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Gaspay v. CA 238 SCRA 163 Facts: Flaviano Gaspay died intestate on 10/14/83, then married to Agueda Denoso (childless).

On 7/6/88 priv resp Guadalupe Gaspay Alfaro alleged @ TC that shes acknowledged IC of Flaviano with Claudia Pason, prayed for issuance of letters of admin of Flavianos estate. Petitioners are Jr. (adopted son) and Eriberta (next of kin) who filed for an MTD (motion to dismiss) saying that Guadalupe is a stranger. TC denied the MTD saying that such was based on indubitable grounds but TC nonetheless dismissed petition saying that testimonial and documentary evidence failed to prove status of Guadalupe, failed to show Guad consenting to the acknowledgement as IC and that such action should have been filed in the lifetime of Flaviano. CA reversed TC on 9/30/91 saying that:

Flaviano, Jr. and Eriberta opposed the petition. Flaviano is the adopted son of the decedent while Eriberta is a next of kin. Both alleged that Guadalupe is a stranger, and even assuming her illegitimate status, there is no proof of her recognition or acknowledgment.

rsed the trial court. It found the evidence ample and sufficient to prove Guadalupes filiation and recognition, and her consent to the recognition. The CA also held that actions based on voluntary recognition can be instituted after the death of the putative father.

ISSUE(S) / RATIO Did the CA err in finding that Guadalupe is entitled to letters of administration?

Issue: WON Guadalupe is an IC Held: YES. TC did not discount the testimony of Martin Garin (agent to logging concessionaire of Flaviano for 18 years) who verified handwriting and signature of Flaviano in a letter addressed to Lupe and Toming (Guad and his husband Bartolome Alfaro) regarding the hospitalization expenses of Guads daughter. CA said that TC must have assumed that Flavianos handwriting must have metamorphosed during the years but it could be possible that handwriting of Flaviano never changed at all. Also when Guadalupe filed said action, she still used Gaspay affixed to her legal surname as married to Alfaro, thereby shouting to the world her consent to the acknowledgment of an IC. As to the action being instituted after death of putative father, CA said action based on acknoweldgement may be brought even after death of putative father. She thereby proved entitlement to the admin of estate. Moreover, the petitioners neglected to apply for a letter admin 30 days after the death of Flaviano Gaspay.

HELD: NO Guadalupe has, in sum, proved her entitlement to be administrator of the estate of her father Flaviano, Sr., being an acknowledged and recognized illegitimate child of the decedent. conjunction with subsection (c) thereof, that: s, under subsection (b) in

If the husband or widow, or next kin, neglects for 30 days after the death of a person to apply for administration or to request that administration be granted to some other person, x x x it may be granted to such other person as the court may select. lected to apply for letters of administration 30 days after the death of Flaviano, Sr. Not even Agueda Dionisio, widow of Flaviano, Sr., filed a petition for the issuance of letters of administration. PETITION DISMISSED.

GASPAY, JR. v. CA and ALFARO 238 SCRA 163 (1994) RULE 78 ORDER OF PREFERENCE

OTHER ISSUES FACTS ober 1983 in Tacloban City. He was then married to Agueda Dionisio. They were childless. Gaspay Alfaro filed a petition with the RTC-Naval, Biliran alleging among others that she is the acknowledged illegitimate daughter of the decedent. Guadalupe prayed for the issuance of letters of administration of the decedents estate. On Guadalupes claim as illegitimate daughter of Flaviano, Sr. The trial court held that the evidence presented failed to prove her purported status, and that even if the petition were to be treated as an action to compel recognition, it would not prosper because it should have been filed during the lifetime of Flaviano, Sr.

Republic of the Philippines vs. Coseteng-Magpayo G.R. No. 189476, February 2, 2011

claimed that Inocentes never married, died single, and has no child. On the other hand, Arturio claimed that his parents were legally married but failed to provide their marriage certificate and his birth certificate to show his relationship with Inocentes because these were lost during the war. Issue: WON Arturio is the legitimate child of Inocentes Held: Yes 1. The parents of Arturio, Inocentes and Felicidad, were validly married a. Office of the Civil Registrar of Aklan certified that all its records of marriages and birth, among others, were either lost, burned or destroyed during the Japanese occupation b. Isabel Meren and Jovita Gerardo testified that his parents were married and cohabited as husband and wife i. Meren was one of the witnesses to the nuptials ii. Jovita was the barangay captain who had attended the birth and baptismal parties of Arturio 2. Arturio was born during their marriage and cohabitation a. The baptismal certificate of Arturio show his parents to be Inocentes and Felicidad and his birth to be on July 21, 1943, after the legitimate and legal wedding of Inocentes and Felicidad Family photos of Lourdes and Felix with Arturios wife and children substantiate his claim that they had lived together in the property, contrary to Lourdes claim that they had not.

Edward filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City to change his surname. He wanted to use his mothers surname, a famous personality, instead of his fathers. He said that his parents were never married, presenting a certification from the National Statistics Office that his mother does not appear in [its] National Indices of Marriage. He also said that he had used his mothers surname in his school records, and that his own childs birth certificate likewise used his mothers surname. For 3 successive elections in Quezon City, he said he ran and was elected as Councilor, using his mothers surname. The RTC then ordered the usual posting and publication under Rule 103 of the Rules of Court. Since nobody opposed the petition, a general order of default was issued. Edward was allowed to present his evidence ex parte. The RTC then granted his petition. However, the Republic of the Philippines filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied, forcing it to file this petition with the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court granted the Republics petition and nullified the decision of the RTC. The Court stated that Edwards petition goes so far as to affect his legal status in relation to his parents. It seeks to change his legitimacy to that of illegitimacy. The Court pointed out that his reliance on Rule 103 is erroneous, citing the case of Labayo-Rowe vs. Republic (168 SCRA 294), where it was categorically held that changes which may affect the civil status from legitimate to illegitimateare substantial and controversial alterations which can only be allowed after appropriate adversary proceedings The Court stated that he should have relied on Rule 108, which clearly directs that a petition which concerns ones civil status should be filed in the civil registry in which the entry is sought to be cancelled or corrected that of Makati in the present case, and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected thereby should be made parties in the proceeding. The Court noted that Edwards petition was filed not in Makati where his birth certificate was registered but in Quezon City. And as the above-mentioned title of the petition filed by (Edward) before the RTC shows, neither the civil registrar of Makati nor his father and mother were made parties thereto. The Court then laid down the rule that when a petition for cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register involves substantial and controversial alterations including those of citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, a strict compliance with the requirements of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court is mandated.

