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CORRECTION OF NAME G.R. No. 132980 March 25, 1999 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. GLADYS C.

LABRADOR, respondent. Summary proceedings provided under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court and Article 412 of the Civil Code may be used only to correct clerical, spelling, typographical and other innocuous errors in the civil registry. Substantial or contentions alterations may be allowed only in adversarial proceedings, in which all interested parties are impleaded and due process is observed. The Case Before us is a Petition for Review on certiorari seeking to set aside the March 5, 1998 Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City in Special Proceedings No. 6861-CEB. 1 The assailed Decision 2 ordered the civil registrar of Cebu City to make the necessary corrections in the birth certificate of Sarah Zita Caon Erasmo in the local civil registry, viz.: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered granting the petition. Accordingly, the erroneous entry with respect to the name of [the] child appearing in the birth certificate of Sarah Zita Caon Erasmo is hereby ordered SARAH ZITA CAON ERASMO to SARAH ZITA CAON and the erroneous entry in said birth certificate with respect to the name of [the] mother is likewise hereby ordered corrected from ROSEMARIE B. CAON to MARIA ROSARIO CAON. The Local Civil Registrar of Cebu City is hereby ordered to make the foregoing corrections in the birth records of SARAH ZITA CAON ERASMO and to issue a birth certificate reflecting said corrections. Furnish a copy of this Decision to the petitioner, her counsel, the Solicitor General, Asst. City Prosecutor Generosa C. Labra and the Local Civil Registrar of Cebu City. Disagreeing with the above disposition, the solicitor general brought this Petition directly to this Court on a pure question of law. 3 The Facts Respondent Gladys C. Labrador filed with the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City on September 26, 1997, a Petition for the correction of entries in the record of birth of Sarah Zita Erasmo, her niece. In her Petition, respondent alleged the following: 1. Petitioner is of legal age, married, a resident of 493-17, Archbishop Reyes Ave., Barrio Luz, Cebu City, where she can be served with the processes of this Honorable Court; 2. Respondent Local Civil, Registrar of Cebu City is impleaded herein in his official capacity; he can be served with summons and other processes of this Honorable Court in his office at the City Health Department, Cebu City; 3. Petitioner is the sister of Maria Rosario Caon who is presently residing in .the United States of America; 4. Sometime in 1986, petitioner's sister, Maria Rosario Caon, had a common law relationship with a certain Degoberto Erasmo, and during such cohabitation, petitioner's sister begot two (2) illegitimate children, one of which is SARAH ZITA B. ERASMO, who was born on April 27, 1988, as shown in her birth certificate, a copy of which is hereto attached as ANNEX "A";

5. During the registration of the birth of SARAH ZITA, petitioner's sister told the respondent Local Civil Registrar that she was not legally married to the father of SARAH ZITA; 6. However; herein respondent erroneously entered the name of Sarah Zita in her birth record as SARAH ZITA C. ERASMO, instead of SARAH ZITA CAON. Not only that, the name of petitioner's sister, being the mother, was also erroneously written by the herein respondent as Rosemarie Caon, instead of Maria Rosario Caon; 7. In order to straighten the record of birth of SARAH ZITA ERASMO and pursuant to Article 176 of the Family Code which provides: Art. 176. Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parental authority of the mother . . . [t]here is a need to correct the entry in the record of birth of SARAH ZITA ERASMO to SARAH ZITA CAON and to correct the name of her mother as appearing in her birth certificate from ROSEMARIE CAON to MARIA ROSARIO CAON. xxx xxx xxx On September 17, 1997, the trial court set the case for hearing on October 29, 1997. It also directed the publication of the notice of hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in Cebu City once a week for three consecutive weeks. 5 On October 29, 1997, evidence was presented to establish the jurisdiction of the trial court to hear the petition. 6 Respondent Labrador was represented by Atty. Bienvenido V. Baring; the Republic, by Assistant City Prosecutor Generosa C. Labra. When Respondent Labrador testified on January 8, 1998, she repeated the allegations in her Petition. She stated that Sarah Zita Erasmo was her niece because Maria Rosario Caon, the mother of the child, was her (respondent's) sister. On crossexamination, respondent explained that she was the one who had reported the birth of Sarah to the local civil registrar, to whom she had erroneously given "Rosemarie" as the first name of the child's mother, instead of the real one, "Maria Rosario." Labrador explained that her sister was more familiarly known as Rosemarie; thus, the error. Respondent likewise averred that Rosemarie and Maria Rosario were one and the same person, and that she had no other sister named Rosemarie. She added that Maria Rosario was abroad where she lived with her foreigner husband. 7 Labrador then formally offered her evidence which included Maria Rosario's birth certificate 8 and a certification from the Office of the Civil Registrar that it had no record of marriage between Maria Rosario Caon and Degoberto Erasmo. 9 Prosecutor Labra, who conducted the cross-examination, did not object to the evidence offered. The Trial Courts Ruling The trial court granted Respondent Labrador's Petition, ratiocinating as follows: From the evidence adduced, the Court is convinced that the allegations in the petition have been satisfactorily substantiated, the requisites for the publication have been complied with, and there is a need for the correction of the erroneous entries in the birth certificate of Sara Zita Caon Erasmo. The entry in said birth certificate with respect to the name of the child should be corrected from SARAH ZITA CAON ERASMO to SARAH ZITA CAON and the entry with respect to the name of the mother should be corrected from ROSEMARIE B. CAON to MARIA ROSARIO CAON.

The Issues Petitioner posits the following issues: (a) Whether or not a change in the record of birth in a civil registry, which affects the civil status of a person, from "legitimate" to "illegitimate" may be granted in a summary proceeding; (b) Whether or not Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of Court is the proper action to impugn the legitimacy of a child. The main issue is whether Rule 108 of the Rules of Court may be used to change the entry in a birth certificate regarding the filiation of a child. The Court's Ruling The petition is meritorious. The lower court erred in ordering the corrections. Main Issue: Rule 108 Inapplicable Petitioner contends at the summary proceedings under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court and Article 412 of the Civil Code may be used only to correct or change clerical or innocuous errors. It argues that Rule 108 "cannot be used to modify, alter or increase substantive rights, such as those involving the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the child, which respondent desires to do. The change sought will result not only in substantial correction in the child's record of birth but also in the child's rights which cannot be effected in a summary action." 10 We agree. This issue has been resolved in Leonor v. Court of Appeals. 11 In that case, Respondent Mauricio Leonor filed a petition before the trial court seeking the cancellation of the registration of his marriage to Petitioner Virginia Leonor. He alleged, among others, the nullity of their legal vows arising from the "non-observance of the legal requirements for a valid marriage." In debunking the trial court's ruling granting such petition, the Court held, as follows: On its face, the Rule would appear to authorize the cancellation of any entry regarding "marriages" in the civil registry for any reason by the mere filing of a verified petition for the purpose. However, it is not as simple as it looks. Doctrinally, only errors that can be canceled or corrected under this Rule are typographical or clerical errors, not material or substantial ones like the validity of a marriage. A clerical error is one which is visible to obvious to the understanding; error made by a transcriber; a mistake in copying or writing (Black vs. Republic, L-10869, Nov. 28, 1958); or some harmless and innocuous change such as a correction of name that is clearly misspelled or of a misstatement of the occupation of the parent (Ansalada vs. Republic, L-10226, Feb. 14, 1958). Where the effect of a correction in a civil registry will change the civil status of petitioner and her children from legitimate to illegitimate, the same cannot be granted except only in an adversarial proceeding. . . . Clearly and unequivocally, the summary procedure under Rule 108, and for that matter under Article 412 of the Civil Code cannot be used by Mauricio to change his and Virginia's civil status from married to single and of their three children from legitimate to illegitimate. . . . (Emphasis supplied.) Thus, where the effect of a correction of an entry in a civil registry will change the status of a person from "legitimate"

to "illegitimate," as in Sarah Zita's case, the same cannot be granted in summary proceedings. In Republic v. Valencia, 12 we likewise held that corrections involving the nationality or citizenship of a person were substantial could not be effected except in adversarial proceedings. It is undoubtedly true that if the subject matter of a petition is not for the correction of clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous nature, but one involving the nationality or citizenship, which is indisputably substantial as well as controverted, affirmative relief cannot be granted in a proceeding summary in nature. However, it is also true that a right in law may be enforced and a wrong may be remedied as long as the appropriate remedy is used. This Court adheres to the principle that even substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and the true facts established provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding. xxx xxx xxx What is meant by "appropriate adversary proceeding?" Black's Law Dictionary defines "adversary proceeding" as follows: One having opposing parties, contested, as distinguished from an ex parte application, one [in] which the party seeking relief has given legal warning to the other party, and afforded the latter an opportunity to contest it. Excludes an adoption proceeding. (Platt v. Magagnini, 187 p. 716, 718, 110 Was, 39) xxx xxx xxx 13 Thus, Valencia requires that a petition for a substantial correction or change of entries in the civil registry should have as respondents the civil registrar, as well as all other person who have or claim to have any interest that would be affected thereby. It further mandates that a full hearing, not merely a summary proceeding, be conducted. In the present case, the changes sought by Respondent Labrador were undoubtedly substantial: first, she sought to have the name appearing on the birth certificate changed from "Sarah Zita Erasmo" to "Sarah Zita Caon," thereby transforming the filiation of the child from legitimate to illegitimate. Second, she likewise sought to have the name of Sarah Zita's mother, which appeared as "Rosemarie" in the child' birth record, changed to "Maria Rosario." Pursuant to Valencia, an adversarial proceeding is essential in order to fully thresh out the allegations in respondent's petition. Sarah Zita and her purported parents should have been parties to the proceeding. After all, it would affect her legitimacy, as well as her successional and other rights. In fact, the change may also embarrass her because of the social stigma that illegitimacy may bring. The rights of her parents over her and over each other would also be affected. Furthermore, a change of name would affect not only the mother but possibly creditors, if any. Finally, no sufficient legal explanation has been given why an aunt, who had no appointment as guardian of the minor, was the partypetitioner. True, it would seem that an adversarial proceeding was conducted the trial court set the case for hearing and had the notice of hearing published in a newspaper of general circulation in Cebu City once a week for three consecutive weeks; a hearing was actually conducted, during which the resepondent and the petitioner were represented; the respondent was able to testify and be cross-examined by the petitioner's representative.

But such proceeding does not suffice. In Labayo-Rowe v. Republic, 14 Emperatriz Labayo-Rowe filed a petition seeking to change an entry in her child Victoria Miclat's birth certificate. Alleging that she had never been married to her daughter's father, she wanted to have her civil status appearing on the certificate changed from "married" to "single." This Court ruled that the trial court erred in granting Labayo-Rowe's petition, because the proper parties had not been impleaded; nor had the proceedings been sufficiently adversarial, viz.: In the case before Us, since only the Office of the Solicitor General was notified through, the Office of the Provincial Fiscal, representing the Republic of the Philippines as the only respondent, the proceedings taken, which [are] summary in nature, are short of what is required in cases where substantial alterations are sought. Aside from the Office of the Solicitor General, all other indispensable parties should have been made respondents. They include not only the declared father of the child but the child as well, together with the paternal grandparents, if any, as their hereditary rights would be adversely affected thereby. All other persons who may be affected by the change should be notified or represented. The truth is best ascertained under an adversary system of justice. The right of the child Victoria to inherit from her parents would be substantially impaired if her status would be changed from "legitimate" to "illegitimate". Moreover, she would be exposed to humiliation and embarrassment resulting from the stigma of an illegitimate filiation that she will bear thereafter. The fact that the notice of hearing of the petition was published in a newspaper of general circulation and notice thereof was served upon the State will not change the nature of the proceedings taken. Rule 108, like all other provisions of the Rules of Court, was promulgated by the Supreme Court pursuant to its rule-making authority under Section 13, Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution, which directs that such rules "shall not diminish, increase or modify, substantive rights." Said rule would thereby become an unconstitutional exercise which would tend to increase or modify substantive rights. This situation is not contemplated under Article 412 of the Civil Code. xxx xxx xxx 15 Even granting that the proceedings held to hear and resolve the petition before the lower court were "adversarial," it must be noted that the evidence presented by the respondent was not enough to fully substantiate her claim that Sarah Zita was illegitimate. Her evidence consisted mainly of her testimony and a certification from the civil registry of Cebu City that such office had no record of a marriage between Rosemarie/Maria Rosario Caon and Degoberto Erasmo. Unlike in other cases where Valencia was applied 16 Respondent Labrador was not able to prove the allegations in her petition. Indeed, respondent correctly cites Article 176 of the Family Code, which states that "illegitimate children shall use the surname[s] . . . of their mothers." But to enforce such provision, the proper recourse is an adversarial contest. It must be stressed that Rule 108 does not contemplate an ordinary civil action but a special proceeding. By its nature, this recourse seeks merely to correct clerical errors, and nor to grant or deny substantial rights. To hold otherwise is tantamount to a denial of due process to third parties and the whole world. WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The assailed Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City in SP. Proc. No. 6861-CEB is hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. No costs.

