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G.R. No. 148311.

March 31, 2005 It stated that the use of surname is fixed by law, as provided
for under the Family Code, however, the law is silent as to
what middle name a child may use.

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF STEPHANIE


NATHY ASTORGA GARCIA
Notably, the law is likewise silent as to what middle
HONORATO B. CATINDIG, petitioner. name an adoptee may use. Article 365 of the Civil Code
merely provides that "an adopted child shall bear the
surname of the adopter." Also, Article 189 of the Family Code,
enumerating the legal effects of adoption, is likewise silent on
the matter, thus:
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:

"(1) For civil purposes, the adopted shall be deemed to be


FACTS: a legitimate child of the adopters and both shall acquire
the reciprocal rights and obligations arising from the
relationship of parent and child, including the right of the
adopted to use the surname of the adopters;

Honorato B. Catindig, herein petitioner, filed a petition to


adopt his minor illegitimate child Stephanie Nathy Astorga x x x"
Garcia. He alleged therein, among others, that Stephanie was
born on June 26, 1994; that her mother is Gemma Astorga
Garcia; that Stephanie has been using her mothers middle
name and surname; and that he is now a widower and
As correctly pointed out by the Office of the Solicitor General,
qualified to be her adopting parent. He prayed that
the members of the Civil Code and Family Law Committees
Stephanies middle name Astorga be changed to "Garcia,"
that drafted the Family Code recognized the Filipino
her mothers surname, and that her surname "Garcia" be
custom of adding the surname of the childs mother as
changed to "Catindig," his surname.
his middle name. In the Minutes of the Joint Meeting of the
Civil Code and Family Law Committees, the members
approved the suggestion that the initial or surname of the
mother should immediately precede the surname of
The trial court granted the petition, in the absence of any the father.
opposition to the same. It also found out that the petitioner is
qualified to maintain, care for and educate the child to be
adopted and that the grant of the petition would redound to
the best interest and welfare of the minor. Pursuant to Article
In said minutes, Justice Caguioa stated that it should be
189 of the Family Code of the Philippines, the minor,
mandatory for the child to use the surname of the
according to the Court, shall be known as STEPHANIE NATHY
father and permissive in the case of the surname of
CATINDIG.
the mother. He likewise suggested that it shall be
mandatory on the child to use the surname of the
father but he may use the surname of the mother by
way of an initial or a middle name.
The petitioner then filed a motion for clarification and/or
reconsideration praying that Stephanie be allowed to use the
surname of her natural mother (GARCIA) as her middle name,
however, the trial court denied the same holding that there is
In the case of an adopted child, the law provides that "the
no law or jurisprudence allowing an adopted child to use the
adopted shall bear the surname of the adopters." Again, it is
surname of his biological mother as his middle name.
silent whether he can use a middle name. What it only
expressly allows, as a matter of right and obligation, is for the
adoptee to bear the surname of the adopter, upon issuance of
the decree of adoption.
ISSUE:

The Court added that Adoption is defined as the process of


Whether or not an illegitimate child may use the surname of making a child, whether related or not to the adopter, possess
her mother as her middle name when she is subsequently in general, the rights accorded to a legitimate child. It is a
adopted by her natural father? juridical act, a proceeding in rem which creates between two
persons a relationship similar to that which results from
legitimate paternity and filiation. The modern trend is to
consider adoption not merely as an act to establish a
relationship of paternity and filiation, but also as an act which
RULING: endows the child with a legitimate status. The same is
confirmed in 1989, when the Philippines, as a State Party
to the Convention of the Rights of the Child initiated by
the United Nations, accepted the principle that
adoption is impressed with social and moral
The Supreme Court found merit in the petition.
responsibility, and that its underlying intent is geared
to favor the adopted child. Republic Act No. 8552,
otherwise known as the "Domestic Adoption Act of
1998," secures these rights and privileges for the adopted.
One of the effects of adoption is that the adopted is deemed
to be a legitimate child of the adopter for all intents and
purposes pursuant to Article 189 of the Family Code and
Section 17 Article V of RA 8552.

Being a legitimate child by virtue of her adoption, it


follows that Stephanie is entitled to all the rights
provided by law to a legitimate child without
discrimination of any kind, including the right to bear
the surname of her father and her mother, as discussed
above.

