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K. Parental Authority

1. General provisions

a. SCOPE AND EXTENT OF PARENTAL AUTHORITY

Pursuant to the natural right and duty of parents over the person and property of their unemancipated children, parental authority and responsibility shall include the caring for and rearing them for civic consciousness and efficiency and the development of their moral, mental and physical character and well-being. (Article 209, Family Code)

b. NO RENUNCIATION

Parental authority and responsibility may not be renounced or transferred except in the cases authorized by law. (Article 210, Ibid.)

c. JOINT EXERCISE OF PARENTAL AUTHORITY

The father and the mother shall jointly exercise parental authority over the persons of their common children. In case of disagreement, the father’s decision shall prevail, unless there is a judicial order to the contrary.(Article 211, Ibid.)

Children shall always observe respect and reverence towards their parents and are obliged to obey them as long as the children are under parental authority. (Paragraph 2, Article 211, Ibid.)

d. DEATH BY ONE PARENT

In case of absence or death of either parent, the parent present shall continue exercising parental authority. The remarriage of the surviving parent shall not affect the parental authority over the children, unless the court appoints another person to be the guardian of the person or property of the children. (Article 212, Ibid.)

e. SEPARATION; WITH COURT-DESIGNATED PARENT

In case of separation of the parents, parental authority shall be exercised by the parent designated by the Court. The Court shall take into account all relevant considerations, especially the choice of the child over seven years of age, unless the parent chosen is unfit. (Article 213 Ibid.)

f. NO TESTIFYING BY DESCENDANT AGAINST ASCENDANTS

GENERAL RULE: No descendant shall be compelled, in a criminal case, to testify against his parents and grandparents. (Article 215, Ibid.)

EXCEPTION: …except when such testimony is indispensable in a crime against the descendant or by one parent against the other. (Ibid.)

2. Substitute parental authority

a. CONCEPT

In case of death, absence or unsuitability of the parents, substitute parental authority shall be exercised by the surviving grandparent. In case several survive, the one designated by the court, taking into account the same consideration mentioned in the preceding article, shall exercise the authority. (Article 214, Ibid.)

b. ORDER OF PRIORITY

In default of parents or a judicially appointed guardian, the following person shall exercise substitute parental authority over the child in the order indicated:

1) The surviving grandparent, as provided in Art. 214;

2) The oldest brother or sister, over twenty-one years of age, unless unfit or disqualified; and

3) The child’s actual custodian, over twenty-one years of age, unless unfit or disqualified. (Article 216, Ibid.)

c. JUDICIAL GUARDIAN OVER PROPERTY OF CHILD

Whenever the appointment or a judicial guardian over the property of the child becomes necessary, the same order of preference shall be observed. (Paragraph 2, Article 216, Ibid.)

d. SAME AUTHORITY AS PARENTS

The person exercising substitute parental authority shall have the same authority over the person of the child as the parents. (Article 233, Ibid.)

3. Special parental authority

a. CONCEPT

1) Children’s homes, orphanages and similar institutions

In case of foundlings, abandoned neglected or abused children and other children similarly situated, parental authority shall be entrusted in summary judicial proceedings to heads of children’s homes, orphanages and similar institutions duly accredited by the proper government agency. (Article 217, Ibid.)

2) School, its administrators and teachers, or the individual, entity or institution engaged in child care

The school, its administrators and teachers, or the individual, entity or institution engaged in child care shall have special parental authority and responsibility over the minor child while under their supervision, instruction or custody.(Article 218, Ibid.)

Authority and responsibility shall apply to all authorized activities whether inside or outside the premises of the school, entity or institution. (Paragraph 2, Article 218, Ibid.)

b. SOLIDARY LIABILITY

Those given the authority and responsibility under the preceding Article shall be principally and solidarily liable for damages caused by the acts or omissions of the unemancipated minor. The parents, judicial guardians or the persons exercising substitute parental authority over said minor shall be subsidiarily liable.(Article 219, Ibid.)

The respective liabilities of those referred to in the preceding paragraph shall not apply if it is proved that they exercised the proper diligence required under the particular circumstances.(Paragraph 2, Article 219, Ibid.)

All other cases not covered by this and the preceding articles shall be governed by the provisions of the Civil Code on quasi-delicts. (Paragraph 3, Article 210, Ibid.)

c. NO CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

In no case shall the school administrator, teacher of individual engaged in child care exercising special parental authority inflict corporal punishment upon the child. (Paragraph 2, Article 233, Ibid.)