JENIE SAN JUAN DELA CRUZ and minor CHRISTIAN DELA CRUZ AQUINO, represented by JENIE SAN JUAN DELA CRUZ Vs RONALD PAUL S. GRACIA, in his capacity as City Civil Registrar of Antipolo City, Facts: For several months in 2005, then 21-year old petitioner Jenie San Juan Dela Cruz (Jenie) and then 19-year old Christian Dominique Sto. Tomas Aquino (Dominique) lived together as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage. They resided in the house of Dominiques parents Domingo B. Aquino and Raquel Sto. Tomas Aquino at Pulang-lupa, Dulumbayan, Teresa, Rizal. On September 4, 2005, Dominique died. After almost two months, or on November 2, 2005, Jenie, who continued to live with Dominiques parents, gave birth to her herein co petitioner minor child Christian Dela Cruz Aquino at the Antipolo Doctors Hospital, Antipolo City. Jenie applied for registration of the childs birth, using Dominiques surname Aquino, with the Office of the City Civil Registrar, Antipolo City, in support of which she submitted the childs Certificate of Live Birth, Affidavit to Use the Surname of the Father (AUSF) which she had executed and signed, and Affidavit of Acknowledgment executed by Dominiques father Domingo Butch Aquino. Both affidavits attested, inter alia, that during the lifetime of Dominique, he had continuously acknowledged his yet unborn child, and that his paternity had never been questioned. Jenie attached to the AUSF a document entitled AUTOBIOGRAPHY which Dominique, during his lifetime, wrote in his own handwriting, the pertinent portions of which read:

Trinidad vs. Court of Appeals 289SCRA 188, April 20, 1998 Facts: Arturio Trinidad was born on July 21, 1943 from Felicidad Molato and Inocentes Briones, who allegedly married on May 5, 1942. Upon the death of Inocentes, Arturio lived with his aunt Lourdes in the property of Patricio Briones (father of Inocentes, Lourdes and Felix) until he grew up and got married. When Arturio returned to the property upon Lourdes invitation and sought to claim the share of his father on the land, Lourdes refused to partition the property and

AQUINO, CHRISTIAN DOMINIQUE S.T. AUTOBIOGRAPHY IM CHRISTIAN DOMINIQUE STO. TOMAS AQUINO, 19 YEARS OF AGE TURNING 20 THIS COMING OCTOBER 31, 2005.[5] I RESIDE AT PULANG-LUPA STREET BRGY. DULUMBAYAN, TERESA, RIZAL. I AM THE YOUNGEST IN OUR FAMILY. I HAVE ONE BROTHER NAMED JOSEPH BUTCH STO. TOMAS AQUINO. MY FATHERS NAME IS DOMINGO BUTCH AQUINO AND MY MOTHERS NAME IS RAQUEL STO. TOMAS AQUINO. x x x. AS OF NOW I HAVE MY WIFE NAMED JENIE DELA CRUZ. WE MET EACH OTHER IN OUR HOMETOWN, TEREZA RIZAL. AT FIRST WE BECAME GOOD FRIENDS, THEN WE FELL IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER, THEN WE BECAME GOOD COUPLES. AND AS OF NOW SHE IS PREGNANT AND FOR THAT WE LIVE TOGETHER IN OUR HOUSE NOW. THATS ALL. By letter dated November 11, 2005,[7] the City Civil Registrar of Antipolo City, Ronald Paul S. Gracia (respondent), denied Jenies application for registration of the childs name. In summary, the child cannot use the surname of his father because he was born out of wedlock and the father unfortunately died prior to his birth and has no more capacity to acknowledge his paternity to the child (either through the back of Municipal Form No. 102 Affidavit of Acknowledgment/Admission of Paternity or the Authority to Use the Surname of the Father). (Underscoring supplied) Jenie and the child promptly filed a complaint[9] for injunction/registration of name against respondent before the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo City, docketed as SCA Case No. 06-539, which was raffled to Branch 73 thereof. The complaint alleged that, inter alia, the denial of registration of the childs name is a violation of his right to use the surname of his deceased father under Article 176 of the Family Code, as amended by Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9255,[10] which provides: Article 176. Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parental authority of their mother, and shall be entitled to support in conformity with this Code. However, illegitimate children may use the surname of their father if their filiation has been expressly recognized by the father through the record of birth appearing in the civil register, or when an admission in a public document or private handwritten instrument is made by the father. Provided, the father has the right to institute an action before the regular courts to prove non-filiation during his lifetime. The legitime of each illegitimate child shall consist of one-half of the legitime of a legitimate child. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Issue: WHETHER OR NOT THE UNSIGNED HANDWRITTEN STATEMENT OF THE DECEASED FATHER OF MINOR CHRISTIAN DELA CRUZ CAN BE CONSIDERED AS A RECOGNITION OF PATERNITY IN A PRIVATE HANDWRITTEN INSTRUMENT WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF ARTICLE 176 OF THE FAMILY CODE, AS AMENDED BY R.A. 9255, WHICH ENTITLES THE SAID MINOR TO USE HIS FATHERS SURNAME. Held: Petition granted. Article 176 of the Family Code, as amended by R.A. 9255, permits an illegitimate child to use the surname of his/her father if the latter had expressly recognized him/her as his offspring through the record of birth appearing in the civil register, or through an admission made in a public or private handwritten instrument. The recognition made in any of these documents is, in itself, a consummated act of acknowledgment of the childs paternity; hence, no separate

action for judicial approval is necessary. Article 176 of the Family Code, as amended, does not, indeed, explicitly state that the private handwritten instrument acknowledging the childs paternity must be signed by the putative father. That a father who acknowledges paternity of a child through a written instrument must affix his signature thereon is clearly implied in Article 176 of the Family Code. Paragraph 2.2, Rule 2 of A.O. No. 1, Series of 2004, merely articulated such requirement; it did not unduly expand the import of Article 176 as claimed by petitioners. First, Dominique died about two months prior to the childs birth. Second, the relevant matters in the Autobiography, unquestionably handwritten by Dominique, correspond to the facts culled from the testimonial evidence Jenie proffered.[20] Third, Jenies testimony is corroborated by the Affidavit of Acknowledgment of Dominiques father Domingo Aquino and testimony of his brother Joseph Butch Aquino whose hereditary rights could be affected by the registration of the questioned recognition of the child. These circumstances indicating Dominiques paternity of the child give life to his statements in his Autobiography that JENIE DELA CRUZ is MY WIFE as WE FELL IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER and NOW SHE IS PREGNANT AND FOR THAT WE LIVE TOGETHER. In the eyes of society, a child with an unknown father bears the stigma of dishonor. It is to petitioner minor childs best interests to allow him to bear the surname of the now deceased Dominique and enter it in his birth certificate.

