• Support for illegitimate children

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    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I have two half-sisters, one is five years old and the other is nine years old. Our mother is not married to our respective fathers, but she has been doing whatever she can to support us and her three children. I just graduated from college, and I am still relatively new at my job as a call center agent, but I try my best to help out my mother. Although I have no problem sharing my income with my half-sisters, there are times that I find it difficult to stretch out our budget especially when they have medications and school-related needs. I have talked to my mother about asking for support from the father of my half-sisters, but she is not too confident about it especially now that there are two of us who are working. So I just want to know if it is possible to pursue demanding support for my half-sisters. Your advice will be highly appreciated.

    Best regards,
    Jamie

    Dear Jamie,
    The right to support is conferred by our very laws. It is worthy to emphasize that such right is not only limited to legitimate children. Even illegitimate children are entitled to support, or Article 195 (4), Family Code of the Philippines in relation to Section 1, Republic Act No. 9255.

    However, it is vital for children to prove their filiation with their putative fathers in order for them to ultimately invoke their right to support. This is especially true for illegitimate children as they are more prone to rejection or denial from their putative fathers. To elucidate, the Supreme Court in the case of Antonio Perla vs Mirasol Baring and Randy Perla (GR No. 172471, November 12, 2012, Ponente: the Honorable Associate Justice Mariano C. Del Castillo), held that illegitimate children must establish their filiation with sufficient certainty in order for them to be entitled for support. It reiterated: “x x x Time and again, this Court has ruled that a high standard of proof is required to establish paternity and filiation. An order for x x x support may create an unwholesome situation or may be an irritant to the family or the lives of the parties so that it must be issued only if paternity or filiation is established by clear and convincing evidence. x x x” (citing the case of Cabatania vs Court of Appeals, 484 Phil. 42, 50 [2004]).

    Applying the foregoing in the situation of your half-sisters, there is no question that they have a right to seek support from their father because, as illegitimate children, our laws guarantee them such benefit. This right is not affected by the fact that you and your mother are supporting them, just as long as they still have necessities that need to be met. Please bear in mind that under Article 201 of the said Code states, “the amount of support, x x x shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and to the necessities of the recipient.” Such support encompasses “everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family.” (Article 194, Id.)

    Nonetheless, it is essential for them to establish their illegitimate filiation with their father through the presentment of any of the following: (1) their record of birth as appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or (2) an admission of illegitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. In the absence thereof, their illegitimate filiation must be proven by: (1) their open and continuous possession of the status as illegitimate children; or (2) any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. (Article 175 in relation to Article 172, Id.)

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