My cousin is a construction worker. His income is not stable as he only gets hired on a project basis and mostly just for minor home repairs. He has two minor illegitimate children who are under the care of his former live-in partner. They separated because his former live-in partner keeps on nagging him. Now, she has been pressuring my cousin to give her P10,000.00 a month as support for their children. As much as he would like to give that amount to her, he just simply cannot because his income is so little. There are even times that he gives everything that he earns for his children that he skips a day’s meal. What is worse, she is threatening him that if he will not give that amount, she will sue him. Is this really possible? I feel sorry for my cousin. Please advise us.
An illegitimate child is granted the right to support under our law. This is explicitly stated under Article 195 of the Family Code of the Philippines: “Subject to the provisions of the succeeding articles, the following are obliged to support each other to the whole extent set forth in the preceding article: x x x (4) Parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter; x x x”
What is only necessary is that their filiation be established in order for them to adequately invoke and demand such right. This may be ascertained in their record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment, or through an admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. In the absence thereof, their legitimate filiation may be shown through their open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child, or any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws (Article 175 in relation to Article 172, Ibid.).
In the situation of your cousin, it appears that he does not question his filiation with his minor illegitimate children. In fact, you even mentioned that he provides support for them whenever he has earnings. What seems to be the predicament is the amount of support his former live-in partner is demanding from him. We wish to emphasize that while the law grants the right to support, it does not specify the amount of support to be given. While support comprises everything that is indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation of the person seeking it, it is always in keeping with the financial capacity of the family (Article 194, Id.). Furthermore, the law provides that the amount of support to be given shall be proportionate to the resources or means of the giver and to the necessities of the recipient (Article 201, Id.).
Accordingly, your cousin cannot be compelled to give the amount of P10,000.00 monthly support for his children, even if the same is justified by the needs of his children, if his resources or means evidently do not allow the same. If, however, his means significantly increase, his children may demand such additional amount as would be reasonable, taking into account their necessities as well as your cousin’s financial capacity (Article 202, Id.).
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 email@example.com