Can an illegitimate child inherit from grandparents?

The Supreme Court will hold an oral argument this coming August 20 on a petition regarding the rights of illegitimate children to inherit.

The high court appointed retired justice Jose Vitug and Prof. Elizabeth Aguiling-Pangalangan as amici curiae (friends of court) on a 2013 petition, which sought a definitive ruling on whether or not an illegitimate child could claim inheritance from her paternal grandfather.

The petition was filed by a 41-year-old woman whose father died before she was born, and because of such death, was unable to marry her mother.

The petitioner claimed she was “openly recognized” by the family of her deceased father, in fact, her paternal grandfather sent her to school from preschool to college, and even gave her allowances.

Also, her paternal grandfather gave her a commercial land in the City of Davao before he succumbed to an illness in 1999.

However, the petitioner claimed that she was excluded as an heir when the family sought settlement of the deceased grandfather’s estate before the regular courts.

The lower court ruled in her favor when she sought her inclusion in the inheritance. But his was reversed by the Court of Appeals, leaving her with no other option but to elevate the case to the SC.

As a matter of rule, an illegitimate child is prohibited under Article 992 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines from inheriting from the relatives of his father or mother.

But the petitioner invoked a SC decision in 1983 where the Court, while it ruled that unacknowledged natural children “have no rights whatsoever,” the same maybe entitled to inheritance as a matter of exception “if the child had been treated as acknowledged and legitimate children.”

The petitioner maintained that she has the status of a legitimate child given “the family’s open acceptance of her.”

Defending the CA, the Office of the Solicitor General disclosed that petitioner’s use of the 1983 SC ruling was misplaced because in the first place, her mother was never married to her father.

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