My friend adopted a child. Her petition was granted by a court in Quezon City way back in 2001. She thought that adopting a child was the best thing for her because she was already in her mid-forties at the time, had a stable job but was not in a relationship. Several years after the adoption, she and the child were having conflicts which, oftentimes, led to the child verbally and physically hurting my friend. She is wondering if there is any possibility of having the adoption canceled. I am hoping you can enlighten us. Thank you and more power.
Adoption is a legal process that creates lawful ties between persons who are commonly known as adoptee and adopter. It is not a simple process. In fact, it may be said that adopting a child involves a very complex process whereby the court determines the qualifications of the adopter and the availability of the adoptee, in consonance with the provisions of the Rules on Adoption (A.M. No. 02-6-02-SC).
As all other legal ties, adoption may be canceled or rescinded and this may be initiated through a verified petition for rescission of adoption filed before the Family Court of the city or province where the adoptee resides (Section 20, Rules on Adoption).
We would like to emphasize, however, that a petition for rescission of adoption may only be filed by the adoptee who is over eighteen (18) years of age, or with the assistance of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, if he is a minor, or by his guardian or counsel if he is over eighteen (18) years of age but is incapacitated. It may never be initiated by the adopter. As can be gleaned from the law, “x x x Adoption, being in the best interests of the child, shall not be subject to rescission by the adopter. However, the adopter may disinherit the adoptee for causes provided in Article 919 of the Civil Code. x x x” Moreover, such petition may only be filed on the basis of any of the following grounds: (1) repeated physical and verbal maltreatment by the adopter despite having undergone counseling; (2) attempt on the life of the adoptee; (3) sexual assault or violence; or (4) abandonment or failure to comply with parental obligations (Section 19, Rules on Adoption).
In the situation that you have presented before us, we regret to inform you that your friend may not seek redress from the courts for the cancelation of the adoption that was granted in her favor in 2001. Being the adopter or the one who adopted the child, she is not qualified to file a petition in court. Nevertheless, she may opt to deprive her adopted child of his or her legitime through the process of disinheritance. This may be done by your friend through the execution of a last will and testament, specifying therein such denial of legitime and the cause for such denial. It bears stressing that under Article 919 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, “The following shall be sufficient causes for the disinheritance of children and descendants, legitimate as well as illegitimate: x x x (6) Maltreatment of the testator by word or deed, by the child or descendant; x x x”
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org