4. Effect of parental authority over the child’s person

a. RIGHTS AND DUTIES

The parents and those exercising parental authority shall have with the respect to their unemancipated children or wards the following rights and duties:

1) To keep them in their company, to support, educate and instruct them by right precept and good example, and to provide for their upbringing in keeping with their means;

2) To give them love and affection, advice and counsel, companionship and understanding;

3) To provide them with moral and spiritual guidance, inculcate in them honesty, integrity, self-discipline, self-reliance, industry and thrift, stimulate their interest in civic affairs, and inspire in them compliance with the duties of citizenship;

4) To furnish them with good and wholesome educational materials, supervise their activities, recreation and association with others, protect them from bad company, and prevent them from acquiring habits detrimental to their health, studies and morals;

5) To represent them in all matters affecting their interests;

6) To demand from them respect and obedience;

7) To impose discipline on them as may be required under the circumstances; and

8) To perform such other duties as are imposed by law upon parents and guardians. (Article 220, Ibid.)

b. CIVIL LIABILITY

Parents and other persons exercising parental authority shall be civilly liable for the injuries and damages caused by the acts or omissions of their unemancipated children living in their company and under their parental authority subject to the appropriate defenses provided by law. (Article 221, Ibid.)

c. GUARDIAN AD LITEM

The courts may appoint a guardian of the child’s property or a guardian ad litem when the best interests of the child so requires. (Article 222, Ibid.)

d. DISCIPLINARY MEASURES

1) Court relief

The parents or, in their absence or incapacity, the individual, entity or institution exercising parental authority, may petition the proper court of the place where the child resides, for an order providing for disciplinary measures over the child. The child shall be entitled to the assistance of counsel, either of his choice or appointed by the court, and a summary hearing shall be conducted wherein the petitioner and the child shall be heard. (Article 223, Ibid.)

However, if in the same proceeding the court finds the petitioner at fault, irrespective of the merits of the petition, or when the circumstances so warrant, the court may also order the deprivation or suspension of parental authority or adopt such other measures as it may deem just and proper. (Paragraph 2, Article 223, Ibid.)

2) Examples of disciplinary measures

The measures referred to in the preceding article may include the commitment of the child for not more than thirty days in entities or institutions engaged in child care or in children’s homes duly accredited by the proper government agency.(Article 224, Ibid.)

The parent exercising parental authority shall not interfere with the care of the child whenever committed but shall provide for his support. Upon proper petition or at its own instance, the court may terminate the commitment of the child whenever just and proper. (Paragraph 2, Article 224, Ibid.)

5. Effects of parental authority over the child’s property

a. LEGAL GUARDIANSHIP

1) Joint by father and mother

2) Disagreement, father’s decision

The father and the mother shall jointly exercise legal guardianship over the property of the unemancipated common child without the necessity of a court appointment. In case of disagreement, the father’s decision shall prevail, unless there is a judicial order to the contrary. (Article 225, Ibid.)

3) Bond, when required

Where the market value of the property or the annual income of the child exceeds P50,000, the parent concerned shall be required to furnish a bond in such amount as the court may determine, but not less than ten per centum (10%) of the value of the property or annual income, to guarantee the performance of the obligations prescribed for general guardians. (Paragraph 2, Article 225, Ibid.)

4) Verified petition

A verified petition for approval of the bond shall be filed in the proper court of the place where the child resides, or, if the child resides in a foreign country, in the proper court of the place where the property or any part thereof is situated. (Paragraph 3, Article 225, Ibid.)

5) Summary special proceeding

The petition shall be docketed as a summary special proceeding in which all incidents and issues regarding the performance of the obligations referred to in the second paragraph of this Article shall be heard and resolved. (Paragraph 3, Article 225, Ibid.)

6) Ordinary rules on guardianship, suppletory – with exceptions

The ordinary rules on guardianship shall be merely suppletory except when the child is under substitute parental authority, or the guardian is a stranger, or a parent has remarried, in which case the ordinary rules on guardianship shall apply. (Paragraph 4, Article 225, Ibid.)

b. PROPERTY OF UNEMANCIPATED CHILD

1) Ownership rights

2) Devoted exclusively to support and education

The property of the unemancipated child earned or acquired with his work or industry or by onerous or gratuitous title shall belong to the child in ownership and shall be devoted exclusively to the latter’s support and education, unless the title or transfer provides otherwise. (Article 226, Ibid.)

3) Right of parents to fruits and income

The right of the parents over the fruits and income of the child’s property shall be limited primarily to the child’s support and secondarily to the collective daily needs of the family. (Paragraph 2, Article 226, Ibid.)