Tonog vs. Court of Appeals 376 SCRA 523, February 7, 2002 FACTS: 1. September 23, 1989, petitioner Dinah B. Tonog gave birth to Gardin Faith Belarde Tonog, her illegitimate daughter with private respondent Edgar V. Daguimol. 2. A year after the birth of Gardin Faith, petitioner left for the United States of America to work as a registered nurse 3. Gardin Faith was left in the care of her father (private respondent herein) and paternal grandparents. 4. On January 10, 1992, private respondent filed a petition for guardianship over Gardin Faith and it was approved 5. Petitioner opposed. on October 4, 1993, a motion to remand custody of Gardin Faith to her. 6. The trial court granted the motion and the case to determine custody of Gardin Faith is now pending. 7. The respondent filed a petition for review on certiorari asserting that temporary custody should be awarded to him because the child has lived with him all her life and It would certainly wreak havoc on the childs psychological make-up to give her to the custody of private respondent, only to return her to petitioner should the latter prevail in the main case. Subjecting the child to emotional seesaw should be avoided ISSUE: W.N. temporary custody should be granted to the father. HELD: Yes.

In custody disputes, it is axiomatic that the paramount criterion is the welfare and well-being of the child. Insofar as illegitimate children are concerned, Article 176 of the Family Code provides that illegitimate children shall be under the parental authority of their mother. Likewise, Article 213 of the Family Code provides that [n]o child under seven years of age shall be separated from the mother, unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise illegitimate children shall be under the parental authority of their mother. Likewise, Article 213 of the Family Code provides that [n]o child under seven years of age shall be separated from the mother, unless the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise. The exception allowed by the rule has to be for compelling reasons for the good of the child. If she has erred, as in cases of adultery, the penalty of imprisonment and the divorce decree (relative divorce) will ordinarily be sufficient punishment for her. Moreover, moral dereliction will not have any effect upon the baby who is as yet unable to understand her situation. This is not intended, however, to denigrate the important role fathers play in the upbringing of their children. While the bonds between a mother and her small child are special in nature, either parent, whether father or mother, is bound to suffer agony and pain if deprived of custody. One cannot say that his or her suffering is greater than that of the other parent. It is not so much the suffering, pride, and other feelings of either parent but the welfare of the child which is the paramount consideration. In the case at bar, we are being asked to rule on the temporary custody of the minor, Gardin Faith, since it appears that the proceedings for guardianship before the trial court have not been terminated, and no pronouncement has been made as to who should have final custody of the minor. Bearing in mind that the welfare of the said minor as the controlling factor, we find that the appellate court did not err in allowing her father (private respondent herein) to retain in the meantime parental custody over her. Meanwhile, the child should not be wrenched from her familiar surroundings, and thrust into a strange environment away from the people and places to which she had apparently formed an attachment. - Parental authority and responsibility are inalienable and may not be transferred or renounced except in cases authorized by law. The right attached to parental authority, being purely personal, the law allows a waiver of parental authority only in cases of adoption, guardianship and surrender to a childrens home or an orphan institution. - When a parent entrusts the custody of a minor to another, such as a friend or godfather, even in a document, what is given is merely temporary custody and it does not constitute a renunciation of parental authority. Even if a definite renunciation is manifest, the law still disallows the same. - Article 220 of the Family Code thus provides that parents and individuals exercising parental authority over their unemancipated children are entitled, among other rights, to keep them in their company. COMMENT: The court never expounded on what these compelling reasons are. The best answer I could find is stated in the next paragraph saying that the SC cannot decide on questions of fact. And the determination of w/n the mother is a good mother is indeed a question of fact. But it still does not answer why custody was granted to the father. Is the compelling reason the fact that her mother is in the states? Is it the fact that the child is already staying at the fathers house and moving the child to and fro would cause the child distress? Are these reasons compelling enough for the court to award temporary custody to the father? I dont know

Are cases regarding temporary custody exceptions to Articles 176 and 213? I dont know. For reference, I also posted the full text of the case. Whether a mother is a fit parent for her child is a question of fact to be properly entertained in the special proceedings before the trial court. It should be recalled that in a petition for review on certiorari, we rule only on questions of law. We are not in the best position to assess the parties respective merits vis--vis their opposing claims for custody. Yet another sound reason is that inasmuch as the age of the minor, Gardin Faith, has now exceeded the statutory bar of seven years, a fortiori, her preference and opinion must first be sought in the choice of which parent should have the custody over her person. A word of caution: our pronouncement here should not be interpreted to imply a preference toward the father (herein private respondent) relative to the final custody of the minor, Gardin Faith. Nor should it be taken to mean as a statement against petitioners fitness to have final custody of her said minor daughter. It shall be only understood that, for the present and until finally adjudged, temporary custody of the subject minor should remain with her father WHEREFORE, The trial court is directed to immediately proceed with hearing Sp. Proc. No. Q-92-11053 upon notice of this decision OBITER: Parental Authority and its Renunciation Parental authority or patria potestas in Roman Law is the juridical institution whereby parents rightfully assume control and protection of their unemancipated children to the extent required by the latters needs. It is a mass of rights and obligations which the law grants to parents for the purpose of the childrens physical preservation and development, as well as the cultivation of their intellect and the education of their heart and senses. As regards parental authority, there is no power, but a task; no complex of rights, but a sum of duties; no sovereignty but a sacred trust for the welfare of the minor. GR: Parental authority and responsibility are inalienable and may not be transferred or renounced except in cases authorized by law. The right attached to parental authority, being purely personal, the law allows a waiver of parental authority only in cases of EXC: adoption, guardianship and surrender to a childrens home or an orphan institution. When a parent entrusts the custody of a minor to another, such as a friend or godfather, even in a document, what is given is merely temporary custody and it does not constitute a renunciation of parental authority. Even if a definite renunciation is manifest, the law still disallows the same.

