law Offices for private respondents. 2. Plaintiffs-appellants Culan-Culan:
the public land and the transfer in his favor by the original possessor
and applicant who was a member of a cultural minority was not
a. the sum of P5,000.00 for hospitalization
approved by the proper government agency. An opposition thereto
expenses of Renato Culan- Culan; and
was filed by the plaintiffs.
GANCAYCO, J.:
b. P5,000.00 for moral damages.
In an order dated August 26, 1988, the trial court denied the
The issue in this petition is whether or not a final judgment of the motion. A motion for reconsideration thereof was filed by
Court of Appeals in an action for damages may be satisfied by way 3. Both plaintiff-appellants Salinas and Culan- defendant and this was denied for lack of merit on September 2,
of execution of a family home constituted under the Family Code. Culan, P7,000.00 for attorney's fees and litigation 1988.
expenses.
The facts are undisputed. Hence, the herein petition for review on certiorari wherein it is
All counterclaims and other claims are hereby alleged that the trial court erred and acted in excess of its
On January 29, 1988, a judgment was rendered by the Court of dismissed. 1 jurisdiction in denying petitioner's motion to quash and/or to set
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 09218 entitled "Francisco Salinas, et al. aside levy on the properties and in denying petitioner' motion for
vs. Jose Modequillo, et al.," the dispositive part of which read as The said judgment having become final and executory, a writ of reconsideration of the order dated August 26, 1988. Petitioner
follows: execution was issued by the Regional Trial Court of Davao City to contends that only a question of law is involved in this petition. He
satisfy the said judgment on the goods and chattels of the asserts that the residential house and lot was first occupied as his
WHEREFORE, the decision under appeal should be, defendants Jose Modequillo and Benito Malubay at Malalag, Davao family residence in 1969 and was duly constituted as a family home
as it is hereby, reversed and set aside. Judgment is del Sur. under the Family Code which took effect on August 4, 1988. Thus,
hereby rendered finding the defendants-appellees petitioner argues that the said residential house and lot is exempt
Jose Modequillo and Benito Malubay jointly and On July 7, 1988, the sheriff levied on a parcel of residential land from payment of the obligation enumerated in Article 155 of the
severally liable to plaintiffs-appellants as located at Poblacion Malalag, Davao del Sur containing an area of Family Code; and that the decision in this case pertaining to
hereinbelow set forth. Accordingly, defendants- 600 square meters with a market value of P34,550.00 and assessed damages arising from a vehicular accident took place on March 16,
appellees are ordered to pay jointly and severally value of P7,570.00 per Tax Declaration No. 87008-01359, registered 1976 and which became final in 1988 is not one of those instances
to: in the name of Jose Modequillo in the office of the Provincial enumerated under Article 155 of the Family Code when the family
Assessor of Davao del Sur; and a parcel of agricultural land located home may be levied upon and sold on execution. It is further alleged
1. Plaintiffs-appellants, the Salinas spouses: at Dalagbong Bulacan, Malalag, Davao del Sur containing an area of that the trial court erred in holding that the said house and lot
3 hectares with a market value of P24,130.00 and assessed value of became a family home only on August 4, 1988 when the Family
P9,650.00 per Tax Declaration No. 87-08-01848 registered in the Code became effective, and that the Family Code 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 (3) For debts secured by mortgages on the August 3, 1988. This case does not fall under the exemptions from
occupancy prior to the effectivity of the said Code and that they are premises before or after such constitution; and execution provided in the Family Code.
exempt from execution for the payment of obligations incurred
before the effectivity of said Code; and that it also erred when it (4) For debts due to laborers, mechanics, As to the agricultural land subject of the execution, the trial court
declared that Article 162 of the Family Code does not state that the architects, builders, material men and others who correctly ruled that the levy to be made by the sheriff shall be on
provisions of Chapter 2, Title V have a retroactive effect. have rendered service or furnished material for whatever rights the petitioner may have on the land.
the construction of the building.
Articles 152 and 153 of the Family Code provide as follows: WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. No
The exemption provided as aforestated is effective from the time of pronouncement as to costs.
Art. 152. The family home, constituted jointly by the constitution of the family home as such, and lasts so long as any
the husband and the wife or by an unmarried head of its beneficiaries actually resides therein. SO ORDERED.
of a family, is the dwelling house where they and
their family reside, and the land on which it is In the present case, the residential house and lot of petitioner was
situated. not constituted as a family home whether judicially or extrajudicially
under the Civil Code. It became a family home by operation of law
Art. 153. The family home is deemed constituted only under Article 153 of the Family Code. It is deemed constituted
on a house and lot from the time it is occupied as as a family home upon the effectivity of the Family Code on August
a family residence. From the time of its 3, 1988 not August 4, one year after its publication in the Manila
constitution and so long as any of its beneficiaries Chronicle on August 4, 1987 (1988 being a leap year).
actually resides therein, the family home
continues to be such and is exempt from The contention of petitioner that it should be considered a family
execution, forced sale or attachment except as home from the time it was occupied by petitioner and his family in
hereinafter provided and to the extent of the 1969 is not well- taken. Under Article 162 of the Family Code, it is
value allowed by law. provided that "the provisions of this Chapter shall also govern
existing family residences insofar as said provisions are applicable."
Under the Family Code, a family home is deemed constituted on a It does not mean that Articles 152 and 153 of said Code have a
house and lot from the time it is occupied as a family residence. retroactive effect such that all existing family residences are
There is no need to constitute the same judicially or extrajudicially deemed to have been constituted as family homes at the time of
as required in the Civil Code. If the family actually resides in the their occupation prior to the effectivity of the Family Code and are
premises, it is, therefore, a family home as contemplated by law. exempt from execution for the payment of obligations incurred
Thus, the creditors should take the necessary precautions to protect before the effectivity of the Family Code. Article 162 simply means
their interest before extending credit to the spouses or head of the that all existing family residences at the time of the effectivity of the
family who owns the home. Family Code, are considered family homes and are prospectively
entitled to the benefits accorded to a family home under the Family
Article 155 of the Family Code also provides as follows: Code. Article 162 does not state that the provisions of Chapter 2,
Title V have a retroactive effect.
Art. 155. The family home shall be exempt from
execution, forced sale or attachment except: Is the family home of petitioner exempt from execution of the
money judgment aforecited No. The debt or liability which was the
(1) For non-payment of taxes; 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
(2) For debts incurred prior to the constitution of
29, 1988. Both preceded the effectivity of the Family Code on
the family home;
FIRST DIVISION On October 3, 2002,3 the trial court ordered the partition of the The sole issue is whether partition of the family home is proper
subject property in the following manner: Perla G. Patricio, 4/6; where one of the co-owners refuse to accede to such partition on
G.R. No. 170829 November 20, 2006 Marcelino Marc G. Dario, 1/6; and Marcelino G. Dario III, 1/6. The the ground that a minor beneficiary still resides in the said home.
trial court also ordered the sale of the property by public auction
PERLA G. PATRICIO, Petitioner, wherein all parties concerned may put up their bids. In case of Private respondent claims that the subject property which is the
vs. failure, the subject property should be distributed accordingly in the family home duly constituted by spouses Marcelino and Perla Dario
MARCELINO G. DARIO III and THE HONORABLE COURT OF aforestated manner.4 cannot be partitioned while a minor beneficiary is still living therein
APPEALS, Second Division, Respondents. namely, his 12-year-old son, who is the grandson of the decedent.
Private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration which was He argues that as long as the minor is living in the family home, the
DECISION denied by the trial court on August 11, 2003, 5 hence he appealed same continues as such until the beneficiary becomes of age.
before the Court of Appeals, which denied the same on October 19, Private respondent insists that even after the expiration of ten years
2005. However, upon a motion for reconsideration filed by private from the date of death of Marcelino on July 5, 1987, i.e., even after
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
respondent on December 9, 2005, the appellate court partially July 1997, the subject property continues to be considered as the
reconsidered the October 19, 2005 Decision. In the now assailed family home considering that his minor son, Marcelino Lorenzo R.
This petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Resolution, the Court of Appeals dismissed the complaint for Dario IV, who is a beneficiary of the said family home, still resides in
Court seeks to annul and set aside the Resolution of the Court of
partition filed by petitioner and Marcelino Marc for lack of merit. It the premises.
Appeals dated December 9, 20051 in CA-G.R. CV No. 80680, which
held that the family home should continue despite the death of one
dismissed the complaint for partition filed by petitioner for being
or both spouses as long as there is a minor beneficiary thereof. The On the other hand, petitioner alleges that the subject property
contrary to law and evidence.
heirs could not partition the property unless the court found remained as a family home of the surviving heirs of the late
compelling reasons to rule otherwise. The appellate court also held Marcelino V. Dario only up to July 5, 1997, which was the 10th year
On July 5, 1987, Marcelino V. Dario died intestate. He was survived that the minor son of private respondent, who is a grandson of from the date of death of the decedent. Petitioner argues that the
by his wife, petitioner Perla G. Patricio and their two sons, spouses Marcelino V. Dario and Perla G. Patricio, was a minor brothers Marcelino Marc and private respondent Marcelino III were
Marcelino Marc Dario and private respondent Marcelino G. Dario III. beneficiary of the family home.6 already of age at the time of the death of their father, 8 hence there
Among the properties he left was a parcel of land with a residential
is no more minor beneficiary to speak of.
house and a pre-school building built thereon situated at 91 Oxford
Hence, the instant petition on the following issues:
corner Ermin Garcia Streets in Cubao, Quezon City, as evidenced by
The family home is a sacred symbol of family love and is the
Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. RT-30731 (175992) of the
I. repository of cherished memories that last during one’s lifetime. 9 It
Quezon City Registry of Deeds, covering an area of seven hundred
is the dwelling house where husband and wife, or by an unmarried
fifty five (755) square meters, more or less.2
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS PATENTLY ERRED IN head of a family, reside, including the land on which it is
REVERSING ITS EARLIER DECISION OF OCTOBER 19, 2005 situated.10 It is constituted jointly by the husband and the wife or by
On August 10, 1987, petitioner, Marcelino Marc and private
WHICH AFFIRMED IN TOTO THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL an unmarried head of a family.11 The family home is deemed
respondent, extrajudicially settled the estate of Marcelino V. Dario.
COURT DATED 03 OCTOBER 2002 GRANTING THE constituted from the time it is occupied as a family residence. From
Accordingly, TCT No. RT-30731 (175992) was cancelled and TCT No.
PARTITION AND SALE BY PUBLIC AUCTION OF THE SUBJECT the time of its constitution and so long as any of its beneficiaries
R-213963 was issued in the names of petitioner, private respondent
PROPERTY. actually resides therein, the family home continues to be such and is
and Marcelino Marc. exempt from execution, forced sale or attachment except as
II. hereinafter provided and to the extent of the value allowed by
Thereafter, petitioner and Marcelino Marc formally advised private law.12
respondent of their intention to partition the subject property and
terminate the co-ownership. Private respondent refused to partition COROLLARILY, THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS
PATENTLY ERRED IN APPLYING ARTICLE 159 IN RELATION The law explicitly provides that occupancy of the family home either
the property hence petitioner and Marcelino Marc instituted an
TO ARTICLE 154 OF THE FAMILY CODE ON FAMILY HOME by the owner thereof or by "any of its beneficiaries" must be actual.
action for partition before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City
INSTEAD OF ARTICLE 494 IN RELATION TO ARTICLES 495 That which is "actual" is something real, or actually existing, as
which was docketed as Civil Case No. Q-01-44038 and raffled to
AND 498 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE ON CO-OWNERSHIP.7 opposed to something merely possible, or to something which is
Branch 78.
presumptive or constructive. Actual occupancy, however, need not
be by the owner of the house specifically. Rather, the property may ten years, there is still a minor beneficiary, in which case the family of the Family Code; (2) they live in the family home, and (3) they are
be occupied by the "beneficiaries" enumerated in Article 154 of the home continues until that beneficiary becomes of age. dependent for legal support upon the head of the family.
Family Code, which may include the in-laws where the family home
is constituted jointly by the husband and wife. But the law definitely After these periods lapse, the property may be partitioned by the Thus, the issue for resolution now is whether Marcelino Lorenzo R.
excludes maids and overseers. They are not the beneficiaries heirs. May the heirs who are beneficiaries of the family home keep Dario IV, the minor son of private respondent, can be considered as
contemplated by the Code.13 it intact by not partitioning the property after the period provided a beneficiary under Article 154 of the Family Code.
by this article? We believe that although the heirs will continue in
Article 154 of the Family Code enumerates who are the beneficiaries ownership by not partitioning the property, it will cease to be a As to the first requisite, the beneficiaries of the family home are: (1)
of a family home: (1) The husband and wife, or an unmarried person family home.14 (Emphasis supplied) The husband and wife, or an unmarried person who is the head of a
who is the head of a family; and (2) Their parents, ascendants, family; and (2) Their parents, ascendants, descendants, brothers and
descendants, brothers and sisters, whether the relationship be Prof. Ernesto L. Pineda further explains the import of Art. 159 in this sisters, whether the relationship be legitimate or illegitimate. The
legitimate or illegitimate, who are living in the family home and who manner: term "descendants" contemplates all descendants of the person or
depend upon the head of the family for legal support. persons who constituted the family home without distinction;
The family home shall continue to exist despite the death of one or hence, it must necessarily include the grandchildren and great
To be a beneficiary of the family home, three requisites must both spouses or of the unmarried head of the family. Thereafter, the grandchildren of the spouses who constitute a family home. Ubi lex
concur: (1) they must be among the relationships enumerated in length of its continued existence is dependent upon whether there non distinguit nec nos distinguire debemos. Where the law does not
Art. 154 of the Family Code; (2) they live in the family home; and (3) is still a minor-beneficiary residing therein. For as long as there is distinguish, we should not distinguish. Thus, private respondent’s
they are dependent for legal support upon the head of the family. one beneficiary even if the head of the family or both spouses are minor son, who is also the grandchild of deceased Marcelino V.
already dead, the family home will continue to exist (Arts. 153, Dario satisfies the first requisite.
Moreover, Article 159 of the Family Code provides that the family 159). If there is no minor-beneficiary, it will subsist until 10 years
home shall continue despite the death of one or both spouses or of and within this period, the heirs cannot partition the same except As to the second requisite, minor beneficiaries must be actually
the unmarried head of the family for a period of 10 years or for as when there are compelling reasons which will justify the living in the family home to avail of the benefits derived from Art.
long as there is a minor beneficiary, and the heirs cannot partition partition. This rule applies regardless of whoever owns the property 159. Marcelino Lorenzo R. Dario IV, also known as Ino, the son of
the same unless the court finds compelling reasons therefor. This or who constituted the family home.15 (Emphasis supplied) private respondent and grandson of the decedent Marcelino V.
rule shall apply regardless of whoever owns the property or Dario, has been living in the family home since 1994, or within 10
constituted the family home. The rule in Article 159 of the Family Code may thus be expressed in years from the death of the decedent, hence, he satisfies the second
this wise: If there are beneficiaries who survive and are living in the requisite.
Article 159 of the Family Code applies in situations where death family home, it will continue for 10 years, unless at the expiration of
occurs to persons who constituted the family home.1âwphi1 Dr. 10 years, there is still a minor beneficiary, in which case the family However, as to the third requisite, Marcelino Lorenzo R. Dario IV
Arturo M. Tolentino comments on the effect of death of one or both home continues until that beneficiary becomes of age. cannot demand support from his paternal grandmother if he has
spouses or the unmarried head of a family on the continuing parents who are capable of supporting him. The liability for legal
existence of the family home: It may be deduced from the view of Dr. Tolentino that as a general support falls primarily on Marcelino Lorenzo R. Dario IV’s parents,
rule, the family home may be preserved for a minimum of 10 years especially his father, herein private respondent who is the head of
Upon the death of the spouses or the unmarried family head who following the death of the spouses or the unmarried family head his immediate family. The law first imposes the obligation of legal
constituted the family home, or of the spouse who consented to the who constituted the family home, or of the spouse who consented support upon the shoulders of the parents, especially the father,
constitution of his or her separate property as family home, the to the constitution of his or her separate property as family home. and only in their default is the obligation imposed on the
property will remain as family home for ten years or for as long as After 10 years and a minor beneficiary still lives therein, the family grandparents.
there is a minor beneficiary living in it. If there is no more home shall be preserved only until that minor beneficiary reaches
beneficiary left at the time of death, we believe the family home the age of majority. The intention of the law is to safeguard and Marcelino Lorenzo R. Dario IV is dependent on legal support not
will be dissolved or cease, because there is no more reason for its protect the interests of the minor beneficiaryuntil he reaches legal from his grandmother, but from his father.1âwphi1 Thus, despite
existence. If there are beneficiaries who survive living in the family age and would now be capable of supporting himself. However, residing in the family home and his being a descendant of Marcelino
home, it will continue for ten years, unless at the expiration of the three requisites must concur before a minor beneficiary is entitled to V. Dario, Marcelino Lorenzo R. Dario IV cannot be considered as
the benefits of Art. 159: (1) the relationship enumerated in Art. 154 beneficiary contemplated under Article 154 because he did not
fulfill the third requisite of being dependent on his grandmother for divide their co-owned property to prevent these situations from In Vda. de Daffon v. Court of Appeals,23 we held that an action for
legal support. It is his father whom he is dependent on legal arising. partition is at once an action for declaration of co-ownership and for
support, and who must now establish his own family home separate segregation and conveyance of a determinate portion of the
and distinct from that of his parents, being of legal age. As we ruled in Santos v. Santos,19 no co-owner ought to be properties involved. If the court after trial should find the existence
compelled to stay in a co-ownership indefinitely, and may insist on of co-ownership among the parties, the court may and should order
Legal support, also known as family support, is that which is partition on the common property at any time. An action to demand the partition of the properties in the same action.24
provided by law, comprising everything indispensable for partition is imprescriptible or cannot be barred by laches. Each co-
sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and owner may demand at any time the partition of the common WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Resolution of the Court
transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the property.20 of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 80680 dated December 9, 2005, is
family.16 Legal support has the following characteristics: (1) It is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The case is REMANDED to the Regional
personal, based on family ties which bind the obligor and the Since the parties were unable to agree on a partition, the court a Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 78, who is directed to conduct a
obligee; (2) It is intransmissible; (3) It cannot be renounced; (4) It quo should have ordered a partition by commissioners pursuant to PARTITION BY COMMISSIONERS and effect the actual physical
cannot be compromised; (5) It is free from attachment or execution; Section 3, Rule 69 of the Rules of Court. Not more than three partition of the subject property, as well as the improvements that
(6) It is reciprocal; (7) It is variable in amount.17 competent and disinterested persons should be appointed as lie therein, in the following manner: Perla G. Dario, 4/6; Marcelino
commissioners to make the partition, commanding them to set off Marc G. Dario, 1/6 and Marcelino G. Dario III, 1/6. The trial court is
Professor Pineda is of the view that grandchildren cannot demand to the plaintiff and to each party in interest such part and DIRECTED to appoint not more than three (3) competent and
support directly from their grandparents if they have parents proportion of the property as the court shall direct. disinterested persons, who should determine the technical metes
(ascendants of nearest degree) who are capable of supporting them. and bounds of the property and the proper share appertaining to
This is so because we have to follow the order of support under Art. When it is made to appear to the commissioners that the real each heir, including the improvements, in accordance with Rule 69
199.18 We agree with this view. estate, or a portion thereof, cannot be divided without great of the Rules of Court. When it is made to the commissioners that
prejudice to the interest of the parties, the court may order it the real estate, or a portion thereof, cannot be divided without
The reasons behind Art. 199 as explained by Pineda and Tolentino: assigned to one of the parties willing to take the same, provided he great prejudice to the interest of the parties, the court a quo may
the closer the relationship of the relatives, the stronger the tie that pays to the other parties such sum or sums of money as the order it assigned to one of the parties willing to take the same,
binds them. Thus, the obligation to support under Art. 199 which commissioners deem equitable, unless one of the parties interested provided he pays to the other parties such sum or sums of money as
outlines the order of liability for support is imposed first upon the ask that the property be sold instead of being so assigned, in which the commissioners deem equitable, unless one of the parties
shoulders of the closer relatives and only in their default is the case the court shall order the commissioners to sell the real estate interested ask that the property be sold instead of being so
obligation moved to the next nearer relatives and so on. at public sale, and the commissioners shall sell the same assigned, in which case the court shall order the commissioners to
accordingly.21 sell the real estate at public sale, and the commissioners shall sell
the same accordingly, and thereafter distribute the proceeds of the
There is no showing that private respondent is without means to
sale appertaining to the just share of each heir. No pronouncement
support his son; neither is there any evidence to prove that The partition of the subject property should be made in accordance
as to costs.
petitioner, as the paternal grandmother, was willing to voluntarily with the rule embodied in Art. 996 of the Civil Code. 22 Under the law
provide for her grandson’s legal support. On the contrary, herein of intestate succession, if the widow and legitimate children survive,
petitioner filed for the partition of the property which shows an the widow has the same share as that of each of the children.
intention to dissolve the family home, since there is no more reason However, since only one-half of the conjugal property which is
for its existence after the 10-year period ended in 1997. owned by the decedent is to be allocated to the legal and
compulsory heirs (the other half to be given exclusively to the
With this finding, there is no legal impediment to partition the surviving spouse as her conjugal share of the property), the widow
subject property. will have the same share as each of her two surviving children.
Hence, the respective shares of the subject property, based on the
The law does not encourage co-ownerships among individuals as law on intestate succession are: (1) Perla Generosa Dario, 4/6; (2)
oftentimes it results in inequitable situations such as in the instant Marcelino Marc G. Dario II, 1/6 and (3) Marcelino G. Dario III, 1/6.
case. Co-owners should be afforded every available opportunity to
FIRST DIVISION WHEREFORE, prescinding from all the foregoing, the Court hereby Rogelia Calingasan Bell; or in the alternative to issue a new Transfer
declares: Certificate of Title under the same tenor;
G.R. No. 186322 July 8, 2015
1. That the sale of the subject house and lot under Deed of 2. The City Assessor of Batangas City is hereby directed to issue a tax
ENRICO S. EULOGIO and NATIVIDAD V. EULOGIO, Petitioners, Sale marked as Exhibit "F" is only an equitable mortgage in declaration covering the said subject property as family home for
vs. favor of the defendants Enrico Eulogio and Natividad the said plaintiffs and fourth party plaintiffs Paterno C. Bell and
PATERNO C. BELL, SR., ROGELIA CALINGASAN-BELL, PATERNO Eulogio. However, the mortgage cannot bind the property Rogelia Calingasan Bell; and
WILLIAM BELL, JR., FLORENCE FELICIA VICTORIA BELL, PATERNO in question for being violative of Chapter 2, Title 4 of the
FERDINAND BELL III, and PATERNO BENERAÑO BELL Family Code, its encumbrance not having been consented 3. Defendants Enrico Eulogio and Natividad Eulogio are ordered to
IV, Respondents. to in writing by a majority of the beneficiaries who are the pay the plaintiffs attorney’s fees and litigation expenses of
plaintiffs herein; 35,000.00 as the plaintiffs have been compelled to litigate to protect
DECISION their property right, and costs,3
2. The said equitable mortgage is deemed to be an
SERENO, CJ: unsecured mortgage [sic] for which the Spouses Paterno C. Both petitioners and respondent appealed to the CA, but the trial
Bell, Sr. and Rogelia Calingasan Bell as mortgagors are liable court’s Decision was affirmed en too. Spouses Bell later brought the
to the defendants-spouses Enrico Eulogio and Natividad case to this Court to question their liability to petitioners in the
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari assailing the Court of
Eulogio in the amount of 1,000,000 plus interest of 12% per amount of 1 million plus interest. The Court, however, dismissed
Appeals (CA) Decision1 in CA-G.R. SP No. 87531 which granted the
annum. However, under the Fourth Party Complaint Sps. their Petition for failure to show any reversible error committed by
Petition for Certiorari filed by respondents and enjoined the
Paterno C. Bell, Sr. and Rogelia Calingasan Bell have the the CA.4 Thereafter, entry of judgment was made.5
execution sale of their family home for the satisfaction of the money
right of reimbursement from fourth party defendants
judgment awarded to petitioners in Civil Case No. 4581, and the
Nicolas Morana and Julieta Morana for whom their loan of On 9 June 2004 the RTC issued a Writ of Execution as a result of
Resolution2 which denied petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.
1,000,000 was secured by Sps. Paterno C. Bell, Sr. and which respondents’ property covered by the newly reconstituted
Rogelia Calingasan Bell. Accordingly, the fourth party Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 54208 [formerly RT-680
ANTECEDENT FACTS
defendants Nicolas Morana and Julieta Morana are hereby (5997)] was levied on execution. Upon motion by respondents, trial
ordered to reimburse Paterno C. Bell, Sr. and Rogelia court, on 31 August 2004, ordered the lifting of the writ of the
Respondents Paterno William Bell, Jr., Florence Felicia Victoria Bell, Calingasan Bell the loan of 1,000,00 plus interest of 12% execution on the ground that the property was a family home. 6
Paterno Ferdinand Bell III, and Paterno Benerano IV (the Bell per annum to be paid by the latter to defendants Enrico
siblings) are the unmarried children of respondent Spouses Paterno and Natividad Eulogio;
C. Bell and Rogelia Calingasan-Bell (Spouses Bell). In 1995, the Bell Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the lifting of the
sibling lodged a Complaint for annulment of documents, writ of execution. Invoking Article 160 of the Family Code, they
3. The house and lot in question free from any and all posited that the current market value of the property exceeded the
reconveyance, quieting of title and damages against petitioner
encumbrances by virtue of said equitable mortgage or the statutory limit of 300,000 considering that it was located in a
Enrico S. Eulogio and Natividad Eulogio (the Eulogios). It was
purported sale; and commercial area, and that Spouses Bell had even sold it to them for
docketed as Civil Case No. 4581 at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Batangas City, Branch 84. The complaint sought the annulment of 1million.7
4. The Deed of Sale (Exhibit "F") is null and void for being
the contract of sale executed by Spouses Bell over their 329-square-
contrary to law and public policy. The RTC, on 13 October 2004, set the case for hearing to determine
meter residential house and lot, as well the as the cancellation of
the title obtained by petitioners by virtue of the Deed. the present value of the family hoe of respondents. It also
Accordingly, (1) the Register of Deeds of Batangas City is hereby appointed a Board of Appraisers to conduct a study on the
ordered to cancel Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-131472 in the prevailing market value of their house and lot.8
The RTC granted respondents’ prayers, but declared Spouses Bell
name of defendants Enrico S. Eulogio and Natividad Eulogio and to
liable to petitioners in the amount of 1 million plus 12% interest per
re-constitute (sic) Transfer Certificate of Title No. RT-680-(5997) as Respondents sought reconsideration of the above directives and
annum. The dispositive portion of the Decision dated 15 July 1998
"family home" of the plaintiffs Florence Felicia Victoria C. Bell, asked the RTC to cite petitioners for contempt because of forum-
reads as follows:
Paterno William C. Bell Jr., Paterno Ferdinand C. Bell III, Paterno shopping.9 they argued that petitioners’ bid to determine the
Benerano C. Bell IV and fourth party plaintiffs Paterno C. Bell Sr. and
present value of the subject property was just a ploy to re-litigate an The issues to be resolved are: (1) whether petitioners are guilty of Recall that although the trial court had nullified the Deed of Sale
issue that had long been settled with finality. forum-shopping; (2) whether a hearing to determine the value of over respondents’ family home in Civil Case No. 4581 for lack of a
respondents’ family home for purposes of execution under Article written consent from its beneficiaries as required under Article 158
The RTC, however, denied the Motion for Reconsideration 10 of 160 of the Family Code is barred under the principle of res judicata; of the Family Code,23 the court still recognized the validity of the
respondents and directed the commissioners to canvass prospective and (3) whether respondents’ family home may be sold on transaction as an unsecured loan. Hence, it declared Spouses Bell
buyers of their house and lot.11 execution under Article 160 of the Family Code. liable to petitioners in the amount of 1 million plus 12% interest per
annum.
On 23 November 2004, respondents filed a Petition for Certiorari THE COURT’S RULING
and Injunction before the CA.12 where it was docketed as CA-G.R. Petitioners’ bid to satisfy the above judgment cannot be considered
SP. No. 87531. The Court denies the Petition for lack of merit. an act of forum shopping. Simply, the execution of a decision is just
the fruit and end of a suit and is very aptly called the life of the
Subsequently, the RTC issued on 25 November 2004 an Petitioners are not guilty of forum-shopping. law.24 It is not separate from the main case. Similarly, the filing of
Order13 dispensing with the valuation report of the commissioners the instant Petitions as a continuation of the execution proceedings
and directing the issuance of a writ of execution. Consequently, does not constitute forum shopping. Seeking a reversal of an
Forum shopping can be committed in three ways; (1) by filing
respondents filed before the CA a Supplemental Petition with an adverse judgment or order by appeal or certiorari does not
multiple cases based on the same cause of action and with the same
urgent prayer for a temporary restraining order. 14 constitute forum shopping. Such remedies are sanctioned and
prayer, the previous case not having been resolved yet (where the
provided for the rules.25
ground for dismissal is litis pendentia); (2) by filing multiple cases
The CA eventually enjoined.15 the execution sale set on 22 based on the same cause of action and with the same prayer, the
December 200416 by the RTC. previous case having been finally resolved (where the ground for Indeed, as will be presently discussed, the causes of action in the
dismissal is res judicata); and (3) by filing multiple cases based on main proceedings in Civil Case No. 4581 and the consequent
the same cause of action but with different prayers, or by splitting execution proceedings are identical. Suffice it to say, however, that
On 31 July 2008, the CA rendered it Decision granting respondent’s
of causes of action (where the ground for dismissal is also either litis the danger of a multiplicity of suits upon one and the same cause of
Petition for Certiorari, but it rejected their theory that res judicata
pendentia or res judicata).19 action, which the judicial policy against forum shopping seeks to
had already set in.
prevent, does not exist in this case.
The appellate court ruled that the RTC Decision, which had become The essence of forum shopping is the filing of multiple suits
involving the same parties for the same cause of action, either Re-litigating the issue of the value of respondents’ family home is
final and executory, only declared respondents’ house and lot as a
simultaneously or successively, for the purpose of obtaining a barred by res judicata.
family home. Since the issue of whether it may be sold in execution
was incidental to the execution of the aforesaid Decision, there was favorable judgment through means other than by appeal or
as yet no res judicata. certiorari.20 Forum shopping does not apply to cases that arise from Res judicata (meaning, a "matter adjudged") is a fundamental
an initiatory or original action that has been elevated by way of principle of law that precludes parties from re-litigating issues
appeal or certiorari to higher or appellate courts or authorities. This actually litigated and determined by a prior and final
Still, the CA found that the trial court committed grave abuse of
is so because the issues in the appellate courts necessarily differ judgment.26 Under the 1997 Rules of Court, there are two aspects of
discretion in ordering the execution sale of the subject family home
from those in the lower court, and the appealed cases are but a res judicata, namely: bar by prior judgment.27 and conclusiveness of
after finding its present value exceeded the statutory limit. The basis
continuation of the original case and treated as only one case.21 judgment.28
for the valuation of a family home under Article 160, according to
the appellate court, is its actual value at the time of its constitution
and not the market/present value; therefore, the trial court’s order Respondents contend that the Decision in Civil Case No. 4581, which There is "bar by prior judgment" when, as between the first case in
was contrary to law.17 declared that property in dispute was a family home, had long which the judgment has been rendered and the second case that is
attained finality. Accordingly, respondents maintain that petitioners’ sought to be barred, there is an identity of parties, subject matter,
bid to re-litigate the present value of the property in the course of and causes of action. In this instance, the judgment in the first case
On 09 February 2009,18 the CA denied petitioners’ Motion for
the execution proceedings is barred by res judicata, and that constitutes an absolute bar to the second action. The judgment or
Reconsideration. Hence, this Petition.
petitioners should be cited for contempt of court because of forum- decree on the merits of the court of competent jurisdiction
shopping.22 concludes the litigation between the parties, as well as their privies,
ISSUES
and constitutes a bar to a new action or suit involving the same But the issue as to whether or not a family home could be the submitted by petitioners during the execution proceedings was the
cause of action before same or any other tribunal.29 subject of an execution sale was not resolved by the trial court. This Deed of Sale, which the trial court had nullified in the main
issue[was] raised only when the writ of execution was issued and proceedings. Concomitantly, the very sane defense raised by
On the other hand, there is "conclusiveness of judgment" where hence, [was not] resolved with finality. Thus, the issue before this petitioners in the main proceedings, i.e., that they had bought the
there is an identity of parties in the first and second cases, but no Court is whether or not the [f]amily [h]ome of petitioners under the property from Spouses Bell for 1 million – was utilized to
identity of causes of action. Under this rule, the first judgment is facts and circumstances of the case could be the subject of a writ substantiate the claim that the current value of respondents’ family
conclusive only as to those matters actually and directly execution sold at public auction.33 home was actually 1 million. In fact, the trial court’s order for
controverted and determined and not as to matters merely involved respondent’s family home to be levied on execution was solely
therein. Stated differently, any right, fact, or matter in issue directly The Court disagrees with the CA. based on the price stated in the nullified Deed of Sale.
adjudicated or necessarily involved in the determination of an
action before a competent court in which judgment is rendered on "Cause of action" is the act or omission by which a party violates the Res judicata applies, considering that the parties are litigating over
the merits is conclusively settled by the judgment therein and right of another.34 It may be argued that the cause of action the the same property. Moreover, the same contentions and evidence
cannot again be litigated between the parties and their privies main proceedings was the sale of the property in dispute, while in advanced by the petitioners to substantiate their claim over
whether or not the claim, demand, purpose, or subject matter of the execution proceedings it was the indebtedness of Spouses Bell respondents’ family home have already been used to support their
the two actions is the same.30 to petitioners. arguments in the main proceedings.

In this case, the trial court’s final decision in Civil Case No. 4581 bars The settled rule, however, is that identity of causes of action does Any lingering doubt on the application of res judicata to this case
petitioners’ move to have the property is dispute levied on not mean absolute identity. Otherwise, a party could easily escape should be put to rest by the trial court’s discussion of the nature and
execution. the operation of res judicata by changing the form of the action or alienability of the property in dispute, to wit;
the relief sought.35 The test to determine whether the causes of
There is no question that the main proceedings in Civil Case No. action are identical is to ascertain whether the same evidence will The second issue is about the allegation of the plaintiffs that the
4581 and the subsequent execution proceedings in Civil Case No. sustain both actions, or whether is an identity of the facts essential family home which has been constituted on the house and lot in
4581 and the subsequent execution proceedings involved the same to the maintenance of the two actions. If the same facts or evidence question is exempt from alienation and that its value does not
parties31 and subject matter.32 for these reasons, respondents argue would sustain both, the two actions considered the same, and a exceed 300,000. Paterno Bell, Sr. testified that the two-storey house
that the execution sale of the property in dispute under Article 170 judgment in the first case would be a bar to the subsequent action. was built in 1947 and was made of wood and hollow blocks. He
of the Family Code is barred by res judicata, since the trial court has Hence, party cannot, by varying the form of action or adopting a inherited it in 1976 from his parents and has been living there with
already determined that the value of the property fell within the different method of presenting the case, escape the operation of his family. In 1976, when an extra- judicial settlement was made of
statutory limit. the principle that one and the same cause of action shall not be the estate of his parents, the fair market value of the house was
twice litigated between the same parties or their privies. 36 70,000.
The CA held that the trial court’s Decision which is indisputably final,
only settled the issue of whether the property in dispute was a Among several tests resorted to in ascertaining whether two suits City Assessor Rodezinda Pargas testified and presented Tax
family home. The CA ruled thus: relate to a single or common cause of action are: (1) whether the Declaration and others, (Exhibit "J", Tax Declaration No. 005-047)
same evidence would support and sustain both the first and the beginning 1985 showing that the subject lot with an area of 329 sq.
We rule that there is no res judicata. second causes of action and (2) whether the defenses in one case m. had a fair market value of 76,000.00 and the residential house
may be used to substantiate the complaint in the other. Also located thereon of 50,000.00, for a total value of 126,000.00. She
At the outset, let it be emphasized that the decision of the trial fundamental is the test for determining whether the cause of action testified that during the prior years the assessed values were lower.
court dated July 15, 1998, which has become final and executor, in the second case existed at the time of the filing of the first This shows that the limit of the value of 300,000.00 under Article
only declared the subject property as a family home. As a matter of complaint.37 157, Title 5 of the Family Code has not been exceeded. The
fact, private respondents never questioned that such property is a testimonies of the plaintiffs who are children of Sps. Paterno Bell, Sr.
family home, and consequently, the issue as to whether or not the Applying the above guidelines, the Court finds that the entirety of and Rogela Calingasan Bell show that they had lived in that house
property is family home is settled and res judicata lies only with Civil Case No. 4581 – including the bid of petitioners to execute the together with their said parents. The Court therefore concludes that
respect to this issue. money judgment awarded to them by the trial court – is founded on the said house is a family home under Chapter 2, Title 5 of the
a common cause of action. Records show that the sole evidence Family Code. Its alienation by the said Spouses without the written
consent of the majority of the children/plaintiffs is null and void for 1. For nonpayment of taxes; In any event, if the value of the currency changes after the adoption
being contrary to law and public policy as enunciated in Art. 158 of of this Code, the value most favorable for the constitutions of a
the Family Code.38 [underscoring supplied] 2. For debts incurred prior to the constitution of the family family home shall be the basis of evaluation.
home;
The foregoing points plainly show that the issue of whether the For purposes of the Article, urban areas are deemed to include
property in dispute exceeded the statutory limit of 300,000 has 3. For debts secured by mortgages on the premises before chartered cities and municipalities whose annual income at least
already been determined with finality by the trial court. Its finding or after such constitution; and equals that legally required for chartered cities. All others are
necessarily meant that the property is exempt from execution. deemed to be rural area. [underscoring supplied]
Assuming for the sake of argument that causes of action in the main 4. For debts due to laborers, mechanics, architects,
proceedings and in the execution proceedings are different, the builders, materialmen and others who have rendered The minutes of the deliberation by the drafters of Family Code on
parties are still barred from litigating the issue of whether service or furnished material for the construction of the Article 160 are enlightening, to wit:
respondents’ family home may be sold on execution sale under the building.
principle of conclusiveness of judgment. Justice Puno inquired if the above Article [160] is still necessary. In
ARTICLE 160. when a creditor whose claims is not among those reply, Judge Diy opined that the above Article is intended to cover a
Respondents’ family home cannot be sold on execution under mentioned in Article 155 obtains a judgment in his favor, and he has situation where the family home is already worth 500,000 or IM.
Article 160 of Family Code. reasonable grounds to believe that the family home is actually
worth more than the maximum amount fixed in Article 157, he may Justice Reyes stated that it is possible that a family home, originally
Unquestionably, the family home is exempt from execution as apply to the court which rendered the judgment for an order valued at 300,000, later appreciated to almost IM because of
expressly provided for in Article 153 of the Family Code.39 directing the sale of the property under execution. The court shall so improvements made, like roads and plazas. Justice Caguioa,
order if it finds that the actual value of the family home exceeds the however, made a distinction between voluntary and involuntary
It has been said that the family home is a real right that is maximum amount allowed by law as of the time of its constitution. improvements in the sense that if the value of the family home
gratuitous, inalienable and free from attachment.40 The great If the increased actual value exceeds the maximum allowed in exceeded the maximum amount because of voluntary
controlling purpose and policy of the Constitution is the protection Article 157 and results from subsequent voluntary improvements improvements by the one establishing the family home, the Article
or the preservation of the homestead - the dwelling place. A introduced by the person or persons constituting the family home, will apply; but if it is through an involuntary improvement, like
houseless, homeless population is a burden upon the energy, by the owners of the property, or by any of the beneficiaries, the conversion into a residential area or the establishment of roads and
industry, and morals of the community to which it belongs. No same rule and procedure shall apply. other facilities, the one establishing the family home should not be
greater calamity, not tainted with crime, can befall a family than to punished by making his home liable to creditors. He suggested that
be expelled from the roof under which it has been gathered and At the execution sale, no bid below the value allowed for a family the matter be clarified in the provision.
sheltered.41 The family home cannot be seized by creditors except in home shall be considered. The proceeds shall be applied first to the
special cases.42 amount mentioned in Article 157, and then to the liabilities under Prof. Bautista objected to the phrase "is worth" since if they will
the judgment and the costs. The excess, is any, shall be delivered to specify that the family home is worth more than the maximum
The nature and character of the property that debtors may claim to the judgment debtor. amount at the time it was constituted, they will avoid the suit
be exempt, however, are determined by the exemption statute. The because the creditor will be given proper warning. Justice Puno
exemption is limited to the particular kind of property of the specific Related to the foregoing is Article 157 of the Family Code, which opined that this is a question of fact. Justice Caguioa added that,
articles prescribed by the statute; the exemption cannot exceed the provides: under the second sentence, there will be a preliminary
statutory limit.43 determination as to whether the family home exceeds the
ARTICLE 157. the actual value of the family home shall not exceed, maximum amount allowed by the law.
Articles 155 and 160 of the Family Code specify the exceptions at the same time of its constitution, the amount of three hundred
mentioned in Article 153, to wit: thousand pesos in urban areas, and two hundred thousand pesos in Justice Caguia accordingly modified the last sentence as follows:
rural areas, or such amounts as may hereafter be fixed by law.
ARTICLE 155. the family home shall be exempt from execution, If the excess in actual value over that allowed in Article 157 is due to
forced sale or attachment except; subsequent voluntary improvements by the person or persons
constituting the family home or by the owner or owners of the Any subsequent improvement or enlargement of the family home was an increase in its actual value; (2) the increase resulted from
property, the same rules and procedure shall apply. by the persons constituting it, its owners, or any of its beneficiaries voluntary improvements on the property introduced by the persons
will still be exempt from execution, forced sale or attachment constituting the family home, its owners or any of its beneficiaries;
Prof. Bautista objected to the above provision, because it will in provided the following conditions obtain: (a) the actual value of the and (3) the increased actual value exceeded the maximum allowed
effect penalize the owner for improving the family home. On the property at the time of its constitution has been determined to fall under Article 157.
other hand, Justice Puno opined that the provision covers only the below the statutory limit; and (b) the improvement or enlargement
excess in actual value over that allowed by law. Judge Diy added does not result in an increase in its value exceeding the statutory During the execution proceedings, none of those facts was alleged –
that the owner may improve the family home up to 300,000. Justice limit.45 Otherwise, the family home can be the subject of a forced much less proven – by petitioners.1âwphi1 The sole evidence
Caguioa stated that without the above provision, one can borrow sale, and any amount above the statutory limit is applicable to the presented was the Deed of Sale, but the trial court had already
money, put it all on improvement of the family home even beyond obligations under Articles 155 and 160. determined with finality that the contract was null, and that the
the maximum value of a family home and, thereby, exempt it from actual transaction was an equitable mortgage. Evidently, when
levy on the part of the creditor. He added that anyway, if one Certainly, the humane considerations for which the law surrounds petitioners and Spouses Bells executed the Deed of Sale in 1990, the
voluntarily improves his family home out of his money, nobody can the family home with immunities from levy do not include the intent price stated therein was not the actual value of the property in
complain because there are no creditors. to enable debtors to thwart the just claims of their creditors. 46 dispute.

