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What is the parental and filial privilege rule?


Sec. 25. Parental and filial privilege. — No person may be compelled to testify against his parents, other direct ascendants, children or other direct descendants. (Rule 130, Rules of Court)


What is the parental privilege rule?

The parental privilege rule, embodied in Sec. 25, Rule 130, Rules of Court, reads: "No person may be compelled to testify against his children or other direct descendants."


What is the filial privilege rule?

The filial privilege rule, embodied in Sec. 25, Rule 130, Rules of Court, reads: No person may be compelled to testify against his parents or other direct ascendants.


Who may not be compelled to testify?
  1. Any person against his children or other direct descendants (parental privilege)
  2. Any person against his parents or other direct ascendants (filial privilege)

In what kind of actions does the Parental and Filial Privilege Rule applies?

The above is an adaptation from a similar provision in Article 315 of the Civil Code that applies only in criminal cases. But those who revised the Rules of Civil Procedure chose to extend the prohibition to all kinds of actions, whether civil, criminal, or administrative, filed against parents and other direct ascendants or descendants. (Emma Lee vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 177861, July 13, 2010)


What is the rationale of the rule?

To preserve the harmonious relations between parent and child which could ruptured through testifying in court. Furthermore, perjury may result because the parent or the child may give false testimony to protect the other.


Testimonial privilege not a testimonial disqualification

Note that this is a testimonial privilege, not a testimonial disqualification (§22-24 of Rule 130). Here, the witness is the holder of the privilege and has the power to invoke or waive the privilege. He cannot be compelled but he is not prohibited to testify. The relative against whom he is testifying cannot invoke nor waive the privilege.


Can a parent testify against a child or a descendant?

Yes. But he cannot be compelled.


Can a child testify against his parent or ascendant?

Yes. But he cannot be compelled.


Can the privilege be applied to stepmothers and stepdaughters?

No. The privilege cannot apply to them because the rule applies only to direct ascendants and descendants, a family tie connected by a common ancestry. A stepdaughter has no common ancestry by her stepmother.

Article 965 of the Civil Code provides: “The direct line is either descending or ascending. The former unites the head of the family with those who descend from him. The latter binds a person with those from whom he descends.” (Emma Lee vs. Court of Appeals)


Read:
Emma Lee vs. Court of Appeals Case Digest

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