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Change of Name

035 Eleosida vs Local Civil Registrar of QC


G.R. No. 130277 May 9, 2002
MA. LOURDES BARRIENTOS ELEOSIDA, for and in behalf of her minor child, CHARLES CHRISTIAN ELEOSIDA, petitioner,
vs.
LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR OF QUEZON CITY, and CARLOS VILLENA BORBON, respondents.

Facts:

This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Order1 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 89, which dismissed motu proprio the petition of
Ma. Lourdes Eleosida to correct some entries in the birth certificate of her son, Charles Christian. The birth certificate shows, among others, that the
child's full name is Charles Christian Eleosida Borbon. He was born on May 24, 1992 to Ma. Lourdes Barrientos Eleosida and Carlos Villena Borbon. The
birth certificate also indicates that the child's parents were married on January 10, 1985 in Batangas City.2

On January 30, 1997, petitioner Ma. Lourdes Eleosida filed a petition before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City seeking to correct the following
entries in the birth certificate of her son, Charles Christian: first, the surname "Borbon" should be changed to "Eleosida;" second, the date of the parents'
wedding should be left blank; and third, the informant's name should be "Ma. Lourdes B. Eleosida," instead of "Ma. Lourdes E. Borbon." In support of her
petition, petitioner alleged that she gave birth to her son out of wedlock on May 24, 1992; that she and the boy's father, Carlos Borbon, were never
married; and that the child is therefore illegitimate and should follow the mother's surname. The petition impleaded the Local Registrar of Quezon City
and Carlos Villena Borbon as respondents.3

On April 23, 1997, the trial court issued a notice of hearing.

On June 26, 1997, the trial court issued another order setting the date for the presentation of evidence on July 23, 1997. It stated:

On August 25, 1997, the trial court motu proprio dismissed the petition for lack of merit. It ruled:

"It is an established jurisprudence that, only CLERICAL ERRORS OF A HARMLESS AND INNOCUOUS NATURE like: misspelled name, occupation of
the parents, etc., may be the subject of a judicial order (contemplated under Article 412 of the New Civil Code), authorizing changes or corrections and:
NOT as may affect the CIVIL STATUS, NATIONALITY OR CITIZENSHIP OF THE PERSONS INVOLVED.

In the present case, it is very clear that the changes desired by the petitioner will ultimately affect the CIVIL STATUS OF CHARLES CHRISTIAN, as she
wants the Court to Direct the Civil Registrar of Quezon City to substitute her maiden name, ELEOSIDA, with that of BORBON; to delete the information
supplied in ITEM 12, respecting the date and place of marriage of parents, on the ground that she was never married to respondent CARLOS VILLENA
BORBON and amend the information in ITEM 14, respecting the name of the informant, from MA. LOURDES E. BORBON to MA. LOURDES B.
ELEOSIDA, and is indicative of petitioner's intention and device to establish that CHARLES CHRISTIAN's civil status as ILLEGITIMATE.

With the petition's ultimate purpose on the part of petitioner to secure judicial order, which would authorize a change in the civil status of CHARLES
CHRISTIAN, this Court, finds the action improper. The matters desired to be cancelled and/or changed by petitioner cannot be considered falling under
the ambit of the words 'clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous nature.'

WHEREFORE, for LACK OF MERIT, the petition is now MOTU PROPIO (sic) dismissed."6

Petitioner filed the instant petition for review.

Issue: whether corrections of entries in the certificate of live birth pursuant to Article 412 of the Civil Code, in relation to Rule 108 of the Rules of Court
may be allowed even if the errors to be corrected are substantial and not merely clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous nature.7

Held: Yes. It is allowed.

We find merit in the petition. Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of Court provides the procedure for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry.
The proceedings under said rule may either be summary or adversary in nature. If the correction sought to be made in the civil register is clerical, then
the procedure to be adopted is summary. If the rectification affects the civil status, citizenship or nationality of a party, it is deemed substantial, and the
procedure to be adopted is adversary.10 This is our ruling in Republic vs. Valencia11 where we held that even substantial errors in a civil registry may be
corrected and the true facts established under Rule 108 provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary
proceeding. An appropriate adversary suit or proceeding is one where the trial court has conducted proceedings where all relevant facts have been fully
and properly developed, where opposing counsel have been given opportunity to demolish the opposite party's case, and where the evidence has been
thoroughly weighed and considered. The Court further laid down the procedural requirements to make the proceedings under Rule 108 adversary, thus: the
persons who must be made parties to a proceeding concerning the cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register are—(1) the civil registrar,
and (2) all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected thereby. Upon the filing of the petition, it becomes the duty of the court to—(1)
issue an order fixing the time and place for the hearing of the petition, and (2) cause the order for hearing to be published once a week for three (3)
consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the province. The following are likewise entitled to oppose the petition:--(1) the civil registrar,
and (2) any person having or claiming any interest under the entry whose cancellation or correction is sought.
It is true in the case at bar that the changes sought to be made by petitioner are not merely clerical or harmless errors but substantial ones as they would
affect the status of the marriage between petitioner and Carlos Borbon, as well as the legitimacy of their son, Charles Christian. Changes of such nature,
however, are now allowed under Rule 108 in accordance with our ruling in Republic vs. Valencia provided that the appropriate procedural requirements
are complied with. The records show that upon receipt of the petition, the trial court issued a notice of hearing setting the hearing on June 26, 1997 at
8:30 in the morning at Room 118, Hall of Justice, Quezon City. The trial court likewise ordered the publication of said notice once a week for three (3)
consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation and its posting in selected places in Metro Manila. The notice stated that the petitioner shall
prove her petition during said hearing and all other persons having or claiming any interest thereon shall also appear and show if there is any reason why
the petition should not be granted. Respondents Carlos Villena Borbon, the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City and the Solicitor General were all
furnished with a copy of the notice of hearing together with a copy of the petition. On June 26, 1997, the trial court issued a second order giving the
petitioner an opportunity to show compliance with the jurisdictional requirements and to present evidence during the hearing set on July 23, 1997. The
foregoing satisfy all the requirements of Rule 108 to make it an adversary proceeding. It was therefore an error for the trial court to dismiss the
petition motu proprio without allowing the petitioner to present evidence to support her petition and all the other persons who have an interest over the
matter to oppose the same.1âwphi1.nêt

036 Republic vs Kho 526 scra 177


G.R. No. 170340 June 29, 2007
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
CARLITO I. KHO, MICHAEL KHO, MERCY NONA KHO-FORTUN, HEDDY MOIRA KHO-SERRANO, KEVIN DOGMOC KHO (Minor), and KELLY DOGMOC
KHO (Minor), respondents.
DECISION

Facts: On February 12, 2001, Carlito and his siblings Michael, Mercy Nona and Heddy Moira filed before the RTC of Butuan City a verified petition for correction of
entries in the civil registry of Butuan City to effect changes in their respective birth certificates. Carlito also asked the court in behalf of his minor children, Kevin and
Kelly, to order the correction of some entries in their birth certificates.

In the case of Carlito, he requested the correction in his birth certificate of the citizenship of his mother to "Filipino" instead of "Chinese," as well as the deletion of the
word "married" opposite the phrase "Date of marriage of parents" because his parents, Juan Kho and Epifania Inchoco (Epifania), were allegedly not legally married.

The same request to delete the "married" status of their parents from their respective birth certificates was made by Carlito’s siblings Michael, Mercy Nona, and
Heddy Moira.

With respect to the birth certificates of Carlito’s children, he prayed that the date of his and his wife’s marriage be corrected from April 27, 1989 to January 21, 2000,
the date appearing in their marriage certificate.

The Local Civil Registrar of Butuan City was impleaded as respondent.

On April 23, 2001, Carlito et al. filed an Amended Petition3 in which it was additionally prayed that Carlito’s second name of "John" be deleted from his record of birth;
and that the name and citizenship of Carlito’s father in his (Carlito’s) marriage certificate be corrected from "John Kho" to "Juan Kho" and "Filipino" to "Chinese,"
respectively.

As required, the petition was published for three consecutive weeks4 in Mindanao Daily Patrol-CARAGA, a newspaper of general circulation, after which it was set for
hearing on August 9, 2001.