Justice Puno posed the question: what is "due to the subsequent Petitioners maintain that this case falls under the exceptions to the The court thus agrees with the CA’s conclusion that the trial court
improvement?" is it the "excess" or is it the "increase", or is it the exemption of the family home from execution or forced sale. They committed grave abuse of discretion in ordering the sale on
"increase", which constitutes the "excess"? in reply, Justice Reyes claim that the actual value of respondents’ family home exceeds the execution of the property in dispute under Article 160. The trial
opined that it is the "increase" which constituted the "excess". 300,000 limit in urban areas. This fact is supposedly shown by the court had already determined with finality that the property was a
Justice Puno, Justice Reyes and Justice Caguioa modified the last Deed of Sale whereby private respondents agreed to sell the family home, and there was no proof that is value had increased
sentence as follows: property for 1 million way back in 1995. Therefore, the RTC only beyond the statutory limit due to voluntary improvements by
properly ordered the execution sale of the property under Article respondents. Yet, it ordered the execution sale of the property.
If the increase in actual value exceeds that maximum allowed in 160 to satisfy the money judgment awarded to them in Civil Case There is grave abuse of discretion when one acts in a capricious,
Article 157 and results from subsequent voluntary improvements No. 4581.47 whimsical, arbitrary or despotic manner in the exercise of one’s
introduced by the person or persons constituting the family home or judgment, as in this case in which the assailed order is bereft of any
by the owner or owners of the property, the same rule and As earlier discussed, it has been judicially determined with finality factual or legal justification.50
procedure shall apply. that the property in dispute is a family home, and that its value at
the time of its constitution was within the statutory limit. Moreover, WHEREFORE, the Petitioner for Review on Certiorari is hereby
Prof. Bautista commented that the phrase "increase in actual value" respondents have timely claimed the exemption of the property DENIED for lack of merit. Accordingly, the Decision of the Court of
does not include the original value. Justice Puno suggested that they from execution.48 On the other hand, there is no question that the Appeals in CA-GG.R SP No. 87531, enjoining the trial court from
just say "increased actual value", which the Committee approved.44 money judgment awarded to petitioners falls under the ambit of proceeding with the sale of the family home of respondents, is
Article 160. AFFIRMED.
To summarize, the exemption of the family home from execution,
forced sale or attachment is limited to 300,000 in urban areas and Notwithstanding petitioners’ right to enforce the trial court’s money SO ORDERED.
200,000 in rural areas, unless those maximum values are adjusted judgment, however, they cannot obtain its satisfaction at the
by law. If it is shown, though, that those amounts do not match the expense of respondents’ rights over their family home. It is
present value of the peso because of currency fluctuations, the axiomatic that those asserting the protection of an exception from
amount of exemption shall be based on the value that is most an exemption must bring themselves clearly within the terms of the
favorable to the constitution of a family home. Any amount in exception and satisfy any statutory requirement for its
excess of those limits can be applied to the payment of any of the enforcement.49
obligations specified in Articles 155 and 160.
To warrant the execution sale of respondents’ family home under
Article 160, petitioners needed to establish these facts: (1) there
THIRD DIVISION of Carolina de Jesus and deceased Juan Dizon. The trial court in Divinagracia. In praying for the affirmance of dismissal of the
denied, due to lack of merit, the motion to dismiss and subsequent complaint, respondents count on the case of Sayson vs. Court of
G.R. No. 142877 October 2, 2001 motion for reconsideration on, respectively, 13 September 1993 and Appeals,3 which has ruled that the issue of legitimacy cannot be
15 February 1994. Respondents assailed the denial of said motions questioned in a complaint for partition and accounting but must be
JINKIE CHRISTIE A. DE JESUS and JACQUELINE A. DE JESUS minors, before the Court of Appeals. seasonably brought up in direct action frontally addressing the
represented by their mother, CAROLINA A. DE JESUS, petitioners, issue.
vs. On 20 May 1994, the appellate court upheld the decision of the
THE ESTATE OF DECEDENT JUAN GAMBOA DIZON, ANGELINA V. lower court and ordered the case to be remanded to the trial court The controversy between the parties has been pending for much
DIZON, CARLOS DIZON, FELIFE DIZON, JUAN DIZON, JR. and for further proceedings. It ruled that the veracity of the conflicting too long, and it is time that this matter draws to a close.
MARYLIN DIZON and as proper parties: FORMS MEDIA CORP., assertions should be threshed out at the trial considering that the
QUAD MANAGEMENT CORP., FILIPINAS PAPER SALES CO., INC. and birth certificates presented by respondents appeared to have The filiation of illegitimate children, like legitimate children, is
AMITY CONSTRUCTION & INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISES, effectively contradicted petitioners' allegation of established by (1) the record of birth appearing the civil register or a
INC. respondents. illegitimacy.1âwphi1.nêt final judgement; or (2) an admission of legitimate filiation in a public
document or a private handwritten and signed by the parent
VITUG, J.: On 03 January 2000, long after submitting their answer, pre-trial concerned. In the absence thereof, filiation shall be proved by (1)
brief and several other motions, respondents filed an omnibus the open and continuos possession of the status of a legitimate
The petitioner involves the case of the illegitimate children who, motion, again praying for the dismissal of the complaint on the child; or (2) any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and
having been born in lawful wedlock, claim to be the illegitimate ground that the action instituted was, in fact, made to compel the special laws.4 The due recognition of an illegitimate child in a
scions of the decedent in order to enforce their respective shares in recognition of petitioners as being the illegitimate children of record of birth, a will, a statement before a court or record, or in
the latter's estate under the rules of succession. decedent Juan G. Dizon and that the partition sought was merely an any authentic writing is, in itself, a consummated act of
ulterior relief once petitioners would have been able the establish acknowledgement of the child, and no further court action is
their status as such heirs. It was contended, in fine that an action for required.5 In fact, any writing is treated not just a ground for
Danilo B. de Jesus and Carolina Aves de Jesus got married on 23
partition was not an appropriate forum to likewise ascertain the compulsory recognition; it is in itself voluntary recognition that does
August 1964. It was during this marriage that Jacqueline A. de Jesus
question of paternity and filiation, an issue that could only be taken not require a separate action for judicial approval. 6 Where, instead,
and Jinkie Christie A. de Jesus, herein petitioners, were born, the
up in an independent suit or proceeding. a claim for recognition is predicted on other evidence merely
former on 01 March 1979 and the latter on 06 July 1982.
tending to prove paternity, i.e., outside of a record of birth, a will,
Finding credence in the argument of respondents, the trial court, a statement before a court or record or an authentic writing,
In a notarized document, dated 07 June 1991, Juan G. judicial action within the applicable statue of limitations is
ultimately, dismissed the complaint of petitioners for lack of cause
Dizon acknowledged Jacqueline and Jinkie de Jesus as being his own
of action and for being improper.1 It decreed that the declaration of essential in order to establish the child's acknowledgement. 7
illegitimate children by Carolina Aves de Jesus. Juan G. Dizon died
heirship could only be made in a special proceeding in asmuch as
intestate on 12 March 1992, leaving behind considerable assets
petitioners were seeking the establishment of a status or right. A scrutiny of the records would show that petitioners were born
consisting of shares of stock in various corporations and some real
during the marriage of their parents. The certificates of live would
property. It was on the strength of his notarized acknowledgement
Petitioners assail the foregoing order of the trial court in the instant also identify Danilo de Jesus as being their father.
that petitioners filed a complaint on 01 July 1993 for "Partition with
Inventory and Accounting" of the Dizon estate with the Regional petition for review on certiorari. Basically, petitioners maintain that
Trial Court, Branch 88, of Quezon City. their recognition as being illegitimate children of the decedent, There is perhaps no presumption of the law more firmly established
embodied in an authentic writing, is in itself sufficient to establish and founded on sounder morality and more convincing reason than
their status as such and does not require a separate action for the presumption that children born in wedlock are legitimate.8 this
Respondent, the surviving spouse and legitimate children of the
judicial approval following the doctrine enunciated in Divinagracia presumption indeed becomes conclusive in the absence of proof
decedent Juan G. Dizon, including the corporations of which the
vs. Bellosillo.2 that there is physical impossibility of access between the spouses
deceased was a stockholder, sought the dismissal of the case,
during the first 120 days of the 300 days which immediately
arguing that the complaint, even while denominated as being one
In the comment, respondents submit that the rule precedes the birth of the child due to (a) the physical incapacity of
for partition, would nevertheless call for altering the status of
in Divinagracia being relied by petitioners is inapplicable to the case the husband to have sexual intercourse with his wife; (b) the fact
petitioners from being the legitimate children of the spouses Danilo
because there has been no attempt to impugn legitimate filiation the husband and wife are living separately in such a way that sexual
de Jesus and Carolina de Jesus to instead be the illegitimate children
intercourse is not possible; or (c) serious illness of the husband, contested in a direct suit specifically brought for that
which absolutely prevents sexual intercourse.9 Quite remarkably, purpose.16 Indeed, a child so born in such wedlock shall be
upon the expiration of the periods set forth in Article 170, 10 and in considered legitimate although the mother may have declared
proper cases Article 171,11 of the Family Code (which took effect on against its legitimacy or may have been sentenced as having been
03 August 1988), the action to impugn the legitimacy of a child an adulteress.17
would no longer be legally feasible and the status conferred by the
presumption becomes fixed and unassailable,12 WHEREFORE, the foregoing disquisitions considered, the instant
petition is DENIED. No costs.
Succinctly, in an attempt to establish their illegitimate filiation to the
late Juan G. Dizon, petitioners, in effect, would impugn their SO ORDERED.
legitimate status as being children of Danilo de Jesus and Carolina
Aves de Jesus. This step cannot be aptly done because the law itself
establishes the legitimacy of children conceived or born during the
marriage of the parents. The presumption of legitimacy fixes a civil
status for the child born in wedlock, and only the 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.

Respondents correctly argued that petitioners hardly could find


succor in Divinagracia. In said case, the Supreme Court remanded to
the trial court for further proceedings the action for 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
FIRST DIVISION As a result, the SSS suspended the payment of Rosanna and Jeylnn’s In their Position Paper, the claimants averred that Jeylnn was a
monthly pension in September 1997. It also conducted an legitimate child of Pablo as evidenced by her birth certificate
G.R. No. 165546 February 27, 2006 investigation to verify Leticia’s allegations. In a bearing Pablo’s signature as Jeylnn’s father. They asserted that
Memorandum6 dated November 18, 1997, the Social Security Rosanna never left Pablo and that they lived together as husband
SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, Petitioner, Officer who conducted the investigation reported that, based on an and wife under one roof. In support thereof, they attached a Joint
vs. interview with Mariquita D. Dizon, Pablo’s first cousin and neighbor, Affidavit13 executed by their neighbors, Vivencia Turla and Carmelita
ROSANNA H. AGUAS, JANET H. AGUAS, and minor JEYLNN H. and Jessie Gonzales (also a neighbor). She learned that the deceased Yangu, where they declared that Rosanna and Pablo lived together
AGUAS, represented by her Legal Guardian, ROSANNA H. had no legal children with Rosanna; Jenelyn7 and Jefren were as husband and wife until the latter’s death. In Janet’s birth
AGUAS, Respondents. Rosanna’s children with one Romeo C. dela Peña; and Rosanna left certificate, which was registered in the Civil Registry of San
the deceased six years before his death and lived with Romeo while Fernando, it appears that her father was Pablo and her mother was
she was still pregnant with Jenelyn, who was born on October 29, Rosanna. As to the alleged infertility of Pablo, the claimants averred
DECISION
1991. Mariquita also confirmed that Pablo was not capable of that Dr. Macapinlac denied giving the opinion precisely because he
having a child as he was under treatment. was not an expert on such matters, and that he treated the
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
deceased only for tuberculosis. The claimant likewise claimed that
On the basis of the report and an alleged confirmation by a certain the information the SSS gathered from the doctor was privileged
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision 1 of the communication.14
Dr. Manuel Macapinlac that Pablo was infertile, the SSS denied
Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 66531 and its Resolution
Rosanna’s request to resume the payment of their pensions. She
denying the motion for reconsideration thereof.
was advised to refund to the SSS within 30 days the amount of In compliance with the SSC’s order, the SSS secured Confirmation
₱10,350.00 representing the total death benefits released to her Reports15 signed by clerks from the corresponding civil registers
The antecedents are as follows: and Jenelyn from December 1996 to August 1997 at ₱1,150.00 per confirming (1) the fact of marriage between Pablo and Rosanna on
month.8 December 4, 1977; (2) the fact of Jefren dela Peña’s birth on
Pablo Aguas, a member of the Social Security System (SSS) and a November 15, 1996; (3) the fact of Jeylnn’s birth on October 29,
pensioner, died on December 8, 1996. Pablo’s surviving spouse, Rosanna and Jeylnn, through counsel, requested for a 1991; and (4) the fact of Pablo’s death on December 8, 1996.
Rosanna H. Aguas, filed a claim with the SSS for death benefits on reconsideration of the said decision. 9 However, in its Letter dated
December 13, 1996. Rosanna indicated in her claim that Pablo was February 6, 1998, the SSS denied the claim.10 The SSC decided to set the case for hearing. It also directed the SSS
likewise survived by his minor child, Jeylnn, who was born on to verify the authenticity of Pablo’s signature as appearing on
October 29, 1991.2 Her claim for monthly pension was settled on Jeylnn’s birth certificate from his claim records, particularly his SSS
This prompted Rosanna and Jeylnn to file a claim/petition for the
February 13, 1997.3 Form E-1 and retirement benefit application.16 The SSS complied
Restoration/Payment of Pensions with the Social Security
Commission (SSC) on February 20, 1998.11 Janet H. Aguas, who also with said directive and manifested to the SSC that, based on the
Sometime in April 1997, the SSS received a sworn letter4 dated April claimed to be the child of the deceased and Rosanna, now joined laboratory analysis conducted, Pablo’s signature in the birth
2, 1997 from Leticia Aguas-Macapinlac, Pablo’s sister, contesting them as claimant. The case was docketed as SSC Case No. 3-14769- certificate was made by the same person who signed the member’s
Rosanna’s claim for death benefits. She alleged that Rosanna 98. record and other similar documents submitted by Pablo. 17
abandoned the family abode approximately more than six years
before, and lived with another man on whom she has been The SSC then summoned Vivencia Turla, Carmelita Yangu and Leticia
The claimants appended to their petition, among others,
dependent for support. She further averred that Pablo had no legal Aguas-Macapinlac for clarificatory questions with regard to their
photocopies of the following: (1) Pablo and Rosanna’s marriage
children with Rosanna, but that the latter had several children with respective sworn affidavits.18 Vivencia testified that she had known
certificate; (2) Janet’s certificate of live birth; (3) Jeylnn’s certificate
a certain Romeo dela Peña. In support of her allegation, Leticia Pablo and Rosanna for more than 30 years already; the couple were
of live birth; and (4) Pablo’s certificate of death.
enclosed a notarized copy of the original birth certificate5 of one married and lived in Macabacle, Dolores, San Fernando, Pampanga;
Jefren H. dela Peña, showing that the latter was born on November she was a former neighbor of the spouses, but four years after their
In its Answer, the SSS averred that, based on the sworn testimonies
15, 1996 to Rosanna Y. Hernandez and Romeo C. dela Peña, and marriage, she (Vivencia) and her family moved to Sto. Niño
and documentary evidence showing the disqualification of the
that the two were married on November 1, 1990. Triangulo, San Fernando, Pampanga; she would often visit the two,
petitioners as primary beneficiaries, the claims were barren of
factual and legal basis; as such, it was justified in denying their especially during Christmas or fiestas; the spouses’ real child was
claims.12 Jeylnn; Janet was only an adopted child; the spouse later transferred
residence, not far from their old house, and Janet, together with her Romeo dela Peña during the subsistence of her marriage to Pablo. were binding upon the parties, including the SSS. These entries
husband and son, remained in the old house.19 The SSC based its conclusion on the birth certificate of Jefren dela made in public documents may only be challenged through
Peña stating that his mother, Rosanna, and father, Romeo dela adversarial proceedings in courts of law, and may not be altered by
On the other hand, Carmelita testified that she had been a neighbor Peña, were married on November 1, 1990. The SSC declared that mere testimonies of witnesses to the contrary. As for Rosanna, the
of Pablo and Rosanna for 15 years and that, up to the present, Rosanna had a child with Romeo dela Peña while she was still CA found no evidence to show that she ceased to receive support
Rosanna and her children, Janet, Jeylnn and Jefren, were still her married to Pablo (as evidenced by the baptismal certificate of from Pablo before he died. Rosanna’s alleged affair with Romeo dela
neighbors; Janet and Jeylnn were the children of Pablo and Rosanna Jenelyn H. dela Peña showing that she was the child of Rosanna Peña was not properly proven. In any case, even if Rosanna married
but she did not know whose child Jefren is. 20 Hernandez and Romeo dela Peña and that she was born on January Romeo dela Peña during her marriage to Pablo, the same would
29, 1992). The SSC concluded that Rosanna was no longer entitled have been a void marriage; it would not have ipso facto made her
According to Leticia, Janet was not the real child of Pablo and to support from Pablo prior to his death because of her act of not dependent for support upon Pablo and negate the presumption
Rosanna; she was just taken in by the spouses because for a long adultery. As for Jeylnn, the SSC ruled that, even if her birth that, as the surviving spouse, she is entitled to support from her
time they could not have children;21 however, there were no legal certificate was signed by Pablo as her father, there was more husband.32
papers on Janet’s adoption.22Later on, Rosanna got pregnant with compelling evidence that Jeylnn was not his legitimate child. The
Jeylnn; after the latter’s baptism, there was a commotion at the SSC deduced from the records that Jeylnn and Jenelyn was one and The SSS filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision, which the
house because Romeo dela Peña was claiming that he was the the same person and concluded, based on the latter’s baptismal CA denied for lack of merit.33 Hence, this petition.
father of the child and he got mad because the child was named certificate, that she was the daughter of Rosanna and Romeo dela
after Pablo; the latter also got mad and even attempted to shoot Peña. It also gave credence to the testimonies of Leticia and Petitioner seeks a reversal of the decision of the appellate court,
Rosanna; he drove them away from the house; since then, Pablo Mariquita that Jeylnn was the child of Rosanna and Romeo dela contending that it
and Rosanna separated;23 she knew about this because at that time Peña. As for Janet, the SSC relied on Leticia’s declaration that she
their mother was sick, and she would often visit her at their was only adopted by Pablo and Rosanna.29
I
ancestral home, where Pablo and Rosanna were also staying;
Rosanna was no longer living in their ancestral home but Janet The claimants filed a motion for reconsideration of the said decision
GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT ROSANNA AGUAS IS
resided therein; she did not know where Rosanna was staying now but their motion was denied by the SSC for lack of merit and for
ACTUALLY DEPENDENT FOR SUPPORT UPON THE MEMBER
but she knew that the latter and Romeo dela Peña were still living having been filed out of time.30 The claimants then elevated the
DURING HIS LIFETIME TO QUALIFY AS PRIMARY
together.24 case to the CA via a petition for review under Rule 43 of the Rules of
BENEFICIARY WITHIN THE INTENDMENT OF SECTION 8(e),
Court.
IN RELATION TO SECTION (k) OF THE SSS LAW, AS
Subsequently, Mariquita Dizon and Jessie Gonzales were also AMENDED.
summoned for clarificatory questions.25 During the hearing, On September 9, 2003, the CA rendered a decision in favor of
Mariquita brought with her photocopies of two baptismal petitioners. The fallo of the decision reads:
II
certificates: that of Jeylnn Aguas,26 child of Pablo Aguas and
Rosanna Hernandez born on October 29, 1991, and that of Jenelyn WHEREFORE, the resolution and order appealed from are hereby
ERRED IN HOLDING THAT JANET AGUAS AND JEYLNN
H. dela Peña,27 child of Romeo dela Peña and Rosanna Hernandez, REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and a new one is entered DECLARING
AGUAS ARE ENTITLED TO THE PENSION BENEFIT ACCRUING
born on January 29, 1992. petitioners as ENTITLED to the SSS benefits accruing from the death
FROM THE DEATH OF PABLO AGUAS.34
of Pablo Aguas. The case is hereby REMANDED to public respondent
On March 14, 2001, the SSC rendered a decision denying the claims for purposes of computing the benefits that may have accrued in
Petitioner invokes Section 8 of Republic Act No. 1161, as amended
for lack of merit and ordering Rosanna to immediately refund to the favor of petitioners after the same was cut and suspended in
by Presidential Decree No. 735, which defines a dependent spouse
SSS the amount of ₱10,350.00 erroneously paid to her and Jeylnn as September 1997.
as "the legitimate spouse dependent for support upon the
primary beneficiaries of the deceased. The SSC likewise directed the
employee." According to petitioner, Rosanna forfeited her right to
SSS to pay the death benefit to qualified secondary beneficiaries of SO ORDERED.31
be supported by Pablo when she engaged in an intimate and illicit
the deceased, and in their absence, to his legal heirs. 28
relationship with Romeo dela Peña and married the latter during her
In so ruling, the CA relied on the birth certificates of Janet and marriage to Pablo. Such act constitutes abandonment, which
The SSC ruled that Rosanna was no longer qualified as primary Jeylnn showing that they were the children of the deceased. divested her of the right to receive support from her husband. It
beneficiary, it appearing that she had contracted marriage with According to the appellate court, for judicial purposes, these records asserts that her act of adultery is evident from the birth certificate
of Jefren H. dela Peña showing that he was born on November 15, Sec.13. Death benefits. – Effective July 1, 1975, upon the covered quantum of evidence required to establish a fact in cases before
1996 to Rosanna and Romeo dela Peña. Petitioner submits that employee’s death, (a) his primary beneficiaries shall be entitled to administrative or quasi-judicial bodies, is that level of relevant
Rosanna cannot be considered as a dependent spouse of Pablo; the basic monthly pension, and his dependents to the dependent’s evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
consequently, she is not a primary beneficiary.35 pension: Provided, That he has paid at least thirty-six monthly justify a conclusion.42
contributions prior to the semester of death: Provided, further, That
As for Janet and Jeylnn, petitioner maintains that they are not if the foregoing condition is not satisfied, or if he has no primary The Court has reviewed the records of the case and finds that only
entitled to the pension because, based on the evidence on record, beneficiaries, his secondary beneficiaries shall be entitled to a lump Jeylnn has sufficiently established her right to a monthly pension.
particularly the testimonies of the witnesses, they are not the sum benefit equivalent to thirty times the basic monthly pension:
legitimate children of Pablo. It argues that, in the exercise of its Provided, however, That the death benefit shall not be less than the Jeylnn’s claim is justified by the photocopy of her birth certificate
quasi-judicial authority under Section 5(a) of the Social Security Act, total contributions paid by him and his employer on his behalf nor which bears the signature of Pablo. Petitioner was able to
the SSC can pass upon the legitimacy of respondents’ relationship less than five hundred pesos: Provided, finally, That the covered authenticate the certification from the Civil Registry showing that
with the member to determine whether they are entitled to the employee who dies in the month of coverage shall be entitled to the she was born on October 29, 1991. The records also show that
benefits, even without correcting their birth certificates. 36 minimum benefit. Rosanna and Pablo were married on December 4, 1977 and the
marriage subsisted until the latter’s death on December 8, 1996. It is
Respondents, for their part, assert that petitioner failed to prove Section 8(k) and (e), in turn, defines dependents and primary therefore evident that Jeylnn was born during Rosanna and Pablo’s
that Rosanna committed acts of adultery or that she married beneficiaries of an SSS member as follows: marriage.
another man after the death of her husband. They contend that
Janet and Jeylnn’s legitimacy may be impugned only on the grounds SECTION 8. Terms defined. – For the purposes of this Act the It bears stressing that under Article 164 of the Family Code, children
stated in Article 166 of the Family Code, none of which were proven following terms shall, unless the context indicates otherwise, have conceived or born during the marriage of the parents are legitimate.
in this case.37 the following meanings: This Court, in De Jesus v. Estate of Decedent Juan Gamboa
Dizon,43 extensively discussed this presumption –
The issue to be resolved in this case is whether Rosanna, Jeylnn and xxxx
Janet are entitled to the SSS death benefits accruing from the death There is perhaps no presumption of the law more firmly established
of Pablo. (e) Dependent. – The legitimate, legitimated, or legally adopted and founded on sounder morality and more convincing reason than
child who is unmarried, not gainfully employed, and not over the presumption that children born in wedlock are legitimate. This
The petition is partly meritorious. twenty-one years of age provided that he is congenitally presumption indeed becomes conclusive in the absence of proof
incapacitated and incapable of self-support physically or mentally; that there is physical impossibility of access between the spouses
The general rule is that only questions of law may be raised by the the legitimate spouse dependent for support upon the employee; during the first 120 days of the 300 days which immediately
parties and passed upon by the Court in petitions for review under and the legitimate parents wholly dependent upon the covered precedes the birth of the child due to (a) the physical incapacity of
Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. 38 In an appeal via certiorari, the Court employee for regular support. the husband to have sexual intercourse with his wife; (b) the fact
may not review the factual findings of the CA.39 It is not the Court’s that the husband and wife are living separately in such way that
function under Rule 45 to review, examine, and evaluate or weigh xxxx sexual intercourse is not possible; or (c) serious illness of the
the probative value of the evidence presented.40 However, the husband, which absolutely prevents sexual intercourse. Quite
Court may review findings of facts in some instances, such as, when (k) Beneficiaries. – The dependent spouse until he remarries and remarkably, upon the expiration of the periods set forth in Article
the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts, when the dependent children, who shall be the primary beneficiaries. In their 170,44 and in proper cases Article 171,45 of the Family Code (which
findings of the CA are contrary to those of the trial court or quasi- absence, the dependent parents and, subject to the restrictions took effect on 03 August 1988), the action to impugn the legitimacy
judicial agency, or when the findings of facts of the CA are premised imposed on dependent children, the legitimate descendants and of the child would no longer be legally feasible and the status
on the absence of evidence and are contradicted by the evidence on illegitimate children who shall be the secondary beneficiaries. In the conferred by the presumption becomes fixed and unassailable.46
record.41 The Court finds these instances present in this case. absence of any of the foregoing, any other person designated by the
covered employee as secondary beneficiary. Indeed, impugning the legitimacy of a child is a strictly personal right
At the time of Pablo’s death, the prevailing law was Republic Act No. of the husband or, in exceptional cases, his heirs. 47 In this case,
1161, as amended by Presidential Decree No. 735. Section 13 of the Whoever claims entitlement to such benefits should establish his or there is no showing that Pablo challenged the legitimacy of Jeylnn
law enumerates those who are entitled to death benefits: her right thereto by substantial evidence. Substantial evidence, the
during his lifetime. Hence, Jeylnn’s status as a legitimate child of that she was still dependent on Pablo at the time of his death regarding the witnesses’ assertion in their affidavits that the couple
Pablo can no longer be contested. remains to be resolved. Indeed, a husband and wife are obliged to lived together until Pablo’s death. On the contrary, Leticia narrated
support each other,51 but whether one is actually dependent for that the two separated after Jeylnn’s baptism as a result of an
The presumption that Jeylnn is a legitimate child is buttressed by support upon the other is something that has to be shown; it cannot argument regarding Romeo dela Peña. According to Leticia, there
her birth certificate bearing Pablo’s signature, which was verified be presumed from the fact of marriage alone. was a commotion at their ancestral house because Romeo dela
from his specimen signature on file with petitioner. A birth Peña was grumbling why Jeylnn was named after Pablo when he
certificate signed by the father is a competent evidence of In a parallel case52 involving a claim for benefits under the GSIS law, was the father, and as a result, Pablo drove them away. The SSC’s
paternity.48 the Court defined a dependent as "one who derives his or her main observation and conclusion on the two baptismal certificates of
support from another. Meaning, relying on, or subject to, someone Jeylnn and Jenelyn convinces this Court to further believe Leticia’s
The presumption of legitimacy under Article 164, however, can not else for support; not able to exist or sustain oneself, or to perform testimony on why Pablo and Rosanna separated. As noted by the
extend to Janet because her date of birth was not substantially anything without the will, power, or aid of someone else." It should SSC:
proven. Such presumption may be availed only upon convincing be noted that the GSIS law likewise defines a dependent spouse as
proof of the factual basis therefor, i.e., that the child’s parents were "the legitimate spouse dependent for It appears from the records that Jeylnn Aguas and Jenelyn H. dela
legally married and that his/her conception or birth occurred during Peña are one and the same person. Jeylnn Aguas, born on October
the subsistence of that marriage.49 It should be noted that support upon the member or pensioner." In that case, the Court 29, 1991 was baptized at the Metropolitan Cathedral of San
respondents likewise submitted a photocopy of Janet’s alleged birth found it obvious that a wife who abandoned the family for more Fernando, Pampanga, on November 24, 1991 as the child of Pablo
certificate. However, the Court cannot give said birth certificate the than 17 years until her husband died, and lived with other men, was Aguas and Rosanna Hernandez. Jenelyn H dela Peña, on the other
same probative weight as Jeylnn’s because it was not verified in any not dependent on her husband for support, financial or otherwise, hand, was born on January 29, 1992 to spouses Rosanna Hernandez
way by the civil register. It stands as a mere photocopy, without during that entire period. Hence, the Court denied her claim for and Romeo dela Peña and baptized on February 9, 1992. It will be
probative weight. Unlike Jeylnn, there was no confirmation by the death benefits. noted that Jenelyn dela Peña was born approximately three months
civil register of the fact of Janet’s birth on the date stated in the after the birth of Jeylnn Aguas. It is physically impossible for
certificate. The obvious conclusion then is that a wife who is already separated Rosanna to have given birth successively to two children in so short
de facto from her husband cannot be said to be "dependent for a time. x x x The testimony of Leticia Aguas-Macapinlac that
In any case, a record of birth is merely prima facie evidence of the support" upon the husband, absent any showing to the contrary. Rosanna was driven away by Pablo after the baptism of Jeylnn
facts contained therein.50 Here, the witnesses were unanimous in Conversely, if it is proved that the husband and wife were still living because of the commotion that was created by Romeo dela Peña
saying that Janet was not the real child but merely adopted by together at the time of his death, it would be safe to presume that who wanted Jeylnn to be baptized using his name explains why
Rosanna and Pablo. Leticia also testified that Janet’s adoption did she was dependent on the husband for support, unless it is shown Jeylnn was again baptized in the Parish of Sto. Niño in San Fernando
not undergo any legal proceedings; hence, there were no papers to that she is capable of providing for herself. using the name Jenelyn dela Peña. They changed her date of birth
prove it. Under Section 8(e) of Republic Act No. 1161, as amended, also to make it appear in the record of the parish that she is another
only "legally adopted" children are considered dependent children. child of Rosanna.53
Rosanna had the burden to prove that all the statutory
Absent any proof that the family has legally adopted Janet, the requirements have been complied with, particularly her dependency
Court cannot consider her a dependent child of Pablo, hence, not a on her husband for support at the time of his death. Aside from her On the other hand, Mariquita categorically affirmed that Rosanna
primary beneficiary. own testimony, the only evidence adduced by Rosanna to prove was no longer living at Pablo’s house even before he died, and that
that she and Pablo lived together as husband and wife until his she is still living with Romeo dela Peña up to the present. Mariquita
On the claims of Rosanna, it bears stressing that for her to qualify as death were the affidavits of Vivencia Turla and Carmelita Yangu testified as follows:
a primary beneficiary, she must prove that she was "the legitimate where they made such declaration.
spouse dependent for support from the employee." The claimant- Hearing Officer:
spouse must therefore establish two qualifying factors: (1) that she Still, the affidavits of Vivencia and Carmelita and their testimonies
is the legitimate spouse, and (2) that she is dependent upon the before the SSC will not prevail over the categorical and Nagsama ba si Rosanna at Romeo?
member for support. In this case, Rosanna presented proof to show straightforward testimonies of the other witnesses who testified
that she is the legitimate spouse of Pablo, that is, a copy of their that Rosanna and Pablo had already separated for almost six years Mrs. Dizon:
marriage certificate which was verified with the civil register by before the latter died. Except for the bare assertion of Carmelita
petitioner. But whether or not Rosanna has sufficiently established that the couple never separated, there was no further statement Ngayon at kahit na noon.
Hearing Officer: nanay ko. Noon madalas ako noong buhay pa yung nanay ni Kuya entitled to the SSS death benefits accruing from the death of Pablo
Pabling dahil kami ang nag aalaga sa kanya. Aguas.
Kailan namatay si Pablo?
Hearing Officer: SO ORDERED.
Mrs. Dizon:
Bago namatay si Pablo, nagsasama ba sina Romeo at Rosanna?
1996.
Mrs. Dizon:
Hearing Officer:
Oo.
Noong bago mamatay si Pablo?
Hearing Officer:
Mrs. Dizon:
Sa ngayon, may alam ka pa ba kung nagsasama pa sila Romeo at
Nagsasama na sila Romeo at Rosanna noon. Rosanna?

Hearing Officer: Mrs. Dizon:

So, buhay pa si Pablo …… Oo, nagsasama sila, may bahay sila.

Mrs. Dizon: Hearing Officer:

…. nagsasama na sila ni Romeo. Saan naman?

Hearing Officer: Mrs. Dizon:

Kailan nagkahiwalay si Romeo at Rosanna? Doon sa malapit sa amin sa may riles ng tren.54

Mrs. Dizon: In conclusion, the Court finds that, among respondents, only Jeylnn
is entitled to the SSS death benefits accruing from the death of
Hindi na sila nagkahiwalay. Pablo, as it was established that she is his legitimate child. On the
other hand, the records show that Janet was merely "adopted" by
the spouses, but there are no legal papers to prove it; hence, she
Hearing Officer:
cannot qualify as a primary beneficiary. Finally, while Rosanna was
the legitimate wife of Pablo, she is likewise not qualified as a
Hindi, ibig ko sabihin si Pablo at Rosana?
primary beneficiary since she failed to present any proof to show
that at the time of his death, she was still dependent on him for
Mrs. Dizon: support even if they were already living separately.

Hindi ko alam kasi hindi ako madalas pumunta sa kanila eh, dahil IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is PARTIALLY
namatay na yung nanay ni Kuya Pabling, yung tiyahin ko, kapatid ng GRANTED. The Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals are
AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION. Only Jeylnn H. Aguas is declared
THIRD DIVISION awarded to Ma. Theresa while Gerardo was granted visitation Ma. Theresa elevated the case to the Court of Appeals, assigning as
rights.9 error the ruling of the trial court granting visitation rights to
G.R. No. 123450. August 31, 2005 Gerardo. She likewise opposed the continued use of Gerardo’s
Ma. Theresa felt betrayed and humiliated when Gerardo had their surname (Concepcion) despite the fact that Jose Gerardo had
GERARDO B. CONCEPCION, Petitioners, marriage annulled. She held him responsible for the ‘bastardization’ already been declared illegitimate and should therefore use her
vs. of Gerardo. She moved for the reconsideration of the above surname (Almonte). The appellate court denied the petition and
COURT OF APPEALS and MA. THERESA ALMONTE, Respondent. decision "INSOFAR ONLY as that portion of the … decision which affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court.13
grant(ed) to the petitioner so-called ‘visitation rights’… between the
DECISION hours of 8 in the morning to 12:00 p.m. of any Sunday." 10 She On the issue raised by Ma. Theresa that there was nothing in the
argued that there was nothing in the law granting "visitation rights law that granted a putative father visitation rights over his
in favor of the putative father of an illegitimate child."11 She further illegitimate child, the appellate court affirmed the "best interest of
CORONA, J.:
maintained that Jose Gerardo’s surname should be changed from the child" policy invoked by the court a quo. It ruled that "[a]t
Concepcion to Almonte, her maiden name, following the rule that bottom, it (was) the child’s welfare and not the convenience of the
The child, by reason of his mental and physical immaturity, needs
an illegitimate child shall use the mother’s surname. parents which (was) the primary consideration in granting visitation
special safeguard and care, including appropriate legal protection
rights a few hours once a week."14
before as well as after birth.1 In case of assault on his rights by those
Gerardo opposed the motion. He insisted on his visitation rights and
who take advantage of his innocence and vulnerability, the law will
the retention of ‘Concepcion’ as Jose Gerardo’s surname. The appellate court likewise held that an illegitimate child cannot
rise in his defense with the single-minded purpose of upholding only
use the mother’s surname motu proprio. The child, represented by
his best interests.
Applying the "best interest of the child" principle, the trial court the mother, should file a separate proceeding for a change of name
denied Ma. Theresa’s motion and made the following observations: under Rule 103 of the Rules of Court to effect the correction in the
This is the story of petitioner Gerardo B. Concepcion and private
civil registry.15
respondent Ma. Theresa Almonte, and a child named Jose Gerardo.
Gerardo and Ma. Theresa were married on December 29, It is a pity that the parties herein seem to be using their son to get at
or to hurt the other, something they should never do if they want to Undaunted, Ma. Theresa moved for the reconsideration of the
1989.2 After their marriage, they lived with Ma. Theresa’s parents in
assure the normal development and well-being of the boy. adverse decision of the appellate court. She also filed a motion to
Fairview, Quezon City.3 Almost a year later, on December 8, 1990,
set the case for oral arguments so that she could better ventilate
Ma. Theresa gave birth to Jose Gerardo.4
The Court allowed visitorial rights to the father knowing that the the issues involved in the controversy.
Gerardo and Ma. Theresa’s relationship turned out to be short-lived, minor needs a father, especially as he is a boy, who must have a
father figure to recognize – something that the mother alone cannot After hearing the oral arguments of the respective counsels of the
however. On December 19, 1991, Gerardo filed a petition to have
give. Moreover, the Court believes that the emotional and parties, the appellate court resolved the motion for reconsideration.
his marriage to Ma. Theresa annulled on the ground of bigamy. 5 He
psychological well-being of the boy would be better served if he It reversed its earlier ruling and held that Jose Gerardo was not the
alleged that nine years before he married Ma. Theresa on December
were allowed to maintain relationships with his father. son of Ma. Theresa by Gerardo but by Mario during her first
10, 1980, she had married one Mario Gopiao, which marriage was
marriage:
never annulled.6 Gerardo also found out that Mario was still alive
and was residing in Loyola Heights, Quezon City.7 There being no law which compels the Court to act one way or the
other on this matter, the Court invokes the provision of Art. 8, PD It is, therefore, undeniable – established by the evidence in this case
603 as amended, otherwise known as the Child and Youth Welfare – that the appellant [Ma. Theresa] was married to Mario Gopiao,
Ma. Theresa did not deny marrying Mario when she was twenty
Code, to wit: and that she had never entered into a lawful marriage with the
years old. She, however, averred that the marriage was a sham and
appellee [Gerardo] since the so-called "marriage" with the latter
that she never lived with Mario at all.8
"In all questions regarding the care, custody, education and was void ab initio. It was [Gerardo] himself who had established
property of the child, his welfare shall be the paramount these facts. In other words, [Ma. Theresa] was legitimately married
The trial court ruled that Ma. Theresa’s marriage to Mario was valid
consideration." to Mario Gopiao when the child Jose Gerardo was born on
and subsisting when she married Gerardo and annulled her
December 8, 1990. Therefore, the child Jose Gerardo – under the
marriage to the latter for being bigamous. It declared Jose Gerardo
law – is the legitimate child of the legal and subsisting marriage
to be an illegitimate child as a result. The custody of the child was WHEREFORE, the respondent’s Motion for Reconsideration has to
between [Ma. Theresa] and Mario Gopiao; he cannot be deemed to
be, as it is hereby DENIED.12
be the illegitimate child of the void and non-existent ‘marriage’ The status and filiation of a child cannot be compromised. 19 Article wife within the first 120 days of the 300 days which immediately
between [Ma. Theresa] and [Gerardo], but is said by the law to be 164 of the Family Code is clear. A child who is conceived or born preceded the birth of the child.31
the child of the legitimate and existing marriage between [Ma. during the marriage of his parents is legitimate. 20
Theresa] and Mario Gopiao (Art. 164, Family Code). Consequently, To rebut the presumption, the separation between the spouses
[she] is right in firmly saying that [Gerardo] can claim neither 21
As a guaranty in favor of the child and to protect his status of must be such as to make marital intimacy impossible.32 This may
custody nor visitorial rights over the child Jose Gerardo. Further, legitimacy, Article 167 of the Family Code provides: take place, for instance, when they reside in different countries or
[Gerardo] cannot impose his name upon the child. Not only is it provinces and they were never together during the period of
without legal basis (even supposing the child to be his illegitimate Article 167. The child shall be considered legitimate although the conception.33 Or, the husband was in prison during the period of
child [Art. 146, The Family Code]); it would tend to destroy the mother may have declared against its legitimacy or may have been conception, unless it appears that sexual union took place through
existing marriage between [Ma. Theresa] and Gopiao, would sentenced as an adulteress. the violation of prison regulations.34
prevent any possible rapproachment between the married couple,
and would mean a judicial seal upon an illegitimate relationship.16 Here, during the period that Gerardo and Ma. Theresa were living
The law requires that every reasonable presumption be made in
favor of legitimacy.22 We explained the rationale of this rule in the together in Fairview, Quezon City, Mario was living in Loyola Heights
The appellate court brushed aside the common admission of recent case of Cabatania v. Court of Appeals23 : which is also in Quezon City. Fairview and Loyola Heights are only a
Gerardo and Ma. Theresa that Jose Gerardo was their son. It gave scant four kilometers apart.
little weight to Jose Gerardo’s birth certificate showing that he was
The presumption of legitimacy does not only flow out of a
born a little less than a year after Gerardo and Ma. Theresa were Not only did both Ma. Theresa and Mario reside in the same city but
declaration in the statute but is based on the broad principles of
married: also that no evidence at all was presented to disprove personal
natural justice and the supposed virtue of the mother. It is grounded
on the policy to protect the innocent offspring from the odium of access between them. Considering these circumstances, the
We are not unaware of the movant’s argument that various illegitimacy. separation between Ma. Theresa and her lawful husband, Mario,
evidence exist that appellee and the appellant have judicially was certainly not such as to make it physically impossible for them
admitted that the minor is their natural child. But, in the same vein, to engage in the marital act.
Gerardo invokes Article 166 (1)(b)24 of the Family Code. He cannot.
We cannot overlook the fact that Article 167 of the Family Code
He has no standing in law to dispute the status of Jose Gerardo.
mandates: Sexual union between spouses is assumed. Evidence sufficient to
Only Ma. Theresa’s husband Mario or, in a proper case, 25 his heirs,
who can contest the legitimacy of the child Jose Gerardo born to his defeat the assumption should be presented by him who asserts the
"The child shall be considered legitimate although the mother may wife.26 Impugning the legitimacy of a child is a strictly personal right contrary. There is no such evidence here. Thus, the presumption of
have declared against its legitimacy or may have been sentenced as of the husband or, in exceptional cases, his heirs. 27 Since the legitimacy in favor of Jose Gerardo, as the issue of the marriage
an adulteress." (underscoring ours) marriage of Gerardo and Ma. Theresa was void from the very between Ma. Theresa and Mario, stands.
beginning, he never became her husband and thus never acquired
Thus, implicit from the above provision is the fact that a minor any right to impugn the legitimacy of her child. Gerardo relies on Ma. Theresa’s statement in her answer35 to the
cannot be deprived of his/her legitimate status on the bare petition for annulment of marriage36 that she never lived with
declaration of the mother and/or even much less, the supposed The presumption of legitimacy proceeds from the sexual union in Mario. He claims this was an admission that there was never any
father. In fine, the law and only the law determines who are the marriage, particularly during the period of conception.28 To sexual relation between her and Mario, an admission that was
legitimate or illegitimate children for one’s legitimacy or overthrow this presumption on the basis of Article 166 (1)(b) of the binding on her.
illegitimacy cannot ever be compromised. Not even the birth Family Code, it must be shown beyond reasonable doubt that there
certificate of the minor can change his status for the information was no access that could have enabled the husband to father the Gerardo’s argument is without merit.
contained therein are merely supplied by the mother and/or the child.29Sexual intercourse is to be presumed where personal access
supposed father. It should be what the law says and not what a is not disproved, unless such presumption is rebutted by evidence to First, the import of Ma. Theresa’s statement is that Jose Gerardo is
parent says it is.17 (Emphasis supplied) the contrary.30 not her legitimate son with Mario but her illegitimate son with
Gerardo. This declaration ― an avowal by the mother that her child
Shocked and stunned, Gerardo moved for a reconsideration of the The presumption is quasi-conclusive and may be refuted only by the is illegitimate ― is the very declaration that is proscribed by Article
above decision but the same was denied.18Hence, this appeal. evidence of physical impossibility of coitus between husband and 167 of the Family Code.
The language of the law is unmistakable. An assertion by the mother Public policy demands that there be no compromise on the status hand, an illegitimate child is bound to use the surname and be
against the legitimacy of her child cannot affect the legitimacy of a and filiation of a child.41 Otherwise, the child will be at the mercy of under the parental authority only of his mother. He can claim
child born or conceived within a valid marriage. those who may be so minded to exploit his defenselessness. support only from a more limited group and his legitime is only half
of that of his legitimate counterpart.49 Moreover (without
Second, even assuming the truth of her statement, it does not mean The reliance of Gerardo on Jose Gerardo’s birth certificate is unwittingly exacerbating the discrimination against him), in the eyes
that there was never an instance where Ma. Theresa could have misplaced. It has no evidentiary value in this case because it was not of society, a ‘bastard’ is usually regarded as bearing a stigma or
been together with Mario or that there occurred absolutely no offered in evidence before the trial court. The rule is that the court mark of dishonor. Needless to state, the legitimacy presumptively
intercourse between them. All she said was that she never lived shall not consider any evidence which has not been formally vested by law upon Jose Gerardo favors his interest.
with Mario. She never claimed that nothing ever happened between offered.42
them. It is unfortunate that Jose Gerardo was used as a pawn in the bitter
Moreover, the law itself establishes the status of a child from the squabble between the very persons who were passionately
Telling is the fact that both of them were living in Quezon City moment of his birth.43 Although a record of birth or birth certificate declaring their concern for him. The paradox was that he was made
during the time material to Jose Gerardo’s conception and birth. Far may be used as primary evidence of the filiation of a child, 44 as the to suffer supposedly for his own sake. This madness should end.
from foreclosing the possibility of marital intimacy, their proximity status of a child is determined by the law itself, proof of filiation is
to each other only serves to reinforce such possibility. Thus, the necessary only when the legitimacy of the child is being questioned, This case has been pending for a very long time already. What is
impossibility of physical access was never established beyond or when the status of a child born after 300 days following the specially tragic is that an innocent child is involved. Jose Gerardo
reasonable doubt. termination of marriage is sought to be established.45 was barely a year old when these proceedings began. He is now
almost fifteen and all this time he has been a victim of incessant
Third, to give credence to Ma. Theresa’s statement is to allow her to Here, the status of Jose Gerardo as a legitimate child was not under bickering. The law now comes to his aid to write finis to the
arrogate unto herself a right exclusively lodged in the husband, or in attack as it could not be contested collaterally and, even then, only controversy which has unfairly hounded him since his infancy.
a proper case, his heirs.37 A mother has no right to disavow a child by the husband or, in extraordinary cases, his heirs. Hence, the
because maternity is never uncertain.38 Hence, Ma. Theresa is not presentation of proof of legitimacy in this case was improper and Having only his best interests in mind, we uphold the presumption
permitted by law to question Jose Gerardo’s legitimacy. uncalled for. of his legitimacy.

Finally, for reasons of public decency and morality, a married In addition, a record of birth is merely prima facie evidence of the As a legitimate child, Jose Gerardo shall have the right to bear the
woman cannot say that she had no intercourse with her husband facts contained therein.46 As prima facie evidence, the statements in surnames of his father Mario and mother Ma. Theresa, in
and that her offspring is illegitimate.39 The proscription is in the record of birth may be rebutted by more preponderant conformity with the provisions of the Civil Code on surnames.50 A
consonance with the presumption in favor of family solidarity. It evidence. It is not conclusive evidence with respect to the person’s surname or family name identifies the family to which he
also promotes the intention of the law to lean toward the legitimacy truthfulness of the statements made therein by the interested belongs and is passed on from parent to child. 51 Hence, Gerardo
of children.40 parties.47 Between the certificate of birth which is prima cannot impose his surname on Jose Gerardo who is, in the eyes of
facie evidence of Jose Gerardo’s illegitimacy and the quasi- the law, not related to him in any way.
Gerardo’s insistence that the filiation of Jose Gerardo was never an conclusive presumption of law (rebuttable only by proof beyond
issue both in the trial court and in the appellate court does not hold reasonable doubt) of his legitimacy, the latter shall prevail. Not only The matter of changing Jose Gerardo’s name and effecting the
water. The fact that both Ma. Theresa and Gerardo admitted and does it bear more weight, it is also more conducive to the best corrections of the entries in the civil register regarding his paternity
agreed that Jose Gerardo was born to them was immaterial. That interests of the child and in consonance with the purpose of the law. and filiation should be threshed out in a separate proceeding.
was, in effect, an agreement that the child was illegitimate. If the
Court were to validate that stipulation, then it would be tantamount It perplexes us why both Gerardo and Ma. Theresa would doggedly In case of annulment or declaration of absolute nullity of marriage,
to allowing the mother to make a declaration against the legitimacy press for Jose Gerardo’s illegitimacy while claiming that they both Article 49 of the Family Code grants visitation rights to a parent who
of her child and consenting to the denial of filiation of the child by had the child’s interests at heart. The law, reason and common is deprived of custody of his children. Such visitation rights flow
persons other than her husband. These are the very acts from which sense dictate that a legitimate status is more favorable to the child. from the natural right of both parent and child to each other’s
the law seeks to shield the child. In the eyes of the law, the legitimate child enjoys a preferred and company. There being no such parent-child relationship between
superior status. He is entitled to bear the surnames of both his them, Gerardo has no legally demandable right to visit Jose Gerardo.
father and mother, full support and full inheritance.48On the other
Our laws seek to promote the welfare of the child. Article 8 of PD
603, otherwise known as the Child and Youth Welfare Code, is clear
and unequivocal:

Article 8. Child’s Welfare Paramount. – In all questions regarding the


care, custody, education and property of the child, his welfare shall
be the paramount consideration.

