Rachel was the only daughter of Richard and Elenita. Born to an upper-middle-income family in the Province of Cebu, Rachel was well provided by her parents. Richard was a successful contractor who was very busy with his multi-million construction projects. Elenita, on the other hand, was half-Chinese, raised by her conservative Chinese-Filipino parents. Rachel attended an exclusive private school for girls and was driven in a private car to and from school. She was not allowed to have extra-curricular activities by her parents, except for occasional birthday parties and movies with her friends. Rachel finished high school in their town and then enrolled in a pre-med course in one of the popular universities in Cebu City, about an hour and a half drive from their place. The family driver was ordered by her father to wait for Rachel until her classes end. Juanito was in his late twenties, medium-built and soft-spoken. He was employed first as a gardener, and later as the family driver when he learned to drive on his own. He has been with the family for about 7 years and has earned the trust of Rachel’s parents who sometimes instruct him to pay the utility bills amounting to P15,000 in cash. Juanito finished grade 3 and had to stop because his parents were so poor that they could not afford to send him to school.
During her third year in college, Rachel got pregnant. Her parents were very angry, and at the same time worried that she might not be able to finish her studies. She pointed to one of her classmates as the father of her child, but later-on recanted after it was learned that the guy was a homosexual. Rachel would not tell her parents who the father of her child was. Then one day, she confessed to her mother that the father of her child was Juanito, the family driver. They had been carrying a secret relationship since she was the second year in college. Upon learning of the truth, the parents decided that she will give birth to the child but will conceal the identity of the father as it would surely create a scandal in their town. Rachel stopped her studies for a while until she gives birth to hide her pregnancy from the school authorities and the public.
Nine months later, Rachel gave birth to a healthy baby girl. She named her baby Maryrose. Elenita, the mother, filled-up the application for Live Birth when Rachel was in the hospital and wrote the name of Rachel as the biological mother while placing NA, or not applicable, for the father. A few months after giving birth, Richard went to the Office of the Civil Registry of their town to convince someone in the Office of the Civil Registrar to tamper with the birth certificate of Maryrose to make it appear that Maryrose was born of a different mother, and Rachel was just her adoptive mother. Rachel at first would not agree to the tampering but was convinced by her parents that it was for the best interest of the child if she was treated as an adopted child rather than a child born out of wedlock, or a bastard. She would be teased and ridiculed in school by her classmates. Her parents told Rachel that she and her future husband can adopt Maryrose as their own when the time comes. Rachel was bothered by her conscience and wanted to rectify or correct the erroneous entry in the birth certificate of Maryrose without incriminating her father in the tampering of a public record.
What can she do?
Under Republic Act 11222, or the Simulated Birth Rectification Act, a person who simulated a child’s birth certificate and who cooperated in doing so will not be criminally, civilly or administratively liable provided that it was made for the best interest of the child, and the child has been treated by the person as his or her own. Rachel may file a petition for adoption with an application for the rectification of the simulated birth record within 10 years from the effectivity of R.A. 11222, which was on February 21, 2019, with the DSWD social welfare officer of the town where she lives. There is no need for Rachel to go to court to adopt Maryrose and to rectify the simulated birth record. After all, Rachel possesses all the qualifications to be a petitioner, namely that she is a Filipino citizen, of legal age being 20 years old at the time of the filing, possess the full civil capacity and legal rights, of good moral character, and has not been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. Rachel is also very capable of financially supporting Maryrose until she graduates from college.
Richard, on the other hand, who caused the simulation of the birth certificate of Maryrose, may avail himself of the adoption proceeding initiated by Rachel to rectify the birth record without incurring any civil or criminal liability. Since Maryrose and Rachel have been living with her parents, Richard is qualified to avail of the rectification. The reason of Richard for simulating the birth record was for the best interest of Maryrose, since they live in an ultra-conservative community where a child’s paternity or filiation has an impact at an early stage of her life. Richard was only trying to protect Maryrose from the stigma that usually goes with children who are born out of wedlock.
The DSWD social welfare officer approved the petition of Rachel within 30 days from receipt of the favorable recommendation of the DSWD regional director. Maryrose is now considered a legitimate daughter of Rachel and will be entitled to all the rights and obligations provided by law.