Let a copy of this Decision be served upon the local civil registrar of Cebu City. SO ORDERED. G.R. No. 170340 June 29, 2007 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. CARLITO I. KHO, MICHAEL KHO, MERCY NONA KHOFORTUN, HEDDY MOIRA KHO-SERRANO, KEVIN DOGMOC KHO (Minor), and KELLY DOGMOC KHO (Minor), respondents. Challenged via petition for review on certiorari is the October 27, 2005 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 78124 which affirmed the September 4, 2002 Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Butuan City, Branch 5 granting the prayer of respondents Carlito I. Kho (Carlito), Michael Kho, Mercy Nona Kho-Fortun, and Heddy Moira Kho-Serrano for the correction of entries in their birth certificates as well as those of Carlitos minor children Kevin and Kelly Dogmoc Kho. The undisputed facts are as follows: 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 Carlitos siblings Michael, Mercy Nona, and Heddy Moira. With respect to the birth certificates of Carlitos children, he prayed that the date of his and his wifes 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 Carlitos second name of "John" be deleted from his record of birth; and that the name and citizenship of Carlitos father in his (Carlitos) 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 registrar5 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 Carlitos 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 Carlitos father from "John Kho" to "Juan Kho" and the latters 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 latters citizenship. Petitioner also faulted the trial court for ordering the change of the name "Carlito John Kho" to "Carlito Kho" for noncompliance 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 petitioners appeal and affirmed the decision of the trial court. The CA found that Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of Court, which outlines the proper procedure for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry, was observed in the case. Regarding Carlitos minor children Kevin and Kelly, the appellate court held that the correction of their mothers first name from "Maribel" to "Marivel" was made to rectify an innocuous error. As for the change in the date of the marriage of Carlito and Marivel, albeit the CA conceded that it is a substantial alteration, it held that the date would not affect the minors filiation from "legitimate" to "illegitimate" considering that at the time of their respective births in 1991 and 1993, their father Carlitos first marriage was still subsisting as it had been annulled only in 1999. In light of Carlitos legal impediment to marry Marivel at the time they were born, their children Kevin and Kelly were illegitimate. It followed, the CA went on to state, that Marivel was not an indispensable party to the case, the minors having been represented by their father as required under Section 5 of Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court.

Further, the CA ruled that although Carlito failed to observe the requirements of Rule 103 of the Rules of Court, he had complied nonetheless with the jurisdictional requirements for correction of entries in the civil registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. The petition for correction of entry in Carlitos birth record, it noted, falls under letter "o" of the enumeration under Section 2 of Rule 108. 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 Carlitos name under Section 2 of Rule 103 of the Rules of Court were not satisfied because the Amended Petition failed to allege Carlitos prior three-year bona fide residence in Butuan City, and that the title of the petition did not state Carlitos aliases and his true name as "Carlito John I. Kho." Petitioner concludes that the same jurisdictional defects attached to the change of name of Carlitos father. The petition fails. It can not be gainsaid that the petition, insofar as it sought to change the citizenship of Carlitos mother as it appeared in his birth certificate and delete the "married" status of Carlitos 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 Carlitos 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 Carlitos 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. Labayo-Rowe v. Republic12 explains the raison d etre: x x x. The philosophy behind this requirement lies in the fact that the books making up the civil register and all documents relating thereto shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein contained. 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. x x x (Emphasis supplied) In Republic v. Valencia,13 however, this Court ruled, and has since repeatedly ruled, that even substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected through a petition filed under Rule 108.14 It is undoubtedly true that if the subject matter of a petition is not for the correction of clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous nature, but one involving nationality or citizenship, which is indisputably substantial as well as controverted, affirmative relief cannot be granted in a proceeding summary in nature. However, it is also true that a right in law may be

enforced and a wrong may be remedied as long as the appropriate remedy is used. This Court adheres to the principle that even substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and the true facts established provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding. xxxx What is meant by "appropriate adversary proceeding?" Blacks 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. x x x 15 (Emphasis, italics and underscoring supplied) 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.18 The pertinent provisions of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court read: SEC. 3. Parties. When cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil registrar is sought, the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding. SEC. 4. Notice and publication. Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall, by an order, fix the time and place for the hearing of the same, and cause reasonable notice thereof to be given to the persons named in the petition. The court shall also cause the order to be published once in a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the province. SEC. 5. Opposition. The civil registrar and any person having or claiming any interest under the entry whose cancellation or correction is sought may, within fifteen (15) days from notice of the petition, or from the last date of publication of such notice, file his opposition thereto. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) There is no dispute that the trial courts 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.

What surfaces as an issue is whether the failure to implead Marivel and Carlitos parents rendered the trial shor t of the required adversary proceeding and the trial courts judgment void. A similar issue was earlier raised in Barco v. Court of Appeals.21 That case stemmed from a petition for correction of entries in the birth certificate of a minor, June Salvacion Maravilla, to reflect the name of her real father (Armando Gustilo) and to correspondingly change her surname. The petition was granted by the trial court. Barco, whose minor daughter was allegedly fathered also by Gustilo, however, sought to annul the trial courts decision, claiming that she should have been made a party to the petition for correction. Failure to implead her deprived the RTC of jurisdiction, she contended. In dismissing Barcos petition, this Court held that the publication of the order of hearing under Section 4 of Rule 108 cured the failure to implead an indispensable party. The essential requisite for allowing substantial corrections of entries in the civil registry is that the true facts be established in an appropriate adversarial proceeding. This is embodied in Section 3, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, which states: Section 3. Parties. When cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register is sought, the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding. xxxx Undoubtedly, Barco is among the parties referred to in Section 3 of Rule 108. Her interest was affected by the petition for correction, as any judicial determination that June was the daughter of Armando would affect her wards share in the estate of her father. x x x. Yet, even though Barco was not impleaded in the petition, the Court of Appeals correctly pointed out that the defect was cured by compliance with Section 4, Rule 108, which requires notice by publication x x x. xxxx The purpose precisely of Section 4, Rule 108 is to bind the whole world to the subsequent judgment on the petition. The sweep of the decision would cover even parties who should have been impleaded under Section 3, Rule 108, but were inadvertently left out. x x x xxxx Verily, 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 Carlitos parents as parties to the proceeding.

Parenthetically, it seems highly improbable that Marivel was unaware of the proceedings to correct the entries in her childrens 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. It is also well to remember that the role of the court in hearing a petition to correct certain entries in the civil registry is to ascertain the truth about the facts recorded therein.24 With respect to the date of marriage of Carlito and Marivel, their certificate of marriage25 shows that indeed they were married on January 21, 2000, not on April 27, 1989. Explaining the error, Carlito declared that the date "April 27, 1989" was supplied by his helper, adding that he was not married to Marivel at the time his sons were born because his previous marriage was annulled only in 1999.26 Given the evidence presented by respondents, the CA observed that the minors were illegitimate at birth, hence, the correction would bring about no change at all in the nature of their filiation. With respect to Carlitos mother, it bears noting that she declared at the witness stand that she was not married to Juan Kho who died in 1959.27 Again, that testimony was not challenged by the city prosecutor. The documentary evidence supporting the deletion from Carlitos and his siblings birth certificates of the entry "Married" opposite the date of marriage of their parents, moreover, consisted of a certification issued on November 24, 1973 by St. Joseph (Butuan City) Parish priest Eugene van Vught stating that Juan Kho and Epifania had been living together as common law couple since 1935 but have never contracted marriage legally.28 A certification from the office of the city registrar, which was appended to respondents Amended Petition, likewise stated that it has no record of marriage between Juan Kho and Epifania.29 Under the circumstances, the deletion of the word "Married" opposite the "date of marriage of parents" is warranted. With respect to the correction in Carlitos birth certificate of his name from "Carlito John" to "Carlito," the same was properly granted under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. As correctly pointed out by the CA, the cancellation or correction of entries involving changes of name falls under letter "o" of the following provision of Section 2 of Rule 108:30 Section 2. Entries subject to cancellation or correction. Upon good and valid grounds, the following entries in the civil register may be cancelled or corrected: (a) births; (b) marriages; (c) deaths; (d) legal separation; (e) judgments of annulment of marriage; (f) judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning; (g) legitimations; (h) adoptions; (i) acknowledgments of natural children; (j) naturalization; (k) election, loss or recovery of citizenship; (l) civil interdiction; (m) judicial determination of filiation; (n) voluntary emancipation of a minor; and (o) changes of name. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Hence, while the jurisdictional requirements of Rule 103 (which governs petitions for change of name) were not complied with, observance of the provisions of Rule 108 suffices to effect the correction sought for. More importantly, Carlitos official transcript of record from the Urious College in Butuan City,31 certificate of eligibility from the Civil Service Commission,32 and voter registration record33 satisfactorily show that he has been known by his first name only. No prejudice is thus likely to arise from the dropping of the second name.

The correction of the mothers citizenship from Chinese to Filipino as appearing in Carlitos birth record was also proper. Of note is the fact that during the cross examination by the city prosecutor of Epifania, he did not deem fit to question her citizenship. Such failure to oppose the correction prayed for, which certainly was not respondents fault, does not in any way change the adversarial nature of the proceedings. Also significant to note is that the birth certificates of Carlitos siblings uniformly stated the citizenship of Epifania as "Filipino." To disallow the correction in Carlitos birth record of his mothers citizenship would perpetuate an inconsistency in the natal circumstances of the siblings who are unquestionably born of the same mother and father. Outside the ambit of substantial corrections, of course, is the correction of the name of Carlitos wife from "Maribel" to "Marivel." The mistake is clearly clerical or typographical, which is not only visible to the eyes, but is also obvious to the understanding34 considering that the name reflected in the marriage certificate of Carlito and his wife is "Marivel." Apropos is Yu v. Republic35 which held that changing the appellants Christian name of "Sincio" to "Sencio" amounts merely to the righting of a clerical error. The change of name from Beatriz Labayo/Beatriz Labayu to Emperatriz Labayo was also held to be a mere innocuous alteration, which can be granted through a summary proceeding.36 The same ruling holds true with respect to the correction in Carlitos marriage certificate of his fathers name from "John Kho" to "Juan Kho." Except in said marriage certificate, the name "Juan Kho" was uniformly entered in the birth certificates of Carlito and of his siblings.37 WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. G.R. No. 118387 October 11, 2001 MARCELO LEE, ALBINA LEE-YOUNG, MARIANO LEE, PABLO LEE, HELEN LEE, CATALINO K. LEE, EUSEBIO LEE, EMMA LEE, and TIU CHUAN, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and HON. LORENZO B. VENERACION and HON. JAIME T. HAMOY, in their capacities as Presiding Judge of Branch 47, Regional Trial Court of Manila and Branch 130, Regional Trial Court of Kalookan City, respectively and RITA K. LEE, LEONCIO LEE TEK SHENG in their personal capacities and ROSA K. LEEVANDERLEK, MELODY K. LEE-CHIN, LUCIA K. LEE TEK SHENG, JULIAN K. LEE, HENRY K. LEE, MARTIN K. LEE, VICTORIANO K. LEE, NATIVIDAD K. LEE-MIGUEL, and THOMAS K. LEE, represented by RITA K. LEE, respondents. This Petition for Review on Certiorari, with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction, seeks the reversal of the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals dated October 28, 1994 in CA-G.R. SP NO. 317862 . The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals upheld the Orders issued by respondents Judges Hon. Lorenzo B. Veneracion3 and Hon. Jaime T. Hamoy4 taking cognizance of two (2) separate petitions filed by private respondents before their respective salas for the cancellation and/or correction of entries in the records of birth of petitioners pursuant to Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of Court. This is a story of two (2) sets of children sired by one and the same man but begotten of two (2) different mothers. One set, the private respondents herein, are the children of Lee Tek Sheng and his lawful wife, Keh Shiok Cheng. The other set, the petitioners herein, are allegedly children of Lee Tek Sheng and his concubine, Tiu Chuan.

