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164948 Petitioner prays for such other reliefs, just and

equitable under the premises.[10]
- versus -
The lower granted such petition for adoption.
The OSG appealed[20] the decision to the Court
of Appeal.
Diwata Ramos Landingin, a citizen of the United
The CA rendered a decision[22] reversing the
States of America (USA), of Filipino parentage
ruling of the RTC. It held that petitioner failed to
and a resident of Guam, USA, filed a
adduce in evidence the voluntary consent of
petition[3] for the adoption of minors Elaine
Amelia Ramos, the childrens natural
Dizon Ramos,[4] Elma Dizon Ramos,[5] and
mother. Moreover, the affidavit of consent of
Eugene Dizon Ramos.[6] The minors are the
the petitioners children could not also be
natural children of Manuel Ramos, petitioners
admitted in evidence as the same was executed
brother, and Amelia Ramos.
in Guam, USA and was not authenticated or
Petitioner, alleged in her petition that when acknowledged before a Philippine consular
Manuel died on May 19, 1990,[7] the children office, and although petitioner has a job, she
were left to their paternal grandmother, Maria was not stable enough to support the children.
Taruc Ramos; their biological mother, Amelia,
Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration
went to Italy, re-married there and now has two
which the CA denied.
children by her second marriage and no longer
communicated with her children by Manuel Petitioner, thus, filed the instant petition for
Ramos nor with her in-laws from the time she review on certiorari.
left up to the institution of the adoption.
That the minors are being financially supported
(a) whether the petitioner is entitled to adopt
by the petitioner and her children, and relatives
the minors without the written consent of their
abroad; as Maria passed away on November 23,
biological mother, Amelia Ramos;
2000, petitioner desires to adopt the children;
the minors have given their written consent[8] to (b) whether or not the affidavit of consent
the adoption; she is qualified to adopt as shown purportedly executed by the petitioner-
by the fact that she is a 57-year-old widow, has adopters children sufficiently complies with the
children of her own who are already married, law; and
gainfully employed and have their respective
families; she lives alone in her own home in (c) whether or not petitioner is financially
Guam, USA, where she acquired citizenship, and capable of supporting the adoptees.
works as a restaurant server. She came back to
the Philippines to spend time with the minors;
her children gave their written consent[9] to the Ruling:
adoption of the minors. Petitioners brother, The petition is denied for lack of merit.
Mariano Ramos, who earns substantial income,
signified his willingness and commitment to Section 9 of Republic Act No. 8552, otherwise
support the minors while in petitioners custody. known as the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998,
Petitioner prayed that, after due hearing,
judgment be rendered in her favor, as follows: Sec. 9. Whose Consent is Necessary to the
Adoption. - After being properly counseled and
WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed to informed of his/her right to give or withhold
this Honorable Court that after publication and his/her approval of the adoption, the written
hearing, judgment be rendered allowing the consent of the following to the adoption is
adoption of the minor children Elaine Dizon hereby required:
Ramos, Elma Dizon Ramos, and Eugene Dizon
Ramos by the petitioner, and ordering that the
minor childrens name follow the family name of
(a) The adoptee, if ten (10) years of age or
(b) The biological parent(s) of the child, if is no longer supporting her legitimate children,
known, or the legal guardian, or the proper as the latter are already adults, have individual
government instrumentality which has legal lives and families. At the time of the filing of the
custody of the child; petition, petitioner was 57 years old, employed
on a part-time basis as a waitress, earning $5.15
(c) The legitimate and adopted
an hour and tips of around $1,000 a
sons/daughters, ten (10) years of age or over, of
month. Petitioners main intention in adopting
the adopter(s) and adoptee, if any;
the children is to bring the latter
(d) The illegitimate sons/daughters, ten (10) to Guam, USA. She has a house at Quitugua
years of age or over, of the adopter, if living Subdivision in Yigo, Guam, but the same is still
with said adopter and the latters spouse, if any; being amortized. Petitioner likewise knows that
the limited income might be a hindrance to the
(e) The spouse, if any, of the person adopting adoption proceedings.
or to be adopted.
Given these limited facts, it is indeed doubtful
The general requirement of consent and notice whether petitioner will be able to sufficiently
to the natural parents is intended to protect the handle the financial aspect of rearing the three
natural parental relationship from unwarranted children in the US. She only has a part-time job,
interference by interlopers, and to insure the and she is rather of age. While petitioner claims
opportunity to safeguard the best interests of that she has the financial support and backing
the child in the manner of the proposed of her children and siblings, the OSG is correct
adoption.[32] in stating that the ability to support the
Clearly, the written consent of the biological adoptees is personal to the adopter, as
parents is indispensable for the validity of a adoption only creates a legal relation between
decree of adoption. Indeed, the natural right of the former and the latter. Moreover, the
a parent to his child requires that his consent records do not prove nor support petitioners
must be obtained before his parental rights and allegation that her siblings and her children are
duties may be terminated and re-established in financially able and that they are willing to
adoptive parents. In this case, petitioner failed support the minors herein. The Court,
to submit the written consent of Amelia Ramos therefore, again sustains the ruling of the CA on
to the adoption. this issue.

As the alleged written consent of petitioners

legitimate children did not comply with the
afore-cited law, the same can at best be treated
by the Rules as a private document whose
authenticity must be proved either by anyone
who saw the document executed or written; or
by evidence of the genuineness of the signature
or handwriting of the makers.[47]

Since, in the instant case, no further proof was

introduced by petitioner to authenticate the
written consent of her legitimate children, the
same is inadmissible in evidence.

In reversing the ruling of the RTC, the CA ruled

that petitioner was not stable enough to
support the children and is only relying on the
financial backing, support and commitment of
her children and her siblings.

According to the Adoption Home Study

Report[49] forwarded by the Department of
Public Health & Social Services of the
Government of Guam to the DSWD, petitioner
On April 20, 2001, petitioner filed a motion for
HONORATO B. CATINDIG, petitioner. clarification and/or reconsideration[5] praying
that Stephanie should be allowed to use the
The facts:
surname of her natural mother (GARCIA) as her
Honorato B. Catindig, herein petitioner, filed a middle name.
petition[1] to adopt his minor illegitimate
On May 28, 2001,[6] the trial court denied
child Stephanie Nathy Astorga Garcia. He
petitioners motion for reconsideration holding
alleged therein, among others, that Stephanie
that there is no law or jurisprudence allowing
was born on June 26, 1994;[2] that her mother
an adopted child to use the surname of his
is Gemma Astorga Garcia; that Stephanie has
biological mother as his middle name.
been using her mothers middle name and
surname; and that he is now a widower and Hence, the present petition raising the issue of
qualified to be her adopting parent. He prayed whether an illegitimate child may use the
that Stephanies middle name Astorga be surname of her mother as her middle name
changed to Garcia, her mothers surname, and when she is subsequently adopted by her
that her surname Garcia be changed natural father.
to Catindig, his surname.
Petitioner submits that the trial court erred in
The trial court rendered the assailed Decision depriving Stephanie of a middle name as a
granting the adoption. consequence of adoption because: (1) there is
no law prohibiting an adopted child from having
After a careful consideration of the evidence
a middle name in case there is only one
presented by the petitioner, and in the absence
adopting parent; (2) it is customary for every
of any opposition to the petition, this Court
Filipino to have as middle name the surname of
finds that the petitioner possesses all the
the mother; (3) the middle name or initial is a
qualifications and none of the disqualification
part of the name of a person; (4) adoption is for
provided for by law as an adoptive parent, and
the benefit and best interest of the adopted
that as such he is qualified to maintain, care for
child, hence, her right to bear a proper name
and educate the child to be adopted; that the
should not be violated; (5) permitting Stephanie
grant of this petition would redound to the best
to use the middle name Garcia (her mothers
interest and welfare of the minor Stephanie
surname) avoids the stigma of her illegitimacy;
Nathy Astorga Garcia. The Court further holds
and; (6) her continued use of Garcia as her
that the petitioners care and custody of the
middle name is not opposed by either the
child since her birth up to the present
Catindig or Garcia families.
constitute more than enough compliance with
the requirement of Article 35 of Presidential The Republic, through the Office of the Solicitor
Decree No. 603. General (OSG), agrees with petitioner that
Stephanie should be permitted to use, as her
WHEREFORE, finding the petition to be
middle name, the surname of her natural
meritorious, the same is GRANTED. Henceforth,
mother for the following reasons:
Stephanie Nathy Astorga Garcia is hereby freed
from all obligations of obedience and First, it is necessary to preserve and maintain
maintenance with respect to her natural Stephanies filiation with her natural mother
mother, and for civil purposes, shall henceforth because under Article 189 of the Family Code,
be the petitioners legitimate child and legal she remains to be an intestate heir of the latter.
heir. Pursuant to Article 189 of the Family Code Thus, to prevent any confusion and needless
of the Philippines, the minor shall be known as hardship in the future, her relationship or proof
STEPHANIE NATHY CATINDIG. of that relationship with her natural mother
should be maintained.
Upon finality of this Decision, let the same be
entered in the Local Civil Registrar concerned Second, there is no law expressly prohibiting
pursuant to Rule 99 of the Rules of Court. Stephanie to use the surname of her natural
mother as her middle name. What the law does
Let copy of this Decision be furnished the
not prohibit, it allows.
National Statistics Office for record purposes.
Last, it is customary for every Filipino to have a Art. 370. A married woman may use:
middle name, which is ordinarily the surname of
(1) Her maiden first name and surname and add
the mother. This custom has been recognized
her husband's surname, or
by the Civil Code and Family Code. In fact, the
Family Law Committees agreed that the initial (2) Her maiden first name and her husband's
or surname of the mother should immediately surname or
precede the surname of the father so that the
second name, if any, will be before the surname (3) Her husband's full name, but prefixing a
of the mother.[7] word indicating that she is his wife, such as Mrs.

