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REPUBLIC vs.

VALENCIA
G.R. No. L-32181
March 5, 1986
FACTS:
Respondent Leonor Valencia, for and in behalf of her minor children filed with the
Court of FirstInstance of Cebu a petition for the cancellation and/or correction of
entries of birth of BernardoGo and Jessica Go in the Civil Registry of the City of
Cebu. The case was docketed as SpecialProceedings No. 3043-R.
The Solicitor General filed an opposition to the petition alleging that the petition
for correctionof entry in the Civil Registry pursuant to Article 412 of the New Civil
Code of the Philippines inrelation to Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of Court,
contemplates a summary proceeding andcorrection of mere clerical errors, those
harmless and innocuous changes such as the correctionof a name that is merely
mispelled, occupation of parents, etc., and not changes or correctionsinvolving
civil status, nationality, or citizenship which are substantial and controversial.
Finding the petition to be sufficient in form and substance, the trial court issued an
orderdirecting the publication of the petition and the date of hearing thereof in the
Cebu Advocate, anewspaper of general circulation in the city and province of
Cebu, once a week for three (3)consecutive weeks, and notice thereof, duly served
on the Solicitor General, the Local CivilRegistrar of Cebu City and Go Eng.
Respondent Leonor Valencia, filed her reply to the opposition wherein she
admitted that thepresent petition seeks substantial changes involving the civil
status and nationality or citizenshipof respondents, but alleged that substantial
changes in the civil registry records involving thecivil status of parents, their
nationality or citizenship may be allowed if- (1) the proper suit isfiled, and (2)
evidence is submitted, either to support the allegations of the petition or to
disprovethe same; that respondents have complied with these requirements by
filing the present specialproceeding for cancellation or correction of entries in the
civil registry pursuant to Rule 108 ofhe Revised Rules of Court and that they have
caused reasonable notice to be given to thepersons named in the petition and have
also caused the order for the hearings of their petition tobe published for three (3)
consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in theprovince.
Subsequently, the Local Civil Registrar of Cebu City filed a motion to dismiss on
the ground thatsince the petition seeks to change the nationality or citizenship of
Bernardo Go and Jessica Gofrom "Chinese" to "Filipino" and their status from
"Legitimate" to Illegitimate", and changingalso the status of the mother from

"married" to "single" the corrections sought are not merelyclerical but substantial,
involving as they do the citizenship and status of the petitioning minorsand the
status of their mother.
The lower court denied the motion to dismiss.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the proper suit or appropriate action was filed by the respondent?
HELD:
The Court held in the affirmative. We are of the opinion that the petition filed by
the respondent
in the lower court by way of a special proceeding for cancellation and/or correction
of entries in
the civil register with the requisite notice and publication and the recorded
proceedings that
actually took place thereafter could very well be regarded as that proper suit or
appropriate
action.
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. As a matter of fact, the opposition of the Solicitor General
dated February

20, 1970 while questioning the use of Article 412 of the Civil Code in relation to
Rule 108 of the
Revised Rules of Court admits that "the entries sought to be corrected should be
threshed out in an appropriate proceeding.
In the instant case, a petition for cancellation and/or correction of entries of birth of
Bernardo Goand Jessica Go in the Civil Registry of the City of Cebu was filed by
respondent LeonorValencia on January 27, 1970, and pursuant to the order of the
trial court dated February 4, 1970,the said petition was published once a week for
three (3) consecutive weeks in the, CebuAdvocate, a newspaper of general
circulation in the City of Cebu. Notice thereof was duly servedon the Solicitor
General, the Local Civil Registrar and Go Eng. The order likewise set the casefor
hearing and directed the local civil registrar and the other respondents or any
person claimingany interest under the entries whose corrections were sought, to
file their opposition to the saidpetition. An opposition to the petition was
consequently filed by the Republic on February 26,1970. Thereafter a full blown
trial followed with respondent Leonor Valencia testifying andpresenting her
documentary evidence in support of her petition. The Republic on the other
handcross-examined respondent Leonor Valencia.

