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name should be "Ma. Lourdes B. Eleosida," instead of "Ma. Lourdes E. Borbon.

" In support
G.R. No. 130277. May 9, 2002.*
of her petition, petitioner alleged that she gave birth to her son out of wedlock on May 24,
1992; that she and the boy's father, Carlos Borbon, were never married; and that the child is
MA. LOURDES BARRIENTOS ELEOSIDA, for and in behalf of her minor child, CHARLES
therefore illegitimate and should follow the mother's surname. The petition impleaded the
CHRISTIAN ELEOSIDA, petitioner, vs. LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR OF QUEZON CITY,
Local Registrar of Quezon City and Carlos Villena Borbon as respondents. 3
and CARLOS VILLENA BORBON, respondents.

Civil Law; Civil Registry; Even substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected On April 23, 1997, the trial court issued a notice of hearing stating:
and the true facts established under Rule 108 provided the parties aggrieved by the error
avail themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding.—Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of "Verified petition having been filed by petitioner Ma. Lourdes Barrientos Eleosida, praying that the
Court provides the procedure for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry. entries in the Certificate of Live Birth of her minor child, Charles Christian Eleosida Borbon, be
The proceedings under said rule may either be summary or adversary in nature. If the changed and/or corrected, such that, his last name BORBON be deleted and instead place therein the
correction sought to be made in the civil register is clerical, then the procedure to be adopted name ELEOSIDA, which is the surname of his mother-petitioner; the entry "January 10, 1985 –
is summary. If the rectification affects the civil status, citizenship or nationality of a party, Batangas City", be likewise deleted, since the petitioner and respondent Carlos Villena Borbon, at
it is deemed substantial, and the procedure to be adopted is adversary. This is our ruling the time of the minor's birth were not legally married; and the surname BORBON of petitioner Ma.
Lourdes E. Borbon under the column Informant, be also deleted;
in Republic vs. Valencia where we held that even substantial errors in a civil registry may
be corrected and the true facts established under Rule 108 provided the parties aggrieved by
the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding. An appropriate NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that this petition is set for hearing on June 26, 1997 at 8:30 o'clock in
adversary suit or proceeding is one where the trial court has conducted proceedings where the morning, in the Session Hall of this Court sitting at the Ground Floor, Room 118, Hall of Justice,
Quezon City, which is ordered published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks, in a newspaper
all relevant facts have been fully and properly developed, where opposing counsel have been
of general circulation and published in Metro Manila, to be selected by raffle, at the expense of the
given opportunity to demolish the opposite party’s case, and where the evidence has been petitioner, at which date, time and place, the petitioner shall appear and prove her petition, in that
thoroughly weighed and considered. all other persons having or claiming any interest thereon shall also appear and show cause why, if
any, they have, the petition shall not be granted.1âwphi1.nêt
Same; Same; Substantial changes are now allowed under Rule 108 in accordance with
the ruling in Republic vs. Valencia provided that the appropriate procedural requirements
Let copies of this notice be furnished the petitioner, and together with copies of the petition,
are complied with.—It is true in the case at bar that the changes sought to be made by respondent Carlos Villena Borbon; the Offices of the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City and the
petitioner are not merely clerical or harmless errors but substantial ones as they would Solicitor General, who are given fifteen (15) days from notice of the petition, or from the last date of
affect the status of the marriage between petitioner and Carlos Borbon, as well as the publication of such notice, within which to file their opposition thereto, if any. In the event that the
legitimacy of their son, Charles Christian. Changes of such nature, however, are now Solicitor General may not be able to appear on the scheduled hearing, to designate the City
allowed under Rule 108 in accordance with our ruling in Republic vs. Valencia provided that Prosecutor of Quezon City to appear for and in behalf of the State.
the appropriate procedural requirements are complied with.
SO ORDERED."4
PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City,
Br. 89. On June 26, 1997, the trial court issued another order setting the date for the presentation
of evidence on July 23, 1997. It stated:
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
Quiazon, Makalintal, Barot, Torres & Ibarra for petitioner.
"Considering that there is no opposition filed despite notice to the Solicitor General as contained in
The Solicitor General for public respondent. the notice of hearing dated April 23, 1997 requiring that office to file their opposition, if any, to the
petition for correction of entries in the birth certificate of minor child Charles Christian Eleosida, the
petitioner will be allowed to present compliance with the jurisdictional requirements and at the same
time initially present evidence on July 23, 1997, at 8:30 o'clock in the morning." 5
PUNO, J.:

On August 25, 1997, the trial court motu proprio dismissed the petition for lack of merit. It
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Order1 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
ruled:
City, Branch 89, which dismissed motu proprio the petition of Ma. Lourdes Eleosida to
correct some entries in the birth certificate of her son, Charles Christian. The birth
certificate shows, among others, that the child's full name is Charles Christian Eleosida "It is an established jurisprudence that, only CLERICAL ERRORS OF A HARMLESS AND
Borbon. He was born on May 24, 1992 to Ma. Lourdes Barrientos Eleosida and Carlos INNOCUOUS NATURE like: misspelled name, occupation of the parents, etc., may be the subject of
a judicial order (contemplated under Article 412 of the New Civil Code), authorizing changes or
Villena Borbon. The birth certificate also indicates that the child's parents were married on
corrections and: NOT as may affect the CIVIL STATUS, NATIONALITY OR CITIZENSHIP OF THE
January 10, 1985 in Batangas City.2 PERSONS INVOLVED.

On January 30, 1997, petitioner Ma. Lourdes Eleosida filed a petition before the Regional In the present case, it is very clear that the changes desired by the petitioner will ultimately affect
Trial Court of Quezon City seeking to correct the following entries in the birth certificate of the CIVIL STATUS OF CHARLES CHRISTIAN, as she wants the Court to Direct the Civil Registrar
her son, Charles Christian: first, the surname "Borbon" should be changed to "Eleosida;" of Quezon City to substitute her maiden name, ELEOSIDA, with that of BORBON; to delete the
second, the date of the parents' wedding should be left blank; and third, the informant's information supplied in ITEM 12, respecting the date and place of marriage of parents, on the
ground that she was never married to respondent CARLOS VILLENA BORBON and amend the
information in ITEM 14, respecting the name of the informant, from MA. LOURDES E. BORBON to SEC. 5. Opposition.—The civil registrar and any person having or claiming any interest under
MA. LOURDES B. ELEOSIDA, and is indicative of petitioner's intention and device to establish that the entry whose cancellation or correction is sought may, within fifteen (15) days from notice, file
CHARLES CHRISTIAN's civil status as ILLEGITIMATE. his opposition thereto.

With the petition's ultimate purpose on the part of petitioner to secure judicial order, which would Thus, the persons who must be made parties to a proceeding concerning the cancellation or
authorize a change in the civil status of CHARLES CHRISTIAN, this Court, finds the action correction of an entry in the civil register are—(1) the civil registrar, and (2) all persons who have or
improper. The matters desired to be cancelled and/or changed by petitioner cannot be considered claim any interest which would be affected thereby. Upon the filing of the petition, it becomes the
falling under the ambit of the words 'clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous nature.' 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
WHEREFORE, for LACK OF MERIT, the petition is now MOTU PROPIO (sic) dismissed." 6 petition:--(1) the civil registrar, and (2) any person having or claiming any interest under the entry
whose cancellation or correction is sought.
Petitioner fled the instant petition for review raising the issue of whether corrections of
entries in the certificate of live birth pursuant to Article 412 of the Civil Code, in relation to If all these procedural requirements have been followed, a petition for correction and/or cancellation
Rule 108 of the Rules of Court may be allowed even if the errors to be corrected are of entries in the record of birth even if filed and conducted under Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of
substantial and not merely clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous nature. 7 Court can no longer be described as 'summary'. xxx"12

The Court required the respondents to comment on the petition. The Office of the Solicitor It is true in the case at bar that the changes sought to be made by petitioner are not merely
General (OSG) filed a Manifestation in Lieu of Comment. The OSG submitted that even clerical or harmless errors but substantial ones as they would affect the status of the
substantial errors in the civil registry may be corrected provided that the parties aggrieved marriage between petitioner and Carlos Borbon, as well as the legitimacy of their son,
by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding. Thus it argued that Charles Christian. Changes of such nature, however, are now allowed under Rule 108 in
even if the petition seeks the correction and eventual change in the civil status of Charles accordance with our ruling in Republic vs. Valencia provided that the appropriate
Christian, the same can be ordered by the court as long as all the parties who may be procedural requirements are complied with. The records show that upon receipt of the
affected by the entries are notified and represented. 8 Respondent Carlos Borbon, on the petition, the trial court issued a notice of hearing setting the hearing on June 26, 1997 at
other hand, failed to submit his comment on the petition despite several notices from this 8:30 in the morning at Room 118, Hall of Justice, Quezon City. The trial court likewise
Court. Hence, on January 24, 2001, the Court dispensed with the filing of respondent ordered the publication of said notice once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a
Borbon's comment and gave due course to the petition.9 newspaper of general circulation and its posting in selected places in Metro Manila. The
notice stated that the petitioner shall prove her petition during said hearing and all other
persons having or claiming any interest thereon shall also appear and show if there is any
We find merit in the petition. Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of Court provides the procedure reason why the petition should not be granted. Respondents Carlos Villena Borbon, the
for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry. The proceedings under said rule Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City and the Solicitor General were all furnished with a
may either be summary or adversary in nature. If the correction sought to be made in the copy of the notice of hearing together with a copy of the petition. On June 26, 1997, the trial
civil register is clerical, then the procedure to be adopted is summary. If the rectification court issued a second order giving the petitioner an opportunity to show compliance with
affects the civil status, citizenship or nationality of a party, it is deemed substantial, and the the jurisdictional requirements and to present evidence during the hearing set on July 23,
procedure to be adopted is adversary.10 This is our ruling in Republic vs. Valencia11 where 1997. The foregoing satisfy all the requirements of Rule 108 to make it an adversary
we held that even substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and the true facts proceeding. It was therefore an error for the trial court to dismiss the petition motu
established under Rule 108 provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of proprio without allowing the petitioner to present evidence to support her petition and all
the appropriate adversary proceeding. An appropriate adversary suit or proceeding is one the other persons who have an interest over the matter to oppose the same.1âwphi1.nêt
where the trial court has conducted proceedings where all relevant facts have been fully and
properly developed, where opposing counsel have been given opportunity to demolish the
opposite party's case, and where the evidence has been thoroughly weighed and considered. IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is GRANTED and the Order dated August 25, 1997 of
The Court further laid down the procedural requirements to make the proceedings under the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 89, subject of the petition at bar is set aside. The case
Rule 108 adversary, thus: is REMANDED to the court a quo for further proceedings.

"The pertinent sections of Rule 108 provide: SO ORDERED.

SEC. 3. Parties.—When cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register is sought, the
civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected thereby
shall be made parties to the proceeding.1âwphi1.nêt

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 93) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the
province.
leaving to Rule 108 the correction of substantial changes in the civil registry in appropriate
G.R. No. 170340. June 29, 2007.*
adversarial proceedings.—The enactment in March 2001 of Republic Act No. 9048,
otherwise known as “AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE CITY OR MUNICIPAL CIVIL
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs.CARLITO I. KHO, MICHAEL KHO,
REGISTRAR OR THE CONSUL GENERAL TO CORRECT A CLERICAL OR
MERCY NONA KHO-FORTUN, HEDDY MOIRA KHO-SERRANO, KEVIN DOGMOC KHO
TYPOGRAPHICAL ERROR IN AN ENTRY AND/OR CHANGE OF FIRST NAME OR
(Minor), and KELLY DOGMOC KHO (Minor), respondents.
NICKNAME IN THE CIVIL REGISTER WITHOUT NEED OF JUDICIAL ORDER,” has
been considered to lend legislative affirmation to the judicial precedence that substantial
Civil Registry; Correction of Entries; Names; Citizenship; Marital Status; Substantial
corrections to the civil status of persons recorded in the civil registry may be effected
and controversial amendments in entries in the Civil Registry can only be granted in an
through the filing of a petition under Rule 108. Thus, this Court in Republic v. Benemerito,
adversary proceeding.—It can not be gainsaid that the petition, insofar as it sought to
425 SCRA 488 (2004), observed that the obvious effect of Republic Act No. 9048 is to make
change the citizenship of Carlito’s mother as it appeared in his birth certificate and delete
possible the administrative correction of clerical or typographical errors or change of first
the “married” status of Carlito’s parents in his and his siblings’ respective birth certificates,
name or nickname in entries in the civil register, leaving to Rule 108 the correction of
as well as change the date of marriage of Carlito and Marivel involves the correction of not
substantial changes in the civil registry in appropriate adversarial proceedings.
just clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous nature. Rather, the changes entail
substantial and controversial amendments. For the change involving the nationality of
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Parties; Publication of the order of hearing under
Carlito’s mother as reflected in his birth certificate is a grave and important matter that has
Section 4 of Rule 108 cures the failure to implead an indispensable party.—What surfaces as
a bear-ing and effect on the citizenship and nationality not only of the parents, but also of
an issue is whether the failure to implead Marivel and Carlito’s parents rendered the trial
the offspring. Further, the deletion of the entry that Carlito’s and his siblings’ parents were
short of the required adversary proceeding and the trial court’s judgment void. A similar
“married” alters their filiation from “legitimate” to “illegitimate,” with significant
issue was earlier raised in Barco v. Court of Appeals, 420 SCRA 162 (2004). That case
implications on their successional and other rights. Clearly, the changes sought can only be
stemmed from a petition for correction of entries in the birth certificate of a minor, June
granted in an adversary proceeding. Labayo-Rowe v. Republic, 168 SCRA 294 (1988),
Salvacion Maravilla, to reflect the name of her real father (Armando Gustilo) and to
explains the raison d’être: x x x. The philosophy behind this requirement lies in the fact that
correspondingly change her surname. The petition was granted by the trial court. Barco,
the books making up the civil register and all documents relating thereto shall be prima
whose minor daughter was allegedly fathered also by Gustilo, however, sought to annul the
facie evidence of the facts therein contained. If the entries in the civil register could be
trial court’s decision, claiming that she should have been made a party to the petition for
corrected or changed through mere summary proceedings and not through
correction. Failure to implead her deprived the RTC of jurisdiction, she contended. In
appropriate action wherein all parties who may be affected by the entries are
dismissing Barco’s petition, this Court held that the publication of the order of hearing
notified or represented, the door to fraud or other mischief would be set open, the
under Section 4 of Rule 108 cured the failure to implead an indispensable party.
consequence of which might be detrimental and far reaching.
Same; Same; Same; The cancellation or correction of entries involving changes of
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Words and Phrases; Even substantial errors in a
name falls under letter “o” of Section 2 of Rule 108; Even if the jurisdictional requirements of
civil registry may be corrected through a petition filed under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court;
Rule 103 (which governs petitions for change of name) were not complied with, observance of
“Adversary proceeding” has been defined as one having opposing parties, contested, as
the provisions of Rule 108 suffices to effect the correction sought for.—With respect to the
distinguished from an ex parte application, one of which the party seeking relief has given
correction in Carlito’s birth certificate of his name from “Carlito John” to “Carlito,” the same
legal warning to the other party, and afforded the latter an opportunity to contest it.—
was properly granted under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. As correctly pointed out by the
In Republic v. Valencia, 141 SCRA 462 (1986), however, this Court ruled, and has since
CA, the cancellation or correction of entries involving changes of name falls under letter “o”
repeatedly ruled, that even substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected through a
of the following provision of Section 2 of Rule 108: Section 2. Entries subject to cancellation
petition filed under Rule 108. It is undoubtedly true that if the subject matter of a petition is
or correction.—Upon good and valid grounds, the following entries in the civil register may
not for the correction of clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous nature, but one
be cancelled or corrected: (a) births; (b) marriages; (c) deaths; (d) legal separation; (e)
involving nationality or citizenship, which is indisputably substantial as well as
judgments of annulment of marriage; (f) judgments declaring marriages void from the
controverted, affirmative relief cannot be granted in a proceeding summary in
beginning; (g) legitimations; (h) adoptions; (i) acknowledgments of natural children; (j)
nature. However, it is also true that a right in law may be enforced and a wrong
naturalization; (k) election, loss or recovery of citizenship; (l) civil interdiction; (m) judicial
may be remedied as long as the appropriate remedy is used. This Court adheres to
determination of filiation; (n) voluntary emancipation of a minor; and (o) changes of
the principle that even substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and
name. (Emphasis and italics supplied) Hence, while the jurisdictional requirements of Rule
the true facts established provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail
103 (which governs petitions for change of name) were not complied with, observance of the
themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding. x x x x What is meant by
provisions of Rule 108 suffices to effect the correction sought for.
“appropriate adversary proceeding?” Black’s Law Dictionary defines “adversary
proceeding[”] as follows: One having opposing parties; contested, as distinguished from an ex
Same; Same; Same; The correction of the name of the wife of one of the petitioners,
parte application, one of which the party seeking relief has given legal warning to the other
from “Maribel” to “Marivel,” is appropriate, the mistake being clearly clerical or
party, and afforded the latter an opportunity to contest it. x x x
typographical, which is not only visible to the eyes, but is also obvious to the understanding
considering that the name reflected in the marriage certificate is “Marivel.”—Outside the
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Republic Act No. 9048; The enactment in March
ambit of substantial corrections, of course, is the correction of the name of Carlito’s wife
2001 of R.A. No. 9048 has been considered to lend legislative affirmation to the judicial
from “Maribel” to “Marivel.” The mistake is clearly clerical or typographical, which is not
precedence that substantial corrections to the civil status of persons recorded in the civil
only visible to the eyes, but is also obvious to the understanding considering that the name
registry may be effected through the filing of a petition under Rule 108—the obvious effect of
reflected in the marriage certificate of Carlito and his wife is “Marivel.” Apropos is Yu v.
Republic Act No. 9048 is to make possible the administrative correction of clerical or
Republic, 21 SCRA 1018 (1967), which held that changing the appellant’s Christian name of
typographical errors or change of first name or nickname in entries in the civil register,
“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 In a letter of June 18, 2001 addressed to the trial court, the city civil registrar 5 stated her
innocuous alteration, which can be granted through a summary proceeding. The same observations and suggestions to the proposed corrections in the birth records of Carlito and
ruling holds true with respect to the correction in Carlito’s marriage certificate of his his siblings but interposed no objections to the other amendments.
father’s 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.
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
PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals. 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
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. Butuan City to appear in the case and render assistance to it (the OSG).
The Solicitor General for petitioner.
Dollfuss R. Go and Associates Law Offices for respondents. On January 31, 2002, respondents presented documentary evidence showing compliance
with the jurisdictional requirements of the petition. They also presented testimonial
CARPIO-MORALES, J.: evidence consisting of the testimonies of Carlito and his mother, Epifania. During the same
hearing, an additional correction in the birth certificates of Carlito’s children was requested
Challenged via petition for review on certiorari is the October 27, 2005 Decision1 of the to the effect that the first name of their mother be rectified from "Maribel" to "Marivel."
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 By Decision8 of September 4, 2002, the trial court directed the local civil registrar of Butuan
respondents Carlito I. Kho (Carlito), Michael Kho, Mercy Nona Kho-Fortun, and Heddy City to correct the entries in the record of birth of Carlito, as follows: (1) change the
Moira Kho-Serrano for the correction of entries in their birth certificates as well as those of citizenship of his mother from "Chinese" to "Filipino"; (2) delete "John" from his name; and
Carlito’s minor children Kevin and Kelly Dogmoc Kho. (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
The undisputed facts are as follows: Michael, Mercy Nona, and Heddy Moira.

On February 12, 2001, Carlito and his siblings Michael, Mercy Nona and Heddy Moira filed Additionally, the trial court ordered the correction of the birth certificates of the minor
before the RTC of Butuan City a verified petition for correction of entries in the civil registry children of Carlito to reflect the date of marriage of Carlito and Marivel Dogmoc (Marivel)
of Butuan City to effect changes in their respective birth certificates. Carlito also asked the as January 21, 2000, instead of April 27, 1989, and the name "Maribel" as "Marivel."
court in behalf of his minor children, Kevin and Kelly, to order the correction of some entries
in their birth certificates. With respect to the marriage certificate of Carlito and Marivel, the corrections ordered
pertained to the alteration of the name of Carlito’s father from "John Kho" to "Juan Kho"
In the case of Carlito, he requested the correction in his birth certificate of the citizenship of and the latter’s citizenship from "Filipino" to "Chinese."
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 Petitioner, Republic of the Philippines, appealed the RTC Decision to the CA, faulting the
Epifania Inchoco (Epifania), were allegedly not legally married. 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
The same request to delete the "married" status of their parents from their respective birth and to offer sufficient evidence to warrant the corrections with regard to the questioned
certificates was made by Carlito’s siblings Michael, Mercy Nona, and Heddy Moira. "married" status of Carlito and his siblings’ parents, and the latter’s citizenship.

With respect to the birth certificates of Carlito’s children, he prayed that the date of his and Petitioner also faulted the trial court for ordering the change of the name "Carlito John
his wife’s marriage be corrected from April 27, 1989 to January 21, 2000, the date appearing Kho" to "Carlito Kho" for non-compliance with jurisdictional requirements for a change of
in their marriage certificate. name under Rule 103 of the Rules of Court.

The Local Civil Registrar of Butuan City was impleaded as respondent. By the assailed Decision of October 27, 2005, the CA denied petitioner’s appeal and affirmed
the decision of the trial court.

On April 23, 2001, Carlito et al. filed an Amended Petition3 in which it was additionally
prayed that Carlito’s second name of "John" be deleted from his record of birth; and that the The CA found that Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of Court, which outlines the proper
name and citizenship of Carlito’s father in his (Carlito’s) marriage certificate be corrected procedure for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry, was observed in the
from "John Kho" to "Juan Kho" and "Filipino" to "Chinese," respectively. case.

As required, the petition was published for three consecutive weeks4 in Mindanao Daily Regarding Carlito’s minor children Kevin and Kelly, the appellate court held that the
Patrol-CARAGA, a newspaper of general circulation, after which it was set for hearing on correction of their mother’s first name from "Maribel" to "Marivel" was made to rectify an
August 9, 2001. innocuous error.
As for the change in the date of the marriage of Carlito and Marivel, albeit the CA conceded therein contained. If the entries in the civil register could be corrected or changed through
that it is a substantial alteration, it held that the date would not affect the minors’ filiation mere summary proceedings and not through appropriate action wherein all parties who may
from "legitimate" to "illegitimate" considering that at the time of their respective births in be affected by the entries are notified or represented, the door to fraud or other mischief
1991 and 1993, their father Carlito’s first marriage was still subsisting as it had been would be set open, the consequence of which might be detrimental and far reaching. x x x
annulled only in 1999. (Emphasis supplied)

In light of Carlito’s legal impediment to marry Marivel at the time they were born, their In Republic v. Valencia,13 however, this Court ruled, and has since repeatedly ruled, that
children Kevin and Kelly were illegitimate. It followed, the CA went on to state, that even substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected through a petition filed under
Marivel was not an indispensable party to the case, the minors having been represented by Rule 108.14
their father as required under Section 5 of Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court.
It is undoubtedly true that if the subject matter of a petition is not for the correction of
Further, the CA ruled that although Carlito failed to observe the requirements of Rule 103 clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous nature, but one involving nationality or
of the Rules of Court, he had complied nonetheless with the jurisdictional requirements for citizenship, which is indisputably substantial as well as controverted, affirmative relief
correction of entries in the civil registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. The petition cannot be granted in a proceeding summary in nature. However, it is also true that a right
for correction of entry in Carlito’s birth record, it noted, falls under letter "o" of the in law may be enforced and a wrong may be remedied as long as the appropriate remedy is
enumeration under Section 2 of Rule 108. 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.
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 xxxx
notified or impleaded.
What is meant by "appropriate adversary proceeding?" Black’s Law Dictionary defines
Petitioner further contends that the jurisdictional requirements to change Carlito’s name "adversary proceeding["] as follows:
under Section 2 of Rule 103 of the Rules of Court were not satisfied because the Amended
Petition failed to allege Carlito’s prior three-year bona fide residence in Butuan City, and
One having opposing parties; contested, as distinguished from an ex parte application, one
that the title of the petition did not state Carlito’s aliases and his true name as "Carlito
of which the party seeking relief has given legal warning to the other party, and afforded
John I. Kho." Petitioner concludes that the same jurisdictional defects attached to the
the latter an opportunity to contest it. x x x 15(Emphasis, italics and underscoring supplied)
change of name of Carlito’s father.

