This petition for review seeks to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. No. 54618-R which reversed the decision of the Court of First Instance of Davao, Branch IX dismissing the action for recognition and support filed by respondent Elizabeth Mejias against petitioner Antonio Macadangdang, and which found minor Rolando to be the illegitimate son of petitioner who was ordered to give a monthly support of P350.00 until his alleged son reaches the age of majority. Elizabeth Mejias is married to Crispin Anahaw. Sometime in March 1967 she allegedly had intercourse with Antonio Macadangdang. Elizabeth alleges that due to the affair, she and her husband separated in 1967. On October 30, 1967 (7 months or 210 days after the illicit encounter) – she gave birth to a baby boy who was named Rolando Macadangdang in baptismal rites held on December 24, 1967. On April 25, 1972, Elizabeth filed a complaint for recognition and support against Rolando. On June 30, 1972, Rolando file his answer opposing Elizabeth’s claim and praying for its dismissal. On August 9, 1972, the lower court issued a Pre-trial Order formalizing certain stipulations, admissions and factual issues on which both parties agreed and on February 27, 1973, the lower court dismissed the complaint. The decision invoked positive provisions of the Civil Code and Rules of Court and authorities. On June 2, 1978, the CA reversed the decision of the lower court. They ruled that minor Rolando to be an illegitimate son of Antonio Macadangdang. A motion for reconsideration was filed but was denied by CA.
Whether or not the child Rolando is conclusively presumed the legitimate child of the spouses Elizabeth Mejias and Crispin Anahaw.
YES. Under Article 255 of the civil code, legitimacy of a child is defined as Children born after one hundred and eighty days following the celebration of the marriage, and before three hundred days following its dissolution or the separation of the spouses shall be presumed to be legitimate. The child Rolando is conclusively presumed to be the legitimate son of Elizabeth and her husband. During the initial 120 days of the 300 which preceded the birth of the child, there was no concrete or substantial proof that was presented to establish physical impossibility of access between Elizabeth and Crispin. Elizabeth and Crispin continued to live in the same province therefore there is still the possibility of access to one another. The fact that the child was born a mere seven (7) months after the initial sexual contact between Antonio and Elizabeth is another proof that the said child was not of Antonio since, from indications, Rolando came out as a normal full-term baby. The presumption of legitimacy is based on the assumption that there is sexual union in marriage, particularly during the period of conception. In order to overthrow the presumption it must be shown beyond reasonable doubt that there was no access as could have enabled the husband to be the father of the child. Sexual intercourse is to be presumed when personal access is not disproved. The policy of the law is to confer legitimacy upon children born in wedlock when access of the husband at the time of conception and there is the presumption that a child so born is the child of the husband and is legitimate even though the wife was guilty of infidelity during the possible period of conception. And it must be stressed that Rolando has no birth certificate of Baptism (attached in the List of Exhibits) which was prepared in the absence of the alleged father [petitioner]. In our jurisprudence, this Court has been more definite in its pronouncements on the value of baptismal certificates. The separation of Elizabeth and Crispin was not proven. The finding of the court of appeals that Elizabeth and Crispin were separated was based solely on the testimony of the wife which is self-serving. Elizabeth’s testimony is insufficient without further evidence. The conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmise, and conjectures and Judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts. The findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial court and said findings of facts are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based and when the finding of facts of the Court of Appeals is premised on the absence of evidence and is contradicted by evidence on record.