Republic Act No. 11222 (full text), also known as the Simulated Birth Rectification Act, was signed into law on 21 February 2019. This new law allows the rectification of simulated birth records and prescribing administrative adoption proceedings for the purpose.
What is “simulated of birth record”?
Simulation of birth record refers to the tampering of the civil registry to make it appear in the record of birth that child was born to a person who is not such child’s biological mother, causing the loss of the true identity and status of such child.
This includes the practice of “asking” for the child belonging to another, usually a relative, and declaring in the birth certificate that the mother is the person who “asked” for the child.
Why is there a need for this law?
Simulation of birth is a criminal offense under Article 347 of the Revised Penal Code, punishable by imprisonment of 6 years and 1 day, up to 12 years. R.A. 11222 expressly exempts from criminal, civil, and administrative liability those who simulated the birth record of a child prior to the effectivity of the law. All petitions, documents, records, and papers relating to adoption and rectification of simulated births under this law cannot be used as evidence against those who simulated the birth of a child or who cooperated in the execution of such simulation in any criminal, civil, or administrative proceeding.
What are the objectives of the law?
The declared objectives of R.A. 11222 are:
(1) To grant amnesty and allow rectification of the simulated birth of a child where the simulation was made for the best interest of the child, and that such child has been consistently considered and treated by the person or persons who simulated such birth as her, his, or their own daughter or son.
(2) To fix the status and filiation of a child whose birth was simulated by giving such child all the benefits of adoption and ensuring that the child shall be entitled to all the rights provided by law to legally adopted children, without any discrimination of any kind, as well as to love, guidance, and support from the child’s adoptive family.
(3) To exempt from criminal, civil, and administrative liablity those who simulated the birth record of a child prior to the effectivity of the law, provided that a petition for adoption with an application for the rectification of the simulated birth record within ten (10) years from the effectivity of R.A. 11222.
(4) To provide for and allow a simpler and lesser costly administrative adoption proceeding where the child has been living with the person or persons who simulated here or his birth record for at least three (3) years before the effectivity of this law.
Who may invoke the exemption from liability?
The exemption from liability benefits any person who, prior to the effectivity of R.A. 11222, simulated the birth of a child, and those who cooperated in the execution of such simulation.
What are the requirements for the exemption from liability?
Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a person or persons who, prior to the effectivity of R.A. 11222, simulated the birth of a child, and those who cooperated in the execution of such simulation, shall NOT be criminally, civilly, or administratively liable such act, provided that:
1. The simulation of birth was made for the best interest of the child and that the child has been consistently considered and treated by such person or persons as her, his or their own daughter or son.
2. Such person or persons has or have filed a petition for adoption with an application for the rectification of the simulated birth record within ten (10) years from the effectivity of R.A. 11222.
Who is considered a “child”?
A child refers to a person below eighteen (18) years of age, or a person eighteen (18) years of age or over who is unable to fully take care of herself or himself or protect herself or himself from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation, or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition, whose birth was simulated.
Is administrative adoption allowed under R.A. 11222?
Yes, administrative adoption is allowed, provided that:
1. The child has been living with the person for at least three (3) years before the effectivity of R.A. 11222.
2. A certificate declaring the child legally available for adoption (CDCLAA) is issued by the DSWD in favor of such child.
The requirements make reference to the conditions of the previous section, as follows: (1) The simulation of birth was made for the best interest of the child and that the child has been consistently considered and treated by such person or persons as her, his or their own daughter or son; and (2) Such person or persons has or have filed a petition for adoption with an application for the rectification of the simulated birth record within 10 years from the effectivity of R.A. 11222. The impression is that the administrative remedy may be availed only for a period of 10 years, but we need to wait for the implementing rules and regulations for confirmation.
The Secretary, after due consultation with the PSA, the DILG, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the CWC, together with the representatives from the Association of Local Civil Registrars, child-caring and child-placing agencies, and child’s rights civil society organizations, shall issue rules and regulations for the effective implementation of this Act within 60 days from its effectivity.