The enactment in March 2001 of Republic Act No. 9048, otherwise known as "An Act
The petition fails.
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
It can not be gainsaid that the petition, insofar as it sought to change the citizenship of the Civil Register Without Need of Judicial Order," has been considered to lend legislative
Carlito’s mother as it appeared in his birth certificate and delete the "married" status of affirmation to the judicial precedence that substantial corrections to the civil status of
Carlito’s parents in his and his siblings’ respective birth certificates, as well as change the persons recorded in the civil registry may be effected through the filing of a petition under
date of marriage of Carlito and Marivel involves the correction of not just clerical errors of a Rule 108.16
harmless and innocuous nature.10 Rather, the changes entail substantial and controversial
amendments.
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
For the change involving the nationality of Carlito’s mother as reflected in his birth or change of first name or nickname in entries in the civil register, leaving to Rule 108 the
certificate is a grave and important matter that has a bearing and effect on the citizenship correction of substantial changes in the civil registry in appropriate adversarial proceedings.
and nationality not only of the parents, but also of the offspring.11
When all the procedural requirements under Rule 108 are thus followed, the appropriate
Further, the deletion of the entry that Carlito’s and his siblings’ parents were "married" adversary proceeding necessary to effect substantial corrections to the entries of the civil
alters their filiation from "legitimate" to "illegitimate," with significant implications on their register is satisfied.18 The pertinent provisions of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court read:
successional and other rights.
SEC. 3. Parties. – When cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil registrar is sought,
Clearly, the changes sought can only be granted in an adversary proceeding. Labayo-Rowe the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected
v. Republic12 explains the raison d etre: thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding.

x x x. The philosophy behind this requirement lies in the fact that the books making up the SEC. 4. Notice and publication. — Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall, by an
civil register and all documents relating thereto shall be prima facie evidence of the facts 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 xxxx
to be published once in a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general
circulation in the province.
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
SEC. 5. Opposition. — The civil registrar and any person having or claiming any have been impleaded under Section 3, Rule 108, but were inadvertently left out. x x x
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
xxxx
opposition thereto. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Verily, a petition for correction is an action in rem, an action against a thing and not against
There is no dispute that the trial court’s Order19 setting the petition for hearing and
a person. The decision on the petition binds not only the parties thereto but the whole world.
directing any person or entity having interest in the petition to oppose it was posted20 as
An in rem proceeding is validated essentially through publication. Publication is notice to
well as published for the required period; that notices of hearings were duly served on the
the whole world that the proceeding has for its object to bar indefinitely all who might be
Solicitor General, the city prosecutor of Butuan and the local civil registrar; and that trial
minded to make an objection of any sort against the right sought to be established. It is the
was conducted on January 31, 2002 during which the public prosecutor, acting in behalf of
publication of such notice that brings in the whole world as a party in the case and vests the
the OSG, actively participated by cross-examining Carlito and Epifania.
court with jurisdiction to hear and decide it.22

What surfaces as an issue is whether the failure to implead Marivel and Carlito’s parents
Given the above ruling, it becomes unnecessary to rule on whether Marivel or respondents’
rendered the trial short of the required adversary proceeding and the trial court’s judgment
parents should have been impleaded as parties to the proceeding. It may not be amiss to
void.
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
A similar issue was earlier raised in Barco v. Court of Appeals. 21 That case stemmed from a Marivel and Carlito’s parents as parties to the proceeding.
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
Parenthetically, it seems highly improbable that Marivel was unaware of the proceedings to
surname. The petition was granted by the trial court.
correct the entries in her children’s birth certificates, especially since the notices, orders and
decision of the trial court eHe were all sent to the residence 23 she shared with Carlito and
Barco, whose minor daughter was allegedly fathered also by Gustilo, however, sought to the children.
annul the trial court’s 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
It is also well to remember that the role of the court in hearing a petition to correct certain
contended.
entries in the civil registry is to ascertain the truth about the facts recorded therein. 24

In dismissing Barco’s petition, this Court held that the publication of the order of hearing
With respect to the date of marriage of Carlito and Marivel, their certificate of
under Section 4 of Rule 108 cured the failure to implead an indispensable party.
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
The essential requisite for allowing substantial corrections of entries in the civil registry is helper, adding that he was not married to Marivel at the time his sons were born because
that the true facts be established in an appropriate adversarial proceeding. This is embodied his previous marriage was annulled only in 1999.26 Given the evidence presented by
in Section 3, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, which states: 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.
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 With respect to Carlito’s mother, it bears noting that she declared at the witness stand that
affected thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding. she was not married to Juan Kho who died in 1959. 27 Again, that testimony was not
challenged by the city prosecutor.
xxxx
The documentary evidence supporting the deletion from Carlito’s and his siblings’ birth
certificates of the entry "Married" opposite the date of marriage of their parents, moreover,
Undoubtedly, Barco is among the parties referred to in Section 3 of Rule 108. Her interest
consisted of a certification issued on November 24, 1973 by St. Joseph (Butuan City) Parish
was affected by the petition for correction, as any judicial determination that June was the
priest Eugene van Vught stating that Juan Kho and Epifania had been living together as
daughter of Armando would affect her ward’s share in the estate of her father. x x x.
common law couple since 1935 but have never contracted marriage legally.28

Yet, even though Barco was not impleaded in the petition, the Court of Appeals correctly
A certification from the office of the city registrar, which was appended to respondents’
pointed out that the defect was cured by compliance with Section 4, Rule 108, which
Amended Petition, likewise stated that it has no record of marriage between Juan Kho and
requires notice by publication x x x.
Epifania.29 Under the circumstances, the deletion of the word "Married" opposite the "date SO ORDERED.
of marriage of parents" is warranted.

With respect to the correction in Carlito’s 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 ofname. (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, Carlito’s 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 mother’s citizenship from Chinese to Filipino as appearing in Carlito’s
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 Carlito’s siblings uniformly stated the
citizenship of Epifania as "Filipino." To disallow the correction in Carlito’s birth record of his
mother’s 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
Carlito’s 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 understanding 34 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 appellant’s 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. 36The same
ruling holds true with respect to the correction in Carlito’s marriage certificate of his
father’s 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.
Petitioner sought to drop his middle name and have his registered name changed from
G.R. No. 159966. March 30, 2005.*
Julian Lin Carulasan Wang to Julian Lin Wang.
IN RE: PETITION FOR CHANGE OF NAME AND/OR CORRECTION/CANCELLATION
OF ENTRY IN CIVIL REGISTRY OF JULIAN LIN CARULASAN WANG also known as The petition was docketed as Special Proceedings Case No. 11458 CEB and raffled to the
JULIAN LIN WANG, to be amended/corrected as JULIAN LIN WANG, JULIAN LIN Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City, Branch 57.
WANG, duly represented by his mother ANNA LISA WANG, petitioner, vs. CEBU CITY
CIVIL REGISTRAR, duly represented by the Registrar OSCAR B. MOLO, respondent. The RTC established the following facts:
Civil Registry; Change of Name; 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 Julian Lin Carulasan Wang was born in Cebu City on February 20, 1998 to parents Anna
cause, or any compelling reason which may justify such change.—The Court has had Lisa Wang and Sing-Foe Wang who were then not yet married to each other. When his
occasion to express the view that the State has an interest in the names borne by parents subsequently got married on September 22, 1998, ...they executed a deed of
individuals and entities for purposes of identification, and that a change of name is a legitimation of their son so that the child’s name was changed from Julian Lin Carulasan to
privilege and not a right, so that before a person can be authorized to change his name given Julian Lin Carulasan Wang….
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 The parents of Julian Lin Carulasan Wang plan to stay in Singapore for a long time because
should be denied. 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
Same; Same; Grounds Held Valid for a Change of Name.—Among the grounds for are not carried in a person’s name, they anticipate that Julian Lin Carulasan Wang will be
change of name which have been held valid are: (a) when the name is ridiculous, discriminated against because of his current registered name which carries a middle name.
dishonorable or extremely difficult to write or pronounce; (b) when the change results as a Julian and his sister might also be asking whether they are brother and sister since they
legal consequence, as in legitimation; (c) when the change will avoid confusion; (d) when one have different surnames. Carulasan sounds funny in Singapore’s Mandarin language since
has continuously used and been known since childhood by a Filipino name, and was they do not have the letter "R" but if there is, they pronounce it as "L." It is for these reasons
unaware of alien parentage; (e) a sincere desire to adopt a Filipino name to erase signs of that the name of Julian Lin Carulasan Wang is requested to be changed to Julian Lin
former alienage, all in good faith and without prejudicing anybody; and (f) when the Wang.1
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.
On 30 April 2003, the RTC rendered a decision denying the petition. 2 The trial court found
Same; Same; It is best that the matter of change of his name be left to his judgment that the reason given for the change of name sought in the petition—that is, that petitioner
and discretion when he reaches the age of major-ity.—In addition, petitioner is only a minor. Julian may be discriminated against when studies in Singapore because of his middle
Considering the nebulous foundation on which his petition for change of name is based, it is name—did not fall within the grounds recognized by law. The trial court ruled that the
best that the matter of change of his name be left to his judgment and discretion when he change sought is merely for the convenience of the child. Since the State has an interest in
reaches the age of majority. As he is of tender age, he may not yet understand and the name of a person, names cannot be changed to suit the convenience of the bearers.
appreciate the value of the change of his name and granting of the same at this point may Under Article 174 of the Family Code, legitimate children have the right to bear the
just prejudice him in his rights under our laws. 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
PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, Br.
change his name by dropping his middle name.3
57.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision but this was denied in a
Magdalena M.R. Lepiten for petitioner. resolution dated 20 May 2004.4The trial court maintained that the Singaporean practice of
The Solicitor General for respondent. 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
TINGA, J.: 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
I will not blot out his name out of the book of life.
Petitioner then filed this Petition for Review on Certiorari (Under Rule 45)6 arguing that the
Revelation 3:5 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
On 22 September 2002, petitioner Julian Lin Carulasan Wang, a minor, represented by his is a need for the Supreme Court to rule on the matter of dropping of family name for a child
mother Anna Lisa Wang, filed a petition dated 19 September 2002 for change of name to adjust to his new environment, for consistency and harmony among siblings, taking into
and/or correction/cancellation of entry in the Civil Registry of Julian Lin Carulasan Wang.
consideration the "best interest of the child."8 It is argued that convenience of the child is a sufficiency and propriety of the justifications advanced in support thereof, mindful of the
valid reason for changing the name as long as it will not prejudice the State and others. consequent results in the event of its grant and with the sole prerogative for making such
Petitioner points out that the middle name "Carulasan" will cause him undue determination being lodged in the courts.17
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
The petition before us is unlike other petitions for change of name, as it does not simply
that it is error for the trial court to have denied the petition for change of name until he had
seek to change the name of the minor petitioner and adopt another, but instead seeks to
reached the age of majority for him to decide the name to use, contrary to previous
drop the middle name altogether. Decided cases in this jurisdiction involving petitions for
cases9 decided by this Court that allowed a minor to petition for change of name. 10
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
The Court required the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to comment on the petition. or dropping of the middle name. Does the law allow one to drop the middle name from his
The OSG filed its Comment11 positing that the trial court correctly denied the petition for registered name? We have to answer in the negative.
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
A discussion on the legal significance of a person’s name is relevant at this point. We quote,
cannot be denied by the mere expedient of dropping the same. According to the OSG, there
thus:
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 …For all practical and legal purposes, a man's name is the designation by which he is
any compelling reason to justify the change of name or the dropping of the middle name, for known and called in the community in which he lives and is best known. It is defined as the
that matter. Petitioner’s allegation that the continued use of the middle name may result in word or combination of words by which a person is distinguished from other individuals and,
confusion and difficulty is allegedly more imaginary than real. The OSG reiterates its also, as the label or appellation which he bears for the convenience of the world at large
argument raised before the trial court that the dropping of the child’s middle name could addressing him, or in speaking of or dealing with him. Names are used merely as one
only trigger much deeper inquiries regarding the true parentage of petitioner. Hence, while method of indicating the identity of persons; they are descriptive of persons for
petitioner Julian has a sister named Jasmine Wei Wang, there is no confusion since both identification, since, the identity is the essential thing and it has frequently been held that,
use the surname of their father, Wang. Even assuming that it is customary in Singapore to when identity is certain, a variance in, or misspelling of, the name is immaterial.
drop the middle name, it has also not been shown that the use of such middle name is
actually proscribed by Singaporean law.13 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
We affirm the decision of the trial court. The petition should be denied. 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
The Court has had occasion to express the view that the State has an interest in the names
which the child is entitled is fixed by law.
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 A name is said to have the following characteristics: (1) It is absolute, intended to protect
reasonable cause, or any compelling reason which may justify such change. Otherwise, the the individual from being confused with others. (2) It is obligatory in certain respects, for
request should be denied.14 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
The touchstone for the grant of a change of name is that there be ‘proper and reasonable
mortis causa. (5) It is imprescriptible.19
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 This citation does not make any reference to middle names, but this does not mean that
which have been held valid are: (a) when the name is ridiculous, dishonorable or extremely middle names have no practical or legal significance. Middle names serve to identify the
difficult to write or pronounce; (b) when the change results as a legal consequence, as in maternal lineage or filiation of a person as well as further distinguish him from others who
legitimation; (c) when the change will avoid confusion; (d) when one has continuously used may have the same given name and surname as he has.
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 Our laws on the use of surnames state that legitimate and legitimated children shall
faith and without prejudicing anybody; and (f) when the surname causes embarrassment principally use the surname of the father.20 The Family Code gives legitimate children the
and there is no showing that the desired change of name was for a fraudulent purpose or right to bear the surnames of the father and the mother, 21 while illegitimate children shall
that the change of name would prejudice public interest.16 use the surname of their mother, unless their father recognizes their filiation, in which case
they may bear the father’s surname.22
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 Applying these laws, an illegitimate child whose filiation is not recognized by the father
satisfactory to the court and not all the best evidence available. What is involved is not a bears only a given name and his mother’s surname, and does not have a middle name. The
mere matter of allowance or disallowance of the request, but a judicious evaluation of 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 The factual antecedents and unique circumstances of the cited cases are not at all analogous
acknowledged by the father in a public document or private handwritten instrument that he to the case at bar. The instant case is clearly distinguishable from the cases
bears both his mother’s surname as his middle name and his father’s surname as his of Oshita and Alfon, where the petitioners were already of age when they filed their
surname, reflecting his status as a legitimated child or an acknowledged illegitimate child. 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
Accordingly, the registration in the civil registry of the birth of such individuals requires
petitions for change of name in these two cases was the presence of reasonable or compelling
that the middle name be indicated in the certificate. The registered name of a legitimate,
grounds therefore. The Court, in Oshita, recognized the tangible animosity most Filipinos
legitimated and recognized illegitimate child thus contains a given or proper name, a middle
had during that time against the Japanese as a result of World War II, in addition to the
name, and a surname.
fact of therein petitioner’s 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
Petitioner theorizes that it would be for his best interest to drop his middle name as this registered name and she had not used her registered name in her school records and voter’s
would help him to adjust more easily to and integrate himself into Singaporean society. In registration records; thus, denying the petition would only result to confusion.
support, he cites Oshita v. Republic23 and Calderon v. Republic,24 which, however, are not
apropos both.
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
In Oshita, the petitioner therein, a legitimate daughter of a Filipino mother, Buena that he does not have to reach the age of majority to petition for change of name. However,
Bartolome, and a Japanese father, Kishimatsu Oshita, sought to change her name from it is manifest in Calderon that the Court, in granting the petition for change of name, gave
Antonina B. Oshita to Antonina Bartolome. The Court granted her petition based on the paramount consideration to the best interests of the minor petitioner therein.
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
In the case at bar, the only reason advanced by petitioner for the dropping his middle name
their mother’s surname; she was embarrassed to bear a Japanese surname there still being
is convenience. However, how such change of name would make his integration into
ill feeling against the Japanese due to the last World War; and there was no showing that
Singaporean society easier and convenient is not clearly established. That the continued use
the change of name was motivated by a fraudulent purpose or that it will prejudice public
of his middle name would cause confusion and difficulty does not constitute proper and
interest.
reasonable cause to drop it from his registered complete name.

In Calderon, the Court allowed petitioner Gertrudes Josefina del Prado, an illegitimate
In addition, petitioner is only a minor. Considering the nebulous foundation on which his
minor child acting through her mother who filed the petition in her behalf, to change her
petition for change of name is based, it is best that the matter of change of his name be left
name to Gertudes Josefina Calderon, taking the surname of her stepfather, Romeo C.
to his judgment and discretion when he reaches the age of majority. 26 As he is of tender age,
Calderon, her mother’s husband. The Court held that a petition for change of name of an
he may not yet understand and appreciate the value of the change of his name and granting
infant should be granted where to do is clearly for the best interest of the child. The Court
of the same at this point may just prejudice him in his rights under our laws.
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 WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Petition for Review on Certiorari is DENIED.
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.
SO ORDERED.

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 voter’s 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 petitioner’s 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.
G.R. No. 181174. December 4, 2009.* Pablo died5 on April 15, 2002 in a vehicular accident in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia.

MA. CRISTINA TORRES BRAZA, PAOLO JOSEF T. BRAZA and JANELLE ANN T.
During the wake following the repatriation of his remains to the Philippines, respondent
BRAZA, petitioners, vs.THE CITY CIVIL REGISTRAR OF HIMAMAYLAN CITY, NEGROS
Lucille Titular (Lucille) began introducing her co-respondent minor Patrick Alvin Titular
OCCIDENTAL, minor PATRICK ALVIN TITULAR BRAZA, represented by LEON
Braza (Patrick) as her and Pablo's son. Ma. Cristina thereupon made inquiries in the course
TITULAR, CECILIA TITULAR and LUCILLE C. TITULAR, respondents.
of which she obtained Patrick's birth certificate6 from the Local Civil Registrar of
Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental with the following entries:
Civil Registry; Correction of Entry; In a special proceeding for correction of entry
under Rule 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Original Registry), the trial
court has no jurisdiction to nullify marriages and rule on legitimacy and filiation.—In a Name of Child : PATRICK ALVIN CELESTIAL TITULAR
special proceeding for correction of entry under Rule 108 (Cancellation or Correction of
Entries in the Original Registry), the trial court has no jurisdiction to nullify marriages and Date of Birth : 01 January 1996
rule on legitimacy and filiation. Rule 108 of the Rules of Court vis-à-vis Article 412 of the
Civil Code charts the procedure by which an entry in the civil registry may be cancelled or Mother : Lucille Celestial Titular
corrected. The proceeding contemplated therein may generally be used only to correct
clerical, spelling, typographical and other innocuous errors in the civil registry. A clerical Father : Pablito S. Braza
error is one which is visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding; an error made by a
clerk or a transcriber; a mistake in copying or writing, or a harmless change such as a Date Received at the Local January 13, 1997
correction of name that is clearly misspelled or of a misstatement of the occupation of the Civil Registrar :
parent. Substantial or contentious alterations may be allowed only in adversarial
proceedings, in which all interested parties are impleaded and due process is properly Annotation : "Late Registration"
observed.
Annotation/Remarks : "Acknowledge (sic) by the father Pablito Braza on January 13, 1997"
Same; Same; Marriages; Declaration of Nullity of Marriage; Filiation; Jurisdiction;
Doctrinally, validity of marriages as well as legitimacy and filiation can be questioned only Remarks : Legitimated by virtue of subsequent marriage of parents on April 22,
1998 at Manila. Henceforth, the child shall be known as Patrick Alvin
in a direct action seasonably filed by the proper party, and not through collateral attack; An Titular Braza (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
action seeking the declaration of marriage as void for being bigamous and one impugning a
child’s legitimacy are governed not by Rule 108 but by A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC and Art. 171 of
the Family Code, respectively, and the petition should be filed in a Family Court.—The Ma. Cristina likewise obtained a copy7 of a marriage contract showing that Pablo and
allegations of the petition filed before the trial court clearly show that petitioners seek to Lucille were married on April 22, 1998, drawing her and her co-petitioners to file on
nullify the marriage between Pablo and Lucille on the ground that it is bigamous and December 23, 2005 before the Regional Trial Court of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental
impugn Patrick’s filiation in connection with which they ask the court to order Patrick to be a petition8 to correct the entries in the birth record of Patrick in the Local Civil Register.
subjected to a DNA test. Petitioners insist, however, that the main cause of action is for the
correction of Patrick’s birth records and that the rest of the prayers are merely incidental
thereto. Petitioners’ position does not lie. Their cause of action is actually to seek the Contending that Patrick could not have been legitimated by the supposed marriage between
declaration of Pablo and Lucille’s marriage as void for being bigamous and impugn Patrick’s Lucille and Pablo, said marriage being bigamous on account of the valid and subsisting
legitimacy, which causes of action are governed not by Rule 108 but by A.M. No. 02-11-10- marriage between Ma. Cristina and Pablo, petitioners prayed for (1) the correction of the
SC which took effect on March 15, 2003, and Art. 171 of the Family Code, respectively, entries in Patrick's birth record with respect to his legitimation, the name of the father and
hence, the petition should be filed in a Family Court as expressly provided in said Code. It is his acknowledgment, and the use of the last name "Braza"; 2) a directive to Leon, Cecilia
well to emphasize that, doctrinally, validity of marriages as well as legitimacy and filiation and Lucille, all surnamed Titular, as guardians of the minor Patrick, to submit Parick to
can be questioned only in a direct action seasonably filed by the proper party, and not DNA testing to determine his paternity and filiation; and 3) the declaration of nullity of the
through collateral attack such as the petition filed before the court a quo. legitimation of Patrick as stated in his birth certificate and, for this purpose, the declaration
of the marriage of Lucille and Pablo as bigamous.
PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. On Patrick’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction, the trial court, by Order 9 of
Japhet T. Masculino for petitioners. September 6, 2007, dismissed the petition without prejudice, it holding that in a special
Jerry P. Basiao for respondents. proceeding for correction of entry, the court, which is not acting as a family court under the
Family Code, has no jurisdiction over an action to annul the marriage of Lucille and Pablo,
impugn the legitimacy of Patrick, and order Patrick to be subjected to a DNA test, hence,
CARPIO MORALES, J.: the controversy should be ventilated in an ordinary adversarial action.

