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Adoption: Prohibition On Aliens…

Alvin, a natural born American citizen, and his wife, Evelyn, a former Filipino who became a naturalised citizen in 1988, filed a petition for adoption over Solomon Joseph, a nephew of Evelyn. Solomon consented to the adoption, while his mother, a widow, posed no objection as she cannot raise the child due to poverty. After hearing, the Regional Trial Court ruled in favour of the spouses and granted the petition for adoption. The Office of the Solicitor General interposed an appeal on pure question of law, citing that the spouses, both aliens, are disqualified from adopting in the Philippines.

The Supreme Court:

“We rule for petitioner.

Under Articles 184 and 185 of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 209, otherwise known as “The Family Code of the Philippines”, private respondents spouses Clouse are clearly barred from adopting Solomon Joseph Alcala.

Article 184, paragraph (3) of Executive Order 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 private respondent Alvin A. Clouse is not qualified to adopt Solomon Joseph Alcala under any of the exceptional cases in the aforequoted provision. In the first place, he is not a former Filipino citizen but a natural born citizen of the United States of America. In the second place, Solomon Joseph Alcala is neither his relative by consanguinity nor the legitimate child of his spouse. In the third place, when private respondents spouses Clouse jointly filed the petition to adopt Solomon Joseph Alcala on February 21, 1990, private respondent Evelyn A. Clouse was no longer a Filipino citizen. She lost her Filipino citizenship when she was naturalized as a citizen of the United States in 1988.

Private respondent Evelyn A. Clouse, 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.

The historical evolution of this provision is clear. Presidential Decree 603 (The Child and Youth Welfare Code), provides that husband and wife “may” jointly adopt. Executive Order No. 91 issued on December 17, 1986 amended said provision of P.D. 603. It demands that both husband and wife “shall” jointly adopt if one of them is an alien. It was so crafted to protect Filipino children who are put up for adoption. The Family Code reiterated the rule by requiring that husband and wife “must” jointly adopt, except in the cases mentioned before. Under the said new law, joint adoption by husband and 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.
In a distinctly similar case, we held:

As amended by Executive Order 91, Presidential Decree No. 603, had thus made it mandatory for both the spouses to jointly adopt when one of them was an alien. The law was silent when both spouses were of the same nationality.

The Family Code has resolved any possible uncertainty. Article 185 thereof expresses the necessity for a joint adoption by the spouses except in only two instances —

(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.

It is in the foregoing cases when Article 186 of the Code, on the parental authority, can aptly find governance.
Article 186. In case husband and wife jointly adopt or one spouse adopts the legitimate child of the other, jointly parental authority shall be exercised by the spouses in accordance with this Code.

Article 185 is all too clear and categorical and there is no room for its interpretation. There is only room for application.

We are not unaware that the modern trend is to encourage adoption and every reasonable intendment should be sustained to promote that objective. Adoption is geared more towards the promotion of the welfare of the child and enhancement of his opportunities for a useful and happy life. It is not the bureaucratic technicalities but the interest of the child that should be the principal criterion in adoption cases. Executive Order 209 likewise upholds that the interest and welfare of the child to be adopted should be the paramount consideration. These considerations notwithstanding, the records of the case do not evince any fact as would justify us in allowing the adoption of the minor, Solomon Joseph Alcala, by private respondents who are aliens.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the lower court is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. No costs.”

G.R. No. 94147 June 8, 1994, REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, 
HONORABLE RODOLFO TOLEDANO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Third Judicial Region, Branch 69, Iba, Zambales and SPOUSES ALVIN A. CLOUSE and EVELYN A. CLOUSE, respondents.


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