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SURNAMES Prepared by: Michael Joseph Nogoy, JD 1 CASE No. 208 [G.R. No. 97906. May 21, 1992.

] REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and MAXIMO WONG, respondents. PONENTE: REGALADO, J.: FACTS: Maximo Wong petitioned for the change of his name to Maximo Alcala, Jr. which was his name prior to his adoption by Hoong Wong and Concepcion Ty Wong. Maximo Wong is the legitimate son of Maximo Alcala, Sr. and Segundina Y. Alcala. Siblings Maximo Alcala, Jr. (2 years old) and Margaret Alcala (9 years old) were adopted by Hoong Wong and Concepcion Ty Wong (naturalized Filipino citizens) with the consent of their parents.

Hoong Wong, now deceased, was an insurance agent while Concepcion Ty Wong was a high school teacher. They decided to adopt the children as they remained childless after fifteen years of marriage. The couple showered their adopted children with parental love and reared them as their own children. Maximo Wong (22 years old) then married and a junior Engineering student at Notre Dame University, Cotabato City, filed a petition to change his name to Maximo Alcala, Jr. o It was averred that his use of the surname Wong embarrassed and isolated him from his relatives and friends, as the same suggests a Chinese ancestry when in truth and in fact he is a Muslim Filipino residing in a Muslim community, o he wants to erase any implication whatsoever of alien nationality; o that he is being ridiculed for carrying a Chinese surname, thus hampering his business and social life; o and that his adoptive mother does not oppose his desire to revert to his former surname. RTC Ruling: Ruled in the AFFIRMATIVE (having complied with the necessary requisites) OSG appealed the decision CA Ruling: AFFIRMED RTC decision in full OSGs Contentions: o Maximo's allegations of ridicule and/or isolation from family and friends were unsubstantiated and cannot justify the petition for change of name.

For Maximo to cast aside the name of his adoptive father is crass ingratitude to the memory of the latter and his adoptive mother who is still alive, despite her consent to the petition for change of name. o The reversion of Maximo Wong to his old name violates Articles 341 and 365 of the Civil Code, which requires an adoptive child to use the surname of the adopter, and would identify him with his parents by nature, thus giving the impression that he has severed his relationship with his adoptive parents. Maximo refutes these saying: o he did as the law required (used the surname of the adopter) o Being already emancipated, he can now decide what is best for and by himself. It is at this time that he realized that the Chinese name he carries causes him undue ridicule and embarrassment and affects his business and social life. o His adoptive mother, being aware of his predicament, gave her consent to the petition for change of name, albeit making it clear that the same shall in no way affect the legal adoption, and even underwent the rigors of trial to substantiate her sworn statement. o If his adoptive mother does not take offense nor feel any resentment, abhorrence or insecurity about his desire to change his name, Maximo avers that there can be no possible prejudice on her, much less the State. ISSUE: Whether or not Maximo Wong may legally change his name to Maximo Alcala, Jr. HELD: YES. Maximo Wong may legally change his name to Maximo Alcala, Jr. RATIO DECIDENDI: Change of name is a privilege, given the proper or reasonable cause or compelling reason.

SC: We are guided by the jurisprudential dictum that the State has an interest in the names borne by individuals and entities for the purpose of identification, and a change of name is not a matter of right but of sound judicial discretion, to be exercised in the light of reasons adduced and the consequences that will likely follow; it is a privilege which may be granted only upon a showing of a proper or reasonable cause or compelling reason therefor. SC: We find unacceptable the assertion of the SolGen that Maximo's allegation of ridicule and embarrassment due to the use of his present surname is unsubstantiated. Among the grounds for change of name which have been held valid are: (a) When the name is ridiculous, dishonorable or extremely difficult to write or pronounce; (b) When the change results as a legal consequence, as in legitimation; (c) When the change will avoid confusion; (d) Having continuously

used and been known since childhood by a Filipino name, unaware of her alien parentage; (e) A sincere desire to adopt a Filipino name to erase signs of former alienage, all in good faith and without prejudicing anybody; and (f) When the surname causes embarrassment and there is no showing that the desired change of name was for a fraudulent purpose or that the change of name would prejudice public interest. While it is true that the statutory fiat under Article 365 of the Civil Code is to the effect that an adopted child shall bear the surname of the adopter, it must nevertheless be borne in mind that the change of the surname of the adopted child is more an incident rather than the object of adoption proceedings. RULING: CA Ruling is AFFIRMED in toto. SURNAMES Prepared by: Michael Joseph Nogoy, JD 1 CASE No. 210 [G.R. No. 94986. February 23, 1995.] HATIMA C. YASIN, represented by her Attorney-in-Fact, HADJI HASSAN S. CENTI, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE JUDGE SHARI'A DISTRICT COURT, THIRD SHARI'A JUDICIAL DISTRICT, Zamboanga City, respondent. PONENTE: BIDIN, J.: FACTS: On May 5, 1990, Hatima C. Yasin filed in the Shari'a District Court in Zamboanga City a "Petition to resume the use of maiden name" o That she is of legal age, a divorcee, a Muslin Filipino and a resident of Suterville, Zamboanga City, Philippines, and is duly represented in this act by her elder brother and attorney-in-fact, HADJI HASAN S. CENTI by virtue of an instrument of a Special Power of Attorney. o That she was formerly married to a certain Hadji Idris Yasin, also a Muslim Filipino in accordance with Muslim rites and customs, and who is now residing at Barangay Recodo, Zamboanga City, but sometime on March 13, 1984, they were granted a decree of divorce by the Mindanao Islamic Center Foundation, Inc., in accordance with Islamic Law. o That, thereafter the former husband Hadji Idris Yasin contracted another marriage to another woman.

