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G.R.No.165166.August15,2012.

CHARLES GOTARDO, petitioner, vs. DIVINA BULING,


respondent.
Civil Law; Filiation; Filiation proceedings are usually filed not
just to adjudicate paternity but also to secure a legal right
associated with paternity, such as citizenship, support or
inheritance.We have recognized that [f]iliation proceedings are
usually filed not just to adjudicate paternity but also to secure a
legalrightassociatedwithpaternity,suchascitizenship,support(as
inthiscase)orinheritance.[Inpaternitycases,theburdenofproof]
isonthepersonwhoallegesthattheputativefatheristhebiological
fatherofthechild.
Same; Same; Proofs of Filiation.One can prove filiation,
either legitimate or illegitimate, through the record of birth
appearinginthecivilregisterorafinaljudgment,anadmissionof
filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument
and signed by the parent concerned, or the open and continuous
possession of the status of a legitimate or illegitimate child, or any
other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. We
have held that such other proof of ones filiation may be a
baptismal certificate, a judicial admission, a family bible in which
[his] name has been entered, common reputation respecting [his]
pedigree, admission by silence, the [testimonies] of witnesses, and
other kinds of proof [admissible] under Rule 130 of the Rules of
Court.
Same; Same; There are four significant procedural aspects of a
traditional paternity action that parties have to face: a prima facie
case, affirmative defenses, presumption of legitimacy, and physical
resemblance between the putative father and the child.InHerrera
v. Alba, 460 SCRA 197 (2005), we stressed that there are four
significant procedural aspects of a traditional paternity action that
parties have to face: a prima facie case, affirmative defenses,
presumption of legitimacy, and physical resemblance between the
putativefatherandthechild.Weexplainedthataprima faciecase
existsifawomandeclaressupportedbycorroborativeproofthat
shehadsexual
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*SECONDDIVISION.

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Gotardo vs. Buling


relations with the putative father; at this point, the burden of

evidenceshiftstotheputativefather.Weexplainedfurtherthatthe
two affirmative defenses available to the putative father are: (1)
incapability of sexual relations with the mother due to either
physical absence or impotency, or (2) that the mother had sexual
relationswithothermenatthetimeofconception.
Remedial Law; Evidence; Testimonial Evidence; In
ascertaining the facts established by a witness, everything stated by
him on direct, cross and redirect examinations must be calibrated
and considered.Juris
prudence teaches that in assessing the
credibility of a witness, his testimony must be considered in its
entiretyinsteadofintruncatedparts.Thetechniqueindeciphering
atestimonyisnottoconsideronlyitsisolatedpartsandtoanchora
conclusion based on these parts. In ascertaining the facts
established by a witness, everything stated by him on direct, cross
and redirect examinations must be calibrated and considered.
Evidently, the totality of the respondents testimony positively and
convincingly shows that no real inconsistency exists. The
respondent has consistently asserted that she started intimate
sexualrelationswiththepetitionersometimeinSeptember1993.
Civil Law; Support; Words and Phrases; A parent is obliged to
support his child, whether legitimate or illegitimate. Support
consists of everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling,
clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in
keeping with the financial capacity of the family.Sincefiliationis
beyondquestion,supportfollowsasamatterofobligation;aparent
is obliged to support his child, whether legitimate or illegitimate.
Support consists of everything indispensable for sustenance,
dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and
transportation,inkeepingwiththefinancialcapacityofthefamily.
Thus, the amount of support is variable and, for this reason, no
final judgment on the amount of support is made as the amount
shallbeinproportiontotheresourcesormeansofthegiverandthe
necessities of the recipient. It may be reduced or increased
proportionately according to the reduction or increase of the
necessitiesoftherecipientandtheresourcesormeansoftheperson
obligedtosupport.

