Proof of filiation needed in action for support

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
Can I still ask for financial support from the father of my son even though he did not sign our child’s birth certificate? He used to give support for our son but suddenly he stopped for reasons unknown to me.
Ms. MA

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Dear Ms. MA,
Yes, you may still ask for support even though the father did not sign the birth certificate. It is imperative, however, that you present proof showing the relationship of your son to his father.

Before a child can ask support, the relationship or filiation between him and the alleged father must first be established. Under the law, the filiation of a child, legitimate or illegitimate, may be established by any of the following:

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

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

(3)    The open and continuous possession of the status of a child; or

(4) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws (Articles 172 & 175, Family Code).

Any of the means mentioned above may be used. Hence, the lack of signature of the father in the birth certificate will not defeat the right of the child to recognition and support if the filiation may be proven by other available means, such as admission of the father in a public document or a private handwritten instrument.

In the absence of a public document or a private handwritten instrument, the filiation may also be proved by open and continuous possession of the status of a child. This means that there must be proof that the father has treated the child as his own, directly and not through others, spontaneously and without concealment though without publicity. There must be a showing of the permanent intention of the supposed father to consider the child as his own, by continuous and clear manifestation of paternal affection and care which should not be intermittent in character (Mendoza vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 86302 September 24, 1991). Interpreting this provision of law, the Supreme Court has ruled in one case that sending the child to school and paying her tuition fees and other school related expenses, defraying hospitalization expenses, providing monthly allowance, acknowledging the child’s paternal greetings and calling her “Hija” or child, allowing the child to spend her vacation in his apartment, among others, sufficiently establish the open and continuous possession of the status of a child. Note, however, that the participation of the alleged father must be shown in any document or evidence which the child intends to present (Jison vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 124853 February 24, 1998).

The other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws may refer to baptismal certificate, judicial admission, family bible, common reputation respecting pedigree, admission by silence, testimony of witnesses and other kinds of proof admissible under Rule 130 of the Rules of Court (Mendoza vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 86302 September 24, 1991). It may also include DNA testing sanctioned by the Rule on DNA Evidence (A.M. No. 06-11-5-SC, October 2, 2007).

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts that 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 dearpao@manilatimes.net

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