My mother and her siblings are having a problem with a piece of land left by my grandparents, who died many years ago. Apparently one of my aunties was said to be adopted but the named parents in her birth certificate are my grandparents. My auntie is over 40 years old now and her siblings knew all along that she was adopted. Now she is claiming her share in the only piece of land left by my grandparents. Does my auntie have a chance in getting her share?
Dear Raffy C.,
Based on your problem, it is glaring that your grandparents made a shortcut in adopting your aunt, who is now one of the siblings of your mother. Adoption is a process whereby a child, after undergoing court proceeding, is made a legitimate child of the adopters. Thus, adoption should be first approved by the court. The inclusion of the name of your grandparents in the birth certificate of your aunt to make it appear that the latter is a child of the former is illegal as the person who caused the writing of the erroneous entry can be punished with simulation of birth (Article 347, Revised Penal Code (RPC) and/or falsification of document (Article 171, RPC). However, the filing of such criminal complaints would no longer be possible because your grandparents, who may be the author of the falsification, have long been dead and that the filing thereof has already prescribed with the lapse of time. Moreover, your aunt already enjoys the status of being legitimate considering that said legitimacy was not questioned as provided under Articles 170 and 171 of the Family Code, which provides that:
“Article 170. The action to impugn the legitimacy of the child shall be brought within one year from the knowledge of the birth or its recording in the civil register, if the husband or, in a proper case, any of his heirs, should reside in the city or municipality where the birth took place or was recorded.
If the husband or, in his default, all of his heirs do not reside at the place of birth as defined in the first paragraph or where it was recorded, the period shall be two years if they reside in the Philippines, and three years if abroad. If the birth of the child has been concealed from or was unknown to the husband or his heirs, the period shall be counted from the discovery or knowledge of the birth of the child or of the fact of registration of said birth, whichever is earlier.
“Article 171. The heirs of the husband may impugn the filiation of the child within the period prescribed in the preceding article only in the following cases: (1) If the husband should die before the expiration of the period fixed for bringing his action; (2) If he should die after the filing of the complaint, without having desisted therefrom; or (3) If the child was born after the death of the husband.”
Based from the foregoing, your aunt, who enjoys the status of being a legitimate child, has a chance of claiming her share in the piece of land left by your grandparents.
We hope that we have answered your query. Our legal opinion may vary if other facts are stated 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