Lazatin v. Campos 92 SCRA 250 FACTS: Margarita de Asis, and his adopted twin daughters, respondents Nora and Irma menced an intestate proceeding

the estate of Dr. Mariano Lazatin, as an admitted illegitimate child ASis as an adopted child, on the basis of an affidavit executed by Benjamin Lazatin, brother of the deceased Dr. Mariano Lazatin, that petitioner was an illegitimate son of Dr. Lazatin and was lated adopted by him. This affidavit was later modified

on Aug. 19, 1975 to state that petitioner was adopted by both Mariano and Margarita. estate of Margarita, at which hearings petitioner presented no decree of adoption hi his favor. Instead, petitioner attempted to prove, over private respondents objections, that he had recognized the deceased spouses as his parents; he had been supported by them until their death; formerly he was known as Renato Lazatin but was compelled to change his surname to Sta. Clara when the deceased spouses refused to give consent to his marriage to his present wife; that . (Page 257) Court barred the introduction of petitioners evidence adoption

A Social Worker of the DSWD submitted a Report recommending for the adoption and narrated that Amelia, the biological mother was consulted with the adoption plan and after weighing the benefits of adoption to her children, she voluntarily consented.

However, petitioner failed to present the said social worker as witness and offer in evidence the voluntary consent of Amelia Ramos to the adoption. Petitioner also failed to present any documentary evidence to prove that Amelia assent to the adoption.

Issue: WON a petition for adoption be granted without the written consent of the adoptees biological mother.

ISSUES: evidence HELD: o Adoption is a juridical act, a proceeding in rem, which creates between 2 persons a relationship similar to that which results from legitimate paternity and filiation. (ADOPTION DEFINED PAGE 259!!!! Too long for me to reproduce) o Petitioners flow of evidence in the case below doesnt lead us to any proof of judicial adoption. o No proof of specific court of competent jurisdiction rendered in an adoption proceeding initiated by the late spouses o No judicial records of adoption or copies Petitioner cannot properly intervene in the settlement of the estate as an adopted son because of lack of proof. Held: No. Section 9, par (b) of RA 8552, provides that the consent of the biological parent(s) of the child, if known is necessary to the adoption. The written consent of the legal guardian will suffice if the written consent of the biological parents cannot be obtained.

The general requirement of consent and notice to the natural parents is intended to protect the natural parental relationship from unwarranted interference by interlopers, and to insure the opportunity to safeguard the best interests of the child in the manner of the proposed adoption.

The written consent of the biological parents is indispensable for the validity of the decree of adoption. Indeed, the natural right of a parent to his child requires that his consent must be obtained before his parental rights and duties may be terminated and re-establish in adoptive parents. In this case, petitioner failed to submit the written consent of Amelia Ramos to the adoption.

Landingin vs. Republic GR No. 164948, June 27, 2006 (Special Proceedings Adoption: Consent and Abandonment)

Moreover, abandonment means neglect and refusal to perform the filial and legal obligations of love and support. Merely permitting the child to remain for a time undisturbed in the care of others is not such abandonment. To dispense with the requirements of consent, the abandonment must be shown to have existed at the time of adoption.

Facts: Diwata Ramos Landingin, a US citizen of Filipino parentage filed a petition for the adoption of 3 minors, natural children of Manuel Ramos, the formers brother, and Amelia Ramos. She alleged in her petition that when her brother died, the children were left to their paternal grandmother for their biological mother went to Italy, re-married there and now has 2 children by her second marriage and no longer communicates from the time she left up to the institution of the adoption. After the paternal grandmother passed away, the minors were being supported by the petitioner and her children abroad and gave their written consent for their adoption.

Cervantes v. Fajardo 169 SCRA 575 FACTS: minor Angelie Anne Cervantes. Carreon, who are common-law husband and wife. law, the petitioners.

oner spouses took care and custody of the child when she was barely 2 weeks old. executed by respondent Gina oenrs over the child Cervantes demanding to be paid P150,000, otherwise, they would get back their child. at the petitioners residence on the pretext that she was instructed to do so by her mother. Gino brought the child to her house

ISSUES: HELD: o Respondent Conrado Fajardo is legally married to a woman other than respondent Gina his open cohabitation with Gina will not accord the minor that desireable atmosphere o Minor has been legally adopted by petitioners with full knowledge and consent of respondents A decree of adoption has the effect, among others, of dissolving the authority vested in natural parents over the adopted child, except where the adopting parent is the spouse of the natural parent of the adopted

Lahom vs. Sibulo G.R. No. 143989, July 14, 2003

Facts: Spouses Dr. Diosdado Lahom and Isabelita Lahom took in Isabelitas nephew Jose Melvin Sibulo since he was two years old, treating him as if he were their own child. It was only in 1971 that the spouses petitioned for adoption. In 1972, this was granted and the Civil Registrar of Naga City changed his name to Jose Melvin Lahom. 1999: Mrs. Lahom commenced a petition to rescind the decree of adoption: Jose Melvin refused to change his surname from Sibulo to Lahom, in utter disregard for the feelings of the spouses Before her husband died, he even wanted to revoke the adoption but was only stopped by Isabelita Diosdado further desired to give to charity whatever properties or interest may pertain to respondent in the future. Respondent failed to show concern for Petitioner and remained indifferent He does not act like a son, there is an uncomfortable relationship between the two