Article 3 (1) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a


Child of which the Philippines is a signatory is similarly emphatic:

Article 3

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 child shall
be a primary consideration.

The State as parens patriae affords special protection to children


from abuse, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their
development. It is mandated to provide protection to those of
tender years.52 Through its laws, the State safeguards them from
every one, even their own parents, to the end that their eventual
development as responsible citizens and members of society shall
not be impeded, distracted or impaired by family acrimony. This is
especially significant where, as in this case, the issue concerns their
filiation as it strikes at their very identity and lineage.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. The September 14,


1995 and January 10, 1996 resolutions of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. CV No. 40651 are hereby AFFIRMED.

Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.
THIRD DIVISION married to a Japanese national, Hasegawa Katsuo, in a civil wedding 2. Ordering defendant to provide plaintiff with a monthly
solemnized on 19 February 1993 by Municipal Trial Court Judge support of P10,000.00 and further
G.R. No. 171713 December 17, 2007 Panfilo V. Valdez.5
3. Ordering defendant to pay reasonable attorney’s fees in
ESTATE OF ROGELIO G. ONG, petitioner, From January 1994 to September 1998, Jinky and Rogelio cohabited the amount of P5,000.00 and the cost of the suit.
vs. and lived together at Fairlane Subdivision, and later at Capitol
Minor JOANNE RODJIN DIAZ, Represented by Her Mother and Garden, Tarlac City. On 28 April 1999, Rogelio filed a motion to lift the order of default
Guardian, Jinky C. Diaz, respondent. and a motion for reconsideration seeking the court’s understanding,
From this live-in relationship, minor Joanne Rodjin Diaz was as he was then in a quandary on what to do to find a solution to a
DECISION conceived and on 25 February 1998 was born at the Central Luzon very difficult problem of his life.7
Doctors’ Hospital, Tarlac City.
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: On 29 April 1999, Rogelio filed a motion for new trial with prayer
Rogelio brought Jinky to the hospital and took minor Joanne and that the decision of the trial court dated 23 April 1999 be vacated
This is a petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Jinky home after delivery. Rogelio paid all the hospital bills and the and the case be considered for trial de novo pursuant to the
Revised Rules of Civil Procedure assailing (1) the Decision 1 of the baptismal expenses and provided for all of minor Joanne’s needs – provisions of Section 6, Rule 37 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Court of Appeals dated 23 November 2005 and (2) the recognizing the child as his. Procedure.8
Resolution2 of the same court dated 1 March 2006 denying
petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration in CA-G.R. CV No. 70125. In September 1998, Rogelio abandoned minor Joanne and Jinky, and On 16 June 1999, the RTC issued an Order granting Rogelio’s Motion
stopped supporting minor Joanne, falsely alleging that he is not the for New Trial:
A Complaint3 for compulsory recognition with prayer for support father of the child.
pending litigation was filed by minor Joanne Rodjin Diaz (Joanne), WHEREFORE, finding defendant’s motion for new trial to be
represented by her mother and guardian, Jinky C. Diaz (Jinky), Rogelio, despite Jinky’s remonstrance, failed and refused and impressed with merit, the same is hereby granted.
against Rogelio G. Ong (Rogelio) before the Regional Trial Court continued failing and refusing to give support for the child and to
(RTC) of Tarlac City. In her Complaint, Jinky prayed that judgment be acknowledge her as his daughter, thus leading to the filing of the The Order of this court declaring defendant in default and
rendered: heretofore adverted complaint. the decision is this court dated April 23, 1999 are hereby
set aside but the evidence adduced shall remain in record,
(a) Ordering defendant to recognize plaintiff Joanne Rodjin After summons had been duly served upon Rogelio, the latter failed subject to cross-examination by defendant at the
Diaz as his daughter. to file any responsive pleading despite repeated motions for appropriate stage of the proceedings.
extension, prompting the trial court to declare him in default in its
(b) Ordering defendant to give plaintiff monthly support Order dated 7 April 1999. Rogelio’s Answer with Counterclaim and In the meantime defendant’s answer is hereby admitted,
of P20,000.00 pendente lite and thereafter to fix monthly Special and Affirmative Defenses was received by the trial court only subject to the right of plaintiff to file a reply and/or answer
support. on 15 April 1999. Jinky was allowed to present her evidence ex to defendant’s counterclaim within the period fixed by the
parte on the basis of which the trial court on 23 April 1999 rendered Rules of Court.
a decision granting the reliefs prayed for in the complaint.
(c) Ordering the defendant to pay plaintiff attorney’s fees
in the sum of P100,000.00. Acting on plaintiff’s application for support pendente lite
In its Decision6 dated 23 April 1999, the RTC held: which this court finds to be warranted, defendant is hereby
(d) Granting plaintiff such other measure of relief as maybe ordered to pay to plaintiff immediately the sum
just and equitable in the premises.4 WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered: of P2,000.00 a month from January 15, 1999 to May 1999
as support pendente lite in arrears and the amount
1. Ordering defendant to recognize plaintiff as his natural of P4,000.00 every month thereafter as regular support
As alleged by Jinky in her Complaint in November 1993 in Tarlac
child; pendente lite during the pendency of this case.9
City, she and Rogelio got acquainted. This developed into friendship
and later blossomed into love. At this time, Jinky was already
The RTC finally held: defendant) must have a different father or may be the son In a Decision dated 23 November 2005, the Court of Appeals held:
of Hasegawa K[u]tsuo.
The only issue to be resolved is whether or not the WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present appeal is
defendant is the father of the plaintiff Joanne Rodjin Diaz. The defendant admitted having been the one who hereby GRANTED. The appealed Decision dated December
shouldered the hospital bills representing the expenses in 15, 2000 of the Regional Trial Court of Tarlac, Tarlac,
Since it was duly established that plaintiff’s mother Jinky connection with the birth of plaintiff. It is an evidence of Branch 63 in Civil Case No. 8799 is hereby SET ASIDE. The
Diaz was married at the time of the birth of Joanne Rodjin admission that he is the real father of plaintiff. Defendant case is hereby REMANDED to the court a quo for the
Diaz, the law presumes that Joanne is a legitimate child of also admitted that even when he stopped going out with issuance of an order directing the parties to make
the spouses Hasegawa Katsuo and Jinky Diaz (Article 164, Jinky, he and Jinky used to go to motels even after 1996. arrangements for DNA analysis for the purpose of
Family Code). The child is still presumed legitimate even if Defendant also admitted that on some instances, he still determining the paternity of plaintiff minor Joanne Rodjin
the mother may have declared against her legitimacy used to see Jinky after the birth of Joanne Rodjin. Diaz, upon consultation and in coordination with
(Article 167, Ibid). Defendant was even the one who fetched Jinky after she laboratories and experts on the field of DNA analysis.
gave birth to Joanne.
The legitimacy of a child may be impugned only on the No pronouncement as to costs.16
following grounds provided for in Article 166 of the same On the strength of this evidence, the Court finds that
Code. Paragraph 1 of the said Article provides that there Joanne Rodjin is the child of Jinky and defendant Rogelio Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was denied by
must be physical impossibility for the husband to have Ong and it is but just that the latter should support the Court of Appeals in a Resolution dated 1 March 2006.
sexual intercourse with the wife within the first 120 days of plaintiff.10
the 300 days following the birth of the child because of – In disposing as it did, the Court of Appeals justified its Decision as
On 15 December 2000, the RTC rendered a decision and disposed: follows:
a) physical incapacity of the husband to have
sexual intercourse with his wife; WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring In this case, records showed that the late defendant-
Joanne Rodjin Diaz to be the illegitimate child of defendant appellant Rogelio G. Ong, in the early stage of the
b) husband and wife were living separately in such Rogelio Ong with plaintiff Jinky Diaz. The Order of this proceedings volunteered and suggested that he and
a way that sexual intercourse was not possible; Court awarding support pendente lite dated June 15, 1999, plaintiff’s mother submit themselves to a DNA or blood
is hereby affirmed and that the support should continue testing to settle the issue of paternity, as a sign of good
c) serious illness of the husband which prevented until Joanne Rodjin Diaz shall have reached majority age.11 faith. However, the trial court did not consider resorting to
sexual intercourse. this modern scientific procedure notwithstanding the
Rogelio filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which was denied for repeated denials of defendant that he is the biological
It was established by evidence that the husband is a lack of merit in an Order of the trial court dated 19 January father of the plaintiff even as he admitted having actual
Japanese national and that he was living outside of the 2001.12 From the denial of his Motion for Reconsideration, Rogelio sexual relations with plaintiff’s mother. We believe that
country (TSN, Aug. 27, 1999, page 5) and he comes home appealed to the Court of Appeals. After all the responsive pleadings DNA paternity testing, as current jurisprudence affirms,
only once a year. Both evidence of the parties proved that had been filed, the case was submitted for decision and ordered re- would be the most reliable and effective method of settling
the husband was outside the country and no evidence was raffled to another Justice for study and report as early as 12 July the present paternity dispute. Considering, however, the
shown that he ever arrived in the country in the year 1997 2002.13 untimely demise of defendant-appellant during the
preceding the birth of plaintiff Joanne Rodjin Diaz. pendency of this appeal, the trial court, in consultation
During the pendency of the case with the Court of Appeals, with out laboratories and experts on the field of DNA
Rogelio’s counsel filed a manifestation informing the Court that analysis, can possibly avail of such procedure with
While it may also be argued that plaintiff Jinky had a
Rogelio died on 21 February 2005; hence, a Notice of Substitution whatever remaining DNA samples from the deceased
relationship with another man before she met the
was filed by said counsel praying that Rogelio be substituted in the defendant alleged to be the putative father of plaintiff
defendant, there is no evidence that she also had sexual
case by the Estate of Rogelio Ong,14 which motion was accordingly minor whose illegitimate filiations is the subject of this
relations with other men on or about the conception of
granted by the Court of Appeals.15 action for support.17
Joanne Rodjin. Joanne Rodjin was her second child (see
Exh. "A"), so her first child, a certain Nicole (according to
Hence, this petition which raises the following issues for resolution: As a whole, the present petition calls for the determination of Against this presumption no evidence shall be admitted
filiation of minor Joanne for purposes of support in favor of the said other than that of the physical impossibility of the
I minor. husband’s having access to his wife within the first one
hundred and twenty days of the three hundred which
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN Filiation proceedings are usually filed not just to adjudicate preceded the birth of the child.
IT DID NOT DISMISS RESPONDENT’S COMPLAINT FOR paternity but also to secure a legal right associated with paternity,
COMPULSORY RECOGNITION DESPITE ITS FINDING THAT such as citizenship, support (as in the present case), or inheritance. This physical impossibility may be caused:
THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED FAILED TO PROVE THAT The burden of proving paternity is on the person who alleges that
ROGELIO G. ONG WAS HER FATHER. the putative father is the biological father of the child. There are 1) By the impotence of the husband;
four significant procedural aspects of a traditional paternity action
II which parties have to face: a prima facie case, affirmative defenses, 2) By the fact that husband and wife were living separately
presumption of legitimacy, and physical resemblance between the in such a way that access was not possible;
putative father and child.20
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN
IT DID NOT DECLARE RESPONDENT AS THE LEGITIMATE 3) By the serious illness of the husband.24
CHILD OF JINKY C. DIAZ AND HER JAPANESE HUSBAND, A child born to a husband and wife during a valid marriage is
CONSIDERING THAT RESPONDENT FAILED TO REBUT THE presumed legitimate.21 As a guaranty in favor of the child and to
The relevant provisions of the Family Code provide as follows:
PRESUMPTION OF HER LEGITIMACY. protect his status of legitimacy, Article 167 of the Family Code
provides:
ART. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established
III by any of the following:
Article 167. The children shall be considered legitimate
although the mother may have declared against its
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED WHEN (1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a
legitimacy or may have been sentenced as an adulteress.
IT REMANDED THE CASE TO THE COURT A QUO FOR DNA final judgment; or
ANALYSIS DESPITE THE FACT THAT IT IS NO LONGER
FEASIBLE DUE TO THE DEATH OF ROGELIO G. ONG. 18 The law requires that every reasonable presumption be made in
(2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document
favor of legitimacy. We explained the rationale of this rule in the
or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the
recent case of Cabatania v. Court of Appeals22:
Petitioner prays that the present petition be given due course and parent concerned.
the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated November 23, 2005 be
modified, by setting aside the judgment remanding the case to the The presumption of legitimacy does not only flow out of a
In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate
trial court for DNA testing analysis, by dismissing the complaint of declaration in the statute but is based on the broad
filiation shall be proved by:
minor Joanne for compulsory recognition, and by declaring the principles of natural justice and the supposed virtue of the
minor as the legitimate child of Jinky and Hasegawa Katsuo.19 mother. The presumption is grounded on the policy to
protect the innocent offspring from the odium of (1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a
illegitimacy. legitimate child; or
From among the issues presented for our disposition, this Court
finds it prudent to concentrate its attention on the third one, the
The presumption of legitimacy of the child, however, is not (2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and
propriety of the appellate court’s decision remanding the case to
conclusive and consequently, may be overthrown by evidence to the special laws.
the trial court for the conduct of DNA testing. Considering that a
definitive result of the DNA testing will decisively lay to rest the contrary. Hence, Article 255 of the New Civil Code23 provides:
ART. 175. Illegitimate children may establish their
issue of the filiation of minor Joanne, we see no reason to resolve
Article 255. Children born after one hundred and eighty illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same
the first two issues raised by the petitioner as they will be rendered
days following the celebration of the marriage, and before evidence as legitimate children.
moot by the result of the DNA testing.
three hundred days following its dissolution or the
separation of the spouses shall be presumed to be There had been divergent and incongruent statements and
legitimate. assertions bandied about by the parties to the present petition. But
with the advancement in the field of genetics, and the availability of to analyze it in several ways. There are five (5) techniques In the newly promulgated rules on DNA evidence it is provided:
new technology, it can now be determined with reasonable to conduct DNA typing. They are: the RFLP (restriction
certainty whether Rogelio is the biological father of the minor, fragment length polymorphism); "reverse dot blot" or HLA SEC. 3 Definition of Terms. – For purposes of this Rule, the
through DNA testing. DQ a/Pm loci which was used in 287 cases that were following terms shall be defined as follows:
admitted as evidence by 37 courts in the U.S. as of
DNA is the fundamental building block of a person’s entire genetic November 1994; DNA process; VNTR (variable number xxxx
make-up. DNA is found in all human cells and is the same in every tandem repeats); and the most recent which is known as
cell of the same person. Genetic identity is unique. Hence, a the PCR-([polymerase] chain reaction) based STR (short
(c) "DNA evidence" constitutes the totality of the DNA
person’s DNA profile can determine his identity.25 tandem repeats) method which, as of 1996, was availed of
profiles, results and other genetic information directly
by most forensic laboratories in the world. PCR is the
generated from DNA testing of biological samples;
DNA analysis is a procedure in which DNA extracted from a process of replicating or copying DNA in an evidence
biological sample obtained from an individual is examined. The DNA sample a million times through repeated cycling of a
(d) "DNA profile" means genetic information derived from
is processed to generate a pattern, or a DNA profile, for the reaction involving the so-called DNA polymerize
DNA testing of a biological sample obtained from a person,
individual from whom the sample is taken. This DNA profile is enzyme. STR, on the other hand, takes measurements in 13
which biological sample is clearly identifiable as originating
unique for each person, except for identical twins. separate places and can match two (2) samples with a
from that person;
reported theoretical error rate of less than one (1) in a
trillion.
Everyone is born with a distinct genetic blueprint called (e) "DNA testing" means verified and credible scientific
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). It is exclusive to an individual methods which include the extraction of DNA from
(except in the rare occurrence of identical twins that share Just like in fingerprint analysis, in DNA typing, "matches"
biological samples, the generation of DNA profiles and the
a single, fertilized egg), and DNA is unchanging throughout are determined. To illustrate, when DNA or fingerprint
comparison of the information obtained from the DNA
life. Being a component of every cell in the human body, tests are done to identify a suspect in a criminal case, the
testing of biological samples for the purpose of
the DNA of an individual’s blood is the very DNA in his or evidence collected from the crime scene is compared with
determining, with reasonable certainty, whether or not the
her skin cells, hair follicles, muscles, semen, samples from the "known" print. If a substantial amount of the
DNA obtained from two or more distinct biological samples
buccal swabs, saliva, or other body parts. identifying features are the same, the DNA or fingerprint is
originates from the same person (direct identification) or if
deemed to be a match. But then, even if only one feature
the biological samples originate from related persons
of the DNA or fingerprint is different, it is deemed not to
The chemical structure of DNA has four bases. They are (kinship analysis); and
have come from the suspect.
known as A (Adenine), G (guanine), C (cystosine) and T
(thymine). The order in which the four bases appear in an (f) "Probability of Parentage" means the numerical
individual’s DNA determines his or her physical make up. As earlier stated, certain regions of human DNA show
estimate for the likelihood of parentage of a putative
And since DNA is a double stranded molecule, it is variations between people. In each of these regions, a
parent compared with the probability of a random match
composed of two specific paired bases, A-T or T-A and G-C person possesses two genetic types called "allele," one
of two unrelated individuals in a given population.
or C-G. These are called "genes." inherited from each parent. In [a] paternity test, the
forensic scientist looks at a number of these variable
regions in an individual to produce a DNA profile. Amidst the protestation of petitioner against the DNA analysis, the
Every gene has a certain number of the above base pairs resolution thereof may provide the definitive key to the resolution
Comparing next the DNA profiles of the mother and child, it
distributed in a particular sequence. This gives a person his of the issue of support for minor Joanne. Our articulation in Agustin
is possible to determine which half of the child’s DNA was
or her genetic code. Somewhere in the DNA framework, v. Court of Appeals27 is particularly relevant, thus:
inherited from the mother. The other half must have been
nonetheless, are sections that differ. They are known as
inherited from the biological father. The alleged father’s
"polymorphic loci," which are the areas analyzed in DNA
profile is then examined to ascertain whether he has the Our faith in DNA testing, however, was not quite so
typing (profiling, tests, fingerprinting). In other words, DNA
DNA types in his profile, which match the paternal types in steadfast in the previous decade. In Pe Lim v. Court of
typing simply means determining the "polymorphic loci."
the child. If the man’s DNA types do not match that of the Appeals (336 Phil. 741, 270 SCRA 1), promulgated in 1997,
child, the man is excluded as the father. If the DNA types we cautioned against the use of DNA because "DNA, being
How is DNA typing performed? From a DNA sample a relatively new science, (had) not as yet been accorded
match, then he is not excluded as the father.26
obtained or extracted, a molecular biologist may proceed official recognition by our courts. Paternity (would) still
have to be resolved by such conventional evidence as the A year later, in People v. Janson [G.R. No. 125938, 4 April SEC. 4. Application for DNA Testing Order. – The
relevant incriminating acts,verbal and written, by the 2003, 400 SCRA 584], we acquitted the accused charged appropriate court may, at any time, either motu proprio or
putative father." with rape for lack of evidence because "doubts persist(ed) on application of any person who has a legal interest in the
in our mind as to who (were) the real malefactors. Yes, a matter in litigation, order a DNA testing. Such order shall
In 2001, however, we opened the possibility of admitting complex offense (had) been perpetrated but who (were) issue after due hearing and notice to the parties upon a
DNA as evidence of parentage, as enunciated in Tijing v. the perpetrators? How we wish we had DNA or other showing of the following:
Court of Appeals [G.R. No. 125901, 8 March 2001, 354 SCRA scientific evidence to still our doubts."
17]: (a) A biological sample exists that is relevant to the case;
In 2004, in Tecson, et al. v. COMELEC [G.R. Nos. 161434,
x x x Parentage will still be resolved using 161634 and 161824, 3 March 2004, 424 SCRA 277], where (b) The biological sample: (i) was not previously subjected
conventional methods unless we adopt the the Court en banc was faced with the issue of filiation of to the type of DNA testing now requested; or (ii) was
modern and scientific ways available. Fortunately, then presidential candidate Fernando Poe, Jr., we stated: previously subjected to DNA testing, but the results may
we have now the facility and expertise in using require confirmation for good reasons;
DNA test for identification and parentage testing. In case proof of filiation or paternity would be
The University of the Philippines Natural Science unlikely to satisfactorily establish or would be (c) The DNA testing uses a scientifically valid technique;
Research Institute (UP-NSRI) DNA Analysis difficult to obtain, DNA testing, which examines
Laboratory has now the capability to conduct DNA genetic codes obtained from body cells of the (d) The DNA testing has the scientific potential to produce
typing using short tandem repeat (STR) analysis. illegitimate child and any physical residue of the new information that is relevant to the proper resolution of
The analysis is based on the fact that the DNA of a long dead parent could be resorted to. A positive the case; and
child/person has two (2) copies, one copy from the match would clear up filiation or paternity.
mother and the other from the father. The DNA In Tijing v. Court of Appeals, this Court has
(e) The existence of other factors, if any, which the court
from the mother, the alleged father and child are acknowledged the strong weight of DNA testing...
may consider as potentially affecting the accuracy or
analyzed to establish parentage. Of course, being a
integrity of the DNA testing.
novel scientific technique, the use of DNA test as Moreover, in our en banc decision in People v.
evidence is still open to challenge. Eventually, as Yatar [G.R. No. 150224, 19 May 2004, 428 SCRA
From the foregoing, it can be said that the death of the petitioner
the appropriate case comes, courts should not 504], we affirmed the conviction of the accused
does not ipso facto negate the application of DNA testing for as long
hesitate to rule on the admissibility of DNA for rape with homicide, the principal evidence for
evidence. For it was said, that courts should apply as there exist appropriate biological samples of his DNA.
which included DNA test results. x x x.
the results of science when competently obtained
in aid of situations presented, since to reject said As defined above, the term "biological sample" means any organic
Coming now to the issue of remand of the case to the trial court,
results is to deny progress. material originating from a person’s body, even if found in
petitioner questions the appropriateness of the order by the Court
inanimate objects, that is susceptible to DNA testing. This includes
of Appeals directing the remand of the case to the RTC for DNA
blood, saliva, and other body fluids, tissues, hairs and bones. 29
The first real breakthrough of DNA as admissible and testing given that petitioner has already died. Petitioner argues that
authoritative evidence in Philippine jurisprudence came in a remand of the case to the RTC for DNA analysis is no longer
2002 with out en banc decision in People v. Vallejo [G.R. Thus, even if Rogelio already died, any of the biological samples as
feasible due to the death of Rogelio. To our mind, the alleged
No. 144656, 9 May 2002, 382 SCRA 192] where the rape enumerated above as may be available, may be used for DNA
impossibility of complying with the order of remand for purposes of
and murder victim’s DNA samples from the bloodstained testing. In this case, petitioner has not shown the impossibility of
DNA testing is more ostensible than real. Petitioner’s argument is
clothes of the accused were admitted in evidence. We obtaining an appropriate biological sample that can be utilized for
without basis especially as the New Rules on DNA Evidence28 allows
reasoned that "the purpose of DNA testing (was) to the conduct of DNA testing.
the conduct of DNA testing, either motu proprio or upon application
ascertain whether an association exist(ed) between the of any person who has a legal interest in the matter in litigation,
evidence sample and the reference sample. The samples thus: And even the death of Rogelio cannot bar the conduct of DNA
collected (were) subjected to various chemical processes to testing. In People v. Umanito,30 citing Tecson v. Commission on
establish their profile. Elections,31 this Court held:
The 2004 case of Tecson v. Commission on Elections [G.R. Resolution dated 1 March 2006 are AFFIRMED. Costs against
No. 161434, 3 March 2004, 424 SCRA 277] likewise petitioner.
reiterated the acceptance of DNA testing in our jurisdiction
in this wise: "[i]n case proof of filiation or paternity would SO ORDERED.
be unlikely to satisfactorily establish or would be difficult to
obtain, DNA testing, which examines genetic codes
obtained from body cells of the illegitimate child and any
physical residue of the long dead parent could be resorted
to."

It is obvious to the Court that the determination of whether


appellant is the father of AAA’s child, which may be
accomplished through DNA testing, is material to the fair
and correct adjudication of the instant appeal. Under
Section 4 of the Rules, the courts are authorized, after due
hearing and notice, motu proprio to order a DNA testing.
However, while this Court retains jurisdiction over the case
at bar, capacitated as it is to receive and act on the matter
in controversy, the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts and
does not, in the course of daily routine, conduct hearings.
Hence, it would be more appropriate that the case be
remanded to the RTC for reception of evidence in
appropriate hearings, with due notice to the parties.
(Emphasis supplied.)

As we have declared in the said case of Agustin v. Court of


Appeals32:

x x x [F]or 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, the instant petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The


Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 23 November 2005 and its
SECOND DIVISION petitioners can well and truly establish, given the On appeal, however, the Decision of the trial court was reversed on
chance to do so, that said decedent and his spouse May 29, 1992 by the 17th Division of the Court of Appeals. The
Isabel Chipongian who pre-deceased him, and dispositive portion of the Decision of the appellate court states:
whose estate had earlier been settled extra-
G.R. No. 105625 January 24, 1994 judicial, were without issue and/or without WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from herein is
descendants whatsoever, and that one Marissa REVERSED and another one entered declaring that
Benitez-Badua who was raised and cared by them appellee Marissa Benitez is not the biological
MARISSA BENITEZ-BADUA, petitioner,
since childhood is, in fact, not related to them by daughter or child by nature of the spouse Vicente
vs.
blood, nor legally adopted, and is therefore not a O. Benitez and Isabel Chipongian and, therefore,
COURT OF APPEALS, VICTORIA BENITEZ LIRIO AND FEODOR
legal heir; . . . not a legal heir of the deceased Vicente O.
BENITEZ AGUILAR, respondents.
Benitez. Her opposition to the petition for the
On November 2, 1990, petitioner opposed the petition. She alleged appointment of an administrator of the intestate
Reynaldo M. Alcantara for petitioner.
that she is the sole heir of the deceased Vicente Benitez and capable of the deceased Vicente O. Benitez is,
of administering his estate. The parties further exchanged reply and consequently, DENIED; said petition and the
Augustus Cesar E. Azura for private respondents.
rejoinder to buttress their legal postures. proceedings already conducted therein reinstated;
and the lower court is directed to proceed with
The trial court then received evidence on the issue of petitioner's the hearing of Special proceeding No. SP-797 (90)
heirship to the estate of the deceased. Petitioner tried to prove that in accordance with law and the Rules.
PUNO, J.: she is the only legitimate child of the spouses Vicente Benitez and
Isabel Chipongian. She submitted documentary evidence, among Costs against appellee.
This is a petition for review of the Decision of the 12th Division of others: (1) her Certificate of Live Birth (Exh. 3); (2) Baptismal
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. CV No. 30862 dated May 29, Certificate (Exh. 4); (3) Income Tax Returns and Information Sheet SO ORDERED.
1992.1 for Membership with the GSIS of the late Vicente naming her as his
daughter (Exhs. 10 to 21); and (4) School Records (Exhs. 5 & 6). She In juxtaposition, the appellate court held that the trial court erred in
The facts show that the spouses Vicente Benitez and Isabel also testified that the said spouses reared an continuously treated applying Articles 166 and 170 of the Family Code.
Chipongian owned various properties especially in Laguna. Isabel her as their legitimate daughter. On the other hand, private
died on April 25, 1982. Vicente followed her in the grave on respondents tried to prove, mostly thru testimonial evidence, that
In this petition for review, petitioner contends:
November 13, 1989. He died intestate. the said spouses failed to beget a child during their marriage; that
the late Isabel, then thirty six (36) years of age, was even referred to
1. The Honorable Court of Appeals committed
The fight for administration of Vicente's estate ensued. On Dr. Constantino Manahan, a noted obstetrician-gynecologist, for
error of law and misapprehension of facts when it
September 24, 1990, private respondents Victoria Benitez-Lirio and treatment. Their primary witness, Victoria Benitez-Lirio, elder sister
failed to apply the provisions, more particularly,
Feodor Benitez Aguilar (Vicente's sister and nephew, respectively) of the late Vicente, then 77 years of age,2 categorically declared that
Arts. 164, 166, 170 and 171 of the Family Code in
instituted Sp. Proc. No. 797 (90) before the RTC of San Pablo City, petitioner was not the biological child of the said spouses who were
this case and in adopting and upholding private
4th Judicial Region, Br. 30. They prayed for the issuance of letters of unable to physically procreate.
respondent's theory that the instant case does not
administration of Vicente's estate in favor of private respondent involve an action to impugn the legitimacy of a
Aguilar. They alleged, inter alia, viz.: On December 17, 1990, the trial court decided in favor of the
child;
petitioner. It dismissed the private respondents petition for letters
xxx xxx xxx and administration and declared petitioner as the legitimate
2. Assuming arguendo that private respondents
daughter and sole heir of the spouses Vicente O. Benitez and Isabel
can question or impugn directly or indirectly, the
Chipongian. The trial court relied on Articles 166 and 170 of the
4. The decedent is survived by no other heirs or legitimacy of Marissa's birth, still the respondent
Family Code.
relatives be they ascendants or descendants, appellate Court committed grave abuse of
whether legitimate, illegitimate or legally adopted; discretion when it gave more weight to the
despite claims or representation to the contrary, testimonial evidence of witnesses of private
respondents whose credibility and demeanor have b) the fact that the husband and 1) If the husband should die before the expiration
not convinced the trial court of the truth and wife were living separately in of the period fixed for bringing his action;
sincerity thereof, than the documentary and such a way that sexual
testimonial evidence of the now petitioner intercourse was not possible; or 2) If he should die after the filing of the complaint,
Marissa Benitez-Badua; without having desisted therefrom; or
c) serious illness of the husband,
3. The Honorable Court of Appeals has decided the which absolutely prevented 3) If the child was born after the death of the
case in a way not in accord with law or with sexual intercourse. husband.
applicable decisions of the supreme Court, more
particularly, on prescription or laches. 2) That it is proved that for biological or other A careful reading of the above articles will show that they do not
scientific reasons, the child could not have been contemplate a situation, like in the instant case, where a child is
We find no merit to the petition. that of the husband except in the instance alleged not to be the child of nature or biological child of a certain
provided in the second paragraph of Article 164; couple. Rather, these articles govern a situation where a husband
Petitioner's insistence on the applicability of Articles 164, 166, 170 or (or his heirs) denies as his own a child of his wife. Thus, under Article
and 171 of the Family Code to the case at bench cannot be 166, it is the husband who can impugn the legitimacy of said child by
sustained. These articles provide: 3) That in case of children conceived through proving: (1) it was physically impossible for him to have sexual
artificial insemination, the written authorization or intercourse, with his wife within the first 120 days of the 300 days
Art. 164. Children conceived or born during the ratification of either parent was obtained through which immediately preceded the birth of the child; (2) that for
marriage of the parents are legitimate. mistake, fraud, violence, intimidation, or undue biological or other scientific reasons, the child could not have been
influence. his child; (3) that in case of children conceived through artificial
Children conceived as a result of artificial insemination, the written authorization or ratification by either
insemination of the wife with sperm of the Art. 170. The action to impugn the legitimacy of parent was obtained through mistake, fraud, violence, intimidation
husband or that of a donor or both are likewise the child shall be brought within one year from the or undue influence. Articles 170 and 171 reinforce this reading as
legitimate children of the husband and his wife, knowledge of the birth or its recording in the civil they speak of the prescriptive period within which the husband or
provided, that both of them authorized or ratified register, if the husband or, in a proper case, any of any of his heirs should file the action impugning the legitimacy of
such insemination in a written instrument his heirs, should reside in the city or municipality said child. Doubtless then, the appellate court did not err when it
executed and signed by them before the birth of where the birth took place or was recorded. refused to apply these articles to the case at bench. For the case at
the child. The instrument shall be recorded in the bench is not one where the heirs of the late Vicente are contending
civil registry together with the birth certificate of If the husband or, in his default, all of his heirs do that petitioner is not his child by Isabel. Rather, their clear
the child. not reside at the place of birth as defined in the submission is that petitioner was not born to Vicente and Isabel. Our
first paragraph or where it was recorded, the ruling in Cabatbat-Lim vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 166 SCRA
period shall be two years if they should reside in 451, 457 cited in the impugned decision is apropos, viz.:
Art. 166. Legitimacy of child may be impugned
only on the following grounds: the Philippines; and three years if abroad. If the
birth of the child has been concealed from or was Petitioners' recourse to Article 263 of the New
unknown to the husband or his heirs, the period Civil Code [now Article 170 of the Family Code] is
1) That it was physically impossible for the
shall be counted from the discovery or knowledge not well-taken. This legal provision refers to an
husband to have sexual intercourse with his wife
of the birth of the child or of the fact of action to impugn legitimacy. It is inapplicable to
within the first 120 days of the 300 days which
registration of said birth, which ever is earlier. this case because this is not an action to impugn
immediately preceded the birth of the child
the legitimacy of a child, but an action of the
because of:
Art. 171. The heirs of the husband may impugn the private respondents to claim their inheritance as
filiation of the child within the period prescribed in legal heirs of their childless deceased aunt. They
a) the physical incapacity of the
the preceding Article only in the following case: do not claim that petitioner Violeta Cabatbat Lim
husband to have sexual
is an illegitimate child of the deceased, but that
intercourse with his wife;
she is not the decedent's child at all. Being neither the youngest of the children of their widowed surprised and asked the latter where the baby
legally adopted child, nor an acknowledged mother) through law school, and whom Vicente came from, and "she told me that the child was
natural child, nor a child by legal fiction of and his wife highly respected and consulted on brought by Atty. Benitez and told me not to tell
Esperanza Cabatbat, Violeta is not a legal heir of family matters, that her brother Vicente and his about it" (p. 10, tsn, Nov. 29, 1990).
the deceased. wife Isabel being childless, they wanted to adopt
her youngest daughter and when she refused, The facts of a woman's becoming pregnant and
We now come to the factual finding of the appellate court that they looked for a baby to adopt elsewhere, that growing big with child, as well as her delivering a
petitioner was not the biological child or child of nature of the Vicente found two baby boys but Isabel wanted a baby, are matters that cannot be hidden from the
spouses Vicente Benitez and Isabel Chipongian. The appellate court baby girl as she feared a boy might grow up unruly public eye, and so is the fact that a woman never
exhaustively dissected the evidence of the parties as follows: and uncontrollable, and that Vicente finally became pregnant and could not have, therefore,
brought home a baby girl and told his elder sister delivered a baby at all. Hence, if she is suddenly
. . . And on this issue, we are constrained to say Victoria he would register the baby as his and his seen mothering and caring for a baby as if it were
that appellee's evidence is utterly insufficient to wife's child. Victoria Benitez Lirio was already 77 her own, especially at the rather late age of 36
establish her biological and blood kinship with the years old and too weak to travel and come to (the age of Isabel Chipongian when appellee
aforesaid spouses, while the evidence on record is court in San Pablo City, so that the taking of her Marissa Benitez was allegedly born), we can be
strong and convincing that she is not, but that said testimony by the presiding judge of the lower sure that she is not the true mother of that baby.
couple being childless and desirous as they were court had to be held at her residence in
of having a child, the late Vicente O. Benitez took Parañaque, MM. Considering, her advanced age Second, appellee's birth certificate Exh. "3" with
Marissa from somewhere while still a baby, and and weak physical condition at the time she the late Vicente O. Benitez appearing as the
without he and his wife's legally adopting her testified in this case, Victoria Benitez Lirio's informant, is highly questionable and suspicious.
treated, cared for, reared, considered, and loved testimony is highly trustworthy and credible, for as For if Vicente's wife Isabel, who wads already 36
her as their own true child, giving her the status as one who may be called by her Creator at any time, years old at the time of the child's supposed birth,
not so, such that she herself had believed that she she would hardly be interested in material things was truly the mother of that child, as reported by
was really their daughter and entitled to inherit anymore and can be expected not to lie, especially Vicente in her birth certificate, should the child
from them as such. under her oath as a witness. There were also not have been born in a hospital under the
several disinterested neighbors of the couple experienced, skillful and caring hands of Isabel's
Vicente O. Benitez and Isabel Chipongian in obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Constantino
The strong and convincing evidence referred to us are the following:
Nagcarlan, Laguna (Sergio Fule, Cecilia Coronado, Manahan, since delivery of a child at that late age
and Benjamin C. Asendido) who testified in this by Isabel would have been difficult and quite risky
First, the evidence is very cogent and clear that
case and declared that they used to see Isabel to her health and even life? How come, then, that
Isabel Chipongian never became pregnant and,
almost everyday especially as she had drugstore in as appearing in appellee's birth certificate, Marissa
therefore, never delivered a child. Isabel's own the ground floor of her house, but they never saw
only brother and sibling, Dr. Lino Chipongian, was supposedly born at the Benitez home in
her to have been pregnant, in 1954 (the year Avenida Rizal, Nagcarlan, Laguna, with no
admitted that his sister had already been married
appellee Marissa Benitez was allegedly born, physician or even a midwife attending?
for ten years and was already about 36 years old
according to her birth certificate Exh. "3") or at
and still she has not begotten or still could not
any time at all, and that it is also true with the rest
bear a child, so that he even had to refer her to At this juncture, it might be meet to mention that
of their townmates. Ressureccion A. Tuico, Isabel
the late Dr. Constantino Manahan, a well-known it has become a practice in recent times for people
Chipongian's personal beautician who used to set
and eminent obstetrician-gynecologist and the OB who want to avoid the expense and trouble of a
her hair once a week at her (Isabel's) residence,
of his mother and wife, who treated his sister for a judicial adoption to simply register the child as
likewise declared that she did not see Isabel ever
number of years. There is likewise the testimony their supposed child in the civil registry. Perhaps
become pregnant, that she knows that Isabel
of the elder sister of the deceased Vicente O. Atty. Benitez, though a lawyer himself, thought
never delivered a baby, and that when she saw the
Benitez, Victoria Benitez Lirio, who then, being a that he could avoid the trouble if not the expense
baby Marissa in her crib one day she went to
teacher, helped him (he being the only boy and of adopting the child Marissa through court
Isabel's house to set the latter's hair, she was
proceedings by merely putting himself and his wife Fourth, it is likewise odd and strange, if appellee Finally, the deceased Vicente O. Benitez' elder
as the parents of the child in her birth certificate. Marissa Benitez is really the daughter and only sister Victoria Benitez Lirio even testified that her
Or perhaps he had intended to legally adopt the legal heir of the spouses Vicente O. Benitez and brother Vicente gave the date
child when she grew a little older but did not come Isabel Chipongian, that the latter, before her December 8 as Marissa's birthday in her birth
around doing so either because he was too busy death, would write a note to her husband and certificate because that date is the birthday of
or for some other reason. But definitely, the mere Marissa stating that: their (Victoria and Vicente's) mother. It is indeed
registration of a child in his or her birth certificate too much of a coincidence for the child Marissa
as the child of the supposed parents is not a valid even without any legal papers, I and the mother of Vicente and Victoria to have
adoption, does not confer upon the child the wish that my husband and my the same birthday unless it is true, as Victoria
status of an adopted child and the legal rights of child or only daughter will inherit testified, that Marissa was only registered by
such child, and even amounts of simulation of the what is legally my own property, Vicente as his and his wife's child and that they
child's birth or falsification of his or her birth in case I die without a will, gave her the birth date of Vicente's mother.
certificate, which is a public document.
and in the same handwritten note, she even implored her We sustain these findings as they are not unsupported by the
Third, if appellee Marissa Benitez is truly the real, husband — evidence on record. The weight of these findings was not negated
biological daughter of the late Vicente O. Benitez by documentary evidence presented by the petitioner, the most
and his wife Isabel Chipongian, why did he and that any inheritance due him notable of which is her Certificate of Live Birth (Exh. "3")
Isabel's only brother and sibling Dr. Nilo from my property — when he purportedly showing that her parents were the late
Chipongian, after Isabel's death on April 25, 1982, die — to make our own daughter Vicente Benitez and Isabel Chipongian. This Certificate registered on
state in the extrajudicial settlement his sole heir. This do [sic] not December 28, 1954 appears to have been signed by the deceased
Exh. "E" that they executed her estate, "that we mean what he legally owns or Vicente Benitez. Under Article 410 of the New Civil Code, however,
are the sole heirs of the deceased ISABEL his inherited property. I leave "the books making up the Civil Registry and all documents relating
CHIPONGIAN because she died without him to decide for himself thereto shall be considered public documents and shall be prima
descendants or ascendants?" Dr. Chipongian, regarding those. facie evidence of the facts therein stated." As related above, the
placed on a witness stand by appellants, testified totality of contrary evidence, presented by the private respondents
that it was his brother-in-law Atty. Vicente O. sufficiently rebutted the truth of the content of petitioner's
(Exhs. "F-1", "F-1-A" and "F-1-B")
Benitez who prepared said document and that he Certificate of Live Birth. of said rebutting evidence, the most telling
signed the same only because the latter told him was the Deed of Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate of the
We say odd and strange, for if Marissa Benitez is
to do so (p. 24, tsn, Nov. 22, 1990). But why would Deceased Isabel Chipongian (Exh. "E") executed on July 20, 1982 by
really the daughter of the spouses Vicente O.
Atty. Benitez make such a statement in said Vicente Benitez, and
Benitez and Isabel Chipongian, it would not have
document, unless appellee Marissa Benitez is not Dr. Nilo Chipongian, a brother of Isabel. In their notarized
been necessary for Isabel to write and plead for
really his and his wife's daughter and descendant document, they stated that "(they) are the sole heirs of the
the foregoing requests to her husband, since
and, therefore, not his deceased wife's legal heir? deceased Isabel Chipongian because she died without descendants
Marissa would be their legal heir by operation of
As for Dr. Chipongian, he lamely explained that he or ascendants". In executing this Deed, Vicente Benitez effectively
law. Obviously, Isabel Chipongian had to implore
signed said document without understanding repudiated the Certificate of Live Birth of petitioner where it
and supplicate her husband to give appellee
completely the meaning of the words "descendant appeared that he was petitioner's father. The repudiation was made
although without any legal papers her properties
and ascendant" (p. 21, tsn, Nov. 22, 1990). This we twenty-eight years after he signed petitioner's Certificate of Live
when she dies, and likewise for her husband to
cannot believe, Dr. Chipongian being a practicing Birth.
give Marissa the properties that he would inherit
pediatrician who has even gone to the United
from her (Isabel), since she well knew that Marissa
States (p. 52, tsn, Dec. 13, 1990). Obviously, IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition for review is dismissed for lack of
is not truly their daughter and could not be their
Dr. Chipongian was just trying to protect the merit. Costs against petitioner.
legal heir unless her (Isabel's) husband makes her
interests of appellee, the foster-daughter of his
so.
deceased sister and brother-in-law, as against SO ORDERED.
those of the latter's collateral blood relatives.
THIRD DIVISION On April 17, 2001, plaintiff Karen Santos, claiming to be the only with the Regional Trial Court of Malolos by Caridad in which it was
child of deceased Rufino and Caridad Geronimo filed a complaint for established that the plaintiff was the minor child of Caridad with her
September 28, 2015 annulment of document and recovery of possession against the late husband Rufino. Caridad was thus appointed guardian of the
defendants Eugenio and Emiliano Geronimo who are the brothers of person and estate of the plaintiff.
G.R. No. 197099 her father. She alleged that with the death of her parents, the
property consisting of one half of the parcel of land located at San The plaintiff further declared that she and her mother had been
Jose, Paombong, Bulacan with Tax Declaration No. 99-02017-00219 paying the real estate taxes on the property, but in 2000, the
EUGENIO SAN JUAN GERONIMO, Petitioner,
and belonging to her parents was passed on to her by the law on defendants took possession of the land and had the tax declaration
vs.
intestacy; that lately, she discovered that defendants executed a transferred to them. This compelled her to file the present case.
KAREN SANTOS, Respondent.
document entitled Pagmamana sa Labas ng Hukuman declaring
themselves as the only heirs of spouses Rufino and Caridad and Eugenio Geronimo, the defendant, disputes the allegation that the
DECISION
adjudicating to themselves the property in question; and that plaintiff is the only child and legal heir of his brother Rufino. He
consequently[,] they took possession and were able to transfer the disclosed that when Rufino’s wife could not bear a child, the couple
VILLARAMA, JR., J.: tax declaration of the subject property to their names. She prayed decided to adopt the plaintiff who was Caridad’s niece from Sta.
that the document Exhibit C be annulled and the tax declaration of Maria, Ilocos Sur. It was in 1972, 13 years after the marriage, when
At bar is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision 1 and the land transferred to her, and that the defendants vacate the Karen joined her adoptive parents’ household. Believing that in the
Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 88650 property and pay her damages. absence of a direct heir, his brother Emiliano and he should succeed
promulgated on January 17, 2011 and May 24, 2011, respectively,
to the estate of their brother, they executed in 2000 an extra-
which affirmed the Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of In an amended answer, the defendants denied the allegation that judicial settlement called
Malolos City, Bulacan, Branch 8. Both courts a quo ruled that the plaintiff was the only child and sole heir of their brother. They
subject document titled Pagmamana sa Labas ng Hukuman is null disclosed that the deceased Rufino and Caridad Geronimo were Pagmamana sa Labas ng Hukuman.
and void, and ordered herein petitioner Eugenio San Juan Geronimo childless and took in as their ward the plaintiff who was in truth, the
(Eugenio), who was previously joined by his brother Emiliano San child of Caridad’s sister. They claimed that the birth certificate of the
Juan Geronimo (Emiliano) as codefendant, to vacate the one-half Eugenio was able to obtain a copy of the plaintiff’s alleged birth
plaintiff was a simulated document. It was allegedly impossible for
portion of the subject 6,542-square meter property and surrender certificate. It had irregular features, such as that it was written in
Rufino and Caridad to have registered the plaintiff in Sta. Maria,
its possession to respondent Karen Santos. In a Resolution 4 dated pentel pen, the entry in the box date of birth was erased and the
Ilocos Sur because they had never lived or sojourned in the place
November 28, 2011, this Court ordered the deletion of the name of word and figure April 6, 1972 written and the name Emma
and Caridad, who was an elementary teacher in Bulacan never filed
Emiliano from the title of the instant petition_ as co-petitioner, viz.: Daño was superimposed on the entry in the box intended for the
any maternity leave during the period of her service from August
informant’s signature.
1963 until October 1984.
x x x The Court resolves:
Two more witnesses were adduced. Atty. Elmer Lopez, a legal
The plaintiff took the stand and testified that her parents were
consultant of the DECS in Bulacan brought the plaintiff's service
xxxx Rufino and Caridad Geronimo. The defendants Eugenio and Emiliano
record as an elementary school teacher at Paombong[,] Bulacan to
were the half-brothers of her father Rufino, being the children of
show that she did not have any maternity leave during the period of
(2) to AMEND the title of this petition to read "Eugenio San Juan Rufino’s father Marciano Geronimo with another woman Carmen
her service from March 11, 1963 to October 24, 1984, and a
Geronimo, petitioner vs. Karen Santos, respondent," considering the San Juan. Rufino co-owned Lot 1716 with the defendants’ mother
certification from the Schools Division Superintendent that the
sworn statement of Eugenio San Juan Geronimo that he does not Carmen, and upon his death in 1980, when the plaintiff was only 8
plaintiff did not file any maternity leave during her service. He
know whether his brother is still alive and that his brother did not years old, his share in the property devolved on his heirs. In 1998,
declared that as far as the service record is concerned, it reflects the
verify the instant petition; x x x5 some 18 years later, Caridad and she executed an extra-judicial
entry and exit from the service as well as the leaves that she availed
settlement of Rufino’s estate entitled Pagmamanahan Sa Labas ng
of. Upon inquiry by the court, he clarified that the leaves were
The following facts were found by the trial court and adopted by the Hukuman Na May Pagtalikod Sa Karapatan, whereby the plaintiff’s
reflected but the absences were not. Testifying on the plaintiff’s
appellate court in its assailed Decision, viz.: mother Caridad waived all her rights to Rufino’s share and in the
birth certificate, Exhibit 14, Arturo Reyes, a representative of the
land in question to her daughter the plaintiff. Be that as it may, in
NSO, confirmed that there was an alteration in the date of birth and
1985, guardianship proceedings appeared to have been instituted
signature of the informant. In view of the alterations, he considered evidence, the RTC relied on the prima faciepresumption of the In the assailed Decision dated January 17, 2011, the appellate court
the document questionable.6 veracity and regularity of the birth certificate as a public document. held that under Article 170, the action to impugn the legitimacy of
the child must be reckoned from either of these two dates: the date
On October 27, 2006, the trial court ruled in favor of The trial court further stated that even granting arguendo that the the child was born to the mother during the marriage, or the date
respondent, viz.: birth certificate is questionable, the filiation of respondent has when the birth of such child was recorded in the civil registry. The
already been sufficiently proven by evidence of her open and CA found no evidence or admission that Caridad indeed gave birth
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows: continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child under to respondent on a specific date. It further resolved that the birth
Article 172 of the Family Code of the Philippines. The RTC certificate presented in this case, Exhibit 14, does not qualify as the
considered the following overt acts of the deceased spouses as acts valid registration of birth in the civil register as envisioned by the
1. Declaring the document Pagmamana sa Labas ng
of recognition that respondent is their legitimate child: they sent her law, viz.:
Hukuman dated March 9, 2000 executed in favor of
Eugenio San Juan-Geronimo and Emilio San Juan-Geronimo to school and paid for her tuition fees; Caridad made respondent a
as null and void; beneficiary of her burial benefits from the Government Service x x x The reason is that under the statute establishing the civil
Insurance System; and, Caridad filed a petition for guardianship of register, Act No. 3753, the declaration of the physician or midwife
respondent after the death of her husband Rufino. Lastly, the trial in attendance at the birth or in default thereof, that declaration of
2. Annulling Tax Declaration No. 99-02017-01453 of the
court held that to be allowed to impugn the filiation and status of either parent of the newborn child, shall be sufficient for the
subject property in the names of Eugenio San Juan-
respondent, petitioner should have brought an action for the registration of birth in the civil register. The document in question
Geronimo and Emiliano San Juan-Geronimo;
purpose under Articles 170 and 171 of the Family Code. Since was signed by one Emma Daño who was not identified as either the
petitioner failed to file such action, the trial court ruled that parent of the plaintiff or the physician or midwife who attended to
3. Ordering defendants Eugenio San Juan-Geronimo and
respondent alone is entitled to the ownership and possession of the her birth. Exhibit 14, legally, cannot be the birth certificate
Emiliano San Juan-Geronimo to vacate the ½ portion of the
subject land owned by Rufino. The extrajudicial settlement executed envisioned by the law; otherwise, with an informant as shadowy as
subject property and to surrender the possession to the
by petitioner and his brother was therefore declared not valid and Emma Daño, the floodgates to spurious filiations will be opened.
plaintiff;
binding as respondent is Rufino’s only compulsory heir. Neither may the order of the court Exhibit E be treated as the final
judgment mentioned in Article 172 as another proof of filiation.
4. Ordering the defendants to pay the plaintiff the amount
On appeal, petitioner raised the issue on the alterations in the birth
of [P]30,000.00 as attorney’s fees;
certificate of respondent and the offered evidence of a mere The final judgment mentioned refers to a decision of a competent
certification from the Office of the Civil Registry instead of the birth court finding the child legitimate. Exhibit G is merely an order
5. To pay the costs of the suit. certificate itself. granting letters of guardianship to the parent Caridad based on her
representations that she is the mother of the plaintiff.8
SO ORDERED.7 According to petitioner, respondent’s open and continuous
possession of the status of a legitimate child is only secondary Noting the absence of such record of birth, final judgment or
The trial court ruled that respondent is the legal heir – being the evidence to the birth certificate itself. Respondent questioned if it admission in a public or private document that respondent is the
legitimate child – of the deceased spouses Rufino and Caridad was legally permissible for petitioner to question her filiation as a legitimate child of the spouses Rufino and Caridad, the appellate
Geronimo (spouses Rufino and Caridad). It found that respondent’s legitimate child of the spouses Rufino and Caridad in the same court – similar to the trial court – relied on Article 172 of the Family
filiation was duly established by the certificate of live birth which action for annulment of document and recovery of possession that Code which allows the introduction and admission of secondary
was presented in evidence. The RTC dismissed the claim of she herself filed against petitioner and his then co-defendant. evidence to prove one’s legitimate filiation via open and continuous
petitioner that the birth certificate appeared to have been possession of the status of a legitimate child. The CA agreed with
tampered, specifically on the entries pertaining to the date of birth Respondent argued that the conditions enumerated under Articles the trial court that respondent has proven her legitimate
of respondent and the name of the informant. The trial court held 170 and 171 of the Family Code, giving the putative father and his filiation, viz.:
that petitioner failed to adduce evidence to explain how the heirs the right to bring an action to impugn the legitimacy of the
erasures were done. Petitioner also failed to prove that the child, are not present in the instant case. She further asserted that We agree with the lower court that the plaintiff has proven her
alterations were due to the fault of respondent or another person the Family Code contemplates a direct action, thus her civil status filiation by open and continuous possession of the status of a
who was responsible for the act. In the absence of such contrary may not be assailed indirectly or collaterally in this suit. legitimate child. The evidence consists of the following: (1) the
plaintiff was allowed by her putative parents to bear their family
name Geronimo; (2) they supported her and sent her to school The findings of the courts a quo that the birth certificate [Exhibit 14] Petitioner argues that in so affirming, the CA also adopted the ruling
paying for her tuition fees and other school expenses; (3) she was is not [the] one envisioned by law finds support in numerous cases of the trial court that the filiation of respondent is strictly personal
the beneficiary of the burial benefits of Caridad before the GSIS; (4) decided by the Honorable Supreme Court. Thus, a certificate of live to respondent’s alleged father and his heirs under Articles 170 and
after the death of Rufino, Caridad applied for and was appointed birth purportedly identifying the putative father is not competent 171 of the Family Code,16 thereby denying petitioner the "right to
legal guardian of the person and property of the plaintiff from the evidence as to the issue of paternity, when there is no showing that impugn or question the filiation and status of the
estate left by Rufino; and (5) both Caridad and the plaintiff executed the putative father had a hand in the preparation of said plaintiff."17 Petitioner argues, viz.:
an extrajudicial settlement of the estate of Rufino on the basis of certificates, and the Local Civil Registrar is devoid of authority to
the fact that they are both the legal heirs of the deceased. record the paternity of an illegitimate child upon the information of x x x [T]he lower court’s reliance on Articles 170 and 171 of the
a third person. Where the birth certificate and the baptismal Family Code is totally misplaced, with due respect. It should be read
It is clear that the status enjoyed by the plaintiff as the legitimate certificate are per se inadmissible in evidence as proof of filiation, in conjunction with the other articles in the same chapter on
child of Rufino and Caridad has been open and continuous. x x x The they cannot be admitted indirectly as circumstantial evidence to paternity and filiation of the Family Code. A careful reading of said
conclusion follows that the plaintiff is entitled to the property left by prove the same. x x x chapter would reveal that it contemplates situations where a doubt
Rufino to the exclusion of his brothers, the defendants, which exists that a child is indeed a man’s child, and the father [or, in
consists of a one-half share in Lot 1716.9 x x x The birth certificate Exhibit 14 contains erasures. The date of proper cases, his heirs] denies the child’s filiation. It does not refer
birth originally written in ball pen was erased and the date April 6, to situations where a child is alleged not to be the child at all of a
Petitioners moved for reconsideration10 but the motion was denied 1972 was superimposed using a pentel pen; the entry on the particular couple. Petitioners are asserting not merely that
in the assailed Resolution dated May 24, 2011. Hence, this petition informant also originally written in ball pen was erased and the respondent Karen is not a legitimate child of, but that she is not a
raising the following assignment of errors: name E. Dano was superimposed using also a pentel pen; there is no child of Rufino Geronimo at all. x x x18
signature as to who received it from the office of the registry.
I. THAT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED AND Worst, respondent Karen confirms the existence of her birth We grant the petition.
ABUSED ITS DISCRETION, AMOUNTING TO LACK OF certificate when she introduced in evidence [Exhibit A] a mere
JURISDICTION, WHEN IT ALLOWED THE INTRODUCTION OF Certification from the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Sta. Maria, Despite its finding that the birth certificate which respondent
SECONDARY EVIDENCE AND RENDERED JUDGMENT BASED Ilocos Sur, which highlighted more suspicions of its existence, thus offered in evidence is questionable, the trial court ruled that
THEREON NOTWITHSTANDING THE EXISTENCE OF PRIMARY leading to conclusion and presumption that if such evidence is respondent is a legitimate child and the sole heir of deceased
EVIDENCE OF BIRTH CERTIFICATE [EXHIBIT 14]. presented, it would be adverse to her claim. True to the suspicion, spouses Rufino and Caridad. The RTC based this conclusion on
when Exhibit 14 was introduced by the petitioner and testified on by secondary evidence that is similar to proof admissible under the
no less than the NSO representative, Mr. Arturo Reyes, and second paragraph of Article 172 of the Family Code to prove the
II. THAT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED AND
confirmed that there were alterations which renders the birth filiation of legitimate children, viz.:
ABUSED ITS DISCRETION, AMOUNTING TO LACK OF
certificate questionable.
JURISDICTION WHEN IT RULED THAT PETITIONERS HAVE
NO PERSONALITY TO IMPUGN RESPONDENT’S LEGITIMATE ART. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of
FILIATION.11 Argued differently, with the declaration that the birth certificate is a the following:
nullity or falsity, the courts a quo should have stopped there, ruled
that respondent Karen is not the child of Rufino, and therefore not
On the first issue, petitioner argues that secondary evidence to (1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a
entitled to inherit from the estate.13
prove one’s filiation is admissible only if there is no primary final judgment; or
evidence, i.e, a record of birth or an authentic admission in
writing.12 Petitioner asserts that herein respondent’s birth On the second issue, petitioner alleges that the CA gravely erred and
(2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document
certificate, Exhibit 14, constitutes the primary evidence enumerated abused its discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction when it ruled
or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the
under Article 172 of the Family Code and the ruling of both courts a that he does not have personality to impugn respondent’s
parent concerned.
quo that the document is not the one "envisioned by law" should legitimate filiation.14
have barred the introduction of secondary evidence. Petitioner In the absence of the following evidence, the legitimate filiation
expounds this proposition, viz.: While petitioner admits that the CA "did not directly rule on this
shall be proved by:
particular issue,"15 he nonetheless raises the said issue as an error
since the appellate court affirmed the decision of the trial court.
(1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a Upon the expiration of the periods provided in Article 170, the particular couple – even if such evidence is similar to the kind of
legitimate child; or action to impugn the legitimacy of a child can no longer be brought. proof admissible under the second paragraph of Article 172.
The status conferred by the presumption, therefore, becomes fixed,
(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and and can no longer be questioned.1âwphi1 The obvious intention of In the 1994 case of Benitez-Badua v. Court of Appeals,21 therein
special laws. the law is to prevent the status of a child born in wedlock from deceased spouses Vicente Benitez (Vicente) and Isabel Chipongian
being in a state of uncertainty for a long time. It also aims to force (Isabel) owned various properties while they were still living. Isabel
Petitioner argues that such secondary evidence may be admitted early action to settle any doubt as to the paternity of such child, so departed in 1982, while Vicente died intestate in 1989. In 1990,
only in a direct action under Article 172 because the said provision that the evidence material to the matter, which must necessarily be Vicente’s sister (Victoria Benitez-Lirio) and nephew (Feodor Benitez
of law is meant to be instituted as a separate action, and proof of facts occurring during the period of the conception of the child, may Aguilar) instituted an action before the trial court for the issuance of
filiation cannot be raised as a collateral issue as in the instant case still be easily available. letters of administration of his estate in favor of Feodor. In the said
which is an action for annulment of document and recovery of proceedings, they alleged that Vicente was "survived by no other
possession. xxxx heirs or relatives be they ascendants or descendants, whether
legitimate, illegitimate or legally adopted x x x."22 They further
Petitioner is correct that proof of legitimacy under Article 172, or Only the husband can contest the legitimacy of a child born to his argued that one "Marissa Benitez[-]Badua who was raised and cared
illegitimacy under Article 175, should only be raised in a direct and wife. He is the one directly confronted with the scandal and ridicule for by them since childhood is, in fact, not related to them by blood,
separate action instituted to prove the filiation of a child. The which the infidelity of his wife produces; and he should decide nor legally adopted, and is therefore not a legal heir [of
rationale behind this procedural prescription is stated in the case whether to conceal that infidelity or expose it, in view of the moral Vicente]."23 Marissa opposed the petition and proffered evidence to
of Tison v. Court of Appeals,19 viz.: and economic interest involved. It is only in exceptional cases that prove that she is an heir of Vicente. Marissa submitted the following
his heirs are allowed to contest such legitimacy. Outside of these evidence, viz.:
x x x [W]ell settled is the rule that the issue of legitimacy cannot be cases, none – even his heirs – can impugn legitimacy; that would
attacked collaterally. amount to an insult to his memory."20 1. her Certificate of Live Birth (Exh. 3);