In a letter of June 18, 2001 addressed to the trial court, the city civil registrar 5 stated her observations and suggestions to the proposed corrections in the birth
records of Carlito and his siblings but interposed no objections to the other amendments.

On the scheduled hearing of the petition on August 9, 2001, only the counsel for respondents appeared as the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) had yet to enter
its appearance for the city civil registrar. The trial court thus reset the hearing to October 9, 2001. 6 On September 14, 2001,7 the OSG entered its appearance with an
authorization to the city prosecutor of Butuan City to appear in the case and render assistance to it (the OSG).

On January 31, 2002, respondents presented documentary evidence showing compliance with the jurisdictional requirements of the petition. They also presented
testimonial evidence consisting of the testimonies of Carlito and his mother, Epifania. During the same hearing, an additional correction in the birth certificates of
Carlito’s children was requested to the effect that the first name of their mother be rectified from "Maribel" to "Marivel."

By Decision8 of September 4, 2002, the trial court directed the local civil registrar of Butuan City to correct the entries in the record of birth of Carlito, as follows: (1)
change the citizenship of his mother from "Chinese" to "Filipino"; (2) delete "John" from his name; and (3) delete the word "married" opposite the date of marriage of
his parents. The last correction was ordered to be effected likewise in the birth certificates of respondents Michael, Mercy Nona, and Heddy Moira.

Additionally, the trial court ordered the correction of the birth certificates of the minor children of Carlito to reflect the date of marriage of Carlito and Marivel Dogmoc
(Marivel) as January 21, 2000, instead of April 27, 1989, and the name "Maribel" as "Marivel."
With respect to the marriage certificate of Carlito and Marivel, the corrections ordered pertained to the alteration of the name of Carlito’s father from "John Kho" to
"Juan Kho" and the latter’s citizenship from "Filipino" to "Chinese."

Petitioner, Republic of the Philippines, appealed the RTC Decision to the CA, faulting the trial court in granting the petition for correction of entries in the subject
documents despite the failure of respondents to implead the minors’ mother, Marivel, as an indispensable party and to offer sufficient evidence to warrant the
corrections with regard to the questioned "married" status of Carlito and his siblings’ parents, and the latter’s citizenship.

Petitioner also faulted the trial court for ordering the change of the name "Carlito John Kho" to "Carlito Kho" for non-compliance with jurisdictional requirements for a
change of name under Rule 103 of the Rules of Court.

By the assailed Decision of October 27, 2005, the CA denied petitioner’s appeal and affirmed the decision of the trial court.

In the present petition, petitioner contends that since the changes sought by respondents were substantial in nature, they could only be granted through an
adversarial proceeding in which indispensable parties, such as Marivel and respondents’ parents, should have been notified or impleaded.

Petitioner further contends that the jurisdictional requirements to change Carlito’s name under Section 2 of Rule 103 of the Rules of Court were not satisfied because
the Amended Petition failed to allege Carlito’s prior three-year bona fide residence in Butuan City, and that the title of the petition did not state Carlito’s aliases and
his true name as "Carlito John I. Kho." Petitioner concludes that the same jurisdictional defects attached to the change of name of Carlito’s father.

Issue 1: Whether the changes sought can be effected through filing a petition under Rule 108?

Held: It can not be gainsaid that the petition, insofar as it sought to change the citizenship of Carlito’s mother as it appeared in his birth certificate and delete the
"married" status of Carlito’s parents in his and his siblings’ respective birth certificates, as well as change the date of marriage of Carlito and Marivel involves the
correction of not just clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous nature.10 Rather, the changes entail substantial and controversial amendments.

For the change involving the nationality of Carlito’s mother as reflected in his birth certificate is a grave and important matter that has a bearing and effect on the
citizenship and nationality not only of the parents, but also of the offspring.11

Further, the deletion of the entry that Carlito’s and his siblings’ parents were "married" alters their filiation from "legitimate" to "illegitimate," with significant implications
on their successional and other rights.

Clearly, the changes sought can only be granted in an adversary proceeding.

However, the enactment in March 2001 of Republic Act No. 9048, otherwise known as "An Act Authorizing the City or Municipal Civil Registrar or the Consul General
to Correct a Clerical or Typographical Error in an Entry and/or Change of First Name or Nickname in the Civil Register Without Need of Judicial Order," has been
considered to lend legislative affirmation to the judicial precedence that substantial corrections to the civil status of persons recorded in the civil registry may be
effected through the filing of a petition under Rule 108.16

Thus, this Court in Republic v. Benemerito17 observed that the obvious effect of Republic Act No. 9048 is to make possible the administrative correction of clerical or
typographical errors or change of first name or nickname in entries in the civil register, leaving to Rule 108 the correction of substantial changes in the civil registry in
appropriate adversarial proceedings.

When all the procedural requirements under Rule 108 are thus followed, the appropriate adversary proceeding necessary to effect substantial corrections to the
entries of the civil register is satisfied.

There is no dispute that the trial court’s Order19 setting the petition for hearing and directing any person or entity having interest in the petition to oppose it was
posted20 as well as published for the required period; that notices of hearings were duly served on the Solicitor General, the city prosecutor of Butuan and the local
civil registrar; and that trial was conducted on January 31, 2002 during which the public prosecutor, acting in behalf of the OSG, actively participated by cross-
examining Carlito and Epifania.

Issue 2: whether the failure to implead Marivel and Carlito’s parents rendered the trial short of the required adversary proceeding and the trial court’s judgment void.

Held: a petition for correction is an action in rem, an action against a thing and not against a person. The decision on the petition binds not only the parties thereto but
the whole world. An in rem proceeding is validated essentially through publication. Publication is notice to the whole world that the proceeding has for its object to bar
indefinitely all who might be minded to make an objection of any sort against the right sought to be established. It is the publication of such notice that brings in the
whole world as a party in the case and vests the court with jurisdiction to hear and decide it. 22 Given the above ruling, it becomes unnecessary to rule on whether
Marivel or respondents’ parents should have been impleaded as parties to the proceeding. It may not be amiss to mention, however, that during the hearing on
January 31, 2002, the city prosecutor who was acting as representative of the OSG did not raise any objection to the non-inclusion of Marivel and Carlito’s parents as
parties to the proceeding.

Parenthetically, it seems highly improbable that Marivel 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 eHe were all sent to the residence23 she shared with Carlito and the children.
038 Petition for Change of Name of Julian Lin Carulasan Wang
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.

Facts:

Julian Lin Carulasan Wang was born in Cebu City on February 20, 1998 to parents Anna Lisa Wang and Sing-Foe Wang who were then not yet married to each
other. When his parents subsequently got married on September 22, 1998, ...they executed a deed of legitimation of their son so that the child’s name was changed
from Julian Lin Carulasan to Julian Lin Carulasan Wang….

The parents of Julian Lin Carulasan Wang plan to stay in Singapore for a long time because they will let him study there together with his sister named Wang Mei
Jasmine who was born in Singapore…. Since in Singapore middle names or the maiden surname of the mother are not carried in a person’s name, they anticipate
that Julian Lin Carulasan Wang will be discriminated against because of his current registered name which carries a middle name. Julian and his sister might also be
asking whether they are brother and sister since they have different surnames. Carulasan sounds funny in Singapore’s Mandarin language since they do not have
the letter "R" but if there is, they pronounce it as "L." It is for these reasons that the name of Julian Lin Carulasan Wang is requested to be changed to Julian Lin
Wang.1

On 30 April 2003, the RTC rendered a decision denying the petition.2 The trial court found that the reason given for the change of name sought in the petition—that
is, that petitioner Julian may be discriminated against when studies in Singapore because of his middle name—did not fall within the grounds recognized by law. The
trial court added that when petitioner Julian reaches the age of majority, he could then decide whether he will change his name by dropping his middle name.3

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision but this was denied in a resolution dated 20 May 2004. 4 The trial court maintained that the Singaporean
practice of not carrying a middle name does not justify the dropping of the middle name of a legitimate Filipino child who intends to study there. The dropping of the
middle name would be tantamount to giving due recognition to or application of the laws of Singapore instead of Philippine law which is controlling. That the change
of name would not prejudice public interest or would not be for a fraudulent purpose would not suffice to grant the petition if the reason for the change of name is
itself not reasonable.5

Petitioner then filed this Petition for Review on Certiorari (Under Rule 45)6 arguing that the trial court has decided a question of substance not theretofore determined
by the Court, that is: whether or not dropping the middle name of a minor child is contrary to Article 1747 of the Family Code.

