G.R. No. 1884. September 07, 1905

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4 Phil. 738

[ G.R. No. 1884. September 07, 1905 ]

PRESENTACION INFANTE, GUARDIAN OF THE MINOR CHILD MANUELA INFANTE, PLAINTIFF AND APPELLEE, VS. MANUEL T. FIGUERAS, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.

D E C I S I O N



WILLARD, J.:

Article 135 of the Civil Code is as follows:

“El padre esta obligado a reconocer al hijo natural en los casos siguientes:

“Cuando exista escrito suyo indubitado en que expresamente reconozca su paternidad.

“2.
Cuando el hijo se halle en la posesion continua del estado de hijo
natural del padre demandado, justificada por actos directos del mismo
padre o de su familia.

“En los casos de violacion, estupro o
rapto, se estara a lo despuesto en el Codigo Penal en cuanto al
reconocimiento de la prole.”

Manuela Infante was born on the 29th day of May, 1901. Her mother is
Presentacion Infante. She, as guardian of her child, brought this
action against the defendant, alleging that he is the father of the
child, and asking that he be compelled to recognize her as his natural
daughter. The complaint is based upon paragraph 2 of said article 135.

The defendant, in his answer, denied all the allegations of the
complaint. During the trial Pilar Chavez, the mother of Presentacion
Infante and the grandmother of Manuela, was allowed to testify, against
the objection and exception of the defendant, to the relations which
existed between the defendant and her daughter Presentacion prior to
the birth of the latter’s child, and that the defendant was the father
of the child. The mother, Presentacion, was allowed to testify, against
the objection and exception of the defendant, to these same relations,
and that defendant was the father of the child. Natividad Coronada de
la Cruz, the ama de leche of the child, was allowed to
testify to the same thing, against the objection and exception of the
defendant. Judgment was rendered by the court below against the
defendant, and he has brought the case here, alleging as error the
admission of the evidence above referred to.

The case presents the question whether in actions under paragraphs 1
and 2 of section 135 evidence of this character is admissible. Article
5 of the Law of Bases of May 11, 1888, is in part as follows:

“No se admitira la investigacion de la paternidad si
no en los casos de delito o cuando existe escrito del padre en el que
conste su voluntad indubitada de reconocer por suyo al hijo,
deliberadamente expresada con ese fin, o cuando medie posesion de
estado. Se permitira la investigacion de la maternidad.”

This law was passed to govern the action of the commission appointed
to prepare the Civil Code, and that commission provided in the code, by
article 129, that the father and mother together, or separately, might
recognize a natural child,, and in article 131 that this recognition
must be made in the record of the birth, in a will, or in some other
public document. In article 132 it was provided that when the
recognition was made separately, the person making it could not reveal
the name of the person with whom the child was had, nor state any
circumstance which would enable such person to be identified, and
public functionaries who took part in the preparation of any document
of recognition were subject to a fine if they allowed any such
statement to be made.

Article 140 treats of the right of illegitimate children who have
not the quality of natural children, and article 141 is as follows:

“Fuera de los casos expresados en los numeros
primero y segundo del articulo anterior, no se admitira en juicio
demanda alguna que directa ni directamente, tenga por objeto investigar
le paternidad de los hijos ilegitimos en quienes no concurra la
condicion legal de naturales.”

It is thus seen that following the Law of Bases the code permits the
investigation of paternity in the cases therein mentioned, but the
question is, How far does it permit that investigation to go? When the
recognition is sought upon the ground that there exists a document
undoubtedly in the handwriting of the alleged father, does the code
permit evidence to show that the defendant was in fact the father of
the child? In the second case of article 135, does the code permit the
plaintiff to produce evidence as to the relations existing between the
mother and the defendant prior to the birth of the child, for the
purpose of proving that the defendant is, in fact, its father?