the only motive to respondents adoption is his expectancy of his alleged rights over the properties of the spouses Lahom 1998: RA 8552 provided grounds committed by adopter for the rescission of adoption and also stated that Adoption, being in the best interest of the child, shall not be subject to rescission by the adopter. However, adopter may disinherit the adoptee for causes provided in Art. 919 of the Civil Code. Respondent objects to motion RTC: dismissed the petition There is a lack of cause of action Said rights of petitioner to rescind should have been exercised within the period allowed by the Rules. Legal ground for the petition have been discovered and known to petitioner for more than 5 years, prior to the filing of the instant petition of December 1, 1999, hence the action had already prescribed. - Issue: May the subject adoption, decreed on May 5, 1972, still be revoked or rescinded by an adopted after the effectivity of R.A. No. 8552? In the affirmative, has the adopters action prescribed? - Held: The Petition was DISMISSED. - Ratio: SC begins with a brief background on the law: welfare of the adopted started becoming of paramount concern creation of written instruments that would protect and safeguard the rights of the adopted children adoption was impressed with social and moral responsibility and its underlying intent was geared to favor the adopted child R.A. 8552 secured these rights and privileges and affirmed the legitimate status of the adopted child. The new law also withdrew the right of an adopter to rescind the adoption decree and gave the adopted child the sole right to sever the legal ties created by adoption. It was also months after the effectivity of the R.A. No. 8552 that Isabelita filed an action to revoke the decree of adoption granted in 1975. Therefore, her petition could no longer be pursued. - Additional: (just copy-pasted, this is in relation to the prescription period ) Interestingly, even before the passage of the statute, an action to set aside the adoption is subject to the fiveyear bar rule under Rule 100 of the Rules of Court and that the adopter would lose the right to revoke the adoption decree after the lapse of that period. The exercise of the right within a prescriptive period is a condition that could not fulfill the requirements of a vested right entitled to protection. It must also be acknowledged that a person has no vested right in statutory privileges. While adoption has often been referred to in the context of a right, the privilege to adopt is itself not naturally innate or fundamental but rather a right merely created by statute. It is a privilege that is governed by the states determination on what it may deem to be for the best interest and welfare of the child. Matters relating to adoption, including the withdrawal of the right of an adopter to nullify the adoption decree, are subject to regulation by the State. Concomitantly, a right of action given by statute may be taken away at anytime before it has been exercised.

G.R. No. L-43955-56

July 30, 1979 Two months after or on April 11, 1974, the widow, Margarita de Asis, also died, leaving a & holographic will executed on May 29, 1970, providing, among others, for a legacy of cash, jewelry, and stocks to respondent Arlene de Leon, a granddaughter; a legacy of support to Rodolfo Gallardo, a son of her late sister; and a legacy of education to Ramon Sta. Clara, son of petitioner Renato Lazatin alias Renato Sta. Clara.

RENATO LAZATIN alias RENATO STA. CLARA, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE JUDGE JOSE C. CAMPOS, JR., NORA L. DE LEON, BERNARDO DE LEON, ARLENE DE LEON and IRMA L. VELOSO, respondents.

Ernesto T. Zshornack, Jr. for petitioner.

Jose W. Diokno Law Office private respondents the Leons.

Arturo E. Balbastro for privates respondent Veloso.

During her lifetime, Margarita de Asis kept a safety deposit box at the People's Bank and Trust Company, Roxas Boulevard branch, which either she or respondent Nora L. de Leon could open. Five days after Margarita's death, respondent Nora L. de Leon, accompanied by her husband, respondent Bernardo de Leon, opened the safety deposit box and removed its contents: (a) shares of stock; (b) her adoption papers and those of her sister, respondent Irma L. Veloso; and (c) jewelry belonging to her and to her mother. Respondent Nora L. de Leon claims that she opened the safety deposit box in good faith, believing that it was held jointly by her and her deceased mother. Her sole reason for opening the box was to get her stock certificates and other small items deposited therein. When she was to close the deposit box, the bank personnel informed her that she needed an authority from the court to do so, in view of her mother's death and so, she removed everything from the box.

TEEHANKEE, J.:1wph1.t On June 3, 1974, private respondents filed a petition to probate the will of the late Margarita de Asis, before docketed as Sp. Proc. No. 2341-P of respondent Court, Days after having learned that respondent Nora L. de Leon had opened this safety deposit box, petitioner's son, Ramon Sta. Clara, filed a motion in the probate court, claiming that the deceased had executed a will subsequent to that submitted for probate and demanding its production. He likewise prayed for the opening of the safety deposit box. Respondent Nora L. de Leon admitted that she opened the box but there was no will or any document resembling a will therein.

The Court dismisses the petition which seeks to overrule respondent judge's orders declaring that petitioner has failed to establish by competent evidence his alleged status as an adopted child of the deceased Lazatin spouses and prays for judgment of this Court "declaring as established the fact of (his) adoption as a son of the deceased spouses entitling him to succeed in their estates as such." Respondent judge correctly ruled that he could not allow petitioner (who had filed a motion to intervene in the proceedings to probate the will of the late Margarita de Asis Vda. de Lazatin and to settle her estate as her adopted son, after having earlier filed a motion to intervene in the intestate proceedings of her pre-deceased husband as his admitted illegitimate [not natural] son), over the opposition of private respondents, to introduce evidence that he had "enjoyed ... the status of an adopted child of the without his first producing competent and documentary that there had been judicial proceedings for his by the said spouses which resulted in the final judgment of a competent court decreeing his adoption.

Upon the order of the probate court, presided over by Judge Arsenio B. Alcantara, the safety deposit box was opened on November 6, 1974, at which time it was found to be empty, because prior thereto respondent Nora L. de Leon had already removed its contents.

On January 13, 1974, Dr. Mariano M. Lazatin diamond intestate in Pasay City, survived by his wife, Margarita de Asis, and his adopted twin daughters, respondent Nora L. de Leon, married to respondent Bernardo de Leon, and respondent Irma Lazatin, married to Francisco Veloso.

On November 22, 1974, or seven months after, the death of Margarita de Asis, petitioner intervened for the first time in the proceedings to settle the estate of the late Dr. Mariano M. Lazatin (Sp. Proc. No. 2326- P), as an admitted illegitimate (not natural) child.

One month after Mariano's death, his widow, Margarita de Asis, commenced an intestate proceeding before the Court of First Instance of Pasay, docketed as Sp. Proc. No. 2326-P. Mariano, Oscar, Virgilio and Yvonne, claiming to be admitted illegitimate (not natural) children of Dr. Lazatin with one Helen Munoz, intervened. Subsequently, one Lily Lazatin also intervened, claiming to be another admitted illegitimate (not natural) child.

