The Supreme Court has upheld the “iron curtain” rule, upholding the children’s best interests and allowing them to inherit from their grandparents and other direct descendants regardless of whether their parents are married or otherwise.
In a press release issued by the SC Public Information Office (PIO) on Thursday, March 31, the high court reinterpreted the provisions of Article 992 of the Civil Code that previously prohibited nonmarital children from inheriting from their siblings who are marital children, as well as “relatives of [their] father or mother”.
In a decision penned by Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, the terms “marital” and “nonmarital” were replaced with “legitimate” and “illegitimate” when referring to the children. The latter terms were considered “pejorative” terms when used to describe children based on their parents’ marital status.
Upon re-examination of the “iron curtain rule”, the Court ruled that the law “should be construed to account for other circumstances of birth and family dynamics”.
“Peace within families cannot be encouraged by callously depriving some of its members of their inheritance. Such deprivation may even be the cause of antagonism and alienation that could have been otherwise avoided,” read part of the press statement.
The Court also recognized that nonmarital children primarily suffer the consequences imposed by laws, despite the status being beyond their power to change.
The case stemmed from a certain woman who claimed to be the nonmarital child of a man who died before she was even born. After her alleged paternal grandfather died, she asserted her right to represent her deceased father—a marital child—in inheriting from her grandfather’s estate.
However, because of factual issues with the nonmarital child’s claim of filiation, the Court remanded the case to the Regional Trial Court and ordered it to receive further evidence, including DNA evidence.
The high court emphasized that DNA testing is a valid method of determining filiation in all cases where this is an issue.