Issue: whether or not dropping the middle name of a minor child is contrary to Article 1747 of the Family Code?

Held: Yes.

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.14

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.16

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.17

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.

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.19
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.20 The Family Code gives legitimate
children the right to bear the surnames of the father and the mother,21 while illegitimate children shall use the surname of their mother, unless their father recognizes
their filiation, in which case they may bear the father’s surname.22

Applying these laws, an illegitimate child whose filiation is not recognized by the father bears only a given name and his mother’s 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 mother’s surname as his middle
name and his father’s 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 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.26 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.

038 Braza vs Civil Registrar 607 scra 638


G.R. No. 181174 December 4, 2009
MA. CRISTINA TORRES BRAZA, PAOLO JOSEF T. BRAZA and JANELLE ANN T. BRAZA, Petitioners,
vs.
THE CITY CIVIL REGISTRAR OF HIMAMAYLAN CITY, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, minor PATRICK ALVIN TITULAR BRAZA, represented by LEON TITULAR,
CECILIA TITULAR and LUCILLE C. TITULAR, Respondents.

Facts:

Petitioner Ma. Cristina Torres (Ma. Cristina) and Pablo Sicad Braza, Jr. (Pablo), also known as "Pablito Sicad Braza," were married1 on January 4, 1978. The union
bore Ma. Cristina’s co-petitioners Paolo Josef2 and Janelle Ann3 on May 8, 1978 and June 7, 1983, respectively, and Gian Carlo4 on June 4, 1980.

Pablo died5 on April 15, 2002 in a vehicular accident in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia.

During the wake following the repatriation of his remains to the Philippines, respondent Lucille Titular (Lucille) began introducing her co-respondent minor Patrick
Alvin Titular Braza (Patrick) as her and Pablo's son. Ma. Cristina thereupon made inquiries in the course of which she obtained Patrick's birth certificate 6 from the
Local Civil Registrar of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental with the following entries:

Name of Child : PATRICK ALVIN CELESTIAL TITULAR

Date of Birth : 01 January 1996

Mother : Lucille Celestial Titular

Father : Pablito S. Braza

Date Received at the Local Civil January 13, 1997


Registrar :

Annotation : "Late Registration"

Annotation/Remarks : "Acknowledge (sic) by the father Pablito Braza on January 13, 1997"

Remarks : Legitimated by virtue of subsequent marriage of parents on April 22, 1998 at Manila. Henceforth, the child shall
be known as Patrick Alvin Titular Braza (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Ma. Cristina likewise obtained a copy7 of a marriage contract showing that Pablo and Lucille were married on April 22, 1998, drawing her and her co-petitioners to file
on December 23, 2005 before the Regional Trial Court of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental a petition8 to correct the entries in the birth record of Patrick in the
Local Civil Register.
Contending that Patrick could not have been legitimated by the supposed marriage between Lucille and Pablo, said marriage being bigamous on account of the valid
and subsisting marriage between Ma. Cristina and Pablo, petitioners prayed for (1) the correction of the entries in Patrick's birth record with respect to his
legitimation, the name of the father and his acknowledgment, and the use of the last name "Braza"; 2) a directive to Leon, Cecilia and Lucille, all surnamed Titular, as
guardians of the minor Patrick, to submit Parick to DNA testing to determine his paternity and filiation; and 3) the declaration of nullity of the legitimation of Patrick as
stated in his birth certificate and, for this purpose, the declaration of the marriage of Lucille and Pablo as bigamous.

On Patrick’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction, the trial court, by Order 9 of September 6, 2007, dismissed the petition without prejudice, it holding that in a
special proceeding for correction of entry, the court, which is not acting as a family court under the Family Code, has no jurisdiction over an action to annul the
marriage of Lucille and Pablo, impugn the legitimacy of Patrick, and order Patrick to be subjected to a DNA test, hence, the controversy should be ventilated in an
ordinary adversarial action.

Petitioners’ motion for reconsideration having been denied by Order10 of November 29, 2007, they filed the present petition for review.

Petitioners maintain that the court a quo may pass upon the validity of marriage and questions on legitimacy even in an action to correct entries in the civil registrar.

Issue: Whether the court a quo may pass upon the validity of marriage and questions on legitimacy even in an action to correct entries in the civil registrar?

Held: No.

The petition fails. In a special proceeding for correction of entry under Rule 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Original Registry), the trial court has no
jurisdiction to nullify marriages and rule on legitimacy and filiation.

Rule 108 of the Rules of Court vis a vis Article 412 of the Civil Code15 charts the procedure by which an entry in the civil registry may be cancelled or corrected. The
proceeding contemplated therein may generally be used only to correct clerical, spelling, typographical and other innocuous errors in the civil registry. A clerical error
is one which is visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding; an error made by a clerk or a transcriber; a mistake in copying or writing, or a harmless change
such as a correction of name that is clearly misspelled or of a misstatement of the occupation of the parent. Substantial or contentious alterations may be allowed
only in adversarial proceedings, in which all interested parties are impleaded and due process is properly observed. 16

The allegations of the petition filed before the trial court clearly show that petitioners seek to nullify the marriage between Pablo and Lucille on the ground that it is
bigamous and impugn Patrick’s filiation in connection with which they ask the court to order Patrick to be subjected to a DNA test.

Petitioners insist, however, that the main cause of action is for the correction of Patrick’s birth records 17 and that the rest of the prayers are merely incidental thereto.

Petitioners’ position does not lie. Their cause of action is actually to seek the declaration of Pablo and Lucille’s marriage as void for being bigamous and impugn
Patrick’s legitimacy, which causes of action are governed not by Rule 108 but by A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC which took effect on March 15, 2003, and Art. 17118 of the
Family Code, respectively, hence, the petition should be filed in a Family Court as expressly provided in said Code.1avvphi1

It is well to emphasize that, doctrinally, validity of marriages as well as legitimacy and filiation can be questioned only in a direct action seasonably filed by the proper
party, and not through collateral attack such as the petition filed before the court a quo.

039 Silverio vs Republic 537 scra 373


G.R. No. 174689 October 22, 2007
ROMMEL JACINTO DANTES SILVERIO, petitioner,
vs.
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.

Facts:

On November 26, 2002, petitioner Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio filed a petition for the change of his first name and sex in his birth certificate in the Regional Trial
Court of Manila, Branch 8. The petition, docketed as SP Case No. 02-105207, impleaded the civil registrar of Manila as respondent.

Petitioner alleged in his petition that he was born in the City of Manila to the spouses Melecio Petines Silverio and Anita Aquino Dantes on April 4, 1962. His name
was registered as "Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio" in his certificate of live birth (birth certificate). His sex was registered as "male."

He further alleged that he is a male transsexual, that is, "anatomically male but feels, thinks and acts as a female" and that he had always identified himself with girls
since childhood.1 Feeling trapped in a man’s body, he consulted several doctors in the United States. He underwent psychological examination, hormone treatment
and breast augmentation. His attempts to transform himself to a "woman" culminated on January 27, 2001 when he underwent sex reassignment surgery 2 in
Bangkok, Thailand. He was thereafter examined by Dr. Marcelino Reysio-Cruz, Jr., a plastic and reconstruction surgeon in the Philippines, who issued a medical
certificate attesting that he (petitioner) had in fact undergone the procedure.

From then on, petitioner lived as a female and was in fact engaged to be married. He then sought to have his name in his birth certificate changed from "Rommel
Jacinto" to "Mely," and his sex from "male" to "female."
An order setting the case for initial hearing was published in the People’s Journal Tonight, a newspaper of general circulation in Metro Manila, for three consecutive
weeks.3 Copies of the order were sent to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the civil registrar of Manila.

On the scheduled initial hearing, jurisdictional requirements were established. No opposition to the petition was made.

During trial, petitioner testified for himself. He also presented Dr. Reysio-Cruz, Jr. and his American fiancé, Richard P. Edel, as witnesses.

On June 4, 2003, the trial court rendered a decision4 in favor of petitioner.

On August 18, 2003, the Republic of the Philippines (Republic), thru the OSG, filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals.6 It alleged that there is no law
allowing the change of entries in the birth certificate by reason of sex alteration.

On February 23, 2006, the Court of Appeals7 rendered a decision8 in favor of the Republic. It ruled that the trial court’s decision lacked legal basis. There is no law
allowing the change of either name or sex in the certificate of birth on the ground of sex reassignment through surgery. Thus, the Court of Appeals granted the
Republic’s petition, set aside the decision of the trial court and ordered the dismissal of SP Case No. 02-105207. Petitioner moved for reconsideration but it was
denied.9 Hence, this petition.

Petitioner essentially claims that the change of his name and sex in his birth certificate is allowed under Articles 407 to 413 of the Civil Code, Rules 103 and 108 of
the Rules of Court and RA 9048.10

Issue: Whether the petition should be granted?

Held: No.

A Person’s First Name Cannot Be Changed On the Ground of Sex Reassignment

change of name are controlled by statutes.13 In this connection, Article 376 of the Civil Code provides:

ART. 376. No person can change his name or surname without judicial authority.

This Civil Code provision was amended by RA 9048 (Clerical Error Law). In particular, Section 1 of RA 9048 provides:

SECTION 1. Authority to Correct Clerical or Typographical Error and Change of First Name or Nickname. – No entry in a civil register shall be changed or
corrected without a judicial order, except for clerical or typographical errors and change of first name or nickname which can be corrected or changed by
the concerned city or municipal civil registrar or consul general in accordance with the provisions of this Act and its implementing rules and regulations.

RA 9048 now governs the change of first name.14 It vests the power and authority to entertain petitions for change of first name to the city or municipal civil registrar
or consul general concerned. Under the law, therefore, jurisdiction over applications for change of first name is now primarily lodged with the aforementioned
administrative officers. The intent and effect of the law is to exclude the change of first name from the coverage of Rules 103 (Change of Name) and 108
(Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry) of the Rules of Court, until and unless an administrative petition for change of name is first filed and
subsequently denied.15 It likewise lays down the corresponding venue,16 form17 and procedure. In sum, the remedy and the proceedings regulating change of first
name are primarily administrative in nature, not judicial.

RA 9048 likewise provides the grounds for which change of first name may be allowed:

SECTION 4. Grounds for Change of First Name or Nickname. – The petition for change of first name or nickname may be allowed in any of the following
cases:

(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.

Petitioner’s basis in praying for the change of his first name was his sex reassignment. He intended to make his first name compatible with the sex he thought he
transformed himself into through surgery. However, a change of name does not alter one’s legal capacity or civil status. 18 RA 9048 does not sanction a change of first
name on the ground of sex reassignment. Rather than avoiding confusion, changing petitioner’s first name for his declared purpose may only create grave
complications in the civil registry and the public interest.
Before a person can legally change his given name, he must present proper or reasonable cause or any compelling reason justifying such change.19 In addition, he
must show that he will be prejudiced by the use of his true and official name.20 In this case, he failed to show, or even allege, any prejudice that he might suffer as a
result of using his true and official name.

In sum, the petition in the trial court in so far as it prayed for the change of petitioner’s first name was not within that court’s primary jurisdiction as the petition should
have been filed with the local civil registrar concerned, assuming it could be legally done. It was an improper remedy because the proper remedy was administrative,
that is, that provided under RA 9048. It was also filed in the wrong venue as the proper venue was in the Office of the Civil Registrar of Manila where his birth
certificate is kept. More importantly, it had no merit since the use of his true and official name does not prejudice him at all. For all these reasons, the Court of
Appeals correctly dismissed petitioner’s petition in so far as the change of his first name was concerned.

No Law Allows The Change of Entry In The Birth Certificate As To Sex On the Ground of Sex Reassignment

The determination of a person’s sex appearing in his birth certificate is a legal issue and the court must look to the statutes. 21 In this connection, Article 412 of the
Civil Code provides:

ART. 412. No entry in the civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order.

Together with Article 376 of the Civil Code, this provision was amended by RA 9048 in so far as clerical or typographical errors are involved. The correction or
change of such matters can now be made through administrative proceedings and without the need for a judicial order. In effect, RA 9048 removed from the ambit of
Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the correction of such errors.22 Rule 108 now applies only to substantial changes and corrections in entries in the civil register.23

Under RA 9048, a correction in the civil registry involving the change of sex is not a mere clerical or typographical error. It is a substantial change for which the
applicable procedure is Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.

The entries envisaged in Article 412 of the Civil Code and correctable under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court are those provided in Articles 407 and 408 of the Civil
Code:24

ART. 407. Acts, events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons shall be recorded in the civil register.

ART. 408. The following shall be entered in the civil register:

(1) Births; (2) marriages; (3) deaths; (4) legal separations; (5) annulments of marriage; (6) judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning; (7)
legitimations; (8) adoptions; (9) acknowledgments of natural children; (10) naturalization; (11) loss, or (12) recovery of citizenship; (13) civil interdiction;
(14) judicial determination of filiation; (15) voluntary emancipation of a minor; and (16) changes of name.

The acts, events or factual errors contemplated under Article 407 of the Civil Code include even those that occur after birth.25 However, no reasonable interpretation
of the provision can justify the conclusion that it covers the correction on the ground of sex reassignment. Article 407 of the Civil Code authorizes the entry in the civil
registry of certain acts (such as legitimations, acknowledgments of illegitimate children and naturalization), events (such as births, marriages, naturalization and
deaths) and judicial decrees (such as legal separations, annulments of marriage, declarations of nullity of marriages, adoptions, naturalization, loss or recovery of
citizenship, civil interdiction, judicial determination of filiation and changes of name). These acts, events and judicial decrees produce legal consequences that touch
upon the legal capacity, status and nationality of a person. Their effects are expressly sanctioned by the laws. In contrast, sex reassignment is not among those acts
or events mentioned in Article 407. Neither is it recognized nor even mentioned by any law, expressly or impliedly.

A person’s sex is an essential factor in marriage and family relations. It is a part of a person’s legal capacity and civil status. In this connection, Article 413 of the Civil
Code provides:

ART. 413. All other matters pertaining to the registration of civil status shall be governed by special laws.

But there is no such special law in the Philippines governing sex reassignment and its effects. This is fatal to petitioner’s cause.

Under the Civil Register Law, a birth certificate is a historical record of the facts as they existed at the time of birth. 29 Thus, the sex of a person is determined at
birth, visually done by the birth attendant (the physician or midwife) by examining the genitals of the infant. Considering that there is no law legally recognizing sex
reassignment, the determination of a person’s sex made at the time of his or her birth, if not attended by error,30is immutable.31

For these reasons, while petitioner may have succeeded in altering his body and appearance through the intervention of modern surgery, no law authorizes the
change of entry as to sex in the civil registry for that reason. Thus, there is no legal basis for his petition for the correction or change of the entries in his birth
certificate.

Neither May Entries in the Birth Certificate As to First Name or Sex Be Changed on the Ground of Equity

The trial court opined that its grant of the petition was in consonance with the principles of justice and equity. It believed that allowing the petition would cause no
harm, injury or prejudice to anyone. This is wrong.
The changes sought by petitioner will have serious and wide-ranging legal and public policy consequences. First, even the trial court itself found that the petition was
but petitioner’s first step towards his eventual marriage to his male fiancé. However, marriage, one of the most sacred social institutions, is a special contract of
permanent union between a man and a woman.37 One of its essential requisites is the legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a
female.38 To grant the changes sought by petitioner will substantially reconfigure and greatly alter the laws on marriage and family relations. It will allow the union of a
man with another man who has undergone sex reassignment (a male-to-female post-operative transsexual). Second, there are various laws which apply particularly
to women such as the provisions of the Labor Code on employment of women,39 certain felonies under the Revised Penal Code40 and the presumption of
survivorship in case of calamities under Rule 131 of the Rules of Court,41 among others. These laws underscore the public policy in relation to women which could be
substantially affected if petitioner’s petition were to be granted.

