G.R. No. 114742, 17 July 1997
Carlitos E. Silva, a married businessman, and Suzanne T. Gonzales, an unmarried local actress, cohabited without the benefit of marriage. The union saw the birth of two children: Ramon Carlos and Rica Natalia. Not very long after, a rift in their relationship surfaced. It began, according to Silva, when Gonzales decided to resume her acting career over his vigorous objections. The assertion was quickly refuted by Gonzales who claimed that she, in fact, had never stopped working throughout their relationship. At any rate, the two eventually parted ways. On February 1986, by the refusal of Gonzales to allow Silva, in apparent contravention of a previous understanding, to have the children in his company on weekends. Silva filed a petition for custodial rights over the children before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 78, of Quezon City. The petition was opposed by Gonzales who averred that Silva often engaged in “gambling and womanizing” which she feared could affect the moral and social values of the children. The Trial Court granted herein petitioner visitorial rights to his children during Saturdays and/or Sundays, but in no case should he take out the children without the written consent of the mother or respondent herein.
Whether or not the petitioner shall have to comply with a written consent from Gonzales whenever he will take out his children as granted visitorial rights to him by the trial court.
The decision of the trial court is REINSTATED, reversing thereby the judgment of the appellate court which is hereby SET ASIDE.
There is no doubt that in all cases involving a child, his interest and welfare is always the paramount consideration. The Court shares the view of the Solicitor General, who has recommended due course to the petition, that a few hours spent by petitioner with the children, however, could not all be that detrimental to the children.
There is, despite a dearth of specific legal provisions, enough recognition on the inherent and natural right of parents over their children. Article 150 of the Family Code expresses that “(f)amily relations include those x x x (2) (b)etween parents and children; x x x.” Article 209, in relation to Article 220, of the Code states that it is the natural right and duty of parents and those exercising parental authority to, among other things, keep children in their company and to give them love and affection, advice and counsel, companionship and understanding. The Constitution itself speaks in terms of the “natural and primary rights of parents in the rearing of the youth. There is nothing conclusive to indicate that these provisions are meant to solely address themselves to legitimate relationships. The Court appreciates the apprehensions of private respondent and their well-meant concern for the children; nevertheless, it seems unlikely that petitioner would have ulterior motives or undue designs more than a parent’s natural desire to be able to call on, even if it were only on brief visits, his own children. The trial court, in any case, has seen it fit to understandably provide this precautionary measure, i.e., “in no case (can petitioner) take out the children without the written consent of the mother.”
* Case digest by Jason S. Olasiman, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018