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

Act of 1998; and [2] Republic Act 8043 Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995. (Portions of both laws have been amended by RA 9523 as I will discuss below.) RA 8552 amended Articles 183 up to 193 of the Family Code of the Philippines and is the governing law for Filipino citizens adopting other Filipinos (whether relatives or strangers) with some exceptions. Under Article 192 of the FC, the adopting couple may under certain circumstances ask for judicial rescission of the adoption. Rescission of adoption is no longer allowed under RA 8552. RA 8043 on the other hand, governs the adoption of Filipinos by foreigners, and is implemented by the Inter-Country Adoption Board. For more information on inter-country adoption, please surf to the websites of the ICAB and the Filipino Adoptees Network. Please take note that RA 8552 (and not RA 8043) applies when a foreigner who is married to a Filipino citizen seeks to adopt jointly with his/her spouse a relative within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity of the Filipino spouse. Please take note also of the difference between adoption and simulation of birth (an illegal practice resorted to by a lot of Filipinos). Adoption is the legal process by which a child becomes the legitimate child of the adopting person/s. Simulation of birth on the other hand occurs when a childless couple, for example, comes into possession of a baby or child, given to them by a midwife, an unwed mother or a relative, and this couple then applies for a birth certificate, making it appear that the baby or child is their biological offspring. Under RA 8552, simulation of birth is a criminal offense punishable by eight years imprisonment and a fine of fifty thousand pesos. The Supreme Court has issued guidelines in petitions for adoptions under RA 8552 and RA 8043. Basically, a petition for domestic adoption under RA 8552 will go through these steps: [1] A lawyer prepares the petition for the person or persons wanting to adopt. The petition includes documents like birth certificates, marriage certificate, proof of financial capacity (like

ITR, bank deposit, etc), clearances (barangay, police, NBI, fiscal, court), and others as proof of good moral character, good health, etc. [2] Upon payment of the filing or docket fee, the petition is raffled to a Family Court (of the city nearest the place where the petitioner resides). If the petition is sufficient in form and substance, the court issues an order, usually within a month after the filing of the petition, setting the case for initial hearing and ordering the court social worker to conduct a case study and home visit. [3] The court order is published in a newspaper of general circulation once a week for three weeks. The newspaper is chosen by raffle conducted by the Office of the Clerk of Court, in compliance with a Supreme Court circular. If a small time newspaper wins in the raffle, the total cost for the publication could be as low as Php 7,000. But if a big time newspaper like the Bulletin or the Inquirer wins the raffle, the total cost could be as high as Php 50,000. [4] Before the initial hearing, the social worker conducts a case study and home visit. The social worker submits his investigation report and recommendations to the court before the initial hearing. [5] On the date of the initial hearing, the petitioner and the prospective adoptee must be present. The lawyer presents what are known as the jurisdictional facts (petition, proof of publication in newspaper, notice to the Office of the Solicitor General, etc). [6] If there is no opposition to the petition for adoption by any party, then the lawyer asks the court permission for an ex-parte presentation of evidence, done before only the court stenographer and the court appointed commissioner (the branch clerk of court). The court however can require presentation of evidence in open court. All in all, the case could take up to about a year to finish. [7] If the court decision is favorable and there is no appeal by any party, then the court issues a Certificate of Finality. The lawyer then coordinates with the Local Civil Registrar (of the town or city where the court is located, and the adoptee’s birthplace) and the National Statistics Office for the issuance of a new birth certificate bearing the petitioner’s surname. Is the consent of the father of an illegitimate child required in adoption?

