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Change of name viz.

correction of entries in birth certificate; proper procedures


G.R. No. 189476

This is the latest SC decision on Rule 103 in relation to Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. All
family law practitioners should read its doctrinal pronouncements clarifying the proper
jurisdictional and technical procedures for a petition for change of name in relation to a
petition for correction of entries in a birth certificate.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

- versus -
JULIAN EDWARD EMERSON COSETENG-MAGPAYO
(A.K.A. JULIAN EDWARD EMERSON MARQUEZ-LIM COSETENG),

G.R. No. 189476


February 2, 2011

DECISION
CARPIO MORALES, J.:

Born in Makati on September 9, 1972, Julian Edward Emerson Coseteng Magpayo


(respondent) is the son of Fulvio M. Magpayo Jr. and Anna Dominique Marquez-Lim
Coseteng who, as respondent’s certificate of live birth[1] shows, contracted marriage on
March 26, 1972.

Claiming, however, that his parents were never legally married, respondent filed on July 22,
2008 at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City a Petition to change his name to
Julian Edward Emerson Marquez Lim Coseteng. The petition, docketed as SPP No. Q-
0863058, was entitled “IN RE PETITION FOR CHANGE OF NAME OF JULIAN EDWARD
EMERSON COSETENG MAGPAYO TO JULIAN EDWARD EMERSON MARQUEZ-LIM COSETENG.”

In support of his petition, respondent submitted a certification from the National Statistics
Office stating that his mother Anna Dominique “does not appear in [its] National Indices of
Marriage.”[2] Respondent also submitted his academic records from elementary up to
college[3] showing that he carried the surname “Coseteng,” and the birth certificate of his
child where “Coseteng” appears as his surname.[4] In the 1998, 2001 and 2004 Elections,
respondent ran and was elected as Councilor of Quezon City’s 3rd District using the name
“JULIAN M.L. COSETENG.”[5]

On order of Branch 77 of the Quezon City RTC,[6] respondent amended his petition by
alleging therein compliance with the 3-year residency requirement under Section 2, Rule
103 of the Rules of Court.[7]

The notice setting the petition for hearing on November 20, 2008 was published in the
newspaper Broadside in its issues of October 31-November 6, 2008, November 7-13, 2008,
and November 14-20, 2008.[8] And a copy of the notice was furnished the Office of the
Solicitor General (OSG).

No opposition to the petition having been filed, an order of general default was entered by
the trial court which then allowed respondent to present evidence ex parte.[9]

By Decision of January 8, 2009,[10] the trial court granted respondent’s petition and
directed the Civil Registrar of Makati City to:

1. Delete the entry “March 26, 1972” in Item 24 for “DATE AND PLACE OF MARRIAGE OF
PARTIES” [in herein respondent’s Certificate of live Birth];

2. Correct the entry “MAGPAYO” in the space for the Last Name of the [respondent] to
“COSETENG”;
3. Delete the entry “COSETENG” in the space for Middle Name of the [respondent]; and

4. Delete the entry “Fulvio Miranda Magpayo, Jr.” in the space for FATHER of the
[respondent]… (emphasis and underscoring supplied; capitalization in the original)

The Republic of the Philippines (Republic) filed a motion for reconsideration but it was
denied by the trial court by Order of July 2, 2009,[11] hence, it, thru the OSG, lodged the
present petition for review to the Court on pure question of law.

The Republic assails the decision in this wise:

I. . . . THE PETITION FOR CHANGE OF NAME…INVOLVES THE CHANGE OF [RESPONDENT’S]


CIVIL STATUS FROM LEGITIMATE TO ILLEGITIMATE AND, THEREFORE, SHOULD BE MADE
THROUGH APPROPRIATE ADVERSARIAL PROCEEDINGS…

II. THE TRIAL COURT EXCEEDED ITS JURISDICTION WHEN IT DIRECTED THE DELETION OF
THE NAME OF RESPONDENT’S FATHER FROM HIS BIRTH CERTIFICATE.[12] (emphasis and
underscoring supplied)

The Republic contends that the deletion of the entry on the date and place of marriage of
respondent’s parents from his birth certificate has the effect of changing his civil status from
legitimate to illegitimate, hence, any change in civil status of a person must be effected
through an appropriate adversary proceeding.[13]

The Republic adds that by ordering the deletion of respondent’s parents’ date of marriage
and the name of respondent’s father from the entries in respondent’s birth certificate,[14]
the trial court exceeded its jurisdiction, such order not being in accord with respondent’s
prayer reading:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most respectfully prayed that the Honorable Court
issue an order allowing the change of name of petitioner from JULIAN EDWARD EMERSON
COSETENG MAGPAYO to JULIAN EDWARD EMERSON MARQUEZ-LIM COSETENG, and that
the Honorable Court order the Local Civil Registrar and all other relevant government
agencies to reflect the said change of name in their records.

Petitioner prays for other reliefs deemed proper under the premises.[15] (underscoring
supplied)

Respondent counters that the proceeding before the trial court was adversarial in nature. He
cites the serving of copies of the petition and its annexes upon the Civil Registrar of Makati,
the Civil Registrar General, and the OSG; the posting of copies of the notice of hearing in at
least four public places at least ten days before the hearing; the delegation to the OSG by
the City Prosecutor of Quezon City to appear on behalf of the Republic; the publication of
the notice of hearing in a newspaper of general circulation for three consecutive weeks; and
the fact that no oppositors appeared on the scheduled hearing.[16]

The petition is impressed with merit.

A person can effect a change of name under Rule 103 (CHANGE OF NAME) using valid and
meritorious grounds including (a) when the name is ridiculous, dishonorable or extremely
difficult to write or pronounce; (b) when the change results as a legal consequence such as
legitimation; (c) when the change will avoid confusion; (d) when one has continuously used
and been known since childhood by a Filipino name, and was unaware of alien parentage;
(e) a sincere desire to adopt a Filipino name to erase signs of former alienage, all in good
faith and without prejudicing anybody; and (f) when the surname causes embarrassment
and there is no showing that the desired change of name was for a fraudulent purpose or
that the change of name would prejudice public interest.[17] Respondent’s reason for
changing his name cannot be considered as one of, or analogous to, recognized grounds,
however.

The present petition must be differentiated from Alfon v. Republic of the Philippines.[18] In
Alfon, the Court allowed the therein petitioner, Estrella Alfon, to use the name that she had
been known since childhood in order to avoid confusion. Alfon did not deny her legitimacy,
however. She merely sought to use the surname of her mother which she had been using
since childhood. Ruling in her favor, the Court held that she was lawfully entitled to use her
mother’s surname, adding that the avoidance of confusion was justification enough to allow
her to do so. In the present case, however, respondent denies his legitimacy.

The change being sought in respondent’s petition goes so far as to affect his legal status in
relation to his parents. It seeks to change his legitimacy to that of illegitimacy. Rule 103
then would not suffice to grant respondent’s supplication.

Labayo-Rowe v. Republic[19] categorically holds that “changes which may affect the civil
status from legitimate to illegitimate . . . are substantial and controversial alterations which
can only be allowed after appropriate adversary proceedings . . .”

Since respondent’s desired change affects his civil status from legitimate to illegitimate,
Rule 108 applies. It reads:

SECTION 1. Who may file petition.—Any person interested in any act, event, order or decree
concerning the civil status of persons which has been recorded in the civil register, may file
a verified petition for the cancellation or correction of any entry relating thereto, with the
[RTC] of the province where the corresponding civil registry is located.

xxxx

SEC. 3. Parties.—When cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register is sought,


the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected
thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding.

SEC. 4. Notice and publication. –Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall, by an order,
fix the time and place for the hearing of the same, and cause reasonable notice thereof to
be given to the persons named in the petition. The court shall also cause the order to be
published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation
in the province. (emphasis, italics and underscoring supplied)

Rule 108 clearly directs that a petition which concerns one’s civil status should be filed in
the civil registry in which the entry is sought to be cancelled or corrected – that of Makati in
the present case, and “all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected
thereby” should be made parties to the proceeding.

As earlier stated, however, the petition of respondent was filed not in Makati where his birth
certificate was registered but in Quezon City. And as the above-mentioned title of the
petition filed by respondent before the RTC shows, neither the civil registrar of Makati nor
his father and mother were made parties thereto.

