Blood relationship

This is a case of adoption by an alien of a Filipino child. The issue raised in this case involves an alien married to a Filipina who has an illegitimate child. Can such alien adopt said child of the Filipina?

This is the case of Jenny who has an illegitimate son named Gino whose biological father Baldo left Jenny when she was four months pregnant and was unheard off since then. Thus Jenny took care and custody of Gino as a single mother until she met a Japanese named Kyoto, who courted her until they got married when Gino was about seven years old.

Five years after their marriage, Jenny and Kyoto filed a joint Petition for adoption of Gino seeking, among others, to have him declared as their legitimate son with the rights and duties of an adopted child as provided by law. During the trial, Jenny and Kyoto presented the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) case and home study report recommending the approval of the Petition. Also presented were their marriage certificate and police clearances showing that they have full legal capacity and rights to adopt, of good moral character, have not been convicted of crime involving moral turpitude and psychologically capable of caring for children.

The Regional Trial Court (RTC), however, denied their petition. The RTC ruled that Kyoto failed to present the requirements on his residency and alien certification of qualification to adopt in his country. It observed that Kyoto was not exempt from said requirements provided by Section 7 (b) of RA 8552 because Gino was the illegitimate child of Jenny and therefore not her relative within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity. Was the RTC correct?

No said the Supreme Court (SC). The Petitioners are right in contending that Gino is a relative of Jenny by consanguinity within the fourth civil degree within the contemplation of Section 7 (b) (1) and (111) of R A 8552. Proximity of relationship is determined by the number of generations. Each generation forms a degree. A series of degrees forms a line which may be either direct or collateral. A direct line is that constituted by the series of degrees among ascendants and descendants. In the direct line, the ascent is made to the common ancestor. Thus a child is one degree removed from the parent, two from the grandparent and three from the great grand-parent (Article 963 to 966 Civil Code).

Pursuant to the foregoing provisions of law, an illegitimate child is a relative within the first civil degree of his biological mother. The word “child” referred to under Article 966 of the Civil Code is used in general term and is without qualification. This is so because the provision contemplates blood relation, not status. Thus R A 8552 undoubtedly intended to include Gino, the biological child of Jenny, in the term “relatives” under Section 7(B) (111) because he is a relative within the first civil degree. So the decision of the RTC should be reversed and set aside (In re Petition for Adoption of Jan Aurel Bulayo etc., G.R. 205752, Oct. 1, 2019).

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