PR 01010.290 Philippines

A. PR 79 018 Presumption of Legitimacy -- Philippines -- Social Security No. ~, Moses T~, deceased wage earner, Joel B. T~ claimant

DATE: June 12, 1979

1. SYLLABUS

Under the law of the Philippines, a child born in lawful wedlock is presumed legitimate. The presumption may only be rebutted by evidence that there is a physical impossibility of sexual union between the husband and wife, shown beyond a reasonable doubt. (T~ , Moses--~-GC (Liferiedge) to SSA - 6/12/79)

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Where Philippine law allows the presumption that a child born in lawful wedlock is legitimate, to be rebutted only by evidence that there is a physical impossibility of sexual union between the husband and wife, mother's statements (which she later retracted) that the child claimant was not her husband's child were not sufficient to rebut the presumption of legitimacy. (T~, Moses--~-GC (Liferiedge) to SSA - 6/12/79)

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2. OPINION

This responds to your memorandum of November 22, 1978 requesting our opinion as to whether Joel B. T~ qualifies for child's insurance benefits as the child of the deceased wage earner, Moses T~

The deceased wage earner and Tersita T~ were married in the Philippines on January 20, 1968 and Joel was born on June 12, 1972. Hospital and civil records identify Moses and Tersita as Joel's natural parents. Additionally, both Moses and Tersita signed statements on June 11, 1974, which are supported by disinterested third parties, that Joel is their natural child born during their wedlock.

Moses T~ died on July 10, 1974. Thereafter, on August 28 and October 16, 1974, Tersita signed statements that Moses was not Joel's natural father. She identified the man she had been living with since the WE's death as Joel's natural father. Her statement alleges that she and Moses never had sexual intercourse. The paramour also made a written statement that he, not the DWE, was Joel's natural father.

On September 6, 1977 Tersita filed application for child's insurance benefits on Joel's behalf. She also filed a statement refuting her prior statements that Moses T~ was not Joel's natural father. This statement was supported by statements from the deceased wage earner's relatives and disinterested third parties and the paramour who has also retracted his statement.

Thus, the issue arises as to whether Joel would be considered the child of the deceased wage earner, despite the conflicting statements concerning his paternity.

We requested information from the Law Library, Library of Congress on whether Joel would be recognized as the natural child of the deceased wage earner under Philippine law. We received a report from them which is attached.

According to this report, a child born in lawful wedlock is presumed legitimate. This presumption is almost conclusive and may only be rebutted by evidence that there is a physical impossibility of sexual union between the husband and wife, shown beyond a reasonable doubt. Moreover, the presumption of legitimacy applies despite the mother's declarations denying her lawful husband's paternity. Therefore, based upon the available evidence it appears that under the law of the Philippines, Joel would be recognized as the legitimate child of the deceased wage earner.

Although the information provided by the Library of Congress report resolves the questions of Philippine law, in cases where the deceased wage earner died domiciled outside of the United States, the law of the District of Columbia is applied in determining family sta