Additionally, as aptly stated by both parties, Stephanies


continued use of her mothers surname (Garcia) as her middle
name will maintain her maternal lineage. Article 189(3) of the
Family Code and Section 18, Article V of RA 8552 (law on
adoption) provide that the adoptee remains an intestate heir
of his/her biological parent. Hence, Stephanie can well assert
or claim her hereditary rights from her natural mother in the
future.

Lastly, the Court held that adoption statutes should be


liberally construed to carry out the beneficent purposes of
adoption. The interests and welfare of the adopted child are of
primary and paramount consideration, hence, every
reasonable intendment should be sustained to promote the
noble and compassionate objectives of the law.

Art. 10 of the New Civil Code provides that:

"In case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws, it


is presumed that the lawmaking body intended right and
justice to prevail."

This provision, according to the Code Commission, "is


necessary so that it may tip the scales in favor of right and
justice when the law is doubtful or obscure. It will strengthen
the determination of the courts to avoid an injustice which
may apparently be authorized by some way of interpreting
the law."

Hence, since there is no law prohibiting an illegitimate


child adopted by her natural father, like Stephanie, to use, as
middle name her mothers surname, the Court found no
reason why she should not be allowed to do so. WHEREFORE,
the petition was GRANTED.

G.R. No. 164948 June 27, 2006

DIWATA RAMOS LANDINGIN Petitioner,


vs.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
consent of Amelia Ramos to the adoption. Petitioner, likewise,
failed to present any documentary evidence to prove that
CALLEJO, SR., J.: Amelia assented to the adoption.

FACTS: Nonetheless, the trial court granted the petition.

Diwata Ramos Landingin, a citizen of the United States of The OSG appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals and
America (USA), of Filipino parentage and a resident of Guam, the latter reversed the ruling of the RTC. It held that petitioner
USA, filed a petition for the adoption of minors Elaine Dizon failed to adduce in evidence the voluntary consent of Amelia
Ramos, Elma Dizon Ramos, and Eugene Dizon Ramos, all of Ramos, the childrens natural mother. Moreover, the affidavit
whom are the natural children of Manuel Ramos, petitioners of consent of the petitioners children could not also be
brother, and Amelia Ramos. admitted in evidence as the same was executed in Guam, USA
and was not authenticated or acknowledged before a
Philippine consular office, and although petitioner has a job,
she was not stable enough to support the children.

Landingin, as petitioner, alleged in her petition that when


Manuel died, the children were left to their paternal
grandmother, Maria Taruc Ramos. Their biological mother,
Amelia, went to Italy, re-married there, and now has two Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration but the CA denied
children by her second marriage. She no longer the same.
communicated with her children by Manuel Ramos nor with
her in-laws from the time did she left up to the institution of
the adoption.
ISSUE:

The minors are being financially supported by the petitioner,


her children, and relatives abroad. As Maria, the grandmother Whether or not the petitioner is entitled to adopt the minors?
passed away, petitioner wanted to adopt the children.
Petitioner avers that the minors have given their written
consent to the adoption and that she is qualified to adopt as
shown by the fact that she is a 57-year-old widow, has RULING:
children of her own who are already married, gainfully
employed and have their respective families. Her children
likewise gave their written consent to the adoption of the
minors.
The petition was denied by the Supreme Court for lack of
merit.

Petitioners brother, Mariano Ramos, who earns substantial


income, likewise signified his willingness and commitment to
support the minors while in petitioners custody. Section 9 of the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998, provides:

The court ordered the Department of Social Welfare and Whose Consent is Necessary to the Adoption. - After being
Development (DSWD) to conduct a case study and to submit a properly counseled and informed of his/her right to give or
report thereon. withhold his/her approval of the adoption, the written consent
of the following to the adoption is hereby required:

Elizabeth Pagbilao, the Social Welfare Officer of the DSWD in


Tarlac, submitted a Child Study Report with a recommendation (a) The adoptee, if ten (10) years of age or over;
that the minors are eligible for adoption. In the report, the
mother of the children allegedly voluntarily consented to the (b) The biological parent(s) of the child, if known, or
said adoption in view of her inability to provide the parental the legal guardian, or the proper government
care, guidance and support they need. An Affidavit of Consent instrumentality which has legal custody of the child;
was likewise executed by the mother which was attached in
the report. (c) The legitimate and adopted sons/daughters, ten
(10) years of age or over, of the adopter(s) and
adoptee, if any;