6. Suspension or termination of parental authority

a. SUSPENSION OF PARENTAL AUTHORITY

Parental authority is suspended upon conviction of the parent or the person exercising the same of a crime which carries with it the penalty of civil interdiction. The authority is automatically reinstated upon service of the penalty or upon pardon or amnesty of the offender. (Article 230, Ibid.)

The court in an action filed for the purpose in a related case may also suspend parental authority if the parent or the person exercising the same:

1) Treats the child with excessive harshness or cruelty;

2) Gives the child corrupting orders, counsel or example;

3) Compels the child to beg; or

4) Subjects the child or allows him to be subjected to acts of lasciviousness. (Article 231, Ibid.)

The grounds enumerated above are deemed to include cases which have resulted from culpable negligence of the parent or the person exercising parental authority. (Paragraph 2, Article 231, Ibid.)

If the degree of seriousness so warrants, or the welfare of the child so demands, the court shall deprive the guilty party of parental authority or adopt such other measures as may be proper under the circumstances.(Paragraph 3, Article 231, Ibid.)

The suspension or deprivation may be revoked and the parental authority revived in a case filed for the purpose or in the same proceeding if the court finds that the cause therefor has ceased and will not be repeated. (Paragraph 4, Article 231, Ibid.)

b. TERMINATION OF PARENTAL AUTHORITY

Parental authority terminates permanently:

1) Upon the death of the parents;

2) Upon the death of the child; or

3) Upon emancipation of the child. (Article 228, Ibid.)

Unless subsequently revived by a final judgment, parental authority also terminates:

1) Upon adoption of the child;

2) Upon appointment of a general guardian;

3) Upon judicial declaration of abandonment of the child in a case filed for the purpose;

4) Upon final judgment of a competent court divesting the party concerned of parental authority; or

5) Upon judicial declaration of absence or incapacity of the person exercising parental authority. (Article 229, Ibid.)

If the person exercising parental authority has subjected the child or allowed him to be subjected to sexual abuse, such person shall be permanently deprived by the court of such authority. (Article 232, Ibid.)

7. Solo parents (Rep. Act No. 8972)

a. CONCEPTS

Solo parent – refers to any individual who falls under any of the following categories:

1) A woman who gives birth as a result of rape and other crimes against chastity even without a final conviction of the offender: Provided, That the mother keeps and raises the child;

2) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to death of spouse;

3) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood while the spouse is detained or is serving sentence for a criminal conviction for at least one (1) year;

4) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to physical and/or mental incapacity of spouse as certified by a public medical practitioner;

5) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to legal separation or de facto separation from spouse for at least one (1) year, as long as he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children;

6) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage as decreed by a court or by a church as long as he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children;

7) Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to abandonment of spouse for at least one (1) year;

8) Unmarried mother/father who has preferred to keep and rear her/his child/children instead of having others care for them or give them up to a welfare institution;

9) Any other person who solely provides parental care and support to a child or children;

10) Any family member who assumes the responsibility of head of family as a result of the death, abandonment, disappearance or prolonged absence of the parents or solo parent. (Section 3[a], R.A. 8972)

A change in the status or circumstance of the parent claiming benefits under this Act, such that he/she is no longer left alone with the responsibility of parenthood, shall terminate his/her eligibility for these benefits. (Paragraph 2, Section 3[a], R.A. 8972)

Children – refers to those living with and dependent upon the solo parent for support who are unmarried, unemployed and not more than eighteen (18) years of age, or even over eighteen (18) years but are incapable of self-support because of mental and/or physical defect/disability.(Section 3[b], Ibid.)

b. Parental responsibility

Parental responsibility – with respect to their minor children shall refer to the rights and duties of the parents as defined under the Family Code. (Section 3[b], Ibid.)

Cross-referenced article/s

Art. 220. The parents and those exercising parental authority shall have with the respect to their unemancipated children or wards the following rights and duties:

1) To keep them in their company, to support, educate and instruct them by right precept and good example, and to provide for their upbringing in keeping with their means;

2) To give them love and affection, advice and counsel, companionship and understanding;

3) To provide them with moral and spiritual guidance, inculcate in them honesty, integrity, self-discipline, self-reliance, industry and thrift, stimulate their interest in civic affairs, and inspire in them compliance with the duties of citizenship;

4) To furnish them with good and wholesome educational materials, supervise their activities, recreation and association with others, protect them from bad company, and prevent them from acquiring habits detrimental to their health, studies and morals;

5) To represent them in all matters affecting their interests;

6) To demand from them respect and obedience;

7) To impose discipline on them as may be required under the circumstances; and

8) To perform such other duties as are imposed by law upon parents and guardians. (Article 220, Ibid.)

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