PETITION for review on certiorari of the decision and


resolutionoftheCourtofAppeals.
438

438

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Gotardo vs. Buling

ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.
Antonio R. Bacalso IIforpetitioner.
Aurora A. Econgforrespondent.
BRION,J.:
Weresolvethepetitionforreviewoncertiorari,1filedby
petitionerCharlesGotardo,tochallengetheMarch5,2004
decision2andtheJuly27,2004resolution3 of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA GR CV No. 76326. The CA decision
ordered the petitioner to recognize and provide legal
support to his minor son, Gliffze O. Buling. The CA
resolution denied the petitioners subsequent motion for
reconsideration.

Factual Background
OnSeptember6,1995,respondentDivinaBulingfileda
complaint with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Maasin,
SouthernLeyte,Branch25,forcompulsoryrecognitionand
support pendente lite, claiming that the petitioner is the
fatherofherchildGliffze.4
In his answer, the petitioner denied the imputed
paternity of Gliffze.5 For the parties failure to amicably
settle the dispute, the RTC terminated the pretrial
proceedings.6Trialonthemeritsensued.
The respondent testified for herself and presented
Rodulfo Lopez as witness. Evidence for the respondent
showedthat
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1FiledunderRule45oftheRulesofCourt;Rollo,pp.1026.
2PennedbyAssociateJusticeJoseL.Sabio,Jr.,andconcurredinby
Associate Justices Delilah VidallonMagtolis and Hakim S. Abdulwahid;
id.,atpp.2945.
3Id.,atpp.4647.
4Originalrecords,pp.18.
5Id.,atpp.2225.
6Id.,atp.54.
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she met the petitioner on December 1, 1992 at the
Philippine Commercial and Industrial Bank, Maasin,
Southern Leyte branch where she had been hired as a
casualemployee,whilethepetitionerworkedasaccounting
supervisor.7Thepetitionerstartedcourtingtherespondent
in the third week of December 1992 and they became
sweethearts in the last week of January 1993.8 The
petitioner gave the respondent greeting cards on special
occasions,suchasonValentinesDayandherbirthday;she
reciprocatedhisloveandtookcareofhimwhenhewasill.9
Sometime in September 1993, the petitioner started
intimate sexual relations with the respondent in the
formers rented room in the boarding house managed by
Rodulfo,therespondentsuncle,onTomasOppusSt.,Agbao,
Maasin, Southern Leyte.10 The petitioner rented the room
from March 1, 1993 to August 30, 1994.11 The sexual
encounters occurred twice a month and became more
frequent in June 1994; eventually, on August 8, 1994, the
respondentfoundoutthatshewaspregnant.12Whentoldof
thepregnancy,thepetitionerwashappyandmadeplansto
marrytherespondent.13Theyinfactappliedforamarriage
license.14Thepetitionereveninquiredaboutthecostsofa
wedding reception and the bridal gown.15 Subsequently,
however,thepetitionerbackedoutoftheweddingplans.16
_______________
7TSN,February16,1996,p.5;TSN,May15,1996,p.6.
8TSN,February16,1996,p.6;TSN,May15,1996,p.6.

9 TSN, February 16, 1996, pp. 710; Exhibits B and C, Folder of


Exhibits,p.2.
10 TSN, February 16, 1996, p. 10; TSN, May 15, 1996, p. 3; TSN,
July18,1996,pp.58.
11TSN,May15,1996,p.3;TSN,July18,1996,p.4.
12TSN,February16,1996,p.11;TSN,May15,1996,pp.45.
13TSN,February16,1996,pp.1112.
14Id.,atpp.1215;ExhibitE,FolderofExhibits,p.4.
15TSN,February16,1996,p.16.
16 Id.,atp.17.
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SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Gotardo vs. Buling