A. Rule 103: Change of Name: Jurisdiction and Sufficiency of


Evidence
ROSELIE ELOISA BRINGAS BOLANTE a.k.a. MARIA ELOISA BRINGAS
BOLANTE
G.R. No. 160597, July 20, 2006

FACTS:
A petition for change of name was commenced by respondent Roselie Eloisa
Bringas Bolante also known as Maria Eloisa Bringas Bolante on October 18, 2000.
In her petition before the RTC, respondent alleged, among other things, the
following:
1. That she is a Filipino, of legal age, married, born to spouses Floriano B. Bolante
and Paula B. Bringas and a resident since birth of Bangued, Abra;
2. That per records in the Office of the Municipal Civil Registrar, Bangued, Abra, her
registered name is Roselie Eloisa Bringas Bolante which name, as far as she can
remember, she did not use but instead the name Maria Eloisa Bringas Bolante;
3. That the name Maria Eloisa appears in all her school as well as in her other public
and private records; and
4. That her married name is Maria Eloisa B. Bolante-Marbella.
Thus, to prevent confusion, Ms. Bolante prayed that her registered name be
changed to conform to the name she has always carried and used.
The trial court ordered respondent, as petitioner, to comply with the
jurisdictional requirements of notice and publication, and set the hearing on
February 20, 2001.
At the scheduled February 20, 2001 initial hearing, the trial court issued an
Order giving respondent five (5) days within which to file a written formal offer of
evidence to establish jurisdictional facts and set the presentation of evidence proper
on March 26, 2001.
On June 5, 2001, the branch clerk of court, acting upon the trial court's
express March 26, 2001 directive for a resetting, issued a notice for a July 18, 2001
hearing. Following another resetting, what actually would be the initial hearing was,
after notice, scheduled on September 25, 2001 and actually held. At that session,
respondent presented and marked in evidence several documents without any

objection on the part of petitioner Republic, represented by the Office of the


Solicitor General (OSG), thru the duly deputized provincial prosecutor of Abra.
Shortly after the trial court has declared its acquisition of jurisdiction over the
case, respondent took the witness stand to state that the purpose of her petition
was to have her registered name changed to that which she had actually been using
thru the years. She also categorically stated she had not been accused of any crime
under either her registered name or her present correct name.
On cross she stated that the purpose of filing the petition is that, she wanted
to secure a passport and wanted that the same be issued in her correct name and
that she would not have filed the petition was it not for the passport. On
clarificatory question by the Court she said that her reason in filing the petition is
her realization that there will be a complication upon her retirement.
On January 23, 2002, the trial court rendered judgment granting the basic
petition.
In time, the Republic, through the OSG, went to the Court of Appeals and the
latter affirmed the decision of the trial court.
ISSUES:
I. WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT'S SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE WITH SEC. 3,
RULE 103 OF THE RULES OF COURT IS SUFFICIENT TO VEST THE TRIAL COURT WITH
JURISDICTION TO TAKE COGNIZANCE OF THE PETITION A QUO.
II. WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT'S BARE TESTIMONY, UNSUPPORTED BY
ANY OTHER EVIDENCE, IS SUFFICIENT TO PROVE THAT THE CHANGE OF HER NAME
IS NOT RESORTED FOR ILLEGAL PURPOSES.
RULING:
I. YES. There is a substantial compliance with Sec. 3, Rule 103 of the rules of
court with respect to the jurisdictional requirements of notice and publication in
Petition for Change of Name.
Sections 2 and 3, Rule 103 of the Rules of Court prescribe the procedural and
jurisdictional requirements for a change of name. In Republic v. Hon. Judge of
Branch III of the CFI of Cebu, citing pertinent jurisprudence, non-compliance with
these requirements would be fatal to the jurisdiction of the lower court to hear and
determine a petition for change of name.
SEC. 2. Contents of petition. - A petition for change of name shall be signed
and verified by the person desiring his name changed, or some other person on his
behalf, and shall set forth:

(a) That the petitioner has been a bona fide resident of the province where
the petition is filed for at least three (3) years prior to the date of such filing;
(b) The cause for which the change of the petitioner's name is sought;
(c) The name asked for.