Rita K. Lee, Leoncio Lee Tek Sheng, Rosa K. Lee-Vanderlek, Melody K. Lee-Chin, Lucia K. Lee Tek Sheng-Ong, Julian K. Lee, Henry K. Lee, Martin K. Lee, Victoriano K. Lee, Natividad K. Lee-Miguel and Thomas K. Lee (hereinafter referred to as private respondents) filed two (2) separate petitions for the cancellation and/or correction of entries in the records of birth of Marcelo Lee, Albina Lee-Young, Mariano Lee, Pablo Lee, Helen Lee, Catalino K. Lee, Eusebio Lee, and Emma Lee (hereinafter referred to as petitioners). On December 2, 1992, the petition against all petitioners, with the exception of Emma Lee, was filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila and docketed as SP. PROC. NO. 92-636925 and later assigned to Branch 47 presided over by respondent Judge Lorenzo B. Veneracion. On February 3, 1993, a similar petition against Emma Lee was filed before the RTC of Kalookan and docketed as SP. PROC. NO. C-16746 and assigned to the sala of respondent Judge Jaime T. Hamoy of Branch 130. Both petitions sought to cancel and/or correct the false and erroneous entries in all pertinent records of birth of petitioners by deleting and/or canceling therein the name of "Keh Shiok Cheng" as their mother, and by substituting the same with the name "Tiu Chuan", who is allegedly the petitioners' true birth mother. The private respondents alleged in their petitions before the trial courts that they are the legitimate children of spouses Lee Tek Sheng and Keh Shiok Cheng who were legally married in China sometime in 1931. Except for Rita K. Lee who was born and raised in China, private respondents herein were all born and raised in the Philippines. Sometime in October, 1948, Lee Tek Sheng, facilitated the arrival in the Philippines from China of a young girl named Tiu Chuan. She was introduced by Lee Tek Sheng to his family as their new housemaid but far from becoming their housemaid, Tiu Chuan immediately became Lee Tek Sheng's mistress. As a result of their illicit relations, Tiu Chuan gave birth to petitioners. Unknown to Keh Shiok Cheng and private respondents, every time Tiu Chuan gave birth to each of the petitioners, their common father, Lee Tek Sheng, falsified the entries in the records of birth of petitioners by making it appear that petitioners' mother was Keh Shiok Cheng. Since the birth of petitioners, it was Tiu Chuan who gave maternal care and guidance to the petitioners. They all lived in the same compound Keh Shiok Cheng and private respondents were residing in. All was well, therefore, before private respondents' discovery of the dishonesty and fraud perpetrated by their father, Lee Tek Sheng. The tides turned after Keh Shiok Cheng's demise on May 9, 1989. Lee Tek Sheng insisted that the names of all his children, including those of petitioners', be included in the obituary notice of Keh Shiok Cheng's death that was to be published in the newspapers. It was this seemingly irrational act that piqued private respondents' curiosity, if not suspicion.7 Acting on their suspicion, the private respondents requested the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct an investigation into the matter. After investigation and verification of all pertinent records, the NBI prepared a report that pointed out, among others, the false entries in the records of birth of petitioners, specifically the following. 1. As per Birth Certificate MARCELO LEE (Annex F-1), their father, LEE TEK SHENG made it appear that he is the 12th child of Mrs. KEH SHIOK CHENG, but upon investigation, it was found out that her Hospital Records, the mother who gave birth to MARCELO LEE had given birth for the 1st time,

as per diagnosis of the attending physician, Dr. R. LIM, it was "GRAVIDA I, PARA I" which means "first pregnancy, first live birth delivery" (refer to: MASTER PATIENT'S RECORDS SUMMARY Annex I). Also, the age of the mother when she gave birth to MARCELO LEE as per record was only 17 years old, when in fact and in truth, KEH SHIOK CHENG's age was then already 38 years old. The address used by their father in the Master Patient record was also the same as the Birth Certificate of MARCELO LEE (2425 Rizal Avenue, Manila). The name of MARCELO LEE was recorded under Hospital No. 221768, page 73. 2. As per Birth Certificate of ALBINA LEE (Annex F-2), it was made to appear that ALBINA LEE was the third child which is without any rationality, because the 3rd child of KEH SHIOK CHENG is MELODY LEE TEK SHENG (Annex E-2). Note also, that the age of the mother as per Hospital Records jump (sic) from 17 to 22 years old, but the only age gap of MARCELO LEE and ALBINA LEE is only 2 years. 3. As per Birth Certificate of MARIANO LEE (Annex F-3), it was made to appear that MARIANO LEE was the 5th child, but the truth is, KEH SHIOK CHENG's 5th child is LUCIA LEE TEK SHENG (Annex E-4). As per Hospital Record, the age of KEH SHIOK CHENG was only 23 years old, while the actual age of KEH SHIOK CHENG, was then already 40 years old. 4. As per Birth Certificate of PABLO LEE (Annex F-4), it was made to appear that PABLO LEE was the 16th child of KEH SHIOK CHENG which is impossible to be true, considering the fact that KEH SHIOK CHENG have stopped conceiving after her 11th child. Also as per Hospital Record, the age of the mother was omitted in the records. If PABLO LEE is the 16th child of KEH SHIOK CHENG, it would only mean that she have (sic) given birth to her first born child at the age of 8 to 9 years, which is impossible to be true. Based on the birth record of MARIANO LEE in 1953, the recorded age of KEH SHIOK CHENG was 23 years old. Two years after PABLO LEE was born in 1955, the difference is only 2 years, so it is impossible for PABLO LEE to be the 16th child of KEH SHIOK CHENG, as it will only mean that she have (sic) given birth at that impossible age. 5. As per Birth Certificate of HELEN LEE (Annex F-5), it was made to appear that she is the 6th child of KEH SHIOK CHENG, but as per Birth Certificate of JULIAN LEE (Annex E5), he is the true 6th child of KEH SHIOK CHENG. Per Hospital Record, KEH SHIOK CHENG is only 28 years old, while KEH SHIOK CHENG'S true age at that time was 45 years old. 6. EMMA LEE has no record in the hospital because, as per complainant's allegation, she was born at their house, and was later admitted at Chinese General Hospital. 7. As per Birth Certificate of CATALINO LEE (Annex F-7), it was made to appear that he is the 14th child of KEH SHIOK CHENG, and that the age of KEH SHIOK CHENG a.k.a. Mrs. LEE TEK SHENG, jumped from 28 years old at the birth of HELEN LEE on 23 August 1957 to 38 years old at the birth of CATALINO LEE on 22 April 1959. 8. As per Birth Certificate of EUSEBIO LEE, the alleged last son of KEH SHIOK CHENG, the age of the mother is 48 years old. However, as per Hospital Record, the age of Mrs. LEE TEK SHENG, then was only 39 years old. Considering the fact, that at the time of MARCELO's birth on 11 May 1950. KEH SHIOK CHENG's age is 38 years old and at the time of EUSEBIO's birth, she is already 48 years old, it is already impossible that she could have given birth to 8 children in a span of only 10 years at her age. As per diagnosis, the alleged mother registered on EUSEBIO's birth indicate that she had undergone CEASARIAN SECTION, which Dr. RITA K. LEE said is not true.

In view of the foregoing facts, the NBI concluded that: 10. In conclusion, as per Chinese General Hospital Patients Records, it is very obvious that the mother of these 8 children is certainly not KEH SHIOK CHENG, but a much younger woman, most probably TIU CHUAN. Upon further evaluation and analysis by these Agents, LEE TEK SHENG, is in a quandary in fixing the age of KEH SHIOK CHENG possibly to conform with his grand design of making his 8 children as their own legitimate children, consequently elevating the status of his 2nd family and secure their future. The doctor lamented that this complaint would not have been necessary had not the father and his 2nd family kept on insisting that the 8 children are the legitimate children of KEH SHIOK CHENG.8 It was this report that prompted private respondents to file the petitions for cancellation and/or correction of entries in petitioners' records of birth with the lower courts. The petitioners filed a motion to dismiss both petitions SP. PROC. NO. 92-63692 and SP. PROC. NO. C-1674 on the grounds that: (1) resort to Rule 108 is improper where the ultimate objective is to assail the legitimacy and filiation of petitioners; (2) the petition, which is essentially an action to impugn legitimacy was filed prematurely; and (3) the action to impugn has already prescribed.9 On February 12, 1993, respondent Judge Veneracion denied the motion to dismiss SP. PROC. NO. 92-63692 for failure of the herein petitioners (defendants in the lower court) to appear at the hearing of the said motion.10 Then on February 17, 1993, Judge Veneracion issued an Order, the pertinent portion of which, reads as follows: Finding the petition to be sufficient in form and substance, the same is hereby given due course. Let this petition be set for hearing on March 29, 1993 at 8:30 in the morning before this Court located at the 5th Floor of the City Hall of Manila. Notice is hereby given that anyone who has any objection to the petition should file on or before the date of hearing his opposition thereto with a statement of the grounds therefor. Let a copy of this Order be published, at the expense of the petitioners, once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines. Let copies of the verified petition with its annexes and of this Order be served upon the Office of the Solicitor General, and the respondents, and be posted on the Bulletin Board of this Court, also at the expense of the petitioners. SO ORDERED.11 On the other hand, respondent Judge Hamoy issued an Order dated April 15, 1993 taking cognizance of SP. PROC. No. C1674, to wit: It appearing from the documentary evidence presented and marked by the petitioners that the Order of the Court setting the case for hearing was published in "Media Update" once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks, that is on February 20, 27, and March 6, 1993 as evidenced by the Affidavit of Publication and the clippings attached to the affidavit, and by the copies of the "Media Update" published on the aforementioned dates; further, copy of the order setting the case for hearing together with copy of the petition had been served upon the Solicitor General, City Prosecutor of Kalookan City, Civil Registrar of Kalookan City and the private respondents, the Court holds that the petitioners have complied with the jurisdictional requirements for the Court to take cognizance of this case.

xxx

xxx

xxx

SO ORDERED.12 Petitioners' attempts at seeking a reconsideration of the above-mentioned orders of Judge Veneracion and Judge Hamoy failed, hence their recourse to the Court of Appeals via a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Application for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction. Petitioners averred that respondents judges had acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the assailed orders allowing the petitions for the cancellation and/or correction of entries in petitioners' records of birth to prosper in the lower courts. In their petition before the Court of Appeals, the petitioners raised the following arguments: (1) Rule 108 is inappropriate for impugning the legitimacy and filiation of children; (2) Respondents judges are sanctioning a collateral attack against the filiation and legitimacy of children; (3) Respondents judges are allowing private respondents to impugn the legitimacy and filiation of their siblings despite the fact that their undisputed common father is still alive; (4) Respondents judges are entertaining petitions which are already timebarred; and (5) The petitions below are part of a forumshopping spree.13 Finding no merit in petitioners' arguments, the Court of Appeals dismissed their petition in a Decision dated October 28, 1994.14 Petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration of the said decision was also denied by the Court of Appeals in a Resolution dated December 19, 1994.15 Hence, this petition. 1. Petitioners contend that resort to Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of Court is improper since private respondents seek to have the entry for the name of petitioners' mother changed from "Keh Shiok Cheng" to "Tiu Chuan" who is a completely different person. What private respondents therefore seek is not merely a correction in name but a declaration that petitioners were not born of Lee Tek Sheng's legitimate wife, Keh Shiok Cheng, but of his mistress, Tiu Chuan, in effect a "bastardization of petitioners."16 Petitioners thus label private respondents' suits before the lower courts as a collateral attack against their legitimacy in the guise of a Rule 108 proceeding. Debunking petitioners' above contention, the Court of Appeals observed: xxx xxx xxx

As correctly pointed out by the private respondents in their comment . . . , the proceedings are simply aimed at establishing a particular fact, status and/or right. Stated differently, the thrust of said proceedings was to establish the factual truth regarding the occurrence of certain events which created or affected the status of persons and/or otherwise deprived said persons of rights.17 xxx xxx xxx

It is precisely the province of a special proceeding such as the one outlined under Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of Court to establish the status or right of a party, or a particular fact.18 The petitions filed by private respondents for the correction of entries in the petitioners' records of birth were intended to establish that for physical and/or biological reasons it was impossible for Keh Shiok Cheng to have conceived and given birth to the petitioners as shown in their birth records. Contrary to petitioners' contention that the petitions before

the lower courts were actually actions to impugn legitimacy, the prayer therein is not to declare that petitioners are illegitimate children of Keh Shiok Cheng, but to establish that the former are not the latter's children. There is nothing to impugn as there is no blood relation at all between Keh Shiok Cheng and petitioners.19 Further sanctioning private respondents' resort to Rule 108, the Court of Appeals adverted to our ruling in the leading case of Republic vs. Valencia20 where we affirmed the decision of Branch XI of the then Court of First Instance (CFI) of Cebu City ordering the correction in the nationality and civil status of petitioner's minor children as stated in their records of birth from "Chinese" to "Filipino", and "legitimate" to "illegitimate", respectively. Although recognizing that the changes or corrections sought to be effected are not mere clerical errors of a harmless or innocuous nature, this Court, sitting en banc, held therein that even substantial errors in a civil register may be corrected and the true facts established provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding.21 In the said case, we also laid down the rule that a proceeding for correction and/or cancellation of entries in the civil register under Rule 108 ceases to be summary in nature and takes on the characteristics of an appropriate adversary proceeding when all the procedural requirements under Rule 108 are complied with. Thus we held: "Provided 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 suit or proceeding is 'appropriate.' The pertinent sections of rule 108 provide: 'SECTION 3. Parties. When cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register is sought, the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding.' 'SECTION 4. Notice and publication. Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall, by an order, fix the time and place for the hearing of the same, and cause reasonable notice thereof to be given to the persons named in the petition. The court shall also cause the order to be published once in a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the province.' 'SECTION 5. Opposition. The civil registrar and any person having or claiming any interest under the entry whose cancellation or correction is sought may, within fifteen (15) days from notice of the petition, or from the last date of publication of such notice, file his opposition thereto.' "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. "If all these procedural requirements have been followed, a petition for correction and/or cancellation of entries in the record of birth even if filed and conducted under Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of Court can no longer be described as

"summary". There can be no doubt that when an opposition to the petition is filed either by the Civil Registrar or any person having or claiming any interest in the entries sought to be cancelled and/or corrected and the opposition is actively prosecuted, the proceedings thereon become adversary proceedings."22 (Emphasis supplied.) To the mind of the Court of Appeals, the proceedings taken in both petitions for cancellation and/or correction of entries in the records of birth of petitioners in the lower courts are appropriate adversary proceedings. We agree. As correctly observed by the Court of Appeals: In the instant case, a petition for cancellation and/or correction of entries of birth was filed by private respondents and pursuant to the order of the RTC-Manila, dated February 17, 1993, a copy of the order setting the case for hearing was ordered published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines. In the RTC-Kalookan, there was an actual publication of the order setting the case for hearing in "Media Update" once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks. In both cases notices of the orders were ordered served upon the Solicitor General, the Civil Registrars of Manila and Kalookan and upon the petitioners herein. Both orders set the case for hearing and directed the Civil Registrars and the other respondents in the case below to file their oppositions to the said petitions. A motion to dismiss was consequently filed by herein petitioners Marcelo, Mariano, Pablo, Helen, Catalino and Eusebio, all surnamed Lee, and Albina Lee-Young in the RTC-Manila, and an opposition was filed by Emma Lee in the RTC-Kalookan. In view of the foregoing, we hold that the petitions filed by the private respondents in the courts below by way of a special proceeding cancellation and/or correction of entries in the civil registers with the requisite parties, notices and publications could very well be regarded as that proper suit or appropriate action.23 (Emphasis supplied.) The petitioners assert, however, that making the proceedings adversarial does not give trial courts the license to go beyond the ambit of Rule 108 which is limited to those corrections contemplated by Article 412 of the New Civil Code or mere clerical errors of a harmless or innocuous nature.24 The petitioners point to the case of Labayo-Rowe vs. Republic,25 which is of a later date than Republic vs. Valencia,26 where this Court reverted to the doctrine laid down in earlier cases,27 starting with Ty Kong Tin vs. Republic,28 prohibiting the extension of the application of Rule 108 beyond innocuous or harmless changes or corrections. Petitioners contend that as held in Go, et al. vs. Civil Registrar,29 allowing substantial changes under Rule 108 would render the said rule unconstitutional as the same would have the effect of increasing or modifying substantive rights. At the outset, it should be pointed out that in the cited case of Labayo-Rowe vs. Republic,30 the reason we declared null and void the portion of the lower court's order directing the change of Labayo-Rowe's civil status and the filiation of one of her children as appearing in the latter's record of birth, is not because Rule 108 was inappropriate to effect such changes, but because Labayo-Rowe's petition before the lower court failed to implead all indispensable parties to the case. We explained in this wise: "x x x An appropriate proceeding is required wherein all the indispensable parties should be made parties to the case as required under Section 3, Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of Court.