Petitioner Ma. Cristina Torres (Ma. Cristina) and Pablo Sicad Braza, Jr. (Pablo), also known Petitioners’ motion for reconsideration having been denied by Order 10 of November 29, 2007,
as "Pablito Sicad Braza," were married1 on January 4, 1978. The union bore Ma. Cristina’s they filed the present petition for review.
co-petitioners Paolo Josef2 and Janelle Ann3 on May 8, 1978 and June 7, 1983, respectively,
and Gian Carlo4 on June 4, 1980.
Petitioners maintain that the court a quo may pass upon the validity of marriage and the petitioners and Keh Shiok Cheng. That is why the Court ordered the cancellation of the
questions on legitimacy even in an action to correct entries in the civil registrar. name of Keh Shiok Cheng as the petitioners’ mother and the substitution thereof with "Tiu
Citing Cariño v. Cariño,11 Lee v. Court of Appeals12 and Republic v. Kho,13 they contend that Chuan" who is their biological mother. Thus, the collateral attack was allowed and the
even substantial errors, such as those sought to be corrected in the present case, can be the petition deemed as adversarial proceeding contemplated under Rule 108.
subject of a petition under Rule 108.14
In Republic v. Kho, it was the petitioners themselves who sought the correction of the
The petition fails. In a special proceeding for correction of entry under Rule 108 entries in their respective birth records to reflect that they were illegitimate and that their
(Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Original Registry), the trial court has no citizenship is "Filipino," not Chinese, because their parents were never legally married.
jurisdiction to nullify marriages and rule on legitimacy and filiation. Again, considering that the changes sought to be made were substantial and not merely
innocuous, the Court, finding the proceedings under Rule 108 to be adversarial in nature,
upheld the lower court’s grant of the petition.
Rule 108 of the Rules of Court vis a vis Article 412 of the Civil Code15 charts the procedure
by which an entry in the civil registry may be cancelled or corrected. The proceeding
contemplated therein may generally be used only to correct clerical, spelling, typographical It is thus clear that the facts in the above-cited cases are vastly different from those
and other innocuous errors in the civil registry. A clerical error is one which is visible to the obtaining in the present case.
eyes or obvious to the understanding; an error made by a clerk or a transcriber; a mistake in
copying or writing, or a harmless change such as a correction of name that is clearly
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.
misspelled or of a misstatement of the occupation of the parent. Substantial or contentious
alterations may be allowed only in adversarial proceedings, in which all interested parties
are impleaded and due process is properly observed.16 SO ORDERED.

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

Petitioners insist, however, that the main cause of action is for the correction of Patrick’s
birth records17 and that the rest of the prayers are merely incidental thereto.

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

It is well to emphasize that, doctrinally, validity of marriages as well as legitimacy and


filiation can be questioned only in a direct action seasonably filed by the proper party, and
not through collateral attack such as the petition filed before the court a quo.

Petitioners’ reliance on the cases they cited is misplaced.

Cariño v. Cariño was an action filed by a second wife against the first wife for the return of
one-half of the death benefits received by the first after the death of the husband. Since the
second wife contracted marriage with the husband while the latter’s marriage to the first
wife was still subsisting, the Court ruled on the validity of the two marriages, it being
essential to the determination of who is rightfully entitled to the death benefits.

In Lee v. Court of Appeals, the Court held that contrary to the contention that the petitions
filed by the therein petitioners before the lower courts were actions to impugn legitimacy,
the prayer was not to declare that the petitioners are illegitimate children of Keh Shiok
Cheng as stated in their records of birth but to establish that they are not the latter’s
children, hence, there was nothing to impugn as there was no blood relation at all between
Appeals correctly dismissed petitioner’s petition in so far as the change of his first name was
G.R. No. 174689. October 19, 2007
concerned.

ROMMEL JACINTO DANTES SILVERIO, petitioner, vs.REPUBLIC OF THE Same; Same; Sex Change; No law allows the change of entry in the birth certificate as
PHILIPPINES, respondent. to sex on the ground of sex reassignment; Under RA 9048, a correction in the civil registry
involving the change of sex is not a mere clerical or typographical error—it is a substantial
Change of Name; The State has an interest in the names borne by individuals and change for which the applicable procedure is Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.—Section 2(c) of
entities for purposes of identification; A change of name is a privilege, not a right.—The State RA 9048 defines what a “clerical or typographical error” is: SECTION 2. Definition of
has an interest in the names borne by individuals and entities for purposes of identification. Terms.—As used in this Act, the following terms shall mean: x x x x x x x x x (3)
A change of name is a privilege, not a right. Petitions for change of name are controlled by “Clerical or typographical error” refers to a mistake committed in the performance of clerical
statutes. In this connection, Article 376 of the Civil Code provides: ART. 376. No person can work in writing, copying, transcribing or typing an entry in the civil register that is
change his name or surname without judicial authority. harmless and innocuous, such as misspelled name or misspelled place of birth or the like,
which is visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding, and can be corrected or changed
Same; Clerical Error Law (RA 9048); Administrative Law; Jurisdictions; RA 9048 only by reference to other existing record or records: Provided, however, That no correction
now governs the change of first name, and vests the power and authority to entertain must involve the change of nationality, age, status or sex of the petitioner. (emphasis
petitions for change of first name to the city or municipal civil registrar or consul general supplied) Under RA 9048, a correction in the civil registry involving the change of sex is not
concerned; The intent and effect of the law is to exclude the change of first name from the a mere clerical or typographical error. It is a substantial change for which the applicable
coverage of Rules 103 (Change of Name) and 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the procedure is Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. The entries envisaged in Article 412 of the Civil
Civil Registry) of the Rules of Court, until and unless an administrative petition for change Code and correctable under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court are those provided in Articles 407
of name is first filed and subsequently denied—in sum, the remedy and the proceedings and 408 of the Civil Code.
regulating change of first name are primarily administrative in nature, not judicial.—RA
9048 now governs the change of first name. It vests the power and authority to entertain Same; Same; Same; Words and Phrases; Statutory Construction; No reasonable
petitions for change of first name to the city or municipal civil registrar or consul general interpretation of Art. 407 of the Civil Code can justify the conclusion that it covers the
concerned. Under the law, therefore, jurisdiction over applications for change of first name correction on the ground of sex reassignment; To correct simply means “to make or set aright;
is now primarily lodged with the aforementioned administrative officers. The intent and to remove the faults or error from” while to change means “to replace something with
effect of the law is to exclude the change of first name from the coverage of Rules 103 something else of the same kind or with something that serves as a substitute.”—The acts,
(Change of Name) and 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry) of events or factual errors contemplated under Article 407 of the Civil Code include even those
the Rules of Court, until and unless an administrative petition for change of name is first that occur after birth. However, no reasonable interpretation of the provision can justify the
filed and subsequently denied. It likewise lays down the corresponding venue, form and conclusion that it covers the correction on the ground of sex reassignment. To correct simply
procedure. In sum, the remedy and the proceedings regulating change of first name are means “to make or set aright; to remove the faults or error from” while to change means “to
primarily administrative in nature, not judicial. replace something with something else of the same kind or with something that serves as a
substitute.” The birth certificate of petitioner contained no error. All entries therein,
Same; Same; Same; Same; Sex Change; A change of name does not alter one’s legal including those corresponding to his first name and sex, were all correct. No correction is
capacity or civil status—RA 9048 does not sanction a change of first name on the ground of necessary.
sex reassignment.— Petitioner’s basis in praying for the change of his first name was his sex
reassignment. He intended to make his first name compatible with the sex he thought he Same; Same; Same; Same; “Status” refers to the circumstances affecting the legal
transformed himself into through surgery. However, a change of name does not alter one’s situation (that is, the sum total of capacities and incapacities) of a person in view of his age,
legal capacity or civil status. RA 9048 does not sanction a change of first name on the nationality and his family membership.—“Status” refers to the circumstances affecting the
ground of sex reassignment. Rather than avoiding confusion, changing petitioner’s first legal situation (that is, the sum total of capacities and incapacities) of a person in view of his
name for his declared purpose may only create grave complications in the civil registry and age, nationality and his family membership. The status of a person in law includes all his
the public interest. Before a person can legally change his given name, he must present personal qualities and relations, more or less permanent in nature, not ordinarily
proper or reasonable cause or any compelling reason justifying such change. In addition, he terminable at his own will, such as his being legitimate or illegitimate, or his being
must show that he will be prejudiced by the use of his true and official name. In this case, married or not. The comprehensive term status… include such matters as the beginning and
he failed to show, or even allege, any prejudice that he might suffer as a result of using his end of legal personality, capacity to have rights in general, family relations, and its various
true and official name. aspects, such as birth, legitimation, adoption, emancipation, marriage, divorce, and
sometimes even succession. (emphasis supplied)
Same; Same; A petition in the trial court in so far as it prays for change of first name
is not within that court’s primary jurisdiction as the petition should be filed with the local Same; Same; Same; Same; A person’s sex is an essential factor in marriage and family
civil registrar concerned, namely, where the birth certificate is kept.—The petition in the trial relations—it is a part of a person’s legal capacity and civil status; There is no such special
court in so far as it prayed for the change of petitioner’s first name was not within that law in the Philippines governing sex reassignment and its effects.—A person’s sex is an
court’s primary jurisdiction as the petition should have been filed with the local civil essential factor in marriage and family relations. It is a part of a person’s legal capacity and
registrar concerned, assuming it could be legally done. It was an improper remedy because civil status. In this connection, Article 413 of the Civil Code provides: ART. 413. All other
the proper remedy was administrative, that is, that provided under RA 9048. It was also matters pertaining to the registration of civil status shall be governed by special laws. But
filed in the wrong venue as the proper venue was in the Office of the Civil Registrar of there is no such special law in the Philippines governing sex reassignment and its effects.
Manila where his birth certificate is kept. More importantly, it had no merit since the use of This is fatal to petitioner’s cause.
his true and official name does not prejudice him at all. For all these reasons, the Court of
Same; Same; Same; Same; Civil Register Law (Act 3753); Under the Civil Register Penal Code and the presumption of survivorship in case of calamities under Rule 131 of the
Law, a birth certificate is a historical record of the facts as they existed at the time of birth— Rules of Court, among others. These laws underscore the public policy in relation to women
thus, the sex of a person is determined at birth, visually done by the birth attendant (the which could be substantially affected if petitioner’s petition were to be granted.
physician or midwife) by examining the genitals of the infant; Considering that there is no
law legally recognizing sex reassignment, the determination of a person’s sex made at the Same; Same; Same; Separation of Powers; Judicial Legislation; Article 9 of the Civil
time of his or her birth, if not attended by error, is immutable.—Under the Civil Register Code which mandates that “[n]o judge or court shall decline to render judgment by reason of
Law, a birth certificate is a historical record of the facts as they existed at the time of birth. the silence, obscurity or insufficiency of the law” is not a license for courts to engage in
Thus, the sex of a person is determined at birth, visually done by the birth attendant (the judicial legislation; In our system of government, it is for the legislature, should it choose to
physician or midwife) by examining the genitals of the infant. Considering that there is no do so, to determine what guidelines should govern the recognition of the effects of sex
law legally recognizing sex reassignment, the determination of a person’s sex made at the reassignment.—It is true that Article 9 of the Civil Code mandates that “[n]o judge or court
time of his or her birth, if not attended by error, is immutable. shall decline to render judgment by reason of the silence, obscurity or insufficiency of the
law.” However, it is not a license for courts to engage in judicial legislation. The duty of the
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Statutory Construction;When words are not defined courts is to apply or interpret the law, not to make or amend it. In our system of
in a statute they are to be given their common and ordinary meaning in the absence of a government, it is for the legislature, should it choose to do so, to determine what guidelines
contrary legislative intent; The words “sex,” “male” and “female” as used in the Civil Register should govern the recognition of the effects of sex reassignment. The need for legislative
Law and laws concerning the civil registry (and even all other laws) should therefore be guidelines becomes particularly important in this case where the claims asserted are
understood in their common and ordinary usage, there being no legislative intent to the statutebased.
contrary; Sex is defined as “the sum of peculiarities of structure and function that distinguish
a male from a female” or “the distinction between male and female”; The words “male” and Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; If the legislature intends to confer on a person who
“female” in everyday understanding do not include persons who have undergone sex has undergone sex reassignment the privilege to change his name and sex to conform with his
reassignment; While a person may have succeeded in altering his body and appearance reassigned sex, it has to enact legislation laying down the guidelines in turn governing the
through the intervention of modern surgery, no law authorizes the change of entry as to sex in conferment of that privilege; The Supreme Court cannot enact a law where no law exists.—To
the civil registry for that reason.— When words are not defined in a statute they are to be reiterate, the statutes define who may file petitions for change of first name and for
given their common and ordinary meaning in the absence of a contrary legislative intent. correction or change of entries in the civil registry, where they may be filed, what grounds
The words “sex,” “male” and “female” as used in the Civil Register Law and laws concerning may be invoked, what proof must be presented and what procedures shall be observed. If
the civil registry (and even all other laws) should therefore be understood in their common the legislature intends to confer on a person who has undergone sex reassignment the
and ordinary usage, there being no legislative intent to the contrary. In this connection, sex privilege to change his name and sex to conform with his reassigned sex, it has to enact
is defined as “the sum of peculiarities of structure and function that distinguish a male from legislation laying down the guidelines in turn governing the conferment of that privilege. It
a female” or “the distinction between male and female.” Female is “the sex that produces might be theoretically possible for this Court to write a protocol on when a person may be
ova or bears young” and male is “the sex that has organs to produce spermatozoa for recognized as having successfully changed his sex. However, this Court has no authority to
fertilizing ova.” Thus, the words “male” and “female” in everyday understanding do not fashion a law on that matter, or on anything else. The Court cannot enact a law where no
include persons who have undergone sex reassignment. Furthermore, “words that are law exists. It can only apply or interpret the written word of its co-equal branch of
employed in a statute which had at the time a well-known meaning are presumed to have government, Congress.
been used in that sense unless the context compels to the contrary.” Since the statutory
language of the Civil Register Law was enacted in the early 1900s and remains unchanged, Same; Same; Same; Same; The Court recognizes that there are people whose
it cannot be argued that the term “sex” as used then is something alterable through surgery preferences and orientation do not fit neatly into the commonly recognized parameters of
or something that allows a post-operative male-to-female transsexual to be included in the social convention and that, at least for them, life is indeed an ordeal, but the remedies involve
category “female.” For these reasons, while petitioner may have succeeded in altering his questions of public policy to be addressed solely by the legislature, not by the courts.—
body and appearance through the intervention of modern surgery, no law authorizes the Petitioner pleads that “[t]he unfortunates are also entitled to a life of happiness,
change of entry as to sex in the civil registry for that reason. Thus, there is no legal basis for contentment and [the] realization of their dreams.” No argument about that. The Court
his petition for the correction or change of the entries in his birth certificate. recognizes that there are people whose preferences and orientation do not fit neatly into the
commonly recognized parameters of social convention and that, at least for them, life is
Same; Same; Same; Marriage; To grant the changes in name and sex sought by indeed an ordeal. However, the remedies petitioner seeks involve questions of public policy
petitioner will substantially reconfigure and greatly alter the laws on marriage and family to be addressed solely by the legislature, not by the courts.
relations—it will allow the union of a man with another man who has undergone sex PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Court of Appeals.
reassignment (a male-to-female post-operative transsexual).—The changes sought by The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
petitioner will have serious and wide-ranging legal and public policy consequences. First, Benito R. Cuesta for petitioner.
even the trial court itself found that the petition was but petitioner’s first step towards his The Solicitor General for respondent.
eventual marriage to his male fiancé. However, marriage, one of the most sacred social
institutions, is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman. One of
its essential requisites is the legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male
CORONA, J.:
and a female. To grant the changes sought by petitioner will substantially reconfigure and
greatly alter the laws on marriage and family relations. It will allow the union of a man
with another man who has undergone sex reassignment (a male-to-female post-operative When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God; He created them male
transsexual). Second, there are various laws which apply particularly to women such as the and female. (Genesis 5:1-2)
provisions of the Labor Code on employment of women, certain felonies under the Revised
Amihan gazed upon the bamboo reed planted by Bathala and she heard voices Petitioner filed the present petition not to evade any law or judgment or any
coming from inside the bamboo. "Oh North Wind! North Wind! Please let us out!," infraction thereof or for any unlawful motive but solely for the purpose of making
the voices said. She pecked the reed once, then twice. All of a sudden, the bamboo his birth records compatible with his present sex.
cracked and slit open. Out came two human beings; one was a male and the other
was a female. Amihan named the man "Malakas" (Strong) and the woman
The sole issue here is whether or not petitioner is entitled to the relief asked for.
"Maganda" (Beautiful). (The Legend of Malakas and Maganda)

The [c]ourt rules in the affirmative.


When is a man a man and when is a woman a woman? In particular, does the law recognize
the changes made by a physician using scalpel, drugs and counseling with regard to a
person’s sex? May a person successfully petition for a change of name and sex appearing in Firstly, the [c]ourt is of the opinion that granting the petition would be more in
the birth certificate to reflect the result of a sex reassignment surgery? consonance with the principles of justice and equity. With his sexual [re-
assignment], petitioner, who has always felt, thought and acted like a woman, now
possesses the physique of a female. Petitioner’s misfortune to be trapped in a
On November 26, 2002, petitioner Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio filed a petition for the
man’s body is not his own doing and should not be in any way taken against him.
change of his first name and sex in his birth certificate in the Regional Trial Court of
Manila, Branch 8. The petition, docketed as SP Case No. 02-105207, impleaded the civil
registrar of Manila as respondent. Likewise, the [c]ourt believes that no harm, injury [or] prejudice will be caused to
anybody or the community in granting the petition. On the contrary, granting the
petition would bring the much-awaited happiness on the part of the petitioner and
Petitioner alleged in his petition that he was born in the City of Manila to the spouses
her [fiancé] and the realization of their dreams.
Melecio Petines Silverio and Anita Aquino Dantes on April 4, 1962. His name was
registered as "Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio" in his certificate of live birth (birth
certificate). His sex was registered as "male." Finally, no evidence was presented to show any cause or ground to deny the
present petition despite due notice and publication thereof. Even the State,
through the [OSG] has not seen fit to interpose any [o]pposition.
He further alleged that he is a male transsexual, that is, "anatomically male but feels,
thinks and acts as a female" and that he had always identified himself with girls since
childhood.1 Feeling trapped in a man’s body, he consulted several doctors in the United WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered GRANTING the petition and
States. He underwent psychological examination, hormone treatment and breast ordering the Civil Registrar of Manila to change the entries appearing in the
augmentation. His attempts to transform himself to a "woman" culminated on January 27, Certificate of Birth of [p]etitioner, specifically for petitioner’s first name from
2001 when he underwent sex reassignment surgery2 in Bangkok, Thailand. He was "Rommel Jacinto" to MELY and petitioner’s gender from "Male" to FEMALE. 5
thereafter examined by Dr. Marcelino Reysio-Cruz, Jr., a plastic and reconstruction surgeon
in the Philippines, who issued a medical certificate attesting that he (petitioner) had in fact On August 18, 2003, the Republic of the Philippines (Republic), thru the OSG, filed a
undergone the procedure. petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals. 6 It alleged that there is no law allowing the
change of entries in the birth certificate by reason of sex alteration.
From then on, petitioner lived as a female and was in fact engaged to be married. He then
sought to have his name in his birth certificate changed from "Rommel Jacinto" to "Mely," On February 23, 2006, the Court of Appeals7 rendered a decision8 in favor of the Republic. It
and his sex from "male" to "female." ruled that the trial court’s decision lacked legal basis. There is no law allowing the change of
either name or sex in the certificate of birth on the ground of sex reassignment through
An order setting the case for initial hearing was published in the People’s Journal Tonight, surgery. Thus, the Court of Appeals granted the Republic’s petition, set aside the decision of
a newspaper of general circulation in Metro Manila, for three consecutive weeks. 3 Copies of the trial court and ordered the dismissal of SP Case No. 02-105207. Petitioner moved for
the order were sent to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the civil registrar of reconsideration but it was denied.9 Hence, this petition.
Manila.
Petitioner essentially claims that the change of his name and sex in his birth certificate is
On the scheduled initial hearing, jurisdictional requirements were established. No allowed under Articles 407 to 413 of the Civil Code, Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court
opposition to the petition was made. and RA 9048.10

During trial, petitioner testified for himself. He also presented Dr. Reysio-Cruz, Jr. and his The petition lacks merit.
American fiancé, Richard P. Edel, as witnesses.
A Person’s First Name Cannot Be Changed On the Ground of Sex Reassignment
On June 4, 2003, the trial court rendered a decision4 in favor of petitioner. Its relevant
portions read: Petitioner invoked his sex reassignment as the ground for his petition for change of name
and sex. As found by the trial court:
Petitioner filed the present petition not to evade any law or judgment or any Petitioner’s basis in praying for the change of his first name was his sex reassignment. He
infraction thereof or for any unlawful motive but solely for the purpose of intended to make his first name compatible with the sex he thought he transformed himself
making his birth records compatible with his present sex. (emphasis into through surgery. However, a change of name does not alter one’s legal capacity or civil
supplied) status.18 RA 9048 does not sanction a change of first name on the ground of sex
reassignment. Rather than avoiding confusion, changing petitioner’s first name for his
declared purpose may only create grave complications in the civil registry and the public
Petitioner believes that after having acquired the physical features of a female, he became
interest.
entitled to the civil registry changes sought. We disagree.

Before a person can legally change his given name, he must present proper or reasonable
The State has an interest in the names borne by individuals and entities for purposes of
cause or any compelling reason justifying such change.19 In addition, he must show that he
identification.11 A change of name is a privilege, not a right. 12 Petitions for change of name
will be prejudiced by the use of his true and official name. 20 In this case, he failed to show,
are controlled by statutes.13 In this connection, Article 376 of the Civil Code provides:
or even allege, any prejudice that he might suffer as a result of using his true and official
name.
ART. 376. No person can change his name or surname without judicial authority.
In sum, the petition in the trial court in so far as it prayed for the change of petitioner’s first
This Civil Code provision was amended by RA 9048 (Clerical Error Law). In particular, name was not within that court’s primary jurisdiction as the petition should have been filed
Section 1 of RA 9048 provides: with the local civil registrar concerned, assuming it could be legally done. It was an
improper remedy because the proper remedy was administrative, that is, that provided
SECTION 1. Authority to Correct Clerical or Typographical Error and Change of under RA 9048. It was also filed in the wrong venue as the proper venue was in the Office of
First Name or Nickname. – No entry in a civil register shall be changed or the Civil Registrar of Manila where his birth certificate is kept. More importantly, it had no
corrected without a judicial order, except for clerical or typographical errors and merit since the use of his true and official name does not prejudice him at all. For all these
change of first name or nickname which can be corrected or changed by the reasons, the Court of Appeals correctly dismissed petitioner’s petition in so far as the change
concerned city or municipal civil registrar or consul general in accordance with the of his first name was concerned.
provisions of this Act and its implementing rules and regulations.
No Law Allows The Change of Entry In The Birth Certificate As To Sex On the
RA 9048 now governs the change of first name.14It vests the power and authority to Ground of Sex Reassignment
entertain petitions for change of first name to the city or municipal civil registrar or consul
general concerned. Under the law, therefore, jurisdiction over applications for change of first The determination of a person’s sex appearing in his birth certificate is a legal issue and the
name is now primarily lodged with the aforementioned administrative officers. The intent court must look to the statutes.21 In this connection, Article 412 of the Civil Code provides:
and effect of the law is to exclude the change of first name from the coverage of Rules 103
(Change of Name) and 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry) of
ART. 412. No entry in the civil register shall be changed or corrected without a
the Rules of Court, until and unless an administrative petition for change of name is first
judicial order.
filed and subsequently denied.15 It likewise lays down the corresponding venue,16 form17 and
procedure. In sum, the remedy and the proceedings regulating change of first name are
primarily administrative in nature, not judicial. Together with Article 376 of the Civil Code, this provision was amended by RA 9048 in so
far as clerical or typographical errors are involved. The correction or change of such matters
can now be made through administrative proceedings and without the need for a judicial
RA 9048 likewise provides the grounds for which change of first name may be allowed:
order. In effect, RA 9048 removed from the ambit of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the
correction of such errors.22 Rule 108 now applies only to substantial changes and corrections
SECTION 4. Grounds for Change of First Name or Nickname. – The petition for in entries in the civil register.23
change of first name or nickname may be allowed in any of the following cases:
Section 2(c) of RA 9048 defines what a "clerical or typographical error" is:
(1) The petitioner finds the first name or nickname to be ridiculous, tainted with
dishonor or extremely difficult to write or pronounce;
SECTION 2. Definition of Terms. – As used in this Act, the following terms shall
mean:
(2) The new first name or nickname has been habitually and continuously used by
the petitioner and he has been publicly known by that first name or nickname in
xxx xxx xxx
the community; or

(3) "Clerical or typographical error" refers to a mistake committed in the


(3) The change will avoid confusion.
performance of clerical work in writing, copying, transcribing or typing
an entry in the civil register that is harmless and innocuous, such as
misspelled name or misspelled place of birth or the like, which is visible
to the eyes or obvious to the understanding, and can be corrected or his own will, such as his being legitimate or illegitimate, or his being married or
changed only by reference to other existing record or records: Provided, not. The comprehensive term status… include such matters as the beginning and
however, That no correction must involve the change of nationality, end of legal personality, capacity to have rights in general, family relations, and
age, status or sex of the petitioner. (emphasis supplied) its various aspects, such as birth, legitimation, adoption, emancipation, marriage,
divorce, and sometimes even succession.28 (emphasis supplied)
Under RA 9048, a correction in the civil registry involving the change of sex is not a mere
clerical or typographical error. It is a substantial change for which the applicable procedure A person’s sex is an essential factor in marriage and family relations. It is a part of a
is Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. person’s legal capacity and civil status. In this connection, Article 413 of the Civil Code
provides:
The entries envisaged in Article 412 of the Civil Code and correctable under Rule 108 of the
Rules of Court are those provided in Articles 407 and 408 of the Civil Code: 24 ART. 413. All other matters pertaining to the registration of civil status shall be
governed by special laws.
ART. 407. Acts, events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons
shall be recorded in the civil register. But there is no such special law in the Philippines governing sex reassignment and its
effects. This is fatal to petitioner’s cause.
ART. 408. The following shall be entered in the civil register:
Moreover, Section 5 of Act 3753 (the Civil Register Law) provides:
(1) Births; (2) marriages; (3) deaths; (4) legal separations; (5) annulments of
marriage; (6) judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning; (7) SEC. 5. Registration and certification of births. – The declaration of the physician
legitimations; (8) adoptions; (9) acknowledgments of natural children; (10) or midwife in attendance at the birth or, in default thereof, the declaration of
naturalization; (11) loss, or (12) recovery of citizenship; (13) civil interdiction; (14) either parent of the newborn child, shall be sufficient for the registration of a birth
judicial determination of filiation; (15) voluntary emancipation of a minor; and in the civil register. Such declaration shall be exempt from documentary stamp
(16) changes of name. tax and shall be sent to the local civil registrar not later than thirty days after the
birth, by the physician or midwife in attendance at the birth or by either parent of
the newborn child.
The acts, events or factual errors contemplated under Article 407 of the Civil Code include
even those that occur after birth.25 However, no reasonable interpretation of the provision
can justify the conclusion that it covers the correction on the ground of sex reassignment. In such declaration, the person above mentioned shall certify to the following
facts: (a) date and hour of birth; (b) sex and nationality of infant; (c) names,
citizenship and religion of parents or, in case the father is not known, of the
To correct simply means "to make or set aright; to remove the faults or error from" while to
mother alone; (d) civil status of parents; (e) place where the infant was born; and
change means "to replace something with something else of the same kind or with
(f) such other data as may be required in the regulations to be issued.
something that serves as a substitute."26 The birth certificate of petitioner contained no
error. All entries therein, including those corresponding to his first name and sex, were all
correct. No correction is necessary. xxx xxx xxx (emphasis supplied)

Article 407 of the Civil Code authorizes the entry in the civil registry of certain acts (such as Under the Civil Register Law, a birth certificate is a historical record of the facts as they
legitimations, acknowledgments of illegitimate children and naturalization), events (such as existed at the time of birth.29Thus, the sex of a person is determined at birth, visually done
births, marriages, naturalization and deaths) and judicial decrees (such as legal by the birth attendant (the physician or midwife) by examining the genitals of the infant.
separations, annulments of marriage, declarations of nullity of marriages, adoptions, Considering that there is no law legally recognizing sex reassignment, the determination of
naturalization, loss or recovery of citizenship, civil interdiction, judicial determination of a person’s sex made at the time of his or her birth, if not attended by error, 30 is immutable.31
filiation and changes of name). These acts, events and judicial decrees produce legal
consequences that touch upon the legal capacity, status and nationality of a person. Their
When words are not defined in a statute they are to be given their common and ordinary
effects are expressly sanctioned by the laws. In contrast, sex reassignment is not among
meaning in the absence of a contrary legislative intent. The words "sex," "male" and
those acts or events mentioned in Article 407. Neither is it recognized nor even mentioned
"female" as used in the Civil Register Law and laws concerning the civil registry (and even
by any law, expressly or impliedly.
all other laws) should therefore be understood in their common and ordinary usage, there
being no legislative intent to the contrary. In this connection, sex is defined as "the sum of
"Status" refers to the circumstances affecting the legal situation (that is, the sum total of peculiarities of structure and function that distinguish a male from a female" 32 or "the
capacities and incapacities) of a person in view of his age, nationality and his family distinction between male and female."33Female is "the sex that produces ova or bears
membership.27 young"34 and male is "the sex that has organs to produce spermatozoa for fertilizing
ova."35 Thus, the words "male" and "female" in everyday understanding do not include
persons who have undergone sex reassignment. Furthermore, "words that are employed in a
The status of a person in law includes all his personal qualities and
statute which had at the time a well-known meaning are presumed to have been used in
relations, more or less permanent in nature, not ordinarily terminable at
that sense unless the context compels to the contrary."36 Since the statutory language of the
Civil Register Law was enacted in the early 1900s and remains unchanged, it cannot be law exists. It can only apply or interpret the written word of its co-equal branch of
argued that the term "sex" as used then is something alterable through surgery or government, Congress.
something that allows a post-operative male-to-female transsexual to be included in the
category "female."
Petitioner pleads that "[t]he unfortunates are also entitled to a life of happiness,
contentment and [the] realization of their dreams." No argument about that. The Court
For these reasons, while petitioner may have succeeded in altering his body and appearance recognizes that there are people whose preferences and orientation do not fit neatly into the
through the intervention of modern surgery, no law authorizes the change of entry as to sex commonly recognized parameters of social convention and that, at least for them, life is
in the civil registry for that reason. Thus, there is no legal basis for his petition for the indeed an ordeal. However, the remedies petitioner seeks involve questions of public policy
correction or change of the entries in his birth certificate. to be addressed solely by the legislature, not by the courts.

Neither May Entries in the Birth Certificate As to First Name or Sex Be Changed WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED.
on the Ground of Equity
Costs against petitioner.
The trial court opined that its grant of the petition was in consonance with the principles of
justice and equity. It believed that allowing the petition would cause no harm, injury or
SO ORDERED.
prejudice to anyone. This is wrong.

The changes sought by petitioner will have serious and wide-ranging legal and public policy
consequences. First, even the trial court itself found that the petition was but petitioner’s
first step towards his eventual marriage to his male fiancé. However, marriage, one of the
most sacred social institutions, is a special contract of permanent union between a man and
a woman.37 One of its essential requisites is the legal capacity of the contracting parties who
must be a male and a female.38 To grant the changes sought by petitioner will substantially
reconfigure and greatly alter the laws on marriage and family relations. It will allow the
union of a man with another man who has undergone sex reassignment (a male-to-female
post-operative transsexual). Second, there are various laws which apply particularly to
women such as the provisions of the Labor Code on employment of women, 39 certain felonies
under the Revised Penal Code40 and the presumption of survivorship in case of calamities
under Rule 131 of the Rules of Court,41 among others. These laws underscore the public
policy in relation to women which could be substantially affected if petitioner’s petition were
to be granted.

It is true that Article 9 of the Civil Code mandates that "[n]o judge or court shall decline to
render judgment by reason of the silence, obscurity or insufficiency of the law." However, it
is not a license for courts to engage in judicial legislation. The duty of the courts is to apply
or interpret the law, not to make or amend it.

In our system of government, it is for the legislature, should it choose to do so, to determine
what guidelines should govern the recognition of the effects of sex reassignment. The need
for legislative guidelines becomes particularly important in this case where the claims
asserted are statute-based.

To reiterate, the statutes define who may file petitions for change of first name and for
correction or change of entries in the civil registry, where they may be filed, what grounds
may be invoked, what proof must be presented and what procedures shall be observed. If
the legislature intends to confer on a person who has undergone sex reassignment the
privilege to change his name and sex to conform with his reassigned sex, it has to enact
legislation laying down the guidelines in turn governing the conferment of that privilege.

It might be theoretically possible for this Court to write a protocol on when a person may be
recognized as having successfully changed his sex. However, this Court has no authority to
fashion a law on that matter, or on anything else. The Court cannot enact a law where no
Same; Same; Same; Same; The current state of Philippine statutes apparently compels
G.R. No. 166676. September 12, 2008.*
that a person be classified either as a male or as a female, but this Court is not controlled by
mere appearances when nature itself fundamentally negates such rigid classification.—
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. JENNIFER B. CAGANDAHAN,
Intersex individuals are treated in different ways by different cultures. In most societies,
respondent.
intersex individuals have been expected to conform to either a male or female gender role.
Since the rise of modern medical science in Western societies, some intersex people with
Civil Registry; Correction of Entries in Birth Certificates; Clerical Error Law (R.A. No.
ambiguous external genitalia have had their genitalia surgically modified to resemble either
9048); R.A. No. 9048 removed from the ambit of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the correction
male or female genitals. More commonly, an intersex individual is considered as suffering
of such errors—Rule 108 now applies only to substantial changes and corrections in entries
from a “disorder” which is almost always recommended to be treated, whether by surgery
in the civil register.—The determination of a person’s sex appearing in his birth certificate is
and/or by taking lifetime medication in order to mold the individual as neatly as possible
a legal issue and the court must look to the statutes. In this connection, Article 412 of the
into the category of either male or female. In deciding this case, we consider the
Civil Code provides: ART. 412. No entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected
compassionate calls for recognition of the various degrees of intersex as variations which
without a judicial order. Together with Article 376 of the Civil Code, this provision was
should not be subject to outright denial. “It has been suggested that there is some middle
amended by Republic Act No. 9048 in so far as clerical or typographical errors are involved.
ground between the sexes, a ‘no-man’s land’ for those individuals who are neither truly
The correction or change of such matters can now be made through administrative
‘male’ nor truly ‘female.’” The current state of Philippine statutes apparently compels that a
proceedings and without the need for a judicial order. In effect, Rep. Act No. 9048 removed
person be classified either as a male or as a female, but this Court is not controlled by mere
from the ambit of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the correction of such errors. Rule 108 now
appearances when nature itself fundamentally negates such rigid classification.
applies only to substantial changes and corrections in entries in the civil register.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Where the person is biologically or naturally intersex the
Same; Same; The entries envisaged in Article 412 of the Civil Code and correctable
determining factor in his gender classification would be what the individual, having reached
under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court are those provided in Articles 407 and 408 of the Civil
the age of majority, with good reason thinks of his/her sex; Sexual development in cases of
Code; The acts, events or factual errors contemplated under Article 407 of the Civil Code
intersex persons makes the gender classification at birth inconclusive—it is at maturity that
include even those that occur after birth.—Under Rep. Act No. 9048, a correction in the civil
the gender of such persons, like respondent, is fixed.—Biologically, nature endowed
registry involving the change of sex is not a mere clerical or typographical error. It is a
respondent with a mixed (neither consistently and categorically female nor consistently and
substantial change for which the applicable procedure is Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. The
categorically male) composition. Respondent has female (XX) chromosomes. However,
entries envisaged in Article 412 of the Civil Code and correctable under Rule 108 of the
respondent’s body system naturally produces high levels of male hormones (androgen). As a
Rules of Court are those provided in Articles 407 and 408 of the Civil Code: ART. 407. Acts,
result, respondent has ambiguous genitalia and the phenotypic features of a male.
events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons shall be recorded in the
Ultimately, we are of the view that where the person is biologically or naturally intersex the
civil register. ART. 408. The following shall be entered in the civil register: (1) Births; (2)
determining factor in his gender classification would be what the individual, like
marriages; (3) deaths; (4) legal separations; (5) annulments of marriage; (6) judgments
respondent, having reached the age of majority, with good reason thinks of his/her sex.
declaring marriages void from the beginning; (7) legitimations; (8) adoptions; (9)
Respondent here thinks of himself as a male and considering that his body produces high
acknowledgments of natural children; (10) naturalization; (11) loss, or (12) recovery of
levels of male hormones (androgen) there is preponderant biological support for considering
citizenship; (13) civil interdiction; (14) judicial determination of filiation; (15) voluntary
him as being male. Sexual development in cases of intersex persons makes the gender
emancipation of a minor; and (16) changes of name. The acts, events or factual errors
classification at birth inconclusive. It is at maturity that the gender of such persons, like
contemplated under Article 407 of the Civil Code include even those that occur after birth.
respondent, is fixed.
Same; Same; Intersexuality; Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH); Words and
Same; Same; Same; Same; To the person with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)
Phrases; During the twentieth century, medicine adopted the term “intersexuality” to apply to
belongs the human right to the pursuit of happiness and of health, and to him should belong
human beings who cannot be classified as either male or female—an organism with intersex
the primordial choice of what courses of action to take along the path of his sexual
may have biological characteristics of both male and female sexes.—Respondent
development and maturation.—In the absence of a law on the matter, the Court will not
undisputedly has CAH. This condition causes the early or “inappropriate” appearance of
dictate on respondent concerning a matter so innately private as one’s sexuality and
male characteristics. A person, like respondent, with this condition produces too much
lifestyle preferences, much less on whether or not to undergo medical treatment to reverse
androgen, a male hormone. A newborn who has XX chromosomes coupled with CAH usually
the male tendency due to CAH. The Court will not consider respondent as having erred in
has a (1) swollen clitoris with the urethral opening at the base, an ambiguous genitalia often
not choosing to undergo treatment in order to become or remain as a female. Neither will
appearing more male than female; (2) normal internal structures of the female reproductive
the Court force respondent to undergo treatment and to take medication in order to fit the
tract such as the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes; as the child grows older, some features
mold of a female, as society commonly currently knows this gender of the human species.
start to appear male, such as deepening of the voice, facial hair, and failure to menstruate
Respondent is the one who has to live with his intersex anatomy. To him belongs the human
at puberty. About 1 in 10,000 to 18,000 children are born with CAH. CAH is one of many
right to the pursuit of happiness and of health. Thus, to him should belong the primordial
conditions that involve intersex anatomy. During the twentieth century, medicine adopted
choice of what courses of action to take along the path of his sexual development and
the term “intersexuality” to apply to human beings who cannot be classified as either male
maturation. In the absence of evidence that respondent is an “incompetent” and in the
or female. The term is now of widespread use. According to Wikipedia, intersexuality “is the
absence of evidence to show that classifying respondent as a male will harm other members
state of a living thing of a gonochoristic species whose sex chromosomes, genitalia, and/or
of society who are equally entitled to protection under the law, the Court affirms as valid
secondary sex characteristics are determined to be neither exclusively male nor female. An
and justified the respondent’s position and his personal judgment of being a male.
organism with intersex may have biological characteristics of both male and female sexes.”
Same; Same; Names; There is merit in the change of name of a person with Congenital
Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) where the same is the consequence of the recognition of his
preferred gender.—As for respondent’s change of name under Rule 103, this Court has held further testified that respondent’s condition is permanent and recommended the change of
that a change of name is not a matter of right but of judicial discretion, to be exercised in gender because respondent has made up her mind, adjusted to her chosen role as male, and
the light of the reasons adduced and the consequences that will follow. The trial court’s the gender change would be advantageous to her.
grant of respondent’s change of name from Jennifer to Jeff implies a change of a feminine
name to a masculine name. Considering the consequence that respondent’s change of name
The RTC granted respondent’s petition in a Decision dated January 12, 2005 which reads:
merely recognizes his preferred gender, we find merit in respondent’s change of name. Such
a change will conform with the change of the entry in his birth certificate from female to
male. The Court is convinced that petitioner has satisfactorily shown that he is entitled to the
reliefs prayed [for]. Petitioner has adequately presented to the Court very clear and
PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the Regional Trial Court of Siniloan, convincing proofs for the granting of his petition. It was medically proven that petitioner’s
Laguna, Br. 33. body produces male hormones, and first his body as well as his action and feelings are that
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court. of a male. He has chosen to be male. He is a normal person and wants to be acknowledged
The Solicitor General for petitioner. and identified as a male.
Edgard N. Smith for respondent.
QUISUMBING, J.: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Civil Register of Pakil, Laguna is hereby ordered
to make the following corrections in the birth [c]ertificate of Jennifer Cagandahan upon
payment of the prescribed fees:
This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court raising purely questions of
law and seeking a reversal of the Decision[1] dated January 12, 2005 of the Regional Trial a) By changing the name from Jennifer Cagandahan to JEFF CAGANDAHAN; and
Court (RTC), Branch 33 of Siniloan, Laguna, which granted the Petition for Correction of
Entries in Birth Certificate filed by Jennifer B. Cagandahan and ordered the following
changes of entries in Cagandahan’s birth certificate: (1) the name "Jennifer Cagandahan" b) By changing the gender from female to MALE.
changed to "Jeff Cagandahan" and (2) gender from "female" to "male."
It is likewise ordered that petitioner’s school records, voter’s registry, baptismal certificate,
The facts are as follows. and other pertinent records are hereby amended to conform with the foregoing corrected
data.
On December 11, 2003, respondent Jennifer Cagandahan filed a Petition for Correction of
Entries in Birth Certificate2 before the RTC, Branch 33 of Siniloan, Laguna. SO ORDERED.[3]

In her petition, she alleged that she was born on January 13, 1981 and was registered as a Thus, this petition by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) seeking a reversal of the
female in the Certificate of Live Birth but while growing up, she developed secondary male abovementioned ruling.
characteristics and was diagnosed to have Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) which is
a condition where persons thus afflicted possess both male and female characteristics. She The issues raised by petitioner are:
further alleged that she was diagnosed to have clitoral hyperthropy in her early years and
at age six, underwent an ultrasound where it was discovered that she has small ovaries. At
age thirteen, tests revealed that her ovarian structures had minimized, she has stopped THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GRANTING THE PETITION CONSIDERING THAT:
growing and she has no breast or menstrual development. She then alleged that for all
interests and appearances as well as in mind and emotion, she has become a male person. I.
Thus, she prayed that her birth certificate be corrected such that her gender be changed
from female to male and her first name be changed from Jennifer to Jeff.
THE REQUIREMENTS OF RULES 103 AND 108 OF THE RULES OF COURT HAVE NOT
BEEN COMPLIED WITH; AND,
The petition was published in a newspaper of general circulation for three (3) consecutive
weeks and was posted in conspicuous places by the sheriff of the court. The Solicitor General
entered his appearance and authorized the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor to appear in his II.
behalf.
CORRECTION OF ENTRY UNDER RULE 108 DOES NOT ALLOW CHANGE OF "SEX"
To prove her claim, respondent testified and presented the testimony of Dr. Michael Sionzon OR "GENDER" IN THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE, WHILE RESPONDENT’S MEDICAL
of the Department of Psychiatry, University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital. CONDITION, i.e., CONGENITAL ADRENAL HYPERPLASIA DOES NOT MAKE HER A
Dr. Sionzon issued a medical certificate stating that respondent’s condition is known as "MALE."4
CAH. He explained that genetically respondent is female but because her body secretes
male hormones, her female organs did not develop normally and she has two sex organs – Simply stated, the issue is whether the trial court erred in ordering the correction of entries
female and male. He testified that this condition is very rare, that respondent’s uterus is not in the birth certificate of respondent to change her sex or gender, from female to male, on
fully developed because of lack of female hormones, and that she has no monthly period. He
the ground of her medical condition known as CAH, and her name from "Jennifer" to "Jeff," Sec. 4. Hearing. – Any interested person may appear at the hearing and oppose the petition.
under Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court. The Solicitor General or the proper provincial or city fiscal shall appear on behalf of the
Government of the Republic.
The OSG contends that the petition below is fatally defective for non-compliance with Rules
103 and 108 of the Rules of Court because while the local civil registrar is an indispensable Sec. 5. Judgment. – Upon satisfactory proof in open court on the date fixed in the order that
party in a petition for cancellation or correction of entries under Section 3, Rule 108 of the such order has been published as directed and that the allegations of the petition are true,
Rules of Court, respondent’s petition before the court a quo did not implead the local civil the court shall, if proper and reasonable cause appears for changing the name of the
registrar.5 The OSG further contends respondent’s petition is fatally defective since it failed petitioner, adjudge that such name be changed in accordance with the prayer of the petition.
to state that respondent is a bona fide resident of the province where the petition was filed
for at least three (3) years prior to the date of such filing as mandated under Section 2(b),
Sec. 6. Service of judgment. – Judgments or orders rendered in connection with this rule
Rule 103 of the Rules of Court.6 The OSG argues that Rule 108 does not allow change of sex
shall be furnished the civil registrar of the municipality or city where the court issuing the
or gender in the birth certificate and respondent’s claimed medical condition known as CAH
same is situated, who shall forthwith enter the same in the civil register.
does not make her a male.7

Rule 108
On the other hand, respondent counters that although the Local Civil Registrar of Pakil,
Laguna was not formally named a party in the Petition for Correction of Birth Certificate,
nonetheless the Local Civil Registrar was furnished a copy of the Petition, the Order to CANCELLATION OR CORRECTION OF ENTRIES
publish on December 16, 2003 and all pleadings, orders or processes in the course of the
proceedings,8 respondent is actually a male person and hence his birth certificate has to be IN THE CIVIL REGISTRY
corrected to reflect his true sex/gender,9 change of sex or gender is allowed under Rule
108,10 and respondent substantially complied with the requirements of Rules 103 and 108 of
the Rules of Court.11 Section 1. Who may file petition. – Any person interested in any act, event, order or decree
concerning the civil status of persons which has been recorded in the civil register, may file
a verified petition for the cancellation or correction of any entry relating thereto, with the
Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court provide: Regional Trial Court of the province where the corresponding civil registry is located.

Rule 103 Sec. 2. Entries subject to cancellation or correction. – Upon good and valid grounds, the
following entries in the civil register may be cancelled or corrected: (a) births; (b) marriages;
CHANGE OF NAME (c) deaths; (d) legal separations; (e) judgments of annulments of marriage; (f) judgments
declaring marriages void from the beginning; (g) legitimations; (h) adoptions; (i)
acknowledgments of natural children; (j) naturalization; (k) election, loss or recovery of
Section 1. Venue. – A person desiring to change his name shall present the petition to the
citizenship; (l) civil interdiction; (m) judicial determination of filiation; (n) voluntary
Regional Trial Court of the province in which he resides, [or, in the City of Manila, to the
emancipation of a minor; and (o) changes of name.
Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court].

Sec. 3. Parties. – When cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register is sought,
Sec. 2. Contents of petition. – A petition for change of name shall be signed and verified by
the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected
the person desiring his name changed, or some other person on his behalf, and shall set
thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding.
forth:

Sec. 4. Notice and publication. – Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall, by an order,
(a) That the petitioner has been a bona fide resident of the province where the petition is
fix the time and place for the hearing of the same, and cause reasonable notice thereof to be
filed for at least three (3) years prior to the date of such filing;
given to the persons named in the petition. The court shall also cause the order to be
published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation
(b) The cause for which the change of the petitioner's name is sought; in the province.

