Ilano v. CA
ARTEMIO G. ILANO vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS and MERCEDITAS (sic) S. ILANO, represented by her mother, LEONCIA DE LOS SANTOS
G.R. No. 104376 February 23, 1994
Leoncia first met petitioner Artemio G. Ilano while she was working as secretary to Atty. Mariano C. Virata. Petitioner was one of the clients of Atty. Virata. Sometime in 1957, Leoncia, then managing a business of her own as Namarco distributor, met petitioner again who was engaged in the same business and they renewed acquaintances. Since then, he would give her his unsold allocation of goods. Later, he courted her for more than four years. Their relationship became intimate and with his promise of marriage, they eloped to Guagua, Pampanga in April, 1962.
Private respondent Merceditas S. Ilano was born on December 30, 1963 also at the Manila Sanitarium. Her birth was recorded as Merceditas de los Santos Ilano, child of Leoncia Aguinaldo de los Santos and Artemio Geluz Ilano. Leoncia submitted receipts issued by the Manila Sanitarium to show that she was confined there from December 30, 1963 until January 2, 1964 under the name of Mrs. Leoncia Ilano.
After weighing the contradictory testimonies and evidence of the parties, the trial court was not fully satisfied that petitioner is the father of Merceditas, on the basis of the following: 1) petitioner and Leoncia were not in cohabitation during the period of Merceditas’ conception; 2) testimony of Melencio that he frequented the apartment where Leoncia was living, took care of all the bills and shared the same bed with her; 3) the birth certificate of Merceditas was not signed by petitioner; 4) petitioner denied his signature in the monthly report card of Merceditas; and 5) there is no clear and sufficient showing that support was given by petitioner to Merceditas. The Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the trial court.
May an adulterous child file an action for recognition?
Yes. It is now commonplace for an abandoned illegitimate offspring to sue his father for recognition and support. Since petitioner had a subsisting marriage to another at the time Merceditas was conceived, she is a spurious child. In this regard, Article 287 of the Civil Code provides that illegitimate children other than natural in accordance with Article 269 and other than natural children by legal fiction are entitled to support and such successional rights as are granted in the Civil Code. The Civil Code has given these rights to them because the transgressions of social conventions committed by the parents should not be visited upon them. However, before Article 287 can be availed of, there must first be a recognition of paternity either voluntarily or by court action. This arises from the legal principle that an unrecognized spurious child like a natural child has no rights from his parents or to their estate because his rights spring not from the filiation or blood relationship but from his acknowledgment by the parent. In other words, the 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. Private respondent’s evidence to establish her filiation with and the paternity of petitioner is too overwhelming to be ignored or brushed aside by the highly improbable and fatally flawed testimony of Melencio and the inherently weak denials of petitioner.