Under the same date of November 22, 1974, petitioner's son, Ramon, filed a petition in the estate proceedings of Margarita de Asis to examine private respondents on the contents of the safety deposit box, Whereupon, on January 31, 1975, the probate court ordered respondent Nora L. de Leon to deliver the properties taken from the safety deposit box to the Clerk of Court. Subsequently, however, the two cases (Sp. Proc. No. 2326-P, Mariano Lazatin, and 2341-P,

Margarita de Asis) were transferred to the sala of respondent Judge Jose C. Campos, Jr.

On March 4, 1976, respondent court barred the introduction of petitioner's evidence because: t.hqw

On May 29, 1975, Judge Campos issued an order requiring counsel for respondents Nora L. de Leon and Bernardo de Leon to produce all those papers and items removed from the safety deposit box and to deliver the same to the custody of the court within one week. Within the period ordered, respondent Nora L. de Leon deposited with the Clerk of Court, not the items themselves, but two keys to a new safety deposit box which could only be opened upon order of the court.

On August 20, 1975, petitioner Renato to Lazatin alias Renato Sta. Clara filed a motion to intervene in the estate of Margarita de Asis, Sp. Proc. No. 2341-P, as an adopted child, on the basis of an affidavit executed by Benjamin Lazatin, brother of the deceased Dr. Mariano M. Lazatin, the petitioner was an "illegitimate son" of Dr. Lazatin and was later adopted by him. This affidavit was later modified on August 19, 1975 to state that petitioner was adopted by both Mariano M. Lazatin and his wife Margarita de Asis.

All the evidence submitted by Renato and Ramon Sta. Clara through their counsel do not prove or have no tendency to prove the existence of any judicial proceeding where the adoption of the parties above named were taken up by any court. Neither do the evidence tend to establish the presence of any record of a proceeding in court where the adoption of the above named persons was held. The evidence, however, tends to prove a status of a recognized natural child which, however, is not the legal basis for which Renato and Ramon seek to intervene in this proceedings. In view thereof, and taking into consideration the evidence heretofore presented by the petitioners, any further introduction of similar evidence, documentary or oral, would not prove or tend to prove the fact of their adoption but rather of a recognized natural child.

On September 29, 1975, Judge Campos found respondent' Nora L. de Leon guilty of contempt of court for not complying with the orders of January 31, 1975 and May 29, 1975, requiring her to produce and deliver to the court an the papers and items removed from the safety deposit box. Her former counsel was also found guilty of contempt, sentenced to pay a fine of P00.00 and suspended from appearing in the two cases (Sp. Proc. No. 2326-P, Mariano M. Lazatin, and Sp. Proc. No. 2341-P, Margarita de Asis), on her testimony that she, Nora L. de Leon, acted upon his advice.

Petitioner then filed on March 16, 1976, in both cases, a motion to declare as established the fact of adoption in view of respondent Nora L. de Leon's refusal to comply with the orders of respondent court to deposit the items she had removed from the safety deposit box of Margarita de Asis. As authority therefor, petitioner invokes the sanction of Rule 29, Section 3 of the Rules of Court, since according to him, the order of the court for the production of the items in the safety deposit box can be considered as an order for production and inspection of documents under Rule 27.

Respondent court heard petitioner's motion to intervene as an adopted son in the estate of Margarita de Asis, Sp. Proc. No. 2341-P, at which hearings petitioner presented no decree of adoption in his, favor. Instead, petitioner attempted to prove, over private respondents' objections, that he had recognized the deceased spouses as his parents; he had been supported by them until their death; formerly he was known as "Renato Lazatin" but was compelled to change his surname to "Sta. Clara" when the deceased spouses refused to give consent to his marriage to his present wife; that at first, he and his wife stayed at the residence of Engracio de Asis, father of Margarita, but a few months later, they transferred to the Mercy Hospital at Taft Avenue, Manila, owned by the deceased spouses, where they continuously resided up to the present. Photographs were also intended to be presented by petitioner, e.g., photograph of Irma Veloso where she addressed herself as sister of petitioner; photograph of deceased Margarita de Asis and petitioner when he was a boy; document showing that petitioners real name is "Renato Lazatin." 1

Private respondents opposed the motion, and on March 26, 1976, respondent court denied petitioner's motion. On April 26, 1976, respondent Nora L. de Leon deposited with respondent court the items she had removed from the safety deposit box. An inventory was conducted by respondent court, with notice to the parties, and the items surrendered consisted only of pieces of jewelry and stock certificates.

On June 3,1976, respondent court, ruling on petitioners motion for definite resolution on his previous n declare as established the fact of adoption, issued the f order: t.hqw

As far as the case of Renato Sta. Clara is his Petition to establish his status as an adopted child, The Court has ruled that he has failed to establish such status. The any motion for reconsideration unless based on some documentary proof.

Hence, the petition at bar. Respondent court first reserved its ruling on private respondents' objections to the admission of petitioner's evidence, but on November 14, 1975, when petitioner could not present evidence on the issue of his alleged legal adoption, respondent court discontinued the hearing and gave the parties time to file memoranda on the question of the admissibility of the evidence sought to be introduced by petitioner.

We find the ruling of the respondent court to be in conformity with law and jurisprudence.

1. Adoption is a juridical act, a proceeding in rem 2 which creates between two persons a relationship similar to that which results from legitimate paternity and filiation. 3 Only an adoption made through the court, or in pursuance with the procedure laid down under Rule 99 of the Rules of Court is valid in this jurisdiction. 4 It is not of natural law at all, but is wholly and entirely artificial. 5 To establish the relation, the statutory requirements must be strictly carried out, otherwise, the adoption is an absolute nullity. 6 The fact of adoption is never presumed, but must be affirmatively proved by the person claiming its existence. The destruction by fire of a public building in which the adoption papers would have been filed if existent does not give rise to a presumption of adoption nor is the destruction of the records of an adoption proceeding to be presumed. On the contrary, the absence of a record of adoption has been said to evolve a presumption of its non-existence. 7 Where, under the provisions of the statute, an adoption is effected by a court order, the records of such court constitute the evidence by which such adoption may be established. 8