We find merit in the petition. Art. 371. In case of annulment of marriage, and
the wife is the guilty party, she shall resume her
Use Of Surname Is Fixed By Law maiden name and surname. If she is the
innocent spouse, she may resume her maiden
For all practical and legal purposes, a man's
name and surname. However, she may choose
name is the designation by which he is known
to continue employing her former husband's
and called in the community in which he lives
surname, unless:
and is best known. It is defined as the word or
combination of words by which a person is (1) The court decrees otherwise, or
distinguished from other individuals and, also,
as the label or appellation which he bears for (2) She or the former husband is married again
the convenience of the world at large to another person.
addressing him, or in speaking of or dealing Art. 372. When legal separation has been
with him.[8] It is both of personal as well as granted, the wife shall continue using her name
public interest that every person must have a and surname employed before the legal
name. separation.
The name of an individual has two parts: (1) Art. 373. A widow may use the deceased
the given or proper name and (2) the surname husband's surname as though he were still
or family name. The given or proper name is living, in accordance with Article 370.
that which is given to the individual at birth or
at baptism, to distinguish him from other Art. 374. In case of identity of names
individuals. The surname or family name is that and surnames, the younger person shall be
which identifies the family to which he belongs obliged to use such additional name or surname
and is continued from parent to child. The given as will avoid confusion.
name may be freely selected by the parents for Art. 375. In case of identity of names and
the child, but the surname to which the child is surnames between ascendants and
entitled is fixed by law.[9] descendants, the word Junior can be used only
Thus, Articles 364 to 380 of the Civil Code by a son. Grandsons and other direct male
provides the substantive rules which regulate descendants shall either:
the use of surname[10] of an individual whatever (1) Add a middle name or the mother's
may be his status in life, i.e., whether he may be surname,
legitimate or illegitimate, an adopted child, a
married woman or a previously married (2) Add the Roman numerals II, III, and so on.
woman, or a widow, thus:
Art. 364. Legitimate and legitimated children
Law Is Silent As To The Use Of
shall principally use the surname of the father.
Middle Name
Art. 365. An adopted child shall bear
the surname of the adopter. As correctly submitted by both parties, there is
no law regulating the use of a middle name.
Even Article 176[11] of the Family Code, as
Art. 369. Children conceived before the decree amended by Republic Act No. 9255, otherwise
annulling a voidable marriage shall principally known as An Act Allowing Illegitimate Children
use the surname of the father.
To Use The Surname Of Their Father, is silent as Prof. Baviera remarked that Justice Caguioas
to what middle name a child may use. point is covered by the present Article 364,
which reads:
The middle name or the mothers surname is
only considered in Article 375(1), quoted above, Legitimate and legitimated children shall
in case there is identity of names and surnames principally use the surname of the father.
between ascendants and descendants, in which
Justice Puno pointed out that many names
case, the middle name or the mothers surname
change through no choice of the person himself
shall be added.
precisely because of this misunderstanding. He
Notably, the law is likewise silent as to what then cited the following example: Alfonso
middle name an adoptee may use. Article 365 Ponce Enriles correct surname is Ponce since
of the Civil Code merely provides that an the mothers surname is Enrile but everybody
adopted child shall bear the surname of the calls him Atty. Enrile. Justice Jose Gutierrez
adopter. Also, Article 189 of the Family Code, Davids family name is Gutierrez and his mothers
enumerating the legal effects of adoption, is surname is David but they all call him Justice
likewise silent on the matter, thus: David.

"(1) For civil purposes, the adopted shall Justice Caguioa suggested that the proposed
be deemed to be a legitimate child of the Article (12) be modified to the effect that it
adopters and both shall acquire the reciprocal shall be mandatory on the child to use the
rights and obligations arising from the surname of the father but he may use the
relationship of parent and child, including surname of the mother by way of an initial or a
the right of the adopted to use the surname of middle name. Prof. Balane stated that they take
the adopters; note of this for inclusion in the Chapter on Use
of Surnames since in the proposed Article (10)
they are just enumerating the rights of
However, as correctly pointed out by the OSG, legitimate children so that the details can be
the members of the Civil Code and Family Law covered in the appropriate chapter.
Committees that drafted the Family
Code recognized the Filipino custom of adding
the surname of the childs mother as his middle Justice Puno remarked that there is logic in the
name. In the Minutes of the Joint Meeting of simplification suggested by Justice Caguioa that
the Civil Code and Family Law Committees, the the surname of the father should always be last
members approved the suggestion that the because there are so many traditions like the
initial or surname of the mother should American tradition where they like to use their
immediately precede the surname of the second given name and the Latin tradition,
father, thus which is also followed by the Chinese wherein
they even include the Clan name.
Justice Caguioa commented that there is a
difference between the use by the wife of the xxx
surname and that of the child because the
Justice Puno suggested that they agree in
fathers surname indicates the family to which
principle that in the Chapter on the Use of
he belongs, for which reason he would insist
Surnames, they should say that initial or
on the use of the fathers surname by the child
surname of the mother should immediately
but that, if he wants to, the child may also use
precede the surname of the father so that the
the surname of the mother.
second name, if any, will be before the
Justice Puno posed the question: If the child surname of the mother. Prof. Balane added
chooses to use the surname of the mother, how that this is really the Filipino way. The
will his name be written? Justice Caguioa Committee approved the
replied that it is up to him but that his point is suggestion.[12] (Emphasis supplied)
that it should be mandatory that the child uses
In the case of an adopted child, the law
the surname of the father and permissive in
provides that the adopted shall bear the
the case of the surname of the mother.
surname of the adopters.[13] Again, it is silent
whether he can use a middle name. What it
only expressly allows, as a matter of right and that Article 189(3) of the Family Code and
obligation, is for the adoptee to bear the Section 18[24], Article V of RA 8552 (law on
surname of the adopter, upon issuance of the adoption) provide that the adoptee remains an
decree of adoption.[14] intestate heir of his/her biological parent.
Hence, Stephanie can well assert or claim her
The Underlying Intent of
hereditary rights from her natural mother in the
Adoption Is In Favor of the future.

Adopted Child Moreover, records show that Stephanie and her

mother are living together in the house built by
Adoption is defined as the process of making a petitioner for them at 390 Tumana, San Jose,
child, whether related or not to the adopter, Baliuag, Bulacan. Petitioner provides for all their
possess in general, the rights accorded to a needs. Stephanie is closely attached to both her
legitimate child.[15] It is a juridical act, a mother and father. She calls them Mama and
proceeding in rem which creates between two Papa. Indeed, they are one normal happy
persons a relationship similar to that which family. Hence, to allow Stephanie to use her
results from legitimate paternity and mothers surname as her middle name will not
filiation.[16] The modern trend is to consider only sustain her continued loving relationship
adoption not merely as an act to establish a with her mother but will also eliminate the
relationship of paternity and filiation, but also stigma of her illegitimacy.
as an act which endows the child with a
legitimate status.[17] This was, indeed, Liberal Construction of
confirmed in 1989, when the Philippines, as
Adoption Statutes In Favor Of
a State Party to the Convention of the Rights of
the Child initiated by the United Nations, Adoption
accepted the principle that adoption is
It is a settled rule that adoption statutes, being
impressed with social and moral responsibility,
humane and salutary, should be liberally
and that its underlying intent is geared to favor
construed to carry out the beneficent purposes
the adopted child.[18] Republic Act No. 8552,
of adoption.[25] The interests and welfare of the
otherwise known as the Domestic Adoption Act
adopted child are of primary and paramount
of 1998,[19] secures these rights and privileges
consideration,[26] hence, every reasonable
for the adopted.[20]
intendment should be sustained to promote
One of the effects of adoption is that the and fulfill these noble and compassionate
adopted is deemed to be a legitimate child of objectives of the law.[27]
the adopter for all intents and purposes
Lastly, Art. 10 of the New Civil Code provides
pursuant to Article 189[21] of the Family Code
and Section 17[22] Article V of RA 8552.[23]
In case of doubt in the interpretation or
Being a legitimate child by virtue of her
application of laws, it is presumed that the
adoption, it follows that Stephanie is entitled
lawmaking body intended right and justice to
to all the rights provided by law to a legitimate
child without discrimination of any kind,
including the right to bear the surname of her This provision, according to the Code
father and her mother, as discussed above. Commission, is necessary so that it may tip the
This is consistent with the intention of the scales in favor of right and justice when the law
members of the Civil Code and Family Law is doubtful or obscure. It will strengthen the
Committees as earlier discussed. In fact, it is a determination of the courts to avoid an
Filipino custom that the initial or surname of injustice which may apparently be authorized
the mother should immediately precede the by some way of interpreting the law.[28]
surname of the father.
Hence, since there is no law prohibiting
Additionally, as aptly stated by both parties, an illegitimate child adopted by her natural
Stephanies continued use of her mothers father, like Stephanie, to use, as middle name
surname (Garcia) as her middle name will her mothers surname, we find no reason why
maintain her maternal lineage. It is to be noted she should not be allowed to do so.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The xxxxxxxxx
assailed Decision is partly MODIFIED in the
10. That respondent continued using his
sense that Stephanie should be allowed to use
surname Sibulo to the utter disregard of the
her mothers surname GARCIA as her middle
feelings of herein petitioner, and his records
with the Professional Regulation Commission
Let the corresponding entry of her correct and showed his name as Jose Melvin M. Sibulo
complete name be entered in the decree of originally issued in 1978 until the present, and
adoption. in all his dealings and activities in connection
with his practice of his profession, he is Jose
Melvin M. Sibulo.
ISABELITA S. LAHOM, petitioner, vs. JOSE
MELVIN SIBULO (previously referred to as DR.
MELVIN S. LAHOM), respondent. 13. That herein petitioner being a widow, and
living alone in this city with only her household
helps to attend to her, has yearned for the care
VITUG, J.: and show of concern from a son, but
respondent remained indifferent and would
The bliss of marriage and family would be to only come to Naga to see her once a year.
most less than complete without children. The
realization could have likely prodded the 14. That for the last three or four years, the
spouses Dr. Diosdado Lahom and Isabelita medical check-up of petitioner in Manila
Lahom to take into their care Isabelitas nephew became more frequent in view of a leg ailment,
Jose Melvin Sibulo and to bring him up as their and those were the times when petitioner
own. At the tender age of two, Jose Melvin would need most the care and support from a
enjoyed the warmth, love and support of the love one, but respondent all the more remained
couple who treated the child like their callous and utterly indifferent towards
own. Indeed, for years, Dr. and Mrs. Lahom petitioner which is not expected of a son.
fancied on legally adopting Jose Melvin. Finally,
15. That herein respondent has recently been
in 1971, the couple decided to file a petition for
jealous of petitioners nephews and nieces
adoption. On 05 May 1972, an order granting
whenever they would find time to visit her,
the petition was issued that made all the more
respondent alleging that they were only
intense than before the feeling of affection of
motivated by their desire for some material
the spouses for Melvin. In keeping with the
benefits from petitioner.
court order, the Civil Registrar of Naga City
changed the name Jose Melvin Sibulo to Jose 16. That in view of respondents insensible
Melvin Lahom. attitude resulting in a strained and
uncomfortable relationship between him and
A sad turn of events came many years
petitioner, the latter has suffered wounded
later. Eventually, in December of 1999, Mrs.
feelings, knowing that after all respondents only
Lahom commenced a petition to rescind the
motive to his adoption is his expectancy of his
decree of adoption before the Regional Trial
alleged rights over the properties of herein
Court (RTC), Branch 22, of Naga City. In her
petitioner and her late husband, clearly shown
petition, she averred -
by his recent filing of Civil Case No. 99-4463 for
7. That x x x despite the proddings and partition against petitioner, thereby totally
pleadings of said spouses, respondent refused eroding her love and affection towards
to change his surname from Sibulo to Lahom, to respondent, rendering the decree of adoption,
the frustrations of petitioner particularly her considering respondent to be the child of
husband until the latter died, and even before petitioner, for all legal purposes, has been
his death he had made known his desire to negated for which reason there is no more basis
revoke respondents adoption, but was for its existence, hence this petition for
prevented by petitioners supplication, however revocation.[1]
with his further request upon petitioner to give
Prior to the institution of the case, specifically
to charity whatever properties or interest may
on 22 March 1998, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8552,
pertain to respondent in the future.
also known as the Domestic Adoption Act, went complaint (De Jesus, et al. vs. Belarmino, et al.,
into effect. The new statute deleted from the 95 Phil. 365).
law the right of adopters to rescind a decree of
Admittedly, Section 19, Article VI of R.A. No.
8552 deleted the right of an adopter to rescind
Section 19 of Article VI of R.A. No. 8552 now an adoption earlier granted under the Family
reads: Code. Conformably, on the face of the petition,
indeed there is lack of cause of action.
SEC. 19. Grounds for Rescission of
Adoption. Upon petition of the adoptee, with Petitioner however, insists that her right to
the assistance of the Department if a minor or if rescind long acquired under the provisions of
over eighteen (18) years of age but is the Family Code should be respected. Assuming
incapacitated, as guardian/counsel, the for the sake of argument, that petitioner is
adoption may be rescinded on any of the entitled to rescind the adoption of respondent
following grounds committed by the adopter(s): granted on May 5, 1972, said right should have
(a) repeated physical and verbal maltreatment been exercised within the period allowed by the
by the adopter(s) despite having undergone Rules. From the averments in the petition, it
counseling; (b) attempt on the life of the appears clear that the legal grounds for the
adoptee; (c) sexual assault or violence; or (d) petition have been discovered and known to
abandonment and failure to comply with petitioner for more than five (5) years, prior to
parental obligations. the filing of the instant petition on December 1,
1999, hence, the action if any, had already
Adoption, being in the best interest of the
prescribed. (Sec. 5, Rule 100 Revised Rules of
child, shall not be subject to rescission by the
adopter(s). However, the adopter(s) may
disinherit the adoptee for causes provided in WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing
Article 919 of the Civil Code. (emphasis consideration, the petition is ordered
supplied) dismissed.[4]

