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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

REGIONAL TRIAL COURT DESIGNATED AS FAMILY COURT


WESTERN VISAYAS REGION
ILOILO CITY
Branch _________

JUAN GREGORY DELA CRUZ


Petitioner,

- versus - SP. Proc. No. ______________________


For: Habeas Corpus With Prayer
For Custody and Joint Parental
Authority

MARIA CARESSA
SANTOS-DELA CRUZ
Respondent.
x------------------------------------------------ x

PETITON

Petitioner JUAN GREGORY DELA CRUZ, by counsel, respectfully


states that:

1. Petitioner JUAN GREGORY DELA CRUZ (hereinafter referred


to as “Petitioner” for brevity) is Filipino, of legal age, married and with
residence and postal address at Barangay Mohon, Arevalo, Iloilo City
where he may be served with notices and other court processes of this
Honorable Court.

2. Respondent MARIA CARESSA SANTOS-DELA CRUZ


(hereinafter referred to as “Respondent” for brevity) is Filipino, of legal
age, married and with residential and postal address at Barangay
Calumpang, Molo, Iloilo City, Philippines, where they may be served
with summons and processes of this Honorable Court.

3. Petitioner and respondent are spouses, having been married


under Catholic rites on 1 March 2010 at the Jaro Cathedral, Jaro, Iloilo City.

Petitioner’s and Respondent’s 1 March 2010 Certificate of Marriage


(signed on 1 March 2010) is attached and made an integral part hereof as
Annex “A.”

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4. Petitioner and respondent begot two children, namely Peter, now
eight (8) years old, having been born on 1 January 2011, and Paul, now three (3)
years old, having been born on 1 January 2016.

Copies of the children’s Certificates of Live Birth are hereto attached as


and made an integral part hereof as Annexes “B” and “C,” respectively.

5. Petitioner and respondent met sometime in the month of June in


2008, where they were both students taking up a course in Engineering in
University of San Agustin. When they transferred to Hong Kong University in
2009 to pursue a more advanced course in Chemical Engineering, Petitioner and
respondent became roommates. Although they were not exclusively dating at that
time, the two became intimate, as they were spending a lot of time together.

6. Sometime at the beginning of 2010, the two found out that the
respondent was pregnant. Although the petitioner realized the shame that the
respondent will endure as soon as the news that she got pregnant out of wedlock
comes out, petitioner himself was confused because he could not know for sure if
he was the father of the child, since the respondent was dating and was having
marital sex with other men at that time. Not knowing what to do, respondent
went back to the Philippines. Thereafter, petitioner, still confused by the
situation, followed and likewise came home.

7. Back in the Philippines, meetings were had between the families of


the petitioner and respondent. In order to keep the peace between both their
families, petitioner and respondent finally decided to get married.

8. Since the time of their marriage, the petitioner has always been a
supportive father to their children and has provided his family with a
comfortable life by working as a Vice President for Marketing of Iloilo Projects
Corporation. Although charged with the tasked of being the provider in the
family, petitioner still sees to it that he spends quality time with his children.
There was even a time that petitioner braved heavy storm and flood just to come
home in time to have dinner with the children and spend quality time with them.

9. Respondent, on the other hand, struggled to adjust to married life.


She unforgivingly maintains a carefree disposition and prioritizes her friends and
social life over her family. In the process, respondent has failed to take care of
their children. Worse, respondent has neglected the children’s health and well-
being and even exposed the children to life-threatening condition.

10. Respondent often leaves the children alone with little and at times
without adult supervision. When the children were mere toddlers, accidents
were bound to happen when they were left alone, even for a brief period of time.

a. Sometime in the latter part of 2018, respondent went to the


house of petitioner’s mother bringing with her their youngest
child, Paul, with the maid inside their car while it was parked in
front of the house of petitioner’s mother, with the windows

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closed and with no air-conditioning. For some reason, the maid
left the car, leaving Paul all alone inside without adult
supervision. Thus, Paul almost suffocated, so much so that the
child, who was then two (2)-years old at that time, was madly
banging the car in order to get out of it. it was then that
petitioner’s sister saw Paul, opened the car, and found the child
soaked in sweat and gasped for breath.