The rationale for these rules has been explained in this wise: What petitioner failed to recognize, however, is that this procedural 2. Baptismal Certificate (Exh. 4);
rule is applicable only to actions where the legitimacy – or
illegitimacy – of a child is at issue. This situation does not obtain in 3. Income Tax Returns and Information Sheet for
"The presumption of legitimacy in the Family Code x x x actually
the case at bar. Membership with the GSIS of the late Vicente naming her
fixes a civil status for the child born in wedlock, and that civil status
cannot be attacked collaterally. The legitimacy of the child can be as his daughter (Exhs. 10 to 21); and
impugned only in a direct action brought for that purpose, by the In the instant case, the filiation of a child – herein respondent – is
proper parties, and within the period limited by law. not at issue. Petitioner does not claim that respondent is not the 4. School Records (Exhs. 5 & 6).
legitimate child of his deceased brother Rufino and his wife Caridad.
What petitioner alleges is that respondent is not the child of the She also testified that the said spouses reared and continuously
The legitimacy of the child cannot be contested by way of defense
deceased spouses Rufino and Caridad at all. He proffers this treated her as their legitimate daughter.24
or as a collateral issue in another action for a different
allegation in his Amended Answer before the trial court by way of
purpose. The necessity of an independent action directly impugning
defense that respondent is not an heir to his brother Rufino. When
the legitimacy is more clearly expressed in the Mexican Code Feodor and his mother Victoria offered mostly testimonial evidence
petitioner alleged that respondent is not a child of the deceased
(Article 335) which provides: ‘The contest of the legitimacy of a child to show that the spouses Vicente and Isabel failed to beget a child
spouses Rufino and Caridad in the proceedings below, jurisprudence
by the husband or his heirs must be made by proper complaint during their marriage. They testified that the late Isabel, when she
shows that the trial court was correct in admitting and ruling on the
before the competent court; any contest made in any other way is was 36 years old, was even referred to an obstetrician-gynecologist
secondary evidence of respondent – even if such proof is similar to
void.’ This principle applies under our Family Code. Articles 170 and for treatment. Victoria, who was 77 years old at the time of her
the evidence admissible under the second paragraph of Article 172
171 of the code confirm this view, because they refer to "the action testimony, also categorically stated that Marissa was not the
and despite the instant case not being a direct action to prove one’s
to impugn the legitimacy." biological child of the said spouses who were unable to physically
filiation. In the following cases, the courts a quo and this Court did
procreate.25
not bar the introduction of secondary evidence in actions which
This action can be brought only by the husband or his heirs and
involve allegations that the opposing party is not the child of a
within the periods fixed in the present articles.
The trial court, relying on Articles 166 and 170 of the Family Code, acknowledged natural child, nor a child by legal fiction of Esperanza Be that as it may, even if both courts a quo were correct in
declared Marissa as the legitimate daughter and sole heir of the Cabatbat, Violeta is not a legal heir of the deceased."26 admitting secondary evidence similar to the proof admissible under
spouses Vicente and Isabel. The appellate court reversed the RTC’s Article 172 of the Family Code in this action for annulment of
ruling holding that the trial court erred in applying Articles 166 and Similarly, the 2001 case of Labagala v. Santiago27 originated from a document and recovery of possession, we are constrained to rule
170 of the Family Code. On appeal to this Court, we affirmed the complaint for recovery of title, ownership and possession before the after a meticulous examination of the evidence on record that all
reversal made by the appellate court, viz.: trial court. Respondents therein contended that petitioner is not the proof points to the conclusion that herein respondent is not a child
daughter of the decedent Jose and sought to recover from her the of the deceased spouses Rufino and Caridad.
A careful reading of the above articles will show that they do not 1/3 portion of the subject property pertaining to Jose but which
contemplate a situation, like in the instant case, where a child is came into petitioner’s sole possession upon Jose’s death. While we ascribe to the general principle that this Court is not a trier
alleged not to be the child of nature or biological child of a certain Respondents sought to prove that petitioner is not the daughter of of facts,33 this rule admits of the following exceptions where findings
couple. the decedent as evidenced by her birth certificate which did not of fact may be passed upon and reviewed by this Court, viz.:
itself indicate the name of Jose as her father. Citing the case
Rather, these articles govern a situation where a husband (or his of Sayson v. Court of Appeals and Article 263 of the Civil Code (now (1) When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on
heirs) denies as his own a child of his wife. Thus, under Article 166, it Article 170 of the Family Code),28petitioner argued that respondents speculation, surmises or conjectures (Joaquin v. Navarro, 93 Phil.
is the husband who can impugn the legitimacy of said child by cannot impugn her filiation collaterally since the case was not an 257 [1953]); (2) When the inference made is manifestly mistaken,
proving: (1) it was physically impossible for him to have sexual action impugning a child’s legitimacy but one for recovery of title, absurd or impossible (Luna v. Linatok, 74 Phil. 15 [1942]); (3) Where
intercourse, with his wife within the first 120 days of the 300 days ownership and possession of property. We ruled in this case that there is a grave abuse of discretion (Buyco v. People, 95 Phil. 453
which immediately preceded the birth of the child; (2) that for petitioner’s reliance on Article 263 of the Civil Code is misplaced and [1955]); (4)
biological or other scientific reasons, the child could not have been respondents may impugn the petitioner’s filiation in an action for
his child; (3) that in case of children conceived through artificial recovery of title and possession. Thus, we affirmed the ruling of the When the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts (Cruz v.
insemination, the written authorization or ratification by either appellate court that the birth certificate of petitioner Labagala Sosing, L-4875, Nov. 27, 1953); (5) When the findings of fact
parent was obtained through mistake, fraud, violence, intimidation proved that she "was born of different parents, not Jose and his areconflicting (Casica v. Villaseca, L-9590 Ap. 30, 1957; unrep.); (6)
or undue influence. Articles 170 and 171 reinforce this reading as wife."29 Citing the aforecited cases of Benitez-Badua and Lim v. Whenthe Court of Appeals, in making its findings, went beyond the
they speak of the prescriptive period within which the husband or Intermediate Appellate Court,30 we stated, viz.: issues of thecase and the same is contrary to the admissions of both
any of hisheirs should file the action impugning the legitimacy of appellant andappellee (Evangelista v. Alto Surety and Insurance Co.,
said child. Doubtless then, the appellate court did not err when it This article should be read in conjunction with the other articles in 103 Phil. 401[1958]); (7) The findings of the Court of Appeals are
refused to apply these articles to the case at bench. For the case at the same chapter on paternity and filiation in the Civil Code. A contrary to those ofthe trial court (Garcia v. Court of Appeals, 33
bench is not one where the heirs of the late Vicente are careful reading of said chapter would reveal that it contemplates SCRA 622 [1970]; Sacay v. Sandiganbayan, 142 SCRA 593 [1986]); (8)
contending that petitioner is not his child by Isabel. Rather, their situations where a doubt exists that a child is indeed a man’s child When the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific
clear submission is that petitioner was not born to Vicente and by his wife, and the husband (or, in proper cases, his heirs) denies evidence on which they are based (Ibid.,); (9) When the facts set
Isabel. Our ruling in Cabatbat- Lim vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, the child’s filiation. It does not refer to situations where a child is forth in the petition as well as in the petitioners’ main and reply
166 SCRA 451, 457 cited in the impugned decision is apropos, viz: alleged not to be the child at all of a particular couple.31 briefs are not disputed by the respondents (Ibid.,); and (10) The
finding of fact of the Court of Appeals is premised on the supposed
"Petitioners’ recourse to Article 263 of the New Civil Code [now Art. Article 263 refers to an action to impugn the legitimacy of a child, to absence of evidence and is contradicted by the evidence on record
170 of the Family Code] is not welltaken. assert and prove that a person is not a man’s child by his (Salazar v. Gutierrez, 33 SCRA 242 [1970]).34
wife. However, the present case is not one impugning
This legal provision refers to an action to impugn legitimacy. It is petitioner’s legitimacy. Respondents are asserting not merely that It is clear in the case at bar that the ruling of both courts a
inapplicable to this case because this is not an action to impugn the petitioner is not a legitimate child of Jose, but that she is not a quo declaring respondent as a legitimate child and sole heir of the
legitimacy of a child, but an action of the private respondents to child of Jose at all. deceasedspouses Rufino and Caridad is one based on a
claim their inheritance as legal heirs of their childless deceased misapprehension of facts.
aunt. They do not claim that petitioner Violeta Cabatbat Lim is an x x x32
illegitimatechild of the deceased, but that she is not the A mere cursory reading of the birth certificate of respondent would
decedent's child at all. Being neither legally adopted child, nor an show that it was tampered specifically on the entries pertaining to
the date of birth of respondent and the name of the informant. We do not agree with the conclusion of both courts a quo. The Finally, we also find that the concurrence of the secondary evidence
Using pentel ink, the date of birth of respondent – April 6, 1972 – appellate court itself ruled that the irregularities consisting of the relied upon by both courts a quo does not sufficiently establish the
and the name of the informant – Emma Daño – were both superimposed entries on the date of birth and the name of the one crucial fact in this case: that respondent is indeed a child of the
superimposed on the document. Despite these glaring erasures, the informant made the document questionable. The corroborating deceased spouses. Both the RTC and the CA ruled that respondent is
trial court still relied on the prima facie presumption of the veracity testimony of Arturo Reyes, a representative of the NSO, further a legitimate child of her putative parents because she was allowed
and regularity of the birth certificate for failure of petitioner to confirmed that the entries on the date of birth and the signature of to bear their family name "Geronimo", they supported her and her
explain how the erasures were done and if the alterations were due the informant are alterations on the birth certificate which rendered education, she was the beneficiary of the burial benefits of Caridad
to the fault of respondent. It thus ruled that respondent’s filiation the document questionable. To be sure, even the respondent in her GSIS policy, Caridad applied for and was appointed as her
was duly established by the birth certificate. The appellate court did herself did not offer any evidence to explain such irregularities on legal guardian in relation to the estate left by Rufino, and she and
not agree with this finding and instead ruled that the birth her own birth certificate. These irregularities and the totality of the Caridad executed an extrajudicial settlement of the estate of Rufino
certificate presented does not qualify as the valid registration of following circumstances surrounding the alleged birth of respondent as his legal heirs.
birth in the civil register as envisioned by the law. We reiterate the are sufficient to overthrow the presumption of regularity attached
relevant pronouncement of the CA, viz.: to respondent’s birth certificate, viz.: In the case of Rivera v. Heirs of Romualdo Villanueva37 which
incisively discussed its parallelisms and contrasts with the case
x x x The document in question was signed by one Emma Daño who 1. The identity of one Emma Daño, whose name was of Benitez- Badua v. Court of Appeals,38 we ruled that the presence
was not identified as either the parent of the plaintiff or the superimposed as the informant regarding the birth of of a similar set of circumstances – which were relied upon as
physician or midwife who attended to her birth. Exhibit 14, legally, respondent, remains unknown. secondary proof by both courts a quo in the case at bar – does not
cannot be the birth certificate envisioned by the law; otherwise, establish that one is a child of the putativeparents. Our discussion in
with an informant as shadowy as Emma Daño, the floodgates to 2. The testimony of Atty. Elmer De Dios Lopez, a legal the Rivera case is instructive, viz.:
spurious filiations will be opened. Neither may the order of the consultant of the Department of Education in Bulacan,
court Exhibit E be treated as the final judgment mentioned in Article proved that the deceased Caridad did not have any In Benitez-Badua v. Court of Appeals, Marissa Benitez-Badua, in
172 as another proof of filiation. The final judgment mentioned maternity leave during the period of her service from attempting to prove that she was the sole heir of the late Vicente
refers to a decision of a competent court finding the child March 11, 1963 to October 24, 1984 as shown by her Benitez, submitted a certificate of live birth, a baptismal certificate,
legitimate. Exhibit G is merely an order granting letters of Service Record as an elementary school teacher at income tax returns and an information sheet for membership in the
guardianship to the parent Caridad based on her representations Paombong, Bulacan. This was corroborated by a Government Service Insurance System of the decedent naming her
that she is the mother of the plaintiff.35 certification from Dr. Teofila R. Villanueva, Schools Division as his daughter, and her school records. She also testified that she
Superintendent, that she did not file any maternity leave had been reared and continuously treated as Vicente’s daughter.
Nonetheless, the appellate court agreed with the trial court that during her service. No testimonial or documentary
respondent has proven her filiation by showing that she has enjoyed evidence was also offered to prove that the deceased By testimonial evidence alone, to the effect that Benitez-Badua’s
that open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate Caridad ever had a pregnancy. alleged parents had been unable to beget children, the siblings of
child of the deceased spouses Rufino and Caridad, viz.: Benitez- Badua’s supposed father were able to rebut all of the
3. Based on the birth certificate, respondent was born in documentary evidence indicating her filiation. One fact that was
x x x The evidence consists of the following: (1) the plaintiff was 1972 or 13 years into the marriage of the deceased spouses counted against Benitez-Badua was that her supposed mother
allowed by her putative parents to bear their family Rufino and Caridad. When respondent was born, Caridad Isabel Chipongian, unable to bear any children even after ten years
name Geronimo; (2) they supported her and sent her to school was already 40 years old. There are no hospital records of of marriage, all of a sudden conceived and gave birth to her at the
paying for her tuition fees and other school expenses; (3) she was Caridad’s delivery, and while it may have been possible for age of 36.
the beneficiary of the burial benefits of Caridad before the GSIS; (4) her to have given birth at her own home, this could have
after the death of Rufino, Caridad applied for and was appointed been proven by medical or non-medical records or Of great significance to this controversy was the following
legal guardian of the person and property of the plaintiff from the testimony if they do, in fact, exist. pronouncement:
estate left by Rufino; and (5) both Caridad and the plaintiff executed
an extrajudicial settlement of the estate of Rufino on the basis of 4. It is worthy to note that respondent was the sole witness But definitely, the mere registration of a child in his or her birth
the fact that they are both the legal heirs of the deceased. 36 for herself in the instant case. certificate as the child of the supposed parents is not a valid
adoption, does not confer upon the child the status of an adopted
child and the legal rights of such child, and even amounts to dated January 17, 2011 and May 24, 2011, respectively,
simulation of the child's birth or falsification of his or her birth are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Complaint in Civil Case No. 268-
certificate, which is a public document.(emphasis ours) M-2001 for Annulment of Document and Recovery of Possession is
hereby ordered DISMISSED.
Furthermore, it is well-settled that a record of birth is merely
a prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein. It is not With costs against the respondent.
conclusive evidence of the truthfulness of the statements made
there by the interestedparties. Following the logic of Benitez, SO ORDERED.
respondent Angelina and her codefendants in SD-857 should have
adduced evidence of her adoption, in view of the contents of her
birth certificate. The records, however, are bereft of any such
evidence.

There are several parallels between this case and Benitez-


Badua that are simply too compelling to ignore. First, both Benitez-
Baduaand respondent Angelina submitted birth certificates as
evidence offiliation. Second, both claimed to be children of parents
relativelyadvanced in age. Third, both claimed to have been born
after their allegedparents had lived together childless for several
years.

There are, however, also crucial differences


between BenitezBadua and this case which ineluctably support the
conclusion thatrespondent Angelina was not Gonzales' daughter,
whether illegitimate oradopted. Gonzales, unlike Benitez-Badua's
alleged mother Chipongian,was not only 36 years old but 44 years
old, and on the verge of menopauseat the time of the alleged birth.
Unlike Chipongian who had been marriedto Vicente Benitez for only
10 years, Gonzales had been living childlesswith Villanueva for 20
years. Under the circumstances, we hold that it was not sufficiently
established that respondent Angelina was Gonzales' biological
daughter, nor even her adopted daughter. Thus, she cannot inherit
from Gonzales. Since she could not have validly participated in
Gonzales' estate, the extrajudicial partition which she executed with
Villanueva on August 8, 1980 was invalid.39

In view of these premises, we are constrained to disagree with both


courts a quo and rule that the confluence of the circumstances and
the proof presented in this case do not lead to the conclusion that
respondent is a child of the deceased spouses.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The assailed Decision


and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 88650
FIRST DIVISION Petitioner filed his answer4 with special and affirmative defenses all their expenses. She gave birth to their child on December 28,
and counterclaims. He described respondent as a woman of loose 1994 at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Cabanatuan City. Before
September 11, 2013 morals, having borne her first child also out of wedlock when she delivery, petitioner even walked her at the hospital room and
went to work in Italy. Jobless upon her return to the country, massaged her stomach, saying he had not done this to his wife. She
G.R. No. 180284 respondent spent time riding on petitioner’s jeepney which was filled out the form for the child’s birth certificate and wrote all the
then being utilized by a female real estate agent named Felicisima information supplied by petitioner himself. It was also petitioner
de Guzman. Respondent had seduced a senior police officer in San who paid the hospital bills and drove her baby home. He was
NARCISO SALAS, Petitioner
Isidro and her charge of sexual abuse against said police officer was excited and happy to have a son at his advanced age who is his
vs.
later withdrawn in exchange for the quashing of drug charges "look-alike," and this was witnessed by other boarders, visitors and
ANNABELLE MATUSALEM, Respondent
against respondent’s brother-in-law who was then detained at the Grace Murillo, the owner of the apartment unit petitioner rented.
municipal jail. It was at that time respondent introduced herself to However, on the 18th day after the baby’s birth, petitioner went to
DECISION
petitioner whom she pleaded for charity as she was pregnant with Baguio City for a medical check-up. He confessed to her daughter
another child. Petitioner denied paternity of the child Christian and eventually his wife was also informed about his having sired an
VILLARAMA, JR., J.: Paulo; he was motivated by no other reason except genuine illegitimate child. His family then decided to adopt the baby and just
altruism when he agreed to shoulder the expenses for the delivery give respondent money so she can go abroad. When she refused
Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari which seeks to of said child, unaware of respondent’s chicanery and deceit this offer, petitioner stopped seeing her and sending money to her.
reverse and set aside the Decision1 dated July 18, 2006 and designed to "scandalize" him in exchange for financial favor. She and her baby survived through the help of relatives and friends.
Resolution2 dated October 19, 2007 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in Depressed, she tried to commit suicide by drug overdose and was
CA-G.R. CV No. 64379. At the trial, respondent and her witness Grace Murillo testified. brought to the hospital by Murillo who paid the bill. Murillo sought
Petitioner was declared to have waived his right to present evidence the help of the Cabanatuan City Police Station which set their
The factual antecedents: and the case was considered submitted for decision based on meeting with petitioner. However, it was only petitioner’s wife who
respondent’s evidence. showed up and she was very mad, uttering unsavory words against
On May 26, 1995, Annabelle Matusalem (respondent) filed a respondent.6
complaint3 for Support/Damages against Narciso Salas (petitioner) Respondent testified that she first met petitioner at the house of his
in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cabanatuan City (Civil Case No. "kumadre" Felicisima de Guzman at Bgy. Malapit, San Isidro, Nueva Murillo corroborated respondent’s testimony as to the payment by
2124-AF). Respondent claimed that petitioner is. the father of her Ecija. During their subsequent meeting, petitioner told her he is petitioner of apartment rental, his weekly visits to respondent and
son Christian Paulo Salas who was born on December 28, 1994. already a widower and he has no more companion in life because financial support to her, his presence during and after delivery of
Petitioner, already 56 years old at the time, enticed her as she was his children are all grown-up. She also learned that petitioner owns respondent’s baby, respondent’s attempted suicide through
then only 24 years old, making her believe that he is a widower. a rice mill, a construction business and a housing subdivision sleeping pills overdose and hospitalization for which she paid the
Petitioner rented an apartment where respondent stayed and (petitioner offered her a job at their family-owned Ma. Cristina bill, her complaint before the police authorities and meeting with
shouldered all expenses in the delivery of their child, including the Village). Petitioner at the time already knows that she is a single petitioner’s wife at the headquarters.7
cost of caesarian operation and hospital confinement. mother as she had a child by her former boyfriend in Italy. He then
brought her to a motel, promising that he will take care of her and On April 5, 1999, the trial court rendered its decision8 in favor of
However, when respondent refused the offer of petitioner’s family marry her. She believed him and yielded to his advances, with the respondent, the dispositive portion of which reads:
to take the child from her, petitioner abandoned respondent and thought that she and her child will have a better life. Thereafter,
her child and left them to the mercy of relatives and friends. they saw each other weekly and petitioner gave her money for her WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered in
Respondent further alleged that she attempted suicide due to child. When she became pregnant with petitioner’s child, it was only favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant as follows:
depression but still petitioner refused to support her and their child. then she learned that he is in fact not a widower. She wanted to
abort the baby but petitioner opposed it because he wanted to have 1. Ordering the defendant to give as monthly support of TWO
Respondent thus prayed for support pendente lite and monthly another child.5 THOUSAND (P2,000.00) PESOS for the child Christian Paulo through
support in the amount of ₱20,000.00, as well as actual, moral and the mother;
exemplary damages, and attorney’s fees. On the fourth month of her pregnancy, petitioner rented an
apartment where she stayed with a housemaid; he also provided for
2. Directing the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of ₱20,000.00 at his age which was his "look alike". It was only after the 18th day 1. THE VENUE OF THE CASE WAS IMPROPERLY LAID BEFORE THE
by way of litigation expenses; and when Annabelle refused to give him Christian Paulo that Narciso REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF CABANATUAN CITY CONSIDERING THAT
withdrew his support to him and his mother. BOTH PETITIONER AND RESPONDENT ARE ACTUAL RESIDENTS OF
3. To pay the costs of suit. BRGY. MALAPIT, SAN ISIDRO, NUEVA ECIJA.
Said testimony of Annabelle aside from having been corroborated
SO ORDERED.9 by Grace Murillo, the owner of the apartment which Narciso rented, 2. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN PRONOUNCING
was never rebutted on record. Narciso did not present any THAT PETITIONER WAS AFFORDED THE FULL MEASURE OF HIS
Petitioner appealed to the CA arguing that: (1) the trial court evidence, verbal or documentary, to repudiate plaintiff’s evidence. RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW AND IN UPHOLDING THAT THE
decided the case without affording him the right to introduce TRIAL COURT DID NOT GRAVELY ABUSE ITS DISCRETION
evidence on his defense; and (2) the trial court erred in finding that In the cases of Lim vs. CA (270 SCRA 1) and Rodriguez vs. CA (245 AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT
petitioner is the putative father of Christian Paulo and ordering him SCRA 150), the Supreme Court made it clear that Article 172 of the DECIDED THE INSTANT CASE WITHOUT AFFORDING PETITIONER THE
to give monthly support. Family Code is an adaptation of Article 283 of the Civil Code. Said RIGHT TO INTRODUCE EVIDENCE IN HIS DEFENSE.
legal provision provides that the father is obliged to recognize the
By Decision dated July 18, 2006, the CA dismissed petitioner’s child as his natural child x x "3) when the child has in his favor any 3. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT
appeal. The appellate court found no reason to disturb the trial evidence or proof that the defendant is his father". THE FILIATION OF CHRISTIAN PAULO WAS DULY ESTABLISHED
court’s exercise of discretion in denying petitioner’s motion for PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 175 IN RELATION TO ARTICLE 172 OF THE
postponement on April 17, 1998, the scheduled hearing for the In fact, in Ilano vs. CA (230 SCRA 242, 258-259), it was held that– FAMILY CODE AND EXISTING JURISPRUDENCE AND THEREFORE
initial presentation of defendant’s evidence, and the motion for ENTITLED TO SUPPORT FROM THE PETITIONER.11
reconsideration of the said order denying the motion for "The last paragraph of Article 283 contains a blanket provision that
postponement and submitting the case for decision. practically covers all the other cases in the preceding paragraphs. We grant the petition.
‘Any other evidence or proof’ that the defendant is the father is
On the paternity issue, the CA affirmed the trial court’s ruling that broad enough to render unnecessary the other paragraphs of this It is a legal truism that the rules on the venue of personal actions
respondent satisfactorily established the illegitimate filiation of her article. When the evidence submitted in the action for compulsory are fixed for the convenience of the plaintiffs and their witnesses.
son Christian Paulo, and consequently no error was committed by recognition is not sufficient to meet [the] requirements of the first Equally settled, however, is the principle that choosing the venue of
the trial court in granting respondent’s prayer for support. The three paragraphs, it may still be enough under the last paragraph. an action is not left to a plaintiff’s caprice; the matter is regulated by
appellate court thus held: This paragraph permits hearsay and reputation evidence, as the Rules of Court.12 In personal actions such as the instant case, the
provided in the Rules of Court, with respect to illegitimate filiation." Rules give the plaintiff the option of choosing where to file his
Christian Paulo, in instant case, does not enjoy the benefit of a complaint. He can file it in the place (1) where he himself or any of
record of birth in the civil registry which bears acknowledgment As a necessary consequence of the finding that Christian Paulo is the them resides, or (2) where the defendant or any of the defendants
signed by Narciso Salas. He cannot claim open and continuous son of defendant Narciso Salas, he is entitled to support from the resides or may be found.13 The plaintiff or the defendant must be
possession of the status of an illegitimate child. latter (Ilano vs. CA, supra). residents of the place where the action has been instituted at the
time the action is commenced.14
It had been established by plaintiff’s evidence, however, that during It "shall be demandable from the time the person who has the right
her pregnancy, Annabelle was provided by Narciso Salas with an to recover the same needs it for maintenance x x." (Art. 203, Family However, petitioner raised the issue of improper venue for the first
apartment at a rental of ₱1,500.00 which he paid for (TSN, October Code of the Philippines).10 time in the Answer itself and no prior motion to dismiss based on
6, 1995, p. 18). Narciso provided her with a household help with a such ground was filed. Under the Rules of Court before the 1997
salary of ₱1,500.00 a month (TSN, October 6, 1995, ibid). He also Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied by amendments, an objection to an improper venue must be made
provided her a monthly food allowance of ₱1,500.00 (Ibid, p. 18). the CA. before a responsive pleading is filed. Otherwise, it will be deemed
Narciso was with Annabelle at the hospital while the latter was in waived.15 Not having been timely raised, petitioner’s objection on
labor, "walking" her around and massaging her belly (Ibid, p. 11). venue is therefore deemed waived.
Hence, this petition submitting the following arguments:
Narciso brought home Christian Paulo to the rented apartment after
Annabelle’s discharge from the hospital. People living in the same As to the denial of the motion for postponement filed by his counsel
apartment units were witnesses to Narciso’s delight to father a son for the resetting of the initial presentation of defense evidence on
April 17, 1998, we find that it was not the first time petitioner’s On April 17, 1998, petitioner and his counsel failed to appear but the part of the movant. The inadvertence of the defense counsel in
motion for postponement was denied by the trial court. the trial court received on April 16, 1998 an urgent motion to cancel failing to take note of the trial dates and in belatedly informing the
hearing filed by Atty. Villarosa. The reason given by the latter was trial court of any conflict in his schedules of trial or court
Records disclosed that after the termination of the testimony of the scheduled hearing on the issuance of writ of preliminary appearances, constitutes inexcusable negligence. It should be borne
respondent’s last witness on November 29, 1996, the trial court as injunction in another case under the April 8, 1998 Order issued by in mind that a client is bound by his counsel’s conduct, negligence
prayed for by the parties, set the continuation of hearing for the the RTC of Gapan, Nueva Ecija, Branch 36 in Civil Case No. 1946. But and mistakes in handling the case.22
reception of evidence for the defendant (petitioner) on January 27, as clearly stated in the said order, it was the plaintiffs therein who
February 3, and February 10, 1997. In the Order dated December requested the postponement of the hearing and it behoved Atty. With our finding that there was no abuse of discretion in the trial
17, 1996, petitioner was advised to be ready with his evidence at Villarosa to inform the RTC of Gapan that he had a previous court’s denial of the motion for postponement filed by petitioner’s
those hearing dates earlier scheduled. At the hearing on January 27, commitment considering that the April 17, 1998 hearing was counsel, petitioner’s contention that he was deprived of his day in
1997, petitioner’s former counsel, Atty. Rolando S. Bala, requested scheduled as early as February 16, 1998. Acting on the motion for court must likewise fail. The essence of due process is that a party is
for the cancellation of the February 3 and 10, 1997 hearings in order postponement, the trial court denied for the second given a reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit any
to give him time to prepare for his defense, which request was time petitioner’s motion for postponement. evidence one may have in support of one’s defense. Where a party
granted by the trial court which thus reset the hearing dates to was afforded an opportunity to participate in the proceedings but
March 3, 14 and 17, 1997. On March 3, 1997, upon oral Even at the hearing of their motion for reconsideration of the April failed to do so, he cannot complain of deprivation of due process. If
manifestation by Atty. Bala and without objection from 17, 1998 Order on September 21, 1998, Atty. Villarosa failed to the opportunity is not availed of, it is deemed waived or forfeited
respondent’s counsel, Atty. Feliciano Wycoco, the trial court again appear and instead filed another motion for postponement. The without violating the constitutional guarantee.23
reset the hearing to March 14 and 17, 1997. With the trial court thus ordered that the case be submitted for decision
nonappearance of both petitioner and Atty. Bala on March 14, 1997, stressing that the case had long been pending and that petitioner We now proceed to the main issue of whether the trial and
the trial court upon oral manifestation by Atty. Wycoco declared and his counsel have been given opportunities to present their appellate courts erred in ruling that respondent’s evidence
their absence as a waiver of their right to present evidence and evidence. It likewise denied a second motion for reconsideration sufficiently proved that her son Christian Paulo is the illegitimate
accordingly deemed the case submitted for decision.16 filed by Atty. Villarosa, who arrived late during the hearing thereof child of petitioner.
on December 4, 1998.18
On July 4, 1997, Atty. Bala withdrew as counsel for petitioner and Under Article 175 of the Family Code of the Philippines, illegitimate
Atty. Rafael E. Villarosa filed his appearance as his new counsel on A motion for continuance or postponement is not a matter of right, filiation may be established in the same way and on the same
July 21, 1997. On the same date he filed entry of appearance, Atty. but a request addressed to the sound discretion of the court. Parties evidence as legitimate children.
Villarosa filed a motion for reconsideration of the March 14, 1997 asking for postponement have absolutely no right to assume that
Order pleading for liberality and magnanimity of the trial court, their motions would be granted. Thus, they must be prepared on Article 172 of the Family Code of the Philippines states:
without offering any explanation for Atty. Bala’s failure to appear the day of the hearing.19 Indeed, an order declaring a party to have
for the initial presentation of their evidence. The trial court waived the right to present evidence for performing dilatory actions
The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the
thereupon reconsidered its March 14, 1997 Order, finding it better upholds the trial court’s duty to ensure that trial proceeds despite
following:
to give petitioner a chance to present his evidence. On August 26, the deliberate delay and refusal to proceed on the part of one
1997, Atty. Villarosa received a notice of hearing for the party.20
(1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final
presentation of their evidence scheduled on September 22, 1997.
judgment; or
On August 29, 1997, the trial court received his motion requesting Atty. Villarosa’s plea for liberality was correctly rejected by the trial
that the said hearing be re-set to October 10, 1997 for the reason court in view of his own negligence in failing to ensure there will be
that he had requested the postponement of a hearing in another (2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a
no conflict in his trial schedules. As we held in Tiomico v. Court of
case which was incidentally scheduled on September 22, 23 and 24, private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent
Appeals21
1997. As prayed for, the trial court reset the hearing to October 10, concerned.
1997. On said date, however, the hearing was again moved to :
December 15, 1997. On February 16, 1998, the trial court itself reset In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation
the hearing to April 17, 1998 since it was unclear whether Atty. shall be proved by:
Motions for postponement are generally frowned upon by Courts if
Wycoco received a copy of the motion.17
there is evidence of bad faith, malice or inexcusable negligence on
(1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate shouldered the expenses in the delivery of respondent’s child as an totality of respondent’s evidence insufficient to establish that
child; or act of charity. petitioner is the father of Christian Paulo.