(c) The name asked for. 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
Sec. 3. Order for hearing. – If the petition filed is sufficient in form and substance, the court,
thereto.
by an order reciting the purpose of the petition, shall fix a date and place for the hearing
thereof, and shall direct that a copy of the order be published before the hearing at least
once a week for three (3) successive weeks in some newspaper of general circulation Sec. 6. Expediting proceedings. – The court in which the proceedings is brought may make
published in the province, as the court shall deem best. The date set for the hearing shall orders expediting the proceedings, and may also grant preliminary injunction for the
not be within thirty (30) days prior to an election nor within four (4) months after the last preservation of the rights of the parties pending such proceedings.
publication of the notice.
Sec. 7. Order. – After hearing, the court may either dismiss the petition or issue an order The acts, events or factual errors contemplated under Article 407 of the Civil Code include
granting the cancellation or correction prayed for. In either case, a certified copy of the even those that occur after birth.20
judgment shall be served upon the civil registrar concerned who shall annotate the same in
his record.
Respondent undisputedly has CAH. This condition causes the early or "inappropriate"
appearance of male characteristics. A person, like respondent, with this condition produces
The OSG argues that the petition below is fatally defective for non-compliance with Rules too much androgen, a male hormone. A newborn who has XX chromosomes coupled with
103 and 108 of the Rules of Court because respondent’s petition did not implead the local CAH usually has a (1) swollen clitoris with the urethral opening at the base, an ambiguous
civil registrar. Section 3, Rule 108 provides that the civil registrar and all persons who have genitalia often appearing more male than female; (2) normal internal structures of the
or claim any interest which would be affected thereby shall be made parties to the female reproductive tract such as the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes; as the child grows
proceedings. Likewise, the local civil registrar is required to be made a party in a proceeding older, some features start to appear male, such as deepening of the voice, facial hair,
for the correction of name in the civil registry. He is an indispensable party without whom and failure to menstruate at puberty. About 1 in 10,000 to 18,000 children are born with
no final determination of the case can be had.[12] Unless all possible indispensable parties CAH.
were duly notified of the proceedings, the same shall be considered as falling much too short
of the requirements of the rules.13 The corresponding petition should also implead as
CAH is one of many conditions[21] that involve intersex anatomy. During the twentieth
respondents the civil registrar and all other persons who may have or may claim to have
century, medicine adopted the term "intersexuality" to apply to human beings who cannot
any interest that would be affected thereby.14 Respondent, however, invokes Section
be classified as either male or female.[22] The term is now of widespread use. According to
6,[15] Rule 1 of the Rules of Court which states that courts shall construe the Rules liberally
Wikipedia, intersexuality "is the state of a living thing of a gonochoristic species whose sex
to promote their objectives of securing to the parties a just, speedy and inexpensive
chromosomes, genitalia, and/or secondary sex characteristics are determined to be neither
disposition of the matters brought before it. We agree that there is substantial compliance
exclusively male nor female. An organism with intersex may have biological characteristics
with Rule 108 when respondent furnished a copy of the petition to the local civil registrar.
of both male and female sexes."

The determination of a person’s sex appearing in his birth certificate is a legal issue and the
Intersex individuals are treated in different ways by different cultures. In most societies,
court must look to the statutes. In this connection, Article 412 of the Civil Code provides:
intersex individuals have been expected to conform to either a male or female gender
role.[23] Since the rise of modern medical science in Western societies, some intersex people
ART. 412. No entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order. with ambiguous external genitalia have had their genitalia surgically modified to resemble
either male or female genitals.[24] More commonly, an intersex individual is considered as
suffering from a "disorder" which is almost always recommended to be treated, whether by
Together with Article 376[16] of the Civil Code, this provision was amended by Republic Act
surgery and/or by taking lifetime medication in order to mold the individual as neatly as
No. 9048[17] in so far as clerical or typographical errors are involved. The correction or
possible into the category of either male or female.
change of such matters can now be made through administrative proceedings and without
the need for a judicial order. In effect, Rep. Act No. 9048 removed from the ambit of Rule
108 of the Rules of Court the correction of such errors. Rule 108 now applies only to In deciding this case, we consider the compassionate calls for recognition of the various
substantial changes and corrections in entries in the civil register.18 degrees of intersex as variations which should not be subject to outright denial. "It has been
suggested that there is some middle ground between the sexes, a ‘no-man’s land’ for those
individuals who are neither truly ‘male’ nor truly ‘female’."[25] The current state of
Under Rep. Act No. 9048, a correction in the civil registry involving the change of sex is not
Philippine statutes apparently compels that a person be classified either as a male or as a
a mere clerical or typographical error. It is a substantial change for which the applicable
female, but this Court is not controlled by mere appearances when nature itself
procedure is Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.19
fundamentally negates such rigid classification.

The entries envisaged in Article 412 of the Civil Code and correctable under Rule 108 of the
In the instant case, if we determine respondent to be a female, then there is no basis for a
Rules of Court are those provided in Articles 407 and 408 of the Civil Code:
change in the birth certificate entry for gender. But if we determine, based on medical
testimony and scientific development showing the respondent to be other than female, then
ART. 407. Acts, events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons shall be a change in the
recorded in the civil register.
subject’s birth certificate entry is in order.
ART. 408. The following shall be entered in the civil register:
Biologically, nature endowed respondent with a mixed (neither consistently and
(1) Births; (2) marriages; (3) deaths; (4) legal separations; (5) annulments of marriage; (6) categorically female nor consistently and categorically male) composition. Respondent has
judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning; (7) legitimations; (8) adoptions; (9) female (XX) chromosomes. However, respondent’s body system naturally produces high
acknowledgments of natural children; (10) naturalization; (11) loss, or (12) recovery of levels of male hormones (androgen). As a result, respondent has ambiguous genitalia and
citizenship; (13) civil interdiction; (14) judicial determination of filiation; (15) voluntary the phenotypic features of a male.
emancipation of a minor; and (16) changes of name.
Ultimately, we are of the view that where the person is biologically or naturally intersex the
determining factor in his gender classification would be what the individual, like
respondent, having reached the age of majority, with good reason thinks of his/her sex.
Respondent here thinks of himself as a male and considering that his body produces high
levels of male hormones (androgen) there is preponderant biological support for considering
him as being male. Sexual development in cases of intersex persons makes the gender
classification at birth inconclusive. It is at maturity that the gender of such persons, like
respondent, is fixed.

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

In the absence of a law on the matter, the Court will not dictate on respondent concerning a
matter so innately private as one’s sexuality and lifestyle preferences, much less on whether
or not to undergo medical treatment to reverse the male tendency due to CAH. The Court
will not consider respondent as having erred in not choosing to undergo treatment in order
to become or remain as a female. Neither will the Court force respondent to undergo
treatment and to take medication in order to fit the mold of a female, as society commonly
currently knows this gender of the human species. Respondent is the one who has to live
with his intersex anatomy. To him belongs the human right to the pursuit of happiness and
of health. Thus, to him should belong the primordial choice of what courses of action to take
along the path of his sexual development and maturation. In the absence of evidence that
respondent is an "incompetent"[27] and in the absence of evidence to show that classifying
respondent as a male will harm other members of society who are equally entitled to
protection under the law, the Court affirms as valid and justified the respondent’s position
and his personal judgment of being a male.

In so ruling we do no more than give respect to (1) the diversity of nature; and (2) how an
individual deals with what nature has handed out. In other words, we respect respondent’s
congenital condition and his mature decision to be a male. Life is already difficult for the
ordinary person. We cannot but respect how respondent deals with his unordinary state and
thus help make his life easier, considering the unique circumstances in this case.

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

WHEREFORE, the Republic’s petition is DENIED. The Decision dated January 12, 2005 of
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 33 of Siniloan, Laguna, is AFFIRMED. No pronouncement
as to costs.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 198010. August 12, 2013.* represented, the door to fraud or other mischief would be set open, the consequence of which
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. DR. NORMA S. LUGSANAY UY, might be detrimental and far reaching.
respondent.
PETITION for review on certiorari of the decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals. PERALTA, J.:

Remedial Law; Special Proceedings; Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry;


Adversarial Proceedings; Even substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and the Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court are the Court of
true facts established provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the Appeals (CA)1Decision2 dated February 18, 2011 and Resolution3 dated July 27, 2011 in CA-G.R. CV No.
appropriate adversary proceeding.―It has been settled in a number of cases starting 00238-MIN. The assailed decision dismissed the appeal filed by petitioner Republic of the Philippines
and, consequently, affirmed in toto the June 28, 2004 Order4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch
with Republic v. Valencia, 141 SCRA 462 (1986), that even substantial errors in a civil
27, Gingoog City in Special Proceedings No. 230-2004 granting the Petition for Correction of Entry of
registry may be corrected and the true facts established provided the parties aggrieved by Certificate of Live Birth filed by respondent Dr. Norma S. Lugsanay Uy; while the assailed resolution
the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding. The pronouncement of denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration.
the Court in that case is illuminating: It is undoubtedly true that if the subject matter of a
petition is not for the correction of clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous nature, but
one involving nationality or citizenship, which is indisputably substantial as well as The facts of the case are as follows:
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 On March 8, 2004, respondent filed a Petition for Correction of Entry in her Certificate of Live
long as the appropriate remedy is used. This Court adheres to the principle that even Birth.5 Impleaded as respondent is the Local Civil Registrar of Gingoog City. She alleged that she was
substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and the true facts established born on February 8, 1952 and is the illegitimate daughter of Sy Ton and Sotera Lugsanay 6 Her
Certificate of Live Birth7 shows that her full name is "Anita Sy" when in fact she is allegedly known to
provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary
her family and friends as "Norma S. Lugsanay." She further claimed that her school records, Professional
proceeding. x x x What is meant by “appropriate adversary proceeding?” Black’s Law Regulation Commission (PRC) Board of Medicine Certificate,8 and passport9 bear the name "Norma S.
Dictionary defines “adversary proceeding” as follows: One having opposing parties; Lugsanay." She also alleged that she is an illegitimate child considering that her parents were never
contested, as distinguished from an ex parte application, one of which the party seeking married, so she had to follow the surname of her mother. 10 She also contended that she is a Filipino
relief has given legal warning to the other party, and afforded the latter an opportunity to citizen and not Chinese, and all her siblings bear the surname Lugsanay and are all Filipinos. 11
contest it. Excludes an adoption proceeding.
Respondent allegedly filed earlier a petition for correction of entries with the Office of the Local Civil
Same; Civil Procedure; Notice of Hearing; The fact that the notice of hearing was published in a Registrar of Gingoog City to effect the corrections on her name and citizenship which was supposedly
newspaper of general circulation and notice thereof was served upon the State will not change the nature granted.12 However, the National Statistics Office (NSO) records did not bear such changes. Hence, the
of the proceedings taken.―Respondent’s birth certificate shows that her full name is Anita Sy, that she is petition before the RTC.
a Chinese citizen and a legitimate child of Sy Ton and Sotera Lugsanay. In filing the petition, however,
she seeks the correction of her first name and surname, her status from “legitimate” to “illegitimate” and
her citizenship from “Chinese” to “Filipino.” Thus, respondent should have impleaded and notified not On May 13, 2004, the RTC issued an Order13 finding the petition to be sufficient in form and substance
only the Local Civil Registrar but also her parents and siblings as the persons who have interest and are and setting the case for hearing, with the directive that the said Order be published in a newspaper of
affected by the changes or corrections respondent wanted to make. The fact that the notice of hearing was general circulation in the City of Gingoog and the Province of Misamis Oriental at least once a week for
published in a newspaper of general circulation and notice thereof was served upon the State will not three (3) consecutive weeks at the expense of respondent, and that the order and petition be furnished
change the nature of the proceedings taken. A reading of Sections 4 and 5, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the City Prosecutor’s Office for their information and
shows that the Rules mandate two sets of notices to different potential oppositors: one given to the guidance.14 Pursuant to the RTC Order, respondent complied with the publication requirement.
persons named in the petition and another given to other persons who are not named in the petition but
nonetheless may be considered interested or affected parties. Summons must, therefore, be served not for
the purpose of vesting the courts with jurisdiction but to comply with the requirements of fair play and On June 28, 2004, the RTC issued an Order in favor of respondent, the dispositive portion of
due process to afford the person concerned the opportunity to protect his interest if he so chooses. While which reads:
there may be cases where the Court held that the failure to implead and notify the affected or interested
parties may be cured by the publication of the notice of hearing, earnest efforts were made by petitioners
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. THE CITY CIVIL REGISTRAR OF
in bringing to court all possible interested parties. Such failure was likewise excused where the GINGOOG CITY, or any person acting in his behalf is directed and ordered to effect the correction or change of the entries
interested parties themselves initiated the corrections proceedings; when there is no actual or in the Certificate of Live Birth of petitioner’s name and citizenship so that the entries would be:
presumptive awareness of the existence of the interested parties; or when a party is inadvertently left
out.
a) As to petitioner’s name :
Same; Special Proceedings; Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry; When a petition
for cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register involves substantial and First Name : NORMA
controversial alterations, including those on citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation,
or legitimacy of marriage, a strict compliance with the requirements of Rule 108 of the Rules Middle Name : SY

of Court is mandated.―When a petition for cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil


register involves substantial and controversial alterations, including those on citizenship, Last Name : LUGSANAY

legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, a strict compliance with the


b) As to petitioner’s nationality/citizenship :
requirements of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court is mandated. If the entries in the civil : FILIPINO
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
SO ORDERED.15
The RTC concluded that respondent’s petition would neither prejudice the government nor In this case, respondent sought the correction of entries in her birth certificate, particularly
any third party. It also held that the names "Norma Sy Lugsanay" and "Anita Sy" refer to those pertaining to her first name, surname and citizenship. She sought the correction
one and the same person, especially since the Local Civil Registrar of Gingoog City has allegedly to reflect the name which she has been known for since childhood, including her
effected the correction. Considering that respondent has continuously used and has been legal documents such as passport and school and professional records. She likewise relied on
known since childhood as "Norma Sy Lugsanay" and as a Filipino citizen, the RTC granted the birth certificates of her full blood siblings who bear the surname "Lugsanay" instead of
the petition to avoid confusion.16 "Sy" and citizenship of "Filipino" instead of "Chinese." The changes, however, are obviously
not mere clerical as they touch on respondent’s filiation and citizenship. In changing her
surname from "Sy" (which is the surname of her father) to "Lugsanay" (which is the
On February 18, 2011, the CA affirmed in toto the RTC Order. The CA held that
surname of her mother), she, in effect, changes her status from legitimate to illegitimate;
respondent’s failure to implead other indispensable parties was cured upon the publication
and in changing her citizenship from Chinese to Filipino, the same affects her rights and
of the Order setting the case for hearing in a newspaper of general circulation for three (3)
obligations in this country. Clearly, the changes are substantial.
consecutive weeks and by serving a copy of the notice to the Local Civil Registrar, the OSG
and the City Prosecutor’s Office.17 As to whether the petition is a collateral attack on
respondent’s filiation, the CA ruled in favor of respondent, considering that her parents It has been settled in a number of cases starting with Republic v. Valencia 20 that even
were not legally married and that her siblings’ birth certificates uniformly state that their substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and the true facts established
surname is Lugsanay and their citizenship is Filipino.18 Petitioner’s motion for provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary
reconsideration was denied in a Resolution dated July 27, 2011. proceeding.21 The pronouncement of the Court in that case is illuminating:

Hence, the present petition on the sole ground that the petition is dismissible for failure to It is undoubtedly true that if the subject matter of a petition is not for the correction of
implead indispensable parties. 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
Cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry is governed by Rule 108 of the Rules
of Court, to wit: 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
SEC. 1. Who may file petition. – Any person interested in any act, event, order or decree concerning the themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding. x x x
civil status of persons which has been recorded in the civil register, may file a verified petition for the
cancellation or correction of any entry relating thereto, with the Regional Trial Court of the province
where the corresponding civil registry is located. What is meant by "appropriate adversary proceeding?" Black’s Law Dictionary defines
"adversary proceeding" as follows:
SEC. 2. Entries subject to cancellation or correction. – Upon good and valid grounds, the following entries
in the civil register may be cancelled or corrected: (a) births; (b) marriages; (c) deaths; (d) legal
separations; (e) judgments of annulments of marriage; (f) judgments declaring marriages void from the One having opposing parties; contested, as distinguished from an ex parte application, one of which the
beginning; (g) legitimations; (h) adoptions; (i) acknowledgments of natural children; (j) naturalization; (k) party seeking relief has given legal warning to the other party, and afforded the latter an opportunity to
election, loss or recovery of citizenship; (l) civil interdiction; (m) judicial determination of filiation; (n) contest it. Excludes an adoption proceeding.22
voluntary emancipation of a minor; and (o) changes of name.

SEC. 3. Parties. – When cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register is sought, the civil In sustaining the RTC decision, the CA relied on the Court’s conclusion in Republic v.
registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected thereby shall be made Kho,23 Alba v. Court of Appeals,24 and Barco v. Court of Appeals,25 that the failure to
parties to the proceeding. implead indispensable parties was cured by the publication of the notice of hearing
pursuant to the provisions of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. In Republic v. Kho, 26 petitioner
SEC. 4. Notice and Publication. – Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall, by an order, fix the time therein appealed the RTC decision granting the petition for correction of entries despite
and place for the hearing of the same, and cause reasonable notice thereof to be given to the persons
respondents’ failure to implead the minor’s mother as an indispensable party. The Court,
named in the petition. The court shall also cause the order to be published once a week for three (3)
consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the province. however, did not strictly apply the provisions of Rule 108, because it opined that it was
highly improbable that the mother was unaware of the proceedings to correct the entries in
SEC. 5. Opposition. – The civil registrar and any person having or claiming any interest under the entry her children’s birth certificates especially since the notices, orders and decision of the trial
whose cancellation or correction is sought may, within fifteen (15) days from notice of the petition, or court were all sent to the residence she shared with them.27
from the last date of publication of such notice, file his opposition thereto.

SEC. 6. Expediting proceedings. – The court in which the proceeding is brought may make orders In Alba v. Court of Appeals,28 the Court found nothing wrong with the trial court’s decision
expediting the proceedings, and may also grant preliminary injunction for the preservation of the rights granting the petition for correction of entries filed by respondent although the proceedings
of the parties pending such proceedings. was not actually known by petitioner. In that case, petitioner’s mother and guardian was
impleaded in the petition for correction of entries, and notices were sent to her address
SEC. 7. Order. – After hearing, the court may either dismiss the petition or issue an order granting the
appearing in the subject birth certificate. However, the notice was returned unserved,
cancellation or correction prayed for. In either case, a certified copy of the judgment shall be served upon
the civil registrar concerned who shall annotate the same in his record.19 because apparently she no longer lived there. Thus, when she allegedly learned of the
granting of the petition, she sought the annulment of judgment which the Court denied.
Considering that the petition for correction of entries is a proceeding in rem, the Court held
that acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner is, therefore, not required
and the absence of personal service was cured by the trial court’s compliance with Rule 108 jurisdiction and in violation of her right to due process. The Court annulled the trial court’s
which requires notice by publication.29 decision for failure to comply with the requirements of Rule 108, especially the non-
impleading of respondent herself whose birth certificate was nullified.1âwphi1
In Barco v. Court of Appeals,30 the Court addressed the question of whether the court
acquired jurisdiction over petitioner and all other indispensable parties to the petition for In Labayo-Rowe v. Republic,36 petitioner filed a petition for the correction of entries in the
correction of entries despite the failure to implead them in said case. While recognizing that birth certificates of her children, specifically to change her name from Beatriz V.
petitioner was indeed an indispensable party, the failure to implead her was cured by Labayu/Beatriz Labayo to Emperatriz Labayo, her civil status from "married" to "single,"
compliance with Section 4 of Rule 108 which requires notice by publication. In so ruling, the and the date and place of marriage from "1953-Bulan" to "No marriage." The Court modified
Court pointed out that the petitioner in a petition for correction cannot be presumed to be the trial court’s decision by nullifying the portion thereof which directs the change of
aware of all the parties whose interests may be affected by the granting of a petition. It petitioner’s civil status as well as the filiation of her child, because it was the OSG only that
emphasized that the petitioner therein exerted earnest effort to comply with the provisions was made respondent and the proceedings taken was summary in nature which is short of
of Rule 108. Thus, the publication of the notice of hearing was considered to have cured the what is required in cases where substantial alterations are sought.
failure to implead indispensable parties.
Respondent’s birth certificate shows that her full name is Anita Sy, that she is a Chinese
In this case, it was only the Local Civil Registrar of Gingoog City who was impleaded as citizen and a legitimate child of Sy Ton and Sotera Lugsanay. In filing the petition,
respondent in the petition below. This, notwithstanding, the RTC granted her petition and however, she seeks the correction of her first name and surname, her status from
allowed the correction sought by respondent, which decision was affirmed in toto by the CA. "legitimate" to "illegitimate" and her citizenship from "Chinese" to "Filipino." Thus,
respondent should have impleaded and notified not only the Local Civil Registrar but also
her parents and siblings as the persons who have interest and are affected by the changes or
We do not agree with the RTC and the CA.
corrections respondent wanted to make.

