May an elder sister adopt a younger brother?

The text below are from an old Supreme Court Case –

The issue before Us is, whether or not an elder sister may adopt a younger brother.
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The trial court dismissed the petition reasoning thus:
“A critical consideration in this case is the fact that the parents of the minor to be adopted are also the parents of the petitioner-wife. The minor, therefore, is the latter’s legitimate brother.
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“In this proceeding, the adoption will result in an incongruous situation where the minor Edwin Villa, a legitimate brother of the petitioner-wife, will also be her son. In the opinion of the court, that incongruity, not neutralized by other circumstances absent herein, should prevent the adoption.”
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The petitioners moved to reconsider the decision but the same was denied. Hence, this appeal.
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The facts are not disputed.
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The above-named spouses filed the petition before the court a quo on January 8, 1963, praying that the minor Edwin Villa y Mendoza, 4 years old, be declared their (petitioners’) son by adoption. Evidence was presented that the order setting the case for hearing has been duly published, Exhibit A. There having been no opposition registered to the petition, the petitioners were permitted to adduce their evidence.
It was established that the petitioners are both 32 years of age, Filipinos, residing in the City of Manila. They were married in 1957 and have maintained a conjugal home of their own. They do not have a child of their own blood. Neither spouse has any legitimate, legitimated, illegitimate, acknowledged natural child, or natural child by legal fiction; nor has any one of them been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. Edwin Villa y Mendoza, 4 years old, is a child of Francisco Villa and Florencia Mendoza who are the common parents of the petitioner-wife Edipola Villa Santos and the minor. Luis E. Santos, Jr., is a lawyer, with business interests in a textile development enterprise and the IBA electric plant, and is the general manager of Medry, Inc. and the secretary-treasurer of Bearen Enterprises. His income is approximately P600.00 a month. His co-petitioner-wife, is a nurse by profession, with an average monthly earning of about P300.00.
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It was also shown that Edwin Villa y Mendoza was born on May 22, 1958, Exhibit C. He was a sickly child since birth. Due to the child’s impairing health, his parents entrusted him to the petitioners who reared and brought him up for the years thereafter, and as a result, there developed between the petitioners and the child, a deep and profound love for each other. The natural parents of the minor testified that they have voluntarily given their consent to the adoption of their son by the petitioners, and submitted their written consent and conformity to the adoption, and that they fully understand the legal consequences of the adoption of their child by the petitioners.
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We are not aware of any provision in the law, and none has been pointed to Us by the Solicitor General who argues for the State in this case, that relatives, by blood or by affinity, are prohibited from adopting one another. The only objection raised is the alleged “incongruity” that will result in the relation of the petitioner-wife and the adopted, in the circumstance that the adopted who is the legitimate brother of the adopter, will also be her son by adoption. The theory is, therefore, advanced that adoption among people who are related by nature should not be allowed, in order that dual relationship should not result, reliance being made upon the views expressed by this Court in McGee vs. Republic, L-5387, April 29, 1954, 94 Phil. 820.
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In that case, an American citizen, Clyde E. McGee, married to a Filipina by whom he had one child, instituted a proceeding for the adoption of two minor children of the wife had by her first husband. The lower court granted the petition of McGee to adopt his two minor step-children. On appeal by the State, We reversed the decision. We said:
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“The purpose of adoption is to establish a relationship of paternity and filiation where none existed before. Where therefore the relationship of parents and child already exists whether by blood or by affinity as in the case of illegitimate and step-children, it would be unnecessary and superfluous to establish and superimpose another relationship of parent and child through adoption. Consequently, an express authorization of law like article 338 is necessary, if not to render it proper and legal, at least, to remove any and all doubt on the subject matter. Under this view, article 338 may not be regarded as a surplusage. That may have been the reason why in the old Code of Civil Procedure, particularly its provisions regarding adoption, authority to adopt a step-child by a step-father was provided in section 766 notwithstanding the general authorization in section 765 extended to any inhabitant of the Philippines to adopt a minor child. The same argument of surplusage could plausibly have been advanced as regards section 766, that is to say, section 766 was unnecessary and superfluous because without it a step-father could adopt a minor step- child anyway.

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However, the inserting of section 766 was not entirely without reason. It seems to be an established principle in American jurisprudence that a person may not adopt his own relative, the reason being that it is unnecessary to establish a relationship where such already exists (the same philosophy underlying our codal provisions on adoption).