Jose Melvin moved for the dismissal of the Via a petition for review on certiorari under
petition, contending principally (a) that the trial Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Court, petitioner
court had no jurisdiction over the case and (b) raises the following questions; viz:
that the petitioner had no cause of action in
1. May the subject adoption, decreed on 05
view of the aforequoted provisions of R.A. No.
May 1972, still be revoked or rescinded by an
8552. Petitioner asseverated, by way of
adopter after the effectivity of R.A. No. 8552?
opposition, that the proscription in R.A. No.
8552 should not retroactively apply, i.e., to 2. In the affirmative, has the adopters action
cases where the ground for rescission of the prescribed?
adoption vested under the regime of then
Article 348[2] of the Civil Code and Article A brief background on the law and its origins
192[3] of the Family Code. could provide some insights on the subject. In
ancient times, the Romans undertook adoption
In an order, dated 28 April 2000, the trial court to assure male heirs in the family.[5] The
held thusly: continuity of the adopters family was the
primary purpose of adoption and all matters
On the issue of jurisdiction over the subject
relating to it basically focused on the rights of
matter of the suit, Section 5(c) of R.A. No. 8369
the adopter. There was hardly any mention
confers jurisdiction to this Court, having been
about the rights of the adopted.[6] Countries,
designated Family Court in A.M. No. 99-11-07
like Greece, France, Spain and England, in an
effort to preserve inheritance within the family,
On the matter of no cause of action, the test on neither allowed nor recognized adoption.[7] It
the sufficiency of the facts alleged in the was only much later when adoption was given
complaint, is whether or not, admitting the an impetus in law and still later when the
facts alleged, the Court could render a valid welfare of the child became a paramount
judgment in accordance with the prayer of said concern.[8] Spain itself which previously
disfavored adoption ultimately relented and
accepted the Roman law concept of adoption In Republic vs. Court of Appeals,[20] a petition to
which, subsequently, was to find its way to the adopt Jason Condat was filed by Zenaida C.
archipelago. The Americans came and Bobiles on 02 February 1988 when the Child
introduced their own ideas on adoption which, and Youth Welfare Code (Presidential Decree
unlike most countries in Europe, made the No. 603) allowed an adoption to be sought
interests of the child an overriding by either spouse or both of them. After the trial
consideration.[9] In the early part of the century court had rendered its decision and while the
just passed, the rights of children invited case was still pending on appeal, the Family
universal attention; the Geneva Declaration of Code of the Philippines (Executive Order No.
Rights of the Child of 1924 and the Universal 209), mandating joint adoption by the husband
Declaration of Human Rights of and wife, took effect. Petitioner Republic
1948, followed by the United Nations argued that the case should be dismissed for
Declarations of the Rights of the Child,[11]were having been filed by Mrs. Bobiles alone and
written instruments that would also protect and without being joined by the husband. The Court
safeguard the rights of adopted children. The concluded that the jurisdiction of the court is
Civil Code of the Philippines[12] of 1950 on determined by the statute in force at the time
adoption, later modified by the Child and Youth of the commencement of the
Welfare Code[13] and then by the Family Code of action. The petition to adopt Jason, having
the Philippines,[14] gave immediate statutory been filed with the court at the time when P.D.
acknowledgment to the rights of the No. 603 was still in effect, the right of Mrs.
adopted. In 1989, the United Nations initiated Bobiles to file the petition, without being joined
the Convention of the Rights of the Child. The by her husband, according to the Court had
Philippines, a State Party to the Convention, become vested. In Republic vs.
accepted the principle that adoption was Miller,[21] spouses Claude and Jumrus Miller,
impressed with social and moral responsibility, both aliens, sought to adopt Michael
and that its underlying intent was geared to Madayag. On 29 July 1988, the couple filed a
favor the adopted child. R.A. No. 8552 secured petition to formalize Michaels adoption having
these rights and privileges for the theretofore been taken into their care. At the
adopted. Most importantly, it affirmed the time the action was commenced, P.D. No. 603
legitimate status of the adopted child, not only allowed aliens to adopt. After the decree of
in his new family but also in the society as adoption and while on appeal before the Court
well. The new law withdrew the right of an of Appeals, the Family Code was enacted into
adopter to rescind the adoption decree and law on 08 August 1988 disqualifying aliens from
gave to the adopted child the sole right to sever adopting Filipino children. The Republic then
the legal ties created by adoption. prayed for the withdrawal of the adoption
decree. In discarding the argument posed by
Petitioner, however, would insist that R.A. No.
the Republic, the Supreme Court ruled that the
8552 should not adversely affect her right to
controversy should be resolved in the light of
annul the adoption decree, nor deprive the trial
the law governing at the time the petition was
court of its jurisdiction to hear the case, both
being vested under the Civil Code and the
Family Code, the laws then in force. It was months after the effectivity of R.A. No.
8552 that herein petitioner filed an action to
The concept of vested right is a consequence of
revoke the decree of adoption granted in
the constitutional guaranty of due
1975. By then, the new law,[22] had already
process that expresses a present fixed
abrogated and repealed the right of an adopter
interest which in right reason and natural
under the Civil Code and the Family Code to
justice is protected against arbitrary state
rescind a decree of adoption. Consistently with
action;[16] it includes not only legal or equitable
its earlier pronouncements, the Court should
title to the enforcement of a demand but also
now hold that the action for rescission of the
exemptions from new obligations created after
adoption decree, having been initiated by
the right has become vested.[17] Rights are
petitioner after R.A. No. 8552 had come into
considered vested when the right to enjoyment
force, no longer could be pursued.
is a present interest,[18] absolute, unconditional,
and perfect[19] or fixed and irrefutable.
Interestingly, even before the passage of the x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
statute, an action to set aside the adoption is
subject to the fiveyear bar rule under Rule
100[23] of the Rules of Court and that the
adopter would lose the right to revoke the MONINA P. LIM, Petitioner.
adoption decree after the lapse of that
period. The exercise of the right within a DECISION
prescriptive period is a condition that could not CARPIO, J.:
fulfill the requirements of a vested right entitled
to protection. It must also be acknowledged The Case
that a person has no vested right in statutory This is a petition for review on certiorari filed by
privileges.[24] While adoption has often been Monina P. Lim (petitioner) seeking to set aside
referred to in the context of a right, the the Decision1dated 15 September 2004 of the
privilege to adopt is itself not naturally innate or Regional Trial Court, General Santos City,
fundamental but rather a right merely created Branch 22 (trial court), in SPL. PROC. Case Nos.
by statute.[25] It is a privilege that is governed by 1258 and 1259, which dismissed without
the states determination on what it may deem prejudice the consolidated petitions for
to be for the best interest and welfare of the adoption of Michelle P. Lim and Michael Jude P.
child.[26] Matters relating to adoption, including Lim.
the withdrawal of the right of an adopter to
nullify the adoption decree, are subject to The Facts
regulation by the State.[27] Concomitantly,
The following facts are undisputed. Petitioner is
a right of action given by statute may be taken
an optometrist by profession. On 23 June 1974,
away at anytime before it has been
she married Primo Lim (Lim). They were
childless. Minor children, whose parents were
While R.A. No. 8552 has unqualifiedly unknown, were entrusted to them by a certain
withdrawn from an adopter a consequential Lucia Ayuban (Ayuban). Being so eager to have
right to rescind the adoption decree even in a child of their own, petitioner and Lim
cases where the adoption might clearly turn out registered the children to make it appear that
to be undesirable, it remains, nevertheless, the they were the childrens parents. The
bounden duty of the Court to apply the children2 were named Michelle P. Lim
law. Dura lex sed lex would be the hackneyed (Michelle) and Michael Jude P. Lim (Michael).
truism that those caught in the law have to live Michelle was barely eleven days old when
with. It is still noteworthy, however, that an brought to the clinic of petitioner. She was born
adopter, while barred from severing the legal on 15 March 1977.3 Michael was 11 days old
ties of adoption, can always for valid reasons when Ayuban brought him to petitioners clinic.
cause the forfeiture of certain benefits His date of birth is 1 August 1983.4
otherwise accruing to an undeserving child. For
The spouses reared and cared for the children
instance, upon the grounds recognized by law,
as if they were their own. They sent the
an adopter may deny to an adopted child his
children to exclusive schools. They used the
legitime and, by a will and testament, may
surname "Lim" in all their school records and
freely exclude him from having a share in the
documents. Unfortunately, on 28 November
disposable portion of his estate.
1998, Lim died. On 27 December 2000,
WHEREFORE, the assailed judgment of the petitioner married Angel Olario (Olario), an
court a quo is AFFIRMED. No costs. American citizen.

