ILANO v. CA
G.R. No. 104376 February 23, 1994
Ø Leoncia first met petitioner Artemio G. Ilano while she was working as secretary to Atty. Mariano C. Virata.
Ø Leoncia, then managing a business of her own as Namarco distributor, met petitioner again. Later, he courted her more than four years. Their relationship became intimate and with his promise of marriage, they eloped.
Ø While they were living at Makati, private respondent Merceditas S. Ilano was born Her birth was recorded as Merceditas de los Santos Ilano, child of Leoncia Aguinaldo de los Santos and Artemio Geluz Ilano. Inasmuch as it was already past seven o'clock in the evening, the nurse promised to return the following morning for his signature. However, he left an instruction to give birth certificate to Leoncia for her signature, as he was leaving early the following morning.
Ø During the time that petitioner and Leoncia were living as husband and wife, he showed concern as the father of Merceditas. When Merceditas was in Grade I at the St. Joseph Parochial School, he signed her Report Card for the fourth and fifth grading periods
Ø CA REVERSED RTC judgment declaring plaintiff MERCEDITAS S. ILANO as the duly acknowledged and recognized illegitimate child.
W/N MERCEDITAS S. ILANO is the duly acknowledged and recognized illegitimate child.
HELD: Petition is DENIED. CA affirmed.
Ø Under the then prevailing provisions of the Civil Code, illegitimate children or those who are conceived and born out of wedlock were generally classified into: (1) Natural, whether actual or by fiction, were those born outside of lawful wedlock of parents who, at the time of conception of the child, were not disqualified by any impediment to marry each other (2) Spurious, whether incestuous, were disqualified to marry each other on account of certain legal impediments. Since petitioner had a subsisting marriage to another at the time Merceditas was conceived, she is a spurious child. Rights of an illegitimate child arose not because he was the true or real child of his parents but because under the law, he had been recognized or acknowledged as such a child. A recognition once validly made is irrevocable. It cannot be withdrawn. A mere change of mind would be incompatible with the stability of the civil status of person, the permanence of which affects public interest. Even when the act in which it is made should be revocable, the revocation of such act will not revoke the recognition itself. To be sure, to establish "the open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child," it is necessary to comply with certain jurisprudential requirements. "Continuous" does not, however, mean that the concession of status shall continue forever but only that it shall not be of an intermittent character while it continues (De Jesus v. Syquia, 58 Phil. 866). The possession of such status means that the father has treated the child as his own, directly and not through other, spontaneously and without concealment though without publicity (since the relation is illegitimate). There must be a showing of the permanent intention of the supposed father to consider the child as his own, by continuous and clear manifestation of paternal affection and care.
Ø The mere denial by defendant of his signature is not sufficient to offset the totality of the evidence indubitably showing that the signature thereon belongs to him. The entry in the Certificate of Live Birth that Leoncia and Artemio was falsely stated therein as married does not mean that Merceditas is not appellee's daughter. This particular entry was caused to be made by Artemio himself in order to avoid embarrassment.
Ø It is difficult to believe that plaintiffs mother, who is a mere dressmaker, had long beforehand diabolically conceived of a plan to make it appear that defendant, who claims to be a total stranger to be a total stranger, was the father of her child, and in the process falsified the latter's signatures and handwriting.
Ø The natural, logical and coherent evidence of plaintiff from the genesis of the relationship between Leoncia and appellee, their living together as circumstances of plaintiff's birth, the acts of appellee in recognizing and supporting plaintiff, find ample support from the testimonial and documentary evidence which leaves no room to reasonably doubt his paternity which may not be infirmed by his belated denials.
Ø Any other evidence or proof that the defendant is the father is broad enough to render unnecessary the other paragraphs of this article. When the evidence submitted in the action for compulsory recognition is not sufficient to meet requirements of the first three paragraphs, it may still be enough under the last paragraph. This paragraph permits hearsay and reputation evidence, as provided in the Rules of Court, with respect to illegitimate filiatio
Ø As a necessary consequence of the finding that private respondent is the spurious child of petitioner, she is entitled to support. In awarding support to her, respondent court took into account the following:
Ø The obligation to give support shall be demandable from the time the person who has a right to recover the same needs it for maintenance, but it shall not be paid except from the date of judicial or extrajudicial demand.
Ø The complaint in this case was filed on August 14, 1972. Plaintiff, having been born on December 30, 1963, was about 9 years old at the time and was already of school age spending about P400.00 to P500.00 a month for her school expenses alone, while defendant was earning about P10,000.00 a month. She is therefore entitled to support in arrears for a period of 12 years, 4 months and 14 days, which is hereby fixed at P800.00 a month for the 1st 3 years; and considering the declining value of the peso as well as her needs as she grows older, at a graduated increase of P1,000.00 a month for the next 3 years; P1,300.00 a month for the succeeding 3 years; and P1,500.00 a month for the last 3 years, 4 months and 14 days until she attained the age of majority.
Ø This being an action for legal support, the award of attorney's fees is appropriate under Article 2208 (6) of the Civil Code. Moreover, the court deems it just and equitable under the given facts and circumstances that attorney's fees and expenses of litigation should be recovered.