Bernabe vs Alejo

August 21, 2018 | Author: Anonymous 96BXHnSzi | Category: Legitimacy (Family Law), Supreme Courts, Ex Post Facto Law, Complaint, Courts
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Bernabe vs Alejo

374 scra 180  No retroactive effect if vested rights are i mpaired

The late Fiscal Ernesto Bernabe allegedly fathered a son with Carolina Alejo. The son was born on September 18, 1981 and was named Adrian Bernabe. Fiscal Bernabe died on August 13, 1993 leaving Ernestina as the sole surviving heir. Therafter, Carolina in behalf of Adrian filed the aforesaid complaint praying that Adrian be declared as acknowledged illegitimate son of Fiscal Bernabe. The RTC dismissed the complaint ruling that under the provision of the Family Code, the death of the putative father had barred the action. On appeal, the Court of Appeals ruled that in the interest of  justice, Adrian should be allowed to prove that he was the illegitimate il legitimate son of Fiscal Bernabe since the boy was born in 1981; his rights are governed by Article 283 of the Civil Code. Hence, appeal was interposed in the Supreme Court. ISSUE: Whether HELD: Applying

or not the Family Code shall have retroactive effect.

recent rece nt jurisprudence, jurisprudence, the Supreme Court Court hold that Article 285 of the Civil Code Code is a substantive law as it gives Adrian the right to file his petition for recognition within 4 years from attaining majority age. Therefore, the Family Code cannot impair or take Adrian’s right t o file an action for recognition because that right had already vested prior to its enactment.

Bern abe vs. Al ejo  GR N o. 140500, Januar y 21, 2002 


The late Fiscal Ernesto Bernabe allegedly fathered a son with his secretary Carolina Alejo and was named Adrian Bernabe who was born on September 18, 1981. After Ernesto Bernabe and Rosalina (legal wife) died, the sole surviving heir left was Ernestina. Carolina, in behalf of his son Adrian, filed a complaint that Adrian be declared an acknowledged illegitimate son of Fiscal Bernabe and be given a share of his father’s estate. Trial court’s ruling: Under the new law, an action for the recognition of an illegitimate child must be  brought within the lifetime of the alleged parent to give the latter an opportunity to either affirm or deny the child’s filiation. CA ruling: The rights of Adrian are governed under Article 285 of the Civil Code which allows an action for recognition to be filed within 4 years after the child has attained the a ge of majority and that subsequent enactment of the Family Code did not take away his right. ISSUE:

Whether or not Adrian Bernabe may be declared an acknowledged illegitimate son.


The Family Code makes no distinction on whether the former was still a minor when the latter died. Thus, the putative parent is given by the new code a chance to dispute the claim, considering that “illegitimate children” are usually begotten and raised in secrecy and without the legitimate family  being aware of their existence. Furthermore, the grounds or instances for the acknowledgment of natural children are utilized to establish the filiation of spurious children. Hence, the petition wad denied and assailed decision was affirmed.

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