Infant JULIAN YUSAY CARAM, represented by his mother, MA. CHRISTINA YUSAY CARAM, Petitioner,
Atty. MARIJOY D. SEGUI, Atty. SALLY D. ESCUTIN, VILMA B. CABRERA, and CELIA C. YANGCO, Respondents
G.R. No. 193652 August 5, 2014
PONENTE: Villarama, Jr.
TOPIC: Writ of amparo
Petitioner Christina had an amorous relationship with Marcelino and eventually became pregnant with the latter’s child without the benefit of marriage. After getting pregnant, Christina mislead Marcelino into believing that she had an abortion when in fact she proceeded to complete the term of her pregnancy. During this time, she intended to have the child adopted through Sun and Moon Home for Children in Parañaque City.
On July 26, 2009, Christina gave birth to Baby Julian at Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center, Marikina City. Sun and Moon shouldered all the hospital and medical expenses. On August 13, 2009, Christina voluntarily surrendered Baby Julian by way of a Deed of Voluntary Commitment to the DSWD.
On November 27, 2009, the DSWD, a certificate was issued declaring Baby Julian as “Legally Available for Adoption.” On February 5, 2010, Baby Julian was “matched” with Spouses Medina and supervised trial custody was then commenced.
On May 5, 2010, Christina who had changed her mind about the adoption, wrote a letter to the DSWD asking for the suspension of Baby Julian’s adoption proceedings. She also said she wanted her family back together.
On May 28, 2010, the DSWD, through respondent Atty. Segui, sent a Memorandum to DSWD Assistant Secretary Cabrera informing her that the certificate declaring Baby Julian legally available for adoption had attained finality on November 13, 2009, or three months after Christina signed the Deed of Voluntary Commitment which terminated her parental authority and effectively made Baby Julian a ward of the State.
On July 27, 2010, Christina filed a petition for the issuance of a writ of amparo before the RTC seeking to obtain custody of Baby Julian from DSWD.
Whether or not a petition for a writ of amparo is the proper recourse for obtaining parental authority and custody of a minor child.
The Court held that the availment of the remedy of writ of amparo is not proper as there was no enforced disappearance in this case.
As to what constitutes “enforced disappearance,” the Court in Navia v. Pardico enumerated the elements constituting “enforced disappearances” as the term is statutorily defined in Section 3(g) of R.A. No. 9851 to wit:
- That there be an arrest, detention, abduction or any form of deprivation of liberty;
- That it be carried out by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, the State or a political organization;
- That it be followed by the State or political organization’s refusal to acknowledge or give information on the fate or whereabouts of the person subject of the amparo petition; and,
- That the intention for such refusal is to remove subject person from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time.
The Court held that there was no enforced disappearance because the respondent DSWD officers never concealed Baby Julian’s whereabouts. In fact, Christina obtained a copy of the DSWD’s Memorandum explicitly stating that Baby Julian was in the custody of the Medina Spouses when she filed her petition before the RTC. Besides, she even admitted in her petition that the respondent DSWD officers presented Baby Julian before the RTC during the hearing. There is therefore, no “enforced disappearance” as used in the context of the Amparo rule as the third and fourth elements are missing.
Christina’s directly accusing the respondents of forcibly separating her from her child and placing the latter up for adoption, supposedly without complying with the necessary legal requisites to qualify the child for adoption, clearly indicates that she is not searching for a lost child but asserting her parental authority over the child and contesting custody over him.
Since it is extant from the pleadings filed that what is involved is the issue of child custody and the exercise of parental rights over a child, who, for all intents and purposes, has been legally considered a ward of the State, the Amparo rule cannot be properly applied.