Bill seeks to omit ‘legitimate, illegitimate’ children in Family Code
MANILA, Philippines – A bill has been filed seeking to omit “legitimate and illegitimate” categories for children that cause “distinction and discrimination” in the Family Code.
Albay second district Representative Al Francis Bichara, in a statement released on Saturday, said that categorizing children born out of wedlock make them prone to ridicule and ostracism by an “unforgiving society.”
House Bill (HB) 2355 sought to “maintain and protect children as co-equal to each other without any distinction or discrimination whatsoever,” the statement said.
Apart from being marginalized due to the “unwarranted label,” he said that children born out of wedlock have limited rights and privileges, especially in terms of succession rights.
In Article 164 of the Family Code, an “illegitimate” child was defined as one conceived and born outside of a valid marriage or outside lawful wedlock.
Meanwhile, a “legitimate” child is one who originally illegitimate but later considered legitimate by legal fiction because of the subsequent marriage of parents.
He added that HB 2355 aimed to correct the injustice against children who were tagged by “operation of law with the unsavoury and odious term ‘illegitimate.’”
“Indeed from the day a child is born out of wedlock, he or she automatically becomes a marginalized citizen, socially and economically. More often than not, children born out of wedlock grew up under the care of a single parent, relatives, foster families or adoption homes,” Bichara said.
He also noted the “common painful terms,” putok sa buho, anak sa labas, bastardo, bastarda, which the society often attribute to children born out of wedlock.
“[This is] a stigma which they are suffering and will continue to suffer for the rest of their lives,” Bichara said.