040 Republic vs Cagandahan

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 166676

Petitioner, Present:

- versus - Quisumbing, J., Chairperson,

JENNIFER B. CAGANDAHAN, Carpio Morales,

Respondent. Tinga,

VELASCO, JR., and

BRION, JJ.

Promulgated:

September 12, 2008

Facts:

On December 11, 2003, respondent Jennifer Cagandahan filed a Petition for Correction of Entries in Birth Certificate2 before the RTC, Branch 33 of Siniloan, Laguna.

In her petition, she alleged that she was born on January 13, 1981 and was registered as a female in the Certificate of Live Birth but while growing up, she developed
secondary male characteristics and was diagnosed to have Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) which is a condition where persons thus afflicted possess both
male and female characteristics. She further alleged that she was diagnosed to have clitoral hyperthropy in her early years and at age six, underwent an ultrasound
where it was discovered that she has small ovaries. At age thirteen, tests revealed that her ovarian structures had minimized, she has stopped growing and she has
no breast or menstrual development. She then alleged that for all interests and appearances as well as in mind and emotion, she has become a male person. Thus,
she prayed that her birth certificate be corrected such that her gender be changed from female to male and her first name be changed from Jennifer to Jeff.

The petition was published in a newspaper of general circulation for three (3) consecutive weeks and was posted in conspicuous places by the sheriff of the court.
The Solicitor General entered his appearance and authorized the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor to appear in his behalf.

To prove her claim, respondent testified and presented the testimony of Dr. Michael Sionzon of the Department of Psychiatry, University of the Philippines-Philippine
General Hospital. Dr. Sionzon issued a medical certificate stating that respondent’s condition is known as CAH. He explained that genetically respondent is female
but because her body secretes male hormones, her female organs did not develop normally and she has two sex organs – female and male. He testified that this
condition is very rare, that respondent’s uterus is not fully developed because of lack of female hormones, and that she has no monthly period. He further testified
that respondent’s condition is permanent and recommended the change of gender because respondent has made up her mind, adjusted to her chosen role as male,
and the gender change would be advantageous to her.

The RTC granted respondent’s petition in a Decision dated January 12, 2005.

Thus, this petition by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) seeking a reversal of the abovementioned ruling.

The OSG contends that the petition below is fatally defective for non-compliance with Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court because while the local civil registrar
is an indispensable party in a petition for cancellation or correction of entries under Section 3, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, respondent’s petition before the court a
quo did not implead the local civil registrar.5 The OSG further contends respondent’s petition is fatally defective since it failed to state that respondent is a bona
fide resident of the province where the petition was filed for at least three (3) years prior to the date of such filing as mandated under Section 2(b), Rule 103 of the
Rules of Court.6 The OSG argues that Rule 108 does not allow change of sex or gender in the birth certificate and respondent’s claimed medical condition known as
CAH does not make her a male.7

On the other hand, respondent counters that although the Local Civil Registrar of Pakil, Laguna was not formally named a party in the Petition for Correction of Birth
Certificate, nonetheless the Local Civil Registrar was furnished a copy of the Petition, the Order to publish on December 16, 2003 and all pleadings, orders or
processes in the course of the proceedings,8 respondent is actually a male person and hence his birth certificate has to be corrected to reflect his true
sex/gender,9 change of sex or gender is allowed under Rule 108,10 and respondent substantially complied with the requirements of Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of
Court.11

Issue: whether the trial court erred in ordering the correction of entries in the birth certificate of respondent to change her sex or gender, from female to male, on the
ground of her medical condition known as CAH, and her name from "Jennifer" to "Jeff," under Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court.

Held: No.

The determination of a person’s sex appearing in his birth certificate is a legal issue and the court must look to the statutes. In this connection, Article 412 of the Civil
Code provides:

ART. 412. No entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order.

Together with Article 376[16] of the Civil Code, this provision was amended by Republic Act No. 9048[17] in so far as clerical or typographical errors are involved.
The correction or change of such matters can now be made through administrative proceedings and without the need for a judicial order. In effect, Rep. Act No. 9048
removed from the ambit of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the correction of such errors. Rule 108 now applies only to substantial changes and corrections in entries in
the civil register.18

Under Rep. Act No. 9048, a correction in the civil registry involving the change of sex is not a mere clerical or typographical error. It is a substantial change for which
the applicable procedure is Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.19

The entries envisaged in Article 412 of the Civil Code and correctable under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court are those provided in Articles 407 and 408 of the Civil
Code:

ART. 407. Acts, events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons shall be recorded in the civil register.

ART. 408. The following shall be entered in the civil register:

(1) Births; (2) marriages; (3) deaths; (4) legal separations; (5) annulments of marriage; (6) judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning; (7) legitimations;
(8) adoptions; (9) acknowledgments of natural children; (10) naturalization; (11) loss, or (12) recovery of citizenship; (13) civil interdiction; (14) judicial determination
of filiation; (15) voluntary emancipation of a minor; and (16) changes of name.

The acts, events or factual errors contemplated under Article 407 of the Civil Code include even those that occur after birth.20

Respondent undisputedly has CAH. This condition causes the early or "inappropriate" appearance of male characteristics.

CAH is one of many conditions[21] that involve intersex anatomy. During the twentieth century, medicine adopted the term "intersexuality" to apply to human beings
who cannot be classified as either male or female.[22] The term is now of widespread use. According to Wikipedia, intersexuality "is the state of a living thing of a
gonochoristic species whose sex chromosomes, genitalia, and/or secondary sex characteristics are determined to be neither exclusively male nor female. An
organism with intersex may have biological characteristics of both male and female sexes."

Ultimately, we are of the view that where the person is biologically or naturally intersex the determining factor in his gender classification would be what the individual,
like respondent, having reached the age of majority, with good reason thinks of his/her sex. Respondent here thinks of himself as a male and considering that his
body produces high levels of male hormones (androgen) there is preponderant biological support for considering him as being male. Sexual development in cases of
intersex persons makes the gender classification at birth inconclusive. It is at maturity that the gender of such persons, like respondent, is fixed.

Respondent here has simply let nature take its course and has not taken unnatural steps to arrest or interfere with what he was born with. And accordingly, he has
already ordered his life to that of a male. Respondent could have undergone treatment and taken steps, like taking lifelong medication,[26] to force his body into the
categorical mold of a female but he did not. He chose not to do so. Nature has instead taken its due course in respondent’s development to reveal more fully his male
characteristics.

In the absence of a law on the matter, the Court will not dictate on respondent concerning a matter so innately private as one’s sexuality and lifestyle preferences,
much less on whether or not to undergo medical treatment to reverse the male tendency due to CAH. The Court will not consider respondent as having erred in not
choosing to undergo treatment in order to become or remain as a female. Neither will the Court force respondent to undergo treatment and to take medication in
order to fit the mold of a female, as society commonly currently knows this gender of the human species. Respondent is the one who has to live with his intersex
anatomy. To him belongs the human right to the pursuit of happiness and of health. Thus, to him should belong the primordial choice of what courses of action to
take along the path of his sexual development and maturation. In the absence of evidence that respondent is an "incompetent"[27] and in the absence of evidence to
show that classifying respondent as a male will harm other members of society who are equally entitled to protection under the law, the Court affirms as valid and
justified the respondent’s position and his personal judgment of being a male.
In so ruling we do no more than give respect to (1) the diversity of nature; and (2) how an individual deals with what nature has handed out. In other words, we
respect respondent’s congenital condition and his mature decision to be a male. Life is already difficult for the ordinary person. We cannot but respect how
respondent deals with his unordinary state and thus help make his life easier, considering the unique circumstances in this case.