Respondent nevertheless cites Republic v. Capote[20] in support of his claim that his
change of name was effected through an appropriate adversary proceeding.

Republic v. Belmonte,[21] illuminates, however:

The procedure recited in Rule 103 regarding change of name and in Rule 108 concerning the
cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry are separate and distinct. They may
not be substituted one for the other for the sole purpose of expediency. To hold otherwise
would render nugatory the provisions of the Rules of Court allowing the change of one’s
name or the correction of entries in the civil registry only upon meritorious grounds. . . .
(emphasis, capitalization and underscoring supplied)

Even assuming arguendo that respondent had simultaneously availed of these two statutory
remedies, respondent cannot be said to have sufficiently complied with Rule 108. For, as
reflected above, aside from improper venue, he failed to implead the civil registrar of Makati
and all affected parties as respondents in the case.

Republic v. Labrador[22] mandates that “a petition for a substantial correction or change of


entries in the civil registry should have as respondents the civil registrar, as well as all other
persons who have or claim to have any interest that would be affected thereby.” It cannot
be gainsaid that change of status of a child in relation to his parents is a substantial
correction or change of entry in the civil registry.
Labayo-Rowe[23] highlights the necessity of impleading indispensable parties in a petition
which involves substantial and controversial alterations. In that case, the therein petitioner
Emperatriz Labayo-Rowe (Emperatriz) filed a petition for the correction of entries in the
birth certificates of her children, Vicente Miclat, Jr. and Victoria Miclat, in the Civil Registry
of San Fernando, Pampanga. Emperatriz alleged that her name appearing in the birth
certificates is Beatriz, which is her nickname, but her full name is Emperatriz; and her civil
status appearing in the birth certificate of her daughter Victoria as “married” on “1953
Bulan” are erroneous because she was not married to Vicente Miclat who was the one who
furnished the data in said birth certificate.

The trial court found merit in Emperatriz’s petition and accordingly directed the local civil
registrar to change her name appearing in her children’s birth certificates from Beatriz to
Emperatriz; and to correct her civil status in Victoria’s birth certificate from “married” to
“single” and the date and place of marriage to “no marriage.”

On petition before this Court after the Court of Appeals found that the order of the trial
court involved a question of law, the Court nullified the trial court’s order directing the
change of Emperatriz’ civil status and the filiation of her child Victoria in light of the
following observations:

x x x x Aside from the Office of the Solicitor General, all other indispensable parties should
have been made respondents. They include not only the declared father of the child but the
child as well, together with the paternal grandparents, if any, as their hereditary rights
would be adversely affected thereby. All other persons who may be affected by the change
should be notified or represented. The truth is best ascertained under an adversary system
of justice.

The right of the child Victoria to inherit from her parents would be substantially impaired if
her status would be changed from “legitimate” to “illegitimate.” Moreover, she would be
exposed to humiliation and embarrassment resulting from the stigma of an illegitimate
filiation that she will bear thereafter. The fact that the notice of hearing of the petition was
published in a newspaper of general circulation and notice thereof was served upon the
State will not change the nature of the proceedings taken. Rule 108, like all the other
provisions of the Rules of Court, was promulgated by the Supreme Court pursuant to its
rule-making authority under Section 13, Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution, which directs
that such rules “shall not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights.” If Rule 108 were
to be extended beyond innocuous or harmless changes or corrections of errors which are
visible to the eye or obvious to the understanding, so as to comprehend substantial and
controversial alterations concerning citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or
legitimacy of marriage, without observing the proper proceedings as earlier mentioned, said
rule would thereby become an unconstitutional exercise which would tend to increase or
modify substantive rights. This situation is not contemplated under Article 412 of the Civil
Code.[24] (emphasis, italics and underscoring supplied)

As for the requirement of notice and publication, Rule 108 provides:

SEC. 4. Notice and publication.—Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall, by an order,
fix the time and place for the hearing of the same, and cause reasonable notice thereof to
be given to the persons named in the petition. The court shall also cause the order to be
published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation
in the province.

SEC. 5. Opposition.—The civil registrar and any person having or claiming any interest
under the entry whose cancellation or correction is sought may, within fifteen (15) days
from notice of the petition, or from the last date of publication of such notice, file his
opposition thereto. (emphasis and underscoring supplied)

A reading of these related provisions readily shows that Rule 108 clearly mandates two sets
of notices to different “potential oppositors.” The first notice is that given to the “persons
named in the petition” and the second (which is through publication) is that given to other
persons who are not named in the petition but nonetheless may be considered interested or
affected parties, such as creditors. That two sets of notices are mandated under the above-
quoted Section 4 is validated by the subsequent Section 5, also above-quoted, which
provides for two periods (for the two types of “potential oppositors”) within which to file an
opposition (15 days from notice or from the last date of publication).
This is the overriding principle laid down in Barco v. Court of Appeals.[25] In that case,
Nadina Maravilla (Nadina) filed a petition for correction of entries in the birth certificate of
her daughter June from June Salvacion Maravilla to June Salvacion “Gustilo,” Armando
Gustilo being, according to Nadina, her daughter’s real father. Gustilo in fact filed before the
trial court a “CONSTANCIA” wherein he acknowledged June as his daughter. The trial court
granted the petition.

After Gustilo died, his son Jose Vicente Gustilo filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for
annulment of the Order of the trial court granting the change of June’s family name to
Gustilo.

Milagros Barco (Barco), natural guardian of her minor daughter Mary Joy Ann Gustilo, filed
before the appellate court a motion for intervention, alleging that Mary Joy had a legal
interest in the annulment of the trial court’s Order as Mary Joy was, by Barco’s claim, also
fathered by Gustilo.

The appellate court dismissed the petition for annulment and complaint-in-intervention.

On appeal by Barco, this Court ruled that she should have been impleaded in Nadina’s
petition for correction of entries of the birth certificate of Mary Joy. But since a petitioner,
like Nadina, is not expected to exhaustively identify all the affected parties, the subsequent
publication of the notice cured the omission of Barco as a party to the case. Thus the Court
explained:

Undoubtedly, Barco is among the parties referred to in Section 3 of Rule 108. Her interest
was affected by the petition for correction, as any judicial determination that June was the
daughter of Armando would affect her ward’s share in the estate of her father. It cannot be
established whether Nadina knew of Mary Joy’s existence at the time she filed the petition
for correction. Indeed, doubt may always be cast as to whether a petitioner under Rule 108
would know of all the parties whose interests may be affected by the granting of a petition.
For example, a petitioner cannot be presumed to be aware of all the legitimate or
illegitimate offsprings of his/her spouse or paramour. x x x x.

xxxx

The purpose precisely of Section 4, Rule 108 is to bind the whole world to the subsequent
judgment on the petition. The sweep of the decision would cover even parties who should
have been impleaded under Section 3, Rule 108 but were inadvertently left out. x x x x.[26]
(emphasis, italics and underscoring supplied)

Meanwhile, in Republic v. Kho,[27] Carlito Kho (Carlito) and his siblings named the civil
registrar as the sole respondent in the petition they filed for the correction of entries in their
respective birth certificates in the civil registry of Butuan City, and correction of entries in
the birth certificates of Carlito’s minor children. Carlito and his siblings requested the
correction in their birth certificates of the citizenship of their mother Epifania to “Filipino,”
instead of “Chinese,” and the deletion of the word “married” opposite the phrase “Date of
marriage of parents” because their parents ─ Juan and Epifania ─ were not married. And
Carlito requested the correction in the birth certificates of their children of his and his wife’s
date of marriage to reflect the actual date of their marriage as appearing in their marriage
certificate. In the course of the hearing of the petition, Carlito also sought the correction of
the name of his wife from Maribel to “Marivel.”

The Khos’ mother Epifania took the witness stand where she declared that she was not
married to Juan who died before the filing of the Khos’ petition.

The trial court granted the petition.

On the issue of whether the failure to implead Marivel and the Khos’ parents rendered the
trial of the petition short of the required adversary proceedings and the trial court’s
judgment void, this Court held that when all the procedural requirements under Rule 108
are followed, the publication of the notice of hearing cures the failure to implead an
indispensable party. In so ruling, the Court noted that the affected parties were already
notified of the proceedings in the case since the petitioner-siblings Khos were the ones who
initiated the petition respecting their prayer for correction of their citizenship, and Carlito
respecting the actual date of his marriage to his wife; and, with respect to the Khos’ petition
for change of their civil status from legitimate to illegitimate, their mother Epifania herself
took the witness stand declaring that she was not married to their father.

What is clear then in Barco and Kho is the mandatory directive under Section 3 of Rule 108
to implead the civil registrar and the parties who would naturally and legally be affected by
the grant of a petition for correction or cancellation of entries. Non-impleading, however, as
party-respondent of one who is inadvertently left out or is not established to be known by
the petitioner to be affected by the grant of the petition or actually participates in the
proceeding is notified through publication.

IN FINE, when a petition for cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register
involves substantial and controversial alterations including those on citizenship, legitimacy
of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, a strict compliance with the requirements
of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court is mandated.

WHEREFORE, the petition is, in light of the foregoing discussions, GRANTED. The January 8,
2009 Decision of Branch 77 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City in SP Proc. No. Q-
0863058 is NULLIFIED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 198010 August 12, 2013

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, PETITIONER,


vs.
DR. NORMA S. LUGSANAY UY, RESPONDENT.

DECISION

PERALTA, J.:

Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court are the
Court of Appeals (CA)1 Decision2 dated February 18, 2011 and Resolution3 dated July 27,
2011 in CA-G.R. CV No. 00238-MIN. The assailed decision dismissed the appeal filed by
petitioner Republic of the Philippines and, consequently, affirmed in toto the June 28, 2004
Order4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 27, Gingoog City in Special Proceedings
No. 230-2004 granting the Petition for Correction of Entry of Certificate of Live Birth filed by
respondent Dr. Norma S. Lugsanay Uy; while the assailed resolution denied petitioner's
motion for reconsideration.

The facts of the case are as follows:

On March 8, 2004, respondent filed a Petition for Correction of Entry in her Certificate of
Live Birth.5 Impleaded as respondent is the Local Civil Registrar of Gingoog City. She
alleged that she was born on February 8, 1952 and is the illegitimate daughter of Sy Ton
and Sotera Lugsanay6 Her Certificate of Live Birth7 shows that her full name is "Anita Sy"
when in fact she is allegedly known to her family and friends as "Norma S. Lugsanay." She
further claimed that her school records, Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Board of
Medicine Certificate,8 and passport9 bear the name "Norma S. Lugsanay." She also alleged
that she is an illegitimate child considering that her parents were never married, so she had
to follow the surname of her mother.10 She also contended that she is a Filipino citizen and
not Chinese, and all her siblings bear the surname Lugsanay and are all Filipinos.11

Respondent allegedly filed earlier a petition for correction of entries with the Office of the
Local Civil Registrar of Gingoog City to effect the corrections on her name and citizenship
which was supposedly granted.12 However, the National Statistics Office (NSO) records did
not bear such changes. Hence, the petition before the RTC.
On May 13, 2004, the RTC issued an Order13 finding the petition to be sufficient in form
and substance and setting the case for hearing, with the directive that the said Order be
published in a newspaper of general circulation in the City of Gingoog and the Province of
Misamis Oriental at least once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks at the expense of
respondent, and that the order and petition be furnished the Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG) and the City Prosecutor’s Office for their information and guidance.14 Pursuant to the
RTC Order, respondent complied with the publication requirement.

On June 28, 2004, the RTC issued an Order in favor of respondent, the dispositive portion of
which reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. THE CITY CIVIL
REGISTRAR OF GINGOOG CITY, or any person acting in his behalf is directed and ordered to
effect the correction or change of the entries in the Certificate of Live Birth of petitioner’s
name and citizenship so that the entries would be:

a) As to petitioner’s name :
First Name : NORMA
Middle Name : SY
Last Name : LUGSANAY
b) As to petitioner’s nationality/citizenship :
: FILIPINO
SO ORDERED.15

The RTC concluded that respondent’s petition would neither prejudice the government nor
any third party. It also held that the names "Norma Sy Lugsanay" and "Anita Sy" refer to
one and the same person, especially since the Local Civil Registrar of Gingoog City has
effected the correction. Considering that respondent has continuously used and has been
known since childhood as "Norma Sy Lugsanay" and as a Filipino citizen, the RTC granted
the petition to avoid confusion.16

On February 18, 2011, the CA affirmed in toto the RTC Order. The CA held that
respondent’s failure to implead other indispensable parties was cured upon the publication
of the Order setting the case for hearing in a newspaper of general circulation for three (3)
consecutive weeks and by serving a copy of the notice to the Local Civil Registrar, the OSG
and the City Prosecutor’s Office.17 As to whether the petition is a collateral attack on
respondent’s filiation, the CA ruled in favor of respondent, considering that her parents were
not legally married and that her siblings’ birth certificates uniformly state that their surname
is Lugsanay and their citizenship is Filipino.18 Petitioner’s motion for reconsideration was
denied in a Resolution dated July 27, 2011.

Hence, the present petition on the sole ground that the petition is dismissible for failure to
implead indispensable parties.

Cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry is governed by Rule 108 of the Rules
of Court, to wit:

SEC. 1. Who may file petition. – Any person interested in any act, event, order or decree
concerning the civil status of persons which has been recorded in the civil register, may file
a verified petition for the cancellation or correction of any entry relating thereto, with the
Regional Trial Court of the province where the corresponding civil registry is located.

SEC. 2. Entries subject to cancellation or correction. – Upon good and valid grounds, the
following entries in the civil register may be cancelled or corrected: (a) births; (b)
marriages; (c) deaths; (d) legal separations; (e) judgments of annulments of marriage; (f)
judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning; (g) legitimations; (h) adoptions; (i)
acknowledgments of natural children; (j) naturalization; (k) election, loss or recovery of
citizenship; (l) civil interdiction; (m) judicial determination of filiation; (n) voluntary
emancipation of a minor; and (o) changes of name.

SEC. 3. Parties. – When cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register is sought,
the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected
thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding.
SEC. 4. Notice and Publication. – Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall, by an order,
fix the time and place for the hearing of the same, and cause reasonable notice thereof to
be given to the persons named in the petition. The court shall also cause the order to be
published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation
in the province.

SEC. 5. Opposition. – The civil registrar and any person having or claiming any interest
under the entry whose cancellation or correction is sought may, within fifteen (15) days
from notice of the petition, or from the last date of publication of such notice, file his
opposition thereto.

SEC. 6. Expediting proceedings. – The court in which the proceeding is brought may make
orders expediting the proceedings, and may also grant preliminary injunction for the
preservation of the rights of the parties pending such proceedings.

SEC. 7. Order. – After hearing, the court may either dismiss the petition or issue an order
granting the cancellation or correction prayed for. In either case, a certified copy of the
judgment shall be served upon the civil registrar concerned who shall annotate the same in
his record.19

In this case, respondent sought the correction of entries in her birth certificate, particularly
those pertaining to her first name, surname and citizenship. She sought the correction
allegedly to reflect the name which she has been known for since childhood, including her
legal documents such as passport and school and professional records. She likewise relied
on the birth certificates of her full blood siblings who bear the surname "Lugsanay" instead
of "Sy" and citizenship of "Filipino" instead of "Chinese." The changes, however, are
obviously not mere clerical as they touch on respondent’s filiation and citizenship. In
changing her surname from "Sy" (which is the surname of her father) to "Lugsanay" (which
is the surname of her mother), she, in effect, changes her status from legitimate to
illegitimate; and in changing her citizenship from Chinese to Filipino, the same affects her
rights and obligations in this country. Clearly, the changes are substantial.