Therespondentrespondedbyfilingacomplaintwiththe
Municipal Trial Court of Maasin, Southern Leyte for
damages against the petitioner for breach of promise to
marry.17Later,however,thepetitionerandtherespondent
amicablysettledthecase.18
TherespondentgavebirthtotheirsonGliffzeonMarch
9,1995.19Whenthepetitionerdidnotshowupandfailedto
providesupporttoGliffze,therespondentsenthimaletter
onJuly24,1995demandingrecognitionofandsupportfor
their child.20 When the petitioner did not answer the
demand,therespondentfiledhercomplaintforcompulsory
recognitionandsupportpendente lite.21
The petitioner took the witness stand and testified for
himself. He denied the imputed paternity,22 claiming that
hefirsthadsexualcontactwiththerespondentinthefirst
weekofAugust1994andshecouldnothavebeenpregnant
for twelve (12) weeks (or three (3) months) when he was
informedofthepregnancyonSeptember15,1994.23
During the pendency of the case, the RTC, on the
respondents motion,24 granted a P2,000.00 monthly child
support,retroactivefromMarch1995.25
_______________
17Id.,atp.24;Exhibit3,FolderofExhibits,pp.6164.
18TSN,February16,1996,p.24;ExhibitI,FolderofExhibits,pp.
910.
19 TSN, February 16, 1996, p. 20; Exhibit A, Folder of Exhibits, p.
1.
20 TSN, February 16, 1996, p. 20; Exhibit F, Folder of Exhibits, p.
5.
21TSN,February16,1996,p.25.
22TSN,September5,2000,pp.34.
23TSN,September5,2000,pp.7,10,11.
24Originalrecords,pp.5859.
25August1,1996order; id.,atp.60.
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The RTC Ruling


In its June 25, 2002 decision, the RTC dismissed the
complaint for insufficiency of evidence proving Gliffzes
filiation.Itfoundtherespondentstestimonyinconsistenton
thequestionofwhenshehadherfirstsexualcontactwith
thepetitioner,i.e.,September1993inherdirecttestimony
while last week of January 1993 during her cross
testimony, and her reason for engaging in sexual contact
evenaftershehadrefusedthepetitionersinitialmarriage
proposal.Itorderedtherespondenttoreturntheamountof
support pendente lite erroneously awarded, and to pay
P10,000.00asattorneysfees.26
TherespondentappealedtheRTCrulingtotheCA.27
The CA Ruling
InitsMarch5,2004decision,theCAdepartedfromthe
RTCs appreciation of the respondents testimony,
concluding that the latter merely made an honest mistake
in her understanding of the questions of the petitioners
counsel.Itnotedthatthepetitionerandtherespondenthad
sexual relationship even before August 1994; that the
respondent had only one boyfriend, the petitioner, from
January 1993 to August 1994; and that the petitioners
allegation that the respondent had previous relationships
with other men remained unsubstantiated. The CA
consequently set aside the RTC decision and ordered the
petitioner to recognize his minor son Gliffze. It also
reinstated the RTC order granting a P2,000.00 monthly
childsupport.28
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26Id.,atpp.143158.
27Id.,atp.159.
28Supranote2.
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SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Gotardo vs. Buling

When the CA denied29 the petitioners motion for


reconsideration,30thepetitionerfiledthepresentpetitionfor
reviewoncertiorari.
The Petition
ThepetitionerarguesthattheCAcommittedareversible
errorinrejectingtheRTCsappreciationoftherespondents
testimony,andthattheevidenceonrecordisinsufficientto
provepaternity.
The Case for the Respondent
TherespondentsubmitsthattheCAcorrectlyexplained
that the inconsistency in the respondents testimony was
duetoanincorrectappreciationofthequestionsasked,and
that the record is replete with evidence proving that the
petitionerwasherloverandthattheyhadseveralintimate
sexual encounters during their relationship, resulting in
herpregnancyandGliffzesbirthonMarch9,1995.
The Issue
ThesoleissuebeforeusiswhethertheCAcommitteda
reversible error when it set aside the RTCs findings and