SO ORDERED. Thereafter, petitioner decided to adopt the

children by availing of the amnesty5 given under
G.R. Nos. 168992-93 May 21, 2009 Republic Act No. 85526 (RA 8552) to those
IN RE: PETITION FOR ADOPTION OF MICHELLE individuals who simulated the birth of a child.
P. LIM, Thus, on 24 April 2002, petitioner filed separate
petitions for the adoption of Michelle and
MONINA P. LIM, Petitioner. Michael before the trial court docketed as SPL
PROC. Case Nos. 1258 and 1259, respectively.
At the time of the filing of the petitions for Petitioner appealed directly to this Court raising
adoption, Michelle was 25 years old and already the sole issue of whether or not petitioner, who
married, while Michael was 18 years and seven has remarried, can singly adopt.
months old.
The Courts Ruling
Michelle and her husband gave their consent to
Petitioner contends that the rule on joint
the adoption as evidenced by their Affidavits of
adoption must be relaxed because it is the duty
Consent.7Michael also gave his consent to his
of the court and the State to protect the
adoption as shown in his Affidavit of
paramount interest and welfare of the child to
Consent.8 Petitioners husband Olario likewise
be adopted. Petitioner argues that the legal
executed an Affidavit of Consent9 for the
maxim "dura lex sed lex" is not applicable to
adoption of Michelle and Michael.
adoption cases. She argues that joint parental
In the Certification issued by the Department of authority is not necessary in this case since, at
Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the time the petitions were filed, Michelle was
Michelle was considered as an abandoned child 25 years old and already married, while Michael
and the whereabouts of her natural parents was already 18 years of age. Parental authority
were unknown.10 The DSWD issued a similar is not anymore necessary since they have been
Certification for Michael.11 emancipated having attained the age of
The Ruling of the Trial Court
We deny the petition.
On 15 September 2004, the trial court rendered
judgment dismissing the petitions. The trial Joint Adoption by Husband and Wife
court ruled that since petitioner had remarried,
It is undisputed that, at the time the petitions
petitioner should have filed the petition jointly
for adoption were filed, petitioner had already
with her new husband. The trial court ruled that
remarried. She filed the petitions by herself,
joint adoption by the husband and the wife is
without being joined by her husband Olario. We
mandatory citing Section 7(c), Article III of RA
have no other recourse but to affirm the trial
8552 and Article 185 of the Family Code.
courts decision denying the petitions for
Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration of adoption. Dura lex sed lex. The law is explicit.
the decision but the motion was denied in the Section 7, Article III of RA 8552 reads:
Order dated 16 June 2005. In denying the
SEC. 7. Who May Adopt. - The following may
motion, the trial court ruled that petitioner did
not fall under any of the exceptions under
Section 7(c), Article III of RA 8552. Petitioners (a) Any Filipino citizen of legal age, in possession
argument that mere consent of her husband of full civil capacity and legal rights, of good
would suffice was untenable because, under moral character, has not been convicted of any
the law, there are additional requirements, such crime involving moral turpitude, emotionally
as residency and certification of his and psychologically capable of caring for
qualification, which the husband, who was not children, at least sixteen (16) years older than
even made a party in this case, must comply. the adoptee, and who is in a position to support
and care for his/her children in keeping with the
As to the argument that the adoptees are
means of the family. The requirement of sixteen
already emancipated and joint adoption is
(16) year difference between the age of the
merely for the joint exercise of parental
adopter and adoptee may be waived when the
authority, the trial court ruled that joint
adopter is the biological parent of the adoptee,
adoption is not only for the purpose of
or is the spouse of the adoptees parent;
exercising parental authority because an
emancipated child acquires certain rights from (b) Any alien possessing the same qualifications
his parents and assumes certain obligations and as above stated for Filipino nationals: Provided,
responsibilities. That his/her country has diplomatic relations
with the Republic of the Philippines, that he/she
Hence, the present petition.
has been living in the Philippines for at least
Issue three (3) continuous years prior to the filing of
the application for adoption and maintains such
residence until the adoption decree is entered, The law is clear. There is no room for ambiguity.
that he/she has been certified by his/her Petitioner, having remarried at the time the
diplomatic or consular office or any appropriate petitions for adoption were filed, must jointly
government agency that he/she has the legal adopt. Since the petitions for adoption were
capacity to adopt in his/her country, and that filed only by petitioner herself, without joining
his/her government allows the adoptee to enter her husband, Olario, the trial court was correct
his/her country as his/her adopted in denying the petitions for adoption on this
son/daughter: Provided, further, That the ground.
requirements on residency and certification of
Neither does petitioner fall under any of the
the aliens qualification to adopt in his/her
three exceptions enumerated in Section 7. First,
country may be waived for the following:
the children to be adopted are not the
(i) a former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a legitimate children of petitioner or of her
relative within the fourth (4th) degree of husband Olario. Second, the children are not
consanguinity or affinity; or the illegitimate children of petitioner. And third,
petitioner and Olario are not legally separated
(ii) one who seeks to adopt the legitimate
from each other.
son/daughter of his/her Filipino spouse; or
The fact that Olario gave his consent to the
(iii) one who is married to a Filipino citizen and
adoption as shown in his Affidavit of Consent
seeks to adopt jointly with his/her spouse a
does not suffice. There are certain
relative within the fourth (4th) degree of
requirements that Olario must comply being an
consanguinity or affinity of the Filipino spouses;
American citizen. He must meet the
qualifications set forth in Section 7 of RA 8552
(c) The guardian with respect to the ward after such as: (1) he must prove that his country has
the termination of the guardianship and diplomatic relations with the Republic of the
clearance of his/her financial accountabilities. Philippines; (2) he must have been living in the
Philippines for at least three continuous years
Husband and wife shall jointly adopt, except in prior to the filing of the application for
the following cases: adoption; (3) he must maintain such residency
(i) if one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate until the adoption decree is entered; (4) he has
son/daughter of the other; or legal capacity to adopt in his own country; and
(5) the adoptee is allowed to enter the
(ii) if one spouse seeks to adopt his/her own adopters country as the latters adopted child.
illegitimate son/daughter: Provided, None of these qualifications were shown and
however, That the other spouse has signified proved during the trial.
his/her consent thereto; or
These requirements on residency and
(iii) if the spouses are legally separated from certification of the aliens qualification to adopt
each other. cannot likewise be waived pursuant to Section
In case husband and wife jointly adopt, or one 7. The children or adoptees are not relatives
spouse adopts the illegitimate son/daughter of within the fourth degree of consanguinity or
the other, joint parental authority shall be affinity of petitioner or of Olario. Neither are
exercised by the spouses. (Emphasis supplied) the adoptees the legitimate children of
The use of the word "shall" in the above-quoted
provision means that joint adoption by the Effects of Adoption
husband and the wife is mandatory. This is in Petitioner contends that joint parental authority
consonance with the concept of joint parental is not anymore necessary since the children
authority over the child which is the ideal have been emancipated having reached the age
situation. As the child to be adopted is elevated of majority. This is untenable.
to the level of a legitimate child, it is but natural
to require the spouses to adopt jointly. The rule Parental authority includes caring for and
also insures harmony between the spouses.12 rearing the children for civic consciousness and
efficiency and the development of their moral,
mental and physical character and well-
being.13 The father and the mother shall jointly choose the name the child is to be known; and
exercise parental authority over the persons of (ii) the right of the adopter and adoptee to be
their common children.14 Even the remarriage legal and compulsory heirs of each
of the surviving parent shall not affect the other.18 Therefore, even if emancipation
parental authority over the children, unless the terminates parental authority, the adoptee is
court appoints another person to be the still considered a legitimate child of the adopter
guardian of the person or property of the with all the rights19 of a legitimate child such as:
children.15 (1) to bear the surname of the father and the
mother; (2) to receive support from their
It is true that when the child reaches the age of
parents; and (3) to be entitled to the legitime
emancipation that is, when he attains the
and other successional rights. Conversely, the
age of majority or 18 years of age16
adoptive parents shall, with respect to the
emancipation terminates parental authority
adopted child, enjoy all the benefits to which
over the person and property of the child, who
biological parents are entitled20 such as
shall then be qualified and responsible for all
support21 and successional rights.22
acts of civil life.17 However, parental authority is
merely just one of the effects of legal adoption. We are mindful of the fact that adoption
Article V of RA 8552 enumerates the effects of statutes, being humane and salutary, hold the
adoption, thus: interests and welfare of the child to be of
paramount consideration. They are designed to
provide homes, parental care and education for
unfortunate, needy or orphaned children and
SEC. 16. Parental Authority. - Except in cases give them the protection of society and family,
where the biological parent is the spouse of the as well as to allow childless couples or persons
adopter, all legal ties between the biological to experience the joys of parenthood and give
parent(s) and the adoptee shall be severed and them legally a child in the person of the
the same shall then be vested on the adopted for the manifestation of their natural
adopter(s). parental instincts. Every reasonable intendment
should be sustained to promote and fulfill these
SEC. 17. Legitimacy. - The adoptee shall be noble and compassionate objectives of the
considered the legitimate son/daughter of the law.23 But, as we have ruled in Republic v.
adopter(s) for all intents and purposes and as Vergara:24
such is entitled to all the rights and obligations
provided by law to legitimate sons/daughters We are not unmindful of the main purpose of
born to them without discrimination of any adoption statutes, which is the promotion of
kind. To this end, the adoptee is entitled to the welfare of the children. Accordingly, the law
love, guidance, and support in keeping with the should be construed liberally, in a manner that
means of the family. will sustain rather than defeat said purpose. The
law must also be applied with compassion,
SEC. 18. Succession. - In legal and intestate understanding and less severity in view of the
succession, the adopter(s) and the adoptee fact that it is intended to provide homes, love,
shall have reciprocal rights of succession care and education for less fortunate children.
without distinction from legitimate filiation. Regrettably, the Court is not in a position to
However, if the adoptee and his/her biological affirm the trial courts decision favoring
parent(s) had left a will, the law on adoption in the case at bar, for the law is clear
testamentary succession shall govern. and it cannot be modified without violating
Adoption has, thus, the following effects: (1) the proscription against judicial
sever all legal ties between the biological legislation. Until such time however, that the
parent(s) and the adoptee, except when the law on the matter is amended, we cannot
biological parent is the spouse of the adopter; sustain the respondent-spouses petition for
(2) deem the adoptee as a legitimate child of adoption. (Emphasis supplied)
the adopter; and (3) give adopter and adoptee Petitioner, being married at the time the
reciprocal rights and obligations arising from petitions for adoption were filed, should have
the relationship of parent and child, including jointly filed the petitions with her husband. We
but not limited to: (i) the right of the adopter to
cannot make our own legislation to suit the petition. The minors, as well as their
petitioner. parents, gave consent to the adoption.