What is a CDCLAA?
A Certification Declaring a Child Legally Available for Adoption (CDCLAA) refers to a document issued by the Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or the Secretary’s duly authorized representative as provided by Republic Act No. 9523, otherwise known as “An Act Requiring Certification of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to Declare a ‘Child Legally Available for Adoption’ as a Prerequisite for Adoption Proceedings, Amending for this Purpose Certain Provisions of Republic Act NO 8552, otherwise known as the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998; Republic Act No. 8043, otherwise known as the Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995; and Presidential Decree No. 603, otherwise known as the Child and Youth Welfare Code, and for Other Purposes,” administratively declaring that a child is legally available for adoption which terminates the rights of the biological parents, guardian, or other custodian to exercise authority over the child upon issuance of the certificate.
For administrative adoption, what are the required personal qualifications of ADOPTERS?
(1) Be Filipino citizens;
(2) Be of legal age;
(3) Possess full civil capacity and legal rights;
(4) Be of good moral character;
(5) Have not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude;
(6) Be emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children; and
(7) Be in a position to support and care for the child in keeping with the means of the family.
In case of adoption by a married couple, where one of the adopters is a foreign national married to a Filipino, the foreign national must have been residing in the Philippines for at least three (3) continuous years prior to the filing of the petition for adoption and application for rectification of simulated birth record.
For administrative adoption, who are required to give their consent?
After being properly counseled and informed of the right to give or withhold approval of the adoption, the WRITTEN consent of the following shall be required:
(1) The adoptee, if ten (10) years of age or over;
(2) The legitimate and adopted daughters and sons, then (10) years of age or over, of the adopter and adoptee, if any;
(3) The illegitimate daughters and sons, ten (10) years of age or over, of the adopter if living with the said adopter and the latter’s spouse, if any; and
(4) The spouse, if any, of the adoptee.
What are the requirements for the Petition?
The petition for adoption with an application for rectification of simulated birth record:
1. Shall be in the form of an affidavit and shall be subscribed and sworn to by the petitioner or petitioners before any person authorized by law to administer affirmations and oaths.
2. Shall state the facts necessary to establish the merits of the petition, and the circumstances surrounding the simulation of the birth of the child.
3. The petition shall be supported by the following:
(a) A copy of simulated birth or foundling certificate of the child;
(b) Affidavit of admission if the simulation of birth was done by a third person;
(c) Certification issued and signed by the punong barangay attesting that the petitioner or petitioners is a resident of the barangay, and that the child has been living with the petitioner or petitioners for at least three (3) years prior to the effectivity of R.A. 11222;
(d) Affidavits of at least two (2) disinterested persons, who reside in the same barangay where the child resides, attesting that the child has been living with the petitioner for at least three (3) years prior to the effectivity of R.A. 11222.
(e) CDCLAA issued by the DSWD. However, a CDCLAA is no longer be required if the adoptee is already an adult or a relative of the adopter within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity.
(f) Photographs of the child and the petitioner or petitioners taken within at least three (3) months prior to the filing of the petition.
Where to file the petition for administrative adoption?
The petition shall be filed with the Office of the Social Welfare and Development Office (SWDO) of the city or municipality where the child resides. The SWDO shall have seven (7) days to examine the petition and its supporting documents and determine whether the same is sufficient in form and substance. If the SWDO shall return the same to the petitioner with a written explanation of its insufficiency. If the SWDO finds the petition sufficient in form and substance, the SWDO shall forward the petition and the supporting documents within three (3) days to the Regional Director.
The Regional Director shall review the petition, establish the identity of the child, and prepare the recommendation on the petition not later than thirty (30) days from receipt hereof. The Regional Director may require the petitioner to comply with such request shall not preclude the Regional Director from acting the petition based on the based on the evidence on hand.
The Regional Director shall transmit to the Secretary the recommendation on the petition together with a copy of the petition and supporting documents.