title thereof which should include all the names by which the petitioner has been known. The pleading must be rectified accordingly. Hatima filed a motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid order alleging that the petition filed is not covered by Rule 103 of the Rules of Court but is merely a petition to resume the use of her maiden name and surname after the dissolution of her marriage by divorce under the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines MR is denied.

ISSUE: Whether or not a petition for resumption of maiden name and surname is also a petition for change of name. HELD: NO. The Court rules in the negative. RATIO DECIDENDI: The true and real name of a person is that given to him and entered in the civil register.

"In a proceeding for a change of name the following question may crop up:
What is the name to be changed? By Article 408 of the Civil Code a person's birth must be entered in the civil register. So it is, that the civil register records his name. That name in the civil register, for legal purposes, is his real name. And correctly so, because the civil register is an official record of the civil status of persons. A name given to a person in the church record or elsewhere or by which he is known in the community when at variance with that entered in the civil register is unofficial and cannot be recognized as his real name. "We therefore rule that for the purposes of an application for change of name under Article 376 of the Civil Code, the only name that may be changed is the true or official name recorded in the civil register."

Petitioner's registered name is Hatima Centi Y. Saul. In the instant petition,

petitioner does not seek to change her registered maiden name but, instead, prays that she be allowed to resume the use of her maiden name in view of the dissolution of her marriage to Hadji Idris Yasin, by virtue of a decree of divorce granted in accordance with Muslim law. RULING: Petition is GRANTED. Petitioner is authorized to resume her maiden name and surname.

SDC Ruling: Petition filed is not sufficient in form and substance in accordance with Section 2(a) and 3, Rule 103, Rules of Court, regarding the residence of petitioner and the name sought to be adopted is not properly indicated in the

ESLI informed of the grave situation, immediately reported the matter to the Philippine Coast Guard for search and rescue operation and the same was coordinated with the U.S. Air Force based at Clark Air Base. ESLI also released radio messages to all vessels passing the Hongkong/Manila route requesting them to be very cautious and vigilant for possible survivors and to scan the area whether there are signs of debris from the ill fated vessel "EASTERN MINICON" which has foundered. In the meantime, two (2) vessels of the respondent were also dispatched to the area last reported by the Master for search and rescue operation, but the collective efforts of all parties concerned yielded negative results." ESLI paid the corresponding death benefits to the heirs of the crew members, except Josephine Lucero, who refused to accept the same. On July 16, 1980, Mrs. Lucero filed a complaint with the National Seamen Board, Board for short, for payment of her accrued monthly allotment of P3,183.00, which ESLI had stopped since March 1980 and for continued payment of said allotments until the M/V Minicon shall have returned to the port of Manila. o Luceros Contention: That the contract of employment entered into by her husband with ESLI was on a voyage-to-voyage basis, and that the same was to terminate only upon the vessel's arrival in Manila. o ESLIs Contentions: Mrs. Lucero was no longer entitled to such allotments because: [a] the Lloyds of London had already confirmed the total loss of the vessel and had in fact settled ESLI's insurance claim and [b] ESLI, with the approval of the Board, had likewise paid the corresponding death benefits to the heirs of the other seamen. ESLI further invoked the provisions of Article 643 of the Code of Commerce (see page 429) On May 19, 1981, the Board rendered the aforecited judgment in favor of Mrs. Josephine Lucero: o The Board held that the presumption of death could not be applied because the four-year period provided for by Article 391(1) of the Civil Code had not yet expired; o and that the payment of death benefits to the heirs of the other crew members was based upon a voluntary agreement entered into by and between the heirs and the Company, and did not bind respondent Mrs. Lucero who was not a party thereto. National Labor Relations Commission affirmed the said decision of NSB. (see page 429 Article 391 of the Civil Code)


On October 31, 1979, Capt. Julio J. Lucero, Jr. was appointed by Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc., as master/captain to its vessel M/V Eastern Minicon, plying the Hongkong/Manila route, with the salary of P5,560.00 exclusive of ship board allowances and other benefits. Under the contract, Luceros employment was good for one (1) round trip only, i.e., the contract would automatically terminate upon arrival of the vessel at the Port of Manila, unless renewed. It was further agreed that part of the captain's salary, while abroad, should be paid to Mrs. Josephine Lucero, his wife, in Manila. On February 16, 1980, while the vessel was enroute from Hongkong to Manila where it was expected to arrive on February 18, 1980, Capt. Lucero sent three (3) messages to the Company's Manila office (see following messages on page 427-428).