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

per se. Rule 108 requires publication of the petition three (3) times, i.e., once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks (Sec.4). The Rule also requires inclusion as parties of all persons who claim any interest which would be affected by the cancellation or correction (Sec. 3). The civil registrar and any person in interest are also required to file their opposition, if any, within fifteen (15) days from notice of the petition, or from the last date of publication of such notice (Sec. 5). Last, but not the least, 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 (Sec. 7). Thus, we find no reason to depart from our ruling in Republic vs. Valencia,35 that Rule 108, when all the procedural requirements thereunder are followed, is the appropriate adversary proceeding to effect substantial corrections and changes in entries of the civil register. It must be conceded, however, that even after Republic vs. Valencia36 there continues to be a seesawing of opinion on the issue of whether or not substantial corrections in entries of the civil register may be effected by means of Rule 108 in relation to Article 412 of the New Civil Code. The more recent cases of Leonor vs. Court of Appeals37 and Republic vs. Labrador38 do seem to signal a reversion to the Ty Kong Tin ruling which delimited the scope of application of Article 412 to clerical or typographical errors in entries of the civil register. In Republic vs. Labrador, the Court held that Rule 108 cannot be used to modify, alter or increase substantive rights, such as those involving the legitimacy or illegitimacy of a child. We ruled thus: "This issue has been resolved in Leonor vs. Court of Appeals. In that case, Respondent Mauricio Leonor filed a petition before the trial court seeking the cancellation of the registration of his marriage to Petitioner Virginia Leonor. He alleged, among others, the nullity of their legal vows arising from the "non-observance of the legal requirements for a valid marriage." In debunking the trial court's ruling granting such petition, the Court held as follows: 'On its face, the Rule would appear to authorize the cancellation of any entry regarding "marriages" in the civil registry for any reason by the mere filing of a verified petition for the purpose. However, it is not as simple as it looks. Doctrinally, the only errors that can be canceled or corrected under this Rule are typographical or clerical errors, not material or substantial ones like the validity or nullity of a marriage. A clerical error is one which is visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding; error made by a clerk or a transcriber; a mistake in copying or writing (Black vs. Republic, L-10869, Nov. 28, 1958); or some harmless and innocuous change such as a correction of name that is clearly misspelled or of a misstatement of the occupation of the parent (Ansalada vs. Republic, L-10226, Feb. 14, 1958).' 'Where the effect of a correction in a civil registry will change the civil status of petitioner and her children from legitimate to illegitimate, the same cannot be granted except only in an adversarial x x x .' 'Clearly and unequivocally, the summary procedure under Rule 108, and for that matter under Article 412 of the Civil Code cannot be used by Mauricio to change his and Virginia's civil status from married to single and of their three children from legitimate to illegitimate x x x ' "Thus, where the effect of a correction of an entry in a civil registry will change the status of a person from "legitimate to "illegitimate," as in Sarah Zita's case, the same cannot be granted in summary proceedings."39

"The right of the child Victoria to inherit from her parents would be substantially impaired if her status would be changed from 'legitimate' to 'illegitimate'. Moreover, she would be exposed to humiliation and embarrassment resulting from the stigma of an illegitimate filiation that she will bear thereafter. The fact that the notice of hearing of the petition was published in a newspaper of general circulation and notice thereof was served upon the State will not change the nature of the proceedings taken. Rule 108, like all the other provisions of the Rules of Court, was promulgated by the Supreme Court pursuant to its rule-making authority under Section 13, Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution, which directs that such rules 'shall not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights.' If Rule 108 were to be extended beyond innocuous or harmless changes or corrections of errors which are visible to the eye or obvious to the understanding, so as to comprehend substantial and controversial alterations concerning citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, without observing the proper proceedings as earlier mentioned, said rule would thereby become an unconstitutional exercise which would tend to increase or modify substantive rights. This situation is not contemplated under Article 412 of the Civil Code."31 (italics supplied). Far from petitioners' theory, this Court's ruling in LabayoRowe vs. Republic32 does not exclude recourse to Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of Court to effect substantial changes or corrections in entries of the civil register. The only requisite is that the proceedings under Rule 108 be an appropriate adversary proceeding as contra-distinguished from a summary proceeding. Thus: "If the purpose of the petition [for cancellation and/or correction of entries in the civil register] is merely to correct the clerical errors which are visible to the eye or obvious to the understanding, the court may, under a summary procedure, issue an order for the correction of a mistake. However, as repeatedly construed, changes which may affect the civil status from legitimate to illegitimate, as well as sex, are substantial and controversial alterations which can only be allowed after appropriate adversary proceedings depending upon the nature of the issues involved. Changes which affect the civil status or citizenship of a party are substantial in character and should be threshed out in a proper action depending upon the nature of the issues in controversy, and wherein all the parties who may be affected by the entries are notified or represented and evidence is submitted to prove the allegations of the complaint, and proof to the contrary admitted x x x."33 (Emphasis supplied.) It is true that in special proceedings formal pleadings and a hearing may be dispensed with, and the remedy granted upon mere application or motion. But this is not always the case, as when the statute expressly provides.34 Hence, a special proceeding is not always summary. One only has to take a look at the procedure outlined in Rule 108 to see that what is contemplated therein is not a summary proceeding

It is, therefore, high time that we put an end to the confusion sown by pronouncements seemingly in conflict with each other, and perhaps, in the process, stem the continuing influx of cases raising the same substantial issue. The basis for the pronouncement that extending the scope of Rule 108 to substantial corrections is unconstitutional is embodied in the early case of Ty Kong Tin vs. Republic40 that first delineated the extent or scope of the matters that may be changed or corrected pursuant to Article 412 of the New Civil Code. The Supreme Court ruled in this case that: "x x x After a mature deliberation, the opinion was reached that what was contemplated therein are mere corrections of mistakes that are clerical in nature and not those that may affect the civil status or the nationality or citizenship of the persons involved. If the purpose of the petition is merely a clerical error then the court may issue an order in order that the error or mistake may be corrected. If it refers to a substantial change, which affects the status or citizenship of a party, the matter should be threshed out in a proper action depending upon the nature of the issue involved. Such action can be found at random in our substantive and remedial laws the implementation of which will naturally depend upon the factors and circumstances that might arise affecting the interested parties. This opinion is predicated upon the theory that the procedure contemplated in article 412 is summary in nature which cannot cover cases involving controversial issues."41 This doctrine was taken a step further in the case of Chua Wee, et al. vs. Republic42 where the Court said that: "From the time the New Civil Code took effect on August 30, 1950 until the promulgation of the Revised Rules of Court on January 1, 1964, there was no law nor rule of court prescribing the procedure to secure judicial authorization to effect the desired innocuous rectifications or alterations in the civil register pursuant to Article 412 of the New Civil Code. Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of Court now provides for such a procedure which should be limited solely to the implementation of Article 412, the substantive law on the matter of correcting entries in the civil register. Rule 108, like all the other provisions of the Rules of Court, was promulgated by the Supreme Court pursuant to its rulemaking authority under Section 13 of Art. VIII of the Constitution, which directs that such rules of court 'shall not diminish or increase or modify substantive rights.' If Rule 108 were to be extended beyond innocuous or harmless changes or corrections of errors which are visible to the eye or obvious to the understanding, so as to comprehend substantial and controversial alterations concerning citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, said Rule 108 would thereby become unconstitutional for it would be increasing or modifying substantive rights, which changes are not authorized under Article 412 of the New Civil Code."43 (Italics supplied). We venture to say now that the above pronouncements proceed from a wrong premise, that is, the interpretation that Article 412 pertains only to clerical errors of a harmless or innocuous nature, effectively excluding from its domain, and the scope of its implementing rule, substantial changes that may affect nationality, status, filiation and the like. Why the limited scope of Article 412? Unfortunately, Ty Kong Tin does not satisfactorily answer this question except to opine that the procedure contemplated in Article 412 is summary in nature and cannot, therefore, cover cases involving controversial issues. Subsequent cases have merely echoed the Ty Kong Tin doctrine without, however, shedding light on the matter.

The flaw in Ty Kong Tin lies in its theory that Article 412 contemplates a summary procedure. First of all, Article 412 is a substantive law that provides as follows: "No entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected, without a judicial order." It does not provide for a specific procedure of law to be followed except to say that the corrections or changes must be effected by judicial order. As such, it cannot be gleaned therefrom that the procedure contemplated for obtaining such judicial order is summary in nature. Secondly, it is important to note that Article 412 uses both the terms "corrected" and "changed". In its ordinary sense, to correct means to make or set right"; "to remove the faults or errors from"44 while to change means "to replace something with something else of the same kind or with something that serves as a substitute".45 The provision neither qualifies as to the kind of entry to be changed or corrected nor does it distinguish on the basis of the effect that the correction or change may have. Hence, it is proper to conclude that all entries in the civil register may be changed or corrected under Article 412. What are the entries in the civil register? We need not go further than Articles 407 and 408 of the same title to find the answer. "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." It is beyond doubt that the specific matters covered by the preceding provisions include not only status but also nationality. Therefore, the Ty Kong Tin pronouncement that Article 412 does not contemplate matters that may affect civil status, nationality or citizenship is erroneous. This interpretation has the effect of isolating Article 412 from the rest of the articles in Title XVI, Book I of the New Civil Code, in clear contravention of the rule of statutory construction that a statute must always be construed as a whole such that the particular meaning to be attached to any word or phrase is ascertained from the context and the nature of the subject treated.46 Thirdly, Republic Act No. 904847 which was passed by Congress on February 8, 2001 substantially amended Article 412 of the New Civil Code, to wit: "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." The above law speaks clearly. Clerical or typographical errors in entries of the civil register are now to be corrected and changed without need of a judicial order and by the city or municipal civil registrar or consul general. The obvious effect is to remove from the ambit of Rule 108 the correction or

changing of such errors in entries of the civil register. Hence, what is left for the scope of operation of Rule 108 are substantial changes and corrections in entries of the civil register. This is precisely the opposite of what Ty Kong Tin and other cases of its genre had said, perhaps another indication that it was not sound doctrine after all. It may be very well said that Republic Act No. 9048 is Congress' response to the confusion wrought by the failure to delineate as to what exactly is that so-called summary procedure for changes or corrections of a harmless or innocuous nature as distinguished from that appropriate adversary proceeding for changes or corrections of a substantial kind. For we must admit that though we have constantly referred to an appropriate adversary proceeding, we have failed to categorically state just what that procedure is. Republic Act No. 9048 now embodies that summary procedure while Rule 108 is that appropriate adversary proceeding. Be that as it may, the case at bar cannot be decided on the basis of Republic Act No. 9048 which has prospective application. Hence, the necessity for the preceding treatise. II. The petitioners contend that the private respondents have no cause of action to bring the cases below as Article 171 of the Family Code allows the heirs of the father to bring an action to impugn the legitimacy of his children only after his death.48 Article 171 provides: "The heirs of the husband may impugn the filiation of the child within the period prescribed in the preceding article only in the following cases: "(1) If the husband should die before the expiration of the period fixed for bringing this action; "(2) If he should die after the filing of the complaint, without having desisted therefrom; or "(3) If the child was born after the death of the husband." Petitioner's contention is without merit. In the recent case of Babiera vs. Catotal,49 we upheld the decision of the Court of Appeals that affirmed the judgment of the RTC of Lanao del Norte declaring the birth certificate of one Teofista Guinto as null and void ab initio, and ordering the Local Civil Registrar of Iligan City to cancel the same from the Registry of Live Births. We ruled therein that private respondent Presentacion Catotal, child of spouses Eugenio Babiera and Hermogena Cariosa, had the requisite standing to initiate an action to cancel the entry of birth of Teofista Babiera, another alleged child of the same spouses because she is the one who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or the party entitled to the avails of the suit.50 We likewise held therein that: "x x x Article 171 of the Family Code is not applicable to the present case. A close reading of the provision shows that it applies to instances in which the father impugns the legitimacy of his wife's child. The provision, however, presupposes that the child was the undisputed offspring of the mother. The present case alleges and shows that Hermogena did not give birth to petitioner. In other words, the prayer therein is not to declare that petitioner is an illegitimate child of Hermogena, but to establish that the former is not the latter's child at all x x x. ''51 Similarly, we ruled in Benitez-Badua vs. Court of Appeals52 that:

"Petitioner's insistence on the applicability of Articles 164, 166, 170 and 171 of the Family Code to the case at bench cannot be sustained. x x x. xxx xxx xxx

"A careful reading of the above articles will show that they do not contemplate a situation, like in the instant case, where a child is alleged not be the child of nature or biological child of a certain couple. Rather, these articles govern a situation where a husband (or his heirs) denies as his own a child of his wife. Thus, under Article 166, it is the husband who can impugn the legitimacy of said child by proving: (1) it was physically impossible for him to have sexual intercourse, with his wife within the first 120 days of the 300 days which immediately preceded the birth of the child; (2) that for biological or other scientific reasons, the child could not have been his child; (3) that in case of children conceived through artificial insemination, the written authorization or ratification by either parent was obtained through mistake, fraud, violence, intimidation or undue influence. Articles 170 and 171 reinforce this reading as they speak of the prescriptive period within which the husband or any of his heirs should file the action impugning the legitimacy of said child. Doubtless then, the appellate court did not err when it refused to apply these articles to the case at bench. For the case at bench is not one where the heirs of the late Vicente are contending that petitioner is not his child by Isabel. Rather, their clear submission is that petitioner was not born to Vicente and Isabel. Our ruling in Cabatbat-Lim vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 166 SCRA 451, 457 cited in the impugned decision is apropos, viz: 'Petitioners' recourse to Article 263 of the New Civil Code [now Art. 170 of the Family Code] is not well taken. This legal provision refers to an action to impugn legitimacy. It is inapplicable to this case because this is not an action to impugn the legitimacy of a child, but an action of the private respondents to claim their inheritance as legal heirs of their childless deceased aunt. They do not claim that petitioner Violeta Cabatbat Lim is an illegitimate child of the deceased, but that she is not the decedent's child at all. Being neither legally adopted child, nor an acknowledged natural child, nor a child by legal fiction of Esperanza Cabatbat, Violeta is not a legal heir of the deceased. "'53 III. Petitioners claim that private respondents' cause of action had already prescribed as more than five (5) years had lapsed between the registration of the latest birth among the petitioners in 1960 and the filing of the actions in December of 1992 and February of 1993.54 We disagree. As correctly pointed out by the Court of Appeals, inasmuch as no law or rule specifically prescribes a fixed time for filing the special proceeding under Rule 108 in relation to Article 412 of the New Civil Code, it is the following provision of the New Civil Code that applies: "Art. 1149. other actions whose periods are not fixed in this Code or in other laws must be brought within five years from the time the right of action accrues." The right of action accrues when there exists a cause of action, which consists of three (3) elements, namely: a) a right in favor of the plaintiff by whatever means and under whatever law it arises or is created; b) an obligation on the part of the defendant to respect such right; and c) an act or omission on the part of such defendant violative of the right of the plaintiff. It is only when the last element occurs or takes place that it can be said in law that a cause of action has arisen.55

It is indubitable that private respondents have a cause of action. The last element of their cause of action, that is, the act of their father in falsifying the entries in petitioners' birth records, occurred more than thirty (30) years ago. Strictly speaking, it was upon this occurrence that private respondents' right of action or right to sue accrued. However, we must take into account the fact that it was only sometime in 1989 that private respondents discovered that they in fact had a cause of action against petitioners who continue to use said falsified birth records. Hence, it would result in manifest injustice if we were to deprive private respondents of their right to establish the truth about a fact, in this case, petitioners' true mother, and their real status, simply because they had discovered the dishonesty perpetrated upon them by their common father at a much later date. This is especially true in the case of private respondents who, as their father's legitimate children, did not have any reason to suspect that he would commit such deception against them and deprive them of their sole right to inherit from their mother's (Keh Shiok Cheng's) estate. It was only sometime in 1989 that private respondents' suspicions were aroused and confirmed. From that time until 1992 and 1993, less than five (5) years had lapsed. Petitioners would have us reckon the five-year prescriptive period from the date of the registration of the last birth among the petitioners-siblings in 1960, and not from the date private respondents had discovered the false entries in petitioners' birth records in 1989. Petitioners base their position on the fact that birth records are public documents, hence, the period of prescription for the right of action available to the private respondents started to run from the time of the registration of their birth certificates in the Civil Registry. We cannot agree with petitioners' thinking on that point. It is true that the books making up the Civil Register and all documents relating thereto are public documents and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein contained.56 Petitioners liken their birth records to land titles, public documents that serve as notice to the whole world. Unfortunately for the petitioners, this analogy does not hold water. Unlike a title to a parcel of land, a person's parentage cannot be acquired by prescription. One is either born of a particular mother or not. It is that simple. IV. Finally, petitioners accuse private respondents of forum shopping. They enumerate the other actions filed by private respondents against them prior to the filing of their Rule 108 petitions in the lower courts, as follows: (1) A criminal complaint for falsification of entries in the birth certificates filed against their father as principal and against defendants as alleged accessories; (2) A petition for the cancellation of the naturalization certificate of their father, Lee Tek Sheng; and (3) A petition for partition of Keh Shiok Cheng's estate.57 According to the petitioners, all the three (3) actions abovementioned, as well as the Rule 108 petitions, subject of the case before us, raise the common issue of whether petitioners are the natural children of Keh Shiok Cheng or Tiu Chuan. They contend that in all these cases, the judge or hearing officer would have to resolve this issue in order to determine whether or not to grant the relief prayed for.58 Forum shopping is present when in the two or more cases pending there is identity of parties, rights or causes of action and reliefs sought.59 Even a cursory examination of the pleadings filed by private respondents in their various cases

against petitioners would reveal that at the very least there is no identity of rights or causes of action and reliefs prayed for. The present case has its roots in two (2) petitions filed under Rule 108, the purpose of which is to correct and/or cancel certain entries in petitioners' birth records. Suffice it to state, the cause of action in these Rule 108 petitions and the relief sought therefrom are very different from those in the criminal complaint against petitioners and their father which has for its cause of action, the commission of a crime as defined and penalized under the Revised Penal Code, and which seeks the punishment of the accused; or the action for the cancellation of Lee Tek Sheng naturalization certificate which has for its cause of action the commission by Lee Tek Sheng of an immoral act, and his ultimate deportation for its object; or for that matter, the action for partition of Keh Shiok Cheng's estate which has for its cause of action the private respondents' right under the New Civil Code to inherit from their mother's estate. We therefore concur in the finding of the Court of Appeals that there is no forum shopping to speak of in the concept that this is described and contemplated in Circular No. 28-91 of the Supreme Court. HCISED WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED and the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals dated October 28, 1994 is AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. CHANGE OF NAME G.R. No. 157043 February 2, 2007 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, TRINIDAD R.A. CAPOTE, Respondent. vs.

This petition for review on certiorari1 seeks to set aside the Court of Appeals (CA) decision2 dated January 13, 2003 in CA-G.R. CV No. 66128, which affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 23 of San Juan, Southern Leyte dated September 14, 1999 granting a petition for change of name. Respondent Trinidad R. A. Capote filed a petition for change of name of her ward from Giovanni N. Gallamaso to Giovanni Nadores on September 9, 1998. In Special Proceeding No. R481,3 Capote as Giovannis guardian ad litem averred: xxx xxx xxx 1. [Respondent] is a Filipino citizen, of legal age, married, while minor GIOVANNI N. GALLAMASO, is also a Filipino citizen, sixteen (16) years old and both are residents of San Juan, Southern Leyte where they can be served with summons and other court processes; 2. [Respondent] was appointed guardian [ad litem] of minor Giovanni N. Gallamaso by virtue of a court order in Special [Proc.] No. R-459, dated [August 18, 1998] xxx xxx authorizing her to file in court a petition for change of name of said minor in accordance with the desire of his mother [who is residing and working abroad]; 3. Both [respondent] and minor have permanently resided in San Juan, Southern Leyte, Philippines for more than fifteen (15) years prior to the filing of this instant petition, the former since 1970 while the latter since his birth [in 1982]; 4. The minor was left under the care of [respondent] since he was yet nine (9) years old up to the present; 5. Minor GIOVANNI N. GALLAMASO is the illegitimate natural child of Corazon P. Nadores and Diosdado Gallamaso. [He] was born on July 9, 1982 [,] prior to the effectivity of the New Family Code and as such, his mother used the surname of the natural father despite the absence of marriage between them;

and [Giovanni] has been known by that name since birth [as per his birth certificate registered at the Local Civil Register of San Juan, Southern Leyte]; 6. The father, Diosdado Gallamaso, from the time [Giovanni] was born and up to the present, failed to take up his responsibilities [to him] on matters of financial, physical, emotional and spiritual concerns. [Giovannis pleas] for attention along that line [fell] on deaf ears xxx xxx xxx; 7. [Giovanni] is now fully aware of how he stands with his father and he desires to have his surname changed to that of his mothers surname; 8. [Giovannis] mother might eventually petition [him] to join her in the United States and [his] continued use of the surname Gallamaso, the surname of his natural father, may complicate [his] status as natural child; and 9. The change of name [from] GIOVANNI N. GALLAMASO to GIOVANNI NADORES will be for the benefit of the minor. xxx xxx xxx4 Respondent prayed for an order directing the local civil registrar to effect the change of name on Giovannis birth certificate. Having found respondents petition sufficient in form and substance, the trial court gave due course to the petition.5 Publication of the petition in a newspaper of general circulation in the province of Southern Leyte once a week for three consecutive weeks was likewise ordered.6 The trial court also directed that the local civil registrar be notified and that the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) be sent a copy of the petition and order.7 Since there was no opposition to the petition, respondent moved for leave of court to present her evidence ex parte before a court-appointed commissioner. The OSG, acting through the Provincial Prosecutor, did not object; hence, the lower court granted the motion. After the reception of evidence, the trial court rendered a decision ordering the change of name from Giovanni N. Gallamaso to Giovanni Nadores.8 From this decision, petitioner Republic of the Philippines, through the OSG, filed an appeal with a lone assignment of error: the court a quo erred in granting the petition in a summary proceeding. Ruling that the proceedings were sufficiently adversarial in nature as required, the CA affirmed the RTC decision ordering the change of name.9 In this petition, the Republic contends that the CA erred in affirming the trial courts decision which granted the petition for change of name despite the non-joinder of indispensable parties.10 Petitioner cites Republic of the Philippines v. Labrador11 and claims that the purported parents and all other persons who may be adversely affected by the childs change of name should have been made respondents to make the proceeding adversarial.12 We deny the petition. "The subject of rights must have a fixed symbol for individualization which serves to distinguish him from all others; this symbol is his name."13 Understandably, therefore, no person can change his name or surname without judicial authority.14 This is a reasonable requirement for those seeking such change because a persons name necessarily affects his identity, interests and interactions. The State must be involved in the process and decision to change the name of any of its citizens.

The Rules of Court provides the requirements and procedure for change of name. Here, the appropriate remedy is covered by Rule 103,15 a separate and distinct proceeding from Rule 108 on mere cancellation and correction of entries in the civil registry (usually dealing only with innocuous or clerical errors thereon).16 The issue of non-joinder of alleged indispensable parties in the action before the court a quo is intertwined with the nature of the proceedings there. The point is whether the proceedings were sufficiently adversarial. Summary proceedings do not extensively address the issues of a case since the reason for their conduct is expediency. This, according to petitioner, is not sufficient to deal with substantial or contentious issues allegedly resulting from a change of name, meaning, legitimacy as well as successional rights.17 Such issues are ventilated only in adversarial proceedings wherein all interested parties are impleaded and due process is observed.18 When Giovanni was born in 1982 (prior to the enactment and effectivity of the Family Code of the Philippines),19 the pertinent provision of the Civil Code then as regards his use of a surname, read: Art. 366. A natural child acknowledged by both parents shall principally use the surname of the father. If recognized by only one of the parents, a natural child shall employ the surname of the recognizing parent. (emphasis ours) Based on this provision, Giovanni should have carried his mothers surname from birth. The records do not reveal any act or intention on the part of Giovannis putative father to actually recognize him. Meanwhile, according to the Family Code which repealed, among others, Article 366 of the Civil Code: Art. 176. Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parental authority of their mother, and shall be entitled to support in conformity with this Code. xxx xxx xxx (emphasis ours) Our ruling in the recent case of In Re: Petition for Change of Name and/or Correction/Cancellation of Entry in Civil Registry of Julian Lin Carulasan Wang20 is enlightening: Our laws on the use of surnames state that legitimate and legitimated children shall principally use the surname of the father. The Family Code gives legitimate children the right to bear the surnames of the father and the mother, while illegitimate children shall use the surname of their mother, unless their father recognizes their filiation, in which case they may bear the fathers surname. Applying these laws, an illegitimate child whose filiation is not recognized by the father bears only a given name and his mother surname, and does not have a middle name. The name of the unrecognized illegitimate child therefore identifies him as such. It is only when the illegitimate child is legitimated by the subsequent marriage of his parents or acknowledged by the father in a public document or private handwritten instrument that he bears both his mothers surname as his middle name and his fathers surname as his surname, reflecting his status as a legitimated child or an acknowledged child.1awphi1.net21 The foregoing discussion establishes the significant connection of a persons name to his identity, his status in relation to his parents and his successional rights as a legitimate or illegitimate child. For sure, these matters should not be taken lightly as to deprive those who may, in any way,

be affected by the right to present evidence in favor of or against such change. The law and facts obtaining here favor Giovannis petition. Giovanni availed of the proper remedy, a petition for change of name under Rule 103 of the Rules of Court, and complied with all the procedural requirements. After hearing, the trial court found (and the appellate court affirmed) that the evidence presented during the hearing of Giovannis petition sufficiently established that, under Art. 176 of the Civil Code, Giovanni is entitled to change his name as he was never recognized by his father while his mother has always recognized him as her child. A change of name will erase the impression that he was ever recognized by his father. It is also to his best interest as it will facilitate his mothers intended petition to have him join her in the United States. This Court will not stand in the way of the reunification of mother and son. Moreover, it is noteworthy that the cases cited by petitioner22 in support of its position deal with cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry, a proceeding separate and distinct from the special proceedings for change of name. Those cases deal with the application and interpretation of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court while this case was correctly filed under Rule 103. Thus, the cases cited by petitioner are irrelevant and have no bearing on respondents case. While the OSG is correct in its stance that the proceedings for change of name should be adversarial, the OSG cannot void the proceedings in the trial court on account of its own failure to participate therein. As the CA correctly ruled: The OSG is correct in stating that a petition for change of name must be heard in an adversarial proceeding. Unlike petitions for the cancellation or correction of clerical errors in entries in the civil registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, a petition for change of name under Rule 103 cannot be decided through a summary proceeding. There is no doubt that this petition does not fall under Rule 108 for it is not alleged that the entry in the civil registry suffers from clerical or typographical errors. The relief sought clearly goes beyond correcting erroneous entries in the civil registry, although by granting the petition, the result is the same in that a corresponding change in the entry is also required to reflect the change in name. In this regard, [appellee] Capote complied with the requirement for an adversarial proceeding by posting in a newspaper of general circulation notice of the filing of the petition. The lower court also furnished the OSG a copy thereof. Despite the notice, no one came forward to oppose the petition including the OSG. The fact that no one opposed the petition did not deprive the court of its jurisdiction to hear the same nor does it make the proceeding less adversarial in nature. The lower court is still expected to exercise its judgment to determine whether the petition is meritorious or not and not merely accept as true the arguments propounded. Considering that the OSG neither opposed the petition nor the motion to present its evidence ex parte when it had the opportunity to do so, it cannot now complain that the proceedings in the lower court were not adversarial enough.23 (emphasis supplied) A proceeding is adversarial where the party seeking relief has given legal warning to the other party and afforded the latter an opportunity to contest it.24 Respondent gave notice of the petition through publication as required by the rules.25 With this, all interested parties were deemed notified and the whole world considered bound by the judgment therein. In addition, the trial court gave due notice to the OSG by serving a copy of the petition on it. Thus, all the requirements to make a proceeding adversarial were satisfied when all interested parties, including petitioner as represented by the OSG, were afforded the opportunity to contest the petition.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED and the January 13, 2003 decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 66128 AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. [G.R. No. 159966. March 30, 2005] IN RE: PETITION FOR CHANGE OF NAME AND/OR CORRECTION/CANCELLATION OF ENTRY IN CIVIL REGISTRY OF JULIAN LIN CARULASAN WANG also known as JULIAN LIN WANG, to be amended/corrected as JULIAN LIN WANG, JULIAN LIN WANG, duly represented by his mother ANNA LISA WANG, petitioner, vs. CEBU CITY CIVIL REGISTRAR, duly represented by the Registrar OSCAR B. MOLO, respondent. I will not blot out his name out of the book of life. Revelation 3:5 On 22 September 2002, petitioner Julian Lin Carulasan Wang, a minor, represented by his mother Anna Lisa Wang, filed a petition dated 19 September 2002 for change of name and/or correction/cancellation of entry in the Civil Registry of Julian Lin Carulasan Wang. Petitioner sought to drop his middle name and have his registered name changed from Julian Lin Carulasan Wang to Julian Lin Wang. The petition was docketed as Special Proceedings Case No. 11458 CEB and raffled to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City, Branch 57. The RTC established the following 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 childs 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 persons 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 Singapores 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 petitionthat is, that petitioner Julian may be discriminated against when studies in Singapore because of his middle namedid not fall within the grounds recognized by law. The trial court ruled that the change sought is merely for the convenience of the child. Since the State has an interest in the name of a person, names cannot be changed to suit the convenience of the bearers. Under Article 174 of the Family Code, legitimate children have the right to bear the surnames of the father and the mother, and there is no reason why this right should now be taken from petitioner Julian, considering that he is still a minor. 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 174[7] of the Family Code. Petitioner contends that [W]ith globalization and mixed marriages, there is a need for the Supreme Court to rule on the matter of dropping of family name for a child to adjust to his new environment, for consistency and harmony among siblings, taking into consideration the best interest of the child.[8] It is argued that convenience of the child is a valid reason for changing the name as long as it will not prejudice the State and others. Petitioner points out that the middle name Carulasan will cause him undue embarrassment and the difficulty in writing or pronouncing it will be an obstacle to his social acceptance and integration in the Singaporean community. Petitioner also alleges that it is error for the trial court to have denied the petition for change of name until he had reached the age of majority for him to decide the name to use, contrary to previous cases[9] decided by this Court that allowed a minor to petition for change of name.[10] The Court required the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to comment on the petition. The OSG filed its Comment[11] positing that the trial court correctly denied the petition for change of name. The OSG argues that under Article 174 of the Family Code, legitimate children have the right to bear the surnames of their father and mother, and such right cannot be denied by the mere expedient of dropping the same. According to the OSG, there is also no showing that the dropping of the middle name Carulasan is in the best interest of petitioner, since mere convenience is not sufficient to support a petition for change of name and/or cancellation of entry.[12] The OSG also adds that the petitioner has not shown any compelling reason to justify the change of name or the dropping of the middle name, for that matter. Petitioners allegation that the continued use of the middle name may result in confusion and difficulty is allegedly more imaginary than real. The OSG reiterates its argument raised before the trial court that the dropping of the childs middle name could only trigger much deeper inquiries regarding the true parentage of petitioner. Hence, while petitioner Julian has a sister named Jasmine Wei Wang, there is no confusion since both use the surname of their father, Wang. Even assuming that it is customary in Singapore to drop the middle name, it has also not been shown that the use of such middle name is actually proscribed by Singaporean law.[13] We affirm the decision of the trial court. The petition should be denied. The Court has had occasion to express the view that the State has an interest in the names borne by individuals and entities for purposes of identification, and that a change of name is a privilege and not a right, so that before a person can be authorized to change his name given him either in his certificate of birth or civil registry, he must show proper or reasonable cause, or any compelling reason which may justify such change. Otherwise, the request should be denied.[14]

The touchstone for the grant of a change of name is that there be proper and reasonable cause for which the change is sought.[15] 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. Decided cases in this jurisdiction involving petitions for change of name usually deal with requests for change of surname. There are only a handful of cases involving requests for change of the given name[18] and none on requests for changing or dropping of the middle name. Does the law allow one to drop the middle name from his registered name? We have to answer in the negative. A discussion on the legal significance of a persons name is relevant at this point. We quote, thus: For all practical and legal purposes, a man's name is the designation by which he is known and called in the community in which he lives and is best known. It is defined as the word or combination of words by which a person is distinguished from other individuals and, also, as the label or appellation which he bears for the convenience of the world at large addressing him, or in speaking of or dealing with him. Names are used merely as one method of indicating the identity of persons; they are descriptive of persons for identification, since, the identity is the essential thing and it has frequently been held that, when identity is certain, a variance in, or misspelling of, the name is immaterial. The names of individuals usually have two parts: the given name or proper name, and the surname or family name. The given or proper name is that which is given to the individual at birth or baptism, to distinguish him from other individuals. The name or family name is that which identifies the family to which he belongs and is continued from parent to child. The given name may be freely selected by the parents for the child; but the surname to which the child is entitled is fixed by law. A name is said to have the following characteristics: (1) It is absolute, intended to protect the individual from being confused with others. (2) It is obligatory in certain respects, for nobody can be without a name. (3) It is fixed, unchangeable, or immutable, at least at the start, and may be changed only for good cause and by judicial proceedings. (4) It is outside the commerce of man, and, therefore,

inalienable and intransmissible by act inter vivos or mortis causa. (5) It is imprescriptible.[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 fathers surname.[22] Applying these laws, an illegitimate child whose filiation is not recognized by the father bears only a given name and his mothers surname, and does not have a middle name. The name of the unrecognized illegitimate child therefore identifies him as such. It is only when the illegitimate child is legitimated by the subsequent marriage of his parents or acknowledged by the father in a public document or private handwritten instrument that he bears both his mothers surname as his middle name and his fathers surname as his surname, reflecting his status as a legitimated child or an acknowledged illegitimate child. Accordingly, the registration in the civil registry of the birth of such individuals requires that the middle name be indicated in the certificate. The registered name of a legitimate, legitimated and recognized illegitimate child thus contains a given or proper name, a middle name, and a surname. Petitioner theorizes that it would be for his best interest to drop his middle name as this would help him to adjust more easily to and integrate himself into Singaporean society. In support, he cites Oshita v. Republic[23] and Calderon v. Republic,[24] which, however, are not apropos both. In Oshita, the petitioner therein, a legitimate daughter of a Filipino mother, Buena Bartolome, and a Japanese father, Kishimatsu Oshita, sought to change her name from Antonina B. Oshita to Antonina Bartolome. The Court granted her petition based on the following considerations: she had elected Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority; her other siblings who had also elected Philippine citizenship have been using their mothers surname; she was embarrassed to bear a Japanese surname there still being ill feeling against the Japanese due to the last World War; and there was no showing that the change of name was motivated by a fraudulent purpose or that it will prejudice public interest. In Calderon, the Court allowed petitioner Gertrudes Josefina del Prado, an illegitimate minor child acting through her mother who filed the petition in her behalf, to change her name to Gertudes Josefina Calderon, taking the surname of her stepfather, Romeo C. Calderon, her mothers husband. The Court held that a petition for change of name of an infant should be granted where to do is clearly for the best interest of the child. The Court took into consideration the opportunity provided for the minor petitioner to eliminate the stigma of illegitimacy which she would carry if she continued to use the surname of her illegitimate father. The Court pronounced that justice dictates that every person be allowed to avail of any opportunity to improve his social standing as long as doing so he does not cause prejudice or injury to the interests of the State or of other people. Petitioner cites Alfon v. Republic,[25] in arguing that although Article 174 of the Family Code gives the legitimate child the

right to use the surnames of the father and the mother, it is not mandatory such that the child could use only one family name, even the family name of the mother. In Alfon, the petitioner therein, the legitimate daughter of Filomeno Duterte and Estrella Alfon, sought to change her name from Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte (her name as registered in the Local Civil Registry) to Estrella S. Alfon (the name she had been using since childhood, in her school records and in her voters registration). The trial court denied her petition but this Court overturned the denial, ruling that while Article 364 of the Civil Code states that she, as a legitimate child, should principally use the surname of her father, there is no legal obstacle for her to choose to use the surname of herm other to which she is entitled. In addition, the Court found that there was ample justification to grant her petition, i.e., to avoid confusion. Weighing petitioners reason of convenience for the change of his name against the standards set in the cases he cites to support his contention would show that his justification is amorphous, to say the least, and could not warrant favorable action on his petition. The factual antecedents and unique circumstances of the cited cases are not at all analogous to the case at bar. The instant case is clearly distinguishable from the cases of Oshita and Alfon, where the petitioners were already of age when they filed their petitions for change of name. Being of age, they are considered to have exercised their discretion and judgment, fully knowing the effects of their decision to change their surnames. It can also be unmistakably observed that the reason for the grant of the petitions for change of name in these two cases was the presence of reasonable or compelling grounds therefore. The Court, in Oshita, recognized the tangible animosity most Filipinos had during that time against the Japanese as a result of World War II, in addition to the fact of therein petitioners election of Philippine citizenship. In Alfon, the Court granted the petition since the petitioner had been known since childhood by a name different from her registered name and she had not used her registered name in her school records and voters registration records; thus, denying the petition would only result to confusion. Calderon, on the other hand, granted the petition for change of name filed by a mother in behalf of her illegitimate minor child. Petitioner cites this case to buttress his argument that he does not have to reach the age of majority to petition for change of name. However, it is manifest in Calderon that the Court, in granting the petition for change of name, gave paramount consideration to the best interests of the minor petitioner therein. In the case at bar, the only reason advanced by petitioner for the dropping his middle name is convenience. However, how such change of name would make his integration into Singaporean society easier and convenient is not clearly established. That the continued use of his middle name would cause confusion and difficulty does not constitute proper and reasonable cause to drop it from his registered complete name. In addition, petitioner is only a minor. Considering the nebulous foundation on which his petition for change of name is based, it is best that the matter of change of his name be left to his judgment and discretion when he reaches the age of majority.[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. WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Petition for Review on Certiorari is DENIED. SO ORDERED.

