A child’s legitimacy may also be impugned



The Manila Times



Dear PAO, Can legitimation be impugned? My friend recently got legitimated following the marriage of her parents. She said that she went through all the process and was REALLY HAPPY THAT SHE CAN fiNALLY be called a legitimate child after so many years of having an illegitimate status since her parents were not married at the time she was born. Now, it seems that she has relatives who are not pleased with her getting legitimated and she is worried that it may be questioned. We have only read about legitimacy being impugned but not as regards legitimation. Can legitimation be impugned or questioned? I hope you can enlighten us. Geneva Dear Geneva, We commonly hear and read legal concerns relating to questioning or impugning a child’s legitimacy, that is, whether a child is legitimate or illegitimate. But it is not very common to read about matters relating to impugning the legitimation of a child. We wish to impart that a child’s legitimation may also be lawfully questioned or impugned. This is explicitly provided under the Family Code of the Philippines as follows: “Art. 182. Legitimation may be impugned only by those who are prejudiced in their rights, within five years from the time their cause of action accrues.” Corollary, your friend’s relatives, assuming their rights are prejudiced by the fact of your friend’s legitimation, may question the same if your friend is not legally qualified to be legitimated because either or both of her parents has/have legal impediment to marry each other at the time of her conception. It should be emphasized that legitimation does not only require the subsequent marriage of the parents of the illegitimate child. Equally important to substantiate is the fact that said parents must have no impediment to marry each other at the time said child was conceived; or if they were so disqualified, it is only because either or both of them was/were below eighteen years of age at the time of conception. This is pursuant to Section 1 of Republic Act No. 9858 which states: “Section 1. Article 177 of Executive Order No. 209, otherwise known as the “Family Code of the Philippines”, as amended, is hereby further amended to read as follows: “Art. 177. Children conceived and born outside of wedlock of parents who, at the time of conception of the former, were not disqualified by any impediment to marry each other, or were so disqualified only because either or both of them were below eighteen (18) years of age, may be legitimated. “Art. 178. Legitimation shall take place by a subsequent valid marriage between parents. The annulment of a voidable marriage shall not affect the legitimation.” We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated. Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@ manilatimes.net