Published 18 June 2021, The Daily Tribune
To continue a previous article, the second part of A.M. 21-03-02-SC (Rules on Support) provides the procedure for petitions for recognition and enforcement of foreign decisions or judgments on support.
Notably, the Rules on Support were issued in line with the country’s possible accession to The Hague Convention on Child Support (HCCS), to which the Supreme Court (SC) recognizes its benefit to Filipinos seeking cross-border child support (to further promote the best interest of a child), and to a limited extent, spousal support.
In consonance with the HCCS, the SC issued the Rules on Support to facilitate the efficient recognition and enforcement of support decisions or judgments rendered by a foreign body or court.
The Rules provide that any person entitled to support may file a petition for recognition and/or enforcement of a foreign decision or judgment on support with court (Section 17, Rules on Support).
The petitioner may request legal assistance from the Public Attorney’s Office to file the petition, pursuant to its mandate under the law (Section 17, Rules on Support).
Similar with an action for support, the petition may be filed in the family court which has territorial jurisdiction over the place: (a) where the petitioner or respondent actually resides, at the election of the petitioner; or (b) where any of the properties of the respondent is located, if said respondent does not reside in the Philippines or his or her whereabouts are unknown (Section 18, Rules on Support).
The petition shall be verified and must allege the following:
• The names, contact details and dates of birth of the petitioner and the respondent;
• The name and date of the birth of the person for whom support is sought;
• Basis of the petition;
• The enforceability of the decision or judgment in the State where it was rendered;
• Financial circumstances of the petitioner;
• Financial circumstances of the respondent, including the name and address of the employer, nature and location of the assets of the respondent; and
• Any other information that may assist in the location of the respondent (Section 19, Rules on Support).
The verified petition shall be attached with the following:
• The complete text of the judgment or decision and supporting documents duly authenticated or apostillised;
• A certification from the authority stating that the judgment or decision is enforceable in the State where it was rendered;
• A verified statement that the respondent had proper notice of the proceedings in the State where the judgment or decision was rendered and an opportunity to be heard and challenge or appeal the decision;
• Where applicable, a document showing the amount of any arrears and the date such amount was computed; and
• Where the decision provides for automatic adjustment, a document providing the information necessary to make the appropriate computations (Section 20, Rules on Support).
The court may, motu proprio, dismiss the petition if the same is not sufficient in form and substance; if the judgment or decision sought to be enforced is manifestly contrary to law or public policy; if support has already been given and fulfilled; or if the obligation has been extinguished under Philippine law.
The foreign judgment or decision for support shall be recognized and enforced if it meets any of the following criteria:
• Either the petitioner or the respondent was a habitual resident in the State where the decision was rendered at the time proceedings was instituted; or
• The respondent had submitted to the jurisdiction of the judicial or administrative authority of another State, either expressly or by defending on the merits without objecting to the jurisdiction at the first available opportunity (Section 23, Rules on Support).
On the contrary, the court, after hearing, may refuse recognition and/or enforcement of the foreign judgment or decision such as when it was obtained through fraud in connection with a matter of procedure (Section 24, Rules on Support).
An important provision under the Rules on Support is that the court shall not review the merits of the foreign decision or judgment of a judicial or administrative authority, as the court is bound by the findings of fact on which the said judicial or administrative authority based its jurisdiction (Section 25, Rules on Support).
Moreover, no motion for reconsideration or new trial shall be entertained (Section 25, Rules on Support).
An appeal shall be allowed only on the following grounds:
• Absence of bases for recognition and enforcement;
• Existence of grounds for refusing recognition and enforcement;
• Presence of questions or issues regarding the authenticity or integrity of the foreign judgment or decision or any of the documentary requirements; and
• Fulfillment of the obligation (Section 26, Rules on Support).
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