GR No. 124853, 24 February 1998
Private respondent, Monina Jison, instituted a complaint against petitioner, Francisco Jison, for recognition as illegitimate child of the latter. The case was filed 20 years after her mother’s death and when she was already 39 years of age.
Petitioner was married to Lilia Lopez Jison since 1940 and sometime in 1945, he impregnated Esperanza Amolar, Monina’s mother. Monina alleged that since childhood, she had enjoyed the continuous, implied recognition as the illegitimate child of petitioner by his acts and that of his family. It was likewise alleged that petitioner supported her and spent for her education such that she became a CPA and eventually a Central Bank Examiner. Monina was able to present total of 11 witnesses.
Whether or not Monina should be declared as illegitimate child of Francisco Jison.
Under Article 175 of the Family Code, illegitimate filiation may be established in the same way and on the same evidence as that of legitimate children. Article 172 thereof provides the various forms of evidence by which legitimate filiation is established.
“To prove open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child, there must be evidence of the manifestation of the permanent intention of the supposed father to consider the child as his, by continuous and clear manifestations of parental affection and care, which cannot be attributed to pure charity. Such acts must be of such a nature that they reveal not only the conviction of paternity, but also the apparent desire to have and treat the child as such in all relations in society and in life, not accidentally, but continuously”.
The following facts were established based on the testimonial evidences offered by Monina:
1. That Francisco was her father and she was conceived at the time when her mother was employed by the former;
2. That Francisco recognized Monina as his child through his overt acts and conduct.
SC ruled that a certificate of live birth purportedly identifying the putative father is not competence evidence as to the issue of paternity. Francisco’s lack of participation in the preparation of baptismal certificates and school records render the documents showed as incompetent to prove paternity. With regard to the affidavit signed by Monina when she was 25 years of age attesting that Francisco was not her father, SC was in the position that if Monina were truly not Francisco’s illegitimate child, it would be unnecessary for him to have gone to such great lengths in order that Monina denounce her filiation. Monina’s evidence hurdles the “high standard of proof required for the success of an action to establish one’s illegitimate filiation in relying upon the provision on “open and continuous possession”. Hence, Monina proved her filiation by more than mere preponderance of evidence.
Since the instant case involves paternity and filiation, even if illegitimate, Monina filed her action well within the period granted her by a positive provision of law. A denial then of her action on ground of laches would clearly be inequitable and unjust. Petition was denied.
* Case digest by Liezel A. Lagare, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018