By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte has signed into law Republic Act No. 11222 or the Simulated Birth Rectification Act which simplifies the adoption process in the country.
The measure, signed by the President on February 21, allows prospective parents to not undergo the lengthy judicial process in the adoption of a child, which usually takes more than six months to complete.
The new law grants amnesty and allows the rectification of the simulated birth of a child where simulation was made for the best interest of the child, and that such child has been consistently considered and treated by the person.
“Birth simulation” refers to the tampering of the civil registry to make it appear in the record of birth that a child was born to a person who is not the child’s biological mother.
The new law is a consolidated version of Senate Bill No. 2081 and House Bill No. 5675.
The measure fixes the status and filiation of a child with simulated birth by giving that child all the benefits of adoptions, and ensuring that the child is entitled to all rights provided by law to legally adopted kids.
To fast-track the adoption process, those who simulated the birth record of a child should be exempt from criminal, civil, and administrative liability provided that the application to rectify a simulated birth record should be filed within 10 years from the effectivity of the measure.
Instead of going through the courts, those who will file a petition, which should be in the form of an affidavit, may do so through the Social Welfare and Development Officer (SWDO) of the city or municipality where the child resides. The Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) shall decide on the petition within 30 days from receipt of the recommendation of the department’s regional director.
After all requirements for administrative adoption has been met, the child shall be considered the legitimate child of a person, and as such, is entitled to all rights and obligations provided by law to legitimate children born to them.
Data from the DSWD showed that about 6,500 children have been declared available for adoption with almost 4,000 of them under the care of the government and non-government residential care facilities.
Under the law, adopters must be Filipino citizens, of legal age, with good moral character, possess full civil capacity and legal rights, must not have been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude, be emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children, and capable of supporting the child.
In case a married couple, where one of them is a foreign national, wants to adopt, the foreigner must have been residing in the Philippines for the last three continuous years prior to the filing of the petition for adoption and application for rectification of simulated birth record.
The adoptee, if he or she is over 10 years old, should also execute a written consent for the adoption to take place.
The consent of the legitimate children above 10 years old of the adopters, if any, is also required. The same is required from their illegitimate children above 10 years old, if any, if living with the adopter or the spouse.
Effects of administrative adoption
Based on the law, the child will be considered as the legitimate son or daughter of the adopters. They are guaranteed of the rights of those born to them.
If the biological parent is not the spouse of the adopter, all legal ties between the child and his/her birth parents will be severed.
Grounds for rescission
The law states that upon the petition of the adoptee, with the assistance of the SWDO or DSWD, the adoption of a child may be rescinded if there is repeated physical or verbal maltreatment by the adopter.
Other grounds for rescission include the attempt on the life of the child, sexual assault or violence, abandonment or failure to comply with parental obligations, or other acts detrimental to the psychological and emotional development of the adoptee.
If the petition for rescission is granted, the parental authority of the child’s biological parents will be restored, if they are known and if the child is still a minor or incapacitated.
A penalty of imprisonment from six years to 12 years and/or a fine not less than P200,000 shall be imposed on those who obtain consent by force, under influence, or fraud; noncompliance with the procedures and safeguards provided by law for the adoption; and subjecting or exposing the adoptee to danger, abuse, or exploitation.