(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. As to the handwritten notes34 (Exhibits "D" to "D-13") of petitioner The testimonies of respondent and Murillo as to the circumstances
(Underscoring supplied.) and respondent showing their exchange of affectionate words and of the birth of Christian Paulo, petitioner’s financial support while
romantic trysts, these, too, are not sufficient to establish Christian respondent lived in Murillo’s apartment and his regular visits to her
Respondent presented the Certificate of Live Birth24 (Exhibit "A-1") Paulo’s filiation to petitioner as they were not signed by petitioner at the said apartment, though replete with details, do not
of Christian Paulo Salas in which the name of petitioner appears as and contained no statement of admission by petitioner that he is approximate the "overwhelming evidence, documentary and
his father but which is not signed by him. Admittedly, it was only the father of said child. Thus, even if these notes were authentic, testimonial" presented in Ilano. In that case, we sustained the
respondent who filled up the entries and signed the said document they do not qualify under Article 172 (2) vis-à- vis Article 175 of the appellate court’s ruling anchored on the following factual findings
though she claims it was petitioner who supplied the information Family Code which admits as competent evidence of illegitimate by the appellate court which was quoted at length in the ponencia:
she wrote therein. filiation an admission of filiation in a private handwritten instrument
signed by the parent concerned.35 It was Artemio who made arrangement for the delivery of
We have held that a certificate of live birth purportedly identifying Merceditas (sic) at the Manila Sanitarium and Hospital. Prior to the
the putative father is not competent evidence of paternity when Petitioner’s reliance on our ruling in Lim v. Court of Appeals36 is delivery, Leoncia underwent prenatal examination accompanied by
there is no showing that the putative father had a hand in the misplaced.1âwphi1 In the said case, the handwritten letters of Artemio (TSN, p. 33, 5/17/74). After delivery, they went home to
preparation of the certificate.25 Thus, if the father did not sign in the petitioner contained a clear admission that he is the father of their residence at EDSA in a car owned and driven by Artemio
birth certificate, the placing of his name by the mother, doctor, private respondent’s daughter and were signed by him. The Court himself (id. p. 36).
registrar, or other person is incompetent evidence of therein considered the totality of evidence which established
paternity.26 Neither can such birth certificate be taken as a beyond reasonable doubt that petitioner was indeed the father of Merceditas (sic) bore the surname of "Ilano" since birth without any
recognition in a public instrument27 and it has no probative value to private respondent’s daughter. On the other hand, in Ilano v. Court objection on the part of Artemio, the fact that since Merceditas (sic)
establish filiation to the alleged father.28 of Appeals,37 the Court sustained the appellate court’s finding that had her discernment she had always known and called Artemio as
private respondent’s evidence to establish her filiation with and her "Daddy" (TSN, pp. 28-29, 10/18/74); the fact that each time
As to the Baptismal Certificate29 (Exhibit "B") of Christian Paulo Salas paternity of petitioner was overwhelming, particularly the latter’s Artemio was at home, he would play with Merceditas (sic), take her
also indicating petitioner as the father, we have ruled that while public acknowledgment of his amorous relationship with private for a ride or restaurants to eat, and sometimes sleeping with
baptismal certificates may be considered public documents, they respondent’s mother, and private respondent as his own child Merceditas (sic) (id. p. 34) and does all what a father should do for
can only serve as evidence of the administration of the sacraments through acts and words, her testimonial evidence to that effect was his child — bringing home goodies, candies, toys and whatever he
on the dates so specified. They are not necessarily competent fully supported by documentary evidence. The Court thus ruled that can bring her which a child enjoys which Artemio gives to
evidence of the veracity of entries therein with respect to the child’s respondent had adduced sufficient proof of continuous possession Merceditas (sic) (TSN, pp. 38-39, 5/17/74) are positive evidence that
paternity.30 of status of a spurious child. Merceditas (sic) is the child of Artemio and recognized by Artemio
as such. Special attention is called to Exh. "E-7" where Artemio was
The rest of respondent’s documentary evidence consists of Here, while the CA held that Christian Paulo Salas could not claim telling Leoncia the need for a "frog test" to know the status of
handwritten notes and letters, hospital bill and photographs taken open and continuous possession of status of an illegitimate child, it Leoncia.
of petitioner and respondent inside their rented apartment unit. nevertheless considered the testimonial evidence sufficient proof to
establish his filiation to petitioner. Plaintiff pointed out that the support by Artemio for Leoncia and
Pictures taken of the mother and her child together with the alleged Merceditas (sic) was sometimes in the form of cash personally
father are inconclusive evidence to prove paternity.31 Exhibits "E" An illegitimate child is now also allowed to establish his claimed delivered to her by Artemio, thru Melencio, thru Elynia (Exhs. "E-2"
and "F"32 showing petitioner and respondent inside the rented filiation by "any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and and "E-3", and "D-6"), or thru Merceditas (sic) herself (TSN, p. 40,
apartment unit thus have scant evidentiary value. The Statement of special laws," like his baptismal certificate, a judicial admission, a 5/17/74) and sometimes in the form of a check as the Manila
Account33 (Exhibit "C") from the Good Samaritan General Hospital family Bible in which his name has been entered, common Banking Corporation Check No. 81532 (Exh. "G") and the signature
where respondent herself was indicated as the payee is likewise reputation respecting his pedigree, admission by silence, the appearing therein which was identified by Leoncia as that of
incompetent to prove that petitioner is the father of her child testimonies of witnesses, and other kinds of proof admissible under Artemio because Artemio often gives her checks and Artemio would
notwithstanding petitioner’s admission in his answer that he Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.38 Reviewing the records, we find the write the check at home and saw Artemio sign the check (TSN, p. 49,
7/18/73). Both Artemio and Nilda admitted that the check and Finally, we note the Manifestation and Motion41 filed by petitioner’s SO ORDERED.
signature were those of Artemio (TSN, p. 53, 10/17/77; TSN, p. 19, counsel informing this Court that petitioner had died on May 6,
10/9/78). 2010. The action for support having been filed in the trial court
when petitioner was still alive, it is not barred under Article 175
During the time that Artemio and Leoncia were living as husband (2)42 of the Family Code. We have also held that the death of the
and wife, Artemio has shown concern as the father of Merceditas putative father is not a bar to the action commenced during his
(sic). When Merceditas (sic) was in Grade 1 at the St. Joseph lifetime by one claiming to be his illegitimate child.43 The rule on
Parochial School, Artemio signed the Report Card of Merceditas (sic) substitution of parties provided in Section 16, Rule 3 of the 1997
(Exh. "H") for the fourth and fifth grading period(s) (Exh. "H-1" and Rules of Civil Procedure, thus applies.
"H-2") as the parent of Merceditas (sic). Those signatures of Artemio
[were] both identified by Leoncia and Merceditas (sic) because SEC. 16. Death of party; duty of counsel. – Whenever a party to a
Artemio signed Exh. "H-1" and "H-2" at their residence in the pending action dies, and the claim is not thereby extinguished, it
presence of Leoncia, Merceditas (sic) and of Elynia (TSN, p. 57, shall be the duty of his counsel to inform the court within thirty (30)
7/18/73; TSN, p. 28, 10/1/73). x x x. days after such death of the fact thereof, and to give the name and
address of his legal representative or representatives. Failure of
xxx xxx xxx counsel to comply with his duty shall be a ground for disciplinary
action.
When Artemio run as a candidate in the Provincial Board of Cavite[,]
Artemio gave Leoncia his picture with the following dedication: "To The heirs of the deceased may be allowed to be substituted for the
Nene, with best regards, Temiong". (Exh. "I"). (pp. 19-20, Appellant’s deceased, without requiring the appointment of an executor or
Brief) administrator and the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for the
minor heirs.
The mere denial by defendant of his signature is not sufficient to
offset the totality of the evidence indubitably showing that the The court shall forthwith order said legal representative or
signature thereon belongs to him. The entry in the Certificate of Live representatives to appear and be substituted within a period of
Birth that Leoncia and Artemio was falsely stated therein as married thirty (30) days from notice.
does not mean that Leoncia is not appellee’s daughter. This
particular entry was caused to be made by Artemio himself in order If no legal representative is named by the counsel for the deceas~d
to avoid embarrassment.39 party, or if the one so named shall fail to appear within the specified
period, the court may order the opposing party, within a specified
In sum, we hold that the testimonies of respondent and Murillo, by time to procure the appointment of an executor or administrator for
themselves are not competent proof of paternity and the totality of the estate of the deceased and the latter shall immediately appear
respondent’s evidence failed to establish Christian Paulo’s filiation for and on behalf of the deceased. The court charges in procuring
to petitioner. such appointment, if defrayed by the opposing party, may be
recovered as costs .
Time and again, this Court has ruled that a high standard of proof is
required to establish paternity and filiation. An order for recognition WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED. The
and support may create an unwholesome situation or may be an Decision dated July 18, 2006 and Resolution dated October 19, 2007
irritant to the family or the lives of the parties so that it must be of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 64379 are
issued only if paternity or filiation is established by clear and hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Civil Case No. 2124-AF of the
convincing evidence.40 Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City, Branch 26 is DISMISSED.

No pronouncement as to costs.
THIRD DIVISION Iligan City BIRTH CERTIFICATE recorded as Registry Babiera and Hermogena Cariñosa, when she is not; b) The
No. 16035; signature of Hermogena Cariñosa, the mother, is
G.R. No. 138493 June 15, 2000 falsified/forged. She was not the informant; c) The family
Furnish copies of this-decision to the Local Civil Registrar of name BABIERA is false and unlawful and her correct family
TEOFISTA BABIERA, petitioner, Iligan City, the City Prosecutor, counsel for private name is GUINTO, her mother being single; d) Her real
vs. respondent Atty. Tomas Cabili and to counsel for mother was Flora Guinto and her status, an illegitimate
PRESENTACION B. CATOTAL, respondent. petitioner. child; The natural father, the carpenter, did not sign it; that
the respondent Teofista Barbiera's birth certificate is
SO ORDERED. void ab initio, and it is patently a simulation of birth, since it
PANGANIBAN, J.:
is clinically and medically impossible for the supposed
parents to bear a child in 1956 because: a) Hermogena
A birth certificate may be ordered cancelled upon adequate proof The Facts
Cariñosa Babiera, was already 54 years old; b) Hermogena's
that it is fictitious. Thus, void is a certificate which shows that the
last child birth was in the year 1941, the year petitioner
mother was already fifty-four years old at the time of the child's The undisputed facts are summarized by the Court of Appeals in this
was born; c) Eugenio was already 65 years old, that the
birth and which was signed neither by the civil registrar nor by the wise:
void and simulated birth certificate of Teofista Guinto
supposed mother. Because her inheritance rights are adversely
would affect the hereditary rights of petitioner who
affected, the legitimate child of such mother is a proper party in the Presentacion B. Catotal (hereafter referred to as inherited the estate of cancelled and declared void and
proceedings for the cancellation of the said certificate. PRESENTACION) filed with the Regional Trial Court of Lanao theretofore she prays that after publication, notice and
del Node, Branch II, Iligan City, a petition for the hearing, judgment [be] render[ed] declaring . . . the
Statement of the Case cancellation of the entry of birth of Teofista Babiera certificate of birth of respondent Teofista Guinto as
(herafter referred to as TEOFISTA) in the Civil Registry of declared void, invalid and ineffective and ordering the
Submitted for this Court's consideration is a Petition for Review Iligan City. The case was docketed as Special Proceedings respondent local civil registrar of Iligan to cancel from the
on Certiorari1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeking reversal No. 3046. registry of live birth of Iligan City BIRTH CERTIFICATE
of the March 18, 1999 Decision2 of the Court of Appeals3 (CA) in CA- recorded as Registry No. 16035.
GR CV No. 56031. Affirming the Regional Trial Court of Lanao del From the petition filed, PRESENTACION asserted "that she
Norte in Special Proceedings No. 3046, the CA ruled as follows: is the only surviving child of the late spouses Eugenio Finding the petition to be sufficient in form and substance,
Babiera and Hermogena Cariñosa, who died on May 26, the trial court issued an order directing the publication of
IN VIEW HEREOF, the appealed decision is hereby 1996 and July 6, 1990 respectively; that on September 20, the petition and the date of hearing thereof in a
AFFIRMED. Accordingly, the instant appeal is DISMISSED for 1996 a baby girl was delivered by "hilot" in the house of newspaper, the Local Civil Registrar of Iligan City, the office
lack of merit. Costs against the defendant-appellant, spouses Eugenio and Hermogena Babiera and without the of the City Prosecutor of Iligan City and TEOFISTA.
TEOFISTA BABIERA, a.k.a. Teofista Guinto.4 knowledge of said spouses, Flora Guinto, the mother of the
child and a housemaid of spouses Eugenio and Hermogena
TEOFISTA filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that
The dispositive portion of the affirmed RTC Decision reads: Babiera, caused the registration/recording of the facts of
"the petition states no cause of action, it being an attack on
birth of her child, by simulating that she was the child of
the legitimacy of the respondent as the child of the spouses
the spouses Eugenio, then 65 years old and Hermogena,
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing findings and Eugenio Babiera and Hermogena Cariñosa Babiera; that
then 54 years old, and made Hermogena Babiera appear as
pronouncements of the Court, judgment is hereby plaintiff has no legal capacity to file the instant petition
the mother by forging her signature . . .; that petitioner,
rendered, to wit[:] pursuant to Article 171 of the Family Code; and finally that
then 15 years old, saw with her own eyes and personally
the instant petition is barred by prescription in accordance
witnessed Flora Guinto give birth to Teofista Guinto, in
1) Declaring the Certificate of Birth of respondent with Article 170 of the Family Code." The trial court denied
their house, assisted by "hilot"; that the birth certificate . . .
Teofista Guinto as null and void "ab initio"; the motion to dismiss.
of Teofista Guinto is void ab initio, as it was totally a
simulated birth, signature of informant forged, and it
2) Ordering the respondent Local Civil Registrar of Subsequently, "Attys. Padilla, Ulindang and Padilla
contained false entries, to wit: a) The child is made to
Iligan to cancel from the registry of live birth of appeared and filed an answer/opposition in behalf of
appear as the legitimate child of the late spouses Eugenio
private respondent Teofista Babiera, [who] was later on In this case, the action involved the cancellation of the child's Birth entitled to the avails of the suit."9 The interest of respondent in the
substituted by Atty. Cabili as counsel for private Certificate for being void ab initio on the ground that the child did civil status of petitioner stems from an action for partition which the
respondent." not belong to either the father or the mother. latter filed against the former. 10 The case concerned the properties
inherited by respondent from her parents.
In the answer filed, TEOFISTA averred "that she was always Hence, this appeal.6
known as Teofista Babiera and not Teofista Guinto; that Moreover, Article 171 of the Family Code is not applicable to the
plaintiff is not the only surviving child of the late spouses Issues present case. A close reading of this provision shows that it applies
Eugenio Babiera and Hermogena C. Babiera, for the truth of to instances in which the father impugns the legitimacy of his wife's
the matter [is that] plantiff Presentacion B. V. Catotal and Petitioner presents the following assignment of errors: child. The provision, however, presupposes that the child was the
[defendant] Teofista Babiera are sisters of the full-blood. undisputed offspring of the mother. The present case alleges and
Her Certificate of Birth, signed by her mother Hermogena shows that Hermogena did not give birth to petitioner. In other
1) Respondent (plaintiff in the lower court a quo) does not
Babiera, . . . Certificate of Baptism, . . . Student's Report words, the prayer herein is not to declare that petitioner is an
have the legal capacity to file the special proceeding of
Card . . . all incorporated in her answer, are eloquent illegitimate child of Hermogena, but to establish that the former is
appeal under CA GR No. CV-56031 subject matter of this
testimonies of her filiation. By way of special and not the latter's child at all. Verily, the present action does not
review on certiorari;
affirmative defenses, defendant/respondent contended impugn petitioner's filiation to Spouses Eugenio and Hermogena
that the petition states no cause of action, it being an Babiera, because there is no blood relation to impugn in the first
2) The special proceeding on appeal under CA GR No. CV-
attack on the legitimacy of the respondent as the child of place.
56031 is improper and is barred by [the] statute of
the spouses Eugenio Babiera and Hermogena Cariñoza
limitation (prescription); [and]
Babiera; that plaintiff has no legal capacity to file the In Benitez-Badua v. Court of Appeals, 11 the Court ruled thus:
instant petition pursuant to Article 171 of the Family Code;
and finally that the instant petition is barred by 3) The Honorable Court of Appeals, the fifteenth division
Petitioner's insistence on the applicability of Articles 164,
prescription in accordance with Article 170 of the Family utterly failed to hold, that the ancient public record of
166, 170 and 171 of the Family Code to the case at bench
Code.5 petitioner's birth is superior to the self-serving oral
cannot be sustained. These articles provide:
testimony of respondent.7
Ruling of the Court of Appeals xxx xxx xxx
The Court's Ruling
The Court of Appeals held that the evidence adduced during trial A careful reading of the above articles will show that they
proved that petitioner was not the biological child of Hermogena The Petition is not meritorious.
do not contemplate a situation, like in the instant case,
Babiera. It also ruled that no evidence was presented to show that where a child is alleged not to be the child of nature or
Hermogena became pregnant in 1959. It further observed that she First Issue: Subject of
biological child of a certain couple. Rather, these articles
was already 54 years old at the time, and that her last pregnancy govern a situation where a husband (or his heirs) denies as
had occurred way back in 1941. The CA noted that the supposed the Present Action his own a child of his wife. Thus, under Article 166, it is the
birth took place at home, notwithstanding the advanced age of husband who can impugn the legitimacy of said child by
Hermogena and its concomitant medical complications. Moreover, Petitioner contends that respondent has no standing to sue, proving: (1) it was physically impossible for him to have
petitioner's Birth Certificate was not signed by the local civil because Article 1718 of the Family Code states that the child's sexual intercourse, with his wife within the first 120 days of
registrar, and the signature therein, which was purported to be that filiation can be impugned only by the father or, in special the 300 days which immediately preceded the birth of the
of Hermogena, was different from her other signatures. circumstances, his heirs. She adds that the legitimacy of a child is child; (2) that for biological or other scientific reasons, the
not subject to a collateral attack. child could not have been his child; (3) that in case of
The CA also deemed inapplicable Articles 170 and 171 of the Family children conceived insemination, the written authorization
Code, which stated that only the father could impugn the child's This argument is incorrect. Respondent has the requisite standing to or ratification by either parent was obtained through
legitimacy, and that the same was not subject to a collateral attack. initiate the present action. Section 2, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, mistake, fraud, violence, intimidation or undue influence.
It held that said provisions contemplated a situation wherein the provides that a real party in interest is one "who stands to be Articles 170 and 171 reinforce this reading as they speak of
husband or his heirs asserted that the child of the wife was not his. benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or the party the prescriptive period within which the husband or any of
his heirs should file the action impugning the legitimacy of abroad. If the birth of the child has been concealed from or The most significant piece of evidence, however, is the deposition of
said child. Doubtless then, the appellate court did not err was unknown to the husband or his heirs, the period shall Hermogena Babiera which states that she did not give birth to
when it refused to apply these articles to the case at bench. be counted from the discovery or knowledge of the birth of petitioner, and that the latter was not hers nor her husband
For the case at bench is not one where the heirs of the late the child or of the fact of registration of said birth, Eugenio's. The deposition reads in part:
Vicente are contending that petitioner is not his child by whichever is earlier.
Isabel. Rather, their clear submission is that petitioner was q Who are your children?
not horn to Vicente and Isabel. Our ruling in Cabatbat-Lim This argument is bereft of merit. The present action involves the
vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 166 SCRA 451, 457 cited cancellation of petitioner's Birth Certificate; it does not impugn her a Presentation and Florentino Babiera.
in the impugned decision is apropos, viz: legitimacy. Thus, the prescriptive period set forth in Article 170 of
the Family Code does not apply. Verily, the action to nullify the Birth q Now, this Teofista Babiera claims that she is your
"Petitioners" recourse to Article 263 of the New Certificate does not prescribe, because it was allegedly void ab legitimate child with your husband Eugenio Babiera, what
Civil Code [now Art. 170 of the Family Code] is not initio. 1 can you say about that?
well-taken. This legal provision refers to an action
to impugn legitimacy. It is inapplicable to this case Third Issue: a She is not our child.
because this is not an action to impugn the
legitimacy of a child, but an action of the private Presumption in Favor of the Birth Certificate q Do you recall where she was born?
respondents to claim their inheritance as legal
heirs of their childless deceased aunt. They do not
Lastly, petitioner argues that the evidence presented, especially a In our house because her mother was our house helper.
claim that petitioner Violeta Cabatbat Lim is an
Hermogena's testimony that petitioner was not her real child,
illegitimate child of the deceased, but that she is
cannot overcome the presumption of regularity in the issuance of
not the decedent's child at all. Being neither [a] q Could you recall for how long if ever this Teofista Babiera
the Birth Certificate.
legally adopted child, nor an acknowledged lived with you in your residence?
natural child, nor a child by legal fiction of
While it is true that an official document such as petitioner's Birth
Esperanza Cabatbat, Violeta is not a legal heir of a Maybe in 1978 but she [would] always go ou[t] from time
Certificate enjoys the presumption of regularity, the specific facts
the deceased. 12 (Emphasis supplied.) to time.
attendant in the case at bar, as well as the totality of the evidence
presented during trial, sufficiently negate such presumption. First,
Second Issue: Prescription q Now, during this time, do you recall if you ever assert[ed]
there were already irregularities regarding the Birth Certificate
her as your daughter with your husband?
itself. It was not signed by the local civil registrar. 14 More important,
Petitioner next contends that the action to contest her status as a the Court of Appeals observed that the mother's signature therein
child of the late Hermogena Babiera has already prescribed. She was different from her signatures in other documents presented a No, sir. 15
cites Article 170 of the Family Code which provides the prescriptive during the trial.
period for such action: Relying merely on the assumption of validity of the Birth Certificate,
Second, the circumstances surrounding the birth of petitioner show petitioner has presented no other evidence other than the said
Art. 170. The action to impugn the legitimacy of the child that Hermogena is not the former's real mother. For one, there is no document to show that she is really Hermogena's child; Neither has
shall be brought within one year from the knowledge of the evidence of Hermogena's pregnancy, such as medical records and she provided any reason why her supposed mother would make a
birth or its recording in the civil register, if the husband or, doctor's prescriptions, other than the Birth Certificate itself. In fact, deposition stating that the former was not the latter's child at all.
in a proper case, any of his heirs, should reside in the city no witness was presented to attest to the pregnancy of Hermogena
or municipality where the birth took place or was recorded. during that time.1awphil Moreover, at the time of her supposed All in all, we find no reason to reverse or modify the factual finding
birth, Hermogena was already 54 years old. Even if it were possible of the trial and the appellate courts that petitioner was not the child
If the husband or, in his default, all of his heirs do not for her to have given birth at such a late age, it was highly suspicious of respondent's parents.
reside at the place of birth as defined in the first paragraph that she did so in her own home, when her advanced age
or where it was recorded, the period shall be two years if necessitated proper medical care normally available only in a WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DENIED and the assailed
they should reside in the Philippines; and three years if hospital. Decision AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner. SO ORDERED.
THIRD DIVISION and has, since then, been undergoing chemotherapy. On March 5, On July 23, 2002, Fe and Martin moved for the issuance of an order
2002, Fe and Martin sued Arnel for support.6 directing all the parties to submit themselves to DNA paternity
G.R. No. 162571 June 15, 2005 testing pursuant to Rule 28 of the Rules of Court.12
In his amended answer, Arnel denied having sired Martin because
ARNEL L. AGUSTIN, petitioner, his affair and intimacy with Fe had allegedly ended in 1998, long Arnel opposed said motion by invoking his constitutional right
vs. before Martin’s conception. He claimed that Fe had at least one against self-incrimination.13 He also moved to dismiss the complaint
HON. COURT OF APPEALS AND MINOR MARTIN JOSE other secret lover. Arnel admitted that their relationship started in for lack of cause of action, considering that his signature on the
PROLLAMANTE, REPRESENTED BY HIS MOTHER/GUARDIAN FE 1993 but "he never really fell in love with (Fe) not only because birth certificate was a forgery and that, under the law, an
ANGELA PROLLAMANTE, respondents. (she) had at least one secret lover, a certain Jun, but also because illegitimate child is not entitled to support if not recognized by the
she proved to be scheming and overly demanding and possessive. putative father.14 In his motion, Arnel manifested that he had filed
DECISION As a result, theirs was a stormy on-and-off affair. What started as a criminal charges for falsification of documents against Fe (I.S. Nos.
romantic liaison between two consenting adults eventually turned 02-5723 and 02-7192) and a petition for cancellation of his name
out to be a case of fatal attraction where (Fe) became so obsessed appearing in Martin’s birth certificate (docketed as Civil Case No. Q-
CORONA, J.:
with (Arnel), to the point of even entertaining the idea of marrying 02-46669). He attached the certification of the Philippine National
him, that she resorted to various devious ways and means to Police Crime Laboratory that his signature in the birth certificate
At issue in this petition for certiorari 1 is whether or not the Court of
alienate (him) from his wife and family…. Unable to bear the was forged.
Appeals (CA) gravely erred in exercising its discretion, amounting to
prospect of losing his wife and children, Arnel terminated the affair
lack or excess of jurisdiction, in issuing a decision 2 and
although he still treated her as a friend such as by referring The trial court denied the motion to dismiss the complaint and
resolution3 upholding the resolution and order of the trial
potential customers to the car aircon repair shop"7 where she ordered the parties to submit themselves to DNA paternity testing
court,4 which denied petitioner’s motion to dismiss private
worked. Later on, Arnel found out that Fe had another erstwhile at the expense of the applicants. The Court of Appeals affirmed the
respondents’ complaint for support and directed the parties to
secret lover. In May 2000, Arnel and his entire family went to the trial court.
submit themselves to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) paternity testing.
United States for a vacation. Upon their return in June 2000, Arnel
learned that Fe was telling people that he had impregnated her. Thus, this petition.
Respondents Fe Angela and her son Martin Prollamante sued Arnel refused to acknowledge the child as his because their "last
Martin’s alleged biological father, petitioner Arnel L. Agustin, for intimacy was sometime in 1998."8 Exasperated, Fe started calling
support and support pendente lite before the Regional Trial Court In a nutshell, petitioner raises two issues: (1) whether a complaint
Arnel’s wife and family. On January 19, 2001, Fe followed Arnel to
(RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 106.5 for support can be converted to a petition for recognition and (2)
the Capitol Hills Golf and Country Club parking lot to demand that
whether DNA paternity testing can be ordered in a proceeding for
he acknowledge Martin as his child. According to Arnel, he could not
support without violating petitioner’s constitutional right to privacy
In their complaint, respondents alleged that Arnel courted Fe in get through Fe and the discussion became so heated that he had no
and right against self-incrimination.15
1992, after which they entered into an intimate relationship. Arnel "alternative but to move on but without bumping or hitting any part
supposedly impregnated Fe on her 34th birthday on November 10, of her body."9 Finally, Arnel claimed that the signature and the
1999. Despite Arnel’s insistence on abortion, Fe decided otherwise The petition is without merit.
community tax certificate (CTC) attributed to him in the
and gave birth to their child out of wedlock, Martin, on August 11, acknowledgment of Martin’s birth certificate were falsified. The CTC
2000 at the Capitol Medical Hospital in Quezon City. The baby’s erroneously reflected his marital status as single when he was First of all, the trial court properly denied the petitioner’s motion to
birth certificate was purportedly signed by Arnel as the father. Arnel actually married and that his birth year was 1965 when it should dismiss because the private respondents’ complaint on its face
shouldered the pre-natal and hospital expenses but later refused have been 1964.10 showed that they had a cause of action against the petitioner. The
Fe’s repeated requests for Martin’s support despite his adequate elements of a cause of action are: (1) the plaintiff’s primary right
financial capacity and even suggested to have the child committed and the defendant’s corresponding primary duty, and (2) the delict
In his pre-trial brief filed on May 17, 2002, Arnel vehemently denied
for adoption. Arnel also denied having fathered the child. or wrongful act or omission of the defendant, by which the primary
having sired Martin but expressed willingness to consider any
right and duty have been violated. The cause of action is determined
proposal to settle the case.11
On January 19, 2001, while Fe was carrying five-month old Martin at not by the prayer of the complaint but by the facts alleged. 16
the Capitol Hills Golf and Country Club parking lot, Arnel sped off in
his van, with the open car door hitting Fe’s leg. This incident was In the complaint, private respondents alleged that Fe had amorous
reported to the police. In July 2001, Fe was diagnosed with leukemia relations with the petitioner, as a result of which she gave birth to
Martin out of wedlock. In his answer, petitioner admitted that he inherit. There being no allegation of such acknowledgment, the the estate of his deceased natural father, or mother x x x. In neither
had sexual relations with Fe but denied that he fathered Martin, action becomes one to compel recognition which cannot be brought of these situations has it been thought necessary for the plaintiff to
claiming that he had ended the relationship long before the child’s after the death of the putative father. The ratio decidendi in Paulino, show a prior decree compelling acknowledgment. The obvious
conception and birth. It is undisputed and even admitted by the therefore, is not the absence of a cause of action for failure of the reason is that in partition suits and distribution proceedings the
parties that there existed a sexual relationship between Arnel and petitioner to allege the fact of acknowledgment in the complaint, other persons who might take by inheritance are before the court;
Fe. The only remaining question is whether such sexual relationship but the prescription of the action. and the declaration of heirship is appropriate to such proceedings.
produced the child, Martin. If it did, as respondents have alleged, (Underscoring supplied)
then Martin should be supported by his father Arnel. If not, Applying the foregoing principles to the case at bar, although
petitioner and Martin are strangers to each other and Martin has no petitioner contends that the complaint filed by herein private Although the instant case deals with support rather than
right to demand and petitioner has no obligation to give support. respondent merely alleges that the minor Chad Cuyugan is an inheritance, as in Tayag, the basis or rationale for integrating them
illegitimate child of the deceased and is actually a claim for remains the same. Whether or not respondent Martin is entitled to
Preliminaries aside, we now tackle the main issues. inheritance, from the allegations therein the same may be support depends completely on the determination of filiation. A
considered as one to compel recognition. Further, that the two separate action will only result in a multiplicity of suits, given how
Petitioner refuses to recognize Martin as his own child and denies causes of action, one to compel recognition and the other to claim intimately related the main issues in both cases are. To
the genuineness and authenticity of the child’s birth certificate inheritance, may be joined in one complaint is not new in our paraphrase Tayag, the declaration of filiation is entirely appropriate
which he purportedly signed as the father. He also claims that the jurisprudence. to these proceedings.
order and resolution of the trial court, as affirmed by the Court of
Appeals, effectively converted the complaint for support to a As early as [1922] we had occasion to rule thereon in Briz vs. Briz, et On the second issue, petitioner posits that DNA is not recognized by
petition for recognition, which is supposedly proscribed by law. al. (43 Phil. 763 [1922]) wherein we said: this Court as a conclusive means of proving paternity. He also
According to petitioner, Martin, as an unrecognized child, has no contends that compulsory testing violates his right to privacy and
right to ask for support and must first establish his filiation in a The question whether a person in the position of the present right against self-incrimination as guaranteed under the 1987
separate suit under Article 28317 in relation to Article 26518 of the plaintiff can in any event maintain a complex action to compel Constitution. These contentions have no merit.
Civil Code and Section 1, Rule 10519 of the Rules of Court. recognition as a natural child and at the same time to obtain ulterior
relief in the character of heir, is one which in the opinion of this Given that this is the very first time that the admissibility of DNA
The petitioner’s contentions are without merit. court must be answered in the affirmative, provided always that the testing as a means for determining paternity has actually been the
conditions justifying the joinder of the two distinct causes of action focal issue in a controversy, a brief historical sketch of our past
The assailed resolution and order did not convert the action for are present in the particular case. In other words, there is no decisions featuring or mentioning DNA testing is called for.
support into one for recognition but merely allowed the absolute necessity requiring that the action to compel
respondents to prove their cause of action against petitioner who acknowledgment should have been instituted and prosecuted to a In the 1995 case of People v. Teehankee21 where the appellant was
had been denying the authenticity of the documentary evidence of successful conclusion prior to the action in which that same convicted of murder on the testimony of three eyewitnesses, we
acknowledgement. But even if the assailed resolution and order plaintiff seeks additional relief in the character of heir. Certainly, stated as an obiter dictum that "while eyewitness identification is
effectively integrated an action to compel recognition with an action there is nothing so peculiar to the action to compel significant, it is not as accurate and authoritative as the scientific
for support, such was valid and in accordance with jurisprudence. acknowledgment as to require that a rule should be here applied forms of identification evidence such as the fingerprint or the DNA
In Tayag v. Court of Appeals,20 we allowed the integration of an different from that generally applicable in other cases. x x x test result(emphasis supplied)."
action to compel recognition with an action to claim one’s
inheritance: The conclusion above stated, though not heretofore explicitly Our faith in DNA testing, however, was not quite so steadfast in the
formulated by this court, is undoubtedly to some extent supported previous decade. In Pe Lim v. Court of Appeals,22 promulgated in
…In Paulino, we held that an illegitimate child, to be entitled to by our prior decisions. Thus, we have held in numerous cases, and 1997, we cautioned against the use of DNA because "DNA, being a
support and successional rights from the putative or presumed the doctrine must be considered well settled, that a natural child relatively new science, (had) not as yet been accorded official
parent, must prove his filiation to the latter. We also said that it is having a right to compel acknowledgment, but who has not been recognition by our courts. Paternity (would) still have to be resolved
necessary to allege in the complaint that the putative father had in fact legally acknowledged, may maintain partition proceedings by such conventional evidence as the relevant incriminating acts,
acknowledged and recognized the illegitimate child because such for the division of the inheritance against his coheirs x x x; and the verbal and written, by the putative father."
acknowledgment is essential to and is the basis of the right to same person may intervene in proceedings for the distribution of
In 2001, however, we opened the possibility of admitting DNA as illegitimate child and any physical residue of the long dead parent Admittedly, we are just beginning to integrate these advances in
evidence of parentage, as enunciated in Tijing v. Court of Appeals:23 could be resorted to. A positive match would clear up filiation or science and technology in the Philippine criminal justice system, so
paternity. In Tijing vs. Court of Appeals, this Court has acknowledged we must be cautious as we traverse these relatively uncharted
A final note. Parentage will still be resolved using conventional the strong weight of DNA testing… waters. Fortunately, we can benefit from the wealth of persuasive
methods unless we adopt the modern and scientific ways available. jurisprudence that has developed in other jurisdictions. Specifically,
Fortunately, we have now the facility and expertise in using DNA Moreover, in our en banc decision in People v. Yatar,27 we affirmed the prevailing doctrine in the U.S. has proven instructive.
test for identification and parentage testing. The University of the the conviction of the accused for rape with homicide, the principal
Philippines Natural Science Research Institute (UP-NSRI) DNA evidence for which included DNA test results. We did a lengthy In Daubert v. Merrell Dow (509 U.S. 579 (1993); 125 L. Ed. 2d 469) it
Analysis Laboratory has now the capability to conduct DNA typing discussion of DNA, the process of DNA testing and the reasons for its was ruled that pertinent evidence based on scientifically valid
using short tandem repeat (STR) analysis. The analysis is based on admissibility in the context of our own Rules of Evidence: principles could be used as long as it was relevant and reliable.
the fact that the DNA of a child/person has two (2) copies, one copy Judges, under Daubert, were allowed greater discretion over which
from the mother and the other from the father. The DNA from the Deoxyribonucleic Acid, or DNA, is a molecule that encodes the testimony they would allow at trial, including the introduction of
mother, the alleged father and child are analyzed to establish genetic information in all living organisms. A person’s DNA is the new kinds of scientific techniques. DNA typing is one such novel
parentage. Of course, being a novel scientific technique, the use of same in each cell and it does not change throughout a person’s procedure.
DNA test as evidence is still open to challenge. Eventually, as the lifetime; the DNA in a person’s blood is the same as the DNA found
appropriate case comes, courts should not hesitate to rule on the in his saliva, sweat, bone, the root and shaft of hair, earwax, mucus, Under Philippine law, evidence is relevant when it relates directly to
admissibility of DNA evidence. For it was said, that courts should urine, skin tissue, and vaginal and rectal cells. Most importantly, a fact in issue as to induce belief in its existence or non-existence.
apply the results of science when competently obtained in aid of because of polymorphisms in human genetic structure, no two Applying the Daubert test to the case at bar, the DNA evidence
situations presented, since to reject said result is to deny progress. individuals have the same DNA, with the notable exception of obtained through PCR testing and utilizing STR analysis, and which
identical twins. was appreciated by the court a quo is relevant and reliable since it is
The first real breakthrough of DNA as admissible and authoritative reasonably based on scientifically valid principles of human genetics
evidence in Philippine jurisprudence came in 2002 with our en xxx xxx xxx and molecular biology.
banc decision in People v. Vallejo24 where the rape and murder
victim’s DNA samples from the bloodstained clothes of the accused In assessing the probative value of DNA evidence, courts should Significantly, we upheld the constitutionality of compulsory DNA
were admitted in evidence. We reasoned that "the purpose of DNA consider, inter alia, the following factors: how the samples were testing and the admissibility of the results thereof as evidence. In
testing (was) to ascertain whether an association exist(ed) between collected, how they were handled, the possibility of contamination that case, DNA samples from semen recovered from a rape victim’s
the evidence sample and the reference sample. The samples of the samples, the procedure followed in analyzing the samples, vagina were used to positively identify the accused Joel "Kawit"
collected (were) subjected to various chemical processes to whether proper standards and procedures were followed in Yatar as the rapist. Yatar claimed that the compulsory extraction of
establish their profile." conducting the tests, and the qualification of the analyst who his blood sample for DNA testing, as well as the testing itself,
conducted the tests. violated his right against self-incrimination, as embodied in both
A year later, in People v. Janson,25 we acquitted the accused charged Sections 12 and 17 of Article III of the Constitution. We addressed
with rape for lack of evidence because "doubts persist(ed) in our In the case at bar, Dr. Maria Corazon Abogado de Ungria was duly this as follows:
mind as to who (were) the real malefactors. Yes, a complex offense qualified by the prosecution as an expert witness on DNA print or
(had) been perpetrated but who (were) the perpetrators? How we identification techniques. Based on Dr. de Ungria’s testimony, it was The contention is untenable. The kernel of the right is not against all
wish we had DNA or other scientific evidence to still our doubts!" determined that the gene type and DNA profile of appellant are compulsion, but against testimonial compulsion. The right against
identical to that of the extracts subject of examination. The blood self-incrimination is simply against the legal process of extracting
In 2004, in Tecson, et al. v. COMELEC26 where the Court en banc was sample taken from the appellant showed that he was of the from the lips of the accused an admission of guilt. It does not apply
faced with the issue of filiation of then presidential candidate following gene types: vWA 15/19, TH01 7/8, DHFRP29/10 and where the evidence sought to be excluded is not an incrimination
Fernando Poe Jr., we stated: CSF1PO 10/11, which are identical with semen taken from the but as part of object evidence.
victim’s vaginal canal. Verily, a DNA match exists between the
In case proof of filiation or paternity would be unlikely to semen found in the victim and the blood sample given by the Over the years, we have expressly excluded several kinds of object
satisfactorily establish or would be difficult to obtain, DNA testing, appellant in open court during the course of the trial. evidence taken from the person of the accused from the realm of
which examines genetic codes obtained from body cells of the self-incrimination. These include photographs,28 hair,29 and other
bodily substances.30 We have also declared as constitutional several The case of Wilson v. Lumb40 shows that DNA testing is so commonly the child’s paternity and shall make a finding of paternity,
procedures performed on the accused such as pregnancy tests for accepted that, in some instances, ordering the procedure has if appropriate, in accordance with this article. Neither
women accused of adultery, 31 expulsion of morphine from one’s become a ministerial act. The Supreme Court of St. Lawrence signator’s legal obligations, including the obligation for
mouth32 and the tracing of one’s foot to determine its identity with County, New York allowed a party who had already acknowledged child support arising from the acknowledgment, may be
bloody footprints.33 In Jimenez v. Cañizares,34 we even authorized paternity to subsequently challenge his prior acknowledgment. The suspended during the challenge to the acknowledgment
the examination of a woman’s genitalia, in an action for annulment Court pointed out that, under the law, specifically Section 516 of the except for good cause as the court may find. If a party
filed by her husband, to verify his claim that she was impotent, her New York Family Court Act, the Family Court examiner had the duty, petitions to rescind an acknowledgment and if the court
orifice being too small for his penis. Some of these procedures were, upon receipt of the challenge, to order DNA tests:41 determines that the alleged father is not the father of the
to be sure, rather invasive and involuntary, but all of them were child, or if the court finds that an acknowledgment is
constitutionally sound. DNA testing and its results, per our ruling § 516-a. Acknowledgment of paternity. (a) An invalid because it was executed on the basis of fraud,
in Yatar,35 are now similarly acceptable. acknowledgment of paternity executed pursuant to section duress, or material mistake of fact, the court shall vacate
one hundred eleven-k of the social services law or section the acknowledgment of paternity and shall immediately
Nor does petitioner’s invocation of his right to privacy persuade us. four thousand one hundred thirty-five-b of the public provide a copy of the order to the registrar of the district in
In Ople v. Torres,36 where we struck down the proposed national health law shall establish the paternity of and liability for which the child’s birth certificate is filed and also to the
computerized identification system embodied in Administrative the support of a child pursuant to this act. Such putative father registry operated by the department of
Order No. 308, we said: acknowledgment must be reduced to writing and filed social services pursuant to section three hundred seventy-
pursuant to section four thousand one hundred thirty-five- two-c of the social services law. In addition, if the mother
In no uncertain terms, we also underscore that the right to privacy b of the public health law with the registrar of the district in of the child who is the subject of the acknowledgment is in
does not bar all incursions into individual privacy. The right is not which the birth occurred and in which the birth certificate receipt of child support services pursuant to title six-A of
intended to stifle scientific and technological advancements that has been filed. No further judicial or administrative article three of the social services law, the court shall
enhance public service and the common good... Intrusions into the proceedings are required to ratify an unchallenged immediately provide a copy of the order to the child
right must be accompanied by proper safeguards that enhance acknowledgment of paternity. support enforcement unit of the social services district that
public service and the common good. provides the mother with such services.
(b) An acknowledgment of paternity executed pursuant to
Historically, it has mostly been in the areas of legality of searches section one hundred eleven-k of the social services law or (c) A determination of paternity made by any other state,
and seizures,37 and the infringement of privacy of section four thousand one hundred thirty-five-b of the whether established through the parents’ acknowledgment
communication38 where the constitutional right to privacy has been public health law may be rescinded by either signator’s of paternity or through an administrative or judicial
critically at issue. Petitioner’s case involves neither and, as already filing of a petition with the court to vacate the process, must be accorded full faith and credit, if and only if
stated, his argument that his right against self-incrimination is in acknowledgment within the earlier of sixty days of the date such acknowledgment meets the requirements set forth in
jeopardy holds no water. His hollow invocation of his constitutional of signing the acknowledgment or the date of an section 452(a)(7) of the social security act.
rights elicits no sympathy here for the simple reason that they are administrative or a judicial proceeding (including a
not in any way being violated. If, in a criminal case, an accused proceeding to establish a support order) relating to the (emphasis supplied)
whose very life is at stake can be compelled to submit to DNA child in which either signator is a party. For purposes of this
testing, we see no reason why, in this civil case, petitioner herein section, the "date of an administrative or a judicial DNA testing also appears elsewhere in the New York Family Court
who does not face such dire consequences cannot be ordered to do proceeding" shall be the date by which the respondent is Act:42
the same. required to answer the petition. After the expiration of
sixty days of the execution of the acknowledgment, either §532. Genetic marker and DNA tests; admissibility of records or
DNA paternity testing first came to prominence in the United States, signator may challenge the acknowledgment of paternity in reports of test results; costs of tests.
where it yielded its first official results sometime in 1985. In the court only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake
decade that followed, DNA rapidly found widespread general of fact, with the burden of proof on the party challenging
a) The court shall advise the parties of their right to one or
acceptance.39 Several cases decided by various State Supreme the voluntary acknowledgment. Upon receiving a party’s
more genetic marker tests or DNA tests and, on the court’s
Courts reflect the total assimilation of DNA testing into their rules of challenge to an acknowledgment, the court shall order
own motion or the motion of any party, shall order the
procedure and evidence. genetic marker tests or DNA tests for the determination of
mother, her child and the alleged father to submit to one
or more genetic marker or DNA tests of a type generally any such test be apportioned between the parties ordeal than at present. Contested paternity actions at that time
acknowledged as reliable by an accreditation body according to their respective abilities to pay or be assessed were often no more than credibility contests. Consequently, in every
designated by the secretary of the federal department of against the party who does not prevail on the issue of contested paternity action, obtaining child support depended not
health and human services and performed by a laboratory paternity, unless such party is financially unable to pay. merely on whether the putative father was, in fact, the child's
approved by such an accreditation body and by the (emphasis supplied) biological father, but rather on whether the mother could prove to a
commissioner of health or by a duly qualified physician to court of law that she was only sexually involved with one man--the
aid in the determination of whether the alleged father is or In R.E. v. C.E.W.,43 a decision of the Mississippi Supreme Court, DNA putative father. Allowing parties the option of entering into private
is not the father of the child. No such test shall be ordered, tests were used to prove that H.W., previously thought to be an agreements in lieu of proving paternity eliminated the risk that the
however, upon a written finding by the court that it is not offspring of the marriage between A.C.W. and C.E.W., was actually mother would be unable meet her burden of proof.
in the best interests of the child on the basis of res the child of R.E. with whom C.E.W. had, at the time of conception,
judicata, equitable estoppel, or the presumption of maintained an adulterous relationship. It is worth noting that amendments to Michigan’s Paternity law
legitimacy of a child born to a married woman. The record have included the use of DNA testing:46
or report of the results of any such genetic marker or DNA In Erie County Department of Social Services on behalf of Tiffany
test ordered pursuant to this section or pursuant to section M.H. v. Greg G.,44 the 4th Department of the New York Supreme §722.716 Pretrial proceedings; blood or tissue typing
one hundred eleven-k of the social services law shall be Court’s Appellate Division allowed G.G., who had been adjudicated determinations as to mother, child, and alleged father; court order;
received in evidence by the court pursuant to subdivision as T.M.H.’s father by default, to have the said judgment vacated, refusal to submit to typing or identification profiling; qualifications
(e) of rule forty-five hundred eighteen of the civil practice even after six years, once he had shown through a genetic marker of person conducting typing or identification profiling;
law and rules where no timely objection in writing has been test that he was not the child’s father. In this case, G.G. only compensation of expert; result of typing or identification profiling;
made thereto and that if such timely objections are not requested the tests after the Department of Social Services, six filing summary report; objection; admissibility; presumption; burden
made, they shall be deemed waived and shall not be heard years after G.G. had been adjudicated as T.M.H.’s father, sought an of proof; summary disposition.
by the court. If the record or report of the results of any increase in his support obligation to her.
such genetic marker or DNA test or tests indicate at least
Sec. 6.
a ninety-five percent probability of paternity, the
In Greco v. Coleman,45 the Michigan Supreme Court while ruling on
admission of such record or report shall create a
the constitutionality of a provision of law allowing non-modifiable (1) In a proceeding under this act before trial, the court,
rebuttable presumption of paternity, and shall establish, if
support agreements pointed out that it was because of the difficulty upon application made by or on behalf of either party, or
unrebutted, the paternity of and liability for the support
of determining paternity before the advent of DNA testing that such on its own motion, shall order that the mother, child, and
of a child pursuant to this article and article four of this
support agreements were necessary: alleged father submit to blood or tissue typing
act.
determinations, which may include, but are not limited to,
As a result of DNA testing, the accuracy with which paternity can be determinations of red cell antigens, red cell isoenzymes,
(b) Whenever the court directs a genetic marker or DNA
proven has increased significantly since the parties in this lawsuit human leukocyte antigens, serum proteins, or DNA
test pursuant to this section, a report made as provided in
entered into their support agreement…(current testing methods can identification profiling, to determine whether the alleged
subdivision (a) of this section may be received in evidence
determine the probability of paternity to 99.999999% accuracy). father is likely to be, or is not, the father of the child. If
pursuant to rule forty-five hundred eighteen of the civil
However, at the time the parties before us entered into the the court orders a blood or tissue typing or DNA
practice law and rules if offered by any party.
disputed agreement, proving paternity was a very significant identification profiling to be conducted and a party
obstacle to an illegitimate child's access to child support. The first refuses to submit to the typing or DNA identification
(c) The cost of any test ordered pursuant to subdivision (a) reported results of modern DNA paternity testing did not occur until profiling, in addition to any other remedies available, the
of this section shall be, in the first instance, paid by the 1985. ("In fact, since its first reported results in 1985, DNA matching court may do either of the following:
moving party. If the moving party is financially unable to has progressed to 'general acceptance in less than a decade'"). Of
pay such cost, the court may direct any qualified public course, while prior blood-testing methods could exclude some (a) Enter a default judgment at the request of the
health officer to conduct such test, if practicable; males from being the possible father of a child, those methods could appropriate party.
otherwise, the court may direct payment from the funds of not affirmatively pinpoint a particular male as being the father.
the appropriate local social services district. In its order of Thus, when the settlement agreement between the present parties
disposition, however, the court may direct that the cost of was entered in 1980, establishing paternity was a far more difficult
(b) If a trial is held, allow the disclosure of the In S.J.F. and J.C.F. v. R.C.W.,48 the North Dakota Supreme Court under Rule 65, we discussed at length the nature of such a petition
fact of the refusal unless good cause is shown for upheld an order for genetic testing given by the Court of Appeals, and just what was meant by "grave abuse of discretion":
not disclosing the fact of refusal. even after trial on the merits had concluded without such order
being given. Significantly, when J.C.F., the mother, first filed the case Grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and whimsical
(2) A blood or tissue typing or DNA identification profiling for paternity and support with the District Court, neither party exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction or, in
shall be conducted by a person accredited for paternity requested genetic testing. It was only upon appeal from dismissal of other words, where the power is exercised in an arbitrary manner
determinations by a nationally recognized scientific the case that the appellate court remanded the case and ordered by reason of passion, prejudice, or personal hostility, and it must
organization, including, but not limited to, the American the testing, which the North Dakota Supreme Court upheld. be so patent or gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty
association of blood banks. or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all
The case of Kohl v. Amundson,49 decided by the Supreme Court of in contemplation of law.
xxx xxx xxx South Dakota, demonstrated that even default judgments of
paternity could be vacated after the adjudicated father had, through The special civil action for certiorari is a remedy designed for the
(5) If the probability of paternity determined by the DNA testing, established non-paternity. In this case, Kohl, having correction of errors of jurisdiction and not errors of judgment.
qualified person described in subsection (2) conducting excluded himself as the father of Amundson’s child through DNA The raison d’etre for the rule is when a court exercises its
the blood or tissue typing or DNA identification profiling is testing, was able to have the default judgment against him vacated. jurisdiction, an error committed while so engaged does not deprive
99% or higher, and the DNA identification profile and He then obtained a ruling ordering Amundson to reimburse him for it of the jurisdiction being exercised when the error is committed. If
summary report are admissible as provided in subsection the amounts withheld from his wages for child support. The Court it did, every error committed by a court would deprive it of its
(4), paternity is presumed. If the results of the analysis of said "(w)hile Amundson may have a remedy against the father of jurisdiction and every erroneous judgment would be a void
genetic testing material from 2 or more persons indicate a the child, she submit(ted) no authority that require(d) Kohl to judgment. In such a scenario, the administration of justice would
probability of paternity greater than 99%, the contracting support her child. Contrary to Amundson's position, the fact that a not survive. Hence, where the issue or question involved affects the
laboratory shall conduct additional genetic paternity default judgment was entered, but subsequently vacated, (did) not wisdom or legal soundness of the decision—not the jurisdiction of
testing until all but 1 of the putative fathers is eliminated, foreclose Kohl from obtaining a money judgment for the amount the court to render said decision—the same is beyond the province
unless the dispute involves 2 or more putative fathers withheld from his wages." of a special civil action for certiorari.
who have identical DNA.
In M.A.S. v. Mississippi Dept. of Human Services,50 another case The proper recourse of the aggrieved party from a decision of the
(6) Upon the establishment of the presumption of paternity decided by the Supreme Court of Mississippi, it was held that even if CA is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised
as provided in subsection (5), either party may move for paternity was established through an earlier agreed order of Rules of Court. On the other hand, if the error subject of the
summary disposition under the court rules. this section filiation, child support and visitation orders could still be vacated recourse is one of jurisdiction, or the act complained of was
does not abrogate the right of either party to child support once DNA testing established someone other than the named perpetrated by a quasi-judicial officer or agency with grave abuse of
from the date of birth of the child if applicable under individual to be the biological father. The Mississippi High Court discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, the proper
section 7. (emphasis supplied) reiterated this doctrine in Williams v. Williams.51 remedy available to the aggrieved party is a petition for certiorari
under Rule 65 of the said Rules. (emphasis supplied)
In Rafferty v. Perkins,47 the Supreme Court of Mississippi ruled that The foregoing considered, we find no grave abuse of discretion on
DNA test results showing paternity were sufficient to overthrow the the part of the public respondent for upholding the orders of the In the instant case, the petitioner has in no way shown any
presumption of legitimacy of a child born during the course of a trial court which both denied the petitioner’s motion to dismiss and arbitrariness, passion, prejudice or personal hostility that would
marriage: ordered him to submit himself for DNA testing. Under Rule 65 of the amount to grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Court of
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, the remedy of certiorari is only Appeals. The respondent court acted entirely within its jurisdiction
available "when any tribunal, board or officer has acted without or in promulgating its decision and resolution, and any error made
The presumption of legitimacy having been rebutted by the results
in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion would have only been an error in judgment. As we have discussed,
of the blood test eliminating Perkins as Justin's father, even
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, however, the decision of the respondent court, being firmly
considering the evidence in the light most favorable to Perkins, we
nor any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course anchored in law and jurisprudence, was correct.
find that no reasonable jury could find that Easter is not Justin's
of law."52 In Land Bank of the Philippines v. the Court of
father based upon the 99.94% probability of paternity concluded by
Appeals53 where we dismissed a special civil action for certiorari Epilogue
the DNA testing.
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.
THIRD DIVISION 4. That she has all the qualifications and none of the certificate which contained an entry stating that she was born at the
disqualifications required of an administrator. Mary Johnston Hospital, Tondo, Manila, to Francisco Angeles and
G.R. No. 153798 September 2, 2005 Genoveva Mercado and whereon the handwritten word "Yes"
Petitioner opposed the basic petition and prayed that she, instead appears on the space below the question "Legitimate? (Legitimo?)";
BELEN SAGAD ANGELES, Petitioners, of respondent, be made the administratrix of Francisco’s estate. 3 In pictures taken during respondent’s wedding as bride to Atty.
vs. support of her opposition and plea, petitioner alleged having Guillermo T. Maglaya; and a copy of her marriage contract. Likewise
ALELI "CORAZON" ANGELES MAGLAYA, Respondent. married Francisco on August 7, 1948 before Judge Lucio M. Tianco offered were her scholastic and government service records.
of the Municipal Court of Rizal, a union which was ratified two (2)
DECISION months later in religious rites at the Our Lady of Grace Parish in After respondent rested her case following her formal offer of
Caloocan City, and that Francisco represented in their marriage exhibits, petitioner filed a "Motion to Dismiss" under Section 1(g),
contract that he was single at that time. Petitioner also averred that Rule 16 of the Rules of Court. In it, she prayed for the dismissal of
GARCIA, J.:
respondent could not be the daughter of Francisco for, although she the petition for letters of administration on the ground that the
was recorded as Francisco’s legitimate daughter, the corresponding petition failed "to state or prove a cause of action", it being her
In this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
birth certificate was not signed by him. Pressing on, petitioner stated position that "[P]etitioner [Corzaon], by her evidence, failed
Court, petitioner Belen Sagad Angeles seeks to set aside the
further alleged that respondent, despite her claim of being the to establish her filiation vis-à-vis the decedent, i.e., that she is in fact
Decision dated May 29, 20021 of the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. CV
legitimate child of Francisco and Genoveva Mercado, has not a legitimate child of Francisco M. Angeles."10
No. 66037, reversing an earlier Order of the Regional Trial Court at
presented the marriage contract between her supposed parents or
Caloocan City which dismissed the petition for the settlement of the
produced any acceptable document to prove such union. And To the motion to dismiss, respondent interposed an opposition,
intestate estate of Francisco Angeles, thereat commenced by the
evidently to debunk respondent’s claim of being the only child of followed by petitioner’s reply, to which respondent countered with
herein respondent Aleli "Corazon" Angeles-Maglaya.
Francisco, petitioner likewise averred that she and Francisco had, a rejoinder.
during their marriage, legally adopted Concesa A. Yamat, et al.
The legal dispute between the parties started when, on March 25, Petitioner thus urged that she, being the surviving spouse of Eventually, in an Order dated July 12, 1999,11 the trial court, on its
1998, in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) at Caloocan City, respondent Francisco, be declared as possessed of the superior right to the finding that respondent failed to prove her filiation as legitimate
filed a petition2 for letters of administration and her appointment as administration of his estate. child of Francisco, dismissed the petition, thus:
administratrix of the intestate estate of Francisco M. Angeles
(Francisco, hereinafter). In the petition, docketed as Special
In her reply to opposition, respondent alleged, inter alia, that per WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby ordered DISMISSED for
Proceedings No. C-2140 and raffled to Branch 120 of the court,
certification of the appropriate offices, the January to December failure of the [respondent] to state a cause of action in accordance
respondent alleged, among other things, the following: 1938 records of marriages of the Civil Registrar of Bacolor, with Section 1(g) of Rule 16 of the 1997 Rules of Civil of Procedure.
Pampanga where the alleged 1938 Francisco-Genoveva wedding (Word in bracket added]
1. That Francisco, a resident of 71 B. Serrano St., Grace Park, took place, were destroyed. In the same reply, respondent
Caloocan, died intestate on January 21, 1998 in the City of Manila, dismissed as of little consequence the adoption adverted to owing
leaving behind four (4) parcels of land and a building, among other Respondent then moved for reconsideration, which motion was
to her having interposed with the Court of Appeals a petition to
valuable properties; denied by the trial court in its Order of December 17,
nullify the decree of adoption entered by the RTC at Caloocan.4
1999.12 Therefrom, respondent went on appeal to the Court of
Appeals where her recourse was docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 66037.
2. That there is a need to appoint an administrator of Francisco’s Issues having been joined, trial ensued. Respondent, as petitioner a
estate; quo, commenced the presentation of her evidence by taking the
As stated at the threshold hereof, the Court of Appeals, in its
witness stand. She testified having been born on November 20,
assailed Decision dated May 29, 2002,13 reversed and set aside the
3. That she (respondent) is the sole legitimate child of the deceased 1939 as the legitimate child of Francisco M. Angeles and Genoveva
trial court’s order of dismissal and directed it to appoint respondent
and Genoveva Mercado, and, together with petitioner, Belen S. Mercado, who died in January 1988.5 She also testified having been
as administratrix of the estate of Francisco, to wit:
Angeles, decedent’s wife by his second marriage, are the surviving in open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate
heirs of the decedent; and child. Four (4) other witnesses testified on her behalf, namely:
WHEREFORE, the appealed order of dismissal is REVERSED. The Trial
Tomas Angeles,6 Francisco Yaya,7 Jose O. Carreon8 and Paulita
Court is hereby ordered to appoint petitioner-appellant Aleli
Angeles de la Cruz.9 Respondent also offered in evidence her birth
"Corazon" Angeles as administratrix of the intestate estate of Family Code cannot be more emphatic on the matter: "Children Contextually, the correct lesson of Tison, which the appellate court
Francisco Angeles. conceived or born during the marriage of the parents are evidently misapplied, is that: (a) a child is presumed legitimate only
legitimate." if conceived or born in wedlock; and (b) the presumptive legitimacy
SO ORDERED. of such child cannot be attacked collaterally.
In finding for respondent, the Court of Appeals, citing and extensibly
The appellate court predicated its ruling on the interplay of the quoting from Tison vs. Court of Appeals,16stated that since A party in whose favor the legal presumption exists may rely on and
following main premises: petitioner "opted not to present any contrary evidence", the invoke such legal presumption to establish a fact in issue. He need
presumption on respondent’s legitimacy stands "unrebutted."17 not introduce evidence to prove that fact.18 For, a presumption
1. Petitioner’s Motion to Dismiss filed with the trial court, albeit is prima facie proof of the fact presumed. However, it cannot be
premised on the alleged failure of the underlying petition for letter Following is an excerpt from Tison: over-emphasized, that while a fact thus prima facie established by
of administration to state or prove a cause of action, actually legal presumption shall, unless overthrown, stand as proved, 19 the
partakes of a demurrer to evidence under Section 1 of Rule 33;14 It seems that both the court a quo and respondent appellate court presumption of legitimacy under Article 164 of the Family
have regrettably overlooked the universally recognized presumption Code20 may be availed only upon convincing proof of the factual
on legitimacy. There is no presumption of the law more firmly basis therefor, i.e., that the child’s parents were legally married and
2. Petitioner’s motion being a demurer, it follows that she thereby
established and founded on sounder morality and more convincing that his/her conception or birth occurred during the subsistence of
waived her right to present opposing evidence to rebut
than the presumption that children born in wedlock are that marriage. Else, the presumption of law that a child is legitimate
respondent’s testimonial and documentary evidence; and
legitimate. And well-settled is the rule that the issue of legitimacy does not arise.
3. Respondent has sufficiently established her legitimate filiation cannot be attacked collaterally.
In the case at bench, the Court of Appeals, in its decision under
with the deceased Francisco.
The rationale for this rule has been explained in this wise: review, did not categorically state from what facts established
during the trial was the presumption of respondent’s supposed
Hence, petitioner’s instant petition for review on certiorari, on the
legitimacy arose. But even if perhaps it wanted to, it could not have
submission that the Court of Appeals erred: (1) in reversing the trial ‘The presumption of legitimacy in the Family Code . . .
possibly done so. For, save for respondent’s gratuitous assertion and
court’s order of dismissal;15 (2) in treating her motion to dismiss as a
an entry in her certificate of birth, there is absolutely no proof of the
demurrer to evidence; (3) in holding that respondent is a legitimate actually fixes a status for the child born in wedlock, and that civil
decedent’s marriage to respondent’s mother, Genoveva Mercado.
daughter of Francisco; and (4) in decreeing respondent’s status cannot be attacked collaterally. xxx
To stress, no marriage certificate or marriage contract – doubtless
appointment as administratrix of Francisco’s intestate estate.
the best evidence of Francisco’s and Genoveva’s marriage, if one
xxx xxx xxx had been solemnized21 – was offered in evidence. No priest, judge,
We resolve to grant the petition. mayor, or other solemnizing authority was called to the witness box
‘Upon the expiration of the periods provided in Article 170 [of the to declare that he solemnized the marriage between the two. None
The principal issue tendered in this case boils down to the question Family Code], the action to impugn the legitimacy of a child can no of the four (4) witnesses respondent presented could say anything
of whether or not respondent is the legitimate child of decedent longer be bought. The status conferred by the presumption, about, let alone affirm, that supposed marriage. At best, their
Francisco M. Angeles and Genoveva Mercado. The Court of Appeals therefore, becomes fixed, and can no longer be questioned. The testimonies proved that respondent was Francisco’s daughter. For
resolved the issue in the affirmative and, on the basis of such obvious intention of the law is to prevent the status of a child born example, Tomas Angeles and Paulita Angeles de la Cruz testified
determination, ordered the trial court to appoint respondent as in wedlock from being in a state of uncertainty. It also aims to force that they know respondent to be their cousin because his (Tomas’)
administratrix of Francisco’s estate. early action to settle any doubt as to the paternity of such child so father and her (Paulita’s) mother, who are both Francisco’s siblings,
that the evidence material to the matter . . . may still be easily told them so.22 And one Jose Carreon would testify seeing
We are unable to lend concurrence to the appellate court’s available.’ respondent in 1948 in Francisco’s house in Caloocan, the same
conclusion on the legitimate status of respondent, or, to be precise, Francisco who used to court Genoveva before the war. 23 In all, no
on her legitimate filiation to the decedent. A legitimate child is a xxxxxxxxx evidence whatsoever was presented of the execution of the
product of, and, therefore, implies a valid and lawful marriage. Francisco Angeles-Genoveva Mercado marriage contract; when and
Remove the element of lawful union and there is strictly no ‘Only the husband can contest the legitimacy of a child born to his where their marriage was solemnized; the identity of the
legitimate filiation between parents and child. Article 164 of the wife . . . .’(Words in bracket added; Emphasis ours) solemnizing officer; the persons present, and like significant details.
While perhaps not determinative of the issue of the existence of Art. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of Arturo Tolentino, commenting on the probative value of the entries
marriage between Francisco and Genoveva, we can even go to the the following: in a certificate of birth, wrote:
extent of saying that respondent has not even presented a witness
to testify that her putative parents really held themselves out to the 1. The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final xxx if the alleged father did not intervene in the making of the birth
public as man-and-wife. Clearly, therefore, the Court of Appeals judgments; or certificate, the putting of his name by the mother or doctor or
erred in crediting respondent with the legal presumption of registrar is void; the signature of the alleged father is necessary. 27
legitimacy which, as above explained, should flow from a lawful 2. An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a
marriage between Francisco and Genevova. To reiterate, absent private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent The conclusion reached by the Court of Appeals that the Birth
such a marriage, as here, there is no presumption of legitimacy and, concerned. Certificate of respondent, unsigned as it were by Francisco and
therefore, there was really nothing for petitioner to rebut. Genoveva, establishes – and "indubitably" at that - not only
In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation respondent’s filiation to Francisco but even her being a legitimate
Parenthetically, for all her unyielding stance that her mother and shall be proved by: daughter of Francisco and Genoveva, taxes credulity to the limit. In
Francisco Angeles were married in 1938, respondent never, thru the a very real sense, the appellate court regarded such certificate as
years, even question what would necessarily be a bigamous defining proof of filiation, and not just filiation but of legitimate
1. The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate
Francisco-Belen Sagad marriage. Ironical as it may seem, respondent filiation, by inferring from it that Francisco and Genoveva are legally
child; or
herself undermined her very own case. As it were, she made certain married. In the apt words of petitioner, the appellate court, out of a
judicial admission negating her own assertion – as well as the Birth Certificate signed by a physician who merely certified having
2. Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws.
appellate court’s conclusion - that Francisco was legally married to attended "the birth of a child who was born alive at 3:50
Genoveva. As may be recalled, respondent had declared that her P.M. ", created " a marriage that of ‘ Francisco and Genoveva’, and
mother Genoveva died in 1988, implying, quite clearly, that when Here, respondent presented, in support of her claim of legitimacy, a
filiation (that said child) is the daughter of ‘Francisco’"’28
Francisco contracted marriage with petitioner Belen S. Angeles copy of her Birth Certificate dated November 23, 1939 issued by the
in 1948, Genoveva and Francisco were already "spouses". Now, Civil Registrar of the City of Manila (Exh. "E"). In it, her birth was
It cannot be over-emphasized that the legitimate filiation of a child
then, if, as respondent maintained despite utter lack of evidence, recorded as the legitimate child of Francisco Angeles and Genoveva
is a matter fixed by law itself.29 It cannot, as the decision under
that Genoveva Mercado and Francisco were married in 1938, it Mercado. And the word "married" is written in the certificate to
review seems to suggest, be made dependent on the declaration of
follows that the marriage of Francisco to petitioner Belen Angeles in indicate the union of Francisco and Genoveva.
the attending physician or midwife, or that of the mother of the
1948, or prior to Genoveva’s death, would necessarily have to be newborn child. For then, an unwed mother, with or without the
bigamous, hence void,24 in which case petitioner could not be, as Petitioner, however, contends, citing jurisprudence, that "[I]t was
participation of a doctor or midwife, could veritably invest
respondent alleged in her petition for letters of administration, a error for the Court of Appeals to have ruled . . .
legitimate status to her offspring through the simple expedient of
"surviving spouse" of the decedent. We quote the pertinent that [respondent’s] Birth Certificate indubitably establishes that she
writing the putative father’s name in the appropriate space in the
allegation: is the legitimate daughter of Francisco and Genoveva who are
birth certificate. A long time past, this Court cautioned against
legally married".
according a similar unsigned birth certificate prima facie evidentiary
4. The surviving heirs of decedent are the petitioner [Corazon] value of filiation:
herself who is 58 years old, and BELEN S. Angeles, the surviving The contention commends itself for concurrence. The reason is as
spouse of deceased Francisco M. Angeles by his second marriage, simple as it is elementary: the Birth Certificate presented was not
Give this certificate evidential relevancy, and we thereby pave the
who is about 77 years old . . . .YEARS OLD . . . " (Emphasis and word signed by Francisco against whom legitimate filiation is asserted.
way for any scheming unmarried mother to extort money for her
in bracket added) Not even by Genoveva. It was signed by the attending physician,
child (and herself) from any eligible bachelor or affluent pater
one Rebecca De Guzman, who certified to having attended the birth
familias. How? She simply causes the midwife to state in the birth
We can concede, because Article 172 of the Family Code appears to of a child. Such certificate, albeit considered a public record of a
certificate that the newborn babe is her legitimate offspring with
say so, that the legitimate filiation of a child can be established by private document is, under Section 23, Rule 132 of the Rules of
that individual and the certificate will be accepted for registration . .
any of the modes therein defined even without direct evidence of Court, evidence only of the fact which gave rise to its execution: the
. . And any lawyer with sufficient imagination will realize the exciting
the marriage of his/her supposed parents. Said article 172 reads: fact of birth of a child.25 Jurisprudence teaches that a birth
possibilities from such mischief of such prima facie evidence – when
certificate, to be considered as validating proof of paternity and as
and if the "father" dies in ignorance of the fraudulent design xxx 30
an instrument of recognition, must be signed by the father and
mother jointly, or by the mother alone if the father refuses. 26 Dr.
Just like her Birth Certificate, respondent can hardly derive comfort Court of Appeals dismissed CA-G.R. SP No. 47832 on the Significantly, the aforesaid December 17, 2003 Decision of the
from her marriage contract to Atty. Maglaya and from her student ground, inter alia, that herein respondent is not, contrary to her appellate court in CA-G.R. SP No.47832 was effectively affirmed by
and government records which indicated or purported to show that claim, a "legitimate daughter" of Francisco, nor "a child of a lawful this Court via its Resolution dated August 9, 2004 in G.R. No.
Francisco Angeles is her father. The same holds true for her wedding wedlock between Francisco M. Angeles and Genoveva Y. Mercado". 163124, denying Aleli "Corazon" Maglaya’s petition for Review on
pictures which showed Francisco giving respondent’s hands in Wrote the appellate court in that case: Certiorari,33 and Resolution dated October 20, 2004,34 denying with
marriage. These papers or documents, unsigned as they are by "FINALITY" her motion for reconsideration. Another Resolution
Francisco or the execution of which he had no part, are not Petitioner [Aleli "Corazon Maglaya] belabors with repetitious dated January 24, 2005 resolved to "NOTE WITHOUT ACTION"
sufficient evidence of filiation or recognition.31 And needless to persistence the argument that she is a legitimate child or the only Maglaya’s second motion for reconsideration.
stress, they cannot support a finding of the legitimate union of daughter of Francisco M. Angeles and Genoveva Y. Mercado . . . .
Francisco and Genoveva. In the light of the ruling of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
In the case at bench, other than the self-serving declaration of the 47832, as affirmed with finality by this Court in G.R. No. 163124,
The argument may be advanced that the aforesaid wedding petitioner, there is nothing in the record to support petitioner’s there can be no serious objection to applying in this case the rule on
pictures, the school and service records and the testimony of claim that she is indeed a legitimate child of the late Francisco M. conclusiveness of judgment,35 one of two (2) concepts embraced in
respondent’s witnesses lend support to her claim of enjoying open Angeles and Genoveva Y. Mercado. xxx In other words, Francisco M. the res judicata principle. Following the rule on conclusiveness of
and continuous possession of the status of a child of Francisco. The Angeles was never married before or at anytime prior to his judgment, herein respondent is precluded from claiming that she is
Court can even concede that respondent may have been the natural marriage to Belen Sagad, contrary to the claim of petitioner that the legitimate daughter of Francisco and Genoveva Mercado. In
child of Francisco with Genoveva. Unfortunately, however, that Francisco M. Angeles and Genoveva Y. Mercado were married in fine, the issue of herein respondent’s legitimate filiation to Francisco
angle is not an, or at issue in the case before us. For, respondent 1938 and the latter’s marriage to Genoveva, having been judicially
peremptorily predicated her petition for letters of administration on determined in a final judgment by a court of competent jurisdiction,
her being a legitimate child of Francisco who was legally married to While petitioner may have submitted certifications to the effect that has thereby become res judicata and may not again be resurrected
her mother, Genoveva, propositions which we have earlier refuted the records of marriages during the war years . . . were totally or litigated between herein petitioner and respondent or their
herein. destroyed, no secondary evidence was presented by petitioner to privies in a subsequent action, regardless of the form of the latter. 36
prove the existence of the marriage between Francisco M. Angeles
If on the foregoing score alone, this Court could very well end this and Genoveva Y. Mercado, even as no witness was presented to Lest it be overlooked, the same ruling of the appellate court in CA-
disposition were it not for another compelling consideration which confirm the celebration of such marriage . . . . G.R. SP No. 47832, as sustained by this Court in G.R. No. 163124,
petitioner has raised and which we presently take judicially notice virtually confirms the ratio of the trial court’s order of dismissal in
of. Petitioner presented pictures. x x x However, it is already settled law Special Proceedings (SP) No. C-2140, i.e, that respondent failed to
that photographs are not sufficient evidence of filiation or establish that she is in fact a legitimate child of Francisco.
As may be recalled, respondent, during the pendency of the acknowledgment. Accordingly, the question of whether or not the Motion to
proceedings at the trial court, filed with the Court of Appeals a Dismiss37 interposed by herein petitioner, as respondent in SP No. C-
petition for the annulment of the decision of the RTC Caloocan 2140, is in the nature of a demurer to evidence has become moot
To be sure, very little comfort is provided by petitioner’s birth
granting the petition of spouses Francisco Angeles and petitioner and academic. It need not detain us any minute further.
certificate and even her marriage contract.. . . Reason: These
Belen S. Angeles for the adoption of Concesa A. Yamat and two documents were not signed by Francisco . . . . Equally
others. In that petition, docketed with the appellate court as CA- inconsequential are petitioner’s school records . . . . all these lacked Finally, it should be noted that on the matter of appointment of
G.R. SP No. 47832 and captioned "Aleli ‘Corazon’ Angeles Maglaya the signatures of both Francisco and Genoveva . . . . administrator of the estate of the deceased, the surviving spouse is
vs. Hon Jaime T. Hamoy, Consesa A. Yamat, Teodora A. Santos, preferred over the next of kin of the decedent. 38 When the law
Franco Angeles and Belen S. Angeles", respondent alleged that as speaks of "next of kin", the reference is to those who are entitled,
xxx xxx xxx
legitimate daughter of Francisco, she should have been notified of under the statute of distribution, to the decedent’s property; 39 one
the adoption proceedings. whose relationship is such that he is entitled to share in the estate
Having failed to prove that she is the legitimate daughter or
as distributed,40 or, in short, an heir. In resolving, therefore, the
acknowledged natural child of the late Francisco M. Angeles,
Following a legal skirmish, the Court of Appeals referred the issue of whether an applicant for letters of administration is a next
petitioner cannot be a real party in interest in the adoption
aforementioned annulment case to RTC, Caloocan for reception of of kin or an heir of the decedent, the probate court perforce has to
proceedings, as her consent thereto is not essential or required.
evidence. Eventually, in a Decision32 dated December 17, 2003, the determine and pass upon the issue of filiation. A separate action will
(Emphasis in the original; words in bracket added)
only result in a multiplicity of suits. Upon this consideration, the trial
court acted within bounds when it looked into and pass upon the
claimed relationship of respondent to the late Francisco Angeles.

