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"An Act Amending Article 176 of Executive Order No. 209 Otherwise Known as The Family Code of the Philippines "
(I ntroduced by Hon. Jose Mari Gonzales)


          House Bill No. 8010 introduced by Congressman Jose Mari Gonzales seeks to amend Article 176 of the Family Code allowing illegitimate children to use the surname of their father subject to conditions. Article 176 of Family Code (Executive Order No.209) reads:
"Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall under the parental authority of their mother." (Italics Supplied)

          The said provision was taken from Article 287 of the Civil Code and in turn from the Article 139 of the Spanish Civil Code.

          This provision is obviously disadvantageous to an illegitimate child as well as his or her mother. The said provision follows the old tradition of Spanish Law and other Civil Law countries where fathers of illegitimate children usually hide their identity to shirk from their responsibility even if they are the true fathers. The result is that the illegitimate children are compelled to take the surname of their mother even if everybody knows who their fathers are. The Spanish practice is still carried in the Philippines . It is still common in the Philippines that the master or head of the house usually begets a child with the housemaid or children of their farm tenants. To save the reputation of the family, the law allows that the father should not be identified and the poor mother bears the burden. The child also bears the taint of illegitimacy.

          In fact, some decisions of the Supreme Court even up to the present favor this tradition. In People vs. de Guzman, 217 SCRA 395 (1993), the Court ruled that a convicted rapist which resulted in the birth of a child cannot be compelled to recognize the offspring if he is married. We do not see any valid reason for this ruling considering that the rapist was the real father.

          In Macadangdang vs. Mejias, 100 SCRA 73 (1986) , Elizabeth Mejias was married to Crispin Anahaw who had an illicit affair with Antonio Macadangdang, for which reason Elizabeth separated from her legal husband, Crispin Anahaw, seven months later Elizabeth gave birth to a baby boy and was baptized Rolando Macadangdang. Elizabeth later filed a complaint of recognition and support against Antonio Macadangdang. Antonio Macadangdang denied that he was the father of Rolando.

          The Supreme Court sustained Antonio Macadangdang and even denied Elizabeth 's claim that Antonio Macadangdang was the father of her child. Asserting the "macho" posture Supreme Court sustained the right of Antonio Macadangdang to repudiate that he was the father of Rolando Macadangdang.

          The decisions are unfair to the mother and the child. In fact, House Bill No. 8010 should be strengthened to remedy the discrimination against women. This bill should be supported by the women's liberation movement to discourage situations of men having illicit relations with women not their wives and go scott free as they can easily repudiate their filiation under the present law. The proposed bill should contain provisions to make it easier to prove the real parentage with illegitimate children.

          The bill promotes the principle under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 8 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that:

1)  State Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference.

2)  Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, State Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to speedily reestablishing his or her identity.(Italics Supplied)



"An Act Requiring The Teaching Of Human Rights As Mandatory In All Public And Private Schools And For Other Purposes"
(Introduced by Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr.)


          Among the constitutional function of the Commission on Human Rights is Article XIII, Section 18(5) of the Philippine Constitution which reads:

"Establish a continuing program of research, education, and information to enhance respect for the primacy of human rights."

          Article XIII, Section 18(6) also mandates the Commission on Human Rights to "recommend to the Congress effective measures to promote human rights and to provide for compensation to victims of violations of human rights, or their families."

          In its Resolution 49/184 of 23 December 1994 , the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the ten-year period beginning on 01 January 1995 the "United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education," and welcomed the Plan of Action for the Decade contained in the report of the Secretary-General.

          This proposed bill is timely for all educational institution in the Philippines . Some educational institutions had been teaching human rights as an optional subject. The proposed bill seeks to make human rights subject as a mandatory part of the curriculum of all educational institutions. It also effectively implements the aforesaid constitutional provisions and the United Nations General Assembly Resolution.

          IN VIEW THEREOF , The Commission on Human Rights fully ENDORSE the enactment of Senate Bill No. 1443.

          Let copies of this position paper be sent to the Senate President, Hon. Blas Ople, the sponsor of the bill, Hon. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. and Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Hon. Renato Cayetano.

          Quezon City , 7 October 1999


"An Act Improving Philippine Commitment to Human Rights Promotion and Protection by Amending Batas Pambansa Bilang 22, entitled 'An Act Penalizing the Making or Drawing and Issuance of a Check Without Sufficient Funds or Credit and for Other Purposes"
(I ntroduced by Cong, Roseller L. Barinaga)


          House Bill No. 7179 seeks to amend section 1 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 which reads:

"Where the check is drawn by a corporation, company or entity, the person or persons IN CHARGE OF CORPORATE FINANCES who actually signed the check in behalf of such drawer and BEING DULY RECOGNIZED BY THE DRAWEE BANK AS THE AUTHORIZED SIGNATORY OR SIGNATORIES, shall be liable under this Act."

          It also seeks to add under the paragraph on section 1 which reads:

"Section 1 - A. EXCEPTION. - Where the check is issued as part of an arrangement to guarantee or secure the payment of an obligation, whether preexisting or not, the drawer shall not be criminally liable under this act or under article 315 (2D) of Act No. 3815, as amended, otherwise known as the Revised Penal Code.

          The Commission on Human Rights endorses said amendments, as it makes more precise the person to be criminally liable. The person who knows best as to whether the corporation has sufficient funds to cover the check issued is the officer in charge of the finances of the corporation. It is usual in corporate practice that it is the President or the head of the corporation who signs the check and under Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 held criminally liable if there is no sufficient funds to cover the checks. The intention of House Bill No. 7179 is to make the person in charge of the finances or the corporation liable. If this is the purpose of the bill, the corporation should authorize such person to sign checks informing the drawee bank of such authorization. Perhaps, House Bill No. 7179 should be amended for said purpose or if both the President and the person in charge of the finances of said corporation sign checks issued in behalf of the corporation.

          The additional paragraph to Section 1 is quite reasonable considering that the check issued is part of an arrangement to guarantee or secure the payment of an application or an obligation, whether preexisting or not. In other words, the amendment liberalizes the harsh effects of the law because if the check is issued as an arrangement to guarantee or secure the payment of an obligation, at least the drawee is forewarned and becomes aware that the guarantee is a purely civil obligation. There is no fraud in the arrangement. The main thrust of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 is the misrepresentation or fraud committed by the drawer on the payment of an obligation.

          IN VIEW THEREOF, the Commission on Human Rights, with the aforesaid amendments, ENDORSES THE ENACTMENT of House Bill No. 7179.

          Let copies of this position paper be sent to the House Speaker Hon. Manuel B. Villar and the sponsor of the bill Hon. Roseller L. Barinaga, Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Hon. Renato Cayetano and House Committee on Civil, Political and Human Rights, Hon. Mamintal M. Adiong.

          Quezon City , 26 October 1999