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Concepcion holds the same view I have that those provisions of the Family Code which have not been expressly repealed by RA 8552 are still applicable. has been carried over to RA 8552. It seems therefore that the right of an adopted child to inherit from both biological and adoptive parents under the Family Code has been repealed by RA 8552. While Article 189 of the Family Code specifically provides that the adoptee has the right to inherit from both the biological and adoptive parents. in law. 34. Prof. it is but natural to require the spouses to adopt jointly. However. then the consent of the biological father is not necessary. Or they can file a petition for declaratory relief before a competent court asking that the term “biological parent/s” be interpreted to mean “legal parent/s”. Concepcion in his article “Domestic Adoption: Law and Procedure” (IBP Journal. Concepcion argues (and I agree with him) that since an illegitimate child is under the sole parental authority of the mother under Article 176 of the Family Code. specifically. One woman even told me that the biological father asked her for money in exchange for his written consent. Section 7. Concepcion states that the problem is with the wording of the law. What can women with illegitimate children do in this kind of situation? They can petition Congress to amend RA 8552 so that the written consent of the father should not be required. This is a mandatory requirement with the following exceptions: (i) if one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of the other. Succession. or one spouse adopts the illegitimate son/daughter of the other. No. Prof. Please also read the article on domestic adoption by UP Prof. The rule also insures harmony between the spouses. mandatory joint adoption by both husband and wife under Article 185 of the Family Code.R. 1) states that the reason why RA 8552 requires such consent is that their parental authority over child (the prospective adoptee) will be terminated. or (ii) if one spouse seeks to adopt his/her own illegitimate son/daughter: Provided. implied repeals are frowned upon. 18.Section 9. Joint adoption by husband and wife is mandatory Please take note that Section 7 of RA 8552 provides that a husband and wife shall jointly adopt. Several women have e-mailed about this situation. Is the adoptee’s right to inherit from both the adoptive and biological parents under the Family Code no longer true under RA 8552? Please take note that the Family Code provisions on adoption have been superseded by RA 8552. No. What about adoption by a wife and husband (one a former Filipino citizen and the other a natural-born citizen of another country)? This was the issue decided by the Supreme Court in the case of Republic of the Philippines vs. Vol. it may be argued that Article 189 of the Family Code is still good law. The mandatory requirement is in consonance with the concept of joint parental authority over the child. if the adoptee and his/her biological parent(s) had left a will. Either they do not know where the biological father of their illegitimate children is or the father is making things difficult for them. In case husband and wife jointly adopt. UP College of Law professor Danilo L. 1994. the law on testamentary succession shall govern. the point of contention in this case. Thus. paragraph (b) of RA 8552 states that the written consent of the biological parent/s is necessary. which is the ideal situation. Toledano G. the adopter(s) and the adoptee shall have reciprocal rights of succession without distinction from legitimate filiation. please read “Revisiting the Philippine Laws on Adoption: Issues on Succession” from the Ateneo Law Journal. For issues regarding succession (“inheritance” in layman’s term) and adoption under RA 8552. The law only states: Sec. Concepcion which I mentioned above. However. that the other spouse has signified his/her consent thereto. this provision does not appear in RA 8552. 7 As the child to be adopted is elevated to the level of a legitimate child. Prof. joint parental authority shall be exercised by the spouses. 94147 June 8. or (iii) if the spouses are legally separated from each other. However. However. He says that instead of “biological parent/s” the law should have used “legal parent/s” instead. 2 |Page . — In legal and intestate succession. Please take note that the case was decided under the provisions of the Family Code on adoption which have been superseded by RA 8043 and RA 8552. March 2009.