WHEREFORE, the herein assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is


hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the order of the trial court
dismissing Special Proceedings No. C-2140 REINSTATED.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.
SECOND DIVISION president and general manager. He came home to her three or four take her for a drive, eat at restaurants, and even cuddle her to
times a week. sleep.13

The apartment was procured by Melencio Reyes, Officer-in-Charge When petitioner ran as a candidate in the Provincial Board of Cavite,
G.R. No. 104376 February 23, 1994 of the Filipinas Telephone Company branch office. He also took care he gave Leoncia his picture with the following dedication: "To Nene,
of the marketing and paid rentals, lights and water bills. 1 Unable to with best regards, Temiong."14
ARTEMIO G. ILANO, petitioner, speak the local dialect, Leoncia was provided also by Melencio with
vs. a maid by the name of Nena. Petitioner used to give her P700.00 a In May, 1963, Ruth Elynia Mabanglo, niece of Leoncia, lived with
THE COURT OF APPEALS and MERCEDITAS (sic) S. ILANO, month for their expenses at home. Leoncia and petitioner. She accompanied her aunt when she started
represented by her mother, LEONCIA DE LOS SANTOS, respondent. having labor pains in the morning of December 30, 1963. Petitioner
In June, 1962, Leoncia, who was conceiving at that time, was arrived after five o'clock in the afternoon. When the nurse came to
Ernesto P. Pangalangan for petitioner. fetched by petitioner and they transferred to San Juan St., Pasay inquire about the child, Leoncia was still unconscious so it was from
City. In October, 1962, she delivered a still-born female child at the petitioner that the nurse sought the information. Inasmuch as it was
Manila Sanitarium. The death certificate was signed by already past seven o'clock in the evening, the nurse promised to
Eduardo S. Rodriguez for private respondent.
petitioner.2 Thereafter, while they were living at Highway 54, return the following morning for his signature. However, he left an
Makati, private respondent Merceditas S. Ilano was born on instruction to give birth certificate to Leoncia for her signature, as
December 30, 1963 also at the Manila Sanitarium. Her birth was he was leaving early the following morning.
recorded as Merceditas de los Santos Ilano, child of Leoncia
NOCON, J.: Aguinaldo de los Santos and Artemio Geluz Ilano.3 Leoncia Prior to the birth of Merceditas, Elynia used to accompany her aunt
submitted receipts issued by the Manila Sanitarium to show that she and sometimes with petitioner in his car to the Manila Sanitarium
After the great flood, man was commanded to go forth, be fertile, was confined there from December 30, 1963 until January 2, 1964 for prenatal
multiply and fill the earth. Others did not heed the sequence of this under the name of Mrs. Leoncia Ilano.4 check-up. At times, she used to go to his office at 615 Sales St., Sta.
command because they multiply first and then go. Corollarily, it is Cruz, Manila, upon his instructions to get money as support and
now commonplace for an abandoned illegitimate offspring to sue The support by petitioner for Leoncia and Merceditas was sometimes he would send notes of explanation if he cannot come
his father for recognition and support. sometimes in the form of cash personally delivered by him, thru which she in turn gave to her aunt.15 They stayed at 112 Arellano St.,
Melencio, thru Elynia (niece of Leoncia)5 or thru Merceditas then Sta. Cruz, Manila in 1966 before they finally transferred to
The antecedent facts are narrated in the trial court's decision, as herself;6 and sometimes in the form of a check like Manila Banking Gagalangin in 1967. Petitioner lived with them up to June, 1971
follows: Corporation Check No. 81532,7 the signature appearing thereon when he stopped coming home.
having been identified by Leoncia as that of petitioner because he
Leoncia first met petitioner Artemio G. Ilano while she was working often gives her checks which he issues at home and saw him sign Petitioner's defense was a total and complete denial of any
as secretary to Atty. Mariano C. Virata. Petitioner was one of the the checks.8 Both petitioner and his daughter admitted that the relationship with Leoncia and Merceditas. He disowned the
clients of check and the signature are those of the former.9 handwritten answers and signatures opposite column 16 of the
Atty. Virata. On several occasions, she and petitioner took lunch death certificate of a female child surnamed Ilano, although in
together. In less that a year's time, she resigned from her work. During the time that petitioner and Leoncia were living as husband column 13 thereof opposite father's name the typewritten name,
and wife, he showed concern as the father of Merceditas. When Artemio G. Ilano, appears. He also denied the following: all the
Sometime in 1957, Leoncia, then managing a business of her own as Merceditas was in Grade I at the St. Joseph Parochial School, he notes alleged to have been received from him by Elynia for delivery
Namarco distributor, met petitioner again who was engaged in the signed her Report Card for the fourth and fifth grading periods10 as to Leoncia; the signatures appearing in Merceditas' Report Card;
same business and they renewed acquaintances. Since then, he her parent. Those signatures were both identified by Leoncia and and being the source of a photo of himself with a handwritten
would give her his unsold allocation of goods. Later, he courted her Merceditas because he signed them in their residence in their dedication. He admitted that Manila Banking Corporation Check No.
more than four years. Their relationship became intimate and with presence and of Elynia.11 Since Merceditas started to have 81532 including the signature is his. He was sick on December 30,
his promise of marriage, they eloped to Guagua, Pampanga in April, discernment, he was already the one whom she recognized as her 1963 and was hospitalized on January 7, 1964. 16 He does not
1962. They stayed at La Mesa Apartment, located behind the Daddy.12 He treated her as a father would to his child. He would understand why this case was filed against him. 17
Filipinas Telephone Company branch office, of which he is the bring home candies, toys, and anything a child enjoys. He would
Melencio admitted that he was the one who procured the 2) testimony of Melencio that he frequented the apartment where Defendant is further ordered to pay the plaintiff
apartment for Leoncia, leased it in his name, paid the rentals and Leoncia was living, took care of all the bills and shared the same bed the sum of P10,000.00 as attorney's fees plus the
bought the necessities therefor. He and Leoncia lived together and with her; costs.
shared the same bed. They later transferred to San Juan St., Pasay
City and to Highway 54, Makati. He stopped visiting her in March or 3) the birth certificate of Merceditas was not signed by petitioner; SO ORDERED.19
April, 1963 because he planned to get married with another which
he eventually did in September, 1963. 4) petitioner denied his signature in the monthly report card of The motion for reconsideration was denied in the resolution dated
Merceditas; and February 26, 1992. 20
Diosdado Datu, fish vendor, usually delivered to the apartment
fishes ordered by Melencio which were received by Leoncia. 5) there is no clear and sufficient showing that support was given by Hence, the present petition.
petitioner to Merceditas.
Nilda Ilano Ramos, daughter of petitioner, does not know Leoncia; We shall resolve the following pertinent errors allegedly committed
neither has she been brought to their family home in Imus, Cavite. Thus it rendered judgment on April 24, 1981 dismissing the by respondent court:
On December 30, 1963, her father was at their home because he got complaint.18
sick on December 25, 1963 and was advised to have a complete bed
1) in awarding "back support" even in the absence of recognition or
rest. Her father was hospitalized on January 7, 1964. She denied
Fortunately for private respondent, respondent Court of Appeals did of a judgment declaring petitioner father of Merceditas with finality;
that her father was at the Manila Sanitarium on December 30, 1963;
not share the same view as the trial court. A review of the
that he fetched a certain woman on January 2, 1964, at the Manila
testimonial and documentary evidenced adduced by private 2) in not ruling that an adulterous child cannot file an action for
Sanitarium because he was at their home at that time; and that her
respondent led respondent court to the firm conclusion that recognition; and
father lived with a certain woman in 1963 up to June, 1971 because
petitioner is her father, entitling her to support. The dispositive
all this time he was living with them in Imus, Cavite. He was working
portion of its decision dated December 17, 1991 reads: 3) in deciding matters of substance manifestly against established
and reporting to the office everyday and when he goes to Guagua or
Manila on business, her mother or brother goes with him. decisions of this Court.
WHEREFORE, the Decision appealed from is
REVERSED and judgment is hereby rendered Petitioner argues that since the complaint against him has been
Victoria J. Ilano, petitioner's wife, further corroborated the previous
declaring plaintiff MERCEDITAS S. ILANO as the dismissed by the trial court, therefore was absolutely no obligation
testimonies about petitioner's sickness on December 30, 1963 and
duly acknowledged and recognized illegitimate on his part to give support to Merceditas. It would have been only
hospitalization on January 7, 1964. It could not be true that her
child of defendant ARTEMIO G. ILANO with all the from the date of the judgment of the trial court that support should
husband, during the years 1963 to 1968, lived three (3) times a
right appurtenant to such status. have commenced, if so granted. Under the law in force when the
week with a certain Leoncia de los Santos because her husband
never slept out of their house and that in his capacity as President complaint was filed, an adulterous child cannot maintain an action
Defendant is directed to pay the plaintiff support for compulsory recognition. In order that the birth certificate may
and Chairman of the Board of the Filipinas Telephone Company he
in arrears at the rate of EIGHT HUNDRED (P800.00) constitute a voluntary recognition, it must be signed by the father.
does not go to Guagua even once a year because they have a branch
PESOS a month from the date of the filing of the Equivocal act, such as signing under the caption "parent" in the
manager, Melencio Reyes.
complaint on August 16, 1972 up to August 15, report card, is not sufficient. Merceditas has never been to the
1975; ONE THOUSAND (P1,000.00) PESOS a month family home of petitioner at Imus, Cavite; nor introduced to his
After weighing the contradictory testimonies and evidence of the
from August 16, 1975 to August 15, 1978; ONE family; nor brought around town by him, treated as his child,
parties, the trial court was not fully satisfied that petitioner is the
THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED (P1,300.00) PESOS a introduced to other people as his child, led people to believe that
father of Merceditas, on the basis of the following:
month from August 16, 1978 to August 15, 1981; she was part of his family.
and ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED (P1,500.00) a
1) petitioner and Leoncia were not in cohabitation during the period month from August 16, 1981 up to the time she The petition utterly lacks merit.
of Merceditas' conception; reached the age of majority on December 30,
1984.
Under the then prevailing provisions of the Civil Code, illegitimate
children or those who are conceived and born out of wedlock were
generally classified into two groups: (1) Natural, whether actual or (4) When the child has in his favor any evidence or As pointed out by appellant, Leoncia and Artemio
by fiction, were those born outside of lawful wedlock of parents proof that the defendant is his father. stayed in an apartment at the back of the Guagua
who, at the time of conception of the child, were not disqualified by Telephone System owned by and of which Artemio
any impediment to marry each other (Article 119, old Civil Code; While the aforementioned provision speaks of the obligation of the was the General Manager (TSN, p. 46, 8/18/73)
Article 269, new Civil Code) and (2) Spurious, whether incestuous, father to recognize the child as his natural child, for the purpose of and Melencio was the Officer-in-Charge in the
were disqualified to marry each other on account of certain legal the present case, petitioner is obliged to recognize Merceditas as absence of Artemio whose residence and main
impediments.21 Since petitioner had a subsisting marriage to his spurious child. This provision should be read in conjunction with office was in Cavite. There, for the first time,
another at the time Merceditas was conceived,22 she is a spurious Article 289 of the Civil Code which provides: Leoncia met Melencio (TSN, pp. 3-4, 1/25/74). The
child. In this regard, Article 287 of the Civil Code provides that apartment in Guagua was rented in the name of
illegitimate children other than natural in accordance with Article Art. 289. Investigation of the paternity or Melencio. As Leoncia does not speak the
26923 and other than natural children by legal fiction are entitled to maternity of (other illegitimate) children . . . under Pampango dialect (TSN, p. 50, 8/18/73), Artemio
support and such successional rights as are granted in the Civil Code. the circumstances specified in articles 283 and gave Leoncia the instruction to call upon Melencio
The Civil Code has given these rights to them because the 284. for whatever Leoncia needs (TSN, pp. 11-12,
transgressions of social conventions committed by the parents 1/25/74). Thus, it was Melencio who procured all
should not be visited upon them. They were born with a social the supplies and services needed in the apartment
In reversing the decision of the trial court, respondent court found,
handicap and the law should help them to surmount the for which procurement Melencio gives to Leoncia
as it is likewise our finding, that private respondent's evidence to
disadvantages facing them through the misdeeds of their the corresponding receipts of payment for
establish her filiation with and the paternity of petitioner is too
parents.24 However, before Article 287 can be availed of, there must liquidation of cash advances Artemio or the
overwhelming to be ignored or brushed aside by the highly
first be a recognition of paternity25 either voluntarily or by court Guagua Telephone System or Leoncia herself,
improbable and fatally flawed testimony of Melencio and the
action. This arises from the legal principle that an unrecognized gives to Melencio (Exhs. A, A-1 to 14; TSN, p. 32,
inherently weak denials of petitioner:
spurious child like a natural child has no rights from his parents or to 8/13/73; TSN, pp. 7, 12 and 14, 1/25/74).
their estate because his rights spring not from the filiation or blood
Significantly, the Court a quo believed that
relationship but from his acknowledgment by the parent. In other At the Guagua apartment, Artemio would visit
plaintiff's mother and defendant carried an
words, the rights of an illegitimate child arose not because he was Leoncia three of four times a week and sleeps
intimate relations. It nonetheless was not satisfied
the true or real child of his parents but because under the law, he there (TSN, p. 47, 8/13/73). Artemio was giving
that defendant is the father of the plaintiff
had been recognized or acknowledged as such a child.26 The Leoncia an allowance of P700.00 a month (TSN, p.
because it is not convinced that her mother and
relevant law on the matter is Article 283 of the Civil Code, which 38, 7/18/73).
defendant were in cohabitation during the period
provides:
of her conception, and took into account the
testimony of Melencio S. Reyes who frequented Leoncia got pregnant and Artemio found it difficult
Art. 283. In any of the following cases, the father is to commute between Cavite and Guagua so that in
the apartment where Leoncia de los Santos was
obliged to recognize the child as his natural child: June 1962, Artemio transferred Leoncia to Calle
living and who positively testified that he took
care of all the bills and that he shared the same San Juan, Pasay City (TSN, pp. 19-20, 7/18/73)
(1) In cases of rape, abduction or seduction, when bed with plaintiffs mother. where they were known as husband and wife (id.
the period of the offense coincides more or less p. 41). In leaving Guagua for San Juan, Pasay City,
with that of the conception; Leoncia was fetched by Artemio in a car driven by
The court a quo completely ignored the fact that
Artemio himself. (pp. 9-11, Appellant's Brief)
the apartment at Guagua was rented by the
(2) When the child is in continuos possession of defendant, and that Melencio Reyes, who was a
status of a child of the alleged father by the direct mere employee and godson of the defendant with Even as Artemio and Leoncia lived and transferred
acts of the latter or of his family; a monthly salary of P560.00 was a mere subaltern to several places heretofore mentioned, Melencio
of the latter, and only frequented the place upon continued to be a trusted man Friday of Artemio
(3) When the child was conceived during the time instruction of the defendant to take care of the who would deliver notes (Exhs. "F", "F-1" and "F-
when the mother cohabited with the supposed needs of the plaintiff. 3") and money from Artemio to Leoncia. For
father; reference, among the notes identified by Leoncia
as having come from defendant were the defense that it was with Melencio S. Reyes with S
following: whom the mother lived with during her period of g
conception. n
Exh. "F-1" .
The attempt of Melencio S. Reyes to show that he "
"Dear Ne, was the lover of Leoncia being in the apartment
Exh. "F-3" and sharing the same bedroom and the same bed
Magsimula akong makausap ni Gracing ay hardly inspires belief.
nagkaroon ako ng diferencia sa paa at ngayon ay "Ne, si Miling ay bukas pupunta dito ay sa tanghali
masakit pa. ay pupunta ako diyan (11:30 am). Wala akong pera xxx xxx xxx
ngayon kaya bukas na, sigurado yon.
Si Miling ay ngayon lamang nakarating dito kung Undoubtedly, the role played by Melencio S. Reyes
hindi ka aalis diyan ay si Miling na lamang ang in the relationship between Leoncia and appellant S
utusan mo sa Makati kung may kailangan ka dian. (sic) was that of a man Friday although appellant g
(sic) would not trust him to the hilt and n
S unwittingly required him to submit to Leoncia an .
g accounting of his expenditures "
n (Exhs. A, A-1 to A-14) for cash advances given to
Exh. "F-4" . him by Leoncia, Artemio or Guagua Telephone
" System which would not have been the case, if it
"Dear Ne, Pacencia ka na at hindi ako were true that there was an intimate relationship
nakapaglalakad gawa ng mataas ang dugo, kaya between him and plaintiff's mother.
"Mayroon akong nakitang bahay na mayayari
malapit sa municipio ng Makati. Ipakikita ko sa iyo minsan-minsan lamang ako makapunta sa oficena.
kung papayag ka. Evidently, following the instruction of his
Ibigay mo ang bayad sa bahay sa Sabado ng employer and Godfather, Melencio foisted on the
umaga, pipilitin kong makarating dian sa Jueves. court a quothe impression that he was the lover
Sabihin mo kay Miling kung hindi ka aalis diyan
and paramour of Leoncia but since there was
bukas ay pupunta ako.
really no such relationship, he could not state the
S
place in San Juan or Highway 54 where he took
Walang makitang bahay sa San Juan. g
Leoncia, nor how long they stayed there belying
n
his pretense (sic) of an intimate relationship with
S .
plaintiffs mother.27
g "
n
Having discredited the testimonies of petitioner and Melencio,
The address "Ne" in the beginning of these notes .
respondent court then applied paragraph (2) of Article 283:
refer to Leoncia whose nickname is "Nene" but "
which Artemio shortens to "Ne". Miling is the
nickname of Melencio. The "Gracing" mentioned The court a quo did not likewise consider the
Exh. "F-2" evidences as sufficient to establish that plaintiff
in Exh. "F-1" refers to Gracia delos Santos, a sister-
in-law of Leoncia who was with Artemio when was in continuous possession of status of a child in
"Ne, sa Viernes ay pupunta ako dian marami view of the denial by appellee of his paternity, and
Leoncia was removed from the hospital during the
akong ginagawa. there is no clear and sufficient evidence that the
birth of Merceditas. (pp. 17-19, Appellant's Brief).
These tiny bits of evidence when pieced together support was really given to plaintiff's mother. The
ineluctably gives lie to defendants' diversionary belated denial of paternity after the action has
been filed against the putative father is not the went home to their residence at EDSA in a car Merceditas (sic) was in Grade 1 at the St. Joseph
denial that would destroy the paternity of the owned and driven by Artemio himself (id. p. 36). Parochial School, Artemio signed the Report Card
child which had already been recognized by of Merceditas (sic) (Exh. "H") for the fourth and
defendant by various positive acts clearly Merceditas (sic) bore the surname of "Ilano" since fifth grading period(s) (Exh. "H-1" and "H-2") as
evidencing that he is plaintiff's father. A birth without any objection on the part of the parent of Merceditas (sic). Those signatures of
recognition once validly made is irrevocable. It Artemio, the fact that since Merceditas (sic) had Artemio were both identified by Leoncia and
cannot be withdrawn. A mere change of mind her discernment she had always known and called Merceditas (sic) because Artemio signed Exh. "H-
would be incompatible with the stability of the Artemio as her "Daddy" (TSN, pp. 28-29, 1" and
civil status of person, the permanence of which 10/18/74); the fact that each time Artemio was at "H-2" at their residence in the presence of
affects public interest. Even when the act in which home, he would play with Merceditas (sic), take Leoncia, Merceditas (sic) and of Elynia (TSN, p. 57,
it is made should be revocable, the revocation of her for a ride or restaurants to eat, and sometimes 7/18/73; TSN, p. 28, 10/1/73). . . .
such act will not revoke the recognition itself (1 sleeping with Merceditas (sic) (id. p. 34) and does
Tolentino, pp. 579-580, 1983 Ed.). all what a father should do for his child — bringing xxx xxx xxx
home goodies, candies, toys and whatever he can
To be sure, to establish "the open and continuous bring her which a child enjoys which Artemio gives When Artemio run as a candidate in the Provincial
possession of the status of an illegitimate child," it Merceditas (sic) (TSN, pp. 38-39, 5/17/74) are Board of Cavite, Artemio gave Leoncia his picture
is necessary to comply with certain jurisprudential positive evidence that Merceditas (sic) is the child with the following dedication: "To Nene, with best
requirements. "Continuous" does not, however, of Artemio and recognized by Artemio as such. regards, Temiong". (Exh. "I"). (pp. 19-20,
mean that the concession of status shall continue Special attention is called to Exh. "E-7" where Appellant's Brief)
forever but only that it shall not be of an Artemio was telling Leoncia the need for a "frog
intermittent character while it continues (De Jesus test" to know the status of Leoncia. The mere denial by defendant of his signature is
v. Syquia, 58 Phil. 866). The possession of such not sufficient to offset the totality of the evidence
status means that the father has treated the child Plaintiff pointed out that the support by Artemio indubitably showing that the signature thereon
as his own, directly and not through other, for Leoncia and Merceditas (sic) was sometimes in belongs to him. The entry in the Certificate of Live
spontaneously and without concealment though the form of cash personally delivered to her by Birth that Leoncia and Artemio was falsely stated
without publicity (since the relation is illegitimate) Artemio, thru Melencio, thru Elynia (Exhs. "E-2" therein as married does not mean that Leoncia is
(J.B.L. Reyes and R.C. Puno, Outline of Philippine and "E-3", not appellee's daughter. This particular entry was
Civil Law, Vol. 1, 1964 ed., pp. 269-270 citing and "D-6"), or thru Merceditas (sic) herself (TSN, p. caused to be made by Artemio himself in order to
Coquia vs. Coquia, CA 50, O.G. 3701) There must 40, 5/17/74) and sometimes in the form of a check avoid embarrassment.
be a showing of the permanent intention of the as the Manila Banking Corporation Check No.
supposed father to consider the child as his own, 81532 (Exh. "G") and the signature appearing It is difficult to believe that plaintiffs mother, who
by continuous and clear manifestation of paternal therein which was identified by Leoncia as that of is a mere dressmaker, had long beforehand
affection and care. (Tolentino, Civil Code of the Artemio because Artemio often gives her checks diabolically conceived of a plan to make it appear
Philippines, Vol. 1, 1983 ed., p. 602). (Mendoza vs. and Artemio would write the check at home and that defendant, who claims to be a total stranger
Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 86302, September 24, saw Artemio sign the check (TSN, p. 49, 7/18/73). to be a total stranger, was the father of her child,
1991.) Both Artemio and Nilda admitted that the check and in the process falsified the latter's signatures
and signature were those of Artemio (TSN, p. 53, and handwriting.28
It was Artemio who made arrangement for the 10/17/77;
delivery of Merceditas (sic) at the Manila TSN, p. 19, 10/9/78).
Granting ex gratia argument that private respondent's evidence is
Sanitarium and Hospital. Prior to the delivery,
not sufficient proof of continuos possession of status of a spurious
Leoncia underwent prenatal examination by During the time that Artemio and Leoncia were child, respondent court applied next paragraph (4) of Article 283:
Artemio (TSN, p. 33, 5/17/74). After delivery, they living as husband and wife, Artemio has shown
concern as the father of Merceditas (sic). When
. . . plaintiffs testimonial and documentary return in the morning for Artemio's signature. What both the trial court and the respondent did
evidence . . . (is) too replete with details that are Artemio gave the instruction to the nurse to give not take into account is that an illegitimate child is
coherent, logical and natural which cannot be the biodata to Leoncia for her signature as he was allowed to establish his claimed affiliation by "any
categorized as mere fabrications of an inventive leaving very early the following morning as in fact other means allowed by the Rules of Court and
and malicious mind of which Leoncia de los Santos Artemio left at 5:00 a.m. of December 31, 1963 special laws," according to the Civil Code, . . . Such
was not shown to possess. (id. p. 33). Artemio stayed in the hospital in the evidence may consist of his baptismal certificate, a
evening of December 30, 1963 (id. p. 26). As judicial admission, a family Bible in which his name
The natural, logical and coherent evidence of pointed out in Castro vs. Court of Appeals, 173 has been entered, common reputation respecting
plaintiff from the genesis of the relationship SCRA 656: his pedigree, admission by silence, the testimonies
between Leoncia and appellee, their living of witnesses, and other kinds of proof admissible
together as circumstances of plaintiff's birth, the The ruling in Roces vs. Local Civil under Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.29
acts of appellee in recognizing and supporting Registrar of Manila (102 Phil.
plaintiff, find ample support from the testimonial 1050 [1958] and Berciles The last paragraph of Article 283 contains a blanket provision that
and documentary evidence which leaves no room v. Government Service Insurance practically covers all the other cases in the preceding paragraphs.
to reasonably doubt his paternity which may not System (128 SCRA 53 [1984] that "Any other evidence or proof" that the defendant is the father is
be infirmed by his belated denials. if the father did not sign in the broad enough to render unnecessary the other paragraphs of this
birth certificate, the placing of article. When the evidence submitted in the action for compulsory
Notably, the court a quo did not consider his name by the mother, doctor, recognition is not sufficient to meet requirements of the first three
plaintiff's evidence as lacking in credibility but did register, or other person is paragraphs, it may still be enough under the last paragraph. 30 This
not deem as convincing proof that defendant is incompetent evidence of paragraph permits hearsay and reputation evidence, as provided in
the father since the Certificate of Live Birth was paternity does not apply to this the Rules of Court, with respect to illegitimate filiation. 31
not signed by appellee and since the monthly case because it was Eustaquio
report card is not sufficient to establish himself who went to the As a necessary consequence of the finding that private respondent
recognition, considering the denial of the municipal building and gave all is the spurious child of petitioner, she is entitled to support. In
defendant of his signature appearing thereon. the data about his daughter's awarding support to her, respondent court took into account the
birth. . . . following:
While defendant's signature does not appear in
the Certificate of Live Birth, the evidence . . . the totality of the evidence, as pointed to The obligation to give support shall be
indubitably disclose(s) that Leoncia gave birth on above, is more than sufficient to establish beyond demandable from the time the person who has a
December 30, 1963 to Merceditas (sic) at 4:27 reasonable doubt that appellee is the father of the right to recover the same needs it for
p.m. at the Manila Sanitarium. Artemio arrived at plaintiff Merceditas (sic) Ilano. maintenance, but it shall not be paid except from
about 5:00 (TSN, p. 25, 5/17/74). At about 7:00 the date of judicial or extrajudicial demand.
p.m., a nurse came (id. p. 26) who made inquiries As elucidated in Mendoza vs. Court of (Article 203, Family Code of the Philippines.)
about the biodata of the born child. The inquiries Appeals, Supra:
were directed to Artemio in the presence of Elynia The complaint in this case was filed on August 14,
who heard the answers of Artemio which the xxx xxx xxx 1972. Plaintiff, having been born on December 30,
nurse took down in a sheet of paper (id. p. 28). 1963, was about nine (9) years old at the time and
The inquiries were about the name of the father, . . . although Teopista has failed to show that she was already of school age spending about P400.00
mother and child. After the interview the nurse was in open and continuous possession of the to P500.00 a month for her school expenses alone,
told them that the information has to be recorded status of an illegitimate child of Casimiro, we find while defendant was earning about P10,000.00 a
in the formal form and has to be signed by that she has nevertheless established that status month. She attained the age of majority on
Artemio (id. p. 30) but because there is no office, by another method. December 30, 1984 (Article 234, Supra). She is
as it was past 7:00 p.m., the nurse would just 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.
FIRST DIVISION at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, where the ordinary course of law." Petitioner maintained his previous
she developed the Molecular Biology Program and taught Molecular objections to the taking of DNA paternity testing. He submitted the
G.R. No. 148220 June 15, 2005 Biology. In her testimony, Dr. Halos described the process for DNA following grounds to support his objection:
paternity testing and asserted that the test had an accuracy rate of
ROSENDO HERRERA, petitioner, 99.9999% in establishing paternity.4 1. Public respondent misread and misapplied the ruling in
vs. Lim vs. Court of Appeals (270 SCRA 2).
ROSENDO ALBA, minor, represented by his mother ARMI A. ALBA, Petitioner opposed DNA paternity testing and contended that it has
and HON. NIMFA CUESTA-VILCHES, Presiding Judge, Branch 48, not gained acceptability. Petitioner further argued that DNA 2. Public respondent ruled to accept DNA test without
Regional Trial Court, Manila, respondents. paternity testing violates his right against self-incrimination. considering the limitations on, and conditions precedent
for the admissibility of DNA testing and ignoring the serious
DECISION The Ruling of the Trial Court constraints affecting the reliability of the test as admitted
by private respondent’s "expert" witness.
CARPIO, J.: In an Order dated 3 February 2000, the trial court granted
respondent’s motion to conduct DNA paternity testing on 3. Subject Orders lack legal and factual support, with public
The Case petitioner, respondent and Armi Alba. Thus: respondent relying on scientific findings and conclusions
unfit for judicial notice and unsupported by experts in the
In view of the foregoing, the motion of the petitioner field and scientific treatises.
This is a petition for review1 to set aside the Decision2 dated 29
November 2000 of the Court of Appeals ("appellate court") in CA- is GRANTED and the relevant individuals, namely: the petitioner, the
G.R. SP No. 59766. The appellate court affirmed two Orders3 issued minor child, and respondent are directed to undergo DNA paternity 4. Under the present circumstances the DNA testing
by Branch 48 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila ("trial court") in testing in a laboratory of their common choice within a period of petitioner [is] compelled to take will be inconclusive,
SP No. 98-88759. The Order dated 3 February 2000 directed thirty (30) days from receipt of the Order, and to submit the results irrelevant and the coercive process to obtain the requisite
Rosendo Herrera ("petitioner") to submit to deoxyribonucleic acid thereof within a period of ninety (90) days from completion. The specimen from the petitioner, unconstitutional.7
("DNA") paternity testing, while the Order dated 8 June 2000 denied parties are further reminded of the hearing set on 24 February 2000
petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. for the reception of other evidence in support of the petition. The Ruling of the Court of Appeals

