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Duterte signs law simplifying PH legal adoption process

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, March 14th, 2019

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law that will simplify the process of legal adoption in the Philippines.

Duterte signed the Republic Act 11222 or the Simulated Birth Rectification Act on February 22. Malacañang released a copy of the law on Thursday (March 14).

The law would allow the rectification of the simulated birth of a child, in which the simulation was made for the best interest of such child.

The measure defines simulation of birth record as 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 such child’s biological mother, causing the loss of the true identity and status of such child.”

Under the law, a person who simulated a child’s birth record and those who cooperated in doing so prior to the effectivity of the law shall be exempted from criminal, civil or administrative liability provided that it was made “for the best interest of the child and the child has been consistently considered and treated by the person as her, his or their own daughter or son.”

To avail of the amnesty, the person should file a petition for adoption with an application for the rectification of the simulated birth record within ten years from the law’s effectivity.

A person who simulated the birth of a child may avail of adoption proceedings and rectify the birth record if the child has been living with the person for at least three years before the law took effect. Also required is a social department-issued certificate declaring the child legally available for adoption.

The law will also fix the status and filiation of a child whose birth was simulated by giving such child all the benefits of adoption and ensuring that he or she would be entitled to all rights provided to legally-adopted children.

The measure also seeks to provide for a simpler and less costly administrative adoption process that will apply to children who have been living with persons who simulated their birth record for at least three years before the law took effect.

According to the new law, adopters must be Filipino citizens, of legal age, possess full civil capacity and legal rights, of good moral character and have not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude.

They must also be emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children and capable of supporting the child.

For couples where one of the adopters is a foreign national married to a Filipino, the foreigner must have been residing in the Philippines for at least three continuous years before filing of the petition for adoption and application for rectification of simulated birth control.

If an adoptee is 10 years old or over, a written consent of the adoptee is required. The same is also needed from the “legitimate and adopted daughters and sons, 10 years old and above, of the adopter and adoptee, if any.”

The petition should be supported by a copy of the simulated birth or foundling certificate of the child, affidavit of admission if the simulation was done by a third person, a certification from the village chief attesting that the petitioners are residents of the village and the child has been living with them, and a certificate declaring the child legally available for adoption from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The law also requires petitioners to present affidavits of at least two disinterested persons who reside in the same village where the child resides, attesting that the child has been living with the petitioner for at least three years prior to the effectivity of the Act.

Instead of going through court proceedings, those who seek to adopt a child may file a petition with the social welfare and development officer of the town where the child lives. The social welfare secretary shall decide on the petition within 30 days from receipt of the recommendation of the agency’s regional director.

If the petition is granted, the adopted child would be considered a legitimate son or daughter “for all intents and purposes and as such is entitled to all the rights and obligations provided by the law.”

Adoption may be rescinded an adopter committed repeated physical or verbal maltreatment to the adoptee, made an attempt on the life of the adoptee, sexually assaulted the adoptee, abandoned and failed to comply with parental obligations or any acts that are detrimental to the psychological and emotional development of the adoptee.

An adoptee may file a petition for rescission with the assistance of the DSWD if he or she is a minor or over 18 years old but is incapacitated.

Under the law, those who obtained adoption through coercion, fraud, undue influence, improper inducement or other similar acts may be penalized with imprisonment from six years to 12 years and/or a fine of no less than P200,000.

Non-compliance with the procedures and safeguards provided by the law for adoption, and subjecting or exposing the child to danger, abuse, or exploitation are also punishable under the law. – Robie de Guzman

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Alias ‘Bikoy’ should prove allegations to be credible — Malacañang

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

(L-R) Vice President Leni Robredo and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday (May 23) refused to give its assessment on the credibility of Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy following the retraction of his previous claims.

Advincula previously confessed as the man behind a series of narco-videos entitled “Ang Totoong Narcolist” that linked President Rodrigo Duterte and his family to illegal drugs trade.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, Advincula should submit first evidence that would prove his claims and allegations against the personalities he was implicating.

