New law seeks to rectify 'doctored' birth records
Parents who had tampered with civil registry records to make it appear that the child they were adopting was actually born to them will be relieved to know that the practice—a common but discreet transaction between childless couples and midwives—can now be rectified under the law, thanks to Republic Act No. 11222 or the Simulated Birth Rectification Act signed by President Duterte on Feb. 21.
The law allows rectification in simulated birth records and simplifies the adoption process in the country.
It also grants amnesty to parties who had simulated birth records when the act was done in the child’s best interest, and when the child had been consistently treated as family.
The measure, a consolidated version of Senate Bill No. 2081 and House Bill No. 5675, does away with the lengthy judicial process involved in adopting a child, which usually takes more than six months.
In effect, it will fix the “doctored” status and filiation or parentage of a child with simulated birth, and will confer on the child all the rights provided to legally adopted children.
No criminal liability
Those who had simulated the child’s birth record will be exempt from criminal, civil and administrative liability, as long as the application to rectify a simulated birth record was filed within 10 years from the effectivity of the law.
Under the law, the secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is mandated to decide on the petition within 30 days of receiving the recommendation of the DSWD regional director.
After all the requirements for administrative adoption have been met, the child will be considered the legitimate child of the adoptive parents and will be entitled to all the rights and obligations of legitimate children born to them.
The law, however, requires that parents adopting the child should be Filipino citizens, of legal age, with good moral character, and must possess full civil capacity and legal rights. They must also be emotionally and psychologically capable of caring and financially supporting the child, and must not have been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude.
When one of the married couple is a foreigner, he or she must be a Philippine resident for the last three years prior to the filing of the petition for adoption and the application for rectification of simulated birth record.
Consent from adoptee
The child to be adopted, if older than 10, should also execute a written consent for the adoption process to commence.
The law also requires the adoptive parents’ legitimate children, aged 10 and above, to give their consent to the process. Illegitimate children living with the parents should give their consent as well.
If the biological parent is not the spouse of the adoptive parent, all legal ties between the child and the birth parents will be severed.
However, the adoption of a child may be rescinded if there is repeated physical or verbal maltreatment by the adoptive parent, upon the petition of the adopted child.
Other grounds for rescission are: an attempt on the life of the child, sexual assault or violence, abandonment or failure to comply with parental obligations, and other acts detrimental to the child’s psychological and emotional development.
The parental authority of the child’s biological parents will be restored if the petition for rescission is granted and the parents of the child are known, and if the child is a minor or incapacitated.
Those who obtain the child’s consent by force, under the influence, or by fraud, through noncompliance with the procedures and safeguards provided by law for the adoption, and by subjecting or exposing the adoptee to danger, abuse or exploitation will be meted out a prison term of six to 12 years, and will be required to pay a fine of not less than P200,000.
Data from the DSWD show that 6,500 children are available for adoption, with 4,000 of them being cared for by government and nongovernment residential care facilities.