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G.R. No.

177728, July 31, 2009


DELA CRUZ V. GRACIA
FACTS:
For several months in 2005, then 21-year old petitioner Jenie San Juan Dela Cruz (Jenie) and then 1-year
old Christian Domini!ue Sto" #omas $!uino (Domini!ue) lived to%ether as hus&and and 'i(e 'ithout the
&ene(it o( marria%e" #hey resided in the house o( Domini!ue)s parents Domin%o *" $!uino and +a!uel
Sto" #omas $!uino at ,ulan%-lupa, Dulum&ayan, #eresa, +izal" -n Septem&er ., 2005, Domini!ue died"
$(ter almost t'o months, or on /ovem&er 2, 2005, Jenie, 'ho 0ontinued to live 'ith Domini!ue)s
parents, %ave &irth to her herein 0o-petitioner minor 0hild Christian Dela Cruz 1$!uino1" Jenie applied
(or re%istration o( the 0hild)s &irth, usin% Domini!ue)s surname $!uino, 'ith the -((i0e o( the City Civil
+e%istrar, $ntipolo City, in support o( 'hi0h she su&mitted the 0hild)s Certi(i0ate o( 2ive *irth,
$((idavit to 3se the Surname o( the Father
4
($3SF) 'hi0h she had e5e0uted and si%ned, and $((idavit o(
$06no'led%ment e5e0uted &y Domini!ue)s (ather Domin%o *ut0h $!uino" *oth a((idavits attested, inter
alia, that durin% the li(etime o( Domini!ue, he had 0ontinuously a06no'led%ed his yet un&orn 0hild, and
that his paternity had never &een !uestioned" Jenie atta0hed to the $3SF a do0ument entitled
1$3#-*7-8+$,9:1 'hi0h Domini!ue, durin% his li(etime, 'rote in his o'n hand'ritin%, the
pertinent portions o( 'hi0h read;
AS OF NOW I HAVE MY WIFE NAMED JENIE DELA CRUZ. WE MET EACH OTHER IN OUR
HOMETOWN, TEREZA RIZAL. AT FIRST WE BECAME GOOD FRIENDS, THEN WE FELL IN
LOVE WITH EACH OTHER, THEN WE BECAME GOOD COUPLES. AND AS OF NOW SHE
IS PREGNANTAND FOR THAT WE LIVE TOGETHER IN OUR HOUSE NOW. THATS ALL.
#he City Civil +e%istrar o( $ntipolo City (respondent) denied Jenie)s appli0ation (or re%istration o( the
0hild)s name" 7n summary, the 0hild 0annot use the surname o( his (ather &e0ause he 'as &orn out o(
'edlo06 and the (ather un(ortunately died prior to his &irth and has no more 0apa0ity to a06no'led%e his
paternity to the 0hild (either throu%h the &a06 o( <uni0ipal Form /o" 102 = $((idavit o(
$06no'led%ment>$dmission o( ,aternity = or the $uthority to 3se the Surname o( the Father)"
Jenie and the 0hild promptly (iled a 0omplaint (or in?un0tion>re%istration o( name a%ainst respondent
&e(ore the +#C" #he 0omplaint alle%ed that, inter alia, the denial o( re%istration o( the 0hild)s name is a
violation o( his ri%ht to use the surname o( his de0eased (ather under A!"#l$ 17% o& !'$ F()"ly Co*$, (+
()$,*$* -y R$.u-l"# A#! /R.A.0 No. 9211" #hey maintained that the $uto&io%raphy e5e0uted &y
Domini!ue 0onstitutes an admission o( paternity in a 1private hand'ritten instrument1 'ithin the
0ontemplation o( the a&ove-!uoted provision o( la'" #he trial 0ourt dismissed the 0omplaint 1(or la06 o(
0ause o( a0tion1 as the $uto&io%raphy 'as unsi%ned, 0itin% para%raph 2"2, +ule 2 (De(inition o( #erms)
o( A*)","+!(!"2$ 3*$ /A.3.0 No. 1, S$"$+ o& 2004 /!'$ Rul$+ (,* R$5ul(!"o,+ Go2$,",5 !'$
I).l$)$,!(!"o, o& R.A. 92110 'hi0h de(ines 1private hand'ritten do0ument1 throu%h 'hi0h a (ather
may a06no'led%e an ille%itimate 0hild as (ollo's;
2.2 Priv!" #$%&ri!!"$ i$'!r()"$! * $ i$'!r()"$! "+",(!"% i$ !#" #$%&ri!i$- ./ !#" /!#"r
$% %(01 'i-$"% 21 #i)&#"r" #" "+3r"''01 r",.-$i4"' 3!"r$i!1 !. !#" ,#i0%.