RULE 109 G.R. No. 174873 August 26, 2008 QUASHA ANCHETA PEA AND NOLASCO LAW OFFICE FOR ITS OWN BEHALF, AND REPRESENTING THE HEIRS OF RAYMOND TRIVIERE, petitioners, vs. LCN CONSTRUCTION CORP., respondent. This is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court with petitioners Quasha Ancheta Pea and Nolasco Law Office (Quasha Law Office) and the Heirs of Raymond Triviere praying for the reversal of the Decision1 dated 11 May 2006 and Resolution2 dated 22 September 2006 of the Court of Appeals granting in part the Petition for Certiorari filed by respondent LCN Construction Corporation (LCN) in CA-G.R. SP No. 81296. The factual antecedents of the case are as follows: Raymond Triviere passed away on 14 December 1987. On 13 January 1988, proceedings for the settlement of his intestate estate were instituted by his widow, Amy Consuelo Triviere, before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch 63 of the National Capital Region (NCR), docketed as Special Proceedings Case No. M-1678. Atty. Enrique P. Syquia (Syquia) and Atty. William H. Quasha (Quasha) of the Quasha Law Office, representing the widow and children of the late Raymond Triviere, respectively, were appointed administrators of the estate of the deceased in April 1988. As administrators, Atty. Syquia and Atty. Quasha incurred expenses for the payment of real estate taxes, security services, and the preservation and administration of the estate, as well as litigation expenses. In February 1995, Atty. Syquia and Atty. Quasha filed before the RTC a Motion for Payment of their litigation expenses. Citing their failure to submit an accounting of the assets and liabilities of the estate under administration, the RTC denied in May 1995 the Motion for Payment of Atty. Syquia and Atty. Quasha. In 1996, Atty. Quasha also passed away. Atty. Redentor Zapata (Zapata), also of the Quasha Law Office, took over as the counsel of the Triviere children, and continued to help Atty. Syquia in the settlement of the estate. On 6 September 2002, Atty. Syquia and Atty. Zapata filed another Motion for Payment,3 for their own behalf and for their respective clients, presenting the following allegations: (1) That the instant Petition was filed on January 13, 1988; and Atty. Enrique P. Syquia was appointed Administrator by the Order of this Honorable Court dated April 12, 1988, and discharged his duties starting April 22, 1988, after properly posting his administrator's bond up to this date, or more than fourteen (14) years later. Previously, there was the coadministrator Atty. William H. Quasha, but he has already passed away. (2) That, together with Co-administrator Atty. William H. Quasha, they have performed diligently and conscientiously their duties as Co-administrators, having paid the required Estate tax and settled the various claims against the Estate, totaling approximately twenty (20) claims, and the only remaining claim is the unmeritorious claim of LCN Construction Corp., now pending before this Honorable Court; (3) That for all their work since April 22, 1988, up to July 1992, or for four (4) years, they were only given the amount of P20,000.00 each on November 28, 1988; and another P50,00.00 each on October 1991; and the amount of P100,000.00 each on July 1992; or a total of P170,000.00 to cover their administration fees, counsel fees and expenses;

(4) That through their work, they were able to settle all the testate (sic) claims except the remaining baseless claim of LCN Construction Corp., and were able to dismiss two (2) foreign claims, and were also able to increase the monetary value of the estate from roughly over P1Million to the present P4,738,558.63 as of August 25, 2002 and maturing on September 27, 2002; and the money has always been with the Philippine National Bank, as per the Order of this Honorable Court; (5) That since July 1992, when the co-administrators were paid P100,000.00 each, nothing has been paid to either Administrator Syquia or his client, the widow Consuelo Triviere; nor to the Quasha Law Offices or their clients, the children of the deceased Raymond Triviere; (6) That as this Honorable Court will notice, Administrator Syquia has always been present during the hearings held for the many years of this case; and the Quasha Law Offices has always been represented by its counsel, Atty. Redentor C. Zapata; and after all these years, their clients have not been given a part of their share in the estate; (7) That Administrator Syquia, who is a lawyer, is entitled to additional Administrator's fees since, as provided in Section 7, Rule 85 of the Revised Rules of Court: "x x x where the estate is large, and the settlement has been attended with great difficulty, and has required a high degree of capacity on the part of the executor or administrator, a greater sum may be allowed" In addition, Atty. Zapata has also been present in all the years of this case. In addition, they have spent for all the costs of litigation especially the transcripts, as out-of-pocket expenses. (8) That considering all the foregoing, especially the fact that neither the Administrator or his client, the widow; and the Quasha Law Offices or their clients, the children of the deceased, have received any money for more than ten (10) years now, they respectfully move that the amount of P1Million be taken from the Estate funds, to be divided as follows: a) P450,000.00 as share of the children of the deceased [Triviere] who are represented by the Quasha Ancheta Pea & Nolasco Law Offices; b) P200,000.00 as attorney's fees and litigation expenses for the Quasha Ancheta Pea & Nolasco Law Offices; c) P150,000.00 as share for the widow of the deceased [Raymond Triviere], Amy Consuelo Triviere; and d) P200,000.00 for the administrator Syquia, who is also the counsel of the widow; and for litigation costs and expenses. LCN, as the only remaining claimant4 against the Intestate Estate of the Late Raymond Triviere in Special Proceedings Case No. M-1678, filed its Comment on/Opposition to the afore-quoted Motion on 2 October 2002. LCN countered that the RTC had already resolved the issue of payment of litigation expenses when it denied the first Motion for Payment filed by Atty. Syquia and Atty. Quasha for failure of the administrators to submit an accounting of the assets and expenses of the estate as required by the court. LCN also averred that the administrators and the heirs of the late Raymond Triviere had earlier agreed to fix the former's fees at only 5% of the gross estate, based on which, per the computation of LCN, the administrators were even overpaid P55,000.00. LCN further asserted that contrary to what was stated in the second Motion for Payment, Section 7, Rule 85 of the Revised Rules of Court was inapplicable,5 since the

administrators failed to establish that the estate was large, or that its settlement was attended with great difficulty, or required a high degree of capacity on the part of the administrators. Finally, LCN argued that its claims are still outstanding and chargeable against the estate of the late Raymond Triviere; thus, no distribution should be allowed until they have been paid; especially considering that as of 25 August 2002, the claim of LCN against the estate of the late Raymond Triviere amounted to P6,016,570.65 as against the remaining assets of the estate totaling P4,738,558.63, rendering the latter insolvent. On 12 June 2003, the RTC issued its Order6 taking note that "the widow and the heirs of the deceased Triviere, after all the years, have not received their respective share (sic) in the Estate x x x." The RTC declared that there was no more need for accounting of the assets and liabilities of the estate considering that: [T]here appears to be no need for an accounting as the estate has no more assets except the money deposited with the Union Bank of the Philippines under Savings Account No. 12097-000656-0 x x x; on the estate taxes, records shows (sic) that the BIR Revenue Region No. 4-B2 Makati had issued a certificate dated April 27, 1988 indicating that the estate taxes has been fully paid.7 As to the payment of fees of Atty. Syquia and the Quasha Law Office, the RTC found as follows: [B]oth the Co-Administrator and counsel for the deceased (sic) are entitled to the payment for the services they have rendered and accomplished for the estate and the heirs of the deceased as they have over a decade now spent so much time, labor and skill to accomplish the task assigned to them; and the last time the administrators obtained their fees was in 1992.8 Hence, the RTC granted the second Motion for Payment; however, it reduced the sums to be paid, to wit: In view of the foregoing considerations, the instant motion is hereby GRANTED. The sums to be paid to the coadministrator and counsel for the heirs of the deceased Triviere are however reduced. Accordingly, the co-administrator Atty. Syquia and aforenamed counsel are authorized to pay to be sourced from the Estate of the deceased as follows: a) P450,000.00 as share of the children of the deceased who are represented by the Quasha, Ancheta, Pena, Nolasco Law Offices; b) P100,000.00 as attorney's fees and litigation expenses for said law firm; c) P150,000.00 as share for the widow of the deceased Amy Consuelo Triviere; and d) P100,000.00 for the Co-administrator Atty. Enrique P. Syquia and for litigation costs and expenses.9 LCN filed a Motion for Reconsideration10 of the foregoing Order on 2 July 2003, but it was denied by the RTC on 29 October 2003.11 On 13 May 2004, LCN sought recourse from the Court of Appeals by assailing in CA-G.R. SP No. 81296, a Petition for Certiorari, the RTC Orders dated 12 June 2003 and 2 July 2003, for having been rendered with grave abuse of discretion.12 LCN maintained that:

(1) The administrator's claim for attorney's fees, aside from being prohibited under paragraph 3, Section 7 of Rule 85 is, together with administration and litigation expenses, in the nature of a claim against the estate which should be ventilated and resolved pursuant to Section 8 of Rule 86; (2) The awards violate Section 1, Rule 90 of the Rules of Court, as there still exists its (LCN's) unpaid claim in the sum of P6,016,570.65; and (3) The alleged deliberate failure of the co-administrators to submit an accounting of the assets and liabilities of the estate does not warrant the Court's favorable action on the motion for payment.13 On 11 May 2006, the Court of Appeals promulgated a Decision essentially ruling in favor of LCN. While the Court of Appeals conceded that Atty. Syquia and the Quasha Law Office, as the administrators of the estate of the late Raymond Triviere, were entitled to administrator's fees and litigation expenses, they could not claim the same from the funds of the estate. Referring to Section 7, Rule 85 of the Revised Rules of Court, the appellate court reasoned that the award of expenses and fees in favor of executors and administrators is subject to the qualification that where the executor or administrator is a lawyer, he shall not charge against the estate any professional fees for legal services rendered by him. Instead, the Court of Appeals held that the attorney's fees due Atty. Syquia and the Quasha Law Offices should be borne by their clients, the widow and children of the late Raymond Triviere, respectively. The appellate court likewise revoked the P450,000.00 share and P150,000.00 share awarded by the RTC to the children and widow of the late Raymond Triviere, respectively, on the basis that Section 1, Rule 91 of the Revised Rules of Court proscribes the distribution of the residue of the estate until all its obligations have been paid. The appellate court, however, did not agree in the position of LCN that the administrators' claims against the estate should have been presented and resolved in accordance with Section 8 of Rule 86 of the Revised Rules of Court. Claims against the estate that require presentation under Rule 86 refer to "debts or demands of a pecuniary nature which could have been enforced against the decedent during his lifetime and which could have been reduced to simple judgment and among which are those founded on contracts." The Court of Appeals also found the failure of the administrators to render an accounting excusable on the basis of Section 8, Rule 85 of the Revised Rules of Court.14 Finding the Petition for Certiorari of LCN partly meritorious, the Court of Appeals decreed: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby PARTLY GRANTED. The assailed Orders of the public respondent are hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that (1) the shares awarded to the heirs of the deceased Triviere in the assailed Order of June 12, 2003 are hereby DELETED; and (2) the attorney's fees awarded in favor of the coadministrators are hereby DELETED. However, inasmuch as the assailed order fails to itemize these fees from the litigation fees/administrator's fees awarded in favor of the coadministrators, public respondent is hereby directed to determine with particularity the fees pertaining to each administrator.15

Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration16 of the 11 May 2006 Decision of the Court of Appeals. The Motion, however, was denied by the appellate court in a Resolution dated 22 September 2006,17 explaining that: In sum, private respondents did not earlier dispute [herein respondent LCN's] claim in its petition that the law firm and its lawyers served as co-administrators of the estate of the late Triviere. It is thus quite absurd for the said law firm to now dispute in the motion for reconsideration its being a coadministrator of the estate. [Herein petitioners], through counsel, likewise appear to be adopting in their motion for reconsideration a stance conflicting with their earlier theory submitted to this Court. Notably, the memorandum for [petitioner] heirs states that the claim for attorney's fees is supported by the facts and law. To support such allegation, they contend that Section 7 (3) of Rule 85 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure finds no application to the instant case since "what is being charged are not professional fees for legal services rendered but payment for administration of the Estate which has been under the care and management of the co-administrators for the past fourteen (14) years." Their allegation, therefore, in their motion for reconsideration that Section 7 (3) of Rule 85 is inapplicable to the case of Quasha Law Offices because it is "merely seeking payment for legal services rendered to the estate and for litigation expenses" deserves scant consideration. xxxx WHEREFORE, premises considered, private respondents' motion for reconsideration is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. 18 Exhausting all available legal remedies, petitioners filed the present Petition for Review on Certiorari based on the following assignment of errors: I. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE AWARD IN FAVOR OF THE HEIRS OF THE LATE RAYMOND TRIVIERE IS ALREADY A DISTRIBUTION OF THE RESIDUE OF THE ESTATE. II. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NULLIFYING THE AWARD OF ATTORNEY'S FEES IN FAVOR OF THE COADMINISTRATORS I The Court of Appeals modified the 12 June 2003 Order of the RTC by deleting the awards of P450,000.00 and P150,000.00 in favor of the children and widow of the late Raymond Triviere, respectively. The appellate court adopted the position of LCN that the claim of LCN was an obligation of the estate which was yet unpaid and, under Section 1, Rule 90 of the Revised Rules of Court, barred the distribution of the residue of the estate. Petitioners, though, insist that the awards in favor of the petitioner children and widow of the late Raymond Triviere is not a distribution of the residue of the estate, thus, rendering Section 1, Rule 90 of the Revised Rules of Court inapplicable. Section 1, Rule 90 of the Revised Rules of Court provides: Section 1. When order for distribution of residue made. When the debts, funeral charges, and expenses of administration, the allowance to the widow, and inheritance

