Can I be stripped of my right to the custody of my illegitimate son just because I signed an agreement that I am turning over the child to the parents of his father and waived my rights?
Your son, being illegitimate, is under your sole parental authority. This is explicitly provided by Article 176 of the Family Code of the Philippines, which states:
“Article 176. 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. xxx”
Parental authority according to the Family Code of the Philippines is the parents’ natural rights and duties over the persons of their minor children to raise and rear them for civic consciousness and efficiency and the development of their moral, mental and physical character and well being (Article 209).
As such, the right to take the custody of your son shall be exercised by the one who enjoys parental authority over him. Since according to the above provision, you are the parent vested with parental authority, insofar as your illegitimate child is concerned, then it is only you who has the right over your child’s custody. Such right according to the law may not be renounced, waived or transferred to another person, except in the cases authorized by law. (Article 210, Ibid.)
Articles 228 and 229 of the said law enumerate the instances when parental authority terminates and may be transferred to another person, to wit:
“Art. 228. Parental authority terminates permanently:
(1) Upon the death of the parents;
Art. 229. Unless subsequently revived by a final judgment, parental authority also terminates:
(1) Upon adoption of the child;
(2) Upon appointment of a general guardian;
(3) Upon judicial declaration of abandonment of the child in a case filed for the purpose;
(4) Upon final judgment of a competent court divesting the party concerned of parental authority; or
(5) Upon judicial declaration of absence or incapacity of the person exercising parental authority.”
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