#he trial 0ourt held that even i( Domini!ue 'as the author o( the hand'ritten $uto&io%raphy, the same
does not 0ontain any e5press re0o%nition o( paternity"
7SS3@; A>/ the surname o( the late Christian Domini!ue Sto" #omas A6u",o &e entered as the surname
o( petitioner minor Christian dela Cruz in his Certi(i0ate o( 2ive *irth even thou%h the private
hand'ritten instrument e5e0uted &y the late $!uino as eviden0e o( paternity 'as not si%ned &y him
pursuant to $rti0le 1BC o( the Family Code, as amended &y +$ 255, 'hi0h entitles the said minor to use
his (ather)s surname
9@2D; :es, $rti0le 1BC o( the Family Code, as amended &y +"$" 255, permits an ille%itimate 0hild to
use the surname o( his>her (ather i( the latter had e5pressly re0o%nized him>her as his o((sprin% throu%h
the re0ord o( &irth appearin% in the 0ivil re%ister, or throu%h an admission made in a pu&li0 or private
hand'ritten instrument" #he re0o%nition made in any o( these do0uments is, in itsel(, a 0onsummated a0t
o( a06no'led%ment o( the 0hild)s paternityD hen0e, no separate a0tion (or ?udi0ial approval is ne0essary"
$rti0le 1BC o( the Family Code, as amended, does not, indeed, e5pli0itly state that the private hand'ritten
instrument a06no'led%in% the 0hild)s paternity must &e si%ned &y the putative (ather" #his provision
must, ho'ever, &e read in 0on?un0tion 'ith related provisions o( the Family Code 'hi0h re!uire that
re0o%nition &y the (ather must &ear his si%nature, thus;
$rt" 1B5" 7lle%itimate 0hildren may esta&lish their ille%itimate (iliation in the same 'ay and on the same
eviden0e as le%itimate 0hildren" 5 5 5 5
$rt" 1B2" #he (iliation o( le%itimate 0hildren is esta&lished &y any o( the (ollo'in%; (1) #he re0ord o(
&irth appearin% in the 0ivil re%ister or a (inal ?ud%mentD or (2) $n admission o( le%itimate (iliation in a
pu&li0 do0ument or a private hand'ritten instrument and +"5,$* &y the parent 0on0erned "
I, !'$ .$+$,! #(+$, +.$#"(l #"#u)+!(,#$+ $7"+! !o 'ol* !'(! Do)","6u$8+ Au!o-"o5(.'y, !'ou5'
u,+"5,$* -y '"), +u-+!(,!"(lly +(!"+&"$+ !'$ $6u"$)$,! o& !'$ l(9. First, Domini!ue died a&out t'o
months prior to the 0hild)s &irth" Se0ond, the relevant matters in the $uto&io%raphy, un!uestiona&ly
hand'ritten &y Domini!ue, 0orrespond to the (a0ts 0ulled (rom the testimonial eviden0e Jenie
pro((ered"
20
#hird, Jenie)s testimony is 0orro&orated &y the $((idavit o( $06no'led%ment o( Domini!ue)s
(ather Domin%o $!uino and testimony o( his &rother Joseph *ut0h $!uino 'hose hereditary ri%hts 0ould
&e a((e0ted &y the re%istration o( the !uestioned re0o%nition o( the 0hild" #hese 0ir0umstan0es indi0atin%
Domini!ue)s paternity o( the 0hild %ive li(e to his statements in his $uto&io%raphy that 1J@/7@ D@2$
C+3E1 is 1<: A7F@1 as 1A@ F@22 7/ 2-F@ A7#9 @$C9 -#9@+1 and 1/-A S9@ 7S
,+@8/$/# $/D F-+ #9$# A@ 27F@ #-8@#9@+"1
#here is no dispute that the earlier !uoted statements in Domini!ue)s $uto&io%raphy have &een made and
'ritten &y him" #a6en to%ether 'ith the other relevant (a0ts e5tant herein = that Domini!ue, durin% his
li(etime, and Jenie 'ere livin% to%ether as 0ommon-la' spouses (or several months in 2005 at his parents)
house in ,ulan%-lupa, Dulum&ayan, #eresa, +izalD she 'as pre%nant 'hen Domini!ue died on Septem&er
., 2005D and a&out t'o months a(ter his death, Jenie %ave &irth to the 0hild : !'$y +u&&"#"$,!ly $+!(-l"+'
!'(! !'$ #'"l* o& J$,"$ "+ Do)","6u$8+.
