Eceta v. Eceta

GR No. 157307, 20 May 2004

FACTS:

Petitioner and her husband acquired several properties, among which is the disputed property. They begot a son who sired an illegitimate daughter, herein respondent. Upon his death, petitioner and respondent are his compulsory heirs.

Respondent filed a case before RTC for Partition and Accounting with Damages against petitioner alleging that by virtue of his father’s death, she became petitioner’s co-heir and and co-owner of the disputed property. In her answer, Rosalina alleged that the property is paraphernal in nature and thus belonged to her exclusively.

During the pre-trial conference, the parties entered into a stipulation of facts wherein they both admitted their relationship to one another, i.e., that petitioner is respondent’s grandmother.

ISSUE:

Whether the admission made by petitioner that respondent is her granddaughter is enough to prove respondent’s filiation with the only son of petitioner.

RULING:

No. The filiation of illegitimate children, like legitimate children, is established by (1) the record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or (2) an admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. In the absence thereof, filiation shall be proved by (1) the open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child; or (2) any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. The due recognition of an illegitimate child in a record of birth, a will, a statement before a court of record, or in any authentic writing is, in itself, a consummated act of acknowledgement of the child, and no further court action is required. In fact, any authentic writing is treated not just a ground for compulsory recognition; it is in itself a voluntary recognition that does not require a separate action for judicial approval.

Maria Theresa successfully established her filiation with Vicente by presenting a duly authenticated birth certificate. Vicente himself signed Maria Theresa’s birth certificate thereby acknowledging that she is his daughter. By this act alone, Vicente is deemed to have acknowledged his paternity over Maria Theresa.

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

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