It is well settled that at least since the enactment of the Civil
Code the mere fact of birth imposes no obligation whatever upon the
father, and gives no legal right whatever to the child, except in those
cases arising under the Penal Code which are referred to in said
article 135, and in this opinion such cases are always considered as
excepted from any statements that are made. Any obligation which the
father may incur, and any right which the child may acquire, must arise
from something else than the fact of birth. This, of course, is not
true as to the mother, for by the express terms of article 136, the
fact of birth does impose upon the mother the obligation of recognizing
the child. But as to the father such obligation only arises upon proof
of the facts stated in paragraphs 1 and 2 of article 135. The claim of
the plaintiff, however, is that in cases arising either under paragraph
1 or paragraph 2, evidence of the relationship and evidence tending to
show that the defendant is in fact the father of the child is competent
and admissible as throwing light upon his subsequent conduct in the
treatment of the child. It is very clear that in every case such
evidence would have great weight. Evidence having been received in this
case to show that the defendant was in fact the father of the child,
the court was easily led to the decision that the defendant had so
treated the child as to give the latter the continuous possession of
the status of a natural child. Its influence was undoubtedly
preponderating upon this point, but the question is, Can it under the
law have such influence? Does the law allow the judge, in his decision
on the question of the existence of a writing under paragraph 1, or the
possession of status under paragraph 2, to be influenced by evidence
showing that the defendant in fact was the father of the child? Let us
suppose that the facts showing the possession of the status of a
natural child are in themselves insufficient to prove such possession,
but when proof of the parentage is introduced for the purpose of
explaining the evidence in regard to the possession of the status of a
natural child, the latter evidence becomes sufficient for that purpose.
In such case it is seen, of course, that the judgment against the
defendant rests, not upon the evidence that the child possessed the
status of a natural child, but upon the evidence that the defendant was
in fact its father, and the effect of such a holding would be to compel
the defendant to recognize the child, not because the child had
possessed continuously the status of a natural child, but because the
plaintiff had proved that the defendant was in fact its father. This is
a result which the Civil Code does not authorize. If it had been the
intention of the legislators to have allowed this kind of evidence to
turn the scale, the code might as well have provided, as was done in
the case of the mother, that proof of this fact would compel a
recognition. In this particular case evidence was introduced to show
that the defendant had sent money and medicine to Presentacion Infante,
the mother. That evidence, standing by itself, has no significance. It
acquires all its force by reason of the evidence previously introduced
to the effect that the defendant was the father of Presentacion’s child.

The authorities support the proposition that in a case like the
present the evidence offered should not have been received. In the
judgment of the supreme court of Spain of the 21st of May, 1896, it is
said:

“Considerando que prohibida por nuestro derecho
moderno la investigacion de la paternidad, puesto que el Codigo Civil,
en su articulo 135, solo obliga al padre a reconocer al hijo natural,
fuera de los casos de violacion, estupro o rapto, en que ha de estarse
a lo dispuesto en el Codigo Penal cuando exista escrito suyo indubitado
en que expresamente lo reconozca, o cuando el hijo se halle en posesion
continua de tal estado, justificada por actos directos del padre o de
su familia; no autorizando este precepto la prueba de la filiacion como
lo autoriza el articulo siguiente con relacion a la madre, es claro que
debiendo ajustarse a estos moldes rigorosos los pleitos sobre
reconocimiento paterao, la Sala sentenciadora ha podido y debido
prescindir, como impertinente, de toda la prueba que en el presente
litigio se practico con la mira de demostrar el origen de la nina
L.C.,y concretar sus apreciaciones a aquella parte de la prueba
testifical, encaminada propiamente a la justificacion de la posesion de
estado en que la parte actora fundo su demanda, sin faltar por ,ello a
la doctrina de la jurisprudencia citada en el tercer motivo del
recurso, e inaplicable a este caso, ni tampoco a lo establecido en el
articulo 659 de la Ley de Enjuiciamiento Civil invocado en el primero,
en el concepto de que la facultad que este articulo concede a los
tribunales para apreciar la prueba testifical no les autoriza para
prescindir de los otros medios probatorios utilizados por las partes,
cuyo principio, si es de notoria evidencia por regla general, no rige
cuando la ley sustantiva rechaza esas otras probanzas, o prohiba, como
sucede en el caso presente, la investigacion de los hechos que mediante
ella se intente depurar.”

Manresa, in his commentaries on this article 135, says:

“Los
redactores del Codigo, segun hemos dicho, han debido someterse a la Ley
de Bases, y por lo tanto, han rechazado la libre investigacion de la,
paternidad. Los casos de reconocimiento forzoso que en los numeros 1.°
y 2.° de este articulo se expresan, no la comprenden, porque en suma no
se impone en ellos al padre mas que la ratificacion de su
reconocimiento anterior, expresado en uri documento privado o en los
actos que constituyen 1a posesion de estado de hijo natural; viniendo
en ultimo termino a ser mera ampliacion del articulo 131, en que se
establecen las formas de reconocimiento. A las alli admitidas hay que
anadir ahora el documento privado y los actos de la vida familiar que
implican aquel mismo hecho. Por lo tanto, el articulo no se aparta de
la Ley de Bases, ni de la tradicion de nuestro derecho, en la cual ‘el
reconocimiento del padre debia ser espontaneo, libre y legalmente hecho
y probado.’ Todos estos requisites se encuentran en el hecho real del
reconocimiento anterior que los hijos no tienen mas que presentar para
que su autenticidad se confirme ante los tribunales, (Manresa, Vol. I,
p. 504.)