except: (a) A former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a relative by consanguinity. the social worker assigned to conduct the Home and Child Study. a Filipino on June 4. mentally. 209 expressly enumerates the persons who are not qualified to adopt. and financially capable of adopting Solomon.The facts of the Toledano case On February 21. Article 184. 1990. Zambales. morally. Let copies of this decision be furnished (sic) the petitioners. 603 as amended. Office of the Solicitor General and the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Merida. Leyte. The said Order was published in a newspaper of general circulation in the province of Zambales and City of Olongapo for three (3) consecutive weeks. In the first place. the petition was set for hearing on April 18. 1990. he is not a former Filipino citizen but a natural born citizen of the United States of America. In an Order issued on March 12. DSWD. He married Evelyn. paragraph (3) of Executive Order No. 209. Henceforth. Leyte where the minor was born. a twelve (12) year old minor. Finding that private respondents have all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided by law and that the adoption will redound to the best interest and welfare of the minor.: (3) An alien. disposing as follows: WHEREFORE. The ruling of the Supreme Court Under Articles 184 and 185 of Executive Order (E. a widow. in a verified petition filed before the Regional Trial Court of Iba.O. 1981 at Olongapo City. the Court gives the minor the rights and duties as the legitimate child of the petitioners. To this effect. likewise consented to the adoption due to poverty and inability to support and educate her son. he shall be known as SOLOMON ALCALA CLOUSE. Nery Alcala. the Court grants the petition for adoption filed by Spouses Alvin A. Solomon Joseph Alcala is neither his relative by consanguinity nor the legitimate child of his spouse. 3 |Page .Aliens not included in the foregoing exceptions may adopt Filipino children in accordance with the rules on inter-country adoption as may be provided by law. let this decree of adoption be recorded in the corresponding government agency. under Article 185 of the Family Code. On August 19. In accordance with Article 53 of the same decree. Clouse. Since 1981 to 1984. Clouse is not qualified to adopt Solomon Joseph Alcala under any of the exceptional cases in the aforequoted provision. They are physically. In the second place. The said office of the Local Civil Registrar is hereby directed to issue an amended certificate of live birth to the minor adopted by the petitioners. the younger brother of private respondent Evelyn A. Mrs. Solomon gave his consent to the adoption. The Court dissolves parental authority bestowed upon his natural parents and vests parental authority to the herein petitioners and makes him their legal heir. Clouse and decrees that the said minor be considered as their child by adoption. particularly the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Merida. Nila Corazon Pronda. that is. Solomon Joseph Alcala. Evelyn became a naturalized citizen of the United States of America in Guam. the decree of adoption shall be effective as of the date when the petition was filed. viz. or (c) One who is married to a Filipino citizen and seeks to adopt jointly with his or her spouse a relative by consanguinity of the latter. His mother. Pursuant to Article 36 of P. 1988. Clouse and Evelyn A. (b) One who seeks to adopt the legitimate child of his or her Filipino spouse. There can be no question that private respondent Alvin A. favorably recommended the granting of the petition for adoption. then from November 2. Zambales Branch.) No. 1990. otherwise known as “The Family Code of the Philippines”. The Office of the Solicitor General appealed to the Supreme Court on a pure question of law. 1990. Solomon Joseph Alcala was and has been under the care and custody of private respondents. Clouse is a natural born citizen of the United States of America. The principal evidence disclose that private respondent Alvin A. 1989 up to the present. private respondents spouses Clouse sought to adopt the minor.D. the Clouse couple was not qualified to adopt. respondent judge rendered a decision on June 20. private respondents spouses Clouse are clearly barred from adopting Solomon Joseph Alcala.

