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Republic of the Philippines

G.R. No. L-10869

November 28, 1958

In re: Petition to correct mistake in the Record of the Civil Registrar of Manila, relative to the
citizenship of MARIAN KATHLEEN BLACK; ANDREW BLACK, ET. AL., petitioners-appellants,
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, oppositor-appellee.
Vicente M. Noche for appellants.
Office of the Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla and Assistant Sol icitor General Florencio Villamor
for appellee.
The petitioners filed in the Court of First Instance of Manila a petition to correct the birth certificate of
their daughter, Marian Kathleen Black, who was born on April 15, 1955 in the City of Manila, by
changing the latter's citizenship appearing therein from "Canadian" to "American". The Solicitor
General filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that the correction sought in the petition will substantially
affect the child's citizenship which is still controversial and therefore cannot be allowed under Article
412 of the new Civil Code which is applicable only to clerical mistakes. As the court granted the
motion to dismiss, the petitioners have appealed.
Clerical error is "one that is visible to the eyes or obvious to the "understanding" (Maxwell vs.
Hammond, 55 Phil. 519). It is "an error made by a clerk or a transcriber; a mistake in copying or
writing" (In re: Stewart, 48 N.Y.S. 957, 966, 24 App. Div. 201, quoted in Words and Phrases, Vol. 7,
p. 472).
In this case the act of writing the word "Canadian" in the birth certificates is not alleged to have been
due to the error of the employee or clerk in the Office of the Civil Registrar of Manila who made the
entry. Neither is the error visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding. Upon the other hand,
the desired correction involves the controversial matter of citizenship which should be threshed out
in an appropriate action, and certainly not in proceedings to correct mistakes under Article 412 of the
Civil Code.
The order appealed from is therefore affirmed with costs against the appellants. So ordered.
Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J. B. L. and
Endencia, JJ., concur.