7n vie' o( the pronoun0ements herein made, !'$ Cou! +$$+ "! &"! !o (*o.! !'$ &ollo9",5 ul$+
$+.$#!",5 !'$ $6u"$)$,! o& (&&"7",5 !'$ +"5,(!u$ o& !'$ (#;,o9l$*5",5 .($,! in any private
hand'ritten instrument 'herein an admission o( (iliation o( a le%itimate or ille%itimate 0hild is made;
1) Ahere the private hand'ritten instrument is the lo,$ ."$#$ o& $2"*$,#$ +u-)"!!$* !o .o2$
&"l"(!"o,, !'$$ +'oul* -$ +!"#! #o).l"(,#$ 'ith the re!uirement that the same must &e si%ned
&y the a06no'led%in% parentD and
2) Ahere the private hand'ritten instrument is (##o).(,"$* -y o!'$ $l$2(,! (,* #o).$!$,!
$2"*$,#$, "! +u&&"#$+ !'(! !'$ #l(") o& &"l"(!"o, !'$$", -$ +'o9, !o '(2$ -$$, )(*$ (,*
'(,*9"!!$, -y !'$ (#;,o9l$*5",5 .($,! (+ "! "+ )$$ly #oo-o(!"2$ o( su0h other
eviden0e"
3u l(9+ ",+!u#! !'(! !'$ 9$l&($ o& !'$ #'"l* +'(ll -$ !'$ <.(()ou,! #o,+"*$(!"o,< ", $+ol2",5
6u$+!"o,+ (&&$#!",5 '")"
7t is thus 1(t)he poli0y o( the Family Code to li&eralize the rule on the investi%ation o( the paternity and
(iliation o( 0hildren, espe0ially o( ille%itimate 0hildren 5 5 5"1 #oo, 1(t)he State as parens patriae
a((ords spe0ial prote0tion to 0hildren (rom a&use, e5ploitation and other 0onditions pre?udi0ial to their
development"1
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+ule B o( $dministrative -rder /o" 1, Series o( 200. (7mplementin% +ules and +e%ulations o( +epu&li0
$0t /o" 255 G1$n $0t $llo'in% 7lle%itimate Children to 3se the Surname o( their Father, $mendin% (or
the ,urpose, $rti0le 1BC o( @5e0utive -rder /o" 20, other'ise Hno'n as the IFamily Code o( the
,hilippines)1J) provides that;
+ule B" +e!uirements (or the Child to 3se the Surname o( the Father
B"1 For *irths /ot :et +e%istered
B"1"1 #he ille%itimate 0hild shall use the surname o( the (ather i( a pu&li0 do0ument is e5e0uted &y the
(ather, either at the &a06 o( the Certi(i0ate o( 2ive *irth or in a separate do0ument"
B"1"2 7( admission o( paternity is made throu%h a private hand'ritten instrument, the 0hild shall use the
surname o( the (ather, provided the re%istration is supported &y the (ollo'in% do0uments;
a" $3SF
K
&" Consent o( the 0hild, i( 1K years old and over at the time o( the (ilin% o( the do0ument"
0" $ny t'o o( the (ollo'in% do0uments sho'in% 0learly the paternity &et'een the (ather and the
0hild;
1" @mployment re0ords
2" SSS>8S7S re0ords
4" 7nsuran0e
." Certi(i0ation o( mem&ership in any or%anization
5" Statement o( $ssets and 2ia&ility
C" 7n0ome #a5 +eturn (7#+)