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Philippine laws on adoption The Philippines has two laws on adoption, namely, [1] Republic Act 8552 Domestic Adoption

Act of 1998; and [2] Republic Act 8043Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995. (Portions of both laws have been amended by RA 9523 as I will discuss below.) RA 8552 amended Articles 183 up to 193 of the Family Code of the Philippines and is the governing law for Filipino citizens adopting other Filipinos (whether relatives or strangers) with some exceptions. Under Article 192 of the FC, the adopting couple may under certain circumstances ask for judicial rescission of the adoption. Rescission of adoption is no longer allowed under RA 8552. RA 8043 on the other hand, governs the adoption of Filipinos by foreigners, and is implemented by the Inter-Country Adoption Board. For more information on inter-country adoption, please surf to the websites of the ICAB and the Filipino Adoptees Network. Please take note that RA 8552 (and not RA 8043) applies when a foreigner who is married to a Filipino citizen seeks to adopt jointly with his/her spouse a relative within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity of the Filipino spouse. Difference between adoption and simulation of birth Adoption is a legal process while simulation of birth is an illegal practice resorted to by a lot of Filipinos. Adoption is the legal process by which a child becomes the legitimate child of the adopting person/s. Simulation of birth on the other hand occurs when a childless couple, for example, comes into possession of a baby or child, given to them by a midwife, an unwed mother or a relative, and this couple then applies for a birth certificate, making it appear that the baby or child is their biological offspring. Under RA 8552, simulation of birth is a criminal offense punishable by eight years imprisonment and a fine of fifty thousand pesos. Steps and court procedures in domestic adoption The Supreme Court has issued guidelines in petitions for adoptions under RA 8552 and RA 8043. Basically, a petition for domestic adoption under RA 8552 will go through these steps: [1] A lawyer prepares the petition for the person or persons wanting to adopt. The petition includes documents like birth certificates, marriage certificate, proof of financial capacity (like ITR, bank deposit, etc), clearances (barangay, police, NBI, fiscal, court), and others as proof of good moral character, good health, etc. [2] Upon payment of the filing or docket fee, the petition is raffled to a Family Court (of the city nearest the place where the petitioner resides). If the petition is sufficient in form and substance, the court issues an order, usually within a month after the filing of the petition, setting the case for initial hearing and ordering the court social worker to conduct a case study and home visit. [3] The court order is published in a newspaper of general circulation once a week for three weeks. The newspaper is chosen by raffle conducted by the Office of the Clerk of Court, in compliance with a Supreme Court circular. If a small time newspaper wins in the raffle, the total

. paragraph (b) of RA 8552 states that the written consent of the biological parent/s is necessary. The lawyer then coordinates with the Local Civil Registrar (of the town or city where the court is located.cost for the publication could be as low as Php 7. Is the consent of the father of an illegitimate child required in adoption? Section 9. 34. The social worker submits his investigation report and recommendations to the court before the initial hearing. our domestic adoption law. then the lawyer asks the court permission for an ex-parte presentation of evidence. But if a big time newspaper like the Bulletin or the Inquirer wins the raffle. then the court issues a Certificate of Finality. the relationship between any unwed mother and her child is illegitimate. All in all. Concepcion in his article “Domestic Adoption: Law and Procedure” (IBP Journal. In this situation. Vol. and (2) the man will acquire parental authority over the child. In order to legitimize the relationship between an unwed mother and the illegitimate child. The lawyer presents what are known as the jurisdictional facts (petition. the result would be (1) the relationship between the mother and the child will become legitimate. proof of publication in newspaper. One woman even told me that the biological father asked her for money in exchange for his written consent. and the adoptee’s birthplace) and the National Statistics Office for the issuance of a new birth certificate bearing the petitioner’s surname. [6] If there is no opposition to the petition for adoption by any party. notice to the Office of the Solicitor General. No. etc).000. the petitioner and the prospective adoptee must be present. [4] Before the initial hearing.000. Several women have e-mailed about this situation. done before only the court stenographer and the court appointed commissioner (the branch clerk of court). Why should an unwed mother adopt her own child? Legally speaking. UP College of Law professor Danilo L. if there were no legal obstacles when the child was conceived or born). the social worker conducts a case study and home visit. Either they do not know where the biological father of their illegitimate children is or the father is making things difficult for them. [7] If the court decision is favorable and there is no appeal by any party. [5] On the date of the initial hearing. the case could take up to about a year to finish. What if an unwed mother gets married subsequently to the biological father? The legal remedy would not be adoption under RA 8552 but legitimation under Articles 177 to 182 of the Family Code (that is. March 2009. the total cost could be as high as Php 50. 1) states that the reason why RA 8552 requires such consent is that their parental authority over child (the prospective adoptee) will be terminated. What if an unwed mother gets married to a man (not the biological father) who wants to adopt her child? RA 8552 provides that husband and wife must adopt jointly. the mother must file a petition under RA 8552. The court however can require presentation of evidence in open court.