As for respondent’s change of name under Rule 103, this Court has held that a change of name is not a matter of right but of judicial discretion, to be exercised in the
light of the reasons adduced and the consequences that will follow.[28] The trial court’s grant of respondent’s change of name from Jennifer to Jeff implies a change
of a feminine name to a masculine name. Considering the consequence that respondent’s change of name merely recognizes his preferred gender, we find merit in
respondent’s change of name. Such a change will conform with the change of the entry in his birth certificate from female to male.

041 Republic vs Uy 703 scra 425

G.R. No. 198010 August 12, 2013


REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, PETITIONER,
vs.
DR. NORMA S. LUGSANAY UY, RESPONDENT.

Facts:

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 Lugsanay 6 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 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.

Issue: Whether the petition should be dismissed for failure to implead indispensable parties?

Held: Yes.

Cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry is governed by Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.

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

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 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.

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.

042 Minoru Fujiki vs Marinay


G.R. No. 196049 June 26, 2013
MINORU FUJIKI, PETITIONER,
vs.
MARIA PAZ GALELA MARINAY, SHINICHI MAEKARA, LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR OF QUEZON CITY, AND THE ADMINISTRATOR AND CIVIL REGISTRAR
GENERAL OF THE NATIONAL STATISTICS OFFICE, RESPONDENTS.

Facts:

Petitioner Minoru Fujiki (Fujiki) is a Japanese national who married respondent Maria Paz Galela Marinay (Marinay) in the Philippines2 on 23 January 2004. The
marriage did not sit well with petitioner’s parents. Thus, Fujiki could not bring his wife to Japan where he resides. Eventually, they lost contact with each other.

In 2008, Marinay met another Japanese, Shinichi Maekara (Maekara). Without the first marriage being dissolved, Marinay and Maekara were married on 15 May
2008 in Quezon City, Philippines. Maekara brought Marinay to Japan. However, Marinay allegedly suffered physical abuse from Maekara. She left Maekara and
started to contact Fujiki.3

Fujiki and Marinay met in Japan and they were able to reestablish their relationship. In 2010, Fujiki helped Marinay obtain a judgment from a family court in Japan
which declared the marriage between Marinay and Maekara void on the ground of bigamy.4 On 14 January 2011, Fujiki filed a petition in the RTC entitled: "Judicial
Recognition of Foreign Judgment (or Decree of Absolute Nullity of Marriage)." Fujiki prayed that (1) the Japanese Family Court judgment be recognized; (2) that the
bigamous marriage between Marinay and Maekara be declared void ab initio under Articles 35(4) and 41 of the Family Code of the Philippines;5 and (3) for the RTC
to direct the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City to annotate the Japanese Family Court judgment on the Certificate of Marriage between Marinay and Maekara and
to endorse such annotation to the Office of the Administrator and Civil Registrar General in the National Statistics Office (NSO).6

A few days after the filing of the petition, the RTC immediately issued an Order dismissing the petition and withdrawing the case from its active civil docket.7 The RTC
cited the following provisions of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC):

Sec. 2. Petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages. –

(a) Who may file. – A petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the husband or the wife.
xxxx

Sec. 4. Venue. – The petition shall be filed in the Family Court of the province or city where the petitioner or the respondent has been residing for at least six months
prior to the date of filing, or in the case of a non-resident respondent, where he may be found in the Philippines, at the election of the petitioner. x x x

The RTC ruled, without further explanation, that the petition was in "gross violation" of the above provisions. The trial court based its dismissal on Section 5(4) of A.M.
No. 02-11-10-SC which provides that "[f]ailure to comply with any of the preceding requirements may be a ground for immediate dismissal of the
petition."8 Apparently, the RTC took the view that only "the husband or the wife," in this case either Maekara or Marinay, can file the petition to declare their marriage
void, and not Fujiki.

Fujiki moved that the Order be reconsidered. On 2 March 2011, the RTC resolved to deny petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. In its Resolution, the RTC stated
that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC applies because the petitioner, in effect, prays for a decree of absolute nullity of marriage. 21 The trial court reiterated its two grounds for
dismissal, i.e. lack of personality to sue and improper venue under Sections 2(a) and 4 of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC. The RTC considered Fujiki as a "third person"22 in
the proceeding because he "is not the husband in the decree of divorce issued by the Japanese Family Court, which he now seeks to be judicially recognized, x x
x."23 On the other hand, the RTC did not explain its ground of impropriety of venue. It only said that "[a]lthough the Court cited Sec. 4 (Venue) x x x as a ground for
dismissal of this case[,] it should be taken together with the other ground cited by the Court x x x which is Sec. 2(a) x x x."24

The RTC further justified its motu proprio dismissal of the petition based on Braza v. The City Civil Registrar of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental.25 The Court in
Braza ruled that "[i]n a special proceeding for correction of entry under Rule 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Original Registry), the trial court has no
jurisdiction to nullify marriages x x x."26 Braza emphasized that the "validity of marriages as well as legitimacy and filiation can be questioned only in a direct action
seasonably filed by the proper party, and not through a collateral attack such as [a] petition [for correction of entry] x x x."27

The RTC considered the petition as a collateral attack on the validity of marriage between Marinay and Maekara. The trial court held that this is a "jurisdictional
ground" to dismiss the petition.28 Moreover, the verification and certification against forum shopping of the petition was not authenticated as required under Section
529 of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC. Hence, this also warranted the "immediate dismissal" of the petition under the same provision.

The Solicitor General agreed with the petition. He prayed that the RTC’s "pronouncement that the petitioner failed to comply with x x x A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC x x x be
set aside" and that the case be reinstated in the trial court for further proceedings.32 The Solicitor General argued that Fujiki, as the spouse of the first marriage, is an
injured party who can sue to declare the bigamous marriage between Marinay and Maekara void. The Solicitor General cited Juliano-Llave v. Republic33 which held
that Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not apply in cases of bigamy. The Solicitor General contended that the petition to recognize the Japanese Family
Court judgment may be made in a Rule 108 proceeding.

The Solicitor General asserted that Rule 108 of the Rules of Court is the procedure to record "[a]cts, events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of
persons" in the civil registry as required by Article 407 of the Civil Code. In other words, "[t]he law requires the entry in the civil registry of judicial decrees that
produce legal consequences upon a person’s legal capacity and status x x x." 38 The Japanese Family Court judgment directly bears on the civil status of a Filipino
citizen and should therefore be proven as a fact in a Rule 108 proceeding.

Moreover, the Solicitor General argued that there is no jurisdictional infirmity in assailing a void marriage under Rule 108, citing De Castro v. De Castro39 and Niñal v.
Bayadog40 which declared that "[t]he validity of a void marriage may be collaterally attacked."41

Issue No.1: Whether the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) is applicable.

Held: No.

The Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) does not apply in a petition to recognize
a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of a foreign country. Moreover, in Juliano-Llave v. Republic,47 this Court
held that the rule in A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC that only the husband or wife can file a declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage "does not apply if the reason behind
the petition is bigamy."

For Philippine courts to recognize a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of a foreign country, the petitioner only
needs to prove the foreign judgment as a fact under the Rules of Court. To be more specific, a copy of the foreign judgment may be admitted in evidence and proven
as a fact under Rule 132, Sections 24 and 25, in relation to Rule 39, Section 48(b) of the Rules of Court.49 Petitioner may prove the Japanese Family Court judgment
through (1) an official publication or (2) a certification or copy attested by the officer who has custody of the judgment. If the office which has custody is in a foreign
country such as Japan, the certification may be made by the proper diplomatic or consular officer of the Philippine foreign service in Japan and authenticated by the
seal of office.50

To hold that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC applies to a petition for recognition of foreign judgment would mean that the trial court and the parties should follow its provisions,
including the form and contents of the petition,51 the service of summons,52 the investigation of the public prosecutor,53 the setting of pre-trial,54 the trial55 and the
judgment of the trial court.56 This is absurd because it will litigate the case anew. It will defeat the purpose of recognizing foreign judgments, which is "to limit
repetitive litigation on claims and issues."57 The interpretation of the RTC is tantamount to relitigating the case on the merits.

A foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage affects the civil status, condition and legal capacity of its parties. However, the effect of a foreign judgment is
not automatic. To extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines, Philippine courts must determine if the foreign judgment is consistent with domestic public
policy and other mandatory laws.60 Article 15 of the Civil Code provides that "[l]aws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of
persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad." This is the rule of lex nationalii in private international law. Thus, the Philippine State
may require, for effectivity in the Philippines, recognition by Philippine courts of a foreign judgment affecting its citizen, over whom it exercises personal jurisdiction
relating to the status, condition and legal capacity of such citizen.

A petition to recognize a foreign judgment declaring a marriage void does not require relitigation under a Philippine court of the case as if it were a new petition for
declaration of nullity of marriage. Philippine courts cannot presume to know the foreign laws under which the foreign judgment was rendered. They cannot substitute
their judgment on the status, condition and legal capacity of the foreign citizen who is under the jurisdiction of another state. Thus, Philippine courts can only
recognize the foreign judgment as a fact according to the rules of evidence.

There is therefore no reason to disallow Fujiki to simply prove as a fact the Japanese Family Court judgment nullifying the marriage between Marinay and Maekara
on the ground of bigamy. While the Philippines has no divorce law, the Japanese Family Court judgment is fully consistent with Philippine public policy, as bigamous
marriages are declared void from the beginning under Article 35(4) of the Family Code. Bigamy is a crime under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. Thus, Fujiki
can prove the existence of the Japanese Family Court judgment in accordance with Rule 132, Sections 24 and 25, in relation to Rule 39, Section 48(b) of the Rules
of Court.

Issue No.2: Whether a husband or wife of a prior marriage can file a petition to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying the subsequent marriage between his or her
spouse and a foreign citizen on the ground of bigamy.

Held: Yes.

Since the recognition of a foreign judgment only requires proof of fact of the judgment, it may be made in a special proceeding for cancellation or correction of entries
in the civil registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. Rule 1, Section 3 of the Rules of Court provides that "[a] special proceeding is a remedy by which a party
seeks to establish a status, a right, or a particular fact." Rule 108 creates a remedy to rectify facts of a person’s life which are recorded by the State pursuant to the
Civil Register Law or Act No. 3753. These are facts of public consequence such as birth, death or marriage,66 which the State has an interest in recording.

Rule 108, Section 1 of the Rules of Court states:

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. (Emphasis supplied)

Fujiki has the personality to file a petition to recognize the Japanese Family Court judgment nullifying the marriage between Marinay and Maekara on the ground of
bigamy because the judgment concerns his civil status as married to Marinay. For the same reason he has the personality to file a petition under Rule 108 to cancel
the entry of marriage between Marinay and Maekara in the civil registry on the basis of the decree of the Japanese Family Court.

There is no doubt that the prior spouse has a personal and material interest in maintaining the integrity of the marriage he contracted and the property relations
arising from it.

Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not preclude a spouse of a subsisting marriage to question the validity of a subsequent marriage on the ground of
bigamy. On the contrary, when Section 2(a) states that "[a] petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the husband or the
wife"75—it refers to the husband or the wife of the subsisting marriage. Under Article 35(4) of the Family Code, bigamous marriages are void from the beginning.
Thus, the parties in a bigamous marriage are neither the husband nor the wife under the law. The husband or the wife of the prior subsisting marriage is the one who
has the personality to file a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage under Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC.

When the right of the spouse to protect his marriage is violated, the spouse is clearly an injured party and is therefore interested in the judgment of the suit.

Issue No.3: Whether the Regional Trial Court can recognize the foreign judgment in a proceeding for cancellation or correction of entries in the Civil Registry under
Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.

Held: Yes.

In Braza v. The City Civil Registrar of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, this Court held that a "trial court has no jurisdiction to nullify marriages" in a special
proceeding for cancellation or correction of entry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.81 Thus, the "validity of marriage[] x x x can be questioned only in a direct
action" to nullify the marriage. Braza is not applicable because Braza does not involve a recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage where one
of the parties is a citizen of the foreign country.

To be sure, a petition for correction or cancellation of an entry in the civil registry cannot substitute for an action to invalidate a marriage. A direct action is necessary
to prevent circumvention of the substantive and procedural safeguards of marriage under the Family Code, A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC and other related laws. Among
these safeguards are the requirement of proving the limited grounds for the dissolution of marriage, 83 support pendente lite of the spouses and children,84 the
liquidation, partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses,85 and the investigation of the public prosecutor to determine collusion.86 A direct action for
declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage is also necessary to prevent circumvention of the jurisdiction of the Family Courts under the Family Courts Act of 1997
(Republic Act No. 8369), as a petition for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry may be filed in the Regional Trial Court "where the corresponding
civil registry is located."87 In other words, a Filipino citizen cannot dissolve his marriage by the mere expedient of changing his entry of marriage in the civil registry.
However, this does not apply in a petition for correction or cancellation of a civil registry entry based on the recognition of a foreign judgment annulling a marriage
where one of the parties is a citizen of the foreign country. There is neither circumvention of the substantive and procedural safeguards of marriage under Philippine
law, nor of the jurisdiction of Family Courts under R.A. No. 8369. A recognition of a foreign judgment is not an action to nullify a marriage. It is an action for Philippine
courts to recognize the effectivity of a foreign judgment, which presupposes a case which was already tried and decided under foreign law. The procedure in
A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not apply in a petition to recognize a foreign judgment annulling a bigamous marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of the foreign
country. Neither can R.A. No. 8369 define the jurisdiction of the foreign court.

In the recognition of foreign judgments, Philippine courts are incompetent to substitute their judgment on how a case was decided under foreign law. They cannot
decide on the "family rights and duties, or on the status, condition and legal capacity" of the foreign citizen who is a party to the foreign judgment. Thus, Philippine
courts are limited to the question of whether to extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines. In a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage
involving a citizen of a foreign country, Philippine courts only decide whether to extend its effect to the Filipino party, under the rule of lex nationalii expressed in
Article 15 of the Civil Code.

For this purpose, Philippine courts will only determine (1) whether the foreign judgment is inconsistent with an overriding public policy in the Philippines; and (2)
whether any alleging party is able to prove an extrinsic ground to repel the foreign judgment, i.e. want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or
clear mistake of law or fact. Upon recognition of the foreign judgment, this right becomes conclusive and the judgment serves as the basis for the correction or
cancellation of entry in the civil registry. The recognition of the foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is a subsequent event that establishes a new status,
right and fact92 that needs to be reflected in the civil registry. Otherwise, there will be an inconsistency between the recognition of the effectivity of the foreign
judgment and the public records in the Philippines.1âwphi1

However, the recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is without prejudice to prosecution for bigamy under Article 349 of the Revised Penal
Code.93 The recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is not a ground for extinction of criminal liability under Articles 89 and 94 of the Revised
Penal Code. Moreover, under Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code, "[t]he term of prescription [of the crime of bigamy] shall not run when the offender is absent from
the Philippine archipelago."

Since A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC is inapplicable, the Court no longer sees the need to address the questions on venue and the contents and form of the petition under
Sections 4 and 5, respectively, of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC.

043 People vs Merlinda Olaybar


G.R. No. 189538 February 10, 2014
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner,
vs.
MERLINDA L. OLAYBAR, Respondent.

Facts:

Respondent requested from the National Statistics Office (NSO) a Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) as one of the requirements for her marriage with her
boyfriend of five years. Upon receipt thereof, she discovered that she was already married to a certain Ye Son Sune, a Korean National, on June 24, 2002, at the
Office of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Palace of Justice. She denied having contracted said marriage and claimed that she did not know the alleged
husband; she did not appear before the solemnizing officer; and, that the signature appearing in the marriage certificate is not hers. 4 She, thus, filed a Petition for
Cancellation of Entries in the Marriage Contract, especially the entries in the wife portion thereof.5 Respondent impleaded the Local Civil Registrar of Cebu City, as
well as her alleged husband, as parties to the case.

On May 5, 2009, the RTC rendered the assailed Decision granting the petition. Finding that the signature appearing in the subject marriage contract was not that of
respondent, the court found basis in granting the latter’s prayer to straighten her record and rectify the terrible mistake.10

Petitioner, however, moved for the reconsideration of the assailed Decision on the grounds that: (1) there was no clerical spelling, typographical and other innocuous
errors in the marriage contract for it to fall within the provisions of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court; and (2) granting the cancellation of all the entries in the wife portion
of the alleged marriage contract is, in effect, declaring the marriage void ab initio.11

In an Order dated August 25, 2009, the RTC denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.