SEC. 3. Order for hearing. - If the petition filed is sufficient in form and
substance, the court, by an order reciting the purpose of the petition, shall fix a
date and place for the hearing thereof, and shall direct that a copy of the order be
published before the hearing at least once a week for three (3) successive weeks in
some newspaper of general circulation published in the province, . The date set
for the hearing shall not be within thirty (30) days prior to an election nor within
four (4) months after the last publication of the notice. (Underscoring added.)
As gleaned from the records, the basic petition for change of name was filed
on October 18, 2000 and set for hearing on February 20, 2001. The notice of
hearing was published in the November 23, and 30, 2000 and December 7, 2000
issues of the Norluzonian Courier. Counted from the last day, December 7, 2000, of
publication of the Order, the initial hearing scheduled on February 20, 2001 is
indeed within the four-month prohibited period prescribed under Section 3, Rule 103
of the Rules. The Court, as did the CA, must emphasize, however, that the trial
court, evidently upon realizing the error committed respecting the 4-month
limitation, lost no time in rectifying its mistake by rescheduling, with due notice to
all concerned, the initial hearing for several times, finally settling for September 25,
2001.
In the context of Section 3, Rule 103 of the Rules, publication is valid if the
following requisites concur: (1) the petition and the copy of the order indicating the
date and place for the hearing must be published; (2) the publication must be at
least once a week for three successive weeks; and, (3) the publication must be in
some newspaper of general circulation published in the province, as the court shall
deem best. Another validating ingredient relates to the caveat against the petition
being heard within 30 days prior to an election or within four (4) months after the
last publication of the notice of the hearing.
It cannot be over-emphasized that in a petition for change of name, any
interested person may appear at the hearing and oppose the petition. Likewise, the
Solicitor General or his deputy shall appear on behalf of the Government. The
government, as an agency of the people, represents the public and, therefore, the
Solicitor General, who appears on behalf of the government, effectively represents
the public. In this case, the Solicitor General deputized the provincial prosecutor of
Abra for the purpose of appearing in the trial on his behalf. As it were, the provincial
prosecutor of Abra was fully apprised of the new dates of the initial hearing.

Accordingly, there was no actual need for a republication of the initial notice of the
hearing.
Furthermore, during the September 25, 2001 initial hearing which, to
reiterate is already outside the 4-month limitation prescribed by the Rules, the
provincial prosecutor of Abra interposed no objection as to the genuineness,
authenticity, relevancy or sufficiency of the exhibits presented to prove the
jurisdictional requirements exacted by the Rules. In a very real sense, therefore, the
petitioner Republic fully and knowingly acquiesced in the jurisdiction of the trial
court. The peculiar circumstances obtaining in this case and the requirements of fair
dealing demand that we accord validity to the proceedings a quo.
II. YES. Respondent's bare testimony, unsupported by any other evidence,
such as NBI clearance and Police clearance, is sufficient to grant the Petition for
change of name.
The State has an interest in the names borne by individuals for purposes of
identification, and that changing one's name is a privilege and not a right.
Accordingly, a person can be authorized to change his name appearing in either his
certificate of birth or civil registry upon showing not only of reasonable cause, or
any compelling reason which may justify such change, but also that he will be
prejudiced by the use of his true and official name. Jurisprudence has recognized
certain justifying grounds to warrant a change of name. Among these are: (a) when
the name is ridiculous, dishonorable or extremely difficult to write or pronounce; (b)
when the change will avoid confusion; (c) when one has been continuously used and
been known since childhood by a Filipino name, and was unaware of alien
parentage; (d) 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 will prejudice public interest.
The matter of granting or denying petitions for change of name and the
corollary issue of what is a proper and reasonable cause therefore rests on the
sound discretion of the court. The evidence presented need only be satisfactory to
the court; it need not be the best evidence available.
With the view we take of the case, respondent's submission for a change of
name is with proper and reasonable reason. As it were, she has, since she started
schooling, used the given name and has been known as Maria Eloisa, albeit the
name Roselie Eloisa is written on her birth record. Her scholastic records, as well as
records in government offices, including that of her driver's license, professional
license as a certified public accountant issued by the Professional Regulation
Commission, and the "Quick Count" document of the COMELEC, all attest to her
having used practically all her life the name Maria Eloisa Bringas Bolante.
The imperatives of avoiding confusion dictate that the instant petition is
granted. But beyond practicalities, simple justice dictates that every person shall be

allowed to avail himself of any opportunity to improve his social standing, provided
he does so without causing prejudice or injury to the interests of the State or of
other people.
The OSG's argument that respondent's bare testimony is insufficient to show
that the requested name is not sought for any illegal purpose and/or in avoidance of
any entanglement with the law deserves scant consideration. Surely, the issuance
of a police and NBI clearance or like certification, while perhaps apropos,cannot, as
the OSG suggests, be a convincing norm of one's good moral character or
compelling evidence to prove that the change of name is not sought for any evil
motive or fraudulent intent. Respondent's open court testimony, given under pain of
perjury and for which she was cross-examined, that she had not been accused of
any crime under her registered name or under her present name (name that she is
using) had convinced the trial court of the bona fides of her request for change of
name.
The petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.

