DOJ opposes DSWD plan to demand child support from negligent fathers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 24) — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has advised the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) against writing negligent fathers to demand financial support for their children.

In his legal opinion, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said, "only the courts can legally compel those fathers to give financial support to their children pursuant to a case filed for that purpose."

"Undoubtedly, the intention is noble; however, the act of doing so may be beyond the DSWD's mandate for it may already constitute providing legal service to the minor child/children, which function legally belongs to some other agencies of the government, like the Public Attorney's Office (PAO)," he added.

Remulla also said the DSWD can instead assist children who are not receiving financial support from their respective fathers in seeking legal service by referring them to the PAO or other organizations that provide legal aid.

DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo earlier said he wants his agency to go after estranged fathers who refuse to financially support their children.

Should the DSWD push through with its plan, Remulla advised the department that "the text of the letter should only be factual in nature without biases, and caution against using language that creates the impression to the recipient that the DSWD is lawyering on behalf of the minors."