ISSUE: Whether of not Capt. Lucero can be presumed dead. (HARD TO CONCEPTUALIZE ISSUES)

HELD: YES. Capt. Lucero can be presumed dead. RATIO DECIDENDI: "Where there are facts, known or knowable, from which a rational conclusion can be made, the presumption does not step in, and the rule of preponderance of evidence controls."

It is undisputed that on February 16, 1980, ESLI received three (3) radio messages from Capt. Lucero on board the M/V Eastern Minicon, the last of which, received at 9:50 p.m. of that day, was a call for immediate assistance in view of the existing "danger": "sea water was entering the hatch"; the vessel "was listing 50 to 60 degrees port," and they were "preparing to abandon the ship any time.' After this message, nothing more has been heard from the vessel or its crew until the present time. There is thus enough evidence to show the circumstances attending the loss and disappearance of the M/V Eastern Minicon and its crew. The foregoing facts, quite logically, are sufficient to lead Us to a moral certainty that the vessel had sunk and that the persons aboard had perished with it.

She claimed that a certain Diosdado Tol had fraudulently secured a free patent over Remigio's property and had obtained title thereto in his name. She was seeking the administration of the absentee's estate in order that she could recover the said property. The petition was opposed by Diosdado Tol, who argued that Daya Maria Tol was not an acknowledged natural child of the absentee and that the property sought to be administered was covered by an original certificate of title issued in his name. RTC: DISMISSED (collateral attack on a Torrens title. The court also declared in effect that it was useless to appoint an administrator in view of the claim of a third person that he was the owner of the absentee's property.) MR was denied. Dayas Contentions: o the original petition in the trial court was not intended as a collateral attack on a Torrens title; hence, Art. 389 of the Civil Code was not applicable. Diosdados Contentions: o since Daya claims she is an illegitimate child of Remigio Tol, she is prohibited under Art. 992 of the Civil Code from inheriting ab intestato from the relatives of her father. o Diosdado questions the necessity of her appointment for the purpose only of having the title annulled. o In view of her allegations of fraud, she should have sued for the annulment of the title within a period of one year, which had already expired. o Lastly, the decision of the trial court had already become final and executory because 76 days had already elapsed from the date of receipt of the said decision on May 21, 1987, to the date the petition was filed before this Court on August 5, 1987.

RULING: The decision of the NLRC subject of this petition is hereby set aside, and the complaint of Josephine Lucero dismissed. However, Mrs. Lucero is entitled to death benefits.

ABSENCE Prepared by: Michael Joseph Nogoy, JD 1 CASE No. 217 [G.R. No. 84250. July 20, 1992.] DAYA MARIA TOL-NOQUERA, petitioner, vs. HON. ADRIANO R. VILLAMOR, Presiding Judge, Branch XVI, Regional Trial Court, 8th Judicial Region, Naval, Leyte, and DIOSDADO TOL, respondents. PONENTE: CRUZ, J.: FACTS: Daya Maria-Tol alleged that she was the acknowledged natural child of Remigio Tol, who had been missing since 1984.

ISSUE: Whether or not Daya may be appointed administratrix of Remigios estate (HARD TO CONCEPTUALIZE ISSUES) HELD: YES. She may be appointed as administratrix of the estate of Remigio, provided that her personality be established. SC: RTC ruled hastily. The petition was not a collateral attack on a Torrens title. The petitioner did say there was a need to appoint an administrator to prevent the property from

being usurped, but this did not amount to a collateral attack on the title. The alleged fraudulent issuance of title was mentioned as a justification for her appointment as administrator. But there was nothing in the petition to indicate that the petitioner would attack the title issued to Diosdado in the same proceeding. In fact, the petitioner declared that whatever remedy she might choose would be pursued in another venue, in a proceeding entirely distinct and separate from her petition for appointment as administratrix.

Diosdado's arguments that Daya cannot inherit ab intestato from the legitimate parents of the absentee is immaterial to this case. Her disqualification as an heir to her supposed grandparents does not inhibit her from petitioning for a declaration of absence or to be appointed as an administratrix of the absentee's estate. The purpose of the cited rules is the protection of the interests and property of the absentee, not of the administrator. Thus, the question of whether the administrator may inherit the property to be administered is not controlling. What is material is whether she is one of those allowed by law to seek the declaration of absence of Remigio Tol and whether she is competent to be appointed as administratrix of his estate. The issue of whether or not the property titled to Diosdado Tol is really owned by him should be resolved in another proceeding. The right of Daya Maria Tol to be appointed administratrix cannot be denied outright by reason alone of such issue.

RULING: Petition is GRANTED. This case is hereby REMANDED to the court of origin for determination of the legal personality of Daya Maria Tol to petition the declaration of Remigio Tol's absence and of her competence to be appointed as administratrix of his estate.