AM No. MTJ-92-716, 25 October 1995
Ma. Blyth Abadilla, a Clerk of Court, filed a complaint against Judge Tabiliran on the grounds of gross immorality, deceitful conduct, and corruption unbecoming of a judge. With respect to the charge on gross immorality, she contended that the judge scandalously and publicly cohabited with Priscilla Baybayan during subsistence of his marriage with TeresitaBanzuela. Tabiliran and Priscilla got married in May 1986. On the other hand, with respect to the charge on deceitful conduct, petitioner claims that the judge caused his 3 illegitimate children with Priscilla be registered as “legitimate” by falsely executing separate affidavits stating the delayed registration was due to inadvertence, excusable negligence or oversight when in fact, he knew these children cannot be legally registered as legitimate. The judge averred that 25 years had already elapsed since the disappearance of her wife in 1966 when he married Priscilla hence the cohabitation was neither bigamous nor immoral. However, as early as 1970, based on the record, Priscilla had begotten her 3 children (1970, 1971 and 1975).
WON the three children can be considered legitimate.
No. The three children cannot be legitimated nor in any way be considered legitimate since at the time they were born, there was an existing valid marriage between Tabiliran and Teresita.
Article 177. Only children conceived and born outside of wedlock of parents who, at the time of the conception of the former, were not disqualified by any impediment to marry each other may be legitimated.
Reasons for this limitation:
1) The rationale of legitimation would be destroyed;
2) It would be unfair to the legitimate children in terms of successional rights;
3) There will be the problem of public scandal, unless social mores change;
4) It is too violent to grant the privilege of legitimation to adulterous children as it will destroy the sanctity of marriage;
5) It will be very scandalous, especially if the parents marry many years after the birth of the child.
Only natural children can be legitimated. Children born outside of wedlock of parents, who, at the time of the conception of the former, were not disqualified by any impediment to marry each other, are natural. Since the three children do not fall under Article 177, they cannot be legitimated.
* Case digest by Cherrie Mae E. Aguila-Granada, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018