ordered the petitioner to recognize and provide legal


supporttohisminorsonGliffze.
Our Ruling
We do not find any reversible error in the CAs
ruling.
We have recognized that [f]iliation proceedings are
usually filed not just to adjudicate paternity but also to
secure a legal right associated with paternity, such as
citizenship,support
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29Supranote3.
30CARollo,pp.144152.
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(as in this case) or inheritance. [In paternity cases, the
burden of proof] is on the person who alleges that the
putativefatheristhebiologicalfatherofthechild.31
Onecanprovefiliation,eitherlegitimateorillegitimate,
throughtherecordofbirthappearinginthecivilregisteror
a final judgment, an admission of filiation in a public
documentoraprivatehandwritteninstrumentandsigned
by the parent concerned, or the open and continuous
possessionofthestatusofalegitimateorillegitimatechild,
or any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and
speciallaws.32 We have held that such other proof of ones
filiation may be a baptismal certificate, a judicial
admission, a family bible in which [his] name has been
entered, common reputation respecting [his] pedigree,
admission by silence, the [testimonies] of witnesses, and
otherkindsofproof[admissible]underRule130oftheRules
ofCourt.33
In Herrera v. Alba,34 we stressed that there are four
significant procedural aspects of a traditional paternity
action that parties have to face: a prima facie case,
affirmative defenses, presumption of legitimacy, and
physical resemblance between the putative father and the
child.35 We explained that a prima facie case exists if a
woman declaressupported by corroborative proofthat
she had sexual relations with the putative father; at this
point,theburdenofevidenceshiftstotheputativefather.36
Weexplainedfurtherthatthetwoaffirmative
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31 Estate of Rogelio G. Ong v. Diaz, G.R. No. 171713, December 17,
2007, 540 SCRA 480, 490. See also Herrera v. Alba, 499 Phil. 185, 191;
460SCRA197,204(2005).
32FamilyCodeofthePhilippines,Articles172and175.
33Cruz v. Cristobal, 529 Phil. 695, 710711; 498 SCRA 37, 51 (2006).
See also Heirs of Ignacio Conti v. Court of Appeals, 360 Phil. 536, 549;
300 SCRA 345, 357 (1998); and Trinidad v. Court of Appeals, 352 Phil.
12,3233;289SCRA188,206207(1998).
34Supranote31.

35Id.,atp.192.
36Ibid.
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SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Gotardo vs. Buling

defensesavailabletotheputativefatherare:(1)incapability
of sexual relations with the mother due to either physical
absence or impotency, or (2) that the mother had sexual
relationswithothermenatthetimeofconception.37
In this case, the respondent established a prima facie
case that the petitioner is the putative father of Gliffze
throughtestimonythatshehadbeensexuallyinvolvedonly
withoneman,thepetitioner,atthetimeofherconception.38
Rodulfocorroboratedhertestimonythatthepetitionerand
therespondenthadintimaterelationship.39
On the other hand, the petitioner did not deny that he
had sexual encounters with the respondent, only that it
occurredonamuchlaterdatethantherespondentasserted,
suchthatitwasphysicallyimpossiblefortherespondentto
havebeenthree(3)monthspregnantalreadyinSeptember
1994 when he was informed of the pregnancy.40 However,
the petitioner failed to substantiate his allegations of
infidelity and insinuations of promiscuity. His allegations,
therefore, cannot be given credence for lack of evidentiary
support. The petitioners denial cannot overcome the
respondentsclearandcategoricalassertions.
The petitioner, as the RTC did, made much of the
variance between the respondents direct testimony
regarding their first sexual contact as sometime in
September 1993 and her crosstestimony when she stated
that their first sexual contact was last week of January
1993,asfollows:
ATTY.GOCINCO:
Whendidthedefendant,accordingtoyou,startcourtingyou?
AThirdweekofDecember1992.
_______________
37Ibid.
38TSN,May15,1996,pp.1516.
39TSN,July18,1996,p.8.
40TSN,September5,2000,pp.7,10and11.
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QAndyouacceptedhim?
ALastweekofJanuary1993.
QAndbyOctoberyoualreadyhadyoursexualintercourse?
ALastweekofJanuary1993.
COURT:Whatdoyoumeanbyaccepting?
AIacceptedhisofferoflove.41

