My daughter died leaving two minor children who are now in my care. The children’s father abandoned them and is now living with another woman. I want to pursue a criminal case against the father based on the wrong information that he has written in the birth certificate of my grandchildren. He wrote that he and my daughter got married in Singapore. But my daughter said, while she was alive, that there was no marriage at all. Please help me with this.
Dear Lola Lucy,
As a general rule, marriages between Filipinos which are solemnized outside of the Philippines in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized and valid there as such, shall be valid in this country (Article 26, Family Code).
The crime of falsification of document may be filed against the father of your grandchildren, which is punishable under Article 172 in relation to Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). Under the said provision of law, the crime of falsification of documents may be filed against a person who has caused or made it appear that a person has participated in any act or proceeding when they did not in fact so participate (Article 171 (2), RPC). Thus, the prosecution for the crime of falsification of document would only prosper against the father of your grandchildren if it is proved that no marriage was actually solemnized between him and your daughter in the date and place mentioned in the birth certificate of your grandchildren.
Since the place of marriage is Singapore, you may first try to verify with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA, formerly known as the National Statistics Office or NSO) if a record of marriage between them exists. However, if the marriage was not reported to the Philippine Consulate Office in Singapore, the Philippines, through the PSA and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), will not have a record thereto and a negative result in the verification will necessarily yield thereafter. If the said marriage was not reported, it appears that the next thing to do is to verify the same with the government of Singapore.
On the other hand, if you really want to file a criminal case against the father of your grandchildren for abandonment, you may file a complaint for violation of Republic Act No. 9262 otherwise known as “Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act of 2004” for the abuses that your grandchildren are suffering. The complaint may be based on the economic and psychological abuse suffered by your grandchildren.
We hope that we have helped you with your legal concern. 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