It has been settled in a number of cases starting with Republic v. Valencia20 that even
substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and the true facts established provided
the parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary
proceeding.21 The pronouncement of the Court in that case is illuminating:

It is undoubtedly true that if the subject matter of a petition is not for the correction of
clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous nature, but one involving nationality or
citizenship, which is indisputably substantial as well as controverted, affirmative relief
cannot be granted in a proceeding summary in nature. However, it is also true that a right
in law may be enforced and a wrong may be remedied as long as the appropriate remedy is
used. This Court adheres to the principle that even substantial errors in a civil registry may
be corrected and the true facts established provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail
themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding. x x x

What is meant by "appropriate adversary proceeding?" Black’s Law Dictionary defines


"adversary proceeding" as follows:

One having opposing parties; contested, as distinguished from an ex parte application, one
of which the party seeking relief has given legal warning to the other party, and afforded
the latter an opportunity to contest it. Excludes an adoption proceeding.22

In sustaining the RTC decision, the CA relied on the Court’s conclusion in Republic v. Kho,23
Alba v. Court of Appeals,24 and Barco v. Court of Appeals,25 that the failure to implead
indispensable parties was cured by the publication of the notice of hearing pursuant to the
provisions of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. In Republic v. Kho,26 petitioner therein
appealed the RTC decision granting the petition for correction of entries despite
respondents’ failure to implead the minor’s mother as an indispensable party. The Court,
however, did not strictly apply the provisions of Rule 108, because it opined that it was
highly improbable that the mother was unaware of the proceedings to correct the entries in
her children’s birth certificates especially since the notices, orders and decision of the trial
court were all sent to the residence she shared with them.27
In Alba v. Court of Appeals,28 the Court found nothing wrong with the trial court’s decision
granting the petition for correction of entries filed by respondent although the proceedings
was not actually known by petitioner. In that case, petitioner’s mother and guardian was
impleaded in the petition for correction of entries, and notices were sent to her address
appearing in the subject birth certificate. However, the notice was returned unserved,
because apparently she no longer lived there. Thus, when she allegedly learned of the
granting of the petition, she sought the annulment of judgment which the Court denied.
Considering that the petition for correction of entries is a proceeding in rem, the Court held
that acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner is, therefore, not required
and the absence of personal service was cured by the trial court’s compliance with Rule 108
which requires notice by publication.29

In Barco v. Court of Appeals,30 the Court addressed the question of whether the court
acquired jurisdiction over petitioner and all other indispensable parties to the petition for
correction of entries despite the failure to implead them in said case. While recognizing that
petitioner was indeed an indispensable party, the failure to implead her was cured by
compliance with Section 4 of Rule 108 which requires notice by publication. In so ruling, the
Court pointed out that the petitioner in a petition for correction cannot be presumed to be
aware of all the parties whose interests may be affected by the granting of a petition. It
emphasized that the petitioner therein exerted earnest effort to comply with the provisions
of Rule 108. Thus, the publication of the notice of hearing was considered to have cured the
failure to implead indispensable parties.

In this case, it was only the Local Civil Registrar of Gingoog City who was impleaded as
respondent in the petition below. This, notwithstanding, the RTC granted her petition and
allowed the correction sought by respondent, which decision was affirmed in toto by the CA.

We do not agree with the RTC and the CA.

This is not the first time that the Court is confronted with the issue involved in this case.
Aside from Kho, Alba and Barco, the Court has addressed the same in Republic v. Coseteng-
Magpayo,31 Ceruila v. Delantar,32 and Labayo-Rowe v. Republic.33

In Republic v. Coseteng-Magpayo,34 claiming that his parents were never legally married,
respondent therein filed a petition to change his name from "Julian Edward Emerson
Coseteng Magpayo," the name appearing in his birth certificate to "Julian Edward Emerson
Marquez Lim Coseteng." The notice setting the petition for hearing was published and there
being no opposition thereto, the trial court issued an order of general default and eventually
granted respondent’s petition deleting the entry on the date and place of marriage of
parties; correcting his surname from "Magpayo" to "Coseteng"; deleting the entry
"Coseteng" for middle name; and deleting the entry "Fulvio Miranda Magpayo, Jr." in the
space for his father. The Republic of the Philippines, through the OSG, assailed the RTC
decision on the grounds that the corrections made on respondent’s birth certificate had the
effect of changing the civil status from legitimate to illegitimate and must only be effected
through an appropriate adversary proceeding. The Court nullified the RTC decision for
respondent’s failure to comply strictly with the procedure laid down in Rule 108 of the Rules
of Court. Aside from the wrong remedy availed of by respondent as he filed a petition for
Change of Name under Rule 103 of the Rules of Court, assuming that he filed a petition
under Rule 108 which is the appropriate remedy, the petition still failed because of improper
venue and failure to implead the Civil Registrar of Makati City and all affected parties as
respondents in the case.

In Ceruila v. Delantar,35 the Ceruilas filed a petition for the cancellation and annulment of
the birth certificate of respondent on the ground that the same was made as an instrument
of the crime of simulation of birth and, therefore, invalid and spurious, and it falsified all
material entries therein. The RTC issued an order setting the case for hearing with a
directive that the same be published and that any person who is interested in the petition
may interpose his comment or opposition on or before the scheduled hearing. Summons
was likewise sent to the Civil Register of Manila. After which, the trial court granted the
petition and nullified respondent’s birth certificate. Few months after, respondent filed a
petition for the annulment of judgment claiming that she and her guardian were not notified
of the petition and the trial court’s decision, hence, the latter was issued without jurisdiction
and in violation of her right to due process. The Court annulled the trial court’s decision for
failure to comply with the requirements of Rule 108, especially the non-impleading of
respondent herself whose birth certificate was nullified.1âwphi1
In Labayo-Rowe v. Republic,36 petitioner filed a petition for the correction of entries in the
birth certificates of her children, specifically to change her name from Beatriz V.
Labayu/Beatriz Labayo to Emperatriz Labayo, her civil status from "married" to "single," and
the date and place of marriage from "1953-Bulan" to "No marriage." The Court modified the
trial court’s decision by nullifying the portion thereof which directs the change of petitioner’s
civil status as well as the filiation of her child, because it was the OSG only that was made
respondent and the proceedings taken was summary in nature which is short of what is
required in cases where substantial alterations are sought.

Respondent’s birth certificate shows that her full name is Anita Sy, that she is a Chinese
citizen and a legitimate child of Sy Ton and Sotera Lugsanay. In filing the petition, however,
she seeks the correction of her first name and surname, her status from "legitimate" to
"illegitimate" and her citizenship from "Chinese" to "Filipino." Thus, respondent should have
impleaded and notified not only the Local Civil Registrar but also her parents and siblings as
the persons who have interest and are affected by the changes or corrections respondent
wanted to make.

The fact that the notice of hearing was published in a newspaper of general circulation and
notice thereof was served upon the State will not change the nature of the proceedings
taken.37 A reading of Sections 4 and 5, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court shows that the Rules
mandate two sets of notices to different potential oppositors: one given to the persons
named in the petition and another given to other persons who are not named in the petition
but nonetheless may be considered interested or affected parties.38 Summons must,
therefore, be served not for the purpose of vesting the courts with jurisdiction but to comply
with the requirements of fair play and due process to afford the person concerned the
opportunity to protect his interest if he so chooses.39

While there may be cases where the Court held that the failure to implead and notify the
affected or interested parties may be cured by the publication of the notice of hearing,
earnest efforts were made by petitioners in bringing to court all possible interested
parties.40 Such failure was likewise excused where the interested parties themselves
initiated the corrections proceedings;41 when there is no actual or presumptive awareness
of the existence of the interested parties;42 or when a party is inadvertently left out.43

It is clear from the foregoing discussion that when a petition for cancellation or correction of
an entry in the civil register involves substantial and controversial alterations, including
those on citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, a strict
compliance with the requirements of Rule 108 ofthe Rules of Court is mandated.44 If the
entries in the civil register could be corrected or changed through mere summary
proceedings and not through appropriate action wherein all parties who may be affected by
the entries are notified or represented, the door to fraud or other mischief would be set
open, the consequence of which might be detrimental and far reaching.45

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The Court of Appeals
Decision dated February 18, 2011 and Resolution dated July 27, 20011 in CA-G.R. CV No.
00238-MIN, are SET ASIDE. Consequently, the June 28, 2004 Order of the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 27, Gingoog City, in Spl. Proc. No. 230-2004 granting the Petition for
Correction of Entry of Certificate of Live Birth filed by respondent Dr. Norma S. Lugsanay
Uy, is NULLIFIED.

SO ORDERED.

DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice
Chairperson

ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA
Associate Justice
MARVIC MARIO VICTOR F. LEONEN
Associate Justice

ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had en reached in consultation before the
case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division.

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.


Associate Justice
Chairperson, Third Division

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson's
Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's
Division.

MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO


Chief Justice

Footnotes

1 Mindanao Station, Cagayan de Oro City.

2 Penned by Associate Justice Rodrigo F. Lim, Jr., with Associate Justices Angelita A.
Gacutan and Nina G. Antonio-Valenzuela, concurring; rollo, pp. 47-61.

3 Penned by Associate Justice Rodrigo F. Lim, Jr., with Associate Justices Pamela Ann Abella
Maxino and Zenaida T. Galapate Laguilles, concurring; rollo, pp. 62-63.

4 Penned by Presiding Judge Rexel N. Pacuribot; records, pp. 27-29.

5 Records, pp. 2-5.

6 Id. at 2.

7 Id. at 6.

8 Id. at 9.

9 Id. at 8.

10 Rollo, pp. 48-49.

11 Id. at 10.

12 Id.

13 Records, p. 13.

14 Id.

15 Id. at 28-29.

16 Id. at 27-28.

17 Rollo, p. 15.

18 Id. at 20.

19 Emphasis supplied.
20 225 Phil. 408 (1986).

21 Republic v. Valencia, supra, at 416.

22 Id. (Citation omitted; italics in the original)

23 G.R. No. 170340, June 29, 2007, 526 SCRA 177.

24 503 Phil. 451 (2005).

25 465 Phil. 39 (2004).

26 Supra note 23.

27 Republic v. Kho, supra note 23, at 191.

28 Supra note 24.

29 Alba v. Court of Appeals, supra note 24, at 460.

30 Supra note 25.

31 G.R. No. 189476, February 2, 2011, 641 SCRA 533.

32 513 Phil. 237 (2005).

33 250 Phil. 300 (1988).

34 Supra note 31.

35 Supra note 32.

36 Supra note 33.

37 Labayo-Rowe v. Republic, supra note 33, at 301.

38 Republic v. Coseteng-Magpayo, supra note 31, at 543.

39 Ceruila v. Delantar, supra note 32, at 252.

40 Id.

41 Republic v. Kho, supra note 23, at 193.

42 Barco v. Court of Appeals, supra note 25, at 172.

43 Republic v. Coseteng-Magpayo, supra note 31, at 545.

44 Id. at 546.

45 Labayo-Rowe v. Republic, supra note 33, at 307.


THIRD DIVISION
[G.R. No. 132980. March 25, 1999]

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. GLADYS C. LABRADOR, respondent.


DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:

Summary proceedings provided under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court and Article 412 of the
Civil Code may be used only to correct clerical, spelling, typographical and other innocuous
errors in the civil registry. Substantial or contentious alterations may be allowed only in
adversarial proceedings, in which all interested parties are impleaded and due process is
observed.

The Case

Before us is a Petition for Review on certiorari seeking to set aside the March 5, 1998
Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City in Special Proceedings No. 6861-CEB.[1]
The assailed Decision[2] ordered the civil registrar of Cebu City to make the necessary
corrections in the birth certificate of Sarah Zita Caon Erasmo in the local civil registry, viz.:

"WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered granting the petition. Accordingly, the


erroneous entry with respect to the name of [the] child appearing in the birth certificate of
Sarah Zita Caon Erasmo is hereby ordered corrected from SARAH ZITA CAON ERASMO to
SARAH ZITA CAON and the erroneous entry in said birth certificate with respect to the name
of [the] mother is likewise hereby ordered corrected from ROSEMARIE B. CAON to MARIA
ROSARIO CAON.

"The Local Civil Registrar of Cebu City is hereby ordered to make the foregoing corrections
in the birth records of SARAH ZITA CAON ERASMO and to issue a birth certificate reflecting
said corrections.

"Furnish a copy of this Decision to the petitioner, her counsel, the Solicitor General, Asst.
City Prosecutor Generosa C. Labra and the Local Civil Registrar of Cebu City."

Disagreeing with the above disposition, the solicitor general brought this Petition directly to
this Court on a pure question of law.[3]

The Facts

Respondent Gladys C. Labrador filed with the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City on
September 26, 1997, a Petition for the correction of entries in the record of birth of Sarah
Zita Erasmo, her niece. In her Petition, respondent alleged the following:

"1. Petitioner is of legal age, married, a resident of 493-17, Archbishop Reyes Ave., Barrio
Luz, Cebu City, where she can be served with the processes of this Honorable Court;

"2. Respondent Local Civil Registrar of Cebu City is impleaded herein in his official capacity;
he can be served with summons and other processes of this Honorable Court in his office at
the City Health Department, Cebu City;

"3. Petitioner is the sister of Maria Rosario Caon who is presently residing in the United
States of America;

"4. Sometime in 1986, petitioner's sister, Maria Rosario Caon, had a common law
relationship with a certain Degoberto Erasmo, and during such cohabitation, petitioner's
sister begot two (2) illegitimate children, one of which is SARAH ZITA B. ERASMO, who was
born on April 27, 1988, as shown in her birth certificate, a copy of which is hereto attached
as ANNEX "A";

"5. During the registration of the birth of SARAH ZITA, petitioner's sister told the
respondent Local Civil Registrar that she was not legally married to the father of SARAH
ZITA;

"6. However, herein respondent erroneously entered the name of Sarah Zita in her birth
record as SARAH ZITA C. ERASMO, instead of SARAH ZITA CAON. Not only that, the name
of petitioner's sister, being the mother, was also erroneously written by the herein
respondent as Rosemarie Caon, instead of Maria Rosario Caon,

"7. In order to straighten the record of birth of SARAH ZITA ERASMO and pursuant to Article
176 of the Family Code which provides:

Art. 176. Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parental
authority of the mother xxx

[t]here is a need to correct the entry in the record of birth of SARAH ZITA ERASMO to
SARAH ZITA CAON and to correct the name of her mother as appearing in her birth
certificate from ROSEMARIE CAON to MARIA ROSARIO CAON.

xxx xxx xxx"[4]

On September 17, 1997, the trial court set the case for hearing on October 29, 1997. It also
directed the publication of the notice of hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in
Cebu City once a week for three consecutive weeks.[5]

On October 29, 1997, evidence was presented to establish the jurisdiction of the trial court
to hear the petition.[6] Respondent Labrador was represented by Atty. Bienvenido V.
Baring; the Republic, by Assistant City Prosecutor Generosa C. Labra.

When Respondent Labrador testified on January 8, 1998, she repeated the allegations in her
Petition. She stated that Sarah Zita Erasmo was her niece because Maria Rosario Caon, the
mother of the child, was her (respondent's) sister. On cross-examination, respondent
explained that she was the one who had reported the birth of Sarah to the local civil
registrar, to whom she had erroneously given "Rosemarie" as the first name of the child's
mother, instead of the real one, "Maria Rosario." Labrador explained that her sister was
more familiarly known as Rosemarie; thus, the error. Respondent likewise averred that
Rosemarie and Maria Rosario were one and the same person, and that she had no other
sister named Rosemarie. She added that Maria Rosario was abroad where she lived with her
foreigner husband.[7]

Labrador then formally offered her evidence which included Maria Rosario's birth
certificate[8] and a certification from the Office of the Civil Registrar that it had no record of
marriage between Maria Rosario Caon and Degoberto Erasmo.[9] Prosecutor Labra, who
conducted the cross-examination, did not object to the evidence offered.

The Trial Court's Ruling

The trial court granted Respondent Labrador's Petition, ratiocinating as follows:

"From the evidence adduced, the Court is convinced that the allegations in the petition have
been satisfactorily substantiated, the requisites for the publication have been complied with,
and there is a need for the correction of the erroneous entries in the birth certificate of
Sarah Zita Caon Erasmo. The entry in said birth certificate with respect to the name of the
child should be corrected from SARAH ZITA CAON ERASMO to SARAH ZITA CAON and the
entry with respect to the name of the mother should be corrected from ROSEMARIE B.
CAON to MARIA ROSARIO CAON."

The Issues

Petitioner posits the following issues:

"(a) Whether or not a change in the record of birth in a civil registry, which affects the civil
status of a person, from legitimate to illegitimate may be granted in a summary proceeding;

(b) Whether or not Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of Court is the proper action to impugn
the legitimacy of a child.

The main issue is whether Rule 108 of the Rules of Court may be used to changed the entry
in a birth certificate regarding the filiation of a child.

The Courts Ruling


The petition is meritorious. The lower court erred in ordering the corrections.

Main Issue: Rule 108 Inapplicable

Petitioner contends that the summary proceedings under Rule 108 of the Rules of court and
Article 412 of the Civil Code may be used only to correct or change clerical or innocuous
errors. It argues that Rule 108 "cannot be used to modify, alter or increase substantive
rights, such as those involving the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the child, which respondent
desires to do. The change sought will result not only in substantial correction in the child's
record of birth but also in the child's rights which cannot be effected in a summary
action."[10] We Agree.