b. On another occasion, petitioner’s mother saw Peter playing all


alone by the window at the third floor of their house. Upon
checking, petitioner’s mother discovered that the door of the fire
escape, which was next to the spot where the young boys was
playing, did not have any lock, thereby placing him in grave
danger of falling had he accidentally pushed said door.

c. In another incident, respondent left Peter along inside the


bathroom where he was taking a bath. The child slipped and
bumped his head, so he had a huge swelling. Respondent did not
even bring Paul to the hospital to have him checked for any
internal injuries. Instead, respondent kept the incident secret
from the petitioner and it was only when the petitioner noticed
the swelling on his son’s head that he knew of the incident. Even
then, respondent refused to bring the child to the hospital for an
X-ray Examination and insisted that the swelling would heal
naturally. In a similar incident, Paul, the second child, got his
fingers squeezed by the door, so he suffered bruises and
discoloration for months.

d. When petitioner and respondent slept at night, their children


would often sleep in between them. Respondent would always
wake up and leave her side of the bed without any buffer or
safeguard to prevent the children from falling off to the floor.
Petitioner would always reprimand the respondent and told her
to either prevent the children from falling or wake him up so that
he could be the one to put the necessary safeguard. The requests
fell on deaf ears and the respondent refused to change her ways.
As a result, both children have had experienced falling off the
bed at least thrice a week. To prevent the incidents from
happening, petitioner placed a rocking chair on respondent’s
side of the bed.

e. Respondent has been so neglectful and inattentive that the teat


of the feeding bottle of Paul has had a huge cut for some time
before it has been discovered. This could have caused
asphyxiation to a feeding toddler, because of the milk that spurts
out of the huge cut. It may even cause choking in the event that
the child finally bites off the cut teat.

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11. Respondent does not care if the children sleep or eat on time, or if
they are getting enough sleep or proper nutrition. She spent so much time
chatting in the internet or watching television or hanging out with her friends
that she often neglected to perform her obligations to her children.

a. Respondent would always keep to her room, in front of the


computer, chatting with her friends. This has been respondent’s
routine, so much so that she often neglects feeding their children
on time. Their children would always eat past meal times,
because she is too busy to be bothered.

b. Respondent often fails to pick up Paul from nursery school on


time. While Paul’s class ends by 1:30 in the afternoon, respondent
would pick him up by 2:30 pm, sometimes, even much later,
because respondent spends too much time chatting with her
friends. In one instance, respondent even totally forgot to pick
Paul up from school, and petitioner only knew about it when his
sister told him that Paul was not yet at petitioner’s home at
around 4:30 in the afternoon.

c. Worse, respondent refuses to pack lunch or even snacks for Peter


when he goes to school, because according to her, Peter would no
longer need a packed lunch because there are plenty of snacks in
school, and once Peter had eaten in school, he often no longer
eats at home when he comes back. Although petitioner would buy
biscuits or sandwiches for Peter to bring to school, respondent
refused to pack Peter’s “baon” in the morning and insisted that he
should eat at home instead.

d. Respondent deprives their children of the much needed sleep,


because she would normally read a book at night before going to
sleep despite being advised to do it in some other time. She does
not care that she keeps the light on inside the room. Eventually,
that has disrupted the sleep of their children;

e. While their children were asleep at night, respondent would


wake up their children to bring them to her social gatherings
whenever she goes out with her friends, thereby, exposing them
to a harmful adult environment that are not supposed to be
experienced by their children at a tender age. Respondent also
refuses to go home early from these parties , thereby, depriving
their children of the much needed rest and sleep that are
necessary for their children’s growth and development. She
would often go home from these parties by midnight or even past
midnight.

12. Respondent also refuses to give their children the proper


medical attention that is necessary to ensure their proper development. She
rationalizes that any sickness or injury of their children will heal naturally.

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a. Respondent has been a believer of natural methods of healing. As
a result, she often refuses to apply physician-prescribed
medications whenever their children would get sick. In fact,
respondent refused to get their children vaccinated, and that had
been the cause of huge fight between the petitioner and
respondent. Eventually, however, respondent acceded, and was
forced to have their children vaccinated.

b. On time, Paul, their younger child, suffered from extreme rashes.