B. RULE 108
Authority of the trial courts to make judicial corrections of
entries in the civil registry.
RE: FINAL REPORT ON THE JUDICIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED AT THE RTC
BRANCH 67, PANIQUI, TARLAC, A.M.No.06-7-414-RTC October 19, 2007
Facts:
A judicial audit and physical inventory of cases was conducted on 20-24 June
2005 at the RTC, Paniqui, Tarlac, Branch 67, then presided by Judge Cesar M. Sotero
who compulsorily retired on 23 February 2006.
The audit team noticed that there were no special proceedings case records
presented. Upon inquiry, the Clerk of Court Paulino Saguyod asserted that most of
these cases are for Petitions for Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry and gave
the audit team copies of the decisions.
The audit team observed that almost all of the petitions have no hearings
conducted and that the date of filing indicated in the docket books and the date of
the decision was so near that it will be improbable to comply with the publication
requirement under the Rules of Court.
In view of these observations, the Judge Sotero and Clerk of Court Saguyod
were made to explain why these petitions for change of name and/ or correction of

entries in the civil registry were granted without the required hearing. In their
answer, they explained that these petitions may be covered by RA 9048 which
authorized city or municipal registrar to correct clerical or typographical errors in
the civil registry without need for a judicial order. They further averred that these
petitions were filed before the trial court because there was no incumbent Local
Civil Registrar and the OIC-Civil Registrar could not act on these petitions. Since RA
9048 allows correction of entries without hearing and publication, the trial court
considered the same procedure. The trial court also adopted the procedure in civil
cases where the defendant is declared in default and the court renders judgment
based on the pleadings filed by the plaintiff.
Issue:
Whether trial court still have jurisdiction over petitions on change of name
and correction of entries.
Whether the summary procedure prescribed in RA No. 9048 should be adopted in
cases filed before the courts, or should the proceeding under Rule 108 be followed.
Held:
During the deliberation, it was clear that the local civil registrar is given the
authority to act on petitions for corrections of entries and change of first name or
nicknames, yet there was no mention that such petition can no longer be filed with
the regular courts. There was no intent on the part of the lawmakers to remove the
authority of the trial courts to make judicial corrections of entries in the civil registry.
It can thus be concluded that the local civil registry has primary, not exclusive
jurisdiction over such petitions for correction of clerical errors and change of first
name or nickname.
Since RA 9048 refers specifically to the administrative summary proceedings
before the local civil registrar it would be inappropriate to apply the same procedure
to petitions for correction of entries in the civil registry before the courts. The
promulgation of rules of procedure for court of justice is the exclusive domain of the
Supreme Court. Moreover, as observed by the Office of the Court Administrator,
there is nothing in RA 9048 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations that
warrants the adoption of the procedure set therein for petitions before the court
even for purposes of expediting the resolution of said petitions.
Thus, there should be recourse to the procedure prescribed for the courts as
if RA 9048 were not enacted at all. In other words, the procedure provided in the
Revised Rules of Court for such petitions remains binding and should be followed by
the courts. The procedural requirements laid down in Rules 103 and 108 still have to
be complied with.

When civil status affects the changes in the entry in civil


registry, adversarial proceedings applied Jurisdictional
and Notice are essential

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. JULIAN EDWARD EMERSON COSETENGMAGPAYO (A.K.A. JULIAN EDWARD EMERSON MARQUEZ-LIM COSETENG)
G.R. No. 189476, February 2, 2011
FACTS:
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 respondents certificate of live birth 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
NAMEOF 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. Respondent also submitted his academic
records from elementary up to college showing that he carried the surname
"Coseteng," and the birth certificate of his child where "Coseteng" appears as his
surname. In the 1998, 2001 and 2004 Elections, respondent ran and was elected as
Councilor of Quezon Citys 3rd District using the name "JULIAN M.L. COSETENG."
On order of Branch 77 of the Quezon City RTC, respondent amended his
petition by alleging therein compliance with the 3-year residency requirement under
Section 2, Rule 103] of the Rules of Court.
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. 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

By Decision of January 8, 2009, the trial court granted respondents 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 respondents 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, hence, it, thru the OSG,
lodged the present petition for review to the Court on pure question of law.

