Not too long ago the issue of being an “Ampon” or adopted surfaced when the citizenship of Senator Grace Poe came under scrutiny. In the Philippines the stigma of being an Ampon cannot be over-emphasised and is a favourite subject of telenovelas and films. The line “ampon ka lang” is a familiar one which is sure to evoke the much needed drama in the plot. It appears that relation by blood is important to us as it is to royal families.
Adoption is for the Best Interest of the Child
The law on adoption puts much emphasis on “the best interest of the child”. This is the governing principle of Republic Act 8552 or the “Domestic Adoption Act of 1998” that it puts the adopted child in the best legal position possible. Even under the Family Code, adoption elevates the child to the status of a legitimate child with all the rights enjoyed by natural children of the adopter/s, meaning he is entitled to support, use the adopter’s surname, and inherit from them among others. The new law even went to the extent of repealing a provision under the Family Code which allows the adopters to petition the court for the rescission of the adoption. At present, only the adopted (or his/her legal guardian or representative) can petition the court for rescission. The adopters cannot. Their only remedy against an ungrateful adopted child is disinheritance only for causes provided by law.
Adoption as Remedy
Adoption does not necessarily involve an unrelated child such as a foundling. An illegitimate child may be adopted by his or her own biological parent in order to elevate his status as legitimate with all the benefits under the law. It was even possible cure a defective adoption for as long as it was for the best interest of the child and the persons who simulated such birth will not be criminally liable. These are the cases where the adopting parent/s registered the child as their own which results in a simulation of birth. Unfortunately, the law provided that the petition for adoption or correction of certificate of birth shall be instituted within five years after the effectivity of the law.
Effects of Adoption
The adopted child for all legal purposes becomes the legitimate child of the adopter/s and the legal tie between the child and his natural parents is severed. The Family Code states that “the adopted shall remain an intestate heir of his parents and other blood relatives” but the new law omits this provision. There was no express repeal of the old provision but since adoption is for “the best interest of the child” it can then be said that the adopted still remains as the intestate heir of his parents and other blood relatives. The relationship created by adoption is only between the adopted and the adopter though, and the former is not an intestate heir and vice versa, of the children and other relatives of the latter because really, there is no legal relationship between them.
To emphasise, adoption is intended for “the best interest of the child”. This is also the primary consideration of the court in determining whether it should grant or deny a petition for adoption. The willingness of adopting parents to go through the tedious, expensive, and long process of adoption might be a good indicator of their intention to do what is best for the child.
For those intending to adopt, it is best for you to go to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) first for you to be informed with respect to the process of adoption.