Petitioner, in her Memorandum, insists that On 29 November 1990, the Regional Trial Court
subsequent events would show that joint rendered a decision granting the petition. a
adoption could no longer be possible because petition for Review on Certiorari was filed with
Olario has filed a case for dissolution of his this Court, assailing the trial court's decision.
marriage to petitioner in the Los Angeles This Court referred the case to the Court of
Superior Court. Appeals which, on 09 July 1991, affirmed the
trial court's decision.
We disagree. The filing of a case for dissolution
of the marriage between petitioner and Olario Hence, the present petition. The petitioner
is of no moment. It is not equivalent to a decree assigned a lone error on the part of the
of dissolution of marriage. Until and unless respondent court, thus
there is a judicial decree for the dissolution of
the marriage between petitioner and Olario, the
marriage still subsists. That being the case, joint
adoption by the husband and the wife is
required. We reiterate our ruling above that
since, at the time the petitions for adoption
were filed, petitioner was married to Olario, It is clear that James Anthony Hughes is not
joint adoption is mandatory. qualified to adopt. Executive Order No. 209,
otherwise known as "The Family Code of the
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition.
Philippines," is explicit.
We AFFIRM the Decision dated 15 September
2004 of the Regional Trial Court, General Santos Art. 184. The following persons may not adopt :
City, Branch 22 in SPL. PROC. Case Nos. 1258
and 1259. Costs against petitioner. (1) The guardian with respect to the ward prior
to the approval of the final accounts rendered
SO ORDERED. upon the termination of their guardianship
G.R. No. 100835 October 26, 1993
(2) Any person who has been convicted of a
crime involving moral turpitude;
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and the (3) An alien, except:
LENITA MABUNAY HUGHES, respondents. (a) A former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt
a relative by consanguinity;
The Solicitor General for petitioner.
(b) One who seeks to adopt the legitimate child
Westremundo y. De Guzman for private of his or her Filipino spouse; or
(c) One who is married to a Filipino citizen and
seeks to adopt jointly with his or her Filipino
spouse a relative by consanguinity of the latter.
Aliens not included in the foregoing exceptions
James Anthony Hughes, a natural born citizen of
may adopt Filipino children in accordance with
the United States of America, married Lenita
the rules in inter-country adoption as may be
Mabunay Hughes, a Filipino Citizen, who herself
provided by law.
was later naturalized as a citizen of that
country. On 29 June 1990, the spouses jointly While James Anthony unquestionably is not
filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court of permitted to adopt under any of the
Angeles City, Branch 60, to adopt Ma. Cecilia, exceptional cases enumerated in paragraph (3)
Neil and Maria, all surnamed Mabunay, minor of the aforequoted article, Lenita, however, can
niece and nephews of Lenita, who had been qualify pursuant to paragraph (3)(a). The
living with the couple even prior to the filing of problem in her case lies, instead, with Article
185 of Executive Order No. 209, expressing as It is in the foregoing cases when Article 186 of
follows: the Code, on the subject of parental authority,
can aptly find governance.
Art. 185. Husband and wife must jointly adopt,
except in the following cases: Article 186. In case husband and wife jointly
adopt or one spouse adopts the legitimate child
(1) When one spouse seeks to adopt his own
of the other, joint parental authority shall be
illegitimate child; or
exercised by the spouses in accordance with
(2) When one spouse seeks to adopt the this Code.
legitimate child of the other.
The respondent court, in affirming the grant of
Lenita may not thus adopt alone since Article adoption by the lower court, has theorized that
185 requires a joint adoption by the husband James Anthony should merely be considered a
and the wife, a condition that must be read "nominal or formal party" in the proceedings.
along together with Article 184. This view of the appellate court cannot be
sustained. Adoption creates a status that is
The old law on adoption, Presidential Decree closely assimilated to legitimate paternity and
No. 603 (The Child and Youth Welfare Code), filiation with corresponding rights and duties
exactly adopted that found in then Article 336 that necessarily flow from adoption, such as,
of the Civil Code. Article 29, Section B, Chapter but not necessarily confined to, the exercise of
I, Title II, of the said decree provided : parental authority, use of surname of the
Art. 29. Husband and wife may jointly adopt. In adopter by the adopted, as well as support and
such case, parental authority shall be exercised successional rights. These are matters that
as if the child were their own by nature. obviously cannot be considered inconsequential
to the parties.
Observe that the law then in force used the
word "may" under which regime, a joint We are not unmindful of the possible benefits,
adoption by the spouses was apparently not particularly in this instance, that an adoption
made obligatory. The provision was later can bring not so much for the prospective
amended, however by Executive Order No. 91, adopting parents as for the adopted children
dated 17 December 1986, of President Corazon themselves. We also realize that in proceedings
C. Aquino. The new Article 29 expressed, thus of this nature, paramount consideration is given
to the physical, moral, social and intellectual
welfare of the adopted for whom the law on
Art. 29. Husband and wife may jointly adopt. In adoption has in the first place been designed.
such case, parental authority shall be exercised When, however, the law is clear and no other
as if the child were their own by nature. choice is given, 1 we must obey its full mandate.
If one of the spouses is an alien, both husband Even then, we find it difficult to conclude this
and wife shall jointly adopt. Otherwise, the opinion without having to call the attention of
adoption shall not be allowed. the appropriate agencies concerned to the
As amended by Executive Order 91, Presidential urgency of addressing the issue on inter-
Decree No. 603, had thus made it mandatory country adoption, a matter that evidently is
for both the spouses to jointly adopt when one likewise espoused by the Family Code (Article
of them was an alien. The law was silent when 184, last paragraph, Family Code).
both spouses were of the same nationality. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the
The Family Code has resolved any possible decision of the respondent court is REVERSED
uncertainty. Article 185 thereof now expresses and SET ASIDE. No costs.
the necessity for joint adoption by the spouses SO ORDERED.
except in only two instances
G.R. No. L-34568 March 28, 1988
(1) When one spouse seeks to adopt his own
legitimate child; or RODERICK DAOANG, and ROMMEL DAOANG,
assisted by their father, ROMEO
(2) When one spouse seeks to adopt the DAOANG, petitioners,
legitimate child of the other. vs.
THE MUNICIPAL JUDGE, SAN NICOLAS, ILOCOS province of Ilocos Norte, with editorial offices in
RAMOS-AGONOY, respondents.
On 22 April 1971, the minors Roderick and
Rommel Daoang, assisted by their father and
guardian ad litem, the petitioners herein, filed
an opposition to the aforementioned petition
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the for adoption, claiming that the spouses Antero
decision, dated 30 June 1971, rendered by the and Amanda Agonoy had a legitimate daughter
respondent judge * in Spec. Proc. No. 37 of named Estrella Agonoy, oppositors' mother,
Municipal Court of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, who died on 1 March 1971, and therefore, said
entitled: "In re Adoption of the Minors Quirino spouses were disqualified to adopt under Art.
Bonilla and Wilson Marcos; Antero Agonoy and 335 of the Civil Code. 4
Amanda R. Agonoy, petitioners", the dispositive
After the required publication of notice had
part of which reads, as follows:
been accomplished, evidence was presented.
Wherefore, Court renders judgment declaring Thereafter, the Municipal Court of San Nicolas,
that henceforth Quirino Bonilla and Wilson Ilocos Norte rendred its decision, granting the
Marcos be, to all legitimate intents and petition for adoption. 5
purposes, the children by adoption of the joint
Hence, the present recourse by the petitioners
petitioners Antero Agonoy and Amanda R.
(oppositors in the lower court).
Agonoy and that the former be freed from legal
obedience and maintenance by their respective The sole issue for consideration is one of law
parents, Miguel Bonilla and Laureana Agonoy and it is whether or not the respondent spouses
for Quirino Bonilla and Modesto Marcos and Antero Agonoy and Amanda Ramos-Agonoy are
Benjamina Gonzales for Wilson Marcos and disqualified to adopt under paragraph (1), Art.
their family names 'Bonilla' and 'Marcos' be 335 of the Civil Code.
changed with "Agonoy", which is the family
The pertinent provision of law reads, as follows:
name of the petitioners.
Art. 335. The following cannot adopt:
Successional rights of the children and that of
their adopting parents shall be governed by the (1) Those who have legitimate, legitimated,
pertinent provisions of the New Civil Code. acknowledged natural children, or children by
legal fiction;
Let copy of this decision be furnished and
entered into the records of the Local Civil xxx xxx xxx
Registry of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, for its legal
effects at the expense of the petitioners. 1 In overruling the opposition of the herein
petitioners, the respondents judge held that "to
The undisputed facts of the case are as follows: add grandchildren in this article where no
grandchil is included would violate to (sic) the
On 23 March 1971, the respondent spouses
legal maxim that what is expressly included
Antero and Amanda Agonoy filed a petition
would naturally exclude what is not included".
with the Municipal Court of San Nicolas, Ilocos
Norte, seeking the adoption of the minors But, it is contended by the petitioners, citing the
Quirino Bonilla and Wilson Marcos. The case, case of In re Adoption of Millendez, 6 that the
entitled: "In re Adoption of the Minors Quirino adoption of Quirino Bonilla and Wilson Marcos
Bonilla and Wilson Marcos, Antero Agonoy and would not only introduce a foreign element into
Amanda Ramos-Agonoy, petitioners", was the family unit, but would result in the
docketed therein as Spec. Proc. No. 37. 2 reduction of their legititimes. It would also
produce an indirect, permanent and irrevocable
The petition was set for hearing on 24 April
disinheritance which is contrary to the policy of
1971 and notices thereof were caused to be
the law that a subsequent reconciliation
served upon the office of the Solicitor General
between the offender and the offended person
and ordered published in the ILOCOS TIMES, a
deprives the latter of the right to disinherit and
weekly newspaper of general circulation in the
renders ineffectual any disinheritance that may
have been made.
We find, however, that the words used in SO ORDERED.
paragraph (1) of Art. 335 of the Civil Code, in
VICENTE B. TEOTICO, petitioner-appellant,
enumerating the persons who cannot adopt,
are clear and unambiguous. The children
ANA DEL VAL, ETC., oppositor-appellant.
mentioned therein have a clearly defined
meaning in law and, as pointed out by the Antonio Gonzales for petitioner-appellant.
respondent judge, do not include J.C. Zulueta, G. D. David and N. J. Quisumbing
grandchildren. for oppositor-appellant.
Well known is the rule of statutory construction BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:
to the effect that a statute clear and
unambiguous on its face need not be Maria Mortera y Balsalobre Vda. de Aguirre
interpreted; stated otherwise, the rule is that died on July 14, 1955 in the City of Manila
only statutes with an ambiguous or doubtful leaving properties worth P600,000.00. She left a
meaning may be the subject of statutory will written in Spanish which she executed at
construction. 7 her residence at No. 2 Legarda St., Quiapo,
Manila. She affixed her signature at the bottom
Besides, it appears that the legislator, in of the will and on the left margin of each and
enacting the Civil Code of the Philippines, every page thereof in the presence of Pilar
obviously intended that only those persons who Borja, Pilar C. Sanchez, and Modesto Formilleza,
have certain classes of children, are disqualified who in turn affixed their signatures below the
to adopt. The Civil Code of Spain, which was attestation clause and on the left margin of
once in force in the Philippines, and which each and every page of the will in the presence
served as the pattern for the Civil Code of the of the testatrix and of each other. Said will was
Philippines, in its Article 174, disqualified acknowledged before Notary Public Niceforo S.
persons who have legitimate or Agaton by the testatrix and her witnesses.
legitimated descendants from adopting. Under
this article, the spouses Antero and Amanda In said will the testatrix made the following
Agonoy would have been disqualified to adopt preliminary statement: that she was possessed
as they have legitimate grandchildren, the of the full use of her mental faculties; that she
petitioners herein. But, when the Civil Code of was free from illegal pressure or influence of
the Philippines was adopted, the word any kind from the beneficiaries of the will and
"descendants" was changed to "children", in from any influence of fear or threat; that she
paragraph (1) of Article 335. freely and spontaneously executed said will and
that she had neither ascendants nor
Adoption used to be for the benefit of the descendants of any kind such that she could
adoptor. It was intended to afford to persons freely dispose of all her estate.
who have no child of their own the consolation
of having one, by creating through legal fiction, Among the many legacies and devises made in
the relation of paternity and filiation where the will was one of P20,000.00 to Rene A.
none exists by blood relationship. 8 The present Teotico, married to the testatrix's niece named
tendency, however, is geared more towards the Josefina Mortera. To said spouses the testatrix
promotion of the welfare of the child and the left the usufruct of her interest in the Calvo
enhancement of his opportunities for a useful building, while the naked ownership thereof
and happy life, and every intendment is she left in equal parts to her grandchildren who
sustained to promote that objective. 9 Under are the legitimate children of said spouses. The
the law now in force, having legitimate, testatrix also instituted Josefina Mortera as her
legitimated, acknowledged natural children, or sole and universal heir to all the remainder of
children by legal fiction, is no longer a ground her properties not otherwise disposed of in the
for disqualification to adopt. 10 will.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The On July 17, 1955, Vicente B. Teotico filed a
judgment of the Municipal Court of San Nicolas, petition for the probate of the will before the
Ilocos Norte in Spec. Proc. No. 37 is AFFIRMED. Court of First Instance of Manila which was set
Without pronouncement as to costs in this for hearing on September 3, 1955 after the
requisite publication and service to all parties former from that portion which nullifies the
concerned. legacy in favor of Dr. Rene Teotico and declares
the vacated portion as subject of succession in
Ana del Val Chan, claiming to be an adopted
favor of the legal heirs, and the latter from that
child of Francisca Mortera, a deceased sister of
portion which admits the will to probate. And in
the testatrix, as well as an acknowledged
this instance both petitioner and oppositor
natural child of Jose Mortera, a deceased
assign several errors which, stripped of non-
brother of the same testatrix, filed on
essentials, may be boiled down to the following:
September 2, 1955 an opposition to the
(1) Has oppositor Ana del Val Chan the right to
probate of the will alleging the following
intervene in this proceeding?; (2) Has the will in
grounds: (1) said will was not executed as
question been duly admitted to probate?; (3)
required by law; (2) the testatrix was physically