A joint affidavit was also attached wherein the three minors (d) The illegitimate sons/daughters, ten (10) years of
expressed their willingness to be adopted and be joined with age or over, of the adopter, if living with said adopter
the petitioner in the USA. and the latters souse, if any;

(e) The spouse, if any, of the person adopting or to


be adopted.
During trial, petitioner failed to present Pagbilao (the social
worker) as witness and offer in evidence the voluntary
The general requirement of consent and notice to the natural sends financial support but very minimal. It was also shown in
parents is intended to protect the natural parental relationship the report that the eldest child consults her mother and
from unwarranted interference by interlopers, and to insure petitioner-aunt during serious problems, as such, Amelia had
the opportunity to safeguard the best interests of the child in not intended to abandon her children, or to permanently sever
the manner of the proposed adoption. their mother-child relationship. She did not surrender or
relinquish entirely her motherly obligations of rearing the
children to her now deceased mother-in-law.

Clearly, the written consent of the biological parents is


indispensable for the validity of a decree of adoption.
The Court emphasized that the adoption of the minors will
Indeed, the natural right of a parent to his child
have the effect of severing all legal ties between the
requires that his consent must be obtained before his
biological mother, Amelia, and the adoptees, and that the
parental rights and duties may be terminated and re-
same shall then be vested on the adopter. It would thus be
established in adoptive parents. In this case, petitioner
against the spirit of the law if financial consideration
failed to submit the written consent of Amelia Ramos
were to be the paramount consideration in deciding
to the adoption.
whether to deprive a person of parental authority over
his/her children. More proof has to be adduced that
Amelia has emotionally abandoned the children, and
that the latter will not miss her guidance and counsel if
Petitioner argued that the written consent of the biological they are given to an adopting parent. It is the best
mother is no longer necessary because the latter had interest of the child that takes precedence in adoption.
effectively abandoned the children, however, the SC declared
that petitioners contention must be rejected. When she filed
her petition with the trial court, Rep. Act No. 8552 was already
in effect. Section 9 thereof provides that if the written
Petitioner likewise failed to offer in evidence Pagbilaos Report
consent of the biological parents cannot be obtained,
and of the Joint Affidavit of Consent purportedly executed by
the written consent of the legal guardian of the minors
her children. She also failed to prove the affidavit of consent
will suffice. If, as claimed by petitioner, that the
by her children since the same was not authenticated not
biological mother of the minors had indeed abandoned
acknowledged before a Philippine Consular Office.
them, she should, thus have adduced the written
consent of their legal guardian.

The CA ruled that petitioner was not stable enough to support


the children and is only relying on the financial backing,
Ordinarily, abandonment by a parent to justify the adoption of
support and commitment of her children and her siblings. The
his child without his consent is a conduct which evinces a
law, however, states that it is the adopter who should
settled purpose to forego all parental duties. The term means
be in a position to provide support in keeping with the
neglect and refusal to perform the filial and legal obligations
means of the family. The ability to support the
of love and support. If a parent withholds presence, love, care,
adoptees is personal to the adopter, as adoption only
the opportunity to display filial affection, and neglects to lend
creates a legal relation between the former and the
support and maintenance, the parent, in effect, abandons the
latter. Moreover, the records do not prove nor support
child. Merely permitting the child to remain for a time
petitioners allegation that her siblings and her children are
undisturbed in the care of others is not such an
financially able and that they are willing to support the minors
abandonment. To dispense with the requirement of consent,
herein.
the abandonment must be shown to have existed at the time
of adoption.

While the Court recognizes that petitioner has only the best of
intentions for her nieces and nephew, there are legal
In this case, petitioner relied solely on her testimony and that infirmities that militate against reversing the ruling of the CA.
of Elaine Ramos to prove her claim that Amelia Ramos had In any case, petitioner is not prevented from filing a new
abandoned her children. However, the Home Study Report of petition for adoption of the herein minors.
the DSWD Social Worker stated that the childrens mother