3. The absence of proof of such order of adoption by the court, as provided by the statute, cannot be substituted by parol evidence that a child has lived with a person, not his parent, and has been treated as a child to establish such adoption. 9 Even evidence of declaration of the deceased, made in his lifetime, that he intended to adopt a child as his heir, and that he had adopted him, and of the fact that the child resided with the deceased, as a member of his family, from infancy until he attained his majority, is not sufficient to establish the fact of adoption. 10 Nor does the fact that the deceased spouses fed, clothed, educated, recognized and referred to one like petitioner as an adopted child, recognized and referred to one like petitioner as an adopted child, necessarily establish adoption of the child. 11 Withal, the attempts of petitioner to prove his adoption by acts and declarations of the deceased do not discharge the mandatory presentation of the judicial decree of adoption. The thrust of petitioner's evidence is rather to establish his status as an admitted illegitimate child, not an adopted child which status of an admitted illegitimate child was the very basis of his petitioner for intervention in the estate proceedings of the late Dr. Lazatin, as above stated. (Supra, at page 3 hereof)

2. Petitioner's flow of evidence in the case below does not lead us to any proof of judicial adoption. We can not pluck from his chain of evidence any link to the real existence of a court decree of adoption in his favor. Petitioner's proofs do not show or tend to show that at one time or another a specific court of competent jurisdiction rendered in an adoption proceeding initiated by the late spouses an order approving his adoption as a child of the latter. No judicial records of such adoption or copies thereof are presented or attempted to be presented. Petitioner merely proceeds from a nebulous assumption that he was judicially adopted between the years 1928 and 1932. By what particular court was the adoption decreed or by whom was the petition heard, petitioner does not even manifest, much less show. There are no witnesses cited to that adoption proceeding or to the adoption decree. Apparently on the assumption that the adoption was commenced in Manila, petitioner's counsel secured a certification from the Court of first Instance of Manila which, however, negatively reported "(T)hat among the salvaged records now available in this Office, there has not been found, after a diligent search, any record regarding the adoption of Mr. Renato Lazatin alias Renato Sta. Clara allegedly filed sometime in the years 1928 to 1931 by the spouses Dr. Mariano M. Lazatin and Margarita de Asis Lazatin." The certification of the Local Civil Registrar of Manila "(T)hat our pre-war records relative to decisions of the Court of First Instance were either destroyed or burned during the Liberation of the City of Manila," does not furnish any legal basis for a presumption of adoption in favor of petitioner. This is because there was no proof that petitioner was really adopted in Manila or that an adoption petition was filed in the Court of first Instance of Manila by the deceased spouses, where, after hearing, a judgment of approval was rendered by said court. Moreover, if there was really such adoption, petitioner could have conveniently secured a copy of the newpaper publication of the adoption as required under Section 4, Rule 99 of the Rules of Court (formerly Section 4, Rule 100) or a certification of the publishing house to that effect. Petitioner's failure on this point is anotherer strong indication of the non-existence of the one who gave the written consent of the non-existence of the adoption paper. We also observed to the adoption (Section 3, Rule 99, Rules of Court), whether the parents or orphanage, does not appear on this point is not so difficult and such proof must be presented if only to prove the real existence of the adoption. And of course, if the war, the clear right and duty of petitioner was to duly reconstitute the records as provided by law.

We do not discount though that declarations in regard to pedigree, although hearsay, are admitted on the principle that they are natural expressions of persons who must know the truth. 12 Pedigree testimony is admitted because it is the best that the nature of the case admits and because greater evil might arise from the rejection of such proof than from its admission. 13 But, in proving an adoption, there is a better proof available and it should be produced. The whereabouts of the child's family and circulation of the jurisdiction in which they resided and investigation in those courts where adoption are usually granted would surely produce an adoption order, if indeed there was an order. 14 Besides, since the point in favor of receiving hearsay evidence upon matters of family history or pedigree is its reliability, it has been set forth as a condition upon which such evidence is received that it emanate from a source within the family. Pursuant to this view, before a declaration of a deceased person can be admitted to prove pedigree, or ancestry, the relationship of the declarant, by either of blood or affinity to the family in question, or a branch thereof, must ordinarily be established by competent evidence. 15 Section 33 of Rule 130 states: "The act or declaration of a person deceased, or outside of the Philippines, or unable to testify, in respect to the pedigree of another person related to him by birth or marriage, may be received in evidence where it occurred before the controversy, and the relationship between the two persons is shown by evidence other than such actor declaration ..."

4. Secondary evidence is nonetheless admissible where the records of adoption proceedings were actually lost or destroyed. But, prior to the introduction of such secondary evidence, the proponent must establish the former existence of the instrument. The correct order of proof is as follows: Existence; execution; loss; contents; although this order may be changed if necessary in the discretion of the court. 16 The sufficiency of the proof offered as a predicate for the admission of an alleged lost deed lies within the judicial discretion of the trial court under all the circumstances of the particular case. 17 As earlier pointed out, petitioner failed to establish the former existence of the adoption paper and its subsequent loss or destruction. Secondary proof may only be introduced if it has first beer. established that such adoption paper really existed and was lost. This is indispensable. 18 Petitioner's supposed adoption was only testified to by him and is allegedly to be testified to a brother of the deceased Mariano M. Lazatin or others who have witnessed that the deceased spouses treated petitioner as their child. If adoption was really made, the records thereof should have existed and the same presented

at the hearing or subsequent thereto or a reasonable explanation of loss or destruction thereof, if that be the case, adduced. 19

Assuming the mere fact that the deceased spouses treated petitioner as their child does not justify the conclusion that petitioner had been in fact judicially adopted by the spouses nor does it constitute admissible proof of adoption.

discretion nor error of law as committed by respondent judge in issuing the questioned orders of March 4, 1976, March 26, 1976 and June 3, 1976 denying petitioner's petition "to declare as established in this proceeding the fact of adoption" and denying "any motion for reconsideration unless based on some documentary proof." The Court finds no basis to grant the affirmative relief sought in this proceeding by petitioner for a rendition of judgment "declaring as established the fact of your petitioner's adoption as a son of the deceased spouses entitling him to succeed in their estates as such in accordance with the applicable law on succession as to his inheritance."

