Dear PAO,

I legally adopted Myrna when she was 3 years old and genuinely treated her as my own child. I gave her almost everything that life has to offer. However, as time goes by the naive child that I adopted changed. She does not care about my well-being anymore. She did not reciprocate the love that I've shown her. Is it possible for me to rescind her adoption so that she will not inherit anything from me when I die? Is there a way I can protect my properties?

Lulu

Dear Lulu,

No, you cannot rescind the adoption of your child. Under Section 47 of Republic Act (RA) 11642, or the "Domestic Administrative Adoption and Alternative Child Care Act" specifically provides that only the adoptee may rescind the adoption upon filing of the appropriate petition with the National Authority for Child Care (NACC). Otherwise stated, the adopter cannot rescind the adoption of his/her adoptee because the granting of adoption is always for the best interest of the child. It states:

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"Section 47. Grounds for Rescission of Administrative Adoption. – The adoption may be rescinded only upon the petition of the adoptee with the NACC, or with the assistance of the [Social Welfare Development Officer] if the adoptee is a minor, or if the adoptee is eighteen (18) years of age or over but who is incapacitated or by his or her guardian on any of the following grounds committed by the adopter[s]:

"(a) Repeated physical or verbal maltreatment by the adopter despite having undergone counseling;

"(b) Attempt on the life of the adoptee;

"(c) Abandonment and failure to comply with parental obligations.

"Adoption, being in the best interest of the child, shall not be subject to rescission by the adopter. However, the adopter may disinherit the adoptee for causes provided in Article 919 of the Civil Code of the Philippines." (Emphasis supplied)

The Supreme Court, through AM 02-6-02-SC (Re: Rule on Adoption) dated April 29, 2022, categorically recognized that "[a]lthough Sec. 47 of RA No. 11642 speaks of rescission of administrative adoption, rescission even of judicial adoptions should likewise be construed as being lodged with the NACC..." Thus, whether the adoption was granted through a judicial proceeding under the old law, as in your case, or through administrative proceeding under the new law, the rules on rescission prescribed by RA 11642 will apply. Hence, you are not allowed to rescind the adoption of your child.

Nonetheless, there is a way to protect your properties. You may disinherit your adopted child based on the grounds for disinheritance provided under Article 919 of the New Civil Code, viz.:

"Article 919. The following shall be sufficient causes for the disinheritance of children and descendants, legitimate as well as illegitimate:

"(1) When a child or descendant has been found guilty of an attempt against the life of the testator, his or her spouse, descendants, or ascendants;

"(2) When a child or descendant has accused the testator of a crime for which the law prescribes imprisonment for six years or more, if the accusation has been found groundless;

"(3) When a child or descendant has been convicted of adultery or concubinage with the spouse of the testator;

"(4) When a child or descendant by fraud, violence, intimidation, or undue influence causes the testator to make a will or to change one already made;

"(5) A refusal without justifiable cause to support the parent or ascendant who disinherits such child or descendant;

"(6) Maltreatment of the testator by word or deed, by the child or descendant;

"(7) When a child or descendant leads a dishonorable or disgraceful life;

"(8) Conviction of a crime which carries with it the penalty of civil interdiction. (756, 853, 674a)"

Therefore, applying the foregoing in your present dilemma, you may disinherit Myrna provided one of the grounds for disinheriting a child exists.

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. 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 [email protected]