This is not the first time that the Court is confronted with the issue involved in this case.
The fact that the notice of hearing was published in a newspaper of general circulation and
Aside from Kho, Alba and Barco, the Court has addressed the same in Republic v. Coseteng-
notice thereof was served upon the State will not change the nature of the proceedings
Magpayo,31 Ceruila v. Delantar,32 and Labayo-Rowe v. Republic.33
taken.37 A reading of Sections 4 and 5, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court shows that the Rules
mandate two sets of notices to different potential oppositors: one given to the persons named
In Republic v. Coseteng-Magpayo,34 claiming that his parents were never legally married, in the petition and another given to other persons who are not named in the petition but
respondent therein filed a petition to change his name from "Julian Edward Emerson nonetheless may be considered interested or affected parties. 38 Summons must, therefore, be
Coseteng Magpayo," the name appearing in his birth certificate to "Julian Edward Emerson served not for the purpose of vesting the courts with jurisdiction but to comply with the
Marquez Lim Coseteng." The notice setting the petition for hearing was published and there requirements of fair play and due process to afford the person concerned the opportunity to
being no opposition thereto, the trial court issued an order of general default and eventually protect his interest if he so chooses.39
granted respondent’s petition deleting the entry on the date and place of marriage of
parties; correcting his surname from "Magpayo" to "Coseteng"; deleting the entry "Coseteng"
While there may be cases where the Court held that the failure to implead and notify the
for middle name; and deleting the entry "Fulvio Miranda Magpayo, Jr." in the space for his
affected or interested parties may be cured by the publication of the notice of hearing,
father. The Republic of the Philippines, through the OSG, assailed the RTC decision on the
earnest efforts were made by petitioners in bringing to court all possible interested
grounds that the corrections made on respondent’s birth certificate had the effect of
parties.40 Such failure was likewise excused where the interested parties themselves
changing the civil status from legitimate to illegitimate and must only be effected through
initiated the corrections proceedings;41 when there is no actual or presumptive awareness of
an appropriate adversary proceeding. The Court nullified the RTC decision for respondent’s
the existence of the interested parties;42 or when a party is inadvertently left out.43
failure to comply strictly with the procedure laid down in Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.
Aside from the wrong remedy availed of by respondent as he filed a petition for Change of
Name under Rule 103 of the Rules of Court, assuming that he filed a petition under Rule It is clear from the foregoing discussion that when a petition for cancellation or correction of
108 which is the appropriate remedy, the petition still failed because of improper venue and an entry in the civil register involves substantial and controversial alterations, including
failure to implead the Civil Registrar of Makati City and all affected parties as respondents those on citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, a strict
in the case. compliance with the requirements of Rule 108 ofthe Rules of Court is mandated. 44 If the
entries in the civil register could be corrected or changed through mere summary
proceedings and not through appropriate action wherein all parties who may be affected by
In Ceruila v. Delantar,35 the Ceruilas filed a petition for the cancellation and annulment of
the entries are notified or represented, the door to fraud or other mischief would be set open,
the birth certificate of respondent on the ground that the same was made as an instrument
the consequence of which might be detrimental and far reaching.45
of the crime of simulation of birth and, therefore, invalid and spurious, and it falsified all
material entries therein. The RTC issued an order setting the case for hearing with a
directive that the same be published and that any person who is interested in the petition WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The Court of Appeals Decision dated February 18,
2011 and Resolution dated July 27, 20011 in CA-G.R. CV No. 00238-MIN, are SET ASIDE. Consequently, the June 28,
may interpose his comment or opposition on or before the scheduled hearing. Summons was 2004 Order of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 27, Gingoog City, in Spl. Proc. No. 230-2004 granting the Petition for
likewise sent to the Civil Register of Manila. After which, the trial court granted the Correction of Entry of Certificate of Live Birth filed by respondent Dr. Norma S. Lugsanay Uy, is NULLIFIED.
petition and nullified respondent’s birth certificate. Few months after, respondent filed a
petition for the annulment of judgment claiming that she and her guardian were not SO ORDERED.
notified of the petition and the trial court’s decision, hence, the latter was issued without
G.R. No. 196049. June 26, 2013.* and proven in a Philippine court, it can only be repelled on grounds external to its
merits, i.e., “want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear
MINORU FUJIKI, petitioner, vs. MARIA PAZ GALELA MARINAY, SHINICHI MAEKARA, mistake of law or fact.” The rule on limited review embodies the policy of efficiency and the
LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR OF QUEZON CITY, and THE ADMINISTRATOR AND CIVIL protection of party expectations, as well as respecting the jurisdiction of other states.
REGISTRAR GENERAL OF THE NATIONAL STATISTICS OFFICE, respondents.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Civil Law; Divorce; While the Philippines does not have a
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Foreign Judgments; Conflict of Law; For Philippine divorce law, Philippine courts may, however, recognize a foreign divorce decree under the
courts to recognize a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage where one of the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, to capacitate a Filipino citizen to remarry
parties is a citizen of a foreign country, the petitioner only needs to prove the foreign when his or her foreign spouse obtained a divorce decree abroad.—Since 1922 in Adong v.
judgment as a fact under the Rules of Court.—For Philippine courts to recognize a foreign Cheong Seng Gee, 43 Phil. 43 (1922), Philippine courts have recognized foreign divorce
judgment relating to the status of a marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of a decrees between a Filipino and a foreign citizen if they are successfully proven under the
foreign country, the petitioner only needs to prove the foreign judgment as a fact under the rules of evidence. Divorce involves the dissolution of a marriage, but the recognition of a
Rules of Court. To be more specific, a copy of the foreign judgment may be admitted in foreign divorce decree does not involve the extended procedure under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC
evidence and proven as a fact under Rule 132, Sections 24 and 25, in relation to Rule 39, or the rules of ordinary trial. While the Philippines does not have a divorce law, Philippine
Section 48(b) of the Rules of Court. Petitioner may prove the Japanese Family Court courts may, however, recognize a foreign divorce decree under the second paragraph of
judgment through (1) an official publication or (2) a certification or copy attested by the Article 26 of the Family Code, to capacitate a Filipino citizen to remarry when his or her
officer who has custody of the judgment. If the office which has custody is in a foreign foreign spouse obtained a divorce decree abroad.72
country such as Japan, the certification may be made by the proper diplomatic or consular
officer of the Philippine foreign service in Japan and authenticated by the seal of office. Same; Same; Same; Same; Since the recognition of a foreign judgment only requires
proof of fact of the judgment, it may be made in a special proceeding for cancellation or
Same; Same; Same; Same; A foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage correction of entries in the civil registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. Rule 1, Section
affects the civil status, condition and legal capacity of its parties. However, the effect of a 3 of the Rules of Court provides that “[a] special proceeding is a remedy by which a party
foreign judgment is not automatic. To extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the seeks to establish a status, a right, or a particular fact.”—Since the recognition of a foreign
Philippines, Philippine courts must determine if the foreign judgment is consistent with judgment only requires proof of fact of the judgment, it may be made in a special proceeding
domestic public policy and other mandatory laws.—A foreign judgment relating to the for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of
status of a marriage affects the civil status, condition and legal capacity of its parties. Court. Rule 1, Section 3 of the Rules of Court provides that “[a] special proceeding is a
However, the effect of a foreign judgment is not automatic. To extend the effect of a foreign remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status, a right, or a particular fact.” Rule 108
judgment in the Philippines, Philippine courts must determine if the foreign judgment is creates a remedy to rectify facts of a person’s life which are recorded by the State pursuant
consistent with domestic public policy and other mandatory laws. Article 15 of the Civil to the Civil Register Law or Act No. 3753. These are facts of public consequence such as
Code provides that “[l]aws relating to family rights and duties, or to the status, condition birth, death or marriage, which the State has an interest in recording. As noted by the
and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though Solicitor General, in Corpuz v. Sto. Tomas, 628 SCRA 266 (2010), this Court declared that
living abroad.” This is the rule of lex nationalii in private international law. Thus, the “[t]he recognition of the foreign divorce decree may be made in a Rule 108 proceeding itself,
Philippine State may require, for effectivity in the Philippines, recognition by Philippine as the object of special proceedings (such as that in Rule 108 of the Rules of Court) is
courts of a foreign judgment affecting its citizen, over whom it exercises personal precisely to establish the status or right of a party or a particular fact.”
jurisdiction relating to the status, condition and legal capacity of such citizen.
Civil Law; Marriages; Parties; When Section 2(a) states that “[a] petition for
Same; Same; Same; Same; A petition to recognize a foreign judgment declaring a declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the husband or the
marriage void does not require relitigation under a Philippine court of the case as if it were a wife” — it refers to the husband or the wife of the subsisting marriage; The husband or the
new petition for declaration of nullity of marriage.—A petition to recognize a foreign wife of the prior subsisting marriage is the one who has the personality to file a petition for
judgment declaring a marriage void does not require relitigation under a Philippine court of declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage under Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-
the case as if it were a new petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. Philippine courts SC.—Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not preclude a spouse of a subsisting
cannot presume to know the foreign laws under which the foreign judgment was rendered. marriage to question the validity of a subsequent marriage on the ground of bigamy. On the
They cannot substitute their judgment on the status, condition and legal capacity of the contrary, when Section 2(a) states that “[a] petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void
foreign citizen who is under the jurisdiction of another state. Thus, Philippine courts can marriage may be filed solely by the husband or the wife” — it refers to the husband or
only recognize the foreign judgment as a fact according to the rules of evidence. the wife of the subsisting marriage. Under Article 35(4) of the Family Code, bigamous
marriages are void from the beginning. Thus, the parties in a bigamous marriage are
Same; Same; Same; Same; Once a foreign judgment is admitted and proven in a neither the husband nor the wife under the law. The husband or the wife of the prior
Philippine court, it can only be repelled on grounds external to its merits, i.e., “want of subsisting marriage is the one who has the personality to file a petition for declaration of
jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact.”— absolute nullity of void marriage under Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC.73
Section 48(b), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court provides that a foreign judgment or final order
against a person creates a “presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their Criminal Law; Bigamy; Parties; Bigamy is a public crime. Thus, anyone can initiate
successors in interest by a subsequent title.” Moreover, Section 48 of the Rules of Court prosecution for bigamy because any citizen has an interest in the prosecution and prevention
states that “the judgment or final order may be repelled by evidence of a want of of crimes. If anyone can file a criminal action which leads to the declaration of nullity of a
jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact.” bigamous marriage, there is more reason to confer personality to sue on the husband or the
Thus, Philippine courts exercise limited review on foreign judgments. Courts are not wife of a subsisting marriage.—Article 35(4) of the Family Code, which declares bigamous
allowed to delve into the merits of a foreign judgment. Once a foreign judgment is admitted marriages void from the beginning, is the civil aspect of Article 349 of the Revised Penal
Code, which penalizes bigamy. Bigamy is a public crime. Thus, anyone can initiate Same; Same; Marriages; Annulment of Marriage; Divorce; Foreign Judgments; The
prosecution for bigamy because any citizen has an interest in the prosecution and principle in Article 26 of the Family Code applies in a marriage between a Filipino and a
prevention of crimes. If anyone can file a criminal action which leads to the declaration of foreign citizen who obtains a foreign judgment nullifying the marriage on the ground of
nullity of a bigamous marriage, there is more reason to confer personality to sue on the bigamy; If the foreign judgment is not recognized in the Philippines, the Filipino spouse will
husband or the wife of a subsisting marriage. The prior spouse does not only share in the be discriminated — the foreign spouse can remarry while the Filipino spouse cannot
public interest of prosecuting and preventing crimes, he is also personally interested in the remarry.—The principle in Article 26 of the Family Code applies in a marriage between a
purely civil aspect of protecting his marriage. Filipino and a foreign citizen who obtains a foreign judgment nullifying the marriage on the
ground of bigamy. The Filipino spouse may file a petition abroad to declare the marriage
Remedial Law; Special Proceedings; Correction of Entries; A petition for correction or void on the ground of bigamy. The principle in the second paragraph of Article 26 of the
cancellation of an entry in the civil registry cannot substitute for an action to invalidate a Family Code applies because the foreign spouse, after the foreign judgment nullifying the
marriage. A direct action is necessary to prevent circumvention of the substantive and marriage, is capacitated to remarry under the laws of his or her country. If the foreign
procedural safeguards of marriage under the Family Code, A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC and other judgment is not recognized in the Philippines, the Filipino spouse will be discriminated —
related laws.—To be sure, a petition for correction or cancellation of an entry in the civil the foreign spouse can remarry while the Filipino spouse cannot remarry.
registry cannot substitute for an action to invalidate a marriage. A direct action is necessary
to prevent circumvention of the substantive and procedural safeguards of marriage under Same; Same; Same; Bigamy, as a ground for the nullity of marriage, is fully consistent
the Family Code, A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC and other related laws. Among these safeguards are with Philippine public policy as expressed in Article 35(4) of the Family Code and Article 349
the requirement of proving the limited grounds for the dissolution of marriage, of the Revised Penal Code.—Under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code,
support pendente lite of the spouses and children, the liquidation, partition and distribution Philippine courts are empowered to correct a situation where the Filipino spouse is still tied
of the properties of the spouses, and the investigation of the public prosecutor to determine to the marriage while the foreign spouse is free to marry. Moreover, notwithstanding Article
collusion. A direct action for declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage is also 26 of the Family Code, Philippine courts already have jurisdiction to extend the effect of a
necessary to prevent circumvention of the jurisdiction of the Family Courts under the foreign judgment in the Philippines to the extent that the foreign judgment does not
Family Courts Act of 1997 (Republic Act No. 8369), as a petition for cancellation or contravene domestic public policy. A critical difference between the case of a foreign divorce
correction of entries in the civil registry may be filed in the Regional Trial Court “where the decree and a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is that bigamy, as a ground
corresponding civil registry is located.” In other words, a Filipino citizen cannot dissolve his for the nullity of marriage, is fully consistent with Philippine public policy as expressed in
marriage by the mere expedient of changing his entry of marriage in the civil registry. Article 35(4) of the Family Code and Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. The Filipino
However, this does not apply in a petition for correction or cancellation of a civil registry spouse has the option to undergo full trial by filing a petition for declaration of nullity of
entry based on the recognition of a foreign judgment annulling a marriage where one of the marriage under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, but this is not the only remedy available to him or
parties is a citizen of the foreign country. There is neither circumvention of the substantive her. Philippine courts have jurisdiction to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying a
and procedural safeguards of marriage under Philippine law, nor of the jurisdiction of bigamous marriage, without prejudice to a criminal prosecution for bigamy.
Family Courts under R.A. No. 8369. A recognition of a foreign judgment is not an action to
nullify a marriage. It is an action for Philippine courts to recognize the effectivity of a Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Courts; Conflict of Law; Philippine courts will only
foreign judgment, which presupposes a case which was already tried and decided determine (1) whether the foreign judgment is inconsistent with an overriding public policy
under foreign law. The procedure in A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not apply in a petition to in the Philippines; and (2) whether any alleging party is able to prove an extrinsic ground to
recognize a foreign judgment annulling a bigamous marriage where one of the parties is a repel the foreign judgment, i.e. want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion,
citizen of the foreign country. Neither can R.A. No. 8369 define the jurisdiction of the fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact.—Philippine courts will only determine (1) whether the
foreign court. foreign judgment is inconsistent with an overriding public policy in the Philippines; and (2)
whether any alleging party is able to prove an extrinsic ground to repel the foreign
Civil Law; Conflict of Law; Marriages; Annulment of Marriage; Foreign Judgments; judgment, i.e. want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear
Divorce; Article 26 of the Family Code confers jurisdiction on Philippine courts to extend the mistake of law or fact. If there is neither inconsistency with public policy nor adequate proof
effect of a foreign divorce decree to a Filipino spouse without undergoing trial to determine to repel the judgment, Philippine courts should, by default, recognize the foreign judgment
the validity of the dissolution of the marriage.—Article 26 of the Family Code confers as part of the comity of nations. Section 48(b), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court states that the
jurisdiction on Philippine courts to extend the effect of a foreign divorce decree to a Filipino foreign judgment is already “presumptive evidence of a right between the parties.” Upon
spouse without undergoing trial to determine the validity of the dissolution of the marriage. recognition of the foreign judgment, this right becomes conclusive and the judgment serves
The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code provides that “[w]here a marriage as the basis for the correction or cancellation of entry in the civil registry. The recognition of
between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter the foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is a subsequent event that establishes
validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino a new status, right and fact that needs to be reflected in the civil registry. Otherwise, there
spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law.” In Republic v. Orbecido, 472 will be an inconsistency between the recognition of the effectivity of the foreign judgment
SCRA 114 (2005), this Court recognized the legislative intent of the second paragraph of and the public records in the Philippines.
Article 26 which is “to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains
married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a divorce, is no longer married to the Criminal Law; Bigamy; Foreign Judgments; Conflict of Law; The recognition of a
Filipino spouse” under the laws of his or her country. The second paragraph of Article 26 of foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is not a ground for extinction of criminal
the Family Code only authorizes Philippine courts to adopt the effects of a foreign divorce liability under Articles 89 and 94 of the Revised Penal Code.—The recognition of a foreign
decree precisely because the Philippines does not allow divorce. Philippine courts cannot try judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is without prejudice to prosecution for bigamy
the case on the merits because it is tantamount to trying a case for divorce. under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. The recognition of a foreign judgment
nullifying a bigamous marriage is not a ground for extinction of criminal liability under
Articles 89 and 94 of the Revised Penal Code. Moreover, under Article 91 of the Revised
Penal Code, “[t]he term of prescription [of the crime of bigamy] shall not run when the (a) Who may file. – A petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be
offender is absent from the Philippine archipelago.” filed solely by the husband or the wife.
PETITION for review on certiorari of the order of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City,
Br. 107.
xxxx
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
Lorenzo U. Padilla for petitioner.
Sec. 4. Venue. – The petition shall be filed in the Family Court of the province or city where
the petitioner or the respondent has been residing for at least six months prior to the date of
CARPIO, J.:
filing, or in the case of a non-resident respondent, where he may be found in the Philippines,
at the election of the petitioner. x x x
The Case
The RTC ruled, without further explanation, that the petition was in "gross violation" of the
This is a direct recourse to this Court from the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 107, above provisions. The trial court based its dismissal on Section 5(4) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC
Quezon City, through a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court which provides that "[f]ailure to comply with any of the preceding requirements may be a
on a pure question of law. The petition assails the Order1 dated 31 January 2011 of the RTC ground for immediate dismissal of the petition."8 Apparently, the RTC took the view that
in Civil Case No. Q-11-68582 and its Resolution dated 2 March 2011 denying petitioner’s only "the husband or the wife," in this case either Maekara or Marinay, can file the petition
Motion for Reconsideration. The RTC dismissed the petition for "Judicial Recognition of to declare their marriage void, and not Fujiki.
Foreign Judgment (or Decree of Absolute Nullity of Marriage)" based on improper venue
and the lack of personality of petitioner, Minoru Fujiki, to file the petition.
Fujiki moved that the Order be reconsidered. He argued that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC
contemplated ordinary civil actions for declaration of nullity and annulment of marriage.
The Facts Thus, A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not apply. A petition for recognition of foreign judgment is
a special proceeding, which "seeks to establish a status, a right or a particular fact,"9 and
not a civil action which is "for the enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention or
Petitioner Minoru Fujiki (Fujiki) is a Japanese national who married respondent Maria Paz
redress of a wrong."10 In other words, the petition in the RTC sought to establish (1) the
Galela Marinay (Marinay) in the Philippines2 on 23 January 2004. The marriage did not sit
status and concomitant rights of Fujiki and Marinay as husband and wife and (2) the fact of
well with petitioner’s parents. Thus, Fujiki could not bring his wife to Japan where he
the rendition of the Japanese Family Court judgment declaring the marriage between
resides. Eventually, they lost contact with each other.
Marinay and Maekara as void on the ground of bigamy. The petitioner contended that the
Japanese judgment was consistent with Article 35(4) of the Family Code of the
In 2008, Marinay met another Japanese, Shinichi Maekara (Maekara). Without the first Philippines11 on bigamy and was therefore entitled to recognition by Philippine courts.12
marriage being dissolved, Marinay and Maekara were married on 15 May 2008 in Quezon
City, Philippines. Maekara brought Marinay to Japan. However, Marinay allegedly suffered
In any case, it was also Fujiki’s view that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC applied only to void
physical abuse from Maekara. She left Maekara and started to contact Fujiki.3
marriages under Article 36 of the Family Code on the ground of psychological
incapacity.13 Thus, Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC provides that "a petition for
Fujiki and Marinay met in Japan and they were able to reestablish their relationship. In declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages may be filed solely by the husband or the
2010, Fujiki helped Marinay obtain a judgment from a family court in Japan which declared wife." To apply Section 2(a) in bigamy would be absurd because only the guilty parties
the marriage between Marinay and Maekara void on the ground of bigamy. 4 On 14 January would be permitted to sue. In the words of Fujiki, "[i]t is not, of course, difficult to realize
2011, Fujiki filed a petition in the RTC entitled: "Judicial Recognition of Foreign Judgment that the party interested in having a bigamous marriage declared a nullity would be the
(or Decree of Absolute Nullity of Marriage)." Fujiki prayed that (1) the Japanese Family husband in the prior, pre-existing marriage."14 Fujiki had material interest and therefore
Court judgment be recognized; (2) that the bigamous marriage between Marinay and the personality to nullify a bigamous marriage.
Maekara be declared void ab initiounder Articles 35(4) and 41 of the Family Code of the
Philippines;5 and (3) for the RTC to direct the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City to
Fujiki argued that Rule 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry) of
annotate the Japanese Family Court judgment on the Certificate of Marriage between
the Rules of Court is applicable. Rule 108 is the "procedural implementation" of the Civil
Marinay and Maekara and to endorse such annotation to the Office of the Administrator
Register Law (Act No. 3753)15 in relation to Article 413 of the Civil Code. 16 The Civil
and Civil Registrar General in the National Statistics Office (NSO).6
Register Law imposes a duty on the "successful petitioner for divorce or annulment of
marriage to send a copy of the final decree of the court to the local registrar of the
The Ruling of the Regional Trial Court municipality where the dissolved or annulled marriage was solemnized."17 Section 2 of Rule
108 provides that entries in the civil registry relating to "marriages," "judgments of
A few days after the filing of the petition, the RTC immediately issued an Order dismissing annulments of marriage" and "judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning" are
the petition and withdrawing the case from its active civil docket.7 The RTC cited the subject to cancellation or correction.18 The petition in the RTC sought (among others) to
following provisions of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and annotate the judgment of the Japanese Family Court on the certificate of marriage between
Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC): Marinay and Maekara.

