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And he arose and came to his father.

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and
embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer
worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his servants, Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on
his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and
is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to celebrate.
-Luke 15:20 -23
This has been one of the most illustrious chapters in the Bible. It is the story of the prodigal son who returned to his father
and was well-accepted that a feast was even prepared for his comeback. It is a story of recognition and acceptance.
Nowadays, questions were buzzling the medical and at the same time the legal arenas in search for the answer for these
two simple questions, Is he/she my child? and Is he my father? And the best way to answer that is through PATERNITY AND
DNA TESTING.

I.

PATERNITY TESTING AND DNA: ITS NATURE

What is paternity and DNA?


Paternity is essentially fatherhood or being a father. A father contributes one-half of the genetic makeup of his children. DNA
testing can be done to determine biological paternity.1 DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid is the nucleic acid, on the other hand, contains
the set of genetic instructions of all living things. It is specific to each individual organism, and basically carries instructions to build
other structures in your body like proteins and RNA. They are like a blueprint for your body. The DNA segments that carry this type
of information are called genes. DNA, a substance in human cells that carries a person's genetic code, is passed down from parents
to their children through generations.(Davidson, 2007). 2
What is Paternity Test?
Generally, it is a test especially of DNA or genetic traits to determine whether a given man could be the biological father of a
given child. 3 DNA paternity testing determines the biological father-child relationship between a man and a child. Every individuals
DNA or genetic fingerprint is unique except for identical twins. Our DNA does not change once it is formed at conception. We all
inherit the genetic materials (DNA) that make who we are physically and biologically from our parents. The DNA paternity test
compares the DNA fingerprints between the tested man and child to determine if the child inherits half of his/her DNA from the
alleged father.4
Why would I want paternity testing?
People have various reasons of wanting to undergo paternity test. One may have someone in the past to which he had
sexual relation and after years of non- contact will appear and will claim to have a child with him. Even married man might have
doubts whether the child which he is nurturing is really his own and would want to have peace of mind and decides to have a DNA
test. Sometimes, it is the children who are courageous enough to look for conclusive answers regarding his long lost father. Through
many years of extensive research, scientists have figured out how to use DNA to figure out who the biological father is of a child. It
has taken people by surprise since it can answer questions about the peoples uncertain past. It can tell the truth as to where we
really came from and can guarantee as to who our parents really are. There is always a reason behind every decision a person can
make in participating in a paternal test.
Why should I establish paternity?
Legally establishing paternity, of course carries a lot of advances for the child. It can help provide social, economic, and
emotional ties between a father and his child. If the father has other children, one can also ensure that the child receives the same
rights and privileges as every other child, including support, inheritance rights, access to the father's medical and life insurance
benefits. Establishing paternity can give children a chance to develop a relationship with their father. They can develop a sense of
identity and connection with their father's family. One of the most important reasons is that knowing who your true father is can give
you your medical history and may help the child if ever he is suffering for some medical conditions. Also, establishing paternity will

1 http://www.dna-geneticconnections.com/paternity.html DNA Genetic Connections


2 https://www.scribd.com/doc/278804619/Paternity-Test-Mbb. Paternity Test: A Proof to your Identity
3 http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paternity%20test
4 http://www.dnatestingforpaternity.com/paternity-test.html

allow the child to have the father's name. If the child's father or mother decides not to establish paternity, the child will not be
entitled to the father's surname, nor will the child receive any benefits.
How is it being done?
This procedure involves collecting and examining the DNA of a small sample of bodily fluid or tissue from a child and the
potential father. DNA is the unique genetic "fingerprint" that makes up a persons genes and chromosomes. When a baby is
conceived, each parent passes on half of his/her DNA to the baby, whose genetic code (DNA) is a shared mix of only its mothers and
fathers DNA. By collecting and examining a small sample of DNA from the baby and the potential father, a paternity test can confirm
or disprove that the potential father is indeed the biological father of the baby. DNA is present in most of our bodys cells. A small
sample for testing can be obtained from several bodily sources. The cells most commonly tested are obtained from the blood or
inside the cheek of the mouth (called buccal cells). Cells are collected by gently rubbing a cotton swab similar to a Q-tip - on the
inside cheek of the mouth. The swab is sent to a laboratory and a select number of specific DNA sequences are examined to
determine if the DNA collected from the baby match DNA collected from the alleged father.5

II.

