De Jesus v. Syquia

G.R. No. L-39110, November 28, 1933

FACTS:

Cesar Syquia was 23 years old and an unmarried scion of the prominent family in Manila possessing a considerable property in his own right. His brother-in-law, Vicente Mendoza is the owner of a barber shop in Tondo, where the defendant was accustomed to go for tonsorial attention. In the month of June Antonia Loanco, 20 year old unmarried girl was taken on as cashier in this barber shop. Syquia was not long in making her acquaintance and amorous relations resulted, as a consequence of which Antonia was gotten with child and a baby boy was born on June 17, 1931.

In the early months of Antonia’s pregnancy, defendant was a constant visitor and he even wrote a letter to a rev. father confirming that the child is his and he wanted his name to be given to the child. Though he was out of the country, he continuously wrote letters to Antonia reminding her to eat on time for her and “junior’s” sake. The defendant asks his friend Dr. Talavera to attend at the birth and hospital arrangements at St. Joseph Hospital in Manila.

After giving birth, Syquia brought Antonia and his child at a House in Camarines Street Manila where they lived together for about a year. When Antonia showed signs of second pregnancy, defendant suddenly departed and he was married with another woman at this time.

It should be noted that during the christening of the child, the defendant who was in charge of the arrangement of the ceremony caused the name Ismael Loanco to be given instead of Cesar Syquia Jr. that was first planned.

ISSUE:

1. Whether the note to the padre with the other letters written by defendant to Antonia during her pregnancy proves acknowledgement of paternity.

2. Whether trial court erred in holding that Ismael Loanco had been in the uninterrupted possession of the status of a natural child, justified by the conduct of the father himself, and that as a consequence, the defendant in this case should be compelled to acknowledge the said Ismael Loanco.

RULING:

The recognition can be made out by putting together the admissions of more than one document, supplementing the admission made in one letter by an admission or admissions made in another. In the case before us the admission of paternity is contained in the note to the padre and the other letters suffice to connect that admission with the child then being carried by Antonia L. de Jesus. There is no requirement in the law that the writing shall be addressed to one, or any particular individual. It is merely required that the writing shall be indubitable.

It is a universal rule of jurisprudence that a child, upon being conceived, becomes a bearer of legal rights and capable of being dealt with as a living person. The fact that it is yet unborn is no impediment to the acquisition of rights. The problem here presented of the recognition of unborn child is really not different from that presented in the ordinary case of the recognition of a child already born and bearing a specific name. Only the means and resources of identification are different. Even a bequest to a living child requires oral evidence to connect the particular individual intended with the name used.

It is undeniable that from the birth of this child the defendant supplied a home for it and the mother, in which they lived together with the defendant. This situation continued for about a year, and until Antonia became enceinte a second time, when the idea entered the defendant’s head of abandoning her. The law fixes no period during which a child must be in the continuous possession of the status of a natural child; and the period in this case was long enough to evince the father’s resolution to concede the status. The circumstance that he abandoned the mother and child shortly before this action was started is unimportant. The word “continuous” in subsection 2 of article 135 of the Civil Code does not mean that the concession of status shall continue forever, but only that it shall not be of an intermittent character while it continues.

The trial court was right in refusing to give damages to the plaintiff, Antonia Loanco, for supposed breach of promise to marry. Such promise is not satisfactorily proved, and we may add that the action for breach of promise to marry has no standing in the civil law, apart from the right to recover money or property advanced by the plaintiff upon the faith of such promise. This case exhibits none of the features necessary to maintain such an action. Furthermore, there is no proof upon which a judgment could be based requiring the defendant to recognize the second baby, Pacita Loanco.

* Case digest by Paula Bianca B. Eguia, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018

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