We find that the contradictions are for the most part

moreapparentthanreal,havingresultedfromthefailureof
therespondenttocomprehendthequestionposed,butthis
misunderstanding was later corrected and satisfactorily
explained. Indeed, when confronted for her contradictory
statements, the respondent explained that that portion of
the transcript of stenographic notes was incorrect and she
had brought it to the attention of Atty. Josefino Go Cinco
(her former counsel) but the latter took no action on the
matter.42
Jurisprudenceteachesthatinassessingthecredibilityof
a witness, his testimony must be considered in its entirety
insteadofintruncatedparts.Thetechniqueindeciphering
atestimonyisnottoconsideronlyitsisolatedpartsandto
anchor a conclusion based on these parts. In ascertaining
thefactsestablishedbyawitness,everythingstatedbyhim
on direct, cross and redirect examinations must be
calibrated and considered.43 Evidently, the totality of the
respondents testimony positively and convincingly shows
that no real inconsistency exists. The respondent has
consistently asserted that she started intimate sexual
relationswiththepetitionersometimeinSeptember1993.44
_______________
41TSN,May15,1996,p.6.
42TSN,May30,2000,pp.45.
43 Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. Chiong, G.R. No. 155550, January 31,
2008, 543 SCRA 308, 324; and Leyson v. Lawa, 535 Phil. 153, 167; 504
SCRA147,161(2006).
44TSN,February16,1996,p.10;TSN,May15,1996,p.3.
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SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Gotardo vs. Buling

Since filiation is beyond question, support follows as a


matterofobligation;aparentisobligedtosupporthischild,
whether legitimate or illegitimate.45 Support consists of
everythingindispensableforsustenance,dwelling,clothing,
medical attendance, education and transportation, in
keeping with the financial capacity of the family.46 Thus,
the amount of support is variable and, for this reason, no
final judgment on the amount of support is made as the
amountshallbeinproportiontotheresourcesormeansof
the giver and the necessities of the recipient.47 It may be
reduced or increased proportionately according to the
reductionorincreaseofthenecessitiesoftherecipientand
theresourcesormeansofthepersonobligedtosupport.48
Inthiscase,wesustaintheawardofP2,000.00monthly
child support, without prejudice to the filing of the proper
motionintheRTCforthedeterminationofanysupportin
arrears, considering the needs of the child, Gliffze, during
thependencyofthiscase.
WHEREFORE,weherebyDENYthepetitionforlackof
merit. The March 5, 2004 decision and the July 27, 2004
resolutionoftheCourtofAppealsinCAGRCVNo.76326
areherebyAFFIRMED.Costsagainstthepetitioner.
SOORDERED.

Carpio (Chairperson), Villarama, Jr.,** Perez and Reyes,


JJ.,concur.
Petition denied, judgment and resolution affirmed.
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45FAMILYCODE OFTHE PHILIPPINES,Article195.
46Id.,Article194.
47Id.,Article201.
48Id.,Article202.
** Designated as Acting Member of the Second Division in lieu of
Associate Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno per Special Order No.
1274datedJuly30,2012.
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Notes.Afatherwhoacknowledgespater
nityofachild
through a written instrument must affix his signature
thereonisclearlyimpliedinArticle176oftheFamilyCode.
(Dela Cruz vs. Gracia,594SCRA648[2009])
Itisasettledrulethatonlylegitimatechildrenfollowthe
citizenship of the father and that illegitimate children are
under the parental authority of the mother and follow her
nationality.(Go, Sr. vs. Ramos,598SCRA266[2009])
o0o

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