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


Fujiki’s motion for reconsideration in the RTC also asserted that the trial court "gravely [t]he subsequent spouse may only be expected to take action if he or she had only discovered
erred" when, on its own, it dismissed the petition based on improper venue. Fujiki stated during the connubial period that the marriage was bigamous, and especially if the conjugal
that the RTC may be confusing the concept of venue with the concept of jurisdiction, bliss had already vanished. Should parties in a subsequent marriage benefit from the
because it is lack of jurisdiction which allows a court to dismiss a case on its own. Fujiki bigamous marriage, it would not be expected that they would file an action to declare the
cited Dacoycoy v. Intermediate Appellate Court19 which held that the "trial court cannot pre- marriage void and thus, in such circumstance, the "injured spouse" who should be given a
empt the defendant’s prerogative to object to the improper laying of the venue by motu legal remedy is the one in a subsisting previous marriage. The latter is clearly the aggrieved
proprio dismissing the case."20Moreover, petitioner alleged that the trial court should not party as the bigamous marriage not only threatens the financial and the property ownership
have "immediately dismissed" the petition under Section 5 of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC because aspect of the prior marriage but most of all, it causes an emotional burden to the prior
he substantially complied with the provision. spouse. The subsequent marriage will always be a reminder of the infidelity of the spouse
and the disregard of the prior marriage which sanctity is protected by the Constitution. 34
On 2 March 2011, the RTC resolved to deny petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. In its
Resolution, the RTC stated that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC applies because the petitioner, in The Solicitor General contended that the petition to recognize the Japanese Family Court
effect, prays for a decree of absolute nullity of marriage. 21 The trial court reiterated its two judgment may be made in a Rule 108 proceeding. 35 In Corpuz v. Santo Tomas,36 this Court
grounds for dismissal, i.e. lack of personality to sue and improper venue under Sections 2(a) held that "[t]he recognition of the foreign divorce decree may be made in a Rule 108
and 4 of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC. The RTC considered Fujiki as a "third person"22 in the proceeding itself, as the object of special proceedings (such as that in Rule 108 of the Rules
proceeding because he "is not the husband in the decree of divorce issued by the Japanese of Court) is precisely to establish the status or right of a party or a particular
Family Court, which he now seeks to be judicially recognized, x x x."23 On the other hand, fact."37 While Corpuzconcerned a foreign divorce decree, in the present case the Japanese
the RTC did not explain its ground of impropriety of venue. It only said that "[a]lthough the Family Court judgment also affected the civil status of the parties, especially Marinay, who
Court cited Sec. 4 (Venue) x x x as a ground for dismissal of this case[,] it should be taken is a Filipino citizen.
together with the other ground cited by the Court x x x which is Sec. 2(a) x x x."24
The Solicitor General asserted that Rule 108 of the Rules of Court is the procedure to record
The RTC further justified its motu proprio dismissal of the petition based on Braza v. The "[a]cts, events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons" in the civil registry
City Civil Registrar of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental. 25 The Court in Braza ruled as required by Article 407 of the Civil Code. In other words, "[t]he law requires the entry in
that "[i]n a special proceeding for correction of entry under Rule 108 (Cancellation or the civil registry of judicial decrees that produce legal consequences upon a person’s legal
Correction of Entries in the Original Registry), the trial court has no jurisdiction to nullify capacity and status x x x."38 The Japanese Family Court judgment directly bears on the civil
marriages x x x."26 Braza emphasized that the "validity of marriages as well as legitimacy status of a Filipino citizen and should therefore be proven as a fact in a Rule 108 proceeding.
and filiation can be questioned only in a direct action seasonably filed by the proper party,
and not through a collateral attack such as [a] petition [for correction of entry] x x x."27
Moreover, the Solicitor General argued that there is no jurisdictional infirmity in assailing a
void marriage under Rule 108, citing De Castro v. De Castro39 and Niñal v. Bayadog40 which
The RTC considered the petition as a collateral attack on the validity of marriage between declared that "[t]he validity of a void marriage may be collaterally attacked."41
Marinay and Maekara. The trial court held that this is a "jurisdictional ground" to dismiss
the petition.28 Moreover, the verification and certification against forum shopping of the
Marinay and Maekara individually sent letters to the Court to comply with the directive for
petition was not authenticated as required under Section 529 of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC.
them to comment on the petition.42 Maekara wrote that Marinay concealed from him the
Hence, this also warranted the "immediate dismissal" of the petition under the same
fact that she was previously married to Fujiki.43Maekara also denied that he inflicted any
provision.
form of violence on Marinay.44 On the other hand, Marinay wrote that she had no reason to
oppose the petition.45 She would like to maintain her silence for fear that anything she say
The Manifestation and Motion of the Office of the Solicitor General and the might cause misunderstanding between her and Fujiki.46
Letters of Marinay and Maekara
The Issues
On 30 May 2011, the Court required respondents to file their comment on the petition for
review.30 The public respondents, the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City and the
Petitioner raises the following legal issues:
Administrator and Civil Registrar General of the NSO, participated through the Office of
the Solicitor General. Instead of a comment, the Solicitor General filed a Manifestation and
Motion.31 (1) Whether the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and
Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) is applicable.
The Solicitor General agreed with the petition. He prayed that the RTC’s "pronouncement
that the petitioner failed to comply with x x x A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC x x x be set aside" and (2) Whether a husband or wife of a prior marriage can file a petition to recognize a
that the case be reinstated in the trial court for further proceedings. 32 The Solicitor General foreign judgment nullifying the subsequent marriage between his or her spouse
argued that Fujiki, as the spouse of the first marriage, is an injured party who can sue to and a foreign citizen on the ground of bigamy.
declare the bigamous marriage between Marinay and Maekara void. The Solicitor General
cited Juliano-Llave v. Republic33 which held that Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does (3) Whether the Regional Trial Court can recognize the foreign judgment in a
not apply in cases of bigamy. In Juliano-Llave, this Court explained: proceeding for cancellation or correction of entries in the Civil Registry under Rule
108 of the Rules of Court.
The Ruling of the Court state. Thus, Philippine courts can only recognize the foreign judgment as a fact according
to the rules of evidence.
We grant the petition.
Section 48(b), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court provides that a foreign judgment or final order
against a person creates a "presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their
The Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable
successors in interest by a subsequent title." Moreover, Section 48 of the Rules of Court
Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) does not apply in a petition to recognize a foreign
states that "the judgment or final order may be repelled by evidence of a want of
judgment relating to the status of a marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of a
jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact."
foreign country. Moreover, in Juliano-Llave v. Republic,47 this Court held that the rule in
Thus, Philippine courts exercise limited review on foreign judgments. Courts are not
A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC that only the husband or wife can file a declaration of nullity or
allowed to delve into the merits of a foreign judgment. Once a foreign judgment is admitted
annulment of marriage "does not apply if the reason behind the petition is bigamy."48
and proven in a Philippine court, it can only be repelled on grounds external to its
merits, i.e. , "want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear
I. mistake of law or fact." The rule on limited review embodies the policy of efficiency and the
protection of party expectations,61 as well as respecting the jurisdiction of other states.62
For Philippine courts to recognize a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage
where one of the parties is a citizen of a foreign country, the petitioner only needs to prove Since 1922 in Adong v. Cheong Seng Gee,63 Philippine courts have recognized foreign divorce
the foreign judgment as a fact under the Rules of Court. To be more specific, a copy of the decrees between a Filipino and a foreign citizen if they are successfully proven under the
foreign judgment may be admitted in evidence and proven as a fact under Rule 132, rules of evidence.64 Divorce involves the dissolution of a marriage, but the recognition of a
Sections 24 and 25, in relation to Rule 39, Section 48(b) of the Rules of Court. 49 Petitioner foreign divorce decree does not involve the extended procedure under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC
may prove the Japanese Family Court judgment through (1) an official publication or (2) a or the rules of ordinary trial. While the Philippines does not have a divorce law, Philippine
certification or copy attested by the officer who has custody of the judgment. If the office courts may, however, recognize a foreign divorce decree under the second paragraph of
which has custody is in a foreign country such as Japan, the certification may be made by Article 26 of the Family Code, to capacitate a Filipino citizen to remarry when his or her
the proper diplomatic or consular officer of the Philippine foreign service in Japan and foreign spouse obtained a divorce decree abroad.65
authenticated by the seal of office.50
There is therefore no reason to disallow Fujiki to simply prove as a fact the Japanese Family
To hold that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC applies to a petition for recognition of foreign judgment Court judgment nullifying the marriage between Marinay and Maekara on the ground of
would mean that the trial court and the parties should follow its provisions, including the bigamy. While the Philippines has no divorce law, the Japanese Family Court judgment is
form and contents of the petition,51 the service of summons,52 the investigation of the public fully consistent with Philippine public policy, as bigamous marriages are declared void from
prosecutor,53 the setting of pre-trial,54 the trial55 and the judgment of the trial court.56 This the beginning under Article 35(4) of the Family Code. Bigamy is a crime under Article 349 of
is absurd because it will litigate the case anew. It will defeat the purpose of recognizing the Revised Penal Code. Thus, Fujiki can prove the existence of the Japanese Family Court
foreign judgments, which is "to limit repetitive litigation on claims and issues."57 The judgment in accordance with Rule 132, Sections 24 and 25, in relation to Rule 39, Section
interpretation of the RTC is tantamount to relitigating the case on the merits. In Mijares v. 48(b) of the Rules of Court.
Rañada,58 this Court explained that "[i]f every judgment of a foreign court were reviewable
on the merits, the plaintiff would be forced back on his/her original cause of action,
II.
rendering immaterial the previously concluded litigation."59

Since the recognition of a foreign judgment only requires proof of fact of the judgment, it
A foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage affects the civil status, condition and
may be made in a special proceeding for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil
legal capacity of its parties. However, the effect of a foreign judgment is not automatic. To
registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. Rule 1, Section 3 of the Rules of Court
extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines, Philippine courts must determine
provides that "[a] special proceeding is a remedy by which a party seeks to establish a
if the foreign judgment is consistent with domestic public policy and other mandatory
status, a right, or a particular fact." Rule 108 creates a remedy to rectify facts of a person’s
laws.60 Article 15 of the Civil Code provides that "[l]aws relating to family rights and duties,
life which are recorded by the State pursuant to the Civil Register Law or Act No. 3753.
or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the
These are facts of public consequence such as birth, death or marriage, 66 which the State
Philippines, even though living abroad." This is the rule of lex nationalii in private
has an interest in recording. As noted by the Solicitor General, in Corpuz v. Sto. Tomas this
international law. Thus, the Philippine State may require, for effectivity in the Philippines,
Court declared that "[t]he recognition of the foreign divorce decree may be made in a Rule
recognition by Philippine courts of a foreign judgment affecting its citizen, over whom it
108 proceeding itself, as the object of special proceedings (such as that in Rule 108 of the
exercises personal jurisdiction relating to the status, condition and legal capacity of such
Rules of Court) is precisely to establish the status or right of a party or a particular fact."67
citizen.

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


A petition to recognize a foreign judgment declaring a marriage void does not require
relitigation under a Philippine court of the case as if it were a new petition for declaration of
nullity of marriage. Philippine courts cannot presume to know the foreign laws under which Sec. 1. Who may file petition. — Any person interested in any act, event, order or
the foreign judgment was rendered. They cannot substitute their judgment on the status, decree concerning the civil status of persons which has been recorded in the civil
condition and legal capacity of the foreign citizen who is under the jurisdiction of another register, may file a verified petition for the cancellation or correction of any entry relating
thereto, with the Regional Trial Court of the province where the corresponding civil registry prior spouse is entitled to sue in order to declare a bigamous marriage void. For this
is located. (Emphasis supplied) purpose, he can petition a court to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying the bigamous
marriage and judicially declare as a fact that such judgment is effective in the Philippines.
Once established, there should be no more impediment to cancel the entry of the bigamous
Fujiki has the personality to file a petition to recognize the Japanese Family Court
marriage in the civil registry.
judgment nullifying the marriage between Marinay and Maekara on the ground of bigamy
because the judgment concerns his civil status as married to Marinay. For the same reason
he has the personality to file a petition under Rule 108 to cancel the entry of marriage III.
between Marinay and Maekara in the civil registry on the basis of the decree of the
Japanese Family Court.
In Braza v. The City Civil Registrar of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, this Court held
that a "trial court has no jurisdiction to nullify marriages" in a special proceeding for
There is no doubt that the prior spouse has a personal and material interest in maintaining cancellation or correction of entry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. 81 Thus, the "validity
the integrity of the marriage he contracted and the property relations arising from it. There of marriage[] x x x can be questioned only in a direct action" to nullify the marriage. 82 The
is also no doubt that he is interested in the cancellation of an entry of a bigamous marriage RTC relied on Braza in dismissing the petition for recognition of foreign judgment as a
in the civil registry, which compromises the public record of his marriage. The interest collateral attack on the marriage between Marinay and Maekara.
derives from the substantive right of the spouse not only to preserve (or dissolve, in limited
instances68) his most intimate human relation, but also to protect his property interests that
Braza is not applicable because Braza does not involve a recognition of a foreign judgment
arise by operation of law the moment he contracts marriage. 69 These property interests in
nullifying a bigamous marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of the foreign country.
marriage include the right to be supported "in keeping with the financial capacity of the
family"70 and preserving the property regime of the marriage.71
To be sure, a petition for correction or cancellation of an entry in the civil registry cannot
substitute for an action to invalidate a marriage. A direct action is necessary to prevent
Property rights are already substantive rights protected by the Constitution,72
but a
circumvention of the substantive and procedural safeguards of marriage under the Family
spouse’s right in a marriage extends further to relational rights recognized under Title III
Code, A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC and other related laws. Among these safeguards are the
("Rights and Obligations between Husband and Wife") of the Family Code.73 A.M. No. 02-11-
requirement of proving the limited grounds for the dissolution of
10-SC cannot "diminish, increase, or modify" the substantive right of the spouse to maintain
marriage,83 support pendente lite of the spouses and children,84 the liquidation, partition
the integrity of his marriage.74 In any case, Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC preserves
and distribution of the properties of the spouses,85 and the investigation of the public
this substantive right by limiting the personality to sue to the husband or the wife of the
prosecutor to determine collusion.86 A direct action for declaration of nullity or annulment of
union recognized by law.
marriage is also necessary to prevent circumvention of the jurisdiction of the Family Courts
under the Family Courts Act of 1997 (Republic Act No. 8369), as a petition for cancellation
Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not preclude a spouse of a subsisting marriage to or correction of entries in the civil registry may be filed in the Regional Trial Court "where
question the validity of a subsequent marriage on the ground of bigamy. On the contrary, the corresponding civil registry is located."87 In other words, a Filipino citizen cannot
when Section 2(a) states that "[a] petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage dissolve his marriage by the mere expedient of changing his entry of marriage in the civil
may be filed solely by the husband or the wife"75—it refers to the husband or the wife of registry.
the subsisting marriage. Under Article 35(4) of the Family Code, bigamous marriages are
void from the beginning. Thus, the parties in a bigamous marriage are neither the husband
However, this does not apply in a petition for correction or cancellation of a civil registry
nor the wife under the law. The husband or the wife of the prior subsisting marriage is the
entry based on the recognition of a foreign judgment annulling a marriage where one of the
one who has the personality to file a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void
parties is a citizen of the foreign country. There is neither circumvention of the substantive
marriage under Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC.
and procedural safeguards of marriage under Philippine law, nor of the jurisdiction of
Family Courts under R.A. No. 8369. A recognition of a foreign judgment is not an action to
Article 35(4) of the Family Code, which declares bigamous marriages void from the nullify a marriage. It is an action for Philippine courts to recognize the effectivity of a
beginning, is the civil aspect of Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code,76 which penalizes foreign judgment, which presupposes a case which was already tried and decided
bigamy. Bigamy is a public crime. Thus, anyone can initiate prosecution for bigamy because under foreign law. The procedure in A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not apply in a petition to
any citizen has an interest in the prosecution and prevention of crimes. 77 If anyone can file a recognize a foreign judgment annulling a bigamous marriage where one of the parties is a
criminal action which leads to the declaration of nullity of a bigamous marriage,78 there is citizen of the foreign country. Neither can R.A. No. 8369 define the jurisdiction of the
more reason to confer personality to sue on the husband or the wife of a subsisting foreign court.
marriage. The prior spouse does not only share in the public interest of prosecuting and
preventing crimes, he is also personally interested in the purely civil aspect of protecting his
Article 26 of the Family Code confers jurisdiction on Philippine courts to extend the effect of
marriage.
a foreign divorce decree to a Filipino spouse without undergoing trial to determine the
validity of the dissolution of the marriage. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family
When the right of the spouse to protect his marriage is violated, the spouse is clearly an Code provides that "[w]here a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly
injured party and is therefore interested in the judgment of the suit.79 Juliano-Llave ruled celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse
that the prior spouse "is clearly the aggrieved party as the bigamous marriage not only capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry
threatens the financial and the property ownership aspect of the prior marriage but most of under Philippine law." In Republic v. Orbecido,88 this Court recognized the legislative intent
all, it causes an emotional burden to the prior spouse."80 Being a real party in interest, the of the second paragraph of Article 26 which is "to avoid the absurd situation where the
Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a divorce, is no there is neither inconsistency with public policy nor adequate proof to repel the judgment,
longer married to the Filipino spouse"89 under the laws of his or her country. The second Philippine courts should, by default, recognize the foreign judgment as part of the comity of
paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code only authorizes Philippine courts to adopt the nations. Section 48(b), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court states that the foreign judgment is
effects of a foreign divorce decree precisely because the Philippines does not allow divorce. already "presumptive evidence of a right between the parties." Upon recognition of the
Philippine courts cannot try the case on the merits because it is tantamount to trying a case foreign judgment, this right becomes conclusive and the judgment serves as the basis for the
for divorce. correction or cancellation of entry in the civil registry. The recognition of the foreign
judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is a subsequent event that establishes a new
status, right and fact92 that needs to be reflected in the civil registry. Otherwise, there will
The second paragraph of Article 26 is only a corrective measure to address the anomaly that
be an inconsistency between the recognition of the effectivity of the foreign judgment and
results from a marriage between a Filipino, whose laws do not allow divorce, and a foreign
the public records in the Philippines.1âwphi1
citizen, whose laws allow divorce. The anomaly consists in the Filipino spouse being tied to
the marriage while the foreign spouse is free to marry under the laws of his or her country.
The correction is made by extending in the Philippines the effect of the foreign divorce However, the recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is without
decree, which is already effective in the country where it was rendered. The second prejudice to prosecution for bigamy under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. 93 The
paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code is based on this Court’s decision in Van Dorn v. recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is not a ground for
Romillo90 which declared that the Filipino spouse "should not be discriminated against in extinction of criminal liability under Articles 89 and 94 of the Revised Penal Code.
her own country if the ends of justice are to be served."91 Moreover, under Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code, "[t]he term of prescription [of the
crime of bigamy] shall not run when the offender is absent from the Philippine archipelago."
The principle in Article 26 of the Family Code applies in a marriage between a Filipino and
a foreign citizen who obtains a foreign judgment nullifying the marriage on the ground of Since A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC is inapplicable, the Court no longer sees the need to address the
bigamy. The Filipino spouse may file a petition abroad to declare the marriage void on the questions on venue and the contents and form of the petition under Sections 4 and 5,
ground of bigamy. The principle in the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code respectively, of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC.
applies because the foreign spouse, after the foreign judgment nullifying the marriage, is
capacitated to remarry under the laws of his or her country. If the foreign judgment is not
WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. The Order dated 31 January 2011 and the
recognized in the Philippines, the Filipino spouse will be discriminated—the foreign spouse
Resolution dated 2 March 2011 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 107, Quezon City, in
can remarry while the Filipino spouse cannot remarry.
Civil Case No. Q-11-68582 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Regional Trial Court
is ORDERED to REINSTATE the petition for further proceedings in accordance with this
Under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, Philippine courts are Decision.
empowered to correct a situation where the Filipino spouse is still tied to the marriage while
the foreign spouse is free to marry. Moreover, notwithstanding Article 26 of the Family
SO ORDERED.
Code, Philippine courts already have jurisdiction to extend the effect of a foreign judgment
in the Philippines to the extent that the foreign judgment does not contravene domestic
public policy. A critical difference between the case of a foreign divorce decree and a foreign
judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is that bigamy, as a ground for the nullity of
marriage, is fully consistent with Philippine public policy as expressed in Article 35(4) of the
Family Code and Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. The Filipino spouse has the option
to undergo full trial by filing a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage under A.M. No.
02-11-10-SC, but this is not the only remedy available to him or her. Philippine courts have
jurisdiction to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage, without
prejudice to a criminal prosecution for bigamy.

In the recognition of foreign judgments, Philippine courts are incompetent to substitute


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

For this purpose, Philippine courts will only determine (1) whether the foreign judgment is
inconsistent with an overriding public policy in the Philippines; and (2) whether any
alleging party is able to prove an extrinsic ground to repel the foreign judgment, i.e. want of
jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. If
G.R. No. 189538. February 10, 2014.* 10-SC and other related laws. Among these safeguards are the requirement of proving the
limited grounds for the dissolution of marriage, support pendente lite of the spouses and
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. MERLINDA L. OLAYBAR, respondent. children, the liquidation, partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses and the
investigation of the public prosecutor to determine collusion. A direct action for declaration
Remedial Law; Civil Procedure; Appeals; Petition for Review on Certiorari; A direct of nullity or annulment of marriage is also necessary to prevent circumvention of the
recourse to the Supreme Court from the decisions and final orders of the Regional Trial jurisdiction of the Family Courts under the Family Courts Act of 1997 (Republic Act No.
Court (RTC) may be taken where only questions of law are raised or involved.—At the outset, 8369), as a petition for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry may be filed
it is necessary to stress that a direct recourse to this Court from the decisions and final in the Regional Trial Court where the corresponding civil registry is located. In other words,
orders of the RTC may be taken where only questions of law are raised or involved. There is a Filipino citizen cannot dissolve his marriage by the mere expedient of changing his entry
a question of law when the doubt arises as to what the law is on a certain state of facts, of marriage in the civil registry.
which does not call for the examination of the probative value of the evidence of the parties.
Here, the issue raised by petitioner is whether or not the cancellation of entries in the PETITION for review on certiorari of the decision and order Regional Trial Court of Cebu
marriage contract which, in effect, nullifies the marriage may be undertaken in a Rule 108 City, Br. 6.
proceeding. Verily, petitioner raised a pure question of law. The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
Office of the Solicitor General for petitioner.
Same; Special Proceedings; Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry; Since the Salvador O. Solima for respondent.
promulgation of Republic v. Valencia, 141 SCRA 462 in 1986, the Supreme Court has
repeatedly ruled that “even substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected through a
PERALTA, J.:
petition filed under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, with the true facts established and the
parties aggrieved by the error availing themselves of the appropriate adversarial
proceeding.”—Rule 108 of the Rules of Court provides the procedure for cancellation or Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court are the
correction of entries in the civil registry. The proceedings may either be summary or Regional Trial Court1(RTC) Decision2 dated May 5, 2009 and Order3 dated August 25, 2009
adversary. If the correction is clerical, then the procedure to be adopted is summary. If the in SP. Proc. No. 16519-CEB. The assailed decision granted respondent Merlinda L.
rectification affects the civil status, citizenship or nationality of a party, it is deemed Olaybar's petition for cancellation of entries in the latter's marriage contract; while the
substantial, and the procedure to be adopted is adversary. Since the promulgation assailed order denied the motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner Republic of the
of Republic v. Valencia, 141 SCRA 462 in 1986, the Court has repeatedly ruled that “even Philippines through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).
substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected through a petition filed under Rule
108, with the true facts established and the parties aggrieved by the error availing The facts of the case are as follows:
themselves of the appropriate adversarial proceeding.” An appropriate adversary suit or
proceeding is one where the trial court has conducted proceedings where all relevant facts
have been fully and properly developed, where opposing counsel have been given Respondent requested from the National Statistics Office (NSO) a Certificate of No
opportunity to demolish the opposite party’s case, and where the evidence has been Marriage (CENOMAR) as one of the requirements for her marriage with her boyfriend of
thoroughly weighed and considered. five years. Upon receipt thereof, she discovered that she was already married to a certain Ye
Son Sune, a Korean National, on June 24, 2002, at the Office of the Municipal Trial Court in
Same; Same; Same; As long as the procedural requirements in Rule 108 of the Rules of Cities (MTCC), Palace of Justice. She denied having contracted said marriage and claimed
Court are followed, it is the appropriate adversary proceeding to effect substantial corrections that she did not know the alleged husband; she did not appear before the solemnizing
and changes in entries of the civil register.—It is true that in special proceedings, formal officer; and, that the signature appearing in the marriage certificate is not hers. 4 She, thus,
pleadings and a hearing may be dispensed with, and the remedy [is] granted upon mere filed a Petition for Cancellation of Entries in the Marriage Contract, especially the entries in
application or motion. However, a special proceeding is not always summary. The procedure the wife portion thereof.5 Respondent impleaded the Local Civil Registrar of Cebu City, as
laid down in Rule 108 is not a summary proceeding per se. It requires publication of the well as her alleged husband, as parties to the case.
petition; it mandates the inclusion as parties of all persons who may claim interest which
would be affected by the cancellation or correction; it also requires the civil registrar and During trial, respondent testified on her behalf and explained that she could not have
any person in interest to file their opposition, if any; and it states that although the court appeared before Judge Mamerto Califlores, the supposed solemnizing officer, at the time the
may make orders expediting the proceedings, it is after hearing that the court shall either marriage was allegedly celebrated, because she was then in Makati working as a medical
dismiss the petition or issue an order granting the same. Thus, as long as the procedural distributor in Hansao Pharma. She completely denied having known the supposed husband,
requirements in Rule 108 are followed, it is the appropriate adversary proceeding to effect but she revealed that she recognized the named witnesses to the marriage as she had met
substantial corrections and changes in entries of the civil register. them while she was working as a receptionist in Tadels Pension House. She believed that
her name was used by a certain Johnny Singh, who owned a travel agency, whom she gave
Same; Same; Same; A Filipino citizen cannot dissolve his marriage by the mere her personal circumstances in order for her to obtain a passport. 6 Respondent also presented
expedient of changing his entry of marriage in the civil registry.—Indeed the Court made a as witness a certain Eufrocina Natinga, an employee of MTCC, Branch 1, who confirmed
pronouncement in the recent case of Minoru Fujiki v. Maria Paz Galela Marinay, Shinichi that the marriage of Ye Son Sune was indeed celebrated in their office, but claimed that the
Maekara, Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City, and the Administrator and Civil Registrar alleged wife who appeared was definitely not respondent. 7 Lastly, a document examiner
General of the National Statistics Office, 700 SCRA 69 (2013), that: To be sure, a petition for testified that the signature appearing in the marriage contract was forged.8
correction or cancellation of an entry in the civil registry cannot substitute for an action to
invalidate a marriage. A direct action is necessary to prevent circumvention of the
substantive and procedural safeguards of marriage under the Family Code, A.M. No. 02-11-
On May 5, 2009, the RTC rendered the assailed Decision, the dispositive portion of which GRANTING THE CANCELLATION OF "ALL THE ENTRIES IN THE WIFE PORTION OF
reads: THE ALLEGED MARRIAGE CONTRACT," IS IN EFFECT DECLARING THE MARRIAGE
VOID AB INITIO.14
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered, the petition is granted in favor of the
petitioner, Merlinda L. Olaybar. The Local Civil Registrar of Cebu City is directed to cancel Petitioner claims that there are no errors in the entries sought to be cancelled or corrected,
all the entries in the WIFE portion of the alleged marriage contract of the petitioner and because the entries made in the certificate of marriage are the ones provided by the person
respondent Ye Son Sune. who appeared and represented herself as Merlinda L. Olaybar and are, in fact, the latter’s
personal circumstances.15 In directing the cancellation of the entries in the wife portion of
the certificate of marriage, the RTC, in effect, declared the marriage null and void ab
SO ORDERED.9
initio.16Thus, the petition instituted by respondent is actually a petition for declaration of
nullity of marriage in the guise of a Rule 108 proceeding.17
Finding that the signature appearing in the subject marriage contract was not that of
respondent, the court found basis in granting the latter’s prayer to straighten her record
We deny the petition.
and rectify the terrible mistake.10