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So some states have special laws authorizing the adoption of relatives such as a grandfather adopting a grandchild and a father adopting his illegitimate of natural child.”
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Notwithstanding the views thus expressed, a study of American precedents would reveal that there is a variance in the decisions of the courts in different jurisdictions regarding the matter of adoption of relatives. It cannot be stated as a general proposition that the adoption of a blood relative is contrary to the policy of the law, for in many states of the Union, no restriction of that sort is contained in the statutes authorizing adoption, although laws of other jurisdictions expressly provide that adoption may not take place within persons within a certain degree of relationship (1 Am. Jur. 628-629). Courts in some states hold that in the absence of express statutory restriction, a blood relationship between the parties is not a legal impediment to the adoption of one by the other, and there may be a valid adoption where the relation of parent and child already exists by nature (2 Am. Jur. 2d 869). Principles vary according to the particular adoption statute of a state under which any given case is considered. It would seem that in those states originally influenced by the civil law countries where adoption originated, the rules are liberally construed, while in other states where common law principles predominate, adoption laws are more strictly applied because they are regarded to be in derogation of the common law.
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Article 335 of the Civil Code enumerates those persons who may not adopt, and it has been shown that petitioners-appellants herein are not among those prohibited from adopting. Article 339 of the same code names those who cannot be adopted, and the minor child whose adoption is under consideration, is not one of those excluded by the law. Article 338, on the other hand, allows the adoption of a natural child by the natural father or mother, of other illegitimate children by their father or mother, and of a step-child-by the step-father or step-mother. This last article is, of course, necessary to remove all doubts that adoption is not prohibited even in these cases where there already exist a relationship of parent and child between them by nature. To say that adoption should not be allowed when the adopter and the adopted are related to each other, except in these cases enumerated in Article 338, is to preclude adoption among relatives no matter how far removed or in whatever degree that relationship might be, which in our opinion is not the policy of the law. The interest and welfare of the child to be adopted should be of paramount consideration. Adoption statutes, being humane and salutary, and designed to provide homes, care and education for unfortunate children, should be construed so as to encourage the adoption of such children by person who can properly rear and educate them (In re Havsgord’s Estate, 34 S.D. 131, 147 N.W. 378).
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With respect to the objection that the adoption in this particular case will result in a dual relationship between the parties, that the adopted brother will also be the son of the adopting elder sister, that fact alone should not prevent the adoption. One is by nature, while the other is by fiction of law. The relationship established by the adoption is limited to the adopting parents and does not extend to their other relatives, except as expressly provided by law. Thus, the adopted child cannot be considered as a relative of the ascendants and collaterals of the adopting parents, nor of the legitimate children which they may have after the adoption except that the law imposes certain impediments to marriage by reason of adoption. Neither are the children of the adopted considered as descendants of the adopter (Tolentino, Civil Code, Vol. I, 1960 Ed., p. 652, citing 1 Oyuelos 284; Perez Gonzales and Castan; 4-11 Enneccerus, Kipp & Wolff 177; Muñoz, p. 104). So even considered in relation to the rules on succession which are in pari materia, the adoption under consideration would not be objectionable on the ground alone of the resulting dual relationship between the adopter and the adopted. Similar dual relationships also result under our law on marriage when persons who are already related, by blood or by affinity, marry each other. But as long as the relationship is not within the degrees prohibited by law, such marriages are allowed, notwithstanding the resulting dual relationship. And as We do not find any provision in the law that expressly prohibits adoption among relatives, they ought not to be prevented.
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For all the foregoing considerations, the decision appealed from is set aside, and the petition for the adoption of the subject minor, granted. No pronouncement as to costs.

SC Case IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF THE MINOR, EDWIN VILLA Y MENDOZA, LUIS E. SANTOS, JR. and EDIPOLA V. SANTOS, petitioners-appellants,

Tags Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

When is the payment of damages as well as attorney’s fees proper?

In a Supreme Court case, the following damages were awarded:

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The RTC awarded moral damages, exemplary damages, attorney’s fees, plus P2,000.00 for every appearance, and costs of litigation.

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Moral damages are meant to compensate the claimant for any physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injuries unjustly caused. Petitioner Rosalina has adequately established the factual basis for the award of moral damages when she testified that she felt shocked and horrified upon knowing of the foreclosure sale.

