Good cause a must for DNA testing to prove paternity, High Court rules

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MANILA, Philippines—Good cause must be shown to allow DNA testing to determine paternity, the Supreme Court ruled as it granted the petition filed by an award winning musical director.

In a 20-page decision, the high court, quoting a decision by the Louisiana Supreme Court, said the constitutional prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures also applies to paternity action, particularly compulsory blood tests..

“The same condition precedent should be applied in our jurisdiction to protect the putative father from mere harassment suits. Thus, during the hearing on the motion for DNA testing, the petitioner must establish a reasonable possibility of paternity,” the high court said.

The case stemmed from the petition filed by Jesse Lucas, who, in 2007 asked the Valenzuela City Regional Trial Court Branch 72 to allow the conduct of DNA testing to establish his illegitimate filiation with Jesus Lucas.

On July 30, 2008, the court dismissed the petition stating his failure to establish on its face the evidence that there is a possibility that Jesus Lucas is his father. The court noted that his birth certificate was not signed by the father; what his mother told him was hearsay; and his mother did not personally declare that she had sexual relations with the purported father, among others.

Jesse Lucas won several awards for FAMAS, Star Awards for Movies and the GAWAD URIAN. His film music for the film The Echo (SIGAW) won the Best Music Score Award at the 2005 Los Angeles SCREAMFEST International Film Festival.

Lucas filed a petition for DNA testing which was granted by the appeals court in a 2008 decision. This prompted the purported father to go to the Court of Appeals and challenge the ruling.

The appeals court ruled in his favour, but the high court in a decision dated June 6, but was released to the public only recently, said the question of whether Jesse Lucas has complied with the requirements for DNA testing or not, can only be shown during a trial. This affirmed the lower court’s 2008 decision.

“It was also not the opportune time to discuss the lack of a prima facie case vis-à-vis the motion for DNA testing since no evidence has as yet been presented by petitioner,” the high court said.

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