Pictures with alleged father do not prove paternity

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My friend met a mountain climber in one of the mountaineering activities she participated in Batangas. Such acquaintance turned into a relationship that lasted for a week. My friend got pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy without the assistance of the known father of her child. The birth certificate of the child was prepared by the hospital staff and my friend was the one who supplied the necessary information to be entered in the certificate including the name of the father of the child.

After three days of confinement at the hospital, the father appeared and was so happy to see his son. Several pictures were taken at the hospital showing the three of them. That was the last time that my friend saw him. She now wants to file a petition for support against the father of her son and she would like to present the pictures and birth certificate to support her claim. Would that be enough?

Borgo

Dear Borgo,
Before your friend could demand support from the father of her son, she must first prove filiation of the child (Dolina vs Vallecera, G.R. No. 182367, December 15, 2010). Article 172 in relation to Article 175 of the Family Code of the Philippines provides that the filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the following:


1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgement; or

2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned.

In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be proved by:

1) The open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child; or

2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws.

In the case of your friend, the photographs and birth certificate which was not signed by the father are not sufficient to prove the filiation or paternity of her son. This finds support in the ruling of the Supreme Court in Salas vs Matusalem(GR. No. 180284, September 11, 2013), where the high tribunal said that:

“We have held that a certificate of live birth purportedly identifying the putative father is not competent evidence of paternity when there is no showing that the putative father had a hand in the preparation of the certificate. Thus, if the father did not sign in the birth certificate, the placing of his name by the mother, doctor, registrar, or other person is incompetent evidence of paternity. Neither can such birth certificate be taken as a recognition in a public instrument and it has no probative value to establish filiation to the alleged father.

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Pictures taken of the mother and her child together with the alleged father are inconclusive evidence to prove paternity”.

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 dearpao@manilatimes.net

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