“No puede, pues, prosperar la demanda para obligar
al padre al reconocimiento de un hijo natural, aunque so1o se limite a
pedir alimentos, si no se funda en el reconocimiento expreso del padre
hecho por escrito, en la posesion constante de estado de hijo natural,
o en sentencia firme recaida en causa por delito de violacion, estupro
o rapto. El escrito y la sentencia habran de acompanarse a la demanda,
y no puede admitirse otra prueba que la conducente a justificar que el
escrito es indubitadamente del padre que en el reconozca su paternidad,
o la relativa a los actos directos del mismo padre o de su familia, que
demuestren la posesion continua de dicho estado. Para la prueba de
estos dos hechos podran utilizarse todos los medios que pennite la Ley
de Enjuiciamiento Civil, debiendo el Juez rechazar la que por cualquier
otro concepto se dirija a la investigacion de la paternidad.” (Manresa,
Vol. I, p. 508.)

Alcubilla says:

“De la
prohibicion impuesta por el articulo 141 cabria deducir que el
legislador espanol permite la investigacion de la paternidad natural;
pero el atento examen de ese precepto y de los articulos.134, 135 y 140
nos persuade de que el Codigo prohibe en todo caso la investigacion de
la paternidad y consiente la de la maternidad unicamente en el 2.° del
articulo 136; pues en el numero 1.° de este articulo y en todos los del
135, el legislador, mas que investigar la paternidad o maternidad,
permite comprobar la autenticidad de escritos o actos que entranan el
reconocimiento espontaneo del hijo por el padre o por la madre, o se
limita a hacer encaces en que se impone como pena el reconocimiento de
la prole, conforme al articulo 464 del Codigo Penal.” (Diccionario de
la administracion Espanola, vol. 6,pag.l4.)

Comas says :

“El
Codigo no quiso y en este punto hizo bien, admitir la investigacion de
la paternidad. Coraprendio sin duda que cuando existen los documentos o
han tenido lugar los actos a que hace referencia el articulo 135 y se
trata de hacer su prueba para que recaiga sobre ellos resolucion
judicial, la materia juridica no consiste en la llamada investigacion,
sino en obtener la declaracion correspondiente a la paternidad y
filiacion que ya son conocidas.” (La Revision del Codigo Civil Espanol,
vol. 2, pag. 317.)

Scaevola says in his commentaries upon this article 135 (vol. 3, p. 183):

“Tocante
al caso 2.°, el hijo debe probar el goce de la posesion constante del
estado de hijo natural, esto es, los actos ejecutados por el padre y su
familia expresivos de la paternidad, tales como el vivir con aquel o
con esta, el haber atendido a su subsistencia y educacion, etc. Ademas,
tan to en este caso, como en el anterior, tendra que acreditar su
cualidad de natural, demostrando la libertad de su padre al tiempo de
la concepcion. Debera probar tambien la de la madre y la relacion
carnal de esta con el pretendido padre? El Codigo no lo exige, y
tampoco la naturaleza de los casos del articulo que hacen relacion
directa y especial al padre sobre todo en el de la posesion de estado,
que tiene un valor meramente externo. Ademas, si la ley permite hacer
el reconocimiento voluntario separadamente, y aun prohibe en
este caso al que reconoce revelar el nombre o alguna circunstancia de
la persona con la que tuvo el hijo, no hay razon que justifique el que
rija otra disposicion en el forzoso.”

We hold, both on principle and authority, that the court below committed error in receiving the evidence referred to.

The plaintiff introduced in evidence twenty-four letters signed by
the defendant and addressed to the mother. It is not claimed that in
any one of these letters the defendant expressly recognized the child
as his natural child, in conformity with the provisions of paragraph 1
of this article.

There was no motion for a new trial in the case, and all the
evidence is not before us. We therefore have no power to examine the
decision of the court below for the purpose of ascertaining if his
findings of fact to the effect that this child was in possession of the
status of a natural child, is or is not sustained by the evidence. As
has been said before, it is apparent that the evidence which was
improperly admitted induced the judge to arrive at that conclusion, and
consequently the error in receiving it was prejudicial.

The judgment of the court below is reversed, and after the
expiration of twenty days judgment should be entered in accordance
herewith, and the cause remanded for a new trial; and the rule which
should govern the court in the new trial in regard to the kind of
evidence necessary to prove the possession of the status of a natural
child, is laid down in the case of Buenaventura vs. Urbano,[1] decided with this case. Costs in this court will not be allowed to either party. So ordered.

Arellano, C. J., Torres, Mapa, Johnson, and Carson, JJ., concur.



[1] See 5 Phil. Rep., 1.





Date created: April 25, 2014




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