Did the probate court commit an error in
and mentally incapable to execute the will at
passing on the intrinsic validity of the provisions
the time of its execution; and (3) the will was
of the will and in determining who should
executed under duress, threat or influence of
inherit the portion to be vacated by the
nullification of the legacy made in favor of Dr.
Vicente B. Teotico, filed a motion to dismiss the Rene Teotico?
opposition alleging that the oppositor had no
These issues will be discussed separately.
legal personality to intervene. The probate
court, after due hearing, allowed the oppositor 1. It is a well-settled rule that in order that a
to intervene as an adopted child of Francisca person may be allowed to intervene in a
Mortera, and on June 17, 1959, the oppositor probate proceeding he must have an interest in
amended her opposition by alleging, the the estate, or in the will, or in the property to
additional ground that the will is inoperative as be affected by it either as executor or as a
to the share of Dr. Rene Teotico because the claimant of the estate (Ngo The Hua v. Chung
latter was the physician who took care of the Kiat Hua, et al., L-17091, September 30, 1963);
testatrix during her last illness. and an interested party has been defined as one
who would be benefited by the estate such as
After the parties had presented their evidence,
an heir or one who has a claim against the
the probate court rendered its decision on
estate like a creditor (Idem). On the other hand,
November 10, 1960, admitting the will to
in Saguinsin v. Lindayag, et al., L-17750,
probate but declaring the disposition made in
December 17, 1962, this Court said:
favor of Dr. Rene Teotico void with the
statement that the portion to be vacated by the According to Section 2, Rule 80 of the Rules of
annulment should pass to the testatrix's heirs Court, a petition for letters of administration
by way of intestate succession. must be filed by an "interested person." An
interested party has been defined in this
Petitioner Teotico, together with the universal
connection as one who would be benefited by
heir Josefina Mortera, filed a motion for
the estate, such as an heir, or one who has a
reconsideration of that part of the decision
claim against the estate, such as a creditor
which declares the portion of the estate to be
(Intestate Estate of Julio Magbanwa 40 O.G.
vacated by the nullity of the legacy made to Dr.
1171). And it is well settled in this jurisdiction
Rene Teotico as passing to the legal heirs, while
that in civil actions as well as special
the oppositor filed also a motion for
proceedings, the interest required in order that
reconsideration of the portion of the judgment
a person may be a party thereto must be
which decrees the probate of the will. On his
material and direct, and not merely indirect or
part, Dr. Rene Teotico requested leave to
contingent (Trillana vs. Crisostomo, G.R. No. L-
intervene and to file a motion for
3370, August 22, 1951; Rapinosa vs. Barrion, 70
reconsideration with regard to that portion of
Phil. 311).
the decision which nullified the legacy made in
his favor. The question now may be asked: Has oppositor
any interest in any of the provisions of the will,
The motions for reconsideration above
and, in the negative, would she acquire any
adverted to having been denied, both petitioner
right to the estate in the event that the will is
and oppositor appealed from the decision, the
denied probate?
Under the terms of the will, oppositor has no deprived; the former, in turn, sees in the
right to intervene because she has no interest in natural child nothing but the product of sin, a
the estate either as heir, executor, or palpable evidence of a blemish upon the family.
administrator, nor does she have any claim to Every relation is ordinarily broken in life; the
any property affected by the will, because it law does no more than recognize this truth, by
nowhere appears therein any provision avoiding further grounds of resentment. (7
designating her as heir, legatee or devisee of Manresa, 3d., p. 110.)
any portion of the estate. She has also no
The oppositor cannot also derive comfort from
interest in the will either as administratrix or
the fact that she is an adopted child of Francisca
executrix. Neither has she any claim against any
Mortera because under our law the relationship
portion of the estate because she is not a co-
established by adoption is limited solely to the
owner thereof, and while she previously had an
adopter and the adopted and does not extend
interest in the Calvo building located in Escolta,
to the relatives of the adopting parents or of
she had already disposed of it long before the
the adopted child except only as expressly
execution of the will.1wph1.t
provided for by law. Hence, no relationship is
In the supposition that, the will is denied created between the adopted and the
probate, would the oppositor acquire any collaterals of the adopting parents. As a
interest in any portion of the estate left by the consequence, the adopted is an heir of the
testatrix? She would acquire such right only if adopter but not of the relatives of the adopter.
she were a legal heir of the deceased, but she is
The relationship established by the adoption,
not under our Civil Code. It is true that
however, is limited to the adopting parent, and
oppositor claims to be an acknowledged natural
does not extend to his other relatives, except as
child of Jose Mortera, a deceased brother of the
expressly provided by law. Thus, the adopted
deceased, and also an adopted daughter of
child cannot be considered as a relative of the
Francisca Mortera, a deceased sister of the
ascendants and collaterals of the adopting
testatrix, but such claim cannot give her any
parents, nor of the legitimate children which
comfort for, even if it be true, the law does not
they may have after the adoption, except that
give her any right to succeed to the estate of
the law imposes certain impediments to
the deceased sister of both Jose Mortera and
marriage by reason of adoption. Neither are the
Francisca Mortera. And this is so because being
children of the adopted considered as
an illegitimate child she is prohibited by law
descendants of the adopter. The relationship
from succeeding to the legitimate relatives of
created is exclusively between the adopter and
her natural father. Thus, Article 992 of our Civil
the adopted, and does not extend to the
Code provides: "An illegitimate child has no
relatives of either. (Tolentino, Civil Code of the
right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate
Philippines, Vol. 1, p. 652).
children and relatives of his father or mother; ...
." And the philosophy behind this provision is Relationship by adoption is limited to adopter
well expressed in Grey v. Fabie, 68 Phil. 128, as and adopted, and does not extend to other
follows: members of the family of either; but the
adopted is prohibited to marry the children of
Between the natural child and the legitimate
the adopter to avoid scandal. (An Outline of
relatives of the father or mother who
Philippine Civil Law by Justice Jose B. L. Reyes
acknowledged it, the Code denies any right of
and Ricardo C. Puno, Vol. 1, p. 313; See also
succession. They cannot be called relatives and
Caguioa, Comments and Cases on Civil Law
they have no right to inherit. Of course, there is
1955, Vol 1, pp. 312-313; Paras, Civil Code of
a blood tie, but the law does not recognize it.
the Philippines, 1959 ed., Vol. 1, p. 515)
On this, article 943 is based upon the reality of
the facts and upon the presumption will of the It thus appears that the oppositor has no right
interested parties; the natural child is to intervene either as testamentary or as legal
disgracefully looked down upon by the heir in this probate proceeding contrary to the
legitimate family; the legitimate family is, in ruling of the court a quo.
turn, hated by the natural child; the latter
considers the privileged condition of the former 2. The next question to be determined is
and the resources of which it is thereby whether the will Exhibit A was duly admitted to
probate. Oppositor claims that the same should The circumstance that the testatrix was then
not have been admitted not only because it was living under the same roof with Dr. Rene
not properly attested to but also because it was Teotico is no proof adequate in law to sustain
procured thru pressure and influence and the the conclusion that there was improper
testatrix affixed her signature by mistake pressure and undue influence. Nor is the
believing that it contained her true intent. alleged fact of isolation of the testatrix from the
oppositor and her witnesses, for their supposed
The claim that the will was not properly
failure to see personally the testatrix,
attested to is contradicted by the evidence of
attributable to the vehemence of Dr. Rene
record. In this respect it is fit that we state
Teotico, to exclude visitors, took place years
briefly the declarations of the instrumental
after the execution of the will on May 17, 1951.
Although those fact may have some weight to
Pilar Borja testified that the testatrix was in support the theory of the oppositor, yet they
perfect state of health at the time she executed must perforce yield to the weightier fact that
the will for she carried her conversation with nothing could have prevented the testatrix, had
her intelligently; that the testatrix signed she really wanted to from subsequently
immediately above the attestation clause and revoking her 1951 will if it did not in fact reflect
on each and every page thereof at the left-hand and express her own testamentary dispositions.
margin in the presence of the three For, as testified to by the oppositor and her
instrumental witnesses and the notary public; witnesses, the testatrix was often seen at the
that it was the testatrix herself who asked her Escolta, in Quiapo and Sta. Cruz, Manila,
and the other witnesses to act as such; and that walking and accompanied by no one. In fact, on
the testatrix was the first one to sign and later different occasions, each of them was able to
she gave the will to the witnesses who read and talk with her.
signed it.
We have examined the evidence on the matter
Pilar G. Sanchez also testified that she knew the and we are fully in accord with the foregoing
testatrix since 1945; that it was the testatrix observation. Moreover, the mere claim that
herself who asked her to be a witness to the Josefina Mortera and her husband Rene Teotico
will; that the testatrix was the first one to sign had the opportunity to exert pressure on the
and she gave the will later to the witnesses to testatrix simply because she lived in their house
sign and afterwards she gave it to the notary several years prior to the execution of the will
public; that on the day of the execution of the and that she was old and suffering from
will the testatrix was in the best of health. hypertension in that she was virtually isolated
from her friends for several years prior to her
Modesto Formilleza also testified that he was death is insufficient to disprove what the
asked by the testatrix to be one of the instrumental witnesses had testified that the
witnesses to the will; that he read and testatrix freely and voluntarily and with full
understood the attestation clause before he consciousness of the solemnity of the occasion
signed the document, and all the witnesses executed the will under consideration. The
spoke either in Spanish or in Tagalog. He finally exercise of improper pressure and undue
said that the instrumental witnesses and the influence must be supported by substantial
testatrix signed the will at the same time and evidence and must be of a kind that would
place and identified their signatures. overpower and subjugate the mind of the
This evidence which has not been successfully testatrix as to destroy her free agency and make
refuted proves conclusively that the will was her express the will of another rather than her
duly executed because it was signed by the own (Coso v. Deza, 42 0. G. 596). The burden is
testatrix and her instrumental witnesses and on the person challenging the will that such
the notary public in the manner provided for by influence was exerted at the time of its
law. execution, a matter which here was not done,
for the evidence presented not only is
The claim that the will was procured by insufficient but was disproved by the testimony
improper pressure and influence is also belied of the instrumental witnesses.
by the evidence. On this point the court a
quo made the following observation:
3. The question of whether the probate court Rene Teotico in the will Exhibit A must be set
could determine the intrinsic validity of the aside as having been made in excess of its
provisions of a will has been decided by this jurisdiction. Another reason why said
Court in a long line of decisions among which pronouncement should be set aside is that the
the following may be cited: legatee was not given an opportunity to defend
the validity of the legacy for he was not allowed
Opposition to the intrinsic validity or legality of
to intervene in this proceeding. As a corollary,
the provisions of the will cannot be entertained
the other pronouncements touching on the
in Probate proceeding because its only purpose
disposition of the estate in favor of some
is merely to determine if the will has been
relatives of the deceased should also be set
executed in accordance with the requirements
aside for the same reason.
of the law." (Palacios v. Palacios, 58 0. G. 220)
WHEREFORE, with the exception of that portion
... The authentication of a will decides no other
of the decision which declares that the will in
questions than such as touch upon the capacity
question has been duly executed and admitted
of the testator and the compliance with those
the same to probate, the rest of the decision is
requisites or solemnities which the law
hereby set aside. This case is ordered remanded
prescribes for the validity of wills. It does not
to the court a quo for further proceedings. No
determine nor even by implication prejudge the
pronouncement as to costs.
validity or efficiency of the provisions, these
may be impugned as being vicious or null, IN RE: PETITION FOR ADOPTION OF THE
notwithstanding its authentication. The MINOR LUIS ALBERTO MARTIN DE SANTOS,
questions relating to these points remain FREDERICK WILLIAM MALKINSON and ANA
entirely unaffected, and may be raised even MARIE DE SANTOS MALKINSON, petitioners,
after the will has been authenticated. ... vs.
From the fact that the legalization of a will does
not validate the provisions therein contained, it
COURT OF MANILA, respondent.
does not follow that such provision lack the
efficiency, or fail to produce the effects which De Santos, Balgos and Perez for petitioners.
the law recognizes when they are not impugned
Office of the Solicitor General Estelito P.
by anyone. In the matter of wills it is a
Mendoza and Solicitor Alicia V. Sempio-Diy for
fundamental doctrine that the will of the
testator is the law governing the interested
parties, and must be punctually complied with
in so far as it is not contrary to the law or to
public morals. (Montaano v. Suesa, 14 Phil. TEEHANKEE, J.:
676, 679-680) In this appeal from the dismissal orders of the
To establish conclusively as against everyone, Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court of Manila,
and once for all, the facts that a will was the Court, in reversing, reaffirms the
executed with the formalities required by law established jurisprudence based on the plain
and that the testator was in a condition to make language of the codal provision that alienage by
a will, is the only purpose of the proceedings itself does not disqualify a foreigner from
under the new code for the probate of a will. adopting a Filipino child and that our Civil Code
(Sec. 625.) The judgment in such proceedings "only disqualifies from being adopters those
determines and can determine nothing more. In aliens that are either (a) non-residents or (b)
them the court has no power to pass upon the who are residents but the Republic of the
validity of any provisions made in the will. It can Philippines has broken diplomatic relations with
not decide, for example, that a certain legacy is their government." Neither does our Civil Code
void and another one is valid. (Castaeda v. require that both adopter and adopted be of
Alemany, 3 Phil. 426, 428) the same nationality.