The Palace is leaving it up to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on what charges they will file against Advincula as consequences of his actions and for any violations of the law.

“We will have to wait for Bikoy or Advincula to substantiate his charges and after that we’ll see if there are charges to be filed in court then the truth will come out,” Panelo said.

“As I said repeatedly, no matter how you close, you cover, truth will always come out,” he added.

Malacañang, meanwhile, strongly denied the allegation of opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV who claimed that alias Bikoy’s retraction was another ploy by the Duterte administration to pin down the opposition.

“In the first place the opposition has been harassing this government, this administration. they are the ones sowing intrigues as we repeatedly said,” Panelo said.

Advincula surrendered to the police and revealed that everything he said in the videos were orchestrated by the Liberal Party (LP) and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

Vice President Leni Robredo in a televised conference following Advincula’s surrender said all allegations is “unfair” to the opposition party.

“Napakaraming pangalan na nasambit. Ang Liberal Party once again (ay) nahila dito sa controversy. I can speak for the party. Wala kaming kinalaman dito sa Bikoy issue,” Robredo said.

“There were so many names mentioned. The Liberal Party was once again tagged in the controversy. I can speak for the party. We have nothing to do with this Bikoy issue.)

“Unfair na isali uli ang LP dito. Kung ito ay harassment, kung ito ay ginagawang paraan para lalong yurakan o tapakan ang Liberal Party o kaming nasa oposisyon, hindi ito magiging dahilan para magpatinag tayo, para huminto tayo sa pagpupuna kung may kailangang punahin,” she concluded.

(I find it unfair to again tag LP. If this is harassment to pull down the Liberal Party or the opposition, this will not be a reason for us to stop to criticize.) (with reports from Rosalie Coz) Marje Pelayo

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President Duterte also has a right to privacy—DOJ

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte greets members of Japan’s House of Councillors during their courtesy call together with Japan House of Councillors President Chuichi Date, at the Malacañan Palace on January 8, 2019. RENE LUMAWAG/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte also enjoys the right to privacy under the Constitution, according to Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

In a text message, the Justice Secretary said the president will only be obligated to disclose his health to the public if he is suffering a serious illness.

“The Constitution requires the President to divulge any serious illness on his part. But if the illness is not serious enough to affect the discharge of his official functions, the President has no duty to inform anyone,” he said.

Guevarra added that if Duterte’s illness will not disrupt his duty as president, the he is not obligated to inform the public.

During the weekend, there were rumors circulating that President Duterte was confined in Cardinal Santos Medical Center. However, on Sunday (May 19), former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go posted photos of him and President Duterte enjoying breakfast.

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Former Senator Alvarez withdraws from congressional race

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Sunday, May 12th, 2019

Former Senator Heherson Alvarez (Photo courtesy: Dayao Ti Amianan)

Former Senator Heherson Alvarez has withdrawn his bid for a congressional seat in the 4th congressional district of Isabela, two days ahead of the May 13 Midterm Elections.

In his statement released on Saturday (May 11), Alvarez who “had hoped that this election would have been (his) last effort to render public service after several decades of cumulative experience,” said that the blatant practice of vote-buying had led to his decision to withdraw.

The former lawmaker claimed that “the massive and overwhelming vote-buying makes the electoral process a sham.”

He added that “vote-buying is vote-killing and it is as destructive to our democracy as drug is as destructive to our physical well-being.”

Alvarez also said that he “cannot continue in this political exercise that violates (the) precious political freedom of choice of leaders.”

He called on the public to renounce, denounce and withdraw tolerance on vote-buying lest the country withers away because of it.

He also cited President Rodrigo Duterte’s warning to jail the perpetrators of vote-buying and to “make those who undermine our free suffrage accountable to our laws and constitution.”

The former senator also thanked the President for his endorsement as the standard bearer of Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in Isabela’s 4th congressional district.

He also made an appeal for the people to “stand up and assist the President to strengthen our democratic system.” /mbmf

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