ISSUE:
1. Whether or not the petition for change of name involving change of civil
status should be made through appropriate adversarial proceedings.
2. Whether or not the trial court exceeded its jurisdiction when it directed the
deletion of the name of respondents father from his birth certificate.
HELD:
The petition is impressed with merit. (in favor of the Republic)
1. 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.
*** Respondents 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. 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 mothers 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 respondents 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
respondents supplication.
Labayo-Rowe v. Republic 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 respondents 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.
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)
2. Rule 108 clearly directs that a petition which concerns ones 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.
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.
Aside from improper venue, he failed to implead the civil registrar
of Makati and all affected parties as respondents in the case."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."
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).
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

Julian Lin Carulasan Wang was born to parents Anna Lisa Wang and singFoe Wang who was not yet married at the time of his parents. When they
subsequently married, they executed an Affidavit of Legitimation, hence his
name became Julian Lin Carulasan Wang. Since they plan to stay in
Singapore so he can study there and stay with his sister, Wang Mei Jasmin,
born in Singapore, they filed a petition for change of
name/correction/cancellation of entry of Julian to Julian Lin Wang. In the
petition, Anna averred that in Singapore, they anticipate that Julian will be
anticipated against because surname of a mother is not carried in a persons
name. Carulasan sounds funny in Singapore where the letter R is
pronounced as L, Julian and his sister might be asked why they have

different surnames. She thus prayed that the surame Carulasan be dropped
from Julians name. The RTC, however dismissed the petition, ruling that the
State have an interest in the names of persons, which should not be changed
for the convenience of the bearer. Under Article 174 of the Family Code,
legitimate children are entitled to the use of the surnames of both the mother
and the father, and this right should not be taken away from Julian who is still
a minor. Anna filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing, among others, that
globalisation brought the need of children to adjust to their new
environments, for consistency and harmony, taking into consideration the best
interest of the child. Convenience of a child is a valid ground for change of
name, as long as it will not prejudice the State. Lastly, she argues that it is
error for the court to rule that Julian should wait for the age of majority to
decide on his change of name, since the Court in several occasions allowed the
change of name of a minor.
The Supreme Court:
We affirm the decision of the trial court. The petition should be denied.
The Court has had occasion to express the view that the State has an interest
in the names borne by individuals and entities for purposes of identification,
and that a change of name is a privilege and not a right, so that before a
person can be authorized to change his name given him either in his certificate
of birth or civil registry, he must show proper or reasonable cause, or any
compelling reason which may justify such change. Otherwise, the request
should be denied.[1]
The touchstone for the grant of a change of name is that there be proper and
reasonable cause for which the change is sought[2]. To justify a request for
change of name, petitioner must show not only some proper or compelling
reason therefore but also that he will be prejudiced by the use of his true and
official name. Among the grounds for change of name which have been held
valid are: (a) when the name is ridiculous, dishonorable or extremely difficult
to write or pronounce; (b) when the change results as a legal consequence, as
in 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.[3]
In granting or denying petitions for change of name, the question of proper
and reasonable cause is left to the sound discretion of the court. The evidence
presented need only be satisfactory to the court and not all the best evidence

available. What is involved is not a mere matter of allowance or disallowance


of the request, but a judicious evaluation of the sufficiency and propriety of
the justifications advanced in support thereof, mindful of the consequent
results in the event of its grant and with the sole prerogative for making such
determination being lodged in the courts.[4]
The petition before us is unlike other petitions for change of name, as it does
not simply seek to change the name of the minor petitioner and adopt another,
but instead seeks to drop the middle name altogether. Decided cases in this
jurisdiction involving petitions for change of name usually deal with requests
for change of surname. There are only a handful of cases involving requests
for change of the given name[5] and none on requests for changing or
dropping of the middle name. Does the law allow one to drop the middle name
from his registered name? We have to answer in the negative.
A discussion on the legal significance of a persons name is relevant at this
point. We quote, thus:
For all practical and legal purposes, a mans name is the designation by
which he is known and called in the community in which he lives and is best
known. It is defined as the word or combination of words by which a person is
distinguished from other individuals and, also, as the label or appellation
which he bears for the convenience of the world at large addressing him, or in
speaking of or dealing with him. Names are used merely as one method of
indicating the identity of persons; they are descriptive of persons for
identification, since, the identity is the essential thing and it has frequently
been held that, when identity is certain, a variance in, or misspelling of, the
name is immaterial.
The names of individuals usually have two parts: the given name or proper
name, and the surname or family name. The given or proper name is that
which is given to the individual at birth or baptism, to distinguish him from
other individuals. The name or family name is that which identifies the family
to which he belongs and is continued from parent to child. The given name
may be freely selected by the parents for the child; but the surname to which
the child is entitled is fixed by law.
A name is said to have the following characteristics: (1) It is absolute, intended
to protect the individual from being confused with others. (2) It is obligatory
in certain respects, for nobody can be without a name. (3) It is fixed,
unchangeable, or immutable, at least at the start, and may be changed only
for good cause and by judicial proceedings. (4) It is outside the commerce of
man, and, therefore, inalienable and intransmissible by act inter vivos or
mortis causa. (5) It is imprescriptible.[6]