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However, we find the RTC’s award of P2,000,000.00 excessive and unconscionable, and reduce the salve to P100,000.00.
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Exemplary damages are imposed by way of example for the public good, in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages. We reduce the RTC’s award of P500,000.00 to P30,000.00.
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Attorneys fees are allowed when exemplary damages are awarded and when the party to a suit is compelled to incur expenses to protect his interest. We find the RTC’s award of attorney’s fees in the amount of P100,000.00 proper.

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From the case of SPOUSES GILDARDO LOQUELLANO and ROSALINA JULIET B. LOQUELLANO, petitioners, xxx

Alcantara Alcoy moral damages Alegria actual damages Aloguinsan Argao Asturias Badian Balamban Bantayan Barili Boljoon Borbon Carmen Catmon Compostela Consolacion Cordova Daanbantayan Dumaguete Bais Sibulan Tampi Bacong Negros Bacolod Separation pay Resign Resignation Back wages Backwages Length of service pay benefit employee employer relationship Silay Kabankalan Daan Bantayan Dalaguete Dumanjug Ginatilan Liloan compensatory damages Madridejos Malabuyoc Medellin Minglanilla Moalboal Oslob Pilar Pinamungajan Poro Ronda Samboan San Fernando San Francisco San Remigio Sante Fe Santander Sibonga Sogod Tabogon Tabuelan Tuburan attorney’s fees Tudela exemplary damages Camotes General Luna Siargao Cagayan Davao Kidapawan Attorney Abogado Lawyer Architect Real Estate Broker nominal damages Sales Agent Properties for Sale Looking for Buyers Design Build House and Lot for Sale for Rent Talisay City Mandaue City Lapu Lapu Lapu-Lapu City Yncierto Sesante Villanueva Ruz Jan Edmond Marc Tim Timothy temperate damages Luz liquidated damages Kristin tct transfer certificate of title tax declaration birth certificate relocation survey surveying judicial titling administrative titling patent title denr cenro foreshore lease ecc environmental compliance certificate design build architect cebu engineer interior design designer residential commercial cebu property warehouse for rent for lease marc Christian yncierto ruz jan Edmond yncierto ruz Kristin Villanueva ruz Edmond mabalot ruz marriage certificate timber land forest land watershed agricultural lot land use conversion hearing trial illegal drugs trial lawyer business corporate lawyer labor lawyer immigration law bureau of immigration cebu 9g visa search warrant warrant of arrest motion to quash information complaint police officers buy bust physical suffering shocked horrified mental anguish fright serious anxiety besmirched reputation sleepless nights wounded feelings moral shock social humiliation similar injuries

Psychological incapacity

ISSUE: Whether respondent is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations

RULING OF THE COURT:

