IN RE: PETITIONS FOR ADOPTION OF MICHELLE P. LIM, and MICHAEL JUDE P. LIM, MONINA P. LIM, G.R. Nos. 168992-93 May 21, 2009.
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It is undisputed that, at the time the petitions for adoption were filed, petitioner had already remarried. She filed the petitions by herself, without being joined by her husband Olario. We have no other recourse but to affirm the trial court’s decision denying the petitions for adoption. Dura lex sed lex. The law is explicit. Section 7, Article III of RA 8552 reads:
SEC. 7. Who May Adopt. – The following may adopt:
(a) Any Filipino citizen of legal age, in possession of full civil capacity and legal rights, of good moral character, has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude, emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children, at least sixteen (16) years older than the adoptee, and who is in a position to support and care for his/her children in keeping with the means of the family. The requirement of sixteen (16) year difference between the age of the adopter and adoptee may be waived when the adopter is the biological parent of the adoptee, or is the spouse of the adoptee’s parent;
(b) Any alien possessing the same qualifications as above stated for Filipino nationals: Provided, That his/her country has diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines, that he/she has been living in the Philippines for at least three (3) continuous years prior to the filing of the application for adoption and maintains such residence until the adoption decree is entered, that he/she has been certified by his/her diplomatic or consular office or any appropriate government agency that he/she has the legal capacity to adopt in his/her country, and that his/her government allows the adoptee to enter his/her country as his/her adopted son/daughter: Provided, further, That the requirements on residency and certification of the alien’s qualification to adopt in his/her country may be waived for the following:
(i) a former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity; or
(ii) one who seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of his/her Filipino spouse; or
(iii) one who is married to a Filipino citizen and seeks to adopt jointly with his/her spouse a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity of the Filipino spouses; or
(c) The guardian with respect to the ward after the termination of the guardianship and clearance of his/her financial accountabilities.
Husband and wife shall jointly adopt, except in the following cases:
(i) if one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of the other; or
(ii) if one spouse seeks to adopt his/her own illegitimate son/daughter: Provided, however, That the other spouse has signified his/her consent thereto; or
(iii) if the spouses are legally separated from each other.
In case husband and wife jointly adopt, or one spouse adopts the illegitimate son/daughter of the other, joint parental authority shall be exercised by the spouses. (Emphasis supplied)
The use of the word “shall” in the above-quoted provision means that joint adoption by the husband and the wife is mandatory. This is in consonance with the concept of joint parental authority over the child which is the ideal situation. As the child to be adopted is elevated to the level of a legitimate child, it is but natural to require the spouses to adopt jointly. The rule also insures harmony between the spouses.
The law is clear. There is no room for ambiguity. Petitioner, having remarried at the time the petitions for adoption were filed, must jointly adopt.
Since the petitions for adoption were filed only by petitioner herself, without joining her husband, Olario, the trial court was correct in denying the petitions for adoption on this ground.
Neither does petitioner fall under any of the three exceptions enumerated in Section 7. First, the children to be adopted are not the legitimate children of petitioner or of her husband Olario. Second, the children are not the illegitimate children of petitioner. And third, petitioner and Olario are not legally separated from each other.
The fact that Olario gave his consent to the adoption as shown in his Affidavit of Consent does not suffice. There are certain requirements that Olario must comply being an American citizen. He must meet the qualifications set forth in Section 7 of RA 8552 such as: (1) he must prove that his country has diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines; (2) he must have been living in the Philippines for at least three continuous years prior to the filing of the application for adoption; (3) he must maintain such residency until the adoption decree is entered; (4) he has legal capacity to adopt in his own country; and (5) the adoptee is allowed to enter the adopter’s country as the latter’s adopted child. None of these qualifications were shown and proved during the trial.
These requirements on residency and certification of the alien’s qualification to adopt cannot likewise be waived pursuant to Section 7. The children or adoptees are not relatives within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity of petitioner or of Olario. Neither are the adoptees the legitimate children of petitioner.”
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“Adoption has, thus, the following effects: (1) sever all legal ties between the biological parent(s) and the adoptee, except when the biological parent is the spouse of the adopter; (2) deem the adoptee as a legitimate child of the adopter; and (3) give adopter and adoptee reciprocal rights and obligations arising from the relationship of parent and child, including but not limited to: (i) the right of the adopter to choose the name the child is to be known; and (ii) the right of the adopter and adoptee to be legal and compulsory heirs of each other. Therefore, even if emancipation terminates parental authority, the adoptee is still considered a legitimate child of the adopter with all the rights of a legitimate child such as: (1) to bear the surname of the father and the mother; (2) to receive support from their parents; and (3) to be entitled to the legitime and other successional rights. Conversely, the adoptive parents shall, with respect to the adopted child, enjoy all the benefits to which biological parents are entitled such as support and successional rights.
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