This citation does not make any reference to middle names, but this does not
mean that middle names have no practical or legal significance. Middle names
serve to identify the maternal lineage or filiation of a person as well as further
distinguish him from others who may have the same given name and surname
as he has.
Our laws on the use of surnames state that legitimate and legitimated children
shall principally use the surname of the father.[7] The Family Code gives
legitimate children the right to bear the surnames of the father and the
mother[8] while illegitimate children shall use the surname of their mother,
unless their father recognizes their filiation, in which case they may bear the
fathers surname.[9]
Applying these laws, an illegitimate child whose filiation is not recognized by
the father bears only a given name and his mothers surname, and does not
have a middle name. The name of the unrecognized illegitimate child therefore
identifies him as such. It is only when the illegitimate child is legitimated by
the subsequent marriage of his parents or acknowledged by the father in a
public document or private handwritten instrument that he bears both his
mothers surname as his middle name and his fathers surname as his
surname, reflecting his status as a legitimated child or an acknowledged
illegitimate child.
Accordingly, the registration in the civil registry of the birth of such
individuals requires that the middle name be indicated in the certificate. The
registered name of a legitimate, legitimated and recognized illegitimate child
thus contains a given or proper name, a middle name, and a surname.
Petitioner theorizes that it would be for his best interest to drop his middle
name as this would help him to adjust more easily to and integrate himself
into
Singaporean
society.
In
support,
he
cites Oshita
v.
Republic23[10] and Calderon v. Republic[11], which, however, are not apropos
both.
In Oshita, the petitioner therein, a legitimate daughter of a Filipino mother,
Buena Bartolome, and a Japanese father, Kishimatsu Oshita, sought to change
her name from Antonina B. Oshita to Antonina Bartolome. The Court granted
her petition based on the following considerations: she had elected Philippine
citizenship upon reaching the age of majority; her other siblings who had also
elected Philippine citizenship have been using their mothers surname; she
was embarrassed to bear a Japanese surname there still being ill feeling
against the Japanese due to the last World War; and there was no showing
that the change of name was motivated by a fraudulent purpose or that it will
prejudice public interest.

In Calderon, the Court allowed petitioner Gertrudes Josefina del Prado, an


illegitimate minor child acting through her mother who filed the petition in
her behalf, to change her name to Gertudes Josefina Calderon, taking the
surname of her stepfather, Romeo C. Calderon, her mothers husband. The
Court held that a petition for change of name of an infant should be granted
where to do is clearly for the best interest of the child. The Court took into
consideration the opportunity provided for the minor petitioner to eliminate
the stigma of illegitimacy which she would carry if she continued to use the
surname of her illegitimate father. The Court pronounced that justice dictates
that every person be allowed to avail of any opportunity to improve his social
standing as long as doing so he does not cause prejudice or injury to the
interests of the State or of other people.
Petitioner cites Alfon v. Republic[12], in arguing that although Article 174 of
the Family Code gives the legitimate child the right to use the surnames of the
father and the mother, it is not mandatory such that the child could use only
one family name, even the family name of the mother. In Alfon, the petitioner
therein, the legitimate daughter of Filomeno Duterte and Estrella Alfon,
sought to change her name from Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte
(her name as registered in the Local Civil Registry) to Estrella S. Alfon (the
name she had been using since childhood, in her school records and in her
voters registration). The trial court denied her petition but this Court
overturned the denial, ruling that while Article 364 of the Civil Code states
that she, as a legitimate child, should principally use the surname of her
father, there is no legal obstacle for her to choose to use the surname of herm
other to which she is entitled. In addition, the Court found that there was
ample justification to grant her petition, i.e., to avoid confusion.
Weighing petitioners reason of convenience for the change of his name
against the standards set in the cases he cites to support his contention would
show that his justification is amorphous, to say the least, and could not
warrant favorable action on his petition.
The factual antecedents and unique circumstances of the cited cases are not at
all analogous to the case at bar. The instant case is clearly distinguishable
from the cases of Oshita and Alfon, where the petitioners were already of age
when they filed their petitions for change of name. Being of age, they are
considered to have exercised their discretion and judgment, fully knowing the
effects of their decision to change their surnames. It can also be unmistakably
observed that the reason for the grant of the petitions for change of name in
these two cases was the presence of reasonable or compelling grounds
therefore. The Court, in Oshita, recognized the tangible animosity most
Filipinos had during that time against the Japanese as a result of World War