Petitioner Failed to Prove Respondent’s Psychological Incapacity
The petition for declaration of nullity of marriage is anchored on Article 36 of the Family Code which provides that “[a] marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization.” In Santos v. Court of Appeals, the Court first declared that psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity; (b) judicial antecedence; and (c) incurability. It should refer to “no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage.” It must be confined to “the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.” Finally, the “psychologic condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated.” The Court explained:
(a) Gravity — It must be grave and serious such that the party would be incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in a marriage;
(b) Judicial Antecedence — It must be rooted in the history of the party antedating the marriage, although the overt manifestations may emerge only after the marriage; and
(c) Incurability — It must be incurable, or even if it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of the party involved.
In Republic v. Court of Appeals (Molina case), the Court laid down the guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family Code as follows:
1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. This is rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family, recognizing it “as the foundation of the nation. It decrees marriage as legally inviolable,” thereby protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both the family and marriage are to be “protected” by the state.
The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the family and emphasizes their permanence, inviolability and solidarity.
2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be: (a) medically or clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the incapacity must be psychological not physical, although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence must convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was mentally or psychically ill to such an extent that the person could not have known the obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not have given valid assumption thereof. Although no example of such incapacity need be given here so as not to limit the application of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis, nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating nature fully explained. Expert evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at “the time of the celebration” of the marriage. The evidence must show that the illness was existing when the parties exchanged their “I do’s.” The manifestation of the illness need not be perceivable at such time, but the illness itself must have attached at such moment, or prior thereto.
4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative only in regard to the other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the same sex. Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related to marriage, like the exercise of a profession or employment in a job. Hence, a pediatrician may be effective in diagnosing illnesses of children and prescribing medicine to cure them but not be psychologically capacitated to procreate, bear and raise his/her own children as an essential obligation of marriage.
5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Thus, “mild characteriological peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional outbursts” cannot be accepted as root causes. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability, not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other words, there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations essential to marriage.
6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up to 71 of the Family Code as regards the husband and wife as well as Articles 220, 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children. Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision.
7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our courts. It is clear that Article 36 was taken by the Family Code Revision Committee from Canon 1095 of the New Code of Canon Law, which became effective in 1983 and which provides:
“The following are incapable of contracting marriage: Those who are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage due to causes of psychological nature.”
Since the purpose of including such provision in our Family Code is to harmonize our civil laws with the religious faith of our people, it stands to reason that to achieve such harmonization, great persuasive weight should be given to decisions of such appellate tribunal. Ideally — subject to our law on evidence — what is decreed as canonically invalid should also be decreed civilly void.
Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals found that petitioner failed to satisfy the guidelines in the Molina case.
As found by the Court of Appeals, petitioner anchored her petition on respondent’s irresponsibility, infidelity, and homosexual tendencies. Petitioner likewise alleged that respondent tried to compel her to change her religious belief, and in one of their arguments, respondent also hit her. However, sexual infidelity, repeated physical violence, homosexuality, physical violence or moral pressure to compel petitioner to change religious affiliation, and abandonment are grounds for legal separation but not for declaring a marriage void.
In Marcos v. Marcos, the Court ruled that if the totalities of the evidence presented are enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity, there is no need to resort to the actual medical examination of the person concerned. However, while an actual medical, psychiatric, or psychological examination is not a condition sine qua non to a finding of psychological incapacity, an expert witness would have strengthened petitioner’s claim of respondent’s psychological incapacity. 18 While the examination by a physician of a person to declare him or her psychologically incapacitated is not required, the root cause of psychological incapacity must be medically or clinically identified. 19 In this case, the testimony of Dr. Lapuz on respondent’s psychological incapacity was based only on her two-hour session with petitioner. Her testimony was characterized by the Court of Appeals as vague and ambiguous. She failed to prove psychological incapacity or identify its root cause. She failed to establish that respondent’s psychological incapacity is incurable. Dr. Lapuz testified:
Q- What, in your opinion are the causes of this incapacity?
A- I feel, your Honor, that there is some personality agenda on his part that I do not know because he has not come to see me but there are such men who can be very ardent lovers but suddenly will completely turn over. . .
Q- Is this a sort of personality disorder?
A- Yes, your Honor.
Q- Is that inherited or could have been acquired even before marriage?
A- It was there on the time of the inception of his personality, it was there. And my feeling is that these things do not happen overnight, one does not change spot overnight but that thing, like marriage, can completely turn-table his behavior.
Q- Doctora, do you think this kind of incapacity, this personality disorder, is there any possibility of curing it?
A- Very little at this time and sometimes, when they become older, like when they reach the age of 50’s or 60’s, they may settle down and finally give out and reveal interest in their families.
Q- In short, there is possibility that this incapacity of the respondent could be cured?
A- Only respondent’s physical decline of sexual urge, if the sexual urge would not decline, the incapacity will continue.
Q- Is there no medicine or is there any kind of medicine that can cure this kind of disorder?
A- None to my knowledge, your Honor. There is no magic feather in the psychiatric treatment. Perhaps, if the person would be willing and open enough and interested enough. . .
Even the recommendation in the Social Case Study Report submitted by Social Welfare Officer Marissa P. Obrero-Ballon, who was assigned by the trial court to conduct a social case study on the parties, failed to show the existence of respondent’s psychological incapacity. The Social Welfare Officer instead found that petitioner was immature while respondent was responsible. She also found that the couple separated because of respondent’s infidelity.
Petitioner also failed to prove that respondent’s psychological incapacity was existing at the time of the celebration of their marriage. Petitioner only cited that during their honeymoon, she found it strange that respondent allowed their 15-year-old companion, the son of one of respondent’s house helpers, to sleep in their room. However, respondent explained that he and petitioner already stayed in a hotel for one night before they went to Baguio City and that they had sexual relations even before their marriage. Respondent explained that the boy was with them to take pictures and videos of their stay in Baguio City and had to stay with them in the room due to monetary constraints.
In sum, the totality of the evidence presented by petitioner failed to show that respondent was psychologically incapacitated and that such incapacity was grave, incurable, and existing at the time of the solemnization of their marriage

[G.R. No. 159220. September 22, 2008.]
MA. DARLENE DIMAYUGA-LAURENA, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and JESSE LAURO LAURENA, respondents.