The Secretary shall act and decide on the petition within thirty (30) days from receipt of the recommendation of the Regional Director.
What is an Order of Adoption?
An order of adoption is issued by the DSWD Secretary if there’s a finding that the adoption shall redound to the best interest of the child.
The order of adoption shall state the name by which the adoptee shall be known and shall likewise direct the:
(1) Cancellation of the simulated birth record of the child;
(2) Issuance of the rectified birth record bearing the names of the biological parents of the child or the issuance of a foundling certificate; and
(3) Issuance of a new birth certificate.
The order of adoption retroacts to the date the petition was filed with the Office of the SWDO, even if the petitioner dies before its issuance.
An administrative adoption order obtained under R.A. 11222 shall have the same effect as a decree of adoption issued pursuant to Republic Act No. 8552, otherwise known as the “Domestic Adoption Act of 1998”.
How is the Order of Adoption registered?
The Secretary shall immediately transmit the order of adoption to the concerned DSWD Regional Office.
The Local Civil Registrar shall stamp the simulated birth record “cancelled” with an annotation of the issuance of a new rectified certificate of birth in its place. The rectified birth certificate bearing the names of the biological parents of the child of the foundling certificate shall then likewise be stamped “cancelled” with the annotation of the issuance of a new birth record in its place, and shall be sealed in the civil registry records. Thereafter, the Local Civil Registrar shall record, register, and issue a new certificate of birth which shall not bear any notation that it is anew or amended issue.
What are the effects of administrative adoption?
1. Legitimacy. — The adoptee shall be considered the legitimate daughter or son of the adopter for all intents and purposes and as such is entitled to all the rights and obligations provided by law to legitimate daughters or sons born to them without discrimination or any kind. To this end, the adoptee is entitled to love, guidance, and support in keeping with the means of the family.
2. Parental Authority. — Except where a biological parent is the spouse of the adopter, all legal ties between the biological parents and the adoptee shall be severed and the same shall then be vested in the adopter.
3. Succession. — In legal and intestate succession, the adopter and the adoptee shall have reciprocal rights of succession without distinction from legitimate filiation. However, if the adoptee and here or his biological parents left a will, the law on testamentary succession shall govern.
May the adoption be rescinded?
Yes, the adoptee may seek the rescission of the adoption. The adopter, however, CANNOT ask for a rescission, considering that adoption is for the best interest of the child (however, the adopter may disinherit the adoptee for causes provided in Articles 919 of the Civil Code).
Upon petitioner of the adoptee, with the assistance of the city or municipal SWDO or the DSWD if a minor or if over eighteen (18) years of age but is incapacitated, the adoption may be rescinded on any of the following grounds committed by the adopter:
(1) Repeated physical or verbal maltreatment by the adopter;
(2) Attempt on the life of the adoptee;
(3) Sexual assault or violence;
(4) Abandonment and failure to comply with parental obligations; or
(5) Other acts that are detrimental to the psychological and emotional development of the adoptee.
What are the effects of rescission of adoption?
1. The reciprocal rights and obligations of the adopter and the adoptee to each shall be extinguished.
2. Parental Authority. — The parental authority of the adoptee’s biological parents, if known shall be restored if the adoptee is still a minor or incapacitated.
3. Succession. — Successional rights shall revert to its status prior to adoption, but only as of the date of judgment of administrative rescission. Vested rights acquired prior to administrative rescission shall be respected.
What are the acts punishable under R.A. 11222?
The penalty of imprisonment ranging from six (6) years and one (1) day to twelve (12) years and/or a fine not less than Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) at the discretion of the court shall be imposed on any person who shall commit any of the following act:
(1) Obtaining consent for an adoption through coercion, undue influence, fraud, improper material inducement, or other similar acts;
(2) Noncompliance with the procedures and safeguards provide by law for the adoption; or
(3) Subjecting or exposing the child to be adopted to danger, abuse, or exploitation.