Supreme Court Issues Revised Domestic Adoption Guidelines
The Supreme Court (“SC”) issued on 19 April 2022 A.M. No. 02-6-02-SC, outlining the guidelines on the implications of Republic Act No. 11642 (“RA No. 11642”), otherwise known as the “Domestic Administrative Adoption and Alternative Child Care Act” on the Rule on Adoption.
Under the guidelines, courts may no longer receive or accept petitions for domestic adoption upon the effectivity of RA No. 11642 or on 28 January 2022. The jurisdiction over the same is now lodged with the National Authority for Child Care (NACC) and adoption proceedings are now administrative.
Under RA No. 11642, “all judicial petitions for domestic adoption pending in court upon the effectivity of the Act may be immediately withdrawn, and the parties to the same shall be given the option to avail of the benefits of the Act.” The Court clarified that the phrase “judicial proceedings pending in court” refers to all cases already filed in court upon the effectivity of the law, regardless of the stage of the proceedings. Although the law uses the term “parties,” the petition for adoption may only be withdrawn by the petitioner because the purpose of the withdrawal is to avail of the benefits of the new law.
If the petitioner(s) do not withdraw their petition, the court shall continue to hear and decide the same. The courts shall require the petitioner/s in adoption cases to manifest their intent to withdraw the petition within a given period, failing which, the court shall inform the parties that the court will proceed to hear and decide the case, and the petitioner/s shall be deemed to have waived the option to withdraw the petition.
As a result of the foregoing, the Rule on Adoption, which covers the domestic adoption of Filipino children is therefore rendered ineffective, except insofar as petitions for adoption which have not been withdrawn from the courts and all pending inter-country adoption petitions filed in court pursuant to the provisions under part B of the Rule on Adoption shall be dismissed.