II, in addition to the fact of therein petitioners election of Philippine


citizenship. In Alfon, the Court granted the petition since the petitioner had
been known since childhood by a name different from her registered name
and she had not used her registered name in her school records and voters
registration records; thus, denying the petition would only result to confusion.
Calderon, on the other hand, granted the petition for change of name filed by
a mother in behalf of her illegitimate minor child. Petitioner cites this case to
buttress his argument that he does not have to reach the age of majority to
petition for change of name. However, it is manifest in Calderon that the
Court, in granting the petition for change of name, gave paramount
consideration to the best interests of the minor petitioner therein.
In the case at bar, the only reason advanced by petitioner for the dropping his
middle name is convenience. However, how such change of name would make
his integration into Singaporean society easier and convenient is not clearly
established. That the continued use of his middle name would cause confusion
and difficulty does not constitute proper and reasonable cause to drop it from
his registered complete name.
In addition, petitioner is only a minor. Considering the nebulous foundation
on which his petition for change of name is based, it is best that the matter of
change of his name be left to his judgment and discretion when he reaches the
age of majority.[13] As he is of tender age, he may not yet understand and
appreciate the value of the change of his name and granting of the same at this
point may just prejudice him in his rights under our laws.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Petition for Review on Certiorari
is
DENIED.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 159966. March 30, 2005, IN RE: PETITION FOR CHANGE OF
NAME AND/OR CORRECTION/CANCELLATION OF ENTRY IN CIVIL
REGISTRY OF JULIAN LIN CARULASAN WANG also known as JULIAN
LIN WANG, to be amended/corrected as JULIAN LIN WANG, JULIAN LIN
WANG, duly represented by his mother ANNA LISA WANG, Petitioners, vs.,
CEBU CITY CIVIL REGISTRAR, duly represented by the Registrar OSCAR
B. MOLO, Respondents.

[1] Republic v. Lee Wai Lam, No. L-22607, 30 July 1969, 28 SCRA 1040, 104748, citing Yu Chi Han v. Republic, No. L-22040, 29 November 1965 and Yap Ek
Siu
v.
Republic,
No.
L-25437,
28
April
1969.
[2] Republic v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 88202, 14 December 1998, 300 SCRA
138.
[3] Republic v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 97906, 21 May 1992, 209 SCRA 189.

See also Republic v. Hernandez, G.R. No. 117209, 9 February 1996, 253 SCRA
509.
[4]
Ibid.
[5] Go v. Republic, No. L-20160, 29 November 1965; In re: Flaviano C. Zapanta
v. Local Civil Register, G.R. No. 55380, 26 September 1994; Republic v.
Hernandez,
G.R.
No.
117209,
9
February
1996.
[6]
Republic
v.
Court
of
Appeals,
supra
at
note
16.
[7]
Article
364,
Civil
Code.
[8]
Article
174,
Family
Code.
Supra
at
note
7.
[9] Article 176, Family Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 9255 (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), which took effect on 19 March 2004, by
allowing illegitimate children to 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.
[10]
125
Phil.
1098
(1967).
[11]
Supra
note
9.
[12]
No.
L-51201,
29
May
1980,
97
SCRA
858.
[13] In Republic v. Marcos, G.R. No. 31065, 15 February 1990, 182 SCRA 223,
and Padilla v. Republic, 199 Phil. 226 (1982), the Court denied the petitions for
change of name filed by mothers in behalf of their minor children for
prematurity.