I met Rina sometime in January 2015, in one of my deployments as a salesman in the province. We became intimate and had a sexual relationship. But this lasted only for two days, because I was suddenly reassigned here in Metro Manila. I received a letter from Rina, after a year, saying that she delivered a child, and she alleged that the child was mine. She also threatened that she will file a petition for support, and compulsory recognition of her child.
I am really bothered and confused. I cannot be the father of that child, because our sexual relationship started only in January 2015, and she delivered the child in September 2015. If she immediately got pregnant when we were still together in January 2015, the child should have been born in October. Please help me.
In order for Rina to claim support for her child, she must first establish that you are the father, by any of the proofs mentioned in Article 172 of the Family Code. If she can prove in court that you are the father, it follows that you have the obligation to support the child pursuant to No. 4, Article 195, of the code which states: “Parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter are obliged to support each other.”
Please be guided by the ruling of the Supreme Court in Gotardo vs. Buling (G.R. No. 165166, August 15, 2012), where the Highest Court of the land said:
“In Herrera v. Alba, we stressed that there are four significant procedural aspects of a traditional paternity action that parties have to face: a prima facie case, affirmative defenses, presumption of legitimacy and physical resemblance between the putative father and the child. We explained that a prima facie case exists if a woman declares–supported by corroborative proof–that she had sexual relations with the putative father; at this point, the burden of evidence shifts to the putative father. We explained further that the two affirmative defenses available to the putative father are: (1) incapability of sexual relations with the mother due to either physical absence or impotency, or (2) that the mother had sexual relations with other men at the time of conception.”
In your situation, the petition for compulsory recognition/support that Rina intended to file must be supported by substantial proofs, otherwise the same would fail. You can also raise No. 2 in the abovementioned defenses, because it seldom happens for a pregnant woman to deliver her child on her eight month of pregnancy. Hence, there is a probability that she was already pregnant by another man when you had a sexual relationship with her.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
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