This issue has been resolved in Leonor v. Court of Appeals.[11] In that case, Respondent
Mauricio Leonor filed a petition before the trial court seeking the cancellation of the
registration of his marriage to Petitioner Virginia Leonor. He alleged, among others, the
nullity of their legal vows arising from the "non-observance of the legal requirements for a
valid marriage." In debunking the trial court's ruling granting such petition, the Court held
as follows:

"On its face, the Rule would appear to authorize the cancellation of any entry regarding
"marriages" in the civil registry for any reason by the mere filing of a verified petition for
the purpose. However, it is not as simple as it looks. Doctrinally, the only errors that can be
canceled or corrected under this Rule are typographical or clerical errors, not material or
substantial ones like the validity or nullity of a marriage. A clerical error is one which is
visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding; error made by a clerk or a transcriber;
a mistake in copying or writing (Black vs. Republic, L-10869, Nov. 28, 1958); or some
harmless and innocuous change such as a correction of name that is clearly misspelled or of
a mis-statement of the occupation of the parent (Ansalada vs. Republic, L-10226, Feb. 14,
1958).

"Where the effect of a correction in a civil registry will change the civil status of petitioner
and her children from legitimate to illegitimate, the same cannot be granted except only in
an adversarial proceeding. xxx

"Clearly and unequivocally, the summary procedure under Rule 108, and for that matter
under Article 412 of the Civil Code cannot be used by Mauricio to change his and Virginia's
civil status from married to single and of their three children from legitimate to illegitimate.
xxx" (Emphasis supplied.)

Thus, where the effect of a correction of an entry in a civil registry will change the status of
a person from "legitimate" to "illegitimate," as in Sarah Zita's case, the same cannot be
granted in summary proceedings.

In Republic v. Valencia,[12] we likewise held that corrections involving the nationality or


citizenship of a person were substantial and could not be effected except in adversarial
proceedings.

"It is undoubtedly true that if the subject matter of a petition is not for the correction of
clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous nature, but one involving the nationality or
citizenship, which is indisputably substantial as well as controverted, affirmative relief
cannot be granted in a proceeding summary in nature. However, it is also true that a right
in law may be enforced and a wrong may be remedied as long as the appropriate remedy is
used. This Court adheres to the principle that even substantial errors in a civil registry may
be corrected and the true facts established provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail
themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding.

xxx xxx xxx

"What is meant by 'appropriate adversary proceeding?' Black's Law Dictionary defines


'adversary proceeding' as follows:

'One having opposing parties, contested, as distinguished from an ex parte application, one
[in] which the party seeking relief has given legal warning to the other party, and afforded
the latter an opportunity to contest it. Excludes an adoption proceeding. (Platt v. Magagnini,
187 p.716, 718, 11 0 Was. 39)'.

xxx xxx xxx"[13]

Thus, Valencia requires that a petition for a substantial correction or change of entries in the
civil registry should have as respondents the civil registrar, as well as all other persons who
have or claim to have any interest that would be affected thereby. It further mandates that
a full hearing, not merely a summary proceeding, be conducted.

In the present case, the changes sought by Respondent Labrador were undoubtedly
substantial: first, she sought to have the name appearing on the birth certificate changed
from "Sarah Zita Erasmo" to "Sarah Zita Caon, thereby transforming the filiation of the child
from legitimate to illegitimate. Second, she likewise sought to have the name of Sarah
Zita's mother, which appeared as "Rosemarie" in the child's birth record, changed to "Maria
Rosario." Pursuant to Valencia, an adversarial proceeding is essential in order to fully thresh
out the allegations in respondent's petition.

Sarah Zita and her purported parents should have been parties to the proceeding. After all,
it would affect her legitimacy, as well as her successional and other rights. In fact, the
change may also embarrass her because of the social stigma that illegitimacy may bring.
The rights of her parents over her and over each other would also be affected. Furthermore,
a change of name would affect not only the mother but possibly creditors, if any. Finally, no
sufficient legal explanation has been given why an aunt, who had no appointment as
guardian of the minor, was the party-petitioner.

True, it would seem that an adversarial proceeding was conducted -- the trial court set the
case for hearing and had the notice of hearing published in a newspaper of general
circulation in Cebu City once a week for three consecutive weeks; a hearing was actually
conducted, during which the respondent and the petitioner were represented: the
respondent was able to testify and be cross-examined by the petitioner's representative.

But such proceeding does not suffice. In Labayo-Rowe v. Republic,[14] Emperatriz Labayo-
Rowe filed a petition seeking to change an entry in her child Victoria Miclats birth certificate.
Alleging that she had never been married to her daughters father, she wanted her civil
status appearing on the certificate changed from married to single. This Court ruled that the
trial court erred in granting Labayo-Rowes petition, because the proper parties had not been
impleaded; nor had the proceedings been sufficiently adversarial, viz.:

In the case before Us, since only the Office of the Solicitor General was notified through the
Office of the Provincial Fiscal, representing the Republic of the Philippines as the only
respondent, the proceedings taken, which [are] summary in nature, [are] short of what is
required in cases where substantial alterations are sought. Aside from the Office of the
Solicitor General, all other indispensable parties should have been made respondents. They
include not only the declared father of the child but the child as well, together with the
paternal grandparents, if any, as their hereditary rights would be adversely affected
thereby. All other persons who may be affected by the change should be notified or
represented. The truth is best ascertained under an adversary system of justice.

The right of the child Victoria to inherit from her parents would be substantially impaired if
her status would be changed from legitimate to illegitimate. Moreover, she would be
exposed to humiliation and embarrassment resulting from the stigma of an illegitimate
filiation that she will bear thereafter. The fact that the notice of hearing of the petition was
published in a newspaper of general circulation and notice thereof was served upon the
State will not change the nature of the proceedings taken. Rule 108, like all other provisions
of the Rules of Court, was promulgated by the Supreme Court pursuant to its rule-making
authority under Section 13, Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution, which directs that such
rules 'shall not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights.' Said rule would thereby
become an unconstitutional exercise which would tend to increase or modify substantive
rights. This situation is not contemplated under Article 412 of the Civil Code.

xxx xxx xxx"[15]

Even granting that the proceedings held to hear and resolve the petition before the lower
court were adversarial, it must be noted that the evidence presented by the respondent was
not enough to fully substantiate her claim that Sarah Zita was illegitimate. Her evidence
consisted mainly of her testimony and a certification from the civil registry of Cebu City that
such office had no record of a marriage between Rosemarie/Maria Rosario Caon and
Degoberto Erasmo. Unlike in other cases where Valencia was applied,[16] Respondent
Labrador was not able to prove the allegations in her petition.

Indeed, respondent correctly cites Article 176 of the Family Code, which states that
"illegitimate children shall use the surname[s] xxx of their mothers." But to enforce such
provision, the proper recourse is an adversarial contest. It must be stressed that Rule 108
does not contemplate an ordinary civil action but a special proceeding. By its nature, this
recourse seeks merely to correct clerical errors, and not to grant or deny substantial rights.
To hold otherwise is tantamount to a denial of due process to third parties and the whole
world.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The assailed Decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Cebu City in SP. Proc. No. 6861-CEB is hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. No
costs.

Let a copy of this Decision be served upon the local civil registrar of Cebu City.

SO ORDERED.

Romero, (Chairman), Vitug, Purisima, and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.

[1] Entitled In the Matter of the Petition for Correction of Entry in the Record of Birth of
Sarah Zita C. Erasmo, Gladys C. Labrador v. The Local Registrar of Cebu City.

[2] Penned by Judge Jose P. Soberano Jr.

[3] The case was deemed submitted for decision on November 24, 1998, upon receipt by
the Court of petitioners Memorandum. Respondent Labradors Memorandum was received
earlier, on November 17, 1998.

[4] Rollo, pp. 22-23.

[5] Ibid., p. 18.

[6] Ibid., pp. 18-19. The following exhibits were admitted:

EXHIBIT A- Petition
B- Order dated September 17, 1997
C- Notice of Order
D- Affidavit of Publication
D-1, D-2, and D-3 newspaper clippings.
[7] Ibid., p. 19.

[8] Ibid., p. 35.

[9] Ibid., p. 34

[10] Petition, p. 7; rollo, p. 13.