PATERNITY TESTING AND DNA: ITS LEGAL AND EVIDENTIARY VALUE

The use of DNA technology as evidence is a very recent development in the Philippines. Although the Supreme Court
commented in passing on DNA testing as early as 1995, it was only in 2002 that the Court actually gave it probative value. As
defined in this paper, DNA has unique traits that make it a useful and valuable tool in judicial proceedings anywhere. In the
Philippines, DNA technology has been slowly gaining acceptance. DNA testing has been used as a scientific form of identification and
proof of paternity and filiation.6
Traditionally, paternity is determined using one or a combination of any of four procedures namely: 1) a prima facie case where
the woman testifies that she had sexual relations with the man; 2) affirmative defenses where the putative father claims he is
impotent or that another man had relations with the childs mother; 3) a presumption of legitimacy if the child was born within a
valid marriage; and 4) physical resemblance between an alleged father and the supposed child. 7
Presenting DNA Evidence in Court
DNA Evidence is presented in court usually through expert testimony. The witness must be properly qualified as an expert.
Rule 130 Sec 49 which governs the admissibility of expert testimony provides that the opinion of a witness on a matter requiring
special knowledge, skill, experience or training which he is shown to possess, may be received in evidence.
8

It was in the case of People v Yatar 9where the Supreme Court admitted DNA evidence in parentage cases, albeit the use of
this type of analysis was not immediately evident. It is a rape-homicide case wherein biological samples collected from the body of
the 16-year old victim were kept for two years prior to the conduct of DNA tests. To generate the DNA profile of the victim,
bloodstains on her clothing that were found at the crime scene were submitted for laboratory testing. In addition, a reverse paternity
DNA test was performed using reference samples collected from her parents to verify that the DNA profile generated from the
bloodstain was that of the victim and not due to contamination because of prolonged storage. Knowledge of the correct DNA profile
of the victim was essential because the vaginal swab collected from her were composed of more than one DNA profile The Supreme
Court admitted the procedures and the interpretation of DNA evidence presented at the Regional Trial Court, and highlighted the
utility of DNA evidence, when properly collected, handled and stored, to assist in the prompt and fair resolution of cases:

5 https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/hic-DNA-paternity-test Diagnostic and Testing


6 http://www.ateneolawjournal.com/main/varticle/80 . The Evidentiary Value of DNA
7 http://www.ncstl.org/education/dna%20evidence%20in%20paternity%20cases%20(3/06) DNA Evidence In Paternity Cases Maria
Corazon A. De Ungria, Ph.D.

