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Chua v.

Cabangbang
GR L-23253 | 28 March 1969 | Castro, J.
Topic: Suspension of Parental Authority
Aggy

Case Summary:
Pacita Chua (petitioner) has always supported herself by working in nightclubs as a hostess. She had three
common-law relationships. She bore two children (Robert and Betty) from her second relationship with a
certain Sy Sia Ly. When they separated, she became the mistress of Victor Tan Villareal. They also had a
child but Pacita gave her away to a comadre in Cebu because she didn’t have any means to support her. In
May 1985, the spouses Mr. & Mrs. Bartolome Cabangbang acquired custody over Betty (Pacita’s daughter
with Sy Sia Ly) when the child was only four months old. They christened her as Grace Cabangbang. Pacita
contends that Victor gave away her daughter to the Cabangbangs without her consent, and that it was only in
1960 that she found out that Betty was with the Cabangbangs. The Cabangbang spouses, on the other hand,
claims that they found Betty, wrapped in a bundle at the gate of their residence. Pacita, then, filed a petition
for a writ of habeas corpus with RTC. RTC held that the child was given to the Cabangbangs by Victor with
Pacita’s consent. RTC ruled against petitioner and held that she is not an upright woman and the denial of the
petition is made for the welfare of the child. SC affirmed the decision of RTC on the ground of abandonment.

Doctrine:
Art 332 of the Civil Code:
“The courts may deprive the parents of their authority or suspend the exercise of the same if they should treat
their children with excessive harshness or should give them corrupting orders, counsels or examples, or should
make them beg or abandon them.”

Facts:

Pacita Chua (petitioner) – Mother of Betty Chua


Victor Villareal – third common law partner of Pacita (the one who gave Betty to the Cabangbangs)
Cabangbang Spouses (respondent) – the one who has current custody of Betty

BETTY CHUA AND GRACE CABANGBANG IS ONE AND THE SAME.

1. Pacita Chua supported herself by working in nightclubs as a hostess. She had three common-law
relationships. She bore two children with her second live-in partner, Sy Sia Ly—Robert and Betty.
2. When Pacita and Sy Sia Ly separated, she became the mistress of Victor Villareal. They also had a
daughter but Pacita gave her away to a comadre in Cebu because she couldn’t support her.
3. In 1958, the Cabangbang spouses acquired custody over Betty (4 months old at the time) because
they claim that they found her wrapped in a bundle at the gate of their residence.
4. Pacita claims that it was Victor who gave Betty to the Cabangbangs without her consent. She only
knew about it in 1960 when Victor brought the child to their home when the child was already 3 years
old. (But he gave the child back to the Cabangbangs after)
5. Pacita filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
6. RTC denied petition and held that the petitioner is not exactly an upright woman (WOAH RTC
JUDGE WHAT A JUDGER) and that the denial of petition is for the welfare of the child.
7. Pacita appealed to SC contending that she cannot be separated from her child who is below 7 years
of age and that RTC’s decision was not based on any of the valid grounds for a suspension of
deprivation of parental authority.
Issue/s:
1. W/N Pacita can be deprived of her parental authority over Betty? – YES. (IMPORTANT)
2. W/N the Cabangbangs can be awarded the custody of Betty? – YES. (baka lang itanong din ni
mam since it’s also about custody)

Holding:

1. Yes. Art. 332 of the Civil Code provides that parents can be deprived of their authority on valid
grounds. One of which is abandonment. SC held that RTC was correct in holding that Pacita did
consent to Victor’s giving away of the child as she did not do anything during the alleged period that
Betty was missing. It was only after 5 years that she brought an action to recover custody.

Although mere acquiescence is not sufficient to constitute abandonment. The totality of the evidence
shows that there was abandonment. Again, she did not do anything to get Betty back. SC is saying
that a normal mother would move heaven and earth in order to recover her child. But Pacita did not
do anything (nada, wala, silent lang si Pacita ang sad)

SC also noted that Pacita testified that she wants the child back so that Sy Sia Ly (the alleged father
of Betty) will resume providing for the child’s support. Also, she expressed her willingness to let Betty
remain with the Cabangbangs if they will give her a jeep and some money in exchange. (YES I KNOW
RTC WAS RIGHT TO JUDGE)

Also about Pacita’s argument that Betty cannot be taken away from her because mothers should
have custody over children below 7 years of age, SC held that the issue was already moot since at
the time of action, Betty was already 11 years old.

2. Absence of any kinship between Betty and the Cabangbangs alone cannot bar the awarding of her
custody to them. SC held that in accordance to Sections 6 and 7 of Rule 99 of the Rules of Court, the
court can designate a reputable and discreet person to take charge of a child. They held that it is
the best interest of the child that must be given paramount importance.

The Cabangbangs treated Betty as their own and they even provided for her. SC held it’ll be a real
tragedy to give custody of Betty to Pacita instead of the Cabangbangs.

Ruling:
CFI decision is AFFIRMED. Petition is DENIED.