Quezon City. 209. She lost her Filipino citizenship when she was naturalized as a citizen of the United States in 1988. 2. She sought to adopt her younger Clouse was no longer a Filipino citizen.In the third place. Former Filipinos permanently residing abroad and/or foreigners intending to undertake either local adoption (the filing and the finalization of the adoption is done in the Philippines and have the intention of bringing the adoptive child to their country of residence) or through the inter-country adoption route MUST first secure the approval of the Central Authority on Inter-country Adoption in the country of residence before filing any adoption petition. each one of them must be qualified to adopt on his own right. Adoption applicants from the USA must first secure their Misinterpretation and misunderstanding of RA 9523 Republic Act 9523 “An Act Requiring Certification of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to Declare 4 |Page . Telephone Nos:(632)721-9781 to 82. (The time frame from request to ICAB’s receipt of the report will be 3-6 months. In situations where the FO could not prepare the Child Study Report within the expected time frame in view of heavy adoption caseload. Philippines 1111. the ICAB social worker will prepare an executive summary on the case with his/her recommendation on the child’s adoptive placement for the disposition of the Barangay Pinagkaisahan.icab. Clouse. Modified procedure for relative adoption cases under RA 8043 (as approved by the ICAB on August 30. or (2) When one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate child of the other. private respondent Evelyn A. 2007) “Relative Adoption” as applies to inter-country adoption refers to the adoption of Filipino child/children by relatives residing abroad within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguity. If the CA/FAA favorably recommends the PAPs. Canada based adoption applicants obtain such approval from the Central Authority on Intercountry Adoption of the Province or Territory of residence. Unfortunately. The Questionnaire for Relative Adoptive Applicants (ICAB Form No. Canada. Periodic follow-ups will be made with the DSWD-FO.726-45-68 Loc. For more information. Once the ICAB receives from the DSWD-FO the child’s dossier and the complete adoption application dossier of the PAPs from the CA or FAA. Private respondent Evelyn A.Field Office (FO) to conduct the Child Study Report with supporting documents. the petition for adoption cannot be granted in her favor alone without violating Article 185 which mandates a joint adoption by the husband and wife. Europe and USA. based on the significant data on the child as indicated in the The CAs/FAAs shall endorse to ICAB the completed Questionnaire for Relative Adoptive Applicants (QRAA) with the agency's assessment and recomendation on the prospective adoptive parents. E-Mail address: adoption@icab. the ICAB social worker will assist in the conduct of the CSR). the Supreme Court ruled that the adoption must be filed jointly by husband and wife. may appear to qualify pursuant to paragraph 3(a) of Article 184 of E. suitability and eligibility to adopt (I800A) from the USA Central Authority on Inter-Country Adoption. when private respondents spouses Clouse jointly filed the petition to adopt Solomon Joseph Alcala on February 21. you can contact the ICAB at #2 Chicago St corner Ermin Garcia St. 807 (Regular) and 808/810 (Relative) Fax No. It reads: Article The contact list of ICAB counterpart organizations: Asia Pacific.2) which can be downloaded from the ICAB website shall be submitted by the prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) to the Central Authorities (CAs)/ Foreign Adoption Agencies(FAAs). unless they fall under the exceptions. except in the following cases: (1) When one spouse seeks to adopt his own illegitimate child. Cubao. 1. She was a former Filipino citizen. Also. On the other hand. on the other hand. the assigned ICAB Social Worker will request the DSWD . 726-45-51. 1990. Article 185 requires a joint adoption by the husband and wife. Website: www. a condition that must be read along together with Article 184. (632)725-66-64. when adopting jointly. Husband and wife must jointly adopt. 3. the ICAB social worker will then request the CA/FAA to proceed with the preparation of the PAPs’ dossier. As you can read.

it took as long as three years in court proceedings for such a declaration. neglected. and dependent children who are subject to adoption. as Section 4 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9523 clearly states. Contrary to erroneous reports in the media and the Internet.A Child Legally Available For Adoption as a Prerequisite For Adoption Proceedings” amended certain portions of RA 8552 . 603 “Child and Youth Welfare Code”. certain adoption proceedings in court do not require a “Certification Declaring a Child Legally Available for Adoption”. RA 9253 applies only to surrendered. a child could be declared legally available for adoption in less than two months. the time period before a child is considered abandoned has been reduced to a maximum of three months from the original minimum of six months. Because of the new regulations. Under RA 9523. These are: [1] Adoption of an illegitimate child by any of his/her biological parent [2] Adoption of a child by his/her step-parent [3] Adoption of a child by a relative within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity 5 |Page . RA 8043. and Presidential Decree No. RA 9523 made the declaration of abandonment of child “administrative in nature” which now requires just a certification signed by the DSWD secretary instead of a judicial order. Previously. However. RA 9523 did not turn the whole adoption process from a judicial proceeding under the Family Courts to an administrative proceeding under the DSWD. abandoned.

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