Children born out of wedlock outnumber legitimate ones

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ILLEGITIMATE children in the Philippines have outnumbered kids born after marriage and their rights should also be protected, a Supreme Court magistrate said yesterday.

Based on Philippine Statistics Authority data, 53% of those born in 2017 were illegitimate, Justice Henri Jean Paul B. Inting said at a hearing that tackled the inheritance rights of illegitimate children.

He added that Eastern Visayas has the biggest ratio of children born out of wedlock at 65%, followed by the National Capital Region with 64.9%.

“We need to give protection to these children because they now outnumber our illegitimate children,” Mr. Inting said during oral arguments.

Former Ateneo de Manila School of Law Dean Cynthia R. Del Castillo, a friend of the court, said a clause in the Civil Code that differentiates legitimate from illegitimate children on inheritance is unreasonable, inconsistent and can lead to an absurd situation.

“The legal and societal disadvantages suffered by illegitimate children have not sufficiently deterred unmarried couples from creating them,” said law professor Elizabeth Aguiling-Pangalanan, another friend of the court. “Therefore Article 992 of the Civil Code and other provisions such as Art. 175 of the Family Code that deny illegitimate children rights merely because of their status do not achieve any state interest and is inconsistent with our treaty obligation.”

The court held oral arguments on a 2013 petition of Amadea Angela K. Aquino whose father died months before her birth and was not able to marry her mother.

She is questioning a decision of the Court of Appeals reversing a trial court ruling that included her in the inheritance of her deceased grandfather from her father’s side.

She said her grandfather and relatives from her father’s side have recognized her as a natural child of her deceased father. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas