I filed a criminal case against our neighbor for sexually abusing my minor daughter. How can I prove the real age of my daughter since her birth was not registered before the local civil registrar?
The birth certificate or baptismal certificate is the primary document needed to prove the age of a child. This is in consonance with Section 5, AM 02-1-18-SC, Nov. 24, 2009 or the
Rule on Juveniles in Conflict with the Law:
“The child in conflict with the law shall enjoy the presumption of minority and shall enjoy all the rights of a child in conflict with the law until proven to be eighteen years old or older at the time of the commission of the offense. The age of the child shall be determined according to the following rules:
“(1) The best evidence to prove the age of a child is an original or certified true copy of the certificate of live birth;
“(2) In the absence of a certificate of live birth, similar authentic documents such as baptismal certificates and school records or any pertinent document that shows the date of birth of the child;
“(3) In the absence of the documents under paragraphs 1 and 2 of this section due to loss, destruction or unavailability, the testimony of the child, the testimony of a member of the family related to the child by affinity or consanguinity who is qualified to testify on matters respecting pedigree such as the exact age or date of birth of the child pursuant to Sec.40, Rule 130 of the Rules on Evidence, the testimonies of the other persons, the physical appearance of the child and other relevant evidence, shall suffice.”
Please be guided also by the decision of the court in the case of People of the Philippines vs Belen (GR 215331, Jan. 23, 2017), where the Supreme Court through Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta stated that:
“x x x 3. If the certificate of live birth or authentic document is shown to have been lost or destroyed or otherwise unavailable, the testimony, if clear and credible, of the victim’s mother or a member of the family either by affinity or consanguinity who is qualified to testify on matters respecting pedigree such as the exact age or date of birth of the offended party pursuant to Section 40, Rule 130 of the Rules on Evidence shall be sufficient under the following circumstances:
“a. If the victim is alleged to be below 3 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 7 years old;
“b. If the victim is alleged to be below 7 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 12 years old;
“c. If the victim is alleged to be below 12 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 18 years old.
“4. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, authentic document, or the testimony of the victim’s mother or relatives concerning the victims age, the complainant’s testimony will suffice provided that it is expressly and clearly admitted by the accused.
“5. It is the prosecution that has the burden of proving the age of the offended party. The failure of the accused to object to the testimonial evidence regarding age shall not be taken against him.
“6. The trial court should always make a categorical finding as to the age of the victim.”
Applying the above-quoted decision in your situation, your testimony or any member of the family by affinity or consanguinity may also be offered to prove the exact age or date of birth of your daughter since the latter’s birth was not registered.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. 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 [email protected]