The Facts IT IS SO ORDERED.5 (Emphasis in the original) On 29 November 2000, the appellate court issued a decision
denying the petition and affirming the questioned Orders of the trial
On 14 May 1998, then thirteen-year-old Rosendo Alba Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the 3 February 2000 court. The appellate court stated that petitioner merely desires to
("respondent"), represented by his mother Armi Alba, filed before Order. He asserted that "under the present circumstances, the DNA correct the trial court’s evaluation of evidence. Thus, appeal is an
the trial court a petition for compulsory recognition, support and test [he] is compelled to take would be inconclusive, irrelevant and available remedy for an error of judgment that the court may
damages against petitioner. On 7 August 1998, petitioner filed his the coercive process to obtain the requisite specimen…, commit in the exercise of its jurisdiction. The appellate court also
answer with counterclaim where he denied that he is the biological unconstitutional." stated that the proposed DNA paternity testing does not violate his
father of respondent. Petitioner also denied physical contact with right against self-incrimination because the right applies only to
respondent’s mother. In an Order dated 8 June 2000, the trial court denied petitioner’s testimonial compulsion. Finally, the appellate court pointed out that
motion for reconsideration.6 petitioner can still refute a possible adverse result of the DNA
paternity testing. The dispositive portion of the appellate court’s
Respondent filed a motion to direct the taking of DNA paternity
On 18 July 2000, petitioner filed before the appellate court a decision reads:
testing to abbreviate the proceedings. To support the motion,
respondent presented the testimony of Saturnina C. Halos, Ph.D. petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
When she testified, Dr. Halos was an Associate Professor at De La Procedure. He asserted that the trial court rendered the Orders WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Petition is
Salle University where she taught Cell Biology. She was also head of dated 3 February 2000 and 8 June 2000 "in excess of, or without hereby DENIED DUE COURSE, and ordered dismissed, and the
the University of the Philippines Natural Sciences Research Institute jurisdiction and/or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack challenged orders of the Trial Court AFFIRMED, with costs to
("UP-NSRI"), a DNA analysis laboratory. She was a former professor or excess of jurisdiction." Petitioner further contended that there is Petitioner.
"no appeal nor any [other] plain, adequate and speedy remedy in
SO ORDERED.8 presumption of legitimacy, and physical resemblance between the Laws, Rules, and Jurisprudence Establishing Filiation
putative father and child.14
Petitioner moved for reconsideration, which the appellate court The relevant provisions of the Family Code provide as follows:
denied in its Resolution dated 23 May 2001.9 A prima facie case exists if a woman declares that she had sexual
relations with the putative father. In our jurisdiction, corroborative ART. 175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate
Issues proof is required to carry the burden forward and shift it to the filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate
putative father.15 children.
Petitioner raises the issue of whether a DNA test is a valid probative
tool in this jurisdiction to determine filiation. Petitioner asks for the There are two affirmative defenses available to the putative father. xxx
conditions under which DNA technology may be integrated into our The putative father may show incapability of sexual relations with
judicial system and the prerequisites for the admissibility of DNA the mother, because of either physical absence or impotency. 16 The ART. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of
test results in a paternity suit.10 putative father may also show that the mother had sexual relations the following:
with other men at the time of conception.
Petitioner further submits that the appellate court gravely abused (1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a
its discretion when it authorized the trial court "to embark in [sic] a A child born to a husband and wife during a valid marriage is final judgment; or
new procedure xxx to determine filiation despite the absence of presumed legitimate.17 The child’s legitimacy may be impugned only
legislation to ensure its reliability and integrity, want of official under the strict standards provided by law.18
(2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document
recognition as made clear in Lim vs. Court of Appeals and the or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the
presence of technical and legal constraints in respect of [sic] its Finally, physical resemblance between the putative father and child parent concerned.
implementation."11 Petitioner maintains that the proposed DNA may be offered as part of evidence of paternity. Resemblance is a
paternity testing violates his right against self-incrimination.12 trial technique unique to a paternity proceeding. However, although
In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation
likeness is a function of heredity, there is no mathematical formula
shall be proved by:
The Ruling of the Court that could quantify how much a child must or must not look like his
biological father.19 This kind of evidence appeals to the emotions of
(1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a
The petition has no merit. the trier of fact.
legitimate child; or

Before discussing the issues on DNA paternity testing, we deem it In the present case, the trial court encountered three of the four
(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and
appropriate to give an overview of a paternity suit and apply it to aspects. Armi Alba, respondent’s mother, put forward a prima
special laws.
the facts of this case. We shall consider the requirements of the facie case when she asserted that petitioner is respondent’s
Family Code and of the Rules of Evidence to establish paternity and biological father. Aware that her assertion is not enough to convince
the trial court, she offered corroborative proof in the form of letters The Rules on Evidence include provisions on pedigree. The relevant
filiation.
and pictures. Petitioner, on the other hand, denied Armi Alba’s sections of Rule 130 provide:
assertion. He denied ever having sexual relations with Armi Alba and
An Overview of the Paternity and Filiation Suit
stated that respondent is Armi Alba’s child with another man. Armi SEC. 39. Act or declaration about pedigree.—The act or declaration
Alba countered petitioner’s denial by submitting pictures of of a person deceased, or unable to testify, in respect to the pedigree
Filiation proceedings are usually filed not just to adjudicate of another person related to him by birth or marriage, may be
respondent and petitioner side by side, to show how much they
paternity but also to secure a legal right associated with paternity, received in evidence where it occurred before the controversy, and
resemble each other.
such as citizenship,13 support (as in the present case), or inheritance. the relationship between the two persons is shown by evidence
The burden of proving paternity is on the person who alleges that other than such act or declaration. The word "pedigree" includes
Paternity and filiation disputes can easily become credibility
the putative father is the biological father of the child. There are relationship, family genealogy, birth, marriage, death, the dates
contests. We now look to the law, rules, and governing
four significant procedural aspects of a traditional paternity action when and the places where these facts occurred, and the names of
jurisprudence to help us determine what evidence of incriminating
which parties have to face: a prima facie case, affirmative defenses, the relatives. It embraces also facts of family history intimately
acts on paternity and filiation are allowed in this jurisdiction.
connected with pedigree.
SEC. 40. Family reputation or tradition regarding pedigree.—The In Jao v. Court of Appeals,29 the child, the mother, and the putative Every gene has a certain number of the above base pairs distributed
reputation or tradition existing in a family previous to the father agreed to submit themselves to a blood grouping test. The in a particular sequence. This gives a person his or her genetic code.
controversy, in respect to the pedigree of any one of its members, National Bureau of Investigation ("NBI") conducted the test, which Somewhere in the DNA framework, nonetheless, are sections that
may be received in evidence if the witness testifying thereon be also indicated that the child could not have been the possible offspring differ. They are known as "polymorphic loci," which are the areas
a member of the family, either by consanguinity or affinity. Entries of the mother and the putative father. We held that the result of the analyzed in DNA typing (profiling, tests, fingerprinting, or
in family bibles or other family books or charts, engraving on rings, blood grouping test was conclusive on the non-paternity of the analysis/DNA fingerprinting/genetic tests or fingerprinting). In other
family portraits and the like, may be received as evidence of putative father. words, DNA typing simply means determining the "polymorphic
pedigree. loci."
The present case asks us to go one step further. We are now asked
This Court’s rulings further specify what incriminating acts are whether DNA analysis may be admitted as evidence to prove How is DNA typing performed? From a DNA sample obtained or
acceptable as evidence to establish filiation. In Pe Lim v. CA,20 a case paternity. extracted, a molecular biologist may proceed to analyze it in several
petitioner often cites, we stated that the issue of paternity still has ways. There are five (5) techniques to conduct DNA typing. They are:
to be resolved by such conventional evidence as the DNA Analysis as Evidence the RFLP (restriction fragment length polymorphism); "reverse dot
relevant incriminating verbal and written acts by the putative blot" or HLA DQ a/Pm loci which was used in 287 cases that were
father. Under Article 278 of the New Civil Code, voluntary DNA is the fundamental building block of a person’s entire genetic admitted as evidence by 37 courts in the U.S. as of November 1994;
recognition by a parent shall be made in the record of birth, a will, a make-up. DNA is found in all human cells and is the same in every mtDNA process; VNTR (variable number tandem repeats); and the
statement before a court of record, or in any authentic writing. To cell of the same person. Genetic identity is unique. Hence, a most recent which is known as the PCR-([polymerase] chain
be effective, the claim of filiation must be made by the putative person’s DNA profile can determine his identity.30 reaction) based STR (short tandem repeats) method which, as of
father himself and the writing must be the writing of the putative 1996, was availed of by most forensic laboratories in the world. PCR
father.21 A notarial agreement to support a child whose filiation is is the process of replicating or copying DNA in an evidence sample a
DNA analysis is a procedure in which DNA extracted from a
admitted by the putative father was considered acceptable million times through repeated cycling of a reaction involving the so-
biological sample obtained from an individual is examined. The DNA
evidence.22 Letters to the mother vowing to be a good father to the called DNA polymerize enzyme. STR, on the other hand, takes
is processed to generate a pattern, or a DNA profile, for the
child and pictures of the putative father cuddling the child on measurements in 13 separate places and can match two (2) samples
individual from whom the sample is taken. This DNA profile is
various occasions, together with the certificate of live birth, proved with a reported theoretical error rate of less than one (1) in a
unique for each person, except for identical twins.31 We quote
filiation.23 However, a student permanent record, a written consent trillion.
relevant portions of the trial court’s 3 February 2000 Order with
to a father’s operation, or a marriage contract where the putative
approval:
father gave consent, cannot be taken as authentic Just like in fingerprint analysis, in DNA typing, "matches" are
writing.24 Standing alone, neither a certificate of baptism25 nor determined. To illustrate, when DNA or fingerprint tests are done to
Everyone is born with a distinct genetic blueprint called DNA
family pictures26 are sufficient to establish filiation. identify a suspect in a criminal case, the evidence collected from the
(deoxyribonucleic acid). It is exclusive to an individual (except in the
crime scene is compared with the "known" print. If a substantial
rare occurrence of identical twins that share a single, fertilized egg),
So far, the laws, rules, and jurisprudence seemingly limit evidence of amount of the identifying features are the same, the DNA or
and DNA is unchanging throughout life. Being a component of every
paternity and filiation to incriminating acts alone. However, fingerprint is deemed to be a match. But then, even if only one
cell in the human body, the DNA of an individual’s blood is the very
advances in science show that sources of evidence of paternity and feature of the DNA or fingerprint is different, it is deemed not to
DNA in his or her skin cells, hair follicles, muscles, semen, samples
filiation need not be limited to incriminating acts. There is now have come from the suspect.
from buccal swabs, saliva, or other body parts.
almost universal scientific agreement that blood grouping tests are
conclusive on non-paternity, although inconclusive on paternity.27 As earlier stated, certain regions of human DNA show variations
The chemical structure of DNA has four bases. They are known
between people. In each of these regions, a person possesses two
as A (adenine), G (guanine), C (cystosine) and T(thymine). The order
In Co Tao v. Court of Appeals,28 the result of the blood grouping test genetic types called "allele", one inherited from each parent. In [a]
in which the four bases appear in an individual’s DNA determines his
showed that the putative father was a "possible father" of the child. paternity test, the forensic scientist looks at a number of these
or her physical makeup. And since DNA is a double-stranded
Paternity was imputed to the putative father after the possibility of variable regions in an individual to produce a DNA profile.
molecule, it is composed of two specific paired bases, A-T or T-
paternity was proven on presentation during trial of facts and Comparing next the DNA profiles of the mother and child, it is
A and G-C or C-G. These are called "genes."
circumstances other than the results of the blood grouping test. possible to determine which half of the child’s DNA was inherited
from the mother. The other half must have been inherited from the
biological father. The alleged father’s profile is then examined to contamination of the samples, the procedure followed in analyzing Just when a scientific principle or discovery crosses the line between
ascertain whether he has the DNA types in his profile, which match the samples, whether the proper standards and procedures were the experimental and demonstrable stages is difficult to define.
the paternal types in the child. If the man’s DNA types do not match followed in conducting the tests, and the qualification of the analyst Somewhere in this twilight zone the evidential force of the principle
that of the child, the man is excluded as the father. If the DNA types who conducted the tests.37 must be recognized, and while courts will go a long way in admitting
match, then he is not excluded as the father.32 (Emphasis in the expert testimony deduced from a well recognized scientific principle
original) Vallejo discussed the probative value, not admissibility, of DNA or discovery, the thing from which the deduction is made must be
evidence. By 2002, there was no longer any question on the validity sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in the
Although the term "DNA testing" was mentioned in the 1995 case of the use of DNA analysis as evidence. The Court moved from the particular field in which it belongs.
of People v. Teehankee, Jr.,33 it was only in the 2001 case of Tijing v. issue of according "official recognition" to DNA analysis as evidence
Court of Appeals34 that more than a passing mention was given to to the issue of observance of procedures in conducting DNA In 1989, State v. Schwartz43 modified the Frye standard. Schwartz
DNA analysis. In Tijing,we issued a writ of habeas corpus against analysis. was charged with stabbing and murder. Bloodstained articles and
respondent who abducted petitioners’ youngest son. Testimonial blood samples of the accused and the victim were submitted for
and documentary evidence and physical resemblance were used to In 2004, there were two other cases that had a significant impact on DNA testing to a government facility and a private facility. The
establish parentage. However, we observed that: jurisprudence on DNA testing: People v. Yatar38 and In re: The Writ prosecution introduced the private testing facility’s results over
of Habeas Corpus for Reynaldo de Villa.39 In Yatar, a match existed Schwartz’s objection. One of the issues brought before the state
Parentage will still be resolved using conventional methods unless between the DNA profile of the semen found in the victim and the Supreme Court included the admissibility of DNA test results in a
we adopt the modern and scientific ways available. Fortunately, we DNA profile of the blood sample given by appellant in open court. criminal proceeding. The state Supreme Court concluded that:
have now the facility and expertise in using DNA test for The Court, following Vallejo’s footsteps, affirmed the conviction of
identification and parentage testing. The University of the appellant because the physical evidence, corroborated by While we agree with the trial court that forensic DNA typing has
Philippines Natural Science Research Institute (UP-NSRI) DNA circumstantial evidence, showed appellant guilty of rape with gained general acceptance in the scientific community, we hold that
Analysis Laboratory has now the capability to conduct DNA typing homicide. In De Villa, the convict-petitioner presented DNA test admissibility of specific test results in a particular case hinges on the
using short tandem repeat (STR) analysis. xxx For it was said, that results to prove that he is not the father of the child conceived at laboratory’s compliance with appropriate standards and controls,
courts should apply the results of science when completely obtained the time of commission of the rape. The Court ruled that a and the availability of their testing data and results.44
in aid of situations presented, since to reject said result is to deny difference between the DNA profile of the convict-petitioner and
progress. Though it is not necessary in this case to resort to DNA the DNA profile of the victim’s child does not preclude the convict- In 1993, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.45 further
testing, in [the] future it would be useful to all concerned in the petitioner’s commission of rape. modified the Frye-Schwartz standard. Daubertwas a product
prompt resolution of parentage and identity issues. liability case where both the trial and appellate courts denied the
In the present case, the various pleadings filed by petitioner and admissibility of an expert’s testimony because it failed to meet
Admissibility of DNA Analysis as Evidence respondent refer to two United States cases to support their the Frye standard of "general acceptance." The United States
respective positions on the admissibility of DNA analysis as Supreme Court ruled that in federal trials, the Federal Rules of
The 2002 case of People v. Vallejo35 discussed DNA analysis as evidence: Frye v. U.S.40 and Daubert v. Merrell Dow Evidence have superseded the Frye standard. Rule 401 defines
41
evidence. This may be considered a 180 degree turn from the Pharmaceuticals. In Frye v. U.S., the trial court convicted Frye of relevant evidence, while Rule 402 provides the foundation for
Court’s wary attitude towards DNA testing in the murder. Frye appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court of the admissibility of evidence. Thus:
1997 Pe Lim case,36 where we stated that "DNA, being a relatively District of Columbia. During trial, Frye’s counsel offered an expert
new science, xxx has not yet been accorded official recognition by witness to testify on the result of a systolic blood pressure Rule 401. "Relevant evidence" is defined as that which has any
our courts." In Vallejo, the DNA profile from the vaginal swabs taken deception test42 made on defendant. The state Supreme Court "tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence
from the rape victim matched the accused’s DNA profile. We affirmed Frye’s conviction and ruled that "the systolic blood to the determination of the action more probable or less probable
affirmed the accused’s conviction of rape with homicide and pressure deception test has not yet gained such standing and than it would be without the evidence.
sentenced him to death. We declared: scientific recognition among physiological and psychological
authorities as would justify the courts in admitting expert testimony Rule 402. All relevant evidence is admissible, except as otherwise
In assessing the probative value of DNA evidence, therefore, courts deduced from the discovery, development, and experiments thus provided by the Constitution of the United States, by Act of
should consider, among other things, the following data: how the far made." The Fryestandard of general acceptance states as Congress, by these rules, or by other rules prescribed by the
samples were collected, how they were handled, the possibility of follows:
Supreme Court pursuant to statutory authority. Evidence which is Court.48 Evidence is relevant when it has such a relation to the fact ascertain whether he has the DNA types in his profile, which match
not relevant is not admissible. in issue as to induce belief in its existence or non- the paternal types in the child. If the man’s DNA types do not match
existence.49 Section 49 of Rule 130, which governs the admissibility that of the child, the man is excluded as the father. If the DNA types
Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence governing expert of expert testimony, provides as follows: match, then he is not excluded as the father.52
testimony provides:
The opinion of a witness on a matter requiring special knowledge, It is not enough to state that the child’s DNA profile matches that of
If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the skill, experience or training which he is shown to possess may be the putative father. A complete match between the DNA profile of
trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in received in evidence. the child and the DNA profile of the putative father does not
issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, necessarily establish paternity. For this reason, following the highest
experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of This Rule does not pose any legal obstacle to the admissibility of standard adopted in an American jurisdiction,53 trial courts should
an opinion or otherwise. DNA analysis as evidence. Indeed, even evidence on collateral require at least 99.9% as a minimum value of the Probability of
matters is allowed "when it tends in any reasonable degree to Paternity ("W") prior to a paternity inclusion. W is a numerical
Daubert cautions that departure from the Frye standard of general establish the probability or improbability of the fact in issue."50 estimate for the likelihood of paternity of a putative father
acceptance does not mean that the Federal Rules do not place limits compared to the probability of a random match of two unrelated
on the admissibility of scientific evidence. Rather, the judge must Indeed, it would have been convenient to merely refer petitioner to individuals. An appropriate reference population database, such as
ensure that the testimony’s reasoning or method is scientifically our decisions in Tijing, Vallejo and Yatar to illustrate that DNA the Philippine population database, is required to compute for W.
valid and is relevant to the issue. Admissibility would depend on analysis is admissible as evidence. In our jurisdiction, the restrictive Due to the probabilistic nature of paternity inclusions, W will never
factors such as (1) whether the theory or technique can be or has tests for admissibility established by Frye-Schwartz and Daubert- equal to 100%. However, the accuracy of W estimates is higher
been tested; (2) whether the theory or technique has been Kumho go into the weight of the evidence. when the putative father, mother and child are subjected to DNA
subjected to peer review and publication; (3) the known or potential analysis compared to those conducted between the putative father
rate of error; (4) the existence and maintenance of standards and child alone.54
Probative Value of DNA Analysis as Evidence
controlling the technique’s operation; and (5) whether the theory or
technique is generally accepted in the scientific community. DNA analysis that excludes the putative father from paternity
Despite our relatively liberal rules on admissibility, trial courts
should be conclusive proof of non-paternity. If the value of W is less
should be cautious in giving credence to DNA analysis as evidence.
Another product liability case, Kumho Tires Co. v. than 99.9%, the results of the DNA analysis should be considered as
We reiterate our statement in Vallejo:
Carmichael,46 further modified the Daubert standard. This led to the corroborative evidence. If the value of W is 99.9% or higher, then
amendment of Rule 702 in 2000 and which now reads as follows: there is refutable presumption of paternity.55 This refutable
In assessing the probative value of DNA evidence, therefore, courts presumption of paternity should be subjected to
should consider, among other things, the following data: how the
the Vallejo standards.
If scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge will assist the samples were collected, how they were handled, the possibility of
trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in contamination of the samples, the procedure followed in analyzing
issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, Right Against Self-Incrimination
the samples, whether the proper standards and procedures were
experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of followed in conducting the tests, and the qualification of the analyst
an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient who conducted the tests.51] Section 17, Article 3 of the 1987 Constitution provides that "no
facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself."
and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and Petitioner asserts that obtaining samples from him for DNA testing
We also repeat the trial court’s explanation of DNA analysis used in
methods reliably to the facts of the case. violates his right against self-incrimination. Petitioner ignores our
paternity cases:
earlier pronouncements that the privilege is applicable only to
We now determine the applicability in this jurisdiction of these testimonial evidence. Again, we quote relevant portions of the trial
In [a] paternity test, the forensic scientist looks at a number of these
American cases. Obviously, neither the Frye-Schwartz standard nor court’s 3 February 2000 Order with approval:
variable regions in an individual to produce a DNA profile.
the Daubert-Kumho standard is controlling in the Philippines.47 At Comparing next the DNA profiles of the mother and child, it is
best, American jurisprudence merely has a persuasive effect on our Obtaining DNA samples from an accused in a criminal case or from
possible to determine which half of the child’s DNA was inherited
decisions. Here, evidence is admissible when it is relevant to the fact the respondent in a paternity case, contrary to the belief of
from the mother. The other half must have been inherited from the
in issue and is not otherwise excluded by statute or the Rules of respondent in this action, will not violate the right against self-
biological father. The alleged father’s profile is then examined to
incrimination. This privilege applies only to evidence that
is "communicative" in essence taken under duress (People vs. Olvis,
154 SCRA 513, 1987). The Supreme Court has ruled that the right
against self-incrimination is just a prohibition on the use of physical
or moral compulsion to extort communication (testimonial
evidence) from a defendant, not an exclusion of evidence taken
from his body when it may be material. As such, a defendant can be
required to submit to a test to extract virus from his body (as cited
in People vs. Olvis, Supra); the substance emitting from the body of
the accused was received as evidence for acts of lasciviousness (US
vs. Tan Teng, 23 Phil. 145); morphine forced out of the mouth was
received as proof (US vs. Ong Siu Hong, 36 Phil. 735); an order by
the judge for the witness to put on pair of pants for size was allowed
(People vs. Otadora, 86 Phil. 244); and the court can compel a
woman accused of adultery to submit for pregnancy test (Villaflor
vs. Summers, 41 Phil. 62), since the gist of the privilege is the
restriction on "testimonial compulsion."56

The policy of the Family Code to liberalize the rule on the


investigation of the paternity and filiation of children, especially of
illegitimate children, is without prejudice to the right of the putative
parent to claim his or her own defenses.57 Where the evidence to
aid this investigation is obtainable through the facilities of modern
science and technology, such evidence should be considered subject
to the limits established by the law, rules, and jurisprudence.

WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the petition. We AFFIRM the Decision of


the Court of Appeals dated 29 November 2000 in CA-G.R. SP No.
59766. We also AFFIRM the Orders dated 3 February 2000 and 8
June 2000 issued by Branch 48 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila
in Civil Case No. SP-98-88759.

SO ORDERED.
SECOND DIVISION Amalia Trinidad against her will finally told Mrs. No's cousin, Bernardita Marquinez, that she had
and consent and as a result she been raped by accused-appellant.5
has become pregnant and
delivered a baby at the Iriga City Taking the witness stand, Amalia Trinidad recounted how at around
G.R. No. 123115 August 25, 1998 Puericulture Center. 9:30 in the morning in September 1991, while she was alone at
home, accused-appellant Nixon Malapo entered their house. Amalia
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, CONTRARY TO LAW. was then cooking. Upon seeing accused-appellant, she tried to run
vs. away, but Malapo caught her hand and brought her to the dining
NIXON MALAPO, accused-appellant. Three witnesses testified against him: complainant Amalia Trinidad; room. The accused-appellant then caused her to fall on the floor,
Amalia's guardian, Nenita No; and a guidance counselor and first covered her mouth, and forcibly removed her short pants and
cousin of Nenita No, Bernardita Marquinez. undergarment. Next, he removed his pants, lay on top of her, and
forced his sexual organ into her private part, causing lacerations and
Nenita No identified accused-appellant as her long-time neighbor. bleeding in her vagina. Amalia said she tried to punch the accused-
She testified that Amalia Trinidad had been under her care and appellant and to remove his hand from her mouth, but he was too
MENDOZA, J.: strong for her. After he had succeeded in having sexual intercourse
custody since 1978 when Amalia was just seven years old. She said
Amalia was able to finish the sixth grade of her primary with her, accused-appellant left after warning her that he would kill
This is an appeal from the decision rendered on June 23, 1995 by education. 2 It appears that Amalia is a retardate who was a former her if she reported the incident to Mrs. No or to anyone else. 6
the Regional Trial Court of Iriga City, Branch 36, convicting accused- ward of the Elsie Gaches Village institution. Mrs. Nenita No and her
appellant Nixon Malapo of rape and sentencing him to suffer the husband were given custody of Amalia on November 19, 1978 on For this reason, Amalia said, when Mrs. No asked why she was
penalty of reclusion perpetuaand to pay the victim Amalia Trinidad the basis of the following psychological evaluation: crying, she did not tell her what had happened to her. She
the sum of P50,000.00 in moral damages. confirmed that it was only when she was about to give birth to her
Amalia is seemingly an example of a baby on May 18, 1992 that she told Bernardita Marquinez that she
The information1 against accused-appellant alleged: pseudoretardate. She might have been deprived had been raped by accused-appellant. Amalia pointed to accused-
of intellectual stimulations which explains her lag appellant in court as the person who had raped her. She testified
The undersigned Assistant City Prosecutor of Iriga in cognitive development. She is still categorized that, prior to the date of the alleged crime, she did not harbor any ill
City, upon sworn complaint originally filed by the within the normal classification of children. She will or grudge against him, 7 but, as a result of her abuse, she said
offended party hereto attached, hereby accuses must continue attending the center's special she suffered from wounded feelings which made her cry very often.8
one NIXON MALAPO of Salvacion, Iriga City of the school to catch-up for whatever educational
crime of RAPE, committed as follows: deficiency she may have.3 The last witness for the prosecution was Bernardita Marquinez, a
resident of Iriga City and guidance counselor of the University of
That sometime on the month of Mrs. No told the court that, sometime during the first week of Saint Anthony. She was presented to corroborate the testimonies of
September, 1991 at Salvacion, September 1991, Amalia was left alone in their house at Salvacion, Mrs. No and the victim regarding the events on May 18, 1992 and
Iriga City, Philippines, and within Iriga City, as she and her husband taught in school, while their four afterward. 9
the jurisdiction of this Honorable natural children attended classes. 4
Court, the said accused, entered Accused-appellant Nixon Malapo testified on his behalf, basically
the house of one Nenita I. No, At around 10:30 in the morning of that day, when Mrs. No came claiming alibi as his defense. He presented as witnesses Felipe
aunt of Complainant AMALIA home from her class, she found accused-appellant Malapo in the Edroso and Santos Ramos to corroborate his claim that he and
TRINIDAD who was then and yard of her house. Accused-appellant was in haste. She stopped him Ramos worked together as duck watchers hired by Edroso in San
there alone, and by means of and asked why he was in a hurry, to which accused-appellant replied Jose, Buhi, Camarines Sur, about fifteen kilometers away from
force and intimidation, did, then he had gathered firewood. This puzzled Mrs. No as they had no Salvacion, Iriga City, from July 1991 until January
and there willfully, unlawfully firewood at the back of their house. Mrs. No said she found Amalia 1992. 10
and feloniously succeeded in inside their house crying. Mrs. No tried to find out why Amalia was
having carnal knowledge of said crying, but she would not say anything, On May 18, 1992, Amalia
Accused-appellant alleged that Amalia three times failed to identify and three (3) days, contrary to the Certificate (Exh. within the first 120 days of the 300 days which
him: When Amalia was brought before the barangay captain's office 1 and 1-A) that the baby was full term when immediately preceded the birth of the child
to confront accused-appellant, Amalia failed to identify him despite delivered. because of:
Mrs. No's effort to make her point to him. Amalia again failed to
identify him as her alleged assailant when they were taken to the Consequently, that the appellant had raped the (a) the physical incapacity of the
police headquarters and, still later, before Prosecutor Jose Tagum of complaining witness in September 1991 and, as a husband to have sexual
the Iriga City Prosecutor's office. 11 result, she became pregnant and gave birth to her intercourse with his wife;
baby on May 18, 1992 is simply improbable;
Accused-appellant submitted as documentary evidence a medical hence, obviously a lie. (b) the fact that the husband and
certificate 12 showing that the alleged victim gave birth to a full-term wife were living separately in
male baby on May 18, 1992. He argues that if Amalia had been It could therefore be that the baby of the such a way that sexual
raped in September of 1991, she could not have been delivered of complaining witness was fathered by another intercourse was not possible; or
her baby on May 18, 1992. man; hence, there is serious doubt that the
appellant had raped same complaining witness in (c) serious illness of the
On June 23, 1995, the trial court rendered its decision finding September 1991 causing her to become pregnant husband, which absolutely
accused-appellant guilty. The dispositive portion of its decision and to deliver a baby on May 18, 1992. prevented sexual intercourse;
reads:
It cannot be argued that the victim must have (2) That it is proved that for biological or other
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court finds been already pregnant when she was allegedly scientific reasons, the child could not have been
the accused, NIXON MALAPO, guilty beyond raped because there is no evidence to this effect. that of the husband, except in the
reasonable doubt of the crime of rape defined and The information and the prosecution evidence are instance provided in the second paragraph of
penalized under Article 335 of the Revised Penal to the effect that the baby was the fruit of the Article 164; . . .
Code before its amendment by Rep. Act No. 7659, alleged rape. 13
as charged in the information, and hereby In the case at bar, it can be inferred that conception occurred at or
sentences the said accused to suffer the penalty The contention has no merit. about the time that accused-appellant is alleged to have committed
of reclusion perpetua; that said accused is further the crime, i.e., within 120 days from the commission of the offense
ordered to indemnify the private offended party, A textbook on pediatrics states that "Infants delivered before the in September 1991. 15Pursuant to Art. 166 of the Family Code,
AMALIA TRINIDAD of the sum of P50,000.00 as thirty-seventh week of gestation with a birth weight of less than accused-appellant can overcome the presumption that Amalia's
moral damages, and to pay the costs. 2,500 grams (American) or 2,275 grams (Filipino) are considered child was begotten as a result of her having been raped in
premature." 14 An infant can therefore be considered a full-term September 1991 only if he can show either that it was physically
SO ORDERED. baby if it weighs more than 2,275 grams even if it is born before the impossible for him to have sexual intercourse because of impotence
thirty-seventh week which is less than 9.3 months. Since according or serious illness which absolutely prevents him from having sexual
Hence, this appeal. Accused-appellant's sole contention is this: to the medical certificate (Exh. 1) Amalia's baby weighed 2.4 intercourse or that Amalia had sexual intercourse with another man.
kilograms or 2,400 grams, it was a full-term baby even if it was born However, accused-appellant has not shown either of these.
As, according to Exhibit 1-A, the baby was a full before the normal gestation period.
term baby, it is unlikely, nay unbelievable, that The testimony of Amalia, as corroborated by Nenita No and
same baby was the fruit of the alleged rape Art. 166 of the Family Code provides: Bernardita Marquinez, leaves no doubt in our mind that accused-
perpetrated sometime in September 1991, appellant is the father of the child. Therefore, in accordance with
because from September 15, 1991 (assuming that Legitimacy of a child may be impugned only on the Art. 345 of the Revised Penal Code, accused-appellant should be
the rape took place on September 15, 1991, there following grounds: ordered to pay support.
being no evidence as to when in September 1991
the rape took place) to May 18, 1992 when the (1) That it was physically impossible for the In any event, the impregnation of a woman is not an element of
baby was born, is a period of only eight (8) months husband to have sexual intercourse with his wife rape. Proof that the child was fathered by another man does not
show that accused-appellant is not guilty, considering the positive That is why the Amended Information reads: Q When were these five (5)
testimony of Amalia that accused-appellant had abused her. As held "[t]hat on or about the 5th of June 1989 . . ." times?
in People v. Alib: 16 Suffice it to say that it was shown that rape under
Art. 335, par. (2), of the Revised Penal Code was A I went home in October and
. . . Under Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, committed, and that the evidence presented December.
rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a established beyond a ray of doubt that accused-
woman under any of the following circumstances: appellant was responsible therefor. 18 Q You said five (5) times — you
said you went home five (5)
(1) By using force or It is noteworthy that in this appeal accused-appellant does not times, in October and December
intimidation; reiterate his original defense that in September 1991 he was not in only?
Salvacion, Iriga because he was then tending a duck farm in San
(2) When the woman is deprived Jose, Buhi, Camarines, Sur, fifteen kilometers away. For alibi is A Yes, sir.
of reason or otherwise inherently a weak defense which cannot prevail over the positive
unconscious; and identification of the accused. 19 Furthermore, his claim that he was
Q You did not go home in
elsewhere at the time of the crime is belied by his own witness,
August?
Santos Ramos, who admitted that he and accused-appellant took
(3) When the woman is under
turns going home to their families in Salvacion. By testifying that he
twelve years of age, even though A No, sir.
did not go home in September 1991, Santos, by implication,
neither of the circumstances
admitted that it was accused-appellant's turn to go home in that
mentioned in the two next Q You did not also go home in
month. Santos Ramos testified:
preceding paragraphs shall be September?
present.
Q But the fact is, you and Nixon
Malapo did never leave the A No, sir. 20
It is therefore quite clear that the pregnancy of the
ducks you were tending to from
victim is not required. For the conviction of an
the time that they were brought Answering questions from the trial judge, he said:
accused, it is sufficient that the prosecution
at Salay in July up to the time
establish beyond reasonable doubt that he had
you left in January, 1992? Q During that period between
carnal knowledge of the offended party and that
July, 1991 to January, 1992, do
he had committed such act under any of the
A Sometimes, one of us also you remember if Nixon Malapo
circumstances enumerated above. Carnal
leave. also visited?
knowledge is defined as the act of a man having
sexual bodily connections with a woman;
Q And when one of you leave, A Yes, Your Honor.
Indeed, the findings of the trial court deserve the great respect where do you go?
usually accorded the findings of triers of facts who had the Q Do you remember how many
opportunity of observing the demeanor of the witnesses while A We go home to our house, sir. times did he visit his family
testifying. Amalia's inability to recall the exact date she was raped during that period?
cannot affect her credibility, especially considering her condition of Q And will you tell the Court how
feeblemindedness. In People v. Quinones, 17 which involved the rape many times you went home A Yes, Your Honor, the same
of a 25-year old retardate who also could not recount when she was between July, 1991 to January, number of times that I went
raped by the accused in that case, this Court held: 1992? home.

