G.R. No. 16257,15 June 2005
Respondents Fe Angela and her son Martin Prollamante sued Martin’s alleged biological father, petitioner Arnel Agustin, for support and support pendent lite before the Quezon City RTC.In their complaint, respondents alleged that Arnel courted Fe, after which they entered into an intimate relationship. Arnel supposedly impregnated Fe on her 34th birthday but despite Arnel’s insistence on abortion, Fe decided to give birth to their child out of wedlock, Martin. The baby’s birth certificate was purportedly signed by Arnel as the father. Arnel shouldered the pre-natal and hospital expenses but later refused Fe’s repeated requests for Martin’s support despite his adequate financial capacity and even suggested to have the child committed for adoption. Arnel also denied having fathered the child.
On January 2001, while Fe was carrying five-month old Martin at the Capitol Hills Golf and Country Club parking lot, Arnel sped off in his van, with the open car door hitting Fe’s leg. This incident was reported to the police. Several months later, Fe was diagnosed with leukemia and has, since then, been undergoing chemotherapy. Fe and Martin then sued Arnel for support. Fe and Martin moved for the issuance of an order directing all the parties to submit themselves to DNA paternity testing, which Arnel opposed by invoking his constitutional right against self-incrimination and moving to dismiss the complaint for lack of cause of action.
The trial court denied the MTD and ordered the parties to submit themselves to DNA paternity testing at the expense of the applicants. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court, thus this petition.
Whether or not the court erred in directing parties to subject to DNA paternity testing and was a form of unreasonable search.
No. In case proof of filiation or paternity would be unlikely to satisfactorily establish or would be difficult to obtain, DNA testing, which examines genetic codes obtained from body cells of the illegitimate child and any physical residue of the long dead parent could be resorted to. A positive match would clear up filiation or paternity. In Tijing v Court of Appeals, this Court has acknowledged the strong weight of DNA testing
In no uncertain terms, the Court also underscored that the right to privacy does not bar all incursions into individual privacy. The right is not intended to stifle scientific and technological advancements that enhance public service and the common good. Intrusions into the right must be accompanied by proper safeguards that enhance public service and the common good.
In the instant case, the petitioner has in no way shown any arbitrariness, passion, prejudice or personal hostility that would amount to grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Court of Appeals. The respondent court acted entirely within its jurisdiction in promulgating its decision and resolution, and any error made would have only been an error in judgment. As we have discussed, however, the decision of the respondent court, being firmly anchored in law and jurisprudence, was correct.
* Case digest by Vera L. Nataa, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018