Prof. the law on testamentary succession shall govern. 18. It seems therefore that the right of an adopted child to inherit from both biological and adoptive parents under the Family Code has been repealed by RA 8552. it is but natural to require the spouses to adopt jointly. Concepcion argues (and I agree with him) that since an illegitimate child is under the sole parental authority of the mother under Article 176 of the Family Code. Concepcion states that the problem is with the wording of the law. or one spouse adopts the illegitimate son/daughter of the other. He says that instead of “biological parent/s” the law should have used “legal parent/s” instead. What can women with illegitimate children do in this kind of situation? They can petition Congress to amend RA 8552 so that the written consent of the father should not be required. Joint adoption by husband and wife is mandatory Please take note that Section 7 of RA 8552 provides that a husband and wife shall jointly adopt. then the consent of the biological father is not necessary. However. it may be argued that Article 189 of the Family Code is still good law. In case husband and wife jointly adopt. this provision does not appear in RA 8552. Is the adoptee’s right to inherit from both the adoptive and biological parents under the Family Code no longer true under RA 8552? Please take note that the Family Code provisions on adoption have been superseded by RA 8552. However. 7 As the child to be adopted is elevated to the level of a legitimate child. please read “Revisiting the Philippine Laws on Adoption: Issues on Succession” from the Ateneo . For issues regarding succession (“inheritance” in layman’s term) and adoption under RA 8552. or (ii) if one spouse seeks to adopt his/her own illegitimate son/daughter: Provided. implied repeals are frowned upon. joint parental authority shall be exercised by the spouses. the adopter(s) and the adoptee shall have reciprocal rights of succession without distinction from legitimate filiation. However. in law. which is the ideal situation. While Article 189 of the Family Code specifically provides that the adoptee has the right to inherit from both the biological and adoptive parents. The mandatory requirement is in consonance with the concept of joint parental authority over the child. if the adoptee and his/her biological parent(s) had left a will. Or they can file a petition for declaratory relief before a competent court asking that the term “biological parent/s” be interpreted to mean “legal parent/s”. — In legal and intestate succession. or (iii) if the spouses are legally separated from each other. This is a mandatory requirement with the following exceptions: (i) if one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of the other. The law only states: Sec. Thus. The rule also insures harmony between the spouses. Succession.Prof. that the other spouse has signified his/her consent thereto.