[T]he date of the occurrence of the rape is not an A About five (5) times, sir? Q He went home on those days
essential element in the commission of the rape. when you were on duty?
A Yes, Your Honor. 21 Buhi, for three (3) months, but thereof at the trial by the victim, since the Court
that he would leave San Jose, itself even assumes and acknowledges such agony
In addition to the foregoing, Felipe Edroso, the other defense Salay and visited his family once on her part as a gauge of her credibility. What
witness, testified: in a while in Salvacion during exists by necessary implication as being ineludibly
that time/period? present in the case need not go through the
PROS. CANUTO: superfluity of still being proved through a
A Very seldom, Sir. 22 testimonial charade.
Q In September 1991 he
[accused-appellant] also used to In conclusion, we hold that the trial court correctly found accused- Mention was earlier made that since Amalia's baby was begotten as
leave San Jose, Salay, and visited appellant guilty of rape. However, it failed to order accused- a result of the rape, Accused-appellant is liable for support. Under
his family in Salvacion, stayed appellant to pay indemnity. After reciting that, in all criminal cases, Art. 345 of the Revised Penal Code, in addition to the
there for about a day and then unless the offended party reserves the right to institute a separate indemnification of the offended party, persons guilty of rape must in
returned to his work in San Jose, civil action, she has a right to recover civil indemnity, the trial court every case support the offspring. Although said article also provides
Salay? awarded the complainant in this case moral damages only. As we for the acknowledgment of the child unless the offender is married,
have explained in a number of cases, 23 the indemnity provided in this Court has already ruled that:
A Yes, Sir. criminal law as civil liability is the equivalent of actual or
compensatory damages in civil law. It is, therefore, separate and Art. 176 of the Family Code confers parental
distinct from any award of moral damages. As currently fixed, the authority over illegitimate children on the mother,
Q And in October 1991, he also
indemnity for rape is P50,000.00. However, as we have recently held and likewise provides for their entitlement to
would leave San Jose Salay, to
in People v. Victor, 24 if rape is committed or is qualified by any of support in conformity with the Family Code. As
visit his family in Salvacion and
the circumstances which under the law (R.A. No. 4111 and R.A. No. such, there is no further need for the prohibition
stayed with his family for about
7659) would justify the imposition of the death penalty, the against acknowledgment of the offspring by an
a day and then returned [to] his
indemnity shall be in an amount not less than P75,000,00. offender who is married which would vest
work in San Jose, Salay?
parental authority in him. Therefore, under Article
Since in this case the rape is not qualified, the indemnity should be 345 of the Revised Penal Code, the offender in a
A Yes, Sir.
P50,000.00. This is in addition to the amount of P50,000.00 awarded rape case who is married can only be sentenced to
by the trial court as moral damages. It should be added that the indemnify the victim and support the offspring, if
Q Now, in 1991 do you know there be any. In the instant case then, the accused
latter amount is automatically granted in rape cases without need of
whether Nixon Malapo was should also be ordered to support his illegitimate
any proof. It is assumed that the offended party has suffered moral
married or not? offspring, Tracy Jhuen Nieto, with Marie Elena
injuries entitling her to the award of such damages. As we explained
in the recent case of People v. Prades: 25 Nieto, but in light of Article 201 of the Family
A Yes, Sir. Code, the amount and terms thereof are to be
The conventional requirement of allegata et determined by the trial court only after due notice
Q Did they have children at that probata in civil procedure and for essentially civil and hearing. 26
time? cases should be dispensed with in criminal
prosecutions for rape with the civil aspect Therefore, given the fact that Amalia's child is conclusively the
A Yes, Sir. included therein, since no appropriate pleadings illegitimate child of the accused-appellant, 27 the acknowledgment
are filed wherein such allegations can be made. in this instance should be understood to refer only to the filiation of
Q And you will agree with me the child. 28
that this could be the reason of Corollarily, the fact that complainant has suffered
[sic] the fact that he already had the trauma of mental, physical and psychological WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court is AFFIRMED,
his wife; had his family that he sufferings which constitute the bases for moral with the MODIFICATION that the accused-appellant is ordered to
did not continuously stay in damages are too obvious to still require the recital pay complainant Amalia Trinidad the sum of P50,000.00 as
indemnity, in addition to the amount of P50,000.00 granted by the
trial court as moral damages, as well as to acknowledge the filiation
of complainant's offspring and to give support, the amount of which
shall be determined by the trial court. Accordingly, the records of
this case are hereby REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court for the
fixing of the amount of support.

SO ORDERED.
FIRST DIVISION Valentin Tufiacao, Casimiro bought a passenger truck and engaged Vicente, who professed to be Casimiro's only illegitimate child by
him to drive it so he could have a livelihood. Casimiro later sold the Brigida Toring, declared that Teopista's father was not Casimiro but
G.R. No. 86302 September 24, 1991 truck but gave the proceeds of the sale to her and her husband. In a carpenter named Ondoy, who later abandoned her. Vicente said
1977, Casimiro allowed her son, Lolito Tufiacao, to build a house on that it was he who sold a lot to Teopista, and for a low price because
CASIMIRO MENDOZA, petitioner, his lot and later he gave her money to buy her own lot from her she was his half sister. It was also he who permitted Lolito to build a
vs. brother, Vicente Toring. On February 14, 1977, Casimiro opened a house on Casimiro's lot. This witness stressed that when Casimiro
HON. COURT OF APPEALS and TEOPISTA TORING joint savings account with her as a co-depositor at the Mandaue City was hospitalized, Teopista never once visited her alleged father.5
TUÑACAO, respondents. branch of the Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank. Two years
later, Margarita Bate, Casimiro's adopted daughter, took the The last statement was shared by the other defense witness, Julieta
passbook from her, but Casimiro ordered it returned to her after Ouano, Casimiro's niece, who also affirmed that Vicente Toring used
Bienvenido R. Saniel, Jr. for petitioner.
admonishing Margarita.1 to work as a cook in Casimiro's boat. She flatly declared she had
never met Teopista but she knew her husband, who was a
Domingo Antigua & Associates for private respondent.
Lolito Tufiacao corroborated his mother and said he considered mechanic.6
Casimiro his grandfather because Teopista said so. He would kiss his
hand whenever they saw each other and Casimiro would give him The rules on compulsory recognition are embodied in Article 283 of
money. Casimiro used to invite him to his house and give him the Civil Code, which has been held to be applicable not only to
jackfruits. when his grandfather learned that he was living on a natural children but also to spurious children. 7 The said article
CRUZ, J.: rented lot, the old man allowed him to build a house on the provides:
former's land.2
The private respondent claimed she was the illegitimate daughter of Art. 283. In any of the following cases, the father is obliged
Casimiro Mendoza, but the latter denied her claim. He denied it to Two other witnesses testified for Teopista, namely, Gaudencio to recognize the child as his natural child:
his dying day. The trial court believed him and dismissed her Mendoza and Isaac Mendoza, both relatives of Casimiro.
complaint for compulsory recognition. The appellate court did not (1) In cases of rape, abduction or seduction, when the
and reversed the judgment of the court below. Now the issue is Gaudencio said he was a cousin of Casimiro and knew Brigida Toring period of the offense coincides more or less with that of
before us on certiorari. because she used to work with him in a saltbed in Opao. Casimiro the conception;
himself told him she was his sweetheart. Later, Gaudencio acted as
The complaint was filed on August 21, 1981, in the Regional Trial a go-between for their liaison, which eventually resulted in Brigida (2) When the child is in continuous possession of status of a
Court in Cebu City. Teopista Toring Tufiacao, the herein private becoming pregnant in 1930 and giving birth to Teopista. Casimiro child of the alleged father by the direct acts of the latter or
respondent, alleged that she was born on August 20, 1930, to handed him P20.00 to be given to Brigida at Teopista's baptism. of his family;
Brigida Toring, who was then single, and defendant Casimiro Casimiro also gave him P5.00 every so often to be delivered to
Mendoza, married at that time to Emiliana Barrientos. She averred Brigida.3
(3) when the child was conceived during the time when the
that Mendoza recognized her as an illegitimate child by treating her mother cohabited with the supposed father.
as such and according her the rights and privileges of a recognized Isaac testified that his uncle Casimiro was the father of Teopista
illegitimate child. because his father Hipolito, Casimiro's brother, and his
(4) When the child has in his favor any evidence or proof
grandmother, Brigida Mendoza, so informed him. He worked on
that the defendant is his father.
Casimiro Mendoza, then already 91 years old, specifically denied the Casimiro's boat and whenever Casimiro paid him his salary, he
plaintiffs allegations and set up a counterclaim for damages and would also give him various amounts from P2.00 to P10.00 to be
This article has been substantially reproduced in the Family Code as
attorney's fees. delivered to Teopista. Isaac also declared that Casimiro intended to
follows:
give certain properties to Teopista.4
Amplifying on her complaint, Teopista testified that it was her
Art. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established
mother who told her that her father was Casimiro. She called him Casimiro himself did not testify because of his advanced age, but
by any of the following:
Papa Miroy. She lived with her mother because Casimiro was Vicente Toring took the stand to resist Teopista's claim.
married but she used to visit him at his house. When she married
(1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a Miroy"; c) that Teopista would kiss defendant's hand when The applicable provisions of the Rules of Court are Sections 16 and
final judgment; or she met him; d) that the defendant gave to her and her 17 of Rule 3, reading as follows:
husband the income of the passenger truck as well as the
(2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document proceeds of the sale thereof, all these acts, taken Sec. 16. Duty of attorney upon death, incapacity or
or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the altogether, are not sufficient to show that the plaintiff had incompetency of party. — Whenever a party to a pending
parent concerned. possessed continuously the status of a recognized case dies, becomes incapacitated or incompetent, it shall
illegitimate child. be the duty of his attorney to inform the court promptly of
In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation such death, incapacity or incompetency, and to give the
shall be proved by: On appeal, however, the respondent courts8 disagreed and arrived name and residence of his executor, guardian or other legal
at its own conclusion as follows: representative.
(1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a
legitimate child; or Contrary to the conclusion of the court a quo, We find that Sec. 17. Death of party. — After a party dies and the claim
appellant has sufficiently proven her continuous possession is not thereby extinguished, the court shall order, upon
(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and of such status. Although the court a quo did not pass on the proper notice, the legal representative of the deceased to
special laws. credibility of the various witnesses presented, We consider appear and to be substituted for the deceased, within a
the witnesses for the plaintiff as credible and unbiased. No period of thirty (30) days, or within such time as may be
proof was shown to render them otherwise. There is no granted. If the legal representative fails to appear within
Art. 175. Illegitimate children may establish their
showing that Isaac and Gaudencio testified falsely. They said time the court may order the opposing party to
illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same
were disinterested parties with no axe to grind against the procure the appointment of a legal representative of the
evidence as legitimate children.
appellee or the people actively acting in his behalf. In fact deceased within a time to be specified by the court, and
even the court a quo conceded to the truthfulness of some the representative shall immediately appear for and on
In his remarkably well-written decision, Judge Leoncio P. Abarquez
of their testimonies. behalf of the interest of the deceased. The court charges
rejected the plaintiff' s claim that she was in continuous possession
involved in procuring such appointment, if defrayed by the
of the status of a child of the alleged father by the direct acts of the
By contrast, it continued, Vicente Toring was an interested party opposing party, may be recovered as costs. The heirs of the
latter or of his family. His Honor declared:
who was claiming to be the sole recognized natural child of Casimiro deceased may be allowed to be substituted for the
and stood to lose much inheritance if Teopista's claim were deceased, without requiring the appointment of an
In this particular case the established evidence is that executor or administrator and the court may appoint
recognized. He had earlier filed theft charges against his own sister
plaintiff continuously lived with her mother, together with guardian ad litem for the minor heirs.
and libel charges against her husband. As for Julieta Ouano, the
her sister Paulina. Neither the plaintiff nor her husband had
respondent court found it difficult to believe that she had never met
come to live with the defendant. At most, only their son,
Teopista although both of them have been living in the same In the early case of Masecampo vs. Masecampo,9 it was settled that:
Lolito Tufiacao was allowed to construct a small house in
barangay since birth.
the land of the defendant, either by the defendant himself,
The subsequent death of the father is not a bar to the
as claimed by the plaintiff, or by Vicente Toring, as claimed
The decision of the Court of Appeals was promulgated on August 11, action commenced during Ms lifetime by one who
by the witnesses of the defendant. The defendant never
1988. A motion for reconsideration was filed, and it was only from pretended to be his natural son. It may survive against the
spent for the support and education of the plaintiff. He did
the opposition thereto of the private respondent that Casimiro's executor, administrator, or any other legal representative
not allow the plaintiff to carry his surname. The instances
counsel learned that his client had died on May 1986. He of the testate or intestate succession.
when the defendant gave money to the plaintiff were,
immediately informed the respondent court build the motion for
more or less, off-and-on or rather isolatedly periodic. They
reconsideration was denied without any substitution of parties Pursuant to the above rules and jurisprudence, we hereby allow the
were made at considerable intervals and were not given
having been effected. The said counsel, now acting for Vicente substitution of Casimiro Mendoza pro haec viceand nunc pro tunc by
directly to the plaintiff but through a third person. Thus,
Toring, then asked this Court to substitute the latter for the Vicente Toring, who appears to be the former's illegitimate son. This
while it may be conceded that: a) the defendant's parents,
deceased Casimiro Mendoza in the present petition. disposes of the private respondent's contention that the lawyer-
as well as the plaintiff himself told Gaudencio Mendoza and
Isaac Mendoza that Teopista is the daughter of the client relationship terminated with Casimiro's death and that
defendant; b) that Teopista calls the defendant as "Papa Vicente has no personality now to substitute him.
Now to the merits. said that her mother solely spent for her education and in another Brigida Mendoza, Casimiro's own mother, that Teopista was
that Casimiro helped in supporting her.13 Casimiro's illegitimate daughter.15
We note that both the trial court and the respondent court, in
arriving at their respective conclusions, focused on the question of But although Teopista has failed to show that she was in open and Such acts or declarations may be received in evidence as an
whether or not Teopista was in continuous possession of her continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child of exception to the hearsay rule because "it is the best the nature of
claimed status of an illegitimate child of Casimiro Mendoza. This was Casimiro, we find that she has nevertheless established that status the case admits and because greater evils are apprehended from
understandable because Teopista herself had apparently based her by another method. the rejection of such proof than from its admission.16 Nevertheless,
claim on this particular ground as proof of filiation allowed under precisely because of its nature as hearsay evidence, there are
Article 283 of the Civil Code. What both the trial court and the respondent court did not take into certain safeguards against its abuse. Commenting on this provision,
account is that an illegitimate child is allowed to establish his Francisco enumerates the following requisites that have to be
To establish "the open and continuous possession of the status of an claimed filiation by "any other means allowed by the Rules of Court complied with before the act or declaration regarding pedigree may
illegitimate child," it is necessary to comply with certain and special laws," according to the Civil Code, or "by evidence or be admitted in evidence:
jurisprudential requirements. "Continuous" does not mean that the proof in his favor that the defendant is her father," according to the
concession of status shall continue forever but only that it shall not Family Code. Such evidence may consist of his baptismal certificate, 1. The declarant is dead or unable to testify.
be of an intermittent character while it continues. 10 The possession a judicial admission, a family Bible in which his name has been
of such status means that the father has treated the child as his entered, common reputation respecting his pedigree, admission by 2. The pedigree must be in issue.
own, directly and not through others, spontaneously and without silence, the testimonies of witnesses, and other kinds of proof
concealment though without publicity (since the relation is admissible under Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.14 3. The declarant must be a relative of the person whose
illegitimate).11 There must be a showing of the permanent intention pedigree is in issue.
of the supposed father to consider the child as his own, by The trial court conceded that "the defendant's parents, as well as
continuous and clear manifestation of paternal affection and care. 12 the plaintiff himself, told Gaudencio Mendoza and Isaac Mendoza, 4. The declaration must be made before the controversy
that Teopista was the daughter of the defendant." It should have arose.
With these guidelines in mind, we agree with the trial court that probed this matter further in light of Rule 130, Section 39, of the
Teopista has not been in continuous possession of the status of a Rules of Court, providing as follows:
5. The relationship between the declarant and the person
recognized illegitimate child of Casimiro Mendoza, under both
whose pedigree is in question must be shown by evidence
Article 283 of the Civil Code and Article 172 of the Family Code. Sec. 39. — Act or declarations about pedigree. — The act or other than such declaration.17
declaration of a person deceased, or unable to testify, in
The plaintiff lived with her mother and not with the defendant respect to the pedigree of another person related to him by
All the above requisites are present in the case at bar. The persons
although they were both residents of Omapad, Mandaue City. It is birth or marriage, may be received in evidence where it
who made the declarations about the pedigree of Teopista, namely,
true, as the respondent court observed, that this could have been occurred before the controversy, and the relationship
the mother of Casimiro, Brigida Mendoza, and his brother, Hipolito,
because defendant had a legitimate wife. However, it is not unusual between the two persons is shown by evidence other than
were both dead at the time of Isaac's testimony. The declarations
for a father to take his illegitimate child into his house to live with such act or declaration. The word "pedigree" includes
referred to the filiation of Teopista and the paternity of Casimiro,
him and his legitimate wife, especially if the couple is childless, as in relationship, family genealogy, birth, marriage, death, the
which were the very issues involved in the complaint for compulsory
this case. In fact, Vicente Toring, who also claimed to be an dates when and the places where these facts occurred, and
recognition. The declarations were made before the complaint was
illegitimate child of Casimiro, lived with the latter and his wife, the names of the relatives. It embraces also facts of family
filed by Teopista or before the controversy arose between her and
apparently without objection from the latter. We also note that history intimately connected with pedigree.
Casimiro. Finally, the relationship between the declarants and
Teopista did not use the surname of Casimiro although this is, of
Casimiro has been established by evidence other than such
course, not decisive of one's status. No less significantly, the The statement of the trial court regarding Teopista's parentage is declaration, consisting of the extrajudicial partition of the estate of
regularity of defendant's act of giving money to the plaintiff through not entirely accurate. To set the record straight, we will stress that it Florencio Mendoza, in which Casimiro was mentioned as one of his
Gaudencio Mendoza and Isaac Mendoza has not been sufficiently was only Isaac Mendoza who testified on this question of pedigree, heirs.18
established. The trial court correctly concluded that such instances and he did not cite Casimiro's father. His testimony was that he was
were "off-and-on," not continuous and intermittent. Indeed, the informed by his father Hipolito, who was Casimiro's brother, and
plaintiff s testimony on this point is tenuous as in one breath she
The said declarations have not been refuted. Casimiro could have
done this by deposition if he was too old and weak to testify at the
trial of the case.

If we consider the other circumstances narrated under oath by the


private respondent and her witnesses, such as the financial doles
made by Casimiro to Brigida Toring, the hiring of Teopista's husband
to drive the passenger truck of Casimiro, who later sold the vehicle
and gave the proceeds of the sale to Teopista and her husband, the
permission he gave Lolito Tufiacao to build a house on his land after
he found that the latter was living on a rented lot, and, no less
remarkably, the joint savings account Casimiro opened with
Teopista, we can reasonably conclude that Teopista was the
illegitimate daughter of Casimiro Mendoza.

We hold that by virtue of the above-discussed declarations, and in


view of the other circumstances of this case, 'reopista Toring
Tufiacao has proved that she is the illegitimate daughter of Casimiro
Mendoza and is entitled to be recognized as such. In so holding, we
give effect to the policy of the Civil Code and the Family Code to
liberalize the rule on the investigation of "the paternity of
illegitimate children, without prejudice to the right of the alleged
parent to resist the claimed status with his own defenses, including
evidence now obtainable through the facilities of modern medicine
and technology

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. Judgment is hereby rendered


DECLARING Teopista Toring Tuñacao to be the illegitimate child of
the late Casimiro Mendoza and entitled to all the rights appurtenant
to such status. Costs against the petitioner.

SO ORDERED.
SECOND DIVISION demise on December 2, 1975. They lived together in the company of been in continuous possession and enjoyment of the status of a
Corazon’s two (2) children from her subsisting marriage, namely: recognized and/or acknowledged child of William Liyao by the
G.R. No. 138961 March 7, 2002 latter’s direct and overt acts. William Liyao supported Billy and paid
Enrique and Bernadette, both surnamed Yulo, in a succession of for his food, clothing and other material needs. However, after
WILLIAM LIYAO, JR., represented by his mother Corazon rented houses in Quezon City and Manila. This was with the William Liyao’s death, it was Corazon who provided sole support to
Garcia, petitioner, knowledge of William Liyao’s legitimate children, Tita Rose L. Tan Billy and took care of his tuition fees at La Salle, Greenhills. William
vs. and Linda Christina Liyao-Ortiga, from his subsisting marriage with Liyao left his personal belongings, collections, clothing, old
JUANITA TANHOTI-LIYAO, PEARL MARGARET L. TAN, TITA ROSE L. Juanita Tanhoti Liyao. Tita Rose and Christina were both employed newspaper clippings and laminations at the house in White Plains
TAN AND LINDA CHRISTINA LIYAO,respondents. at the Far East Realty Investment, Inc. of which Corazon and William where he shared his last moments with Corazon.
were then vice president and president, respectively.
DECISION Testifying for the petitioner, Maurita Pasion declared that she knew
Sometime in 1974, Corazon bought a lot from Ortigas and Co. which both Corazon G. Garcia and William Liyao who were godparents to
required the signature of her husband, Ramon Yulo, to show his her children. She used to visit Corazon and William Liyao from 1965-
DE LEON, JR., J.:
consent to the aforesaid sale. She failed to secure his signature and, 1975. The two children of Corazon from her marriage to Ramon
had never been in touch with him despite the necessity to meet Yulo, namely, Bernadette and Enrique (Ike), together with some
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the decision
him. Upon the advice of William Liyao, the sale of the parcel of land housemaids lived with Corazon and William Liyao as one family. On
dated June 4, 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. C.V. No.
located at the Valle Verde Subdivision was registered under the some occasions like birthdays or some other celebrations, Maurita
453941 which reversed the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
name of Far East Realty Investment, Inc. would sleep in the couple’s residence and cook for the family.
of Pasig, Metro Manila, Branch 167 in declaring William Liyao, Jr. as
During these occasions, she would usually see William Liyao in
the illegitimate (spurious) son of the deceased William Liyao and
On June 9, 1975, Corazon gave birth to William Liyao, Jr. at the sleeping clothes. When Corazon, during the latter part of 1974, was
ordering Juanita Tanhoti-Liyao, Pearl Margaret L. Tan, Tita Rose L.
Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital. During her three (3) day stay at pregnant with her child Billy, Maurita often visited her three (3) to
Tan and Linda Christina Liyao to recognize and acknowledge William
the hospital, William Liyao visited and stayed with her and the new four (4) times a week in Greenhills and later on in White Plains
Liyao, Jr. as a compulsory heir of the deceased William Liyao and
born baby, William, Jr. (Billy). All the medical and hospital expenses, where she would often see William Liyao. Being a close friend of
entitled to all successional rights as such and to pay the costs of the
food and clothing were paid under the account of William Liyao. Corazon, she was at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital during
suit.
William Liyao even asked his confidential secretary, Mrs. Virginia the birth of Billy. She continuously visited them at White Plains and
Rodriguez, to secure a copy of Billy’s birth certificate. He likewise knew that William Liyao, while living with her friend Corazon, gave
On November 29,1976, William Liyao, Jr., represented by his mother support by way of grocery supplies, money for household expenses
instructed Corazon to open a bank account for Billy with the
Corazon G. Garcia, filed Civil Case No. 24943 before the RTC of Pasig, and matriculation fees for the two (2) older children, Bernadette
Consolidated Bank and Trust Company4 and gave weekly amounts to
Branch 167 which is an action for compulsory recognition as "the and Enrique. During William Liyao’s birthday on November 22, 1975
be deposited therein.5 William Liyao would bring Billy to the office,
illegitimate (spurious) child of the late William Liyao" against herein held at the Republic Supermarket Office, he was carrying Billy and
introduce him as his good looking son and had their pictures taken
respondents, Juanita Tanhoti-Liyao, Pearl Margaret L. Tan, Tita Rose told everybody present, including his two (2) daughters from his
together.6
L. Tan and Linda Christina Liyao.2 The complaint was later amended legal marriage, "Look, this is my son, very guapo and healthy."10 He
to include the allegation that petitioner "was in continuous then talked about his plan for the baptism of Billy before Christmas.
possession and enjoyment of the status of the child of said William During the lifetime of William Liyao, several pictures were taken
He intended to make it "engrande" and "make the bells of San
Liyao," petitioner having been "recognized and acknowledged as showing, among others, William Liyao and Corazon together with
Sebastian Church ring."11 Unfortunately, this did not happen since
such child by the decedent during his lifetime."3 Billy’s godfather, Fr. Julian Ruiz, William Liyao’s legal staff and their
William Liyao passed away on December 2, 1975. Maurita attended
wives while on vacation in Baguio.7 Corazon also presented pictures
Mr. Liyao’s funeral and helped Corazon pack his clothes. She even
in court to prove that that she usually accompanied William Liyao
The facts as alleged by petitioner are as follows: recognized a short sleeved shirt of blue and gray 12 which Mr. Liyao
while attending various social gatherings and other important
wore in a photograph13 as well as another shirt of lime green14 as
meetings.8 During the occasion of William Liyao’s last birthday on
Corazon G. Garcia is legally married to but living separately from belonging to the deceased. A note was also presented with the
November 22, 1975 held at the Republic Supermarket, William Liyao
Ramon M. Yulo for more than ten (10) years at the time of the following inscriptions: "To Cora, Love From William."15 Maurita
expressly acknowledged Billy as his son in the presence of Fr. Ruiz,
institution of the said civil case. Corazon cohabited with the late remembered having invited the couple during her mother’s birthday
Maurita Pasion and other friends and said, "Hey, look I am still
William Liyao from 1965 up to the time of William’s untimely where the couple had their pictures taken while exhibiting
young, I can still make a good looking son."9 Since birth, Billy had
affectionate poses with one another. Maurita knew that Corazon is
still married to Ramon Yulo since her marriage has not been in fact and that there was no reason why any of her parents would cases full of men’s clothes, underwear, sweaters, shorts and
annulled nor is Corazon legally separated from her said husband. institute legal separation proceedings in court. Her father lived at pajamas.
However, during the entire cohabitation of William Liyao with their house in San Lorenzo Village and came home regularly. Even
Corazon Garcia, Maurita had not seen Ramon Yulo or any other man during out of town business trips or for conferences with the Tita Rose Liyao-Tan testified that her parents were legally married
in the house when she usually visited Corazon. lawyers at the office, her father would change his clothes at home and had never been separated. They resided at No. 21 Hernandez
because of his personal hygiene and habits. Her father reportedly Street, San Lorenzo Village, Makati up to the time of her father’s
Gloria Panopio testified that she is the owner of a beauty parlor and had trouble sleeping in other people’s homes. Linda described him death on December 2, 1975.19Her father suffered two (2) minor
that she knew that Billy is the son of her neighbors, William Liyao as very conservative and a strict disciplinarian. He believed that no cardio-vascular arrests (CVA) prior to his death. During the first
and Corazon Garcia, the latter being one of her customers. Gloria amount of success would compensate for failure of a home. As a heart attack sometime between April and May 1974, his speech and
met Mr. Liyao at Corazon’s house in Scout Delgado, Quezon City in businessman, he was very tough, strong, fought for what he hands were affected and he had to stay home for two (2) to three
the Christmas of 1965. Gloria had numerous occasions to see Mr. believed in and did not give up easily. He suffered two strokes (3) months under strict medication, taking aldomet, serpadil and
Liyao from 1966 to 1974 and even more so when the couple before the fatal attack which led to his death on December 2, 1975. cifromet which were prescribed by Dr. Bonifacio Yap, for high blood
transferred to White Plains, Quezon City from 1974-1975. At the He suffered a stroke at the office sometime in April-May 1974 and pressure and cholesterol level control.20 Tita Rose testified that after
time Corazon was conceiving, Mr. Liyao was worried that Corazon was attended by Dr. Santiago Co. He then stayed in the house for the death of Mr. Liyao, Corazon Garcia was paid the amount of One
might have another miscarriage so he insisted that she just stay in two (2) to three (3) months for his therapy and acupuncture Hundred Thousand Pesos (₱100,000.00) representing her
the house, play mahjong and not be bored. Gloria taught Corazon treatment. He could not talk, move, walk, write or sign his name. In investment in the Far East Realty Investment Inc. Tita Rose also
how to play mahjong and together with Atty. Brillantes’ wife and the meantime, Linda and her sister, Tita Rose Liyao-Tan, ran the stated that her family never received any formal demand that they
sister-in-law, had mahjong sessions among themselves. Gloria knew office. She handled the collection of rents while her sister referred recognize a certain William Liyao, Jr. as an illegitimate son of her
that Mr. Liyao provided Corazon with a rented house, paid the legal matters to their lawyers. William Liyao was bedridden and had father, William Liyao. After assuming the position of President of the
salary of the maids and food for Billy. He also gave Corazon financial personally changed. He was not active in business and had dietary company, Tita Rose did not come across any check signed by her
support. Gloria knew that Corazon is married but is separated from restrictions. Mr. Liyao also suffered a milder stroke during the latter late father representing payment to lessors as rentals for the house
Ramon Yulo although Gloria never had any occasion to see Mr. Yulo part of September to October 1974. He stayed home for two (2) to occupied by Corazon Garcia. Tita Rose added that the laminated
with Corazon in the house where Mr. Liyao and Corazon lived. three (3) days and went back to work. He felt depressed, however, photographs presented by Corazon Garcia are the personal
and was easily bored. He did not put in long hours in the office collection of the deceased which were displayed at the latter’s
Enrique Garcia Yulo testified that he had not heard from his father, unlike before and tried to spend more time with his family. office.
Ramon Yulo, from the time that the latter abandoned and separated
from his family. Enrique was about six (6) years old when William Linda testified that she knew Corazon Garcia is still married to The last witness who testified for the respondents was Ramon
Liyao started to live with them up to the time of the latter’s death Ramon Yulo. Corazon was not legally separated from her husband Pineda, driver and bodyguard of William Liyao from 1962 to 1974,
on December 2, 1975. Mr. Liyao was very supportive and fond of and the records from the Local Civil Registrar do not indicate that who said that he usually reported for work at San Lorenzo Village,
Enrique’s half brother, Billy. He identified several pictures showing the couple obtained any annulment17of their marriage. Once in Makati to pick up his boss at 8:00 o’clock in the morning. At past
Mr. Liyao carrying Billy at the house as well as in the office. 1973, Linda chanced upon Ramon Yulo picking up Corazon Garcia at 7:00 o’clock in the evening, either Carlos Palamigan or Serafin
Enrique’s testimony was corroborated by his sister, Bernadette Yulo, the company garage. Immediately after the death of Linda’s father, Villacillo took over as night shift driver. Sometime between April and
who testified that the various pictures showing Mr. Liyao carrying Corazon went to Linda’s office for the return of the former’s alleged May 1974, Mr. Liyao got sick. It was only after a month that he was
Billy could not have been superimposed and that the negatives were investments with the Far East Realty Investment, Inc. including a able to report to the office. Thereafter, Mr. Liyao was not able to
in the possession of her mother, Corazon Garcia. parcel of land sold by Ortigas and Company. Linda added that report to the office regularly. Sometime in September 1974, Mr.
Corazon, while still a Vice-President of the company, was able to Liyao suffered from another heart attack. Mr. Pineda added that as
Respondents, on the other hand, painted a different picture of the take out documents, clothes and several laminated pictures of a driver and bodyguard of Mr. Liyao, he ran errands for the latter
story. William Liyao from the office. There was one instance when she was among which was buying medicine for him
told by the guards, "Mrs. Yulo is leaving and taking out things like capasid and aldomet. On December 2, 1975, Mr. Pineda was
again."18 Linda then instructed the guards to bring Mrs. Yulo to the called inside the office of Mr. Liyao. Mr. Pineda saw his employer
Linda Christina Liyao-Ortiga stated that her parents, William Liyao
office upstairs but her sister, Tita Rose, decided to let Corazon leaning on the table. He tried to massage Mr. Liyao’s breast and
and Juanita Tanhoti-Liyao, were legally married.16Linda grew up and
Garcia go. Linda did not recognize any article of clothing which decided later to carry and bring him to the hospital but Mr. Liyao
lived with her parents at San Lorenzo Village, Makati, Metro Manila
belonged to her father after having been shown three (3) large suit
until she got married; that her parents were not separated legally or
died upon arrival thereat. Mrs. Liyao and her daughter, Linda Liyao- In ruling for herein petitioner, the trial court said it was convinced petitioner impugn his own legitimacy to be able to claim from the
Ortiga were the first to arrive at the hospital. by preponderance of evidence that the deceased William Liyao sired estate of his supposed father, William Liyao?
William Liyao, Jr. since the latter was conceived at the time when
Mr. Pineda also declared that he knew Corazon Garcia to be one of Corazon Garcia cohabited with the deceased. The trial court We deny the present petition.
the employees of the Republic Supermarket. People in the office observed that herein petitioner had been in continuous possession
knew that she was married. Her husband, Ramon Yulo, would and enjoyment of the status of a child of the deceased by direct and Under the New Civil Code, a child born and conceived during a valid
sometimes go to the office. One time, in 1974, Mr. Pineda saw overt acts of the latter such as securing the birth certificate of marriage is presumed to be legitimate. 22 The presumption of
Ramon Yulo at the office garage as if to fetch Corazon Garcia. Mr. petitioner through his confidential secretary, Mrs. Virginia legitimacy of children does not only flow out from a declaration
Yulo who was also asking about cars for sale, represented himself as Rodriguez; openly and publicly acknowledging petitioner as his son; contained in the statute but is based on the broad principles of
car dealer. providing sustenance and even introducing herein petitioner to his natural justice and the supposed virtue of the mother. The
legitimate children. presumption is grounded in a policy to protect innocent offspring
Witness Pineda declared that he did not know anything about the from the odium of illegitimacy.23
claim of Corazon. He freely relayed the information that he saw Mr. The Court of Appeals, however, reversed the ruling of the trial court
Yulo in the garage of Republic Supermarket once in 1973 and then in saying that the law favors the legitimacy rather than the illegitimacy The presumption of legitimacy of the child, however, is not
1974 to Atty. Quisumbing when he went to the latter’s law office. of the child and "the presumption of legitimacy is thwarted only on conclusive and consequently, may be overthrown by evidence to the
Being the driver of Mr. Liyao for a number of years, Pineda said that ethnic ground and by proof that marital intimacy between husband contrary. Hence, Article 255 of the New Civil Code24 provides:
he remembered having driven the group of Mr. Liyao, Atty. and wife was physically impossible at the period cited in Article 257
Astraquillo, Atty. Brillantes, Atty. Magno and Atty. Laguio to Baguio in relation to Article 255 of the Civil Code." The appellate court gave
Article 255. Children born after one hundred and eighty days
for a vacation together with the lawyers’ wives. During his weight to the testimonies of some witnesses for the respondents
following the celebration of the marriage, and before three hundred
employment, as driver of Mr. Liyao, he does not remember driving that Corazon Garcia and Ramon Yulo who were still legally married
days following its dissolution or the separation of the spouses shall
for Corazon Garcia on a trip to Baguio or for activities like shopping. and have not secured legal separation, were seen in each other’s
be presumed to be legitimate.
company during the supposed time that Corazon cohabited with the
On August 31, 1993, the trial court rendered a decision, the deceased William Liyao. The appellate court further noted that the
Against this presumption no evidence shall be admitted other than
dispositive portion of which reads as follows: birth certificate and the baptismal certificate of William Liyao, Jr.
that of the physical impossibility of the husband having access to his
which were presented by petitioner are not sufficient to establish
wife within the first one hundred and twenty days of the three
proof of paternity in the absence of any evidence that the deceased,
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff hundred which preceded the birth of the child.
William Liyao, had a hand in the preparation of said certificates and
and against the defendants as follows:
considering that his signature does not appear thereon. The Court of
Appeals stated that neither do family pictures constitute competent This physical impossibility may be caused:
(a) Confirming the appointment of Corazon G. Garcia as the
proof of filiation. With regard to the passbook which was presented
guardian ad litem of the minor William Liyao, Jr.; 1) By the impotence of the husband;
as evidence for petitioner, the appellate court observed that there
was nothing in it to prove that the same was opened by William
(b) Declaring the minor William Liyao, Jr. as the illegitimate Liyao for either petitioner or Corazon Garcia since William Liyao’s 2) By the fact that husband and wife were living separately
(spurious) son of the deceased William Liyao; signature and name do not appear thereon. in such a way that access was not possible;

(c) Ordering the defendants Juanita Tanhoti Liyao, Pearl His motion for reconsideration having been denied, petitioner filed 3) By the serious illness of the husband.
Margaret L. Tan, Tita Rose L. Tan and Christian Liyao, to the present petition.
recognize, and acknowledge the minor William Liyao, Jr. as
Petitioner insists that his mother, Corazon Garcia, had been living
a compulsory heir of the deceased William Liyao, entitled to
It must be stated at the outset that both petitioner and respondents separately for ten (10) years from her husband, Ramon Yulo, at the
all succesional rights as such; and
have raised a number of issues which relate solely to the sufficiency time that she cohabited with the late William Liyao and it was
of evidence presented by petitioner to establish his claim of filiation physically impossible for her to have sexual relations with Ramon
(d) Costs of suit.21 with the late William Liyao. Unfortunately, both parties have Yulo when petitioner was conceived and born. To bolster his claim,
consistently overlooked the real crux of this litigation: May petitioner presented a document entitled, "Contract of
Separation,"25 executed and signed by Ramon Yulo indicating a Do the acts of Enrique and Bernadette Yulo, the undisputed children
waiver of rights to any and all claims on any property that Corazon of Corazon Garcia with Ramon Yulo, in testifying for herein
Garcia might acquire in the future.26 petitioner amount to impugnation of the legitimacy of the latter?

The fact that Corazon Garcia had been living separately from her We think not. As earlier stated, it is only in exceptional cases that
husband, Ramon Yulo, at the time petitioner was conceived and the heirs of the husband are allowed to contest the legitimacy of the
born is of no moment. While physical impossibility for the husband child. There is nothing on the records to indicate that Ramon Yulo
to have sexual intercourse with his wife is one of the grounds for has already passed away at the time of the birth of the petitioner
impugning the legitimacy of the child, it bears emphasis that the nor at the time of the initiation of this proceedings. Notably, the
grounds for impugning the legitimacy of the child mentioned in case at bar was initiated by petitioner himself through his mother,
Article 255 of the Civil Code may only be invoked by the husband, or Corazon Garcia, and not through Enrique and Bernadette Yulo. It
in proper cases, his heirs under the conditions set forth under is settled that the legitimacy of the child can be impugned only in a
Article 262 of the Civil Code.27 Impugning the legitimacy of the child direct action brought for that purpose, by the proper parties and
is a strictly personal right of the husband, or in exceptional cases, his within the period limited by law.1âwphi1
heirs for the simple reason that he is the one directly confronted
with the scandal and ridicule which the infidelity of his wife Considering the foregoing, we find no reason to discuss the
produces and he should be the one to decide whether to conceal sufficiency of the evidence presented by both parties on the
that infidelity or expose it in view of the moral and economic petitioner’s claim of alleged filiation with the late William Liyao. In
interest involved.28 It is only in exceptional cases that his heirs are any event, there is no clear, competent and positive evidence
allowed to contest such legitimacy. Outside of these cases, none - presented by the petitioner that his alleged father had admitted or
even his heirs - can impugn legitimacy; that would amount o an recognized his paternity.
insult to his memory.29
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The assailed decision of
It is therefor clear that the present petition initiated by Corazon G. the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 45394 is hereby AFFIRMED.
Garcia as guardian ad litem of the then minor, herein petitioner, to No costs.
compel recognition by respondents of petitioner William Liyao, Jr, as
the illegitimate son of the late William Liyao cannot prosper. It is SO ORDERED.
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 petitioner to maintain his present petition and subvert
the clear mandate of the law that only the husband, or in
exceptional circumstances, his heirs, could impugn the legitimacy of
a child born in a valid and subsisting marriage. The child himself
cannot choose his own filiation. If the husband, presumed to be the
father does not impugn the legitimacy of the child, then the status
of the child is fixed, and the latter cannot choose to be the child of
his mother’s alleged paramour. On the other hand, if the
presumption of legitimacy is overthrown, the child cannot elect the
paternity of the husband who successfully defeated the
presumption.31
SECOND DIVISION Mayon Hotel with their companions who had gone ahead. When Ninoy
they reached the place her companions were nowhere. After
G.R. No. 159785 April 27, 2007 petitioner ordered food, he started making amorous advances on 2/4/874
her. She panicked, ran and closeted herself inside a comfort room
TEOFISTO I. VERCELES, Petitioner, where she stayed until someone knocked. She said she hurriedly Clarissa explained petitioner used an alias "Ninoy" and addressed
vs. exited and left the hotel. Afraid of the mayor, she kept the incident her as "Chris," probably because of their twenty-five (25)-year age
MARIA CLARISSA POSADA, in her own behalf, and as mother of to herself. She went on as casual employee. One of her tasks was gap. In court, she identified petitioner’s penmanship which she
minor VERNA AIZA POSADA, CONSTANTINO POSADA and following-up barangay road and maintenance projects. claims she was familiar with as an employee in his office.
FRANCISCA POSADA, Respondents.
On December 22, 1986, on orders of petitioner, she went to Virac, Clarissa presented three other handwritten letters5 sent to her by
DECISION Catanduanes, to follow up funds for barangay projects. At around petitioner, two of which were in his letterhead as mayor of Pandan.
11:00 a.m. the same day, she went to Catanduanes Hotel on She also presented the pictures6 petitioner gave her of his youth and
instructions of petitioner who asked to be briefed on the progress of as a public servant, all bearing his handwritten notations at the
QUISUMBING, J.:
her mission. They met at the lobby and he led her upstairs because back.
he said he wanted the briefing done at the restaurant at the upper
This petition for review seeks the reversal of the Decision 1 dated
floor.
May 30, 2003 and the Resolution2 dated August 27, 2003 of the Clarissa avers that on March 3, 1987, petitioner, aware of her
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 50557. The appellate court had pregnancy, handed her a letter and ₱2,000 pocket money to go to
Instead, however, petitioner opened a hotel room door, led her in, Manila and to tell her parents that she would enroll in a CPA review
affirmed with modification the Judgment3 dated January 4, 1995 of
and suddenly embraced her, as he told her that he was unhappy course or look for a job. In June 1987, petitioner went to see her in
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Virac, Catanduanes, Branch 42, in
with his wife and would "divorce" her anytime. He also claimed he Manila and gave her another ₱2,000 for her delivery. When her
Civil Case No. 1401. The RTC held petitioner liable to pay monthly
could appoint her as a municipal development coordinator. She parents learned of her pregnancy, sometime in July, her father
support to Verna Aiza Posada since her birth on September 23, 1987
succumbed to his advances. But again she kept the incident to fetched her and brought her back to Pandan. On September 23,
as well as moral and exemplary damages, attorney’s fees and costs
herself. 1987,7 she gave birth to a baby girl, Verna Aiza Posada.
of suit.

Sometime in January 1987, when she missed her menstruation, she Clarissa’s mother, Francisca, corroborated Clarissa’s story. She said
The facts in this case as found by the lower courts are as follows:
said she wrote petitioner that she feared she was pregnant. In they learned of their daughter’s pregnancy through her husband’s
another letter in February 1987, she told him she was pregnant. In a cousin. She added that she felt betrayed by petitioner and shamed
Respondent Maria Clarissa Posada (Clarissa), a young lass from the
handwritten letter dated February 4, 1987, he replied: by her daughter’s pregnancy.
barrio of Pandan, Catanduanes, sometime in 1986 met a close
family friend, petitioner Teofisto I. Verceles, mayor of Pandan. He