[11] 256 SCRA 69, April 2, 1996, per Panganiban, J.

[12] 141 SCRA 462, March 5, 1986, per Gutierrez, J. In this case, the trial court granted
Respondent Leonor Valencias petition for the cancellation and/or correction of the entries in
the birth records of her two minor children. Thus, the nationality of Valencias children was
changed from Chinese to Filipino; their status from legitimate to illegitimate; and Valencias
status from married to single.

[13] Ibid.

[14] 168 SCRA 294, December 8, 1988, per Gancayco, J.

[15] Ibid., pp. 301-302.


[16] For example, in Republic v. Bautista, 155 SCRA 1, October 26, 1987, Respondent
Imelda Mangabat Sorensen sought to correct and change the word American to Danish in
the Birth Certificate of her minor son, Raymund, to reflect the true nationality of his father,
Bo Huage Sorensen. To prove her claim, she presented her husband as a witness. He
testified that he was Danish; presented a certification from the Royal Danish Consulate to
prove this claim; and maintained that he was married to Imelda, and that in the birth
certificate of their first child, his nationality as Danish was correctly stated. Likewise, in
Republic v. Carriaga, 159 SCRA 12, March 18, 1988, the Court upheld the trial courts
assessment that Respondent Tan Lim, who sought the correction of entries in the birth
records of his children, was able to prove his claims through testimonial and documentary
evidence. See also Republic v. Sayo, 188 SCRA 634, August 20, 1990.

Report of Birth of Child Born Abroad of Filipino Parents


The birth of a Filipino should be reported to and registered with the Philippine National
Statistics Office through the Embassy/Consulate General having jurisdiction over the locality
where the event took place. Please check the Consulate Finder or the Consulates Link for
the states covered by the Embassy/Consulates General in the U.S.
REQUIREMENTS:
1. Four (4) original duly-accomplished Report of Birth application forms, typed or
printed legibly in black or blue ink, with the portion for witnesses duly-filled out when
applying by mail. Forms should be notarized if submitting by mail. For applicants
with more than one given name, please indicate all names under "Child's First Name"
and the mother's maiden name for "Child's Middle Name".
2. Covering letter (handwritten or typed), addressed to the Consular Section, indicating
service/transaction requested and telephone number or email address for contact
details
3. One (1) original or certified true copy and four (4) photocopies of Birth Certificate
(original will be returned)
4. One (1) original or certified true copy and four (4) photocopies of Marriage
Certificate of the parents (original will be returned)
5. Notarized Affidavit of Acknowledgment of the Paternity and Permission to Use
Father’s Surname, executed by the father, if parents are not married and the father’s
surname is being used by the child
6. One (1) original or certified true copy and four (4) photocopies of proof of Philippine
citizenship of either parent at time of birth of the child, such as Philippine passport
(original will be returned), and photocopies of alien registration card, for green card
holders. If only one parent is a Filipino at the time of child’s birth, the non-Filipino
parent must submit four (4) photocopies of a government-issued identification card
or passport.
7. For parents who are dual citizens, four (4) photocopies of Order of Approval or
Petition for Reacquisition of Philippine Citizenship, indicating the name of the child as
a minor-beneficiary of the parent’s re-acquisition of Philippine citizenship.
8. If applicable, four (4) photocopies of U.S. Naturalization Certificate of parent(s).
9. Notarized affidavit explaining the reasons for delayed registration, if Report of Birth
is filed more than a year after the child is born
10.Self-addressed return envelope, with appropriate stamps for express or priority mail
with tracking numbers via US Postal Service, or with pre-paid mailing envelope from
private courier of choice, if Report of Birth is to be mailed back.
11.Processing fee of $25.00 (non-refundable), payable in cash or money order made
payable to "Embassy of the Philippines" (or "Philippine Consulate General", if
application is made at one of the Philippine Consulates General in the
U.S.). Personal checks and credit cards are not accepted.
12.For applicants residing in U.S. territories or other countries within the jurisdiction of
the Philippine Embassy, applicants should enclose a treasurer’s, manager’s or
certified check issued by a local bank that has a corresponding bank in the U.S. (the
US National Bank Association is not a correspondent bank), payable to the courier of
choice, in U.S. dollars, to cover cost of mailing, and a corresponding self-addressed
courier’s address label. Personal checks are not accepted. For applicants who
prefer to use Fedex, please make sure that the account number of the
applicant/recipient is indicated in the airway bill as proof of payment.
Note: The Philippine Embassy/Consulate General assumes no responsibility for any delay or
loss in the mail, or while the documents are in the custody of the courier service. The
applicant should note the tracking numbers of all envelopes used and submitted.
The Consular Officer may require additional proof or documents from applicant to determine
the child’s citizenship, identity, or eligibility for registration of birth under Philippine laws.

Administrative Correction of Civil Registry

Filipinos abroad may file a petition before the Philippine Consulate General in New York to
correct a clerical or typographical error in an entry and/or cause a change of First Name or
Nickname in the Civil Register without need of a judicial order. This may be done under
Republic Act 9048.

WHAT IS REPUBLIC ACT 9048?


Republic Act (RA) 9048 authorizes the City or Municipal Civil Registrar or the Consul General
to correct a clerical or typographical error in an entry and/or change the first name or
nickname in the civil register without need of a judicial order.

RA 9048 amends Articles 376 and 412 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, which prohibit the
change of name or surname of a person, or any correction or change of entry in a civil
register without a judicial order.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo approved the act on 22 March 2001. With the law taking
effect on 22 April 2001, the Civil Registrar-General promulgated Administrative Order No. 1
Series of 2001, which was published in the newspaper in August that year.

WHAT CORRECTIONS CAN BE MADE BY RA 9048?

RA 9048 allows these corrections:


 Correction of clerical or typographical errors in any entry in civil registry documents,
except corrections involving the change in sex, age, nationality and status of a
person.
(A clerical or typographical error refers to an obvious mistake committed in clerical work,
either in writing, copying, transcribing, or typing an entry in the civil register that is
harmless and innocuous, such as a misspelled name or misspelled place of birth and the
like, and can be corrected or changed only by reference to other existing record or records.)

 Change of a person's first name in his/her civil registry document under certain
grounds specified under the law through administrative process.

WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS UNDER RA 9048 THAT THE PETITIONER NEEDS TO
COMPLY WITH?

(1) The petitioner finds the first name or nickname to be ridiculous, tainted with dishonor or
extremely difficult to write or pronounce;
(2) The new first name or nickname has been habitually and continuously used by the
petitioner and he has been publicly known by that first name or nickname in the
community; or
(3) The change will avoid confusion.

WHO MAY FILE THE PETITION?

Whether it is for correction of clerical or typographical error, or for change of first name, the
petition may be filed by a person of legal age who must have a direct and personal interest
in the correction of the error or in the change of first name in the civil register.

A person is considered of legal age when he is eighteen years old and above. Thus, a minor
(less than eighteen years old) cannot by himself file a petition, either for correction of
clerical or typographical error or for change of his first name.
Only the following persons are considered to have a direct and personal interest in the
correction of clerical error or change of first name:
 Owner of the record that contains the error to be corrected or first name to be
changed
 Owner's spouse, children, parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, guardian, or any
other person duly authorized by law or by the owner of the document sought to be
corrected.

WHAT SHOULD BE THE FORM AND CONTENT OF THE PETITION?

The petition, whether it is for correction of clerical error or for a change of first name,
should be accomplished properly and in the prescribed form. Section 5 of RA 9048 and Rule
8 of Administrative Order No. 1, S. 2001 require that the petition should be in the form of
an affidavit, hence, it should be subscribed and sworn to before a person authorized to
administer oath.

Basically, the petition must contain the following facts or information:


 Merits of the petition
 Competency of the petitioner

Erroneous entry to be corrected and proposed correction; first name to be changed and the
proposed new first name.

WHAT SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED FOR CORRECTING A CLERICAL


OR TYPOGRAPHICAL ERROR IN A CIVIL REGISTRY DOCUMENT?

