Herbert Cang, petitioner, vs. Court of Appeals and Spouses Ronald V. Clavano and Maria Clara Clavano, respondents.
Facts: Petitioner and Ana Marie Clavano were married and begot three children. Ana Marie upon learning of her husband's illicit liaison file a petition for legal separation with alimony pendente lite which was approved. Petitioner then left for the United States where he sought a divorce from Ana Marie. He was issued a divorce decree and granted sole custody of the children to Ana Marie, reserving rights of visitation at all reasonable times and places to petitioner. Private respondents who were the brother and sister-in-law of Ana Marie filed a petition for adoption of the three minor Cang children. The trial court granted the petition for adoption. Ana Marie was the only parent who gives consent to the adoption of their children. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision.
Issue: Whether petitioner has abandoned his children, thereby making his consent to the adoption necessary.
Ruling: The law is clear that either parent may lose parental authority over the child only for a valid reason. No such reason was established in the legal separation case. Deprivation of parental authority is one of the effects of a decree of adoption. But there cannot be a valid decree of adoption in this case precisely because the findings of the lower courts on the issue of abandonment of facts on record. The petition for adoption must be denied as it was filed without the required consent of their father who, by law and under the facts of the case at bar, has not abandoned them.