tax, if any, chargeable to the estate in accordance with law, have been paid, the court, on the application of the executor or administrator, or of a person interested in the estate, and after hearing upon notice, shall assign the residue of the estate to the persons entitled to the same, naming them and the proportions, or parts, to which each is entitled, and such persons may demand and recover their respective shares from the executor or administrator, or any other person having the same in his possession. If there is a controversy before the court as to who are the lawful heirs of the deceased person or as to the distributive shares to which each person is entitled under the law, the controversy shall be heard and decided as in ordinary cases. No distribution shall be allowed until the payment of the obligations above mentioned has been made or provided for, unless the distributees, or any of them, give a bond, in a sum to be fixed by the court, conditioned for the payment of said obligations within such time as the court directs. According to petitioners, the 12 June 2003 Order of the RTC should not be construed as a final order of distribution. The 12 June 2003 RTC Order granting the second Motion for Payment is a mere interlocutory order that does not end the estate proceedings. Only an order of distribution directing the delivery of the residue of the estate to the proper distributees brings the intestate proceedings to a close and, consequently, puts an end to the administration and relieves the administrator of his duties. A perusal of the 12 June 2003 RTC Order would immediately reveal that it was not yet distributing the residue of the estate. The said Order grants the payment of certain amounts from the funds of the estate to the petitioner children and widow of the late Raymond Triviere considering that they have not received their respective shares therefrom for more than a decade. Out of the reported P4,738,558.63 value of the estate, the petitioner children and widow were being awarded by the RTC, in its 12 June 2003 Order, their shares in the collective amount of P600,000.00. Evidently, the remaining portion of the estate still needs to be settled. The intestate proceedings were not yet concluded, and the RTC still had to hear and rule on the pending claim of LCN against the estate of the late Raymond Triviere and only thereafter can it distribute the residue of the estate, if any, to his heirs. While the awards in favor of petitioner children and widow made in the RTC Order dated 12 June 2003 was not yet a distribution of the residue of the estate, given that there was still a pending claim against the estate, still, they did constitute a partial and advance distribution of the estate. Virtually, the petitioner children and widow were already being awarded shares in the estate, although not all of its obligations had been paid or provided for. Section 2, Rule 109 of the Revised Rules of Court expressly recognizes advance distribution of the estate, thus: Section 2. Advance distribution in special proceedings. Notwithstanding a pending controversy or appeal in proceedings to settle the estate of a decedent, the court may, in its discretion and upon such terms as it may deem proper and just, permit that such part of the estate as may not be affected by the controversy or appeal be distributed among the heirs or legatees, upon compliance with the conditions set forth in Rule 90 of these rules. (Emphases supplied.) The second paragraph of Section 1 of Rule 90 of the Revised Rules of Court allows the distribution of the estate prior to the payment of the obligations mentioned therein, provided that "the distributees, or any of them, gives a bond, in a sum to be fixed by the court, conditioned for the payment of said obligations within such time as the court directs."

In sum, although it is within the discretion of the RTC whether or not to permit the advance distribution of the estate, its exercise of such discretion should be qualified by the following: [1] only part of the estate that is not affected by any pending controversy or appeal may be the subject of advance distribution (Section 2, Rule 109); and [2] the distributees must post a bond, fixed by the court, conditioned for the payment of outstanding obligations of the estate (second paragraph of Section 1, Rule 90). There is no showing that the RTC, in awarding to the petitioner children and widow their shares in the estate prior to the settlement of all its obligations, complied with these two requirements or, at the very least, took the same into consideration. Its Order of 12 June 2003 is completely silent on these matters. It justified its grant of the award in a single sentence which stated that petitioner children and widow had not yet received their respective shares from the estate after all these years. Taking into account that the claim of LCN against the estate of the late Raymond Triviere allegedly amounted to P6,016,570.65, already in excess of the P4,738,558.63 reported total value of the estate, the RTC should have been more prudent in approving the advance distribution of the same. Petitioners earlier invoked Dael v. Intermediate Appellate Court,,19 where the Court sustained an Order granting partial distribution of an estate. However, Dael is not even on all fours with the case at bar, given that the Court therein found that: Where, however, the estate has sufficient assets to ensure equitable distribution of the inheritance in accordance with law and the final judgment in the proceedings and it does not appear there are unpaid obligations, as contemplated in Rule 90, for which provisions should have been made or a bond required, such partial distribution may be allowed. (Emphasis supplied.) No similar determination on sufficiency of assets or absence of any outstanding obligations of the estate of the late Raymond Triviere was made by the RTC in this case. In fact, there is a pending claim by LCN against the estate, and the amount thereof exceeds the value of the entire estate. Furthermore, in Dael, the Court actually cautioned that partial distribution of the decedent's estate pending final termination of the testate or intestate proceeding should as much as possible be discouraged by the courts, and, except in extreme cases, such form of advances of inheritance should not be countenanced. The reason for this rule is that courts should guard with utmost zeal and jealousy the estate of the decedent to the end that the creditors thereof be adequately protected and all the rightful heirs be assured of their shares in the inheritance. Hence, the Court does not find that the Court of Appeals erred in disallowing the advance award of shares by the RTC to petitioner children and the widow of the late Raymond Triviere. II On the second assignment of error, petitioner Quasha Law Office contends that it is entitled to the award of attorney's fees and that the third paragraph of Section 7, Rule 85 of the Revised Rules of Court, which reads: Section 7. What expenses and fees allowed executor or administrator. Not to charge for services as attorney. Compensation provided by will controls unless renounced. x x x. xxxx

When the executor or administrator is an attorney, he shall not charge against the estate any professional fees for legal services rendered by him. (Emphasis supplied.) is inapplicable to it. The afore-quoted provision is clear and unequivocal and needs no statutory construction. Here, in attempting to exempt itself from the coverage of said rule, the Quasha Law Office presents conflicting arguments to justify its claim for attorney's fees against the estate. At one point, it alleges that the award of attorney's fees was payment for its administration of the estate of the late Raymond Triviere; yet, it would later renounce that it was an administrator. In the pleadings filed by the Quasha Law Office before the Court of Appeals, it referred to itself as co-administrator of the estate. In the Comment submitted to the appellate court by Atty. Doronila, the member-lawyer then assigned by the Quasha Law Office to the case, it stated that: The 12 June 2003 Order granted the Motion for Payment filed by Co-Administrator and counsel Atty. Enrique P. Syquia and the counsel Atty. Cirilo E. Doronila and Co-Administrator for the children of the late Raymond Triviere. x x x.20 (Emphasis supplied.) It would again in the same pleading claim to be the "coadministrator and counsel for the heirs of the late Raymond Triviere."21 Finally, the Memorandum it submitted to the Court of Appeals on behalf of its clients, the petitioner-children of the late Raymond Triviere, the Quasha Law Office alleged that: 2. The petition assails the Order of the Honorable Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 63 granting the Motion for Payment filed by Co-Administrators Atty. Enrique P. Syquia and the undersigned counsel together with the children of the deceased Raymond Triviere, and the Order dated 29 October 2003 denying Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration of the First Order. xxxx I. Statement of Antecedent Facts xxxx 4. On 13 May 2004, Atty. Enrique Syquia, co-administrator and counsel for respondent Amy Consuelo Triviere and the undersigned counsel, co-administrator and counsel for the children of the late Raymond Triviere filed their Comment.22 Petitioner Quasha Law Office asserts that it is not within the purview of Section 7, Rule 85 of the Revised Rules of Court since it is not an appointed administrator of the estate.23 When Atty. Quasha passed away in 1996, Atty. Syquia was left as the sole administrator of the estate of the late Raymond Triviere. The person of Atty. Quasha was distinct from that of petitioner Quasha Law Office; and the appointment of Atty. Quasha as administrator of the estate did not extend to his law office. Neither could petitioner Quasha Law Office be deemed to have substituted Atty. Quasha as administrator upon the latter's death for the same would be in violation of the rules on the appointment and substitution of estate administrators, particularly, Section 2, Rule 82 of the Revised Rules of Court.24 Hence, when Atty. Quasha died, petitioner Quasha Law Office merely helped in the settlement of the estate as counsel for the petitioner children of the late Raymond Triviere.

In its Memorandum before this Court, however, petitioner Quasha Law Office argues that "what is being charged are not professional fees for legal services rendered but payment for administration of the Estate which has been under the care and management of the co-administrators for the past fourteen (14) years."25 On the other hand, in the Motion for Payment filed with the RTC on 3 September 2002, petitioner Quasha Law Office prayed for P200,000.00 as "attorney's fees and litigation expenses." Being lumped together, and absent evidence to the contrary, the P200,000.00 for attorney's fees and litigation expenses prayed for by the petitioner Quasha Law Office can be logically and reasonably presumed to be in connection with cases handled by said law office on behalf of the estate. Simply, petitioner Quasha Law Office is seeking attorney's fees as compensation for the legal services it rendered in these cases, as well as reimbursement of the litigation expenses it incurred therein. The Court notes with disfavor the sudden change in the theory by petitioner Quasha Law Office. Consistent with discussions in the preceding paragraphs, Quasha Law Office initially asserted itself as co-administrator of the estate before the courts. The records do not belie this fact. Petitioner Quasha Law Office later on denied it was substituted in the place of Atty. Quasha as administrator of the estate only upon filing a Motion for Reconsideration with the Court of Appeals, and then again before this Court. As a general rule, a party cannot change his theory of the case or his cause of action on appeal.26 When a party adopts a certain theory in the court below, he will not be permitted to change his theory on appeal, for to permit him to do so would not only be unfair to the other party but it would also be offensive to the basic rules of fair play, justice and due process.27 Points of law, theories, issues and arguments not brought to the attention of the lower court need not be, and ordinarily will not be, considered by a reviewing court, as these cannot be raised for the first time at such late stage.28 This rule, however, admits of certain exceptions.29 In the interest of justice and within the sound discretion of the appellate court, a party may change his legal theory on appeal, only when the factual bases thereof would not require presentation of any further evidence by the adverse party in order to enable it to properly meet the issue raised in the new theory.30 On the foregoing considerations, this Court finds it necessary to exercise leniency on the rule against changing of theory on appeal, consistent with the rules of fair play and in the interest of justice. Petitioner Quasha Law Office presented conflicting arguments with respect to whether or not it was co-administrator of the estate. Nothing in the records, however, reveals that any one of the lawyers of Quasha Law Office was indeed a substitute administrator for Atty. Quasha upon his death. The court has jurisdiction to appoint an administrator of an estate by granting letters of administration to a person not otherwise disqualified or incompetent to serve as such, following the procedure laid down in Section 6, Rule 78 of the Rules of Court. Corollary thereto, Section 2, Rule 82 of the Rules of Court provides in clear and unequivocal terms the modes for replacing an administrator of an estate upon the death of an administrator, to wit: Section 2. Court may remove or accept resignation of executor or administrator. Proceedings upon death, resignation, or removal. x x x.

When an executor or administrator dies, resigns, or is removed the remaining executor or administrator may administer the trust alone, unless the court grants letters to someone to act with him. If there is no remaining executor or administrator, administration may be granted to any suitable person. The records of the case are wanting in evidence that Quasha Law Office or any of its lawyers substituted Atty. Quasha as co-administrator of the estate. None of the documents attached pertain to the issuance of letters of administration to petitioner Quasha Law Office or any of its lawyers at any time after the demise of Atty. Quasha in 1996. This Court is thus inclined to give credence to petitioner's contention that while it rendered legal services for the settlement of the estate of Raymond Triviere since the time of Atty. Quasha's death in 1996, it did not serve as co-administrator thereof, granting that it was never even issued letters of administration. The attorney's fees, therefore, cannot be covered by the prohibition in the third paragraph of Section 7, Rule 85 of the Revised Rules of Court against an attorney, to charge against the estate professional fees for legal services rendered by them. However, while petitioner Quasha Law Office, serving as counsel of the Triviere children from the time of death of Atty. Quasha in 1996, is entitled to attorney's fees and litigation expenses of P100,000.00 as prayed for in the Motion for Payment dated 3 September 2002, and as awarded by the RTC in its 12 June 2003 Order, the same may be collected from the shares of the Triviere children, upon final distribution of the estate, in consideration of the fact that the Quasha Law Office, indeed, served as counsel (not anymore as coadministrator), representing and performing legal services for the Triviere children in the settlement of the estate of their deceased father. Finally, LCN prays that as the contractor of the house (which the decedent caused to be built and is now part of the estate) with a preferred claim thereon, it should already be awarded P2,500,000.00, representing one half (1/2) of the proceeds from the sale of said house. The Court shall not take cognizance of and rule on the matter considering that, precisely, the merits of the claim of LCN against the estate are still pending the proper determination by the RTC in the intestate proceedings below. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition for Review on Certiorari is hereby PARTLY GRANTED. The Decision dated 11 May 2006 and Resolution dated 22 September 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 81296 are AFFIRMED, with the following MODIFICATIONS: 1) Petitioner Quasha Law Office is entitled to attorney's fees of ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P100,000.00), for legal services rendered for the Triviere children in the settlement of the estate of their deceased father, the same to be paid by the Triviere children in the manner herein discussed; and 2) Attorneys Enrique P. Syquia and William H. Quasha are entitled to the payment of their corresponding administrators' fees, to be determined by the RTC handling Special Proceedings Case No. M-1678, Branch 63 of the Makati RTC, the same to be chargeable to the estate of Raymond Trieviere. SO ORDERED.