likewise consented to the adoption due to poverty and inability to support and educate her son. The principal evidence disclose that private respondent Alvin A. Prof. Section 7. favorably recommended the granting of the petition for adoption. 1990. Zambales. in a verified petition filed before the Regional Trial Court of Iba. His mother.Law Journal. Clouse is a natural born citizen of the United States of America. However. No. or physically threatens the adoptive parents? The legal remedy is to disinherit the child. 1994. the point of contention in this case.R. They are physically. specifically. Nila Corazon Pronda. Solomon Joseph Alcala. Rescission (revocation) of adoption by adoptive parents no longer allowed under RA 8552 The Family Code allowed adoptive parents to apply for judicial rescission or revocation of the decree of adoption. 1988. the petition was set for hearing on April 18. 1981 at Olongapo City. has been carried over to RA 8552. Mrs. Please also read the article on domestic adoption by UP Prof. In an Order issued on March 12. Concepcion holds the same view I have that those provisions of the Family Code that have not been expressly repealed by RA 8552 are still applicable. Evelyn became a naturalized citizen of the United States of America in Guam. the social worker assigned to conduct the Home and Child Study. private respondents spouses Clouse sought to adopt the minor. 1989 up to the present. For the child’s best interest. 1990. please read my article “Disinheriting children and descendants. On August 19. and financially capable of adopting Solomon. Clouse. 94147 June 8. a widow. The said Order was published in a newspaper of general circulation in the province of Zambales and City of Olongapo for three (3) consecutive weeks. then from November 2. Only the adopted child can ask for the revocation of the adoption. Concepcion which I mentioned above. What about adoption by a wife and husband (one a former Filipino citizen and the other a natural-born citizen of another country)? The Supreme Court decided this issue in the case of Republic of the Philippines vs. a Filipino on June 4. RA 8552 no longer allows rescission by the adoptive parents. Toledano G. He married Evelyn. Nery Alcala. morally. Solomon Joseph Alcala was and has been under the care and custody of private respondents. legitimate as well as illegitimate”. What if the adopted child becomes wayward morally or ungrateful. mandatory joint adoption by both husband and wife under Article 185 of the Family Code. mentally. however. Since 1981 to 1984. 1990. Finding that private respondents have all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications . a twelve (12) year old minor. Please take note that the case was decided under the provisions of the Family Code on adoption which have been superseded by RA 8043 and RA 8552. Solomon gave his consent to the adoption. the younger brother of private respondent Evelyn A. The facts of the Toledano case On February 21.

Leyte. under Article 185 of the Family Code. disposing as follows: WHEREFORE. or (c) One who is married to a Filipino citizen and seeks to adopt jointly with his or her spouse a relative by consanguinity of the latter. There can be no question that private respondent Alvin A. Let copies of this decision be furnished (sic) the petitioners. The Court dissolves parental authority bestowed upon his natural parents and vests parental authority to the herein petitioners and makes him their legal heir. Clouse is not qualified to adopt Solomon Joseph Alcala under any of the exceptional cases in the aforequoted provision. he shall be known as SOLOMON ALCALA CLOUSE. Clouse and Evelyn A. Zambales Branch. The Office of the Solicitor General appealed to the Supreme Court on a pure question of law. except: (a) A former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a relative by consanguinity. (b) One who seeks to adopt the legitimate child of his or her Filipino spouse. respondent judge rendered a decision on June 20.) No. particularly the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Merida.: (3) An alien. 603 as amended. 209 expressly enumerates the persons who are not qualified to adopt. Office of the Solicitor General and the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Merida. he is not a former Filipino citizen but a natural born citizen of the United States of America. viz. Leyte where the minor was born. Solomon Joseph Alcala is neither his relative by consanguinity nor the legitimate child of his spouse. Henceforth. . Clouse and decrees that the said minor be considered as their child by adoption. In the second place. otherwise known as “The Family Code of the Philippines”. In the first place. DSWD. that is. The said office of the Local Civil Registrar is hereby directed to issue an amended certificate of live birth to the minor adopted by the petitioners. In accordance with Article 53 of the same decree.provided by law and that the adoption will redound to the best interest and welfare of the minor. the decree of adoption shall be effective as of the date when the petition was filed. the Court grants the petition for adoption filed by Spouses Alvin A. paragraph (3) of Executive Order No. 1990. the Clouse couple was not qualified to adopt.Aliens not included in the foregoing exceptions may adopt Filipino children in accordance with the rules on inter-country adoption as may be provided by law. Article 184. The ruling of the Supreme Court Under Articles 184 and 185 of Executive Order (E. Pursuant to Article 36 of P. let this decree of adoption be recorded in the corresponding government agency.O. 209.D. the Court gives the minor the rights and duties as the legitimate child of the petitioners. To this effect. private respondents spouses Clouse are clearly barred from adopting Solomon Joseph Alcala.

