My friend is an illegitimate child. His mother says that his father provided financial support until my friend was 10 years old, but it stopped when his father had a relationship with another woman whom he married later on. They constantly asked him for support but he refused.
My friend is now 19 years old and he might stop schooling because his mother no longer has enough money to send him to school. That is why he is planning to file an action in court. He would like to know his chances considering that his father did not sign in his birth certificate. He would like to go through DNA testing as well. Is this something he can demand from his father? Please advice.
Support is not merely a privilege. Rather, it is a right granted by our law. Even illegitimate children are afforded such right. As can be clearly gleaned under Article 176 of Executive Order 209, or the Family Code of the Philippines, as amended by Republic Act 9255: “Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parental authority of their mother, and shall be entitled to support in conformity with this Code. x x x”
In order to properly demand for support, however, an illegitimate child must first be able to establish his or her illegitimate filiation with the parent concerned. According to Article 175 of the law, illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children, to wit: (1) through the record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or (2) by an admission of illegitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. In the absence thereof, illegitimate filiation may be established by (a) the open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child; or (2) any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. (Article 172, Id.)
Clearly, the appropriate legal course that your friend must take in order to properly seek support from his father is to file an action for support in court. But your friend must be mindful that it is his burden to establish his filiation with his father through the lawful means mentioned above.
Since his father did not sign in his birth certificate and there appears to be no final judgment affirming their filiation, he may present a public document or a private handwritten instrument that was signed by his father admitting their filiation, assuming there is any. Your friend may also opt to go through DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) testing as it is now a recognized means by our courts to determine biological relationships between persons. This approach, however, requires specimen from your friend and his father. Thus, it will be essential for him to first secure consent from his father, unless the court orders the same.
We hope that we were able to answer your query. 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