Despite the pitiful appearance of the child who was then covered
by rashes all over his body and was restless because of the itch
that he was suffering, respondent, once more, insisted that the
same would subside and heal naturally. Since the petitioner could
not stand seeing his child like this, he brought him to the
dermatologist who immediately noted that the allergy of the child
was so extreme that even upon patent glance on Paul’s skin, any
prudent person would have immediately sought for help.

13. Finally, respondent’s lack of love and care for her children are
manifested by her failure to take the time out to teach and educate her children
during their cognitive years. She would often lock herself out inside the office
room in the third floor, so that the children could not bother her.

a. Respondent would delegate the task of teaching the children


basic lessons and skills to their maids even though the maids
themselves lacked training and proper education.

b. Because of her inattentiveness, their children’s attendance and


performance in school suffered. Since she was too lazy to bring
their children to school, the children would be reported late,
sometimes even absent, to school. Their children’s advisers even
called us to one time for a private talk, because they were
bothered about the children’s failing grades attributed to low
attendance and low performance during daily quizzes and
periodic exams.

14. Due to Respondent’s extreme obsession for chatting over the


internet, Petitioner suspected that Respondent was engaging in extra-marital
affairs. He would often get jealous and they often fight about it. While the
Petitioner is adamant that they should not fight in front of the children,
Respondent would most of the time start a fight for the children to see, which,
needless to say, causes emotional scars on the children.

15. Respondent, on many occasions, threatened to leave the house


because of their constant fights over Respondent’s extra-marital activities and on
how to raise their children properly. Then, on November 1, 2018, while the
Petitioner was at the cemetery, the Respondent decided to leave the household
for good, bringing the two children with her.

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16. It was then clear that the Respondent wishes to deprive the
Petitioner of his right to the care and custody over the children. In fact, had he
not stood his ground and insisted on seeing his children that day, the Respondent
would not allow him see his children. Respondent even called security guards to
make sure that the Petitioner does not take the children away. The Respondent
claims that since she is the mother of the children, the latter should stay only with
her.

17. Article 211 of the Family Code of the Philippines provides


that, “the father and the mother shall jointly exercise parental authority over
the persons of their common children.” Parents’ right to custody over their
children is likewise enshrined in law. Article 220 of the Family Code provides
that parents and individuals exercising parental authority over their
unemancipated children are entitled, among other rights, “to keep them in their
company.” In legal contemplation, the true nature of the parent-child relationship
encompasses much more than the implication of ascendancy of one and
obedience by the other. As explained by the Supreme Court in the case of Santos,
Sr. v. Court of Appeals1, to wit:

“The right of custody accorded to parents springs from the


exercise of parental authority. Parental authority or patria
potestas in Roman Law is the juridical institution whereby
parents rightfully assume control and protection of their
unemancipated children to the extent required by the latter’s
needs. It is a mass of rights and obligations which the law
grants to parents for the purpose of the children’s
physical preservation and development, as well as the
cultivation of their intellect and the education of their
heart and senses. As regards parental authority, “there is
no power, but a task; no complex of rights, but a sum of
duties; no sovereignty but a sacred trust for the welfare of
the minor.” (Emphasis supplied)

18. Thus, parental authority and responsibility are


inalienable and may not be transferred or renounced except in cases
authorized by law. The right attached to parental authority, being purely
personal, the law allows a waiver of parental authority only in cases of adoption,
guardianship and surrender to a children’s home or an orphan institution. 2

19. Evidently, Petitioner has been unjustly and unlawfully


deprived by Respondent of his vested right of parental authority over his two
children and has been ruthlessly deprived of his children’s company.

20. Petitioner and respondent admittedly married in haste.


However, while petitioner has taught himself to accept the situation and adjust to
the married life by becoming a family man, respondent continued to maintain a

1
GR. No. 113054, March 16, 1995.
2
Tonog vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 122906, February 7, 2002.

