Civil status of a person cannot be a subject of a compromise
"I am an illegitimate son. My father, who was into secret affairs with my mother, is a married man from a rich and influential family. My father did not recognize me in my birth certificate. Last year, my mother showed me a notebook that contained my father’s unfinished autobiography, where he recognized me as his son. In every entry in the said notebook, he affixed his signature. I filed a petition to establish illegitimate filiation. Before the case prospered, however, my father and I entered into a compromise agreement where, among others, I denied any blood relationship or filiation with him. A judgment based on the said compromise was entered. Is it true that I cannot anymore file a petition based on the same cause of action with my father due to prior judgment?
We answer in the negative.The Civil Code of the Philippines (Civil Code) defines compromise as “a contract whereby the parties, by making reciprocal concessions, avoid a litigation or put an end to one already commenced” (Art. 2028). In a number of cases, the Supreme Court pronounced that a judicial compromise has the effect of res judicata, and that it is a judgment based on the merits of the case.
But in Uy vs. Jose Chua (GR 183965, Sept. 18, 2009), penned by Associate Justice Minita Chico-Nazario, the Supreme Court emphasized that, just like any other contracts, a compromise agreement must comply not only with the requirements of an ordinary contract provided by Article 1318 of the Civil Code, but also, it should not run contrary to laws, thus:“And, like any other contract, the terms and conditions of a compromise agreement must not be contrary to law, morals, good customs, public policy and public order. Any compromise agreement that is contrary to law or public policy is null and void, and vests no rights in and holds no obligation for any party. It produces no legal effect at all.”
Article 2035 of the said law enumerates those that cannot be subject of a compromise, to wit:“ART. 2035. No compromise upon the following questions shall be valid:“(1) The civil status of persons“(2) The validity of a marriage or a legal separation
“(3) Any ground for legal separation“(4) Future support“(5) The jurisdiction of courts“(6) Future legitime” (Emphasis supplied).Similarly, in De Asis vs. Court of Appeals (GR 127578, Feb. 15, 1999), the Supreme Court, through Associate Justice Fidel Purisima pronounced:“It is settled, then, in law and jurisprudence, that the status and filiation of a child cannot be compromised. Public policy demands that there be no compromise on the status and filiation of a child. Paternity and filiation or the lack of the same, is a relationship that must be judicially established” (Emphasis supplied).Applying the above-mentioned provisions and decisions in your case, the compromise agreement executed between you and your father was contrary to law and public policy. It being such, the judgment from which it is based was also void. It is well to note that a void judgment is not judgment at all. It cannot be a source of any right or a creator of any obligation. All acts performed pursuant to it and all claims emanating from it have no legal effect. Hence, it can never become final, and any writ of execution based on it is void. Thus, we believe you are not barred from filing another petition to establish your illegitimate filiation.We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org"
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"Civil status of a person cannot be a subject of a compromise"
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and updated on 15 September 2021