Contrary to petitioner’s stand, the RTC held that it had jurisdiction to take cognizance of cases for correction of entries even on substantial errors under Rule 108 of
the Rules of Court being the appropriate adversary proceeding required. Considering that respondent’s identity was used by an unknown person to contract marriage
with a Korean national, it would not be feasible for respondent to institute an action for declaration of nullity of marriage since it is not one of the void marriages under
Articles 35 and 36 of the Family Code.

Issue: Whether Rule 108 can be applied to the petition of Olaybar?

Held: Yes.

Rule 108 of the Rules of Court provides the procedure for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry. The proceedings may either be summary or
adversary. If the correction is clerical, then the procedure to be adopted is summary. If the rectification affects the civil status, citizenship or nationality of a party, it is
deemed substantial, and the procedure to be adopted is adversary. Since the promulgation of Republic v. Valencia19 in 1986, the Court has repeatedly ruled that
"even substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected through a petition filed under Rule 108, with the true facts established and the parties aggrieved by the
error availing themselves of the appropriate adversarial proceeding."20 An appropriate adversary suit or proceeding is one where the trial court has conducted
proceedings where all relevant facts have been fully and properly developed, where opposing counsel have been given opportunity to demolish the opposite party’s
case, and where the evidence has been thoroughly weighed and considered.21

It is true that in special proceedings, formal pleadings and a hearing may be dispensed with, and the remedy [is] granted upon mere application or motion. However,
a special proceeding is not always summary. The procedure laid down in Rule 108 is not a summary proceeding per se. It requires publication of the petition; it
mandates the inclusion as parties of all persons who may claim interest which would be affected by the cancellation or correction; it also requires the civil registrar
and any person in interest to file their opposition, if any; and it states that although the court may make orders expediting the proceedings, it is after hearing that the
court shall either dismiss the petition or issue an order granting the same. Thus, as long as the procedural requirements in Rule 108 are followed, it is the appropriate
adversary proceeding to effect substantial corrections and changes in entries of the civil register.22

In this case, the entries made in the wife portion of the certificate of marriage are admittedly the personal circumstances of respondent. The latter, however, claims
that her signature was forged and she was not the one who contracted marriage with the purported husband. In other words, she claims that no such marriage was
entered into or if there was, she was not the one who entered into such contract. It must be recalled that when respondent tried to obtain a CENOMAR from the NSO,
it appeared that she was married to a certain Ye Son Sune. She then sought the cancellation of entries in the wife portion of the marriage certificate.

In filing the petition for correction of entry under Rule 108, respondent made the Local Civil Registrar of Cebu City, as well as her alleged husband Ye Son Sune, as
parties-respondents. It is likewise undisputed that the procedural requirements set forth in Rule 108 were complied with. The Office of the Solicitor General was
likewise notified of the petition which in turn authorized the Office of the City Prosecutor to participate in the proceedings. More importantly, trial was conducted where
respondent herself, the stenographer of the court where the alleged marriage was conducted, as well as a document examiner, testified. Several documents were
also considered as evidence. With the testimonies and other evidence presented, the trial court found that the signature appearing in the subject marriage certificate
was different from respondent’s signature appearing in some of her government issued identification cards. 23 The court thus made a categorical conclusion that
respondent’s signature in the marriage certificate was not hers and, therefore, was forged. Clearly, it was established that, as she claimed in her petition, no such
marriage was celebrated.

To be sure, a petition for correction or cancellation of an entry in the civil registry cannot substitute for an action to invalidate a marriage. A direct action is necessary
to prevent circumvention of the substantive and procedural safeguards of marriage under the Family Code, A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC and other related laws. . While we
maintain that Rule 108 cannot be availed of to determine the validity of marriage, we cannot nullify the proceedings before the trial court where all the
parties had been given the opportunity to contest the allegations of respondent; the procedures were followed, and all the evidence of the parties had
already been admitted and examined. Respondent indeed sought, not the nullification of marriage as there was no marriage to speak of, but the
correction of the record of such marriage to reflect the truth as set forth by the evidence. Otherwise stated, in allowing the correction of the subject
certificate of marriage by cancelling the wife portion thereof, the trial court did not, in any way, declare the marriage void as there was no marriage to
speak of.

044 Onde vs Local Civil Registration of Las Piñas


G.R. No. 197174 September 10, 2014
FRANCLER P. ONDE, Petitioner,
vs.
THE OFFICE OF THE LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRATION OF LAS PIÑAS CITY, Respondent.

Facts:

Petitioner filed a petition2 for correction of entries in his certificate of live birth before the R TC and named respondent Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Las Pifias
City as sole respondent. Petitioner alleged that he is the illegitimate child of his parents Guillermo A. Onde and Matilde DC Pakingan, but his birth certificate stated
that his parents were married. His birth certificate also stated that his mother's first name is Tely and that his first name is Franc Ler. He prayed that the following
entries on his birth certificate be corrected as follows:

Entry From To
1) Date and place of marriage of his parents December 23, 1983 - Bicol Not Married
2) First name of his mother Tely Matilde
3) His first name Franc Ler Francler

In its Order dated October 7, 2010, the RTC dismissed the petition for correction of entries on the ground that it is insufficient in form and substance. It ruled that the
proceedings must be adversarial since the first correction is substantial in nature and would affect petitioner’s status as a legitimate child. It was further held that the
correction in the first name of petitioner and his mother can be done by the city civil registrar under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9048, entitled An Act Authorizing the City
or Municipal Civil Registrar or the Consul General to Correct a Clerical or Typographical Error in an Entry and/or Change of First Name or Nickname in the Civil
Registrar Without Need of a Judicial Order, Amending for this Purpose Articles 376 and 412 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.

In its Order dated March 1, 2011,the RTC denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration, as it found no proof that petitioner’s parents were not married on December
23, 1983.
Issues:

(1) whether the RTC erred in ruling that the correction on the first name of petitioner and his mother can be done by the city civil registrar under R.A. No. 9048

Held: On the first issue, we agree with the RTC that the first name of petitioner and his mother as appearing in his birth certificate can be corrected by the city civil
registrar under R.A. No. 9048. We note that petitioner no longer contested the RTC’s ruling on this point. 4 Indeed, under Section 15 of R.A. No. 9048, clerical or
typographical errors on entries in a civil register can be corrected and changes of first name can be done by the concerned city civil registrar without need of a judicial
order.

In Silverio v. Republic,6 we held that under R.A. No. 9048, jurisdiction over applications for change of first name is now primarily lodged with administrative officers.
The intent and effect of said law is to exclude the change of first name from the coverage of Rules 103 (Change of Name) and 108 (Cancellation or Correction of
Entries in the Civil Registry) of the Rules of Court, until and unless an administrative petition for change of name is first filed and subsequently denied. The remedy
and the proceedings regulating change of first name are primarily administrative in nature, not judicial. In Republic v. Cagandahan,7 we said that under R.A.No. 9048,
the correction of clerical or typographical errors can now be made through administrative proceedings and without the need for a judicial order. The law removed from
the ambit of Rule 108 of the Rules ofCourt the correction of clerical or typographical errors. Thus petitioner can avail of this administrative remedy for the correction of
his and his mother’s first name.

(2) whether the RTC erred in ruling that correcting the entry on petitioner’s birth certificate that his parents were married on December 23, 1983 in Bicol to "not
married" is substantial in nature requiring adversarial proceedings.

Held: The Court agreed with the RTC in ruling that correcting the entry on petitioner’s birth certificate that his parents were married on December 23, 1983 in Bicol to
"not married" is a substantial correction requiring adversarial proceedings. Said correction is substantial as it will affect his legitimacy and convert him from a
legitimate child to an illegitimate one. In Republic v. Uy,8 we held that corrections of entries in the civil register including those on citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or
filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, involve substantial alterations. 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 adversaryproceedings.9