8 See supra note 6


9 G.R. No. 150224 May 19, 2004

Admittedly, we are just beginning to integrate these advances in science and technology in the Philippine criminal justice
system, so we must be cautious as we traverse these relatively uncharted waters. Fortunately we can benefit from the
wealth of persuasive jurisprudence that has developed in other jurisdictions. Specifically, the prevailing doctrine in the US
has proven instructive.
Although the resolution of questioned paternity is normally a civil issue, it may also play an important role in criminal cases
such as those involving rape when the victim also claims that the accused is the father of her child born out of the rape (criminal
paternity). 10The first such case where DNA evidence was used was People v Paras 11where blood typing and DNA profiling results
conclusively excluded the accused from being the father of the victims child. To the trial court, the date of the last incidence of rape
stated by the victim is important since the child was born 10 months after the said date. According to the trial court, these facts
would be in violation of the rule of nature. This situation was further reinforced by the results derived from DNA analysis.
The Supreme Court, in the case of People v De Villa12, was less open to the use of DNA evidence in a criminal paternity case.
Here, the accused was convicted of raping his 13-year old niece by affinity which led to the birth of a child. Upon review, the
Supreme Court changed the sentence to reclusion perpetua because of the failure to include relationship in the information and
ordered the accused-appellant De Villa to pay for civil indemnity, moral damages, cost of the suits and the support of the child. In
2003, the family of the accused-appellant managed to get biological samples from the victims child and De Villa and submitted these
samples for DNA-based paternity testing. Results of the DNA tests excluded the accused from being the biological father of the child.
The counsel of the accused then filed a motion for habeas corpus and petition to re-open the case for the presentation of new
evidence with the Supreme Court.
In People v Paras and People v De Villa, the DNA evidence provided, conclusively excluded the accused from being the
biological father of the child (paternity exclusion). The alternate scenario is when an alleged father is not excluded (paternity
inclusion) and the weight of matching DNA evidence needs to be evaluated using the appropriate statistical analysis and population
database.13 In Herrera v Alba et al14. the Supreme Court provided a practical formula to resolve issues related to judicial
interpretation of matching DNA evidence in disputed parentage cases. The decision stated:
It is not enough to state that the childs DNA profile matches that of the putative father. A complete match between the DNA
profile of the child and the DNA profile of the putative father does not necessarily establish paternity. For this reason,
following the highest standard adopted in an American jurisdiction, trial courts should require at least 99.9% as a minimum
value of the Probability of Paternity (W) prior to paternity inclusion. W is a numerical estimate for the likelihood of paternity
of a putative father compared to the probability of a random match of two unrelated individuals. An appropriate reference
population database, such as a Philippine population database, is required to compute for W. Due to the probabilistic nature
of paternity inclusions, W will never equal to 100%. However, the accuracy of W estimates is higher when the putative
father,
mother
and
child
alone.
DNA analysis that excludes the putative father from paternity should be conclusive proof of non-paternity. If the value of W
is less than 99.9%, the results of the DNA analysis should be considered as corroborative evidence. If the value of W is
99.9% or higher, then there is refutable presumption of paternity. This refutable presumption of paternity should be
subjected to the Vallejo standards.
Recent jurisprudence of the Supreme Court deals on the procedural aspect of presenting DNA in court since it is already a
well-established rule that DNA is admissible both in civil and criminal cases. In the recent case of Estate Of Rogelio G. Ong versus
Minor Joanne Rodjin Diaz,15 where the Court still allowed DNA testing despite the death of the alleged father. It provides that the
death of the petitioner does not ipso facto negate the application of DNA testing for as long as there exist appropriate biological
samples of his DNA. More recent is the case of Jesse U. Lucas v Jesus S. Lucas 16 where the defendant denies the allegation of
petitioner that he is the latters father. Acting on a Motion for Reconsideration of the defendant on the ground that DNA testing
cannot be made on the basis of a mere allegation pointing to him as Jesses father, the RTC dismissed the case and held that Jesse

10 See supra note 7


11 Criminal Case No.85974-85978 5 May 1999
12 GR 124639 February 2001
13 See supra note 7
14 GR148220, 15 June 2005
15 G.R. No. 171713, December 17, 2007
16 GR No. 190710, June 6, 2011

failed to establish compliance with the four procedural aspects for a paternity action enumerated in the case of Herrera v. Alba.
However, the SC provides that a prima facie showing is necessary before a court can issue a DNA testing order but it is not yet time
to discuss the lack of a prima facie case vis--vis the motion for DNA testing since no evidence has, as yet, been presented by
petitioner. It provides that there has been a misapplication of Herrera v Alba in this case.
In some states, to warrant the issuance of the DNA testing order, there must be a show cause hearing wherein the applicant
must first present sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case or a reasonable possibility of paternity or good cause
for the holding of the test. In cases in which paternity is contested and a party to the action refuses to voluntarily undergo
a blood test, a show cause hearing must be held in which the court can determine whether there is sufficient evidence to
establish a prima facie case which warrants issuance of a court order for blood testing The same condition precedent should
be applied in our jurisdiction to protect the putative father from mere harassment suits. Thus, during the hearing on the
motion for DNA testing, the petitioner must present prima facie evidence or establish a reasonable possibility of paternity.
CONCLUSION
With all the science advances and rapid development of Paternity Testing both here and abroad, it would already be
inevitable for one to deny its filiation to one another. Through years, this test has been one of the best, unbiased and accurate
evidence that truly aid the judiciary in the administration of justice which many can attest to be far way better than testimonial
evidences which sometimes are incoherent, partial and unreliable. Science again made a remarkable contribution to dispute
resolutions being governed by the Judiciary. Indeed, this is one of the finest moments where law and science meet.
But more than court actions, it is the benefit and welfare of both the child and the father which must be taken with great
import because for once, each of them will be given the opportunities and chances brought by truth which has been long deprived by
doubts and deceptions.

PREPARED BY:
ALYSSA CLARIZZE E. MALALUAN
JD2- LEGAL MEDICINE