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Sereno: Courts must protect interest of foundlings

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - It is the obligation of the courts to protect the interests of foundlings and not create disincentive for adoption, Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno said yesterday as the Supreme Court resumed oral arguments on petitions to have Sen. Grace Poe disqualified from the presidential race.

Poe is parrying allegations that she is not a natural-born Filipino, hence not qualified to run for president.

In her interpellation of Poe’s lawyer Alexander Poblador, Sereno said the outcome of the disqualification case filed against the senator would affect the other “silent” foundlings in the country.

Sereno was the last of the 14 magistrates to interpellete Poe’s lawyer.

She noted that two laws offer protection to foundlings – Republic Act 8552 or An Act Establishing the Rules and Policies on the Domestic Adoption of Filipino Children and for Other Purposes; and Republic Act 8043 on the inter-country adoption of Filipino children.

Sereno said more parents want to adopt foundlings, but the rules must be clarified as to their legal status.

“If we rule against the rights of foundlings, will there be a disincentive?” Sereno asked, to which Poblador gave an affirmative answer.

Poblador said the interest of foundlings must be protected so that parents and prospective adopters would not resort to making false affidavits just to legally adopt children.

“There are more parents who want to adopt. More times they do not understand the problems. What this court will say will speak to them how we view the constitutional duty, that the language is silent so that the rights of foundlings are completely silent,” the chief magistrate said. “We want to be elaborated on that, because the implication of this case is very profound,” she said.

“Your client actually, we can put a blinder on who your client is and just focus on the implication on foundling rights, or being required by petitioners to prove an impossible condition,” she told Poblador.

ACIRC

ALEXANDER POBLADOR

AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE RULES AND POLICIES

CHIEF JUSTICE MA

DOMESTIC ADOPTION OF FILIPINO CHILDREN

FOUNDLINGS

GRACE POE

LOURDES SERENO

OTHER PURPOSES

POBLADOR

REPUBLIC ACT

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