De Asis v. De Asis

G.R. No. 127578, February 15, 1999

FACTS:

Private respondent, in her capacity as the legal guardian of the minor, Glen Camil Andres de Asis, brought an action for maintenance and support against petitioner before the RTC of Quezon City, alleging that petitioner is the father of subject minor, and the former refused and/or failed to provide for the maintenance of the latter, despite repeated demands. Petitioner denied his paternity of the said minor alleged and that he cannot be required to provide support for him. The mother’s child sent in a manifestation stating that because of petitioner’s judicial declarations, it was futile and a useless exercise to claim support from him. Hence, she was withdrawing her complaint against petitioner subject to the condition that the latter should not pursue his counterclaim. By virtue of the said manifestation, the parties mutually agreed to move for the dismissal of the complaint. The motion was granted by the trial court, which then dismissed the case with prejudice.

Subsequently, another Complaint for maintenance and support was brought against petitioner, this time in the name of Glen Camil Andres de Asis, represented by her legal guardian, herein private respondent. Petitioner moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground of res judicata. The trial court denied the motion, ruling that res judicata is inapplicable in an action for support for the reason that renunciation or waiver of future support is prohibited by law. The trial court likewise denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. Petitioner filed with the CA a petition for certiorari. CA dismissed the same.

ISSUE:

WON an action for support can be barred by res judicata?

RULING:

No, the first dismissal cannot have force and effect and can not bar the filing of another action, asking for the same relief against the same defendant.

The new Civil Code provides that the allowance for support is provisional because the amount may be increased or decreased depending upon the means of the giver and the needs of the recipient (Art. 297); and that the right to receive support cannot be renounced nor can it be transmitted to a third person; neither can it be compensated with what the recipient owes the obligator (Art. 301). Furthermore, the right to support cannot be waived or transferred to third parties and future support cannot be the subject of compromise (Art. 2035).

In the case at bar, respondent minors mother, who was the plaintiff in the first case, manifested that she was withdrawing the case as it seemed futile to claim support from petitioner who denied his paternity over the child. Since the right to claim for support is predicated on the existence of filiation between the minor child and the putative parent, petitioner would like us to believe that such manifestation admitting the futility of claiming support from him puts the issue to rest and bars any and all future complaint for support.

The manifestation sent in by respondent’s mother in the first case, which acknowledged that it would be useless to pursue its complaint for support, amounted to renunciation as it severed the vinculum that gives the minor, Glen Camil, the right to claim support from his putative parent, the petitioner. Furthermore, the agreement entered into between the petitioner and respondent’s mother for the dismissal of the complaint for maintenance and support conditioned upon the dismissal of the counterclaim is in the nature of a compromise which cannot be countenanced. It violates the prohibition against any compromise of the right to support.

It appears that the former dismissal was predicated upon a compromise. Acknowledgment, affecting as it does the civil status of persons and future support, cannot be the subject of compromise. (pars. 1 & 4, Art. 2035, Civil Code).

* Case digest by Kristine Camille B. Gahuman, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018

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