The petition shall not be processed unless the petitioner supports it with the required
documents. The supporting documents should be authentic and genuine; otherwise, the
petition shall be denied or disapproved pursuant to Rule 5.8 of Administrative Order No. 1,
S. 2001. The following supporting documents are admissible as basic requirements:
 Certified machine copy of the certificate containing the alleged erroneous entry or
entries
 Not less than 2 public or private documents upon which the correction shall be
based. Examples of these documents are the following: baptismal certificate, voter's
affidavit, employment record, GSIS/SSS record, medical record, school record,
business record, driver's license, insurance, land titles, certificate of land transfer,
bank passbook, NBI/police clearance, civil registry records of ascendants, and
others.
 Notice and Certificate of Posting
 Certified machine copy of the Official Receipt of the filing fee
Other documents as may be required by the City/Municipal Civil Registrar (C/MCR).

WHAT ARE THE SUPPORTING PAPERS FOR CHANGE OF FIRST NAME?

As in the case of correction of clerical error, no petition for change of first name shall be
accepted unless the petitioner submits the required supporting papers, as follows:
 All the documents required of the petitioner for the correction of clerical error shall
also be required of the petitioner for change of first name.
 Clearance from authorities such as clearance from employer, if employed; the
National Bureau of Investigation; the Philippine National Police; and other clearances
as may be required by the concerned C/MCR.

Proof of Publication: An affidavit of publication from the publisher and copy of the
newspaper clippings should be attached.

HOW MUCH IS THE FEE IN FILING A PETITION?

The C/MCR and the District/Circuit Registrar (D/CR) are authorized to collect from every
petitioner the following rates of filing fees:
 One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) for the correction of clerical error
 Three thousand pesos (P3,000.00) for the change of first name
In the case of a petition filed with the Consul General (CG), the fees are the same for all
Philippine Consulates. The fees are the following:
 Fifty U.S. dollars ($50.00) for the correction of clerical or typographical error
 One hundred fifty U.S. dollars ($150.00) for the change of first name

A migrant petitioner shall pay an additional service fee to the Petition Receiving Civil
Registrar (PRCR).
This service fee shall accrue to the local treasury of the PRCR.
 Five hundred pesos (P500.00) for correction of clerical or typographical error
 One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) for change of first name

WHERE SHOULD THE PETITION BE FILED?

The general rule is that petition shall be filed with the Local Civil Registry Office (LCRO)
where the record containing the clerical error to be corrected or first name to be changed is
kept. Included in this general rule is the case of the Office of the Clerk of Shari'a Court
where records of divorces, revocations of divorces, conversions to Islam are kept and where
some Muslim marriages are registered.

However, in case the petitioner is a migrant within or outside the Philippines, meaning his
present residence or domicile is different from where his civil registry record or records are
registered, he may file the petition in the nearest LCRO in his area or Philippine Consulate
General if abroad. His petition will be treated as a migrant petition.

- See more at: http://www.newyorkpcg.org/the-consulate/our-services/civil-


registry/administrative-correction-of-civil-registry#sthash.hD2iZkag.dpuf

Republic of the Philippines


Congress of the Philippines
Metro Manila

Twelfth Congress
Third Regular Session

Begun and held in Metro Manila, on Monday, the twenty-second day of July, two thousand
three.

Republic Act No. 9255 February 24 2004

AN ACT ALLOWING ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN TO USE THE SURNAME OF THEIR


FATHER, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE ARTICLE 176 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO.
209, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE "FAMILY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES"

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress


assembled:

SECTION 1. Article 176 of Executive Order No. 209, otherwise known as the Family Code of
the Philippines, is hereby amended to read as follows:

"Article 176. Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the
parental authority of their mother, and shall be entitled to support in conformity with
this Code. However, illegitimate children may use the surname of their father if their
filiation has been expressly recognized by the father through the record of birth
appearing in the civil register, or when an admission in a public document or private
handwritten instrument is made by the father. Provided, the father has the right to
institute an action before the regular courts to prove non-filiation during his lifetime.
The legitime of each illegitimate child shall consist of one-half of the legitime of a
legitimate child."
SECTION 2. Repealing Clause. – All laws, presidential decrees, executive orders,
proclamations, rules and regulations, which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Act
are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

SECTION 3. Effectivity Clause. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days from its
publication in the Official Gazette or in two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

Approved,

FRANKLIN DRILON JOSE DE VENECIA JR.


President of the Senate Speaker of the House of
Representatives

This Act which is a consolidation of House Bill No. 4437 and Senate Bill No. 2510 was finally passed by
the House of Representatives and the Senate on January 21, 2004 and February 4, 2004, respectively.

OSCAR G. YABES ROBERTO P. NAZARENO


Secretary of Senate Secretary General
House of Represenatives

Approved: February 24 2004

GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO
President of the Philippines

Citizen Services: NSOHelpline Experience Files


File 0105: Marik (from Facebook)

Question:
Hello po NSO.. pwede ba magtanong? Kasi po sa SAUDI ARABIA po ako pinanganak then may
birth certificate po ako kaso Arabic po then hindi ko po alam kung paano mapaparehistro ito. Gusto
ko po magkaroon ng NSO record. I’m 19yrs old na at ngayon ko lang siya naisip ayusin paki
tulungan naman po ko. Thank you!

Answer:
Have you requested for an NSO copy of your Birth Certificate?

Kumuha ka na ba ng NSO copy ng birth mo sa NSO at negative/intact certificate ang nakuha mo?

Kung wala ka pang rehistro ng birth certificate mo sa NSO, kailangan mo ng mag-file ng late
registration, sa case mo na sa ibang bansa ipinanganak kaya sa DFA Office ang filling mo ng late
registration.

REQUIREMENTS FOR DELAYED REGISTRATION OF REPORT OF BIRTH

Bring ORIGINALS and FOUR (4) SETS OFPHOTOCOPIES (Kindly arrange the copies according
to the orderbelow)
1. REPORT OF BIRTH FORM (FA Form No. 40)
Note:
 Four (4) forms should be ORIGINALLY FILLED OUT
 Entries must be TYPEWRITTEN OR PRINT LEGIBLY
 Entries must be at the time of birth of the child/subject
 For applicants born within the jurisdiction of Chicago, New York, Washington DC, form
should be notarized by the notary public
2. NEGATIVE CERTIFICATION OF BIRTH RECORD from the National Statistics Office (NSO) (CRS
Form No.1
Note: Required only for children/subjects who are more than one (1) year old
3. BIRTH CERTIFICATE issued by the country of birth Note:
 For Birth Certificates not in English language, kindly submit an English Translation of the
Birth Certificate
 For applicant born in SWEDEN, GERMANY, DENMARK, ESTONIA, FINLAND,
LATVIA,LITHUANIA, AUSTRIA, BANGKOK and INDIA, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the
country of birth must authenticate the birth certificate.
2. FIRST PASSPORT or TRAVEL DOCUMENT OF THE CHILD
Note:
 Photocopies of bio data pages
 In case of unavailability, execute an Affidavit of Non-submission of Document and attach
a copy of valid/recent passport or any valid ID
2. N.S.O. AUTHENTICATED MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE OF PARENTS / FOREIGN MARRIAGE
CONTRACT
Note: For unmarried parents:
 If child/subject is using the surname of the father, kindly submit an Affidavit to
UseSurname of the Father (AUSF) and Affidavit of Acknowledgement of Paternity
 If child/subject is using the surname of the mother, kindly submit the BirthCertificate of the
mother and an Affidavit of Illegitimacy
3. PASSPORT OF PARENTS valid at the time of the birth if the child
Note:
 Photocopies of bio data pages
 In case of unavailability, execute an Affidavit of Non-submission of Document and attach
a copy of valid/recent passport or any valid ID
2. FOUR (4) RECENT PASSPORT SIZE PHOTOS OF THE CHILD/SUBJECT
3. NOTARIZED AFFIDAVIT OF DELAYED REGISTRATION
Note: Required only for children/subjects who are more than one (1) year old
4. NOTARIZED AFFIDAVIT OF TWO (2) DISINTERESTED PERSONS
Note: Required only for children/subjects who are more than one (1) year old
 Consular Fee: US$ 25.00 to be paid in pesos at the Cashier, 2nd floor, DFA-Office of
ConsularAffairs, Bradco Avenue corner Macapagal Avenue, Aseana Business Park,Parañaque City
 Forms are available online (www.dfa.gov.ph) or at
 Consular Records Division Windows (Tel.No.836-7744)
 Processing period: Approximately 2 to 4 months

Note: The Action Officer may require additional proof or documents from applicant todetermine the
child’s citizenship, identity or eligibility for registration of birth underPhilippine Law.