on the other hand. Former Filipinos permanently residing abroad and/or foreigners intending to undertake either local adoption (the filing and the finalization of the adoption is done in the Philippines and have the intention of bringing the adoptive child to their country of residence) or through the intercountry adoption route MUST first secure the approval of the Central Authority on Intercountry Adoption in the country of residence before filing any adoption petition.Field Office (FO) to conduct the Child Study Report with supporting . may appear to qualify pursuant to paragraph 3(a) of Article 184 of E. Article 185 requires a joint adoption by the husband and wife. 209. Husband and wife must jointly adopt. As you can read. based on the significant data on the child as indicated in the QRAA. when private respondents spouses Clouse jointly filed the petition to adopt Solomon Joseph Alcala on February 21. 1. Canada based adoption applicants obtain such approval from the Central Authority on Inter-country Adoption of the Province or Territory of residence. 2007) “Relative Adoption” as applies to inter-country adoption refers to the adoption of Filipino child/children by relatives residing abroad within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguity. the petition for adoption cannot be granted in her favor alone without violating Article 185 which mandates a joint adoption by the husband and wife. It reads: Article 185. each one of them must be qualified to adopt on his own right.In the third place. She was a former Filipino citizen. private respondent Evelyn A. the Supreme Court ruled that the adoption must be filed jointly by husband and wife. the assigned ICAB Social Worker will request the DSWD . Modified procedure for relative adoption cases under RA 8043 (as approved by the ICAB on August 30. unless they fall under the exceptions. Clouse. 1990. She sought to adopt her younger brother. Unfortunately. The CAs/FAAs shall endorse to ICAB the completed Questionnaire for Relative Adoptive Applicants (QRAA) with the agency's assessment and recomendation on the prospective adoptive parents. 2. when adopting jointly. Clouse was no longer a Filipino citizen. or (2) When one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate child of the other. Adoption applicants from the USA must first secure their suitability and eligibility to adopt (I800A) from the USA Central Authority on Inter-Country Adoption.O. She lost her Filipino citizenship when she was naturalized as a citizen of the United States in 1988. Private respondent Evelyn A. except in the following cases: (1) When one spouse seeks to adopt his own illegitimate child. If the CA/FAA favorably recommends the PAPs.2) which can be downloaded from the ICAB website shall be submitted by the prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) to the Central Authorities (CAs)/ Foreign Adoption Agencies(FAAs). Also. a condition that must be read along together with Article 184. The Questionnaire for Relative Adoptive Applicants (ICAB Form No. the ICAB social worker will then request the CA/FAA to proceed with the preparation of the PAPs’ dossier. On the other hand.

RA 8043. Under RA 9523. a child could be declared legally available for adoption in less than two months. RA 9523 did not turn the whole adoption process from a judicial proceeding under the Family Courts to an administrative proceeding under the DSWD. Contrary to erroneous reports in the media and the Internet. Once the ICAB receives from the DSWD-FO the child’s dossier and the complete adoption application dossier of the PAPs from the CA or FAA. Periodic follow-ups will be made with the DSWD-FO. it took as long as three years in court proceedings for such a declaration. Previously. and Presidential Decree No. (The time frame from request to ICAB’s receipt of the report will be 3-6 months. and dependent children who are subject to adoption. the ICAB social worker will prepare an executive summary on the case with his/her recommendation on the child’s adoptive placement for the disposition of the Board. These are: [1] Adoption of an illegitimate child by any of his/her biological parent [2] Adoption of a child by his/her step-parent [3] Adoption of a child by a relative within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity . abandoned.documents. In situations where the FO could not prepare the Child Study Report within the expected time frame in view of heavy adoption caseload. certain adoption proceedings in court do not require a “Certification Declaring a Child Legally Available for Adoption”. However. the time period before a child is considered abandoned has been reduced to a maximum of three months from the original minimum of six months. 603 “Child and Youth Welfare Code”. 3. RA 9253 applies only to surrendered. Misinterpretation and misunderstanding of RA 9523 Republic Act 9523 “An Act Requiring Certification of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to Declare A Child Legally Available For Adoption as a Prerequisite For Adoption Proceedings” amended certain portions of RA 8552 . neglected. Because of the new regulations. RA 9523 made the declaration of abandonment of child “administrative in nature” which now requires just a certification signed by the DSWD secretary instead of a judicial order. as Section 4 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9523 clearly states. the ICAB social worker will assist in the conduct of the CSR).