We cannot entertain the plea of petitioner that the sanction of Rule 29 should be applied to consider as established the fact of his adoption due to the refusal of respondent Nora L. de Leon to produce the document of adoption, because first, the fact or real existence of petitioner's adoption had not been established; second, there is no proof that such document of adoption is in the possession of respondent Nora L. de Leon; third, the motu proprio order of the court for Nora de Leon to produce the items retrieved from the safety deposit box cannot be treated as a mode of discovery of production and inspection of documents under Rule 27; and fourth, the items deposited in the safety deposit box have already been surrendered by respondent Nora L. de Leon on April 26; 1976 and no document of adoption in favor of petitioner was listed as found in the safety deposit box.

Upon the filing of the petition, the Court issued on June 16, 1976 a temporary restraining order; which as amended on July 21, 1976, restrained respondent judge "from proceeding with the hearing scheduled on June 17, 1976 at 8:30 a.m., requiring the submission of evidence to establish heirship in Special Proceedings No. 2326-P entitled 'Intestate Estate of the Late Mariano M. Lazatin' and Special Proceedings No. 2341-P, entitled 'Testate Estate of the late Margarita de Asis Vda. de Lazatin,' and from proceeding with the probate of the alleged holographic will of the deceased Do;a Margarita de Asis Vda. de Lazatin scheduled on June 29, 1976, August 10 and 12, 1976 and on any other dates." With the Court's determination of the issues as herein set forth, there is no longer any need for restraining the proceedings below and the said restraining order shall be immediately lifted.

5. As a necessary consequence, petitioner Renato Lazatin alias Renato Sta. Clara cannot properly intervene in the settlement of the estate of Margarita de Asis, Sp. Proc. No. 2341-P as an adopted child because of lack of proof thereof. For one to intervene in an estate proceeding, it is a requisite that he has an interest in the estate, either as one who would be benefited as an heir or one who has a claim against the estate like a creditor. 20 A child by adoption cannot inherit from the parent creditor. by adoption unless the act of adoption has been done in strict accord with the statue. Until this is done, no rights are acquired by the child and neither the supposed adopting parent or adopted child could be bound thereby. 21 The burden of proof in establishing adoption is upon the person claiming such relationship. He must prove compliance with the statutes relating to adoption in the jurisdiction where the adoption occurred. 22 A fortiori if no hereditary interest in the estate can be gained by a claimant who failed to submit proof thereof, whether the will is probated or not, intervention should be denied as it would merely result in unnecessary complication. 23 To succeed, a child must be ligitimate, legitimated, adopted, acknowledged illegitimate natural child or natural child by legal fiction or recognized spurious child. 24

On January 24, 1977, the Court upon petitioner's motion resolved to conditionally allow respondent judge "to take the deposition of petitioner's witnesses to perpetuate their testimonies pursuant to Rule 134, Section 7 of the Rules of Court, subject to the Court's ruling in due course on the admissibility of such testimonies." The Court thereby permitted in effect the advance testimonies of petitioner's witnesses, principally among them Rafael Lazatin and Esteban L. Lazatin, both brothers of the deceased Dr. Mariano L. Lazatin and as stated in petitioner's motion of January 11, 1977: t.hqw

Substantially, the testimony of the above-named witnesses will be on the fact that they had been informed by the deceased spouses, Mariano and Margarita Lazatin that your petitioner was their [Mariano's and Margarita's] judicially adopted son and to elicit further from them the fact that your petitioner enjoys the reputation of being their judicially adopted son in the Lazatin family.

In the face of the verified pleadings of record (constituting judicial admissions) which show that petitioner sought to intervene on November 22, 1974 in the estate proceedings of his alleged adoptive father Dr. Mariano M. Lazatin (Sp. Proc. No. 2326-P) as an admitted illegitimate (not natural) child, 25 while his intervention on August 20, 1975 in the estate of Margarita de Asis, widow of the deceased Dr. Lazatin (Sp. Proc. No. 2341-P) was as her adopted child on the basis of the affidavit of a brother of the deceased Dr. Lazatin, Benjamin Lazatin, executed August 19, 1975 (which affidavit modified a first affidavit executed on May 31, 1975, which failed to estate by "oversight" petitioner, but stated that affiant knew petitioner to be "an illegitimate son" of Dr. Lazatin who later "legally adopted (him) as a son before the Court of First Instance of Manila sometime between the years 1928 and 1921") and prescinding from the question of whether a natural or spurious child may be legally adopted by the putative father, we hold that no grave abuse of

The Court's resolution allowing the advance testimonies of petitioner's witnesses was but in application of the Court's long standing admonition to trial courts is reaffirmed in Lamagan vs. De la Cruz, 26, "to be liberal in accepting proferred evidence since even if they were to refuse to accept the evidence, the affected party will nevertheless be allowed to spread the excluded evidence on the record, for review on appeal." The Court therein once again stressed the established rule that "it is beyond question that rulings of the trial court on procedural questions and on admissibility of evidence during the course of the trial are interlocutory in nature and may not be the subject of separate appeal or review on certiorari, but are to be assigned as errors and reviewed in the appeal properly taken from the decision rendered by the trial court on the merits of the case," 27 and that a party's recourse when proferred evidence is rejected by the trial court is to make a offer stating on

the record what a party or witness would have testified to were his testimony not excluded, as well as to attach to the record any rejected exhibits.

At the continuation of the proceedings below for declaration of heirship and for probate of the alleged holographic the deceased Margarita de Asis Vda. de Lazatin, pet who has failed to establish his status as an alleged ;m child of Margarita de Asis (unless, as reserved to him by the court below, he can show some documentary proof),and whose intervention in the estate of the deceased Dr. Mariano Lazatin is as an admitted illegitimate child, win have to decide whether he will pursue his first theory of having the of such admitted illegitimate child of said deceased. Whatever be his theory and his course of action and whether or not he may be duly snowed to intervene in the proceedings below as such alleged admitted illegitimate child, his recourse in the event of an adverse ruling against him is to make a formal offer of proof and of his excluded evidence, oral and documentary, and seek a reversal on an appeal in due course.

ACCORDINGLY, the petition is dismissed and the questioned orders denying petitioner's petition below "to declare as established in this proceeding the fact of [his] adoption" are hereby affirmed. The temporary restraining order issued on June 16, 1976 and amended on July 21, 1976 is ordered lifted, effective immediately. Without costs.

SO ORDERED.