Pursuant to the foregoing precedents the On October 13, 1972, petitioners-spouses filed
pronouncement made by the court a with respondent court their verified petition to
quo declaring invalid the legacy made to Dr. adopt the minor Luis Alberto Martin de Santos,
who was born a Filipino citizen in Madrid, Spain
on August 4, 1969, the acknowledged natural Hence, the present appeal by certiorari from
child of petitioner Ana Marie de Santos respondent court's dismissal orders.
Malkinson who alone his parents extended him
Respondent judge thus ordered the dismissal of
the petition on the basis of her known view that
Petitioners-spouses averred that since their "a Filipino could not adopt an alien and vice
marriage on March 6, 1972, the said child who versa;" hence, since petitioner husband is an
owns no property has been living with them alien while the child sought to be adopted is a
under their care and custody at their residence Filipino, she decreed that the petition cannot be
at No. 1443 Jose P. Laurel Street, Manila; that given due course. While aware of the
petitioner Frederick William Malkinson is an controlling doctrine enunciated by this Court in
American citizen, 1 gainfully employed as a the Therkelsen 2 and Cathey 3 adoption cases
seaman with an average yearly income of US that alienage by itself does not disqualify a
$7,000-$8,000, while his co-petitioner spouse is foreigner from adopting a Filipino child and that
a Filipino citizen and a property owner in the the Philippine Civil Code "only disqualifies from
Philippines; and that it is to the best interest of being adopters those aliens that are either (a)
the child that he be adopted by petitioners- non-residents or (b) who are residents but the
spouses who possess all the qualifications and Republic of the Philippines has broken
none of the disqualifications for such legal diplomatic relations with their
adoption. government" 4 respondent court felt that Justice
J.B.L. Reyes' statement in Therkelsen as to its
Judge Vicente M. Santiago, Jr. then on detail
non-exposition of its reasons for dismissal of
with respondent court issued his order of
the petition therein as set aside by this Court
October 18, 1972 giving due course to the
left the way open for a review and restudy of
petition and setting it for hearing on January 8,
the controlling precedents.
1973 and directed that appropriate notices be
sent to the Solicitor General and the Director, Respondent court thus once again as
Bureau of Child and Youth Welfare, Department in Therkelsen ordered dismissal of the petition
of Social Welfare and publication of the order solely on the ground of alienage of the
be made. petitioner husband, maintaining inter alia that
Article 334 the Civil Code (which provides that
Upon respondent judge's return to her court
"Every person of age, who is in full possession
after her leave of absence, she issued her order
of his civil rights, may adopt") "cannot be
of November 22, 1972, stating that upon a
accepted literally. If Scaevola 5 is correct, it
review of the petition wherein "it is alleged that
should be construed as not permitting a citizen
petitioner husband is an alien while the child
to adopt an alien, or vice versa;" "that the
sought to be adopted is a citizen of this
prohibitions contained in Article 335 (4) an (5)
country" respondent court was of the opinion
of the Code should be construed as aimed at
that "the petition, for that reason, is not
the adoption of aliens by other aliens, and not
sufficient in substance, and the same cannot be
at the adoption by an alien of a Filipino;" "that
given course" and ordered that "the petition
an alien who has adopted a Filipino child cannot
filed herein will be ordered dismissed after the
be expected, by precept and example, to imbue
lapse of 30 days from petitioners' receipt of
the adopted with love of the Philippines and
notice hereof unless, within said period, proper
veneration for Filipino national heroes" (under
proceedings are instituted before the Supreme
Article 358 of the Civil Code) and that "solidarity
Court for the purpose of questioning the
of a family cannot be achieved if we hold the
correctness of this Order."
view that a Filipino child can be adopted by an
Petitioners moved for reconsideration on the alien."
ground that no law prohibits a resident alien,
Petitioners-spouses therefrom urge that under
who is not a citizen of a country without
the clear and plain language of the Civil Code
diplomatic relations with the Philippines and is
and the Court's express rulings
not otherwise legally disqualified, from
in Therkelsen and Cathey, petitioner husband as
adopting a Filipino, and respondent court
an America resident not suffering from any legal
denied the same under its order of December
disqualification may jointly with his
18, 1972.
co-petitioner Filipino wife legally adopt the see no reason why the adoption should not be
latter's acknowledged natural child. granted."