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single and carefree life by prioritizing her personal and selfish interests instead
of those of her children. Since their marriage, respondent refuses to change her
lifestyle for the children. She expects their children to adjust to her lifestyle even
if it means that their children would suffer sleep deprivation, undernourishment
and poor mental and psychological growth. The environment that respondent
has created for their children is inimical to their health and well-being, and
consequently, the best interests of their children are better served if they stay
with the petitioner and away from the respondent.

21. Thus, in view of the above-mentioned circumstances,


Petitioner should immediately be allowed to have the company of their common
children and to have their custody to make up for the time he had been deprived
of their company. The Honorable Court should likewise order that the parties
equally share parental authority and custody over their minor children.

22. The Respondent has the means and the capacity to bring the
children out of the country to the extreme prejudice of, and injustice, to herein
Petitioner. It is thus prayed that the Honorable Court immediately issue a Hold
Departure Order to prevent either of the parties from bringing the children out of
the country without the consent of the other parent and the Honorable Court.

PRAYER
WHEREFORE, petitioner respectfully prays that after due
proceedings, judgment be rendered in his favor and that the Honorable
Court:

1. Issue an Order to the respondent to bring the minor children


Peter dela Cruz and Paul dela Cruz to this Honorable Court at
the hour and ate to be set by this Honorable Court and that
immediately thereafter, order that the custody of the minors
be turned over to herein Petitioner to allow him to make up
for the last time with his children.

2. Issue and Order awarding custody of their children to the


petitioner, with regular visitation rights to the respondent, or
directing the respondent to allow the petitioner equal parental
authority over their minor children;

3. Issue a Hold Departure Order addressed to the Bureau of


Immigration and Deportation, directing it not to allow the
departure of Peter dela Cruz and Paul dela Cruz from the
Philippines without the permission of the petitioner and this
Honorable Court.

4. Grant other reliefs that are just and equitable under the
premises.

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Iloilo City: 1 January 2019.

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CORTINA & MONTES LAW OFFICES
Counsel for the Petitioner
Block 3, Lot 2 Phase 2,
Carmen J. Ledesma Village,
Baragay Tacas, Jaro,
Iloilo City, Philippines
Tel. No. (02) 817-9222 / Fax No. (02) 887-2936

By:

KIM JOHN V. VILLA


Attorney’s Roll No. 52055
PTR No. 5323550/ 01.04.16/ Iloilo
IBP (Lifetime) No. LRN-010317/Iloilo
MCLE Compliance No. V-0019654/ April 22, 2016

VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES )


CTY OF ILOILO ) S.S.

x------------------------x

I, Juan Gregory dela Cruz, Filipino, of legal age, and residing at Zone 1,
Barangay Calahunan, Mandurriao, Iloilo City, under oath, depose and state:

1. That I have caused the preparation and filing of the foregoing


Complaint;

2. That I have read and understood the contents thereof and that
the allegations therein are true and correct based on my own
personal knowledge and on authentic records;

3. That I have not heretofore commenced or filed any action or


proceeding involving the same issues in any court, tribunal, or
agency; that to the best of my own knowledge, no such action or
proceeding is pending in any court, tribunal, or agency; that
should I hereafter learn of any such pending action or
proceeding, I undertake to inform this Honorable Court of such
fact within five (5) days therefrom.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 1 st day of January


2019, in Block 3, Lot 2, Phase 2, Carmen J. Ledesma Village, Barangay Tacas, Jaro,
Iloilo City, Philippines.

___________________________
Juan Gregory dela Cruz

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me, this 1 st day of January 2019 Block
3, Lot 2, Phase 2, Carmen J. Ledesma Village, Barangay Tacas, Jaro, Iloilo City,
Philippines, by Gray Mountain who personally appeared before and exhibited to
me his Professional Driver’s License No. F04-10-000662 valid until 01/01/19,
and avows under penalty of law to the whole truth of the contents hereof.

Doc. No. ____; KIM JOHN V. VILLA


Page No.____; Attorney’s Roll No. 52055
Book No. ___; PTR No. 5323550/ 01.04.16/ Iloilo
Series of ____. IBP (Lifetime) No. LRN-010317/Iloilo
MCLE Compliance No. V-0019654/ April 22, 2016