G.R. No. 94147 Republic v. Toledano, et. al. June 8, 1994

Facts:

A verified petition was filed before the RTC of Iba, Zambales by spouses Alvin A. Clouse and Evelyn A. Clouse, both aliens, seeking to adopt the minor, Solomon Joseph Alcala, the younger brother of Evelyn who has been under their care and custody for quite a time.

Alvin is a natural born US citizen. He married Evelyn, a Filipino, who thereafter became a naturalized citizen of the US in Guam. They are physically, mentally, morally, and financially capable of adopting Solomon, a twelve (12) year old minor.

Solomon gave his consent to the adoption, and so did his mother Nery Alcala, a widow, due to poverty and inability to support and educate her son.

Mrs. Nila Corazon Pronda, the social worker assigned to conduct the Home and Child Study, favorably recommended the granting of the petition for adoption.

Consequently, respondent judge rendered a decision granting the petition for adoption and decreeing that said minor be considered as their child by adoption. To this effect, the Court gives the minor the rights and duties as the legitimate child of the petitioners. Also, it dissolves parental authority bestowed upon his natural parents and vests parental authority to the spouses and makes him their legal heir.

Petitioner, through the OSG appealed for relief via a Petition for review on certiorari of the decision  of the lower court, contending that it erred in granting the petition for adoption because spouses Clouse are not qualified to adopt under Philippine law.

Both spouses are American citizens at the time of the filing of petition for adoption.

Issues:

  1. Whether or not the spouses, both aliens, have the right or are qualified to adopt under Philippine law.
  2. Whether or not joint adoption by spouses is mandatory.

Ruling:

Under Articles 184 and 185 of E.O. No. 209, otherwise known as “The Family Code of the Philippines”, spouses Clouse are clearly barred from adopting Solomon.

Article 184, paragraph (3) of E.O. No. 209 expressly enumerates the persons who are not qualified to adopt, viz.:

(3) An alien, except:

(a) A former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a relative by consanguinity;

(b) One who seeks to adopt the legitimate child of his or her Filipino spouse; or

(c) One who is married to a Filipino citizen and seeks to adopt jointly with his or her spouse a relative by consanguinity of the latter.

Aliens not included in the foregoing exceptions may adopt Filipino children in accordance with the rules on inter-country adoption as may be provided by law.

There can be no question that Alvin is not qualified to adopt Solomon under any of the exceptional cases in the aforequoted provision. Firstly, he is not a former Filipino citizen but a natural born US citizen . Secondly, Solomon is neither his relative by consanguinity nor the legitimate child of his spouse. Lastly, when spouses Clouse jointly filed the petition to adopt Solomon, Evelyn was no longer a Filipino citizen. She lost her Filipino citizenship when she was naturalized as a US citizen.

Evelyn on the other hand, may appear to qualify pursuant to paragraph 3(a) of Article 184 of E.O. 209. She was a former Filipino citizen. She sought to adopt her younger brother. Unfortunately, the petition for adoption cannot be granted in her favor alone without violating Article 185 which mandates a joint adoption by the husband and wife. It reads:

Article 185. Husband and wife must jointly adopt, except in the following cases:

(1) When one spouse seeks to adopt his own illegitimate child; or

(2) When one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate child of the other.

Article 185 requires a joint adoption by the husband and wife, a condition that must be read along together with Article 184.

Today, this case is applicable only insofar as the mandatory nature of a joint adoption by husband and wife is concerned. As to the qualification or non-qualification of an alien adopter, RA 8552 (enacted on February 25, 1998) is applicable.

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