Duterte signs law simplifying adoption process
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure that would simplify the adoption process in the country.
The President signed the Simulated Birth Rectification Act on February 21 but a copy of the law was released only to the media on Thursday.
Under the new law, rectification of simulated births would be allowed through a simpler administrative proceeding.
The law would “grant amnesty and allow the rectification of the simulated birth of a child where the simulation was made for the best interest of the child.
Birth simulation, the law said, “ refers to the tampering of the civil registry to make it appear in the record of birth that a child was born to a person who is not the child’s biological mother.”
According to the law, a “person or persons who, prior to the effectivity of this Act, simulated the birth of a child, and those who cooperated in the execution of such simulation, shall not be criminally liable for such act provided that the simulation of birth was made for the best interest of the child and that the child has been consistently considered and treated by such person or persons his, her, or their own daughter or son.”
The law stated that a person or persons who simulated the birth of a child “may avail of administrative proceedings for the adoption and rectification of the simulated birth record” of a child “provided that the child has been living with the person for at least three years before the effectivity” of the law.
Section 6 of the new law stated that “all petitions, documents, records, and papers relating to adoption and rectification of simulated births” could not be “used as an evidence against those who simulated the birth of a child or who cooperated in the execution of such simulation in any criminal, civil, or administrative proceeding.”
The requirements for administrative adoption include that one just be a Filipino citizen of legal age, possess full civil and legal rights, of good moral character, have not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude, emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children, and in a position to support and care for the child in keeping with the means of the family.
“In case of adoption by a married couple, where one of the adopters is a foreign national married to a Filipino, the law stated that “the foreign national must have been residing in the Philippines for at least three continuous years prior to the filing of the petition for adoption and application for rectification of simulated birth record”
The further said that the written consent of the adoptee is needed if he or she is 10 years old or over.
The same is also required from the “legitimate and adopted daughters and sons, 10 years old and above, of the adopter and adoptee, if any.”
It also added that written consent is also required from the “illegitimate daughters and son, 10 years old and above, of the adopter if living with said adopter and the latter’s spouse, if any.”
“The petition for adoption with an application for rectification of simulated birth record shall be in the form of n affidavit and shall be subscribed and sworn to by the petitioner or petitioners before any person authorized by the law to administer affirmations and oaths,” the law said.
The law mandated that the petition be supported by a copy of the simulated birth or foundling certificate of the child, affidavit of admission if the simulation of birth was done by a third person, a certification by the village chief attesting that the petitioner or petitioners is a resident or are residents of the barangay and that the child has been living with the petitioner or petitioners for at least three years prior to the effectivity of the law, and the affidavits of at least two disinterested persons residing in the same barangay where the child resides, attesting that the child has been living with the petitioner or petitioners for at least three years prior to the effectivity of the law.
A certificate declaring the child legally available for adoption from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is also required.
Once the requirements are completed, a petition shall be filed with the city or town’s social welfare and development office.
The petition will be reviewed and will pass through the regional director and then the secretary of the DSWD.
The law said that if the adoption petition is granted, “the adoptee shall be considered the legitimate daughter or son of the adopter for all intents and purposes and as such is entitled to all the rights and obligations provided by law to legitimate daughters or sons born to them without discrimination of any kind.”
“Except where a biological parent is the spouse of the adopter, all legal ties between the biological parents and the adoptee shall be severed and the same shall then be vested in the adopter,” the law stated.
An adoptee may file a petition for rescission with the assistance of the DSWD if he or she is a minor or over 18 years old but incapacitated.
The adoption may be rescinded if there is repeated physical or verbal maltreatment to the adopter, an attempt on the life of the adoptee, sexual assault or violence or the abandonment and failure to comply with parental obligations.
If the petition for rescission is granted, “the parental authority of the adoptee’s biological parents shall be restored if the adoptee is still a minor or incapacitated.”
The new law also penalizes the violators with imprisonment ranging from 6 years and 1 day to 12 years, and/or a fine of no less than P200,000 who obtain consent for an adoption through coercion, undue influence, fraud, improper inducement, or other similar acts. /muf
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