A father’s obligation to an illegitimate child

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I have a four-month-old baby. It was recognized by his father in its birth certificate although I was not married to the father. Unfortunately the father of my child left us because he could not live without a single man’s caprices. Aside from that, he was urged by his mother to leave us because I did not finish my college education and worked as a saleslady in a clothing store.

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The father of my child promised full support to our child. But lately, when I reminded him of his obligation he said that he will not give a single cent because the child is not his. I do not have a job right now because I am nursing my child. What am I going to do now that he refuses to acknowledge my child as his despite his signing the latter’s birth certificate?
Yda

Dear Yda,
Under Article 172 of the Family Code in relation to Article 175 thereof, the filiation of an illegitimate child is established by any of the following:

(1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or

(2) An admission of illegitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned;

In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be proved by:

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

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

Based from the foregoing, it appears that your child was acknowledged by its father in its birth certificate. That being the case, it is entitled to support of an illegitimate child under the Family Code (Articles 176 and 195). The acknowledgement of the father of your child in the latter’s birth certificate is sufficient basis for you to demand support. You may first send him a letter telling him specifically your demands. If your letter is ignored, you may file a proper case for petition for support.  You may also file a complaint for violation of Republic Act 9262 otherwise known as the “Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004” for economic violence against the father for non-support.

The belated claim of the father refuting your child as his will not hinder you from demanding support. Pursuant to Section 23, Rule 132, Rules of Court, “documents consisting of entries in public records made in the performance on duty by a public officer are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated; All other public documents are evidence, even against a third person, of the fact which gave rise to their execution and of the date of the latter.” Thus, the entry in the birth certificate of your child wherein its father acknowledged it is considered as prima facie evidence of such fact. By reason of this acknowledgment, the obligation of the father to your child cannot be denied unless he files a petition for correction of entry in the birth certificate (Rule 108 of the Rules of Court) and the court grants the same.

Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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