Having someone to take care of your needs and affairs is not something new. Most of us have been beneficiaries of the care and nourishment from our parents. It is a natural tendency and we call it instinct among animals, to care for the young and weak members of the family or society. According to scientists elephants might be the most social and probably the most emotional animals on earth. It has been observed that the members of the all female elephant herd take care of the young as if its their own. They help each other for example, in rescuing a baby elephant stuck in mud and take turns in trying to rouse a dying member of the herd. It may be considered a natural law for the stronger to assist and take care of the weaker until the latter can take care of his own affairs. The law and rules on guardianship are not that popular but proceed from this caring tendency among us humans.
Generally, any person who is unable to take care of himself or manage his properties can be under guardianship. The ward is usually a minor or an incompetent who may be insane, deaf and dumb, and even those suffering the penalty of civil interdiction. Those persons who may be of sound mind but cannot take care of themselves and manage their properties by reason age, disease, weak mind, and other similar causes are included in the definition of “incompetent” (Sec. 2, Rule 92, Rules of Court). The Family Code reiterates that parents are the guardians of their children without the need of being appointed by the court as such. There are however, some minors who earn much more than adults. Child actors can earn millions when they make films, telenovelas, or commercials. If the minor has property on his own worth Php.50,000.00 and above, the law requires that even the parents file a bond which is meant to protect the property of the child from being squandered. The law steps in for the protection of the minor even from his own parents because laws relating to minors like adoption and guardianship have been enacted with the purpose of promoting “the best interest of the child”. Only when the child is emancipated upon reaching the age of majority will this guardianship end. We must remember however, that parental consent is still required if the party is between 18 and 21 years of age.
It used to be that Rules 92 to 97 of the Rules of Court govern the procedures when petitioning for guardianship of both incompetents and minors. AM-03-02-05-SC was later enacted for the guardianship proceedings for minors but the Rules of Court will still apply for guardianship over incompetents. The new rules include a provision for the conduct of a case study report by a social worker on the ward and prospective guardian to guide the court on the case. This is an added protection since the social worker may oppose the appointment of a guardian. The requirement of posting a bond by the prospective guardian is lodged upon the the discretion of the court. Under the Rules of Court if the child’s property exceeds Php2,000 the parents are required to file a petition for guardianship but the new rule modifies this and merely requires the parents to post bond and file a petition for approval of the bond if the property of the minor exceeds Php.50,000.00. Although guardianship may be granted by the court, it is still required that the guardian seek the approval of the court whenever properties of the ward will be sold or encumbered aside from the requirement of making an accounting and inventory of the properties of the ward.