The Solicitor General in a manifestation in lieu In Therkelsen, Justice J.B.L. Reyes had occasion
of appellee's brief dated October 26, 1973 to discuss respondent court's contrary view and
stated that "with all due respect to the opinion to reject for a unanimous Court its imposition of
and reasons of the respondent judge for an additional requisite not imposed by the Civil
wanting the above ruling to be reexamined and Code that both adopter and adopted be of the
restudied by this Honorable Court, undersigned same nationality in this wise:
counsel not only feel bound by said ruling but
The court a quo denied the adoption sought,
also honestly believe that the same, is the
correct, proper, and reasonable interpretation
of our law on adoption; as a matter of fact, in "In Sp. Proc No. D-00011 adoption of Benigno
said cases of Therkelsen and Cathey, Lim, this Court has had occasion rule that a
undersigned counsel were also impelled by Filipino cannot adopt an alien (Chinese) minor
reason and the law to place themselves on the about 19 years old. The adoption would not
side of appellants in asking for the reversal of confer Philippine citizenship on the Chinese, but
the orders of the same respondent judge in said could definitely legalize his stay in this country.
cases holding that an alien cannot adopt a It was also stated that conversely, an alien
Filipino," and joined petitioners in praying for cannot adopt a Filipino unless the adoption
reversal of respondent court's dismissal orders. would make the Filipino minor a citizen of the
alien's country. As petitioner husband in this
Petitioners-spouses' appeal must be sustained
case is a Danish subject it has to be held that he
on the strength of the controlling doctrine
cannot legally adopt the minor Charles Joseph
enunciated in the cited cases.
Blancaflor Weeks, whose citizenship is of this
In Cathey, Justice Jose P. Bengzon ruled for a country following that of his natural mother."
unanimous Court that "(A)s this Court pointed
If we understand the decision correctly, the
out through Mr. J.B.L. Reyes in Uggi Therkelsen
adoption was denied solely because the same
v. Republic, L-21951, November 27, 1964: "the
would not result in the loss of the minor's
present Civil Code in force (Article 335) only
Filipino citizenship and the acquisition by him of
disqualifies from being adopters aliens that are
the citizenship of his adopter. Unfortunately,
either (a) non-residents or (b) who are residents
the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court did
but the Republic of the Philippines has broken
not expound the reasons for its opinion; but it is
diplomatic relations with their government.
clear that, if pursued to its logical
Outside of these two cases, alienage by itself
consequences, the judgment appealed from
alone does not disqualify a foreigner from
would operate to impose a further
adopting under our laws." " The Court thus held
prerequisite on adoptions by
therein that "(P)etitioner Robert H. Cathey
aliens beyond those required by law. As pointed
though an American citizen, is a resident alien
out by the Solicitor General in his brief, the
entitled to remain in the Philippines, as his
present Civil Code in force (Article 335) only
Immigrant Certificate of Residence (Exhibit D)
disqualifies from being adopters those aliens
shows. He is legally married to Helen Olalia and
that are either (a) non-residents or (b) who are
presently is the administrative officer of the
residents but the Republic of the Philippines has
U.S. Naval Construction office at Clark Air Base
broken diplomatic relations with their
with an annual compensation of $6,295.00 and
government. Outside of
has P25,000 worth of personal properties in the
these two cases, alienage by itself alone
Philippines. As petitioners spouses have no child
does not disqualify a foreigner from adopting a
of their own, they wish to adopt Bertha Ann
person under our law. Petitioners admittedly do
Rivera and thus make her their heir.
not fall in either class.
The welfare of the child being
the paramount consideration under the law The criterion adopted by the Court a quo would
(Art. 363, New Civil Code), the child now sought demand as a condition for the approval of the
to be adopted being virtually unwanted by her adoption that the process should result in the
own mother, who, by the way, has seven other acquisition, by the person adopted, of the alien
children to feed (Tsn of May 2, 1963, p. 11), We
citizenship of the adopting parent. This finds no sustained to promote and fulfill these noble and
support in the law, for, as observed by this compassionate objectives of the law. 8
Court in Ching Leng vs. Galang, G.R. No. L-
Finally, aside from the above decisive
11931, promulgated on 27 October 1958, the
consideration that under the plain language of
citizenship of the adopter is a matter political,
the law alienage by itself does not disqualify a
and not civil, in nature, and the ways in which it
foreigner such as petitioner-husband from
should be conferred lay outside the ambit of
adopting a Filipino child, the Solicitor General
the Civil Code. It is not within the province of
further enumerated correctly various other
our civil law to determine how or when
factors that show the merit of the petition
citizenship in a foreign state is to be acquired.
below, viz, that petitioner wife as the natural
The disapproval of the adoption of an alien child
mother is expressly authorized under Article
in order to forestall circumvention of our
338, paragraph (1) of the Civil Code to adopt
exclusion laws does not warrant denial of the
her natural child and raise its status to that of a
adoption of a Filipino minor by qualified alien
legitimate child, 9 that under paragraph (3) of
adopting parents, since it is not shown that our
the same article, petitioner-husband as the
public policy would be thereby subverted.
step-father is likewise expressly authorized to
The Court finds no justification for deviating or adopt his stepchild, and that the adoption
departing from the established doctrine. sought would strengthen the family solidarity of
Whatever may be the merit of respondent petitioners-spouses and the child, because the
court's views as above-cited, they go into the child after adoption, would have its status of a
wisdom or policy of the statute which are natural child of petitioner wife and a step-child
beyond the Court's domain. 6 The Civil Code of petitioner-husband raised to that of
provisions on adoption are quite plain and clear legitimate child of both petitioners with all the
and are free from any ambiguity. Under such rights an duties appertaining thereto, as
circumstances, there is no room for provided in Article 341 of the Civil Code.
construction, the law is controlling and the clear
ACCORDINGLY, the appealed dismissal orders of
task of the judiciary is to apply the law as it is. 7
November 22 and December 18, 1972 are
If alienage alone of the adopter or of the hereby set aside and respondent court is
adopted were to be a disqualification, it is directed to give due course to the petition in
inconceivable that the lawmakers would not accordance with the previous order of October
have so explicitly provided, considering that in 18, 1972 and to reset the hearing thereof at the
Article 335 of the Code non-resident aliens and earliest practicable date. In view of the
resident aliens with whose government the established jurisprudence covering the case,
Philippines has broken diplomatic relations are this decision shall be immediately executory
the only two classes of aliens expressly upon promulgation.
disqualified and prohibited to adopt while in
Article 339 only an alien with whose state our
government has broken diplomatic relations is
expressly disqualified and prohibited to be
adopted. Inclusio unius exclusio alterius. This is
but in consonance with the liberal concept that
adoption statutes, being humane and salutary,
hold the interest and welfare of the child to be
of paramount consideration and are designed
to provide homes, parental care and education
for unfortunate, needy or orphaned children
and give them the protection of society and
family in the person of the adopter as well as to
allow childless couples or persons to experience
the joys of parenthood and give them legally a
child in the person of the adopted for the
manifestation of their natural parental instincts.
Every reasonable intendment should be