At the outset, it is necessary to stress that a direct recourse to this Court from the decisions
Petitioner, however, moved for the reconsideration of the assailed Decision on the grounds
and final orders of the RTC may be taken where only questions of law are raised or
that: (1) there was no clerical spelling, typographical and other innocuous errors in the
involved. There is a question of law when the doubt arises as to what the law is on a certain
marriage contract for it to fall within the provisions of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court; and
state of facts, which does not call for the examination of the probative value of the evidence
(2) granting the cancellation of all the entries in the wife portion of the alleged marriage
of the parties.18 Here, the issue raised by petitioner is whether or not the cancellation of
contract is, in effect, declaring the marriage void ab initio.11
entries in the marriage contract which, in effect, nullifies the marriage may be undertaken
in a Rule 108 proceeding. Verily, petitioner raised a pure question of law.
In an Order dated August 25, 2009, the RTC denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration
couched in this wise:
Rule 108 of the Rules of Court sets forth the rules on cancellation or correction of entries in
the civil registry, to wit:
WHEREFORE, the court hereby denies the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the Republic
of the Philippines. Furnish copies of this order to the Office of the Solicitor General, the
SEC. 1. Who may file petition. – Any person interested in any act, event, order or
petitioner’s counsel, and all concerned government agencies.
decree concerning the civil status of persons which has been recorded in the civil
register, may file a verified petition for the cancellation or correction of any entry
SO ORDERED.12 relating thereto, with the Regional Trial Court of the province where the
corresponding civil registry is located.
Contrary to petitioner’s stand, the RTC held that it had jurisdiction to take cognizance of
cases for correction of entries even on substantial errors under Rule 108 of the Rules of SEC. 2. Entries subject to cancellation or correction. – Upon good and valid
Court being the appropriate adversary proceeding required. Considering that respondent’s grounds, the following entries in the civil register may be cancelled or corrected:
identity was used by an unknown person to contract marriage with a Korean national, it (a) births; (b) marriages; (c) deaths; (d) legal separations; (e) judgments of
would not be feasible for respondent to institute an action for declaration of nullity of annulments of marriage; (f) judgments declaring marriages void from the
marriage since it is not one of the void marriages under Articles 35 and 36 of the Family beginning; (g) legitimations; (h) adoptions; (i) acknowledgments of natural
Code.13 children; (j) naturalization; (k) election, loss or recovery of citizenship; (l) civil
interdiction; (m) judicial determination of filiation; (n) voluntary emancipation of a
Petitioner now comes before the Court in this Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule minor; and (o) changes of name.
45 of the Rules of Court seeking the reversal of the assailed RTC Decision and Order based
on the following grounds: SEC. 3. Parties. – When cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register
is sought, the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which
I. would be affected thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding.

RULE 108 OF THE REVISED RULES OF COURT APPLIES ONLY WHEN THERE ARE SEC. 4. Notice and Publication. – Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall,
ERRORS IN THE ENTRIES SOUGHT TO BE CANCELLED OR CORRECTED. by an order, fix the time and place for the hearing of the same, and cause
reasonable notice thereof to be given to the persons named in the petition. The
court shall also cause the order to be published once a week for three (3)
II. 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 where the alleged marriage was conducted, as well as a document examiner, testified.
such notice, file his opposition thereto. Several documents were also considered as evidence. With the testimonies and other
evidence presented, the trial court found that the signature appearing in the subject
marriage certificate was different from respondent’s signature appearing in some of her
SEC. 6. Expediting proceedings. – The court in which the proceedings is brought
government issued identification cards.23 The court thus made a categorical conclusion that
may make orders expediting the proceedings, and may also grant preliminary
respondent’s signature in the marriage certificate was not hers and, therefore, was forged.
injunction for the preservation of the rights of the parties pending such
Clearly, it was established that, as she claimed in her petition, no such marriage was
proceedings.
celebrated.

SEC. 7. Order. – After hearing, the court may either dismiss the petition or issue
Indeed the Court made a pronouncement in the recent case of Minoru Fujiki v. Maria Paz
an order granting the cancellation or correction prayed for. In either case, a
Galela Marinay, Shinichi Maekara, Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City, and the
certified copy of the judgment shall be served upon the civil registrar concerned
Administrator and Civil Registrar General of the National Statistics Office 24 that:
who shall annotate the same in his record.

To be sure, a petition for correction or cancellation of an entry in the civil registry cannot
Rule 108 of the Rules of Court provides the procedure for cancellation or correction of
substitute for an action to invalidate a marriage. A direct action is necessary to prevent
entries in the civil registry. The proceedings may either be summary or adversary. If the
circumvention of the substantive and procedural safeguards of marriage under the Family
correction is clerical, then the procedure to be adopted is summary. If the rectification
Code, A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC and other related laws. Among these safeguards are the
affects the civil status, citizenship or nationality of a party, it is deemed substantial, and the
requirement of proving the limited grounds for the dissolution of marriage, support
procedure to be adopted is adversary. Since the promulgation of Republic v. Valencia19 in
pendente lite of the spouses and children, the liquidation, partition and distribution of the
1986, the Court has repeatedly ruled that "even substantial errors in a civil registry may be
properties of the spouses and the investigation of the public prosecutor to determine
corrected through a petition filed under Rule 108, with the true facts established and the
collusion. A direct action for declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage is also
parties aggrieved by the error availing themselves of the appropriate adversarial
necessary to prevent circumvention of the jurisdiction of the Family Courts under the
proceeding."20 An appropriate adversary suit or proceeding is one where the trial court has
Family Courts Act of 1997 (Republic Act No. 8369), as a petition for cancellation or
conducted proceedings where all relevant facts have been fully and properly developed,
correction of entries in the civil registry may be filed in the Regional Trial Court where the
where opposing counsel have been given opportunity to demolish the opposite party’s case,
corresponding civil registry is located. In other words, a Filipino citizen cannot dissolve his
and where the evidence has been thoroughly weighed and considered.21
marriage by the mere expedient of changing his entry of marriage in the civil registry.

It is true that in special proceedings, formal pleadings and a hearing may be dispensed
Aside from the certificate of marriage, no such evidence was presented to show the existence
with, and the remedy [is] granted upon mere application or motion. However, a special
of marriage.1âwphi1 Rather, respondent showed by overwhelming evidence that no
proceeding is not always summary. The procedure laid down in Rule 108 is not a summary
marriage was entered into and that she was not even aware of such existence. The
proceeding per se. It requires publication of the petition; it mandates the inclusion as
testimonial and documentary evidence clearly established that the only "evidence" of
parties of all persons who may claim interest which would be affected by the cancellation or
marriage which is the marriage certificate was a forgery. While we maintain that Rule 108
correction; it also requires the civil registrar and any person in interest to file their
cannot be availed of to determine the validity of marriage, we cannot nullify the proceedings
opposition, if any; and it states that although the court may make orders expediting the
before the trial court where all the parties had been given the opportunity to contest the
proceedings, it is after hearing that the court shall either dismiss the petition or issue an
allegations of respondent; the procedures were followed, and all the evidence of the parties
order granting the same. Thus, as long as the procedural requirements in Rule 108 are
had already been admitted and examined. Respondent indeed sought, not the nullification of
followed, it is the appropriate adversary proceeding to effect substantial corrections and
marriage as there was no marriage to speak of, but the correction of the record of such
changes in entries of the civil register.22
marriage to reflect the truth as set forth by the evidence. Otherwise stated, in allowing the
correction of the subject certificate of marriage by cancelling the wife portion thereof, the
In this case, the entries made in the wife portion of the certificate of marriage are trial court did not, in any way, declare the marriage void as there was no marriage to speak
admittedly the personal circumstances of respondent. The latter, however, claims that her of.
signature was forged and she was not the one who contracted marriage with the purported
husband. In other words, she claims that no such marriage was entered into or if there was,
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The Regional
she was not the one who entered into such contract. It must be recalled that when
Trial Court Decision dated May 5, 2009 and Order dated August 25, 2009 in SP. Proc. No.
respondent tried to obtain a CENOMAR from the NSO, it appeared that she was married to
16519-CEB, are AFFIRMED.
a certain Ye Son Sune. She then sought the cancellation of entries in the wife portion of the
marriage certificate.
SO ORDERED.
In filing the petition for correction of entry under Rule 108, respondent made the Local Civil
Registrar of Cebu City, as well as her alleged husband Ye Son Sune, as parties-respondents.
It is likewise undisputed that the procedural requirements set forth in Rule 108 were
complied with. The Office of the Solicitor General was likewise notified of the petition which
in turn authorized the Office of the City Prosecutor to participate in the proceedings. More
importantly, trial was conducted where respondent herself, the stenographer of the court
G.R. No. 197174. September 10, 2014.* aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding.—The RTC’s
dismissal is without prejudice. As we said, petitioner can avail of the administrative remedy
FRANCLER P. ONDE, petitioner, vs. THE OFFICE OF THE LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR for the correction of his and his mother’s first name. He can also file a new petition before
OF LAS PIÑAS CITY, respondent. the RTC to correct the alleged erroneous entry on his birth certificate that his parents were
married on December 23, 1983 in Bicol. This substantial correction is allowed under Rule
Remedial Law; Special Proceedings; Correction of Entries in the Civil Register; 108 of the Rules of Court. As we reiterated in Eleosida v. Local Civil Registrar of Quezon
Clerical or Typographical Errors; Changes of First Name; Under Section 1 of Republic Act City, 382 SCRA 22 (2002): x x x This is our ruling in Republic v. Valencia, where we held
(RA) No. 9048, clerical or typographical errors on entries in a civil register can be corrected that even substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and the true facts
and changes of first name can be done by the concerned city civil registrar without need of a established under Rule 108 [of the Rules of Court]provided the parties aggrieved by
judicial order.—We agree with the RTC that the first name of petitioner and his mother as the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding. x x x x x x It is true in
appearing in his birth certificate can be corrected by the city civil registrar under R.A. No. the case at bar that the changes sought to be made by petitioner are not merely clerical or
9048. We note that petitioner no longer contested the RTC’s ruling on this point. Indeed, harmless errors but substantial ones as they would affect the status of the marriage
under Section 1 of R.A. No. 9048, clerical or typographical errors on entries in a civil between petitioner and Carlos Borbon, as well as the legitimacy of their son, Charles
register can be corrected and changes of first name can be done by the concerned city civil Christian. Changes of such nature, however, are now allowed under Rule 108 in
registrar without need of a judicial order. Aforesaid Section 1, as amended by R.A. No. accordance with our ruling in Republic v. Valencia provided that the appropriate procedural
10172, now reads: SECTION 1. Authority to Correct Clerical or Typographical Error and requirements are complied with.
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 Same; Same; Same; Parties; A petition seeking a substantial correction of an entry in a
change of first name or nickname, the day and month in the date of birth or sex of a civil register must implead as parties to the proceedings not only the local civil registrar, as
person where it is patently clear that there was a clerical or typographical error or mistake petitioner did in the dismissed petition for correction of entries, but also all persons who have
in the entry, which can be corrected or changed by the concerned city or or claim any interest which would be affected by the correction.—A petition seeking a
municipal civil registrar or consul general in accordance with the provisions of this Act substantial correction of an entry in a civil register must implead as parties to the
and its implementing rules and regulations. proceedings not only the local civil registrar, as petitioner did in the dismissed petition for
correction of entries, but also all persons who have or claim any interest which would be
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; The remedy and the proceedings regulating change affected by the correction. This is required by Section 3, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court:
of first name are primarily administrative in nature, not judicial; The law removed from SEC. 3. Parties.—When cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register is
the ambit of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the correction of clerical or typographical sought, the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which
errors.—In Silverio v. Republic, 537 SCRA 373 (2007), we held that under R.A. No. 9048, would be affected thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding.
jurisdiction over applications for change of first name is now primarily lodged with
administrative officers. The intent and effect of said law is to exclude the change of first Same; Same; Same; Same; In Republic v. Uy, 703 SCRA 425 (2013), the Supreme
name from the coverage of Rules 103 (Change of Name) and 108 (Cancellation or Correction Court (SC) has similarly ruled that when a petition for cancellation or correction of an entry
of Entries in the Civil Registry) of the Rules of Court, until and unless an administrative in the civil register involves substantial and controversial alterations, including those on
petition for change of name is first filed and subsequently denied. The remedy and the citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, a strict compliance
proceedings regulating change of first name are primarily administrative in nature, not with the requirements of the Rules of Court is mandated. Thus, in his new petition, petitioner
judicial. In Republic v. Cagandahan, 565 SCRA 72 (2008), we said that under R.A. No. 9048, should at least implead his father and mother as parties since the substantial correction he is
the correction of clerical or typographical errors can now be made through administrative seeking will also affect them.—In Eleosida v. Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City, 382 SCRA
proceedings and without the need for a judicial order. The law removed from the ambit of 22 (2002), we cited Section 3, and Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, as the
Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the correction of clerical or typographical errors. Thus, procedural requirements laid down by the Court to make the proceedings under Rule
petitioner can avail of this administrative remedy for the correction of his and his mother’s 108 adversary. In Republic v. Uy, 703 SCRA 425 (2013), we have similarly ruled that when
first name. a petition for cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register involves substantial
and controversial alterations, including those on citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or
Same; Same; Same; Correcting the entry on petitioner’s birth certificate that his filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, a strict compliance with the requirements of the Rules
parents were married on December 23, 1983 in Bicol to “not married” is a substantial of Court is mandated. Thus, in his new petition, petitioner should at least implead his
correction requiring adversarial proceedings.—We also agree with the RTC in ruling that father and mother as parties since the substantial correction he is seeking will also affect
correcting the entry on petitioner’s birth certificate that his parents were married on them.
December 23, 1983 in Bicol to “not married” is a substantial correction requiring adversarial
proceedings. Said correction is substantial as it will affect his legitimacy and convert him PETITION for review on certiorari of the orders of the Regional Trial Court of Las Piñas
from a legitimate child to an illegitimate one. In Republic v. Uy, 703 SCRA 425 (2013), we City, Br. 201.
held that corrections of entries in the civil register including those on The facts are stated in the resolution of the Court.
citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, involve W.A. Legaspi Law Office for petitioner.
substantial alterations. Substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and the true Office of the Solicitor General for respondent.
facts established provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the
appropriate adversary proceedings.
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
Same; Same; Same; Even substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and
the true facts established under Rule 108 [of the Rules of Court] provided the parties
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari of the Orders 1 dated October 7, 2010 and In its comment, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) contends that the RTC correctly
March 1, 2011 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 201, Las Piñas City, in Special dismissed the petition for correction of entries. It points out that the first names of
Proceedings Case No. 10-0043. The RTC dismissed the case filed by petitioner Francler P. petitioner and his mother can be corrected thru administrative proceedings under R.A. No.
Onde for correction of entries in his certificate of live birth. 9048. Such correction of the entry on petitioner’s birth certificate that his parents were
married on December 23, 1983 in Bicol to "not married" is a substantial correction affecting
his legitimacy. Hence, it must be dealt with in adversarial proceedings where all interested
The antecedent facts follow:
parties are impleaded.

Petitioner filed a petition2 for correction of entries in his certificate of live birth before the R
We deny the petition.
TC and named respondent Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Las Pifias City as sole
respondent. Petitioner alleged that he is the illegitimate child of his parents Guillermo A.
Onde and Matilde DC Pakingan, but his birth certificate stated that his parents were On the first issue, we agree with the RTC that the first name of petitioner and his mother as
married. His birth certificate also stated that his mother's first name is Tely and that his appearing in his birth certificate can be corrected by the city civil registrar under R.A. No.
first name is Franc Ler. He prayed that the following entries on his birth certificate be 9048. We note that petitioner no longer contested the RTC’s ruling on this point. 4 Indeed,
corrected as follows: under Section 15 of R.A. No. 9048, clerical or typographical errors on entries in a civil
register can be corrected and changes of first name can be done by the concerned city civil
registrar without need of a judicial order. Aforesaid Section 1, as amended by R.A. No.
Entry From To
10172, now reads: SECTION 1. Authority to Correct Clerical or Typographical Error and
1) Date and place of marriage of his parents December 23, 1983 - Bicol Not Married
Change of First Name or Nickname. – No entry in a civil register shall be changed or
correctedwithout a judicial order, except for clerical or typographical errors and change of
2) First name of his mother Tely Matilde first name or nickname, the day and month in the dateof birth or sex of a person where it is
patently clear that there was a clerical or typographical error or mistake in the entry, which
3) His first name Franc Ler Francler
can be corrected or changed by the concerned city or municipalcivil registraror consul
general in accordance with the provisions of this Act and its implementing rules and
regulations. (Emphasis supplied.)
In its Order dated October 7, 2010, the RTC dismissed the petition for correction of entries
on the ground thatit is insufficient in form and substance. It ruled that the proceedings
must be adversarial since the first correction is substantial in nature and would affect In Silverio v. Republic,6 we held that under R.A. No. 9048, jurisdiction over applications for
petitioner’s status as a legitimate child. It was further held that the correction in the first change of first name is now primarily lodged with administrative officers. The intent and
name of petitioner and his mother can be done by the city civil registrar under Republic Act effect of said law is to exclude the change of first name from the coverage of Rules 103
(R.A.) No. 9048, entitled An Act Authorizing the City or Municipal Civil Registrar or the (Change of Name) and 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry) of
ConsulGeneral to Correct a Clerical or Typographical Error in an Entry and/or Change of the Rules of Court, until and unless an administrative petition for change of name is first
First Name or Nickname in the Civil Registrar Without Need of a Judicial Order, Amending filed and subsequently denied. The remedy and the proceedings regulating change of first
for this Purpose Articles 376 and 412 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. name are primarily administrative in nature, not judicial. In Republic v. Cagandahan, 7 we
said that under R.A.No. 9048, the correction of clerical or typographical errors can now be
made through administrative proceedings and without the need for a judicial order. The law
In its Order dated March 1, 2011,the RTC denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration, as
removed from the ambit of Rule 108 of the Rules ofCourt the correction of clerical or
it found no proof that petitioner’s parents were not married on December 23, 1983.
typographical errors. Thus petitioner can avail of this administrative remedy for the
correction of his and his mother’s first name.
Essentially, the petition raises fourissues: (1) whether the RTC erred in ruling that the
correction on the first name of petitioner and his mother can be done by the city civil
On the second issue, we also agree with the RTC in ruling that correcting the entry on
registrar under R.A. No. 9048; (2) whether the RTC erred in ruling that correcting the entry
petitioner’s birth certificate that his parents were married on December 23, 1983 in Bicol to
on petitioner’s birth certificate that his parents were married on December 23, 1983 in Bicol
"not married" is a substantial correction requiring adversarial proceedings. Said correction
to "not married" is substantial in nature requiring adversarial proceedings; (3) whether the
is substantial as it will affect his legitimacy and convert him from a legitimate child to an
RTC erred in dismissing the petition for correction of entries; and (4) whether the RTC erred
illegitimate one. In Republic v. Uy,8 we held that corrections of entries in the civil register
in ruling that there is no proof that petitioner’s parents were not married on December 23,
including those on citizenship, legitimacyof paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of
1983.
marriage,involve substantial alterations. Substantial errors in a civil registry may be
corrected and the true facts established provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail
Petitioner argues that Rule 108 ofthe Rules of Court allows a substantial correction of themselves of the appropriate adversaryproceedings.9
entries in the civil registry, stating that in Eleosida v. Local Civil Registrar of Quezon
City,3 the case cited by the RTC, we have actually ruled that substantial changes in the civil
On the third issue, we likewise affirm the RTC in dismissing the petition for correction of
registry are now allowed under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. He likewise adds that proof
entries. As mentioned, petitioner no longer contested the RTC ruling that the correction he
that his parents were not married will be presented during the trial, not during the filing of
sought on his and his mother’s first name can be done by the city civil registrar. Under the
the petition for correction of entries.
circumstances, we are constrained to deny his prayer that the petition for correction of
entries before the RTC bereinstated since the same petition includes the correction he No pronouncement as to costs.
sought on his and his mother’s first name.
SO ORDERED.
We clarify, however, that the RTC’s dismissal is without prejudice. As we said, petitioner
can avail ofthe administrative remedy for the correction of his and his mother’s first
name.1âwphi1 He can also file a new petition before the RTC to correct the alleged
erroneous entry on his birth certificate that his parents were married on December 23, 1983
in Bicol. This substantial correction is allowed under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. As we
reiterated in Eleosida v. Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City: 10

x x x This is our ruling in Republic vs. Valenciawhere we held that even substantial errors
in a civil registry may be corrected and the true facts established under Rule 108 [of the
Rules of Court]provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the
appropriate adversary proceeding. x x x

xxxx

It is true in the case at bar that the changes sought to be made by petitioner are not merely
clerical or harmless errors but substantial ones as they would affect the status of the
marriage between petitioner and Carlos Borbon, as well as the legitimacy of their son,
Charles Christian. Changes of such nature, however, are now allowed under Rule 108in
accordance with our ruling in Republic vs. Valenciaprovided that the appropriate procedural
requirements are complied with. x x x (Emphasis supplied.)

We also stress that a petition seeking a substantial correction of an entry in a civil register
must implead as parties to the proceedings not only the local civil registrar, as petitioner did
in the dismissed petition for correction of entries, but also all persons who have or claim any
interest which would be affected by the correction. This is required by Section 3, Rule 108 of
the Rules of Court:

SEC. 3. Parties. - When cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register is sought,
the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected
thereby shall be made parties to the proceeding. (Emphasis supplied.)

In Eleosida,11 we cited Section 3, and Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, as
the procedural requirements laid down by the Court to make the proceedings under Rule
108 adversary. In Republic v. Uy,12 we have similarly ruled that when a petition for
cancellation or correction of an entry in the civil register involves substantial and
controversial alterations, including those on citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation,
or legitimacy of marriage, a strict compliance with the requirements of the Rules of Court is
mandated. Thus, in his new petition, petitioner should at least implead his father and
mother as parties since the substantial correction he is seeking will also affect them.

In view of the foregoing discussion, it is no longer necessary to dwell on the last issue as
petitioner will have his opportunity to prove his claim that his parents were not married on
December 23, 1983 when he files the new petition for the purpose.

WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition and AFFIRM the Orders dated October 7, 2010 and
March 1, 2011 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 201, Las Pifias City, in Special
Proceedings Case No. 10-0043. The dismissal ordered by the Regional Trial Court is,
however, declared to be without prejudice.