Rule on Parental Authority
The right of custody accorded to parents springs from the exercise of parental authority.
As a general rule, the father and the mother shall jointly exercise parental authority over the persons of their common children. However, insofar as illegitimate children are concerned, Article 176 of the Family Code states that illegitimate children shall be under the parental authority of their mother. This is the case even if the father of the child has recognized the latter.
The Mother has Custody and Parental Authority over an Illegitimate Child
In Renalyn Masbate vs. Ricky Relucio, G.R. No. 235498, 30 July 2018, the Supreme Court pronounced, to wit:
“Accordingly, mothers (such as Renalyn) are entitled to the sole parental authority of their illegitimate children (such as Queenie), notwithstanding the father’s recognition of the child. In the exercise of that authority, mothers are consequently entitled to keep their illegitimate children in their company, and the Court will not deprive them of custody, absent any imperative cause showing the mother’s unfitness to exercise such authority and care. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.)
Republic Act No. 9255 or the law which allows illegitimate children to use the surname of their father also provides that illegitimate children shall be under the parental authority of their mother, to wit:
“SECTION 1. Article 176 of Executive Order No. 209, otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines, is hereby amended to read as follows:
“Article 176. Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parental authority of their mother, and shall be entitled to support in conformity with this Code. However, illegitimate children may use the surname of their father if their filiation has been expressly recognized by the father through the record of birth appearing in the civil register, or when an admission in a public document or private handwritten instrument is made by the father. Provided, the father has the right to institute an action before the regular courts to prove non-filiation during his lifetime. The legitime of each illegitimate child shall consist of one-half of the legitime of a legitimate child.”
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