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Spouses Graciano del Rosario and Graciana Esguerra were the registered owners of a parcel of land.
Upon the death of Graciana, Graciano, with his 6 children, entered into an extrajudicial settlement of
Gracianas estate.
Graciano married Patricia Natcher (petitioner). During their marriage, he sold the land (part of what he
received from Gracianas estate) to his wife and a new transfer certificate of title was issued in her name.
Graciano died and left his second wife Natcher and 6 children as heirs.
The 6 children filed a complaint before the RTC, alleging that upon Gracianos death, Natcher acquired a
new TCT of Gracianos lot through fraud, misrepresentation, and forgery. They further alleged that as a
consequence of the fraudulent sale, their legitimes were impaired.

RTC: The deed of sale executed by Graciano in favor of Natcher is prohibited by law and thus void. However, it
may be regarded as an advance inheritance of Natcher being a compulsory heir of the deceased.
CA: Reversed RTC. RTC erred in regarding the subject property as an advance inheritance. It is the probate court
which has exclusive jurisdiction to make a just and legal distribution of the estate. The RTC went beyond its
jurisdiction when, while trying an ordinary action for reconveyance/ annulment of title, it performed acts proper
only in a special proceeding for the settlement of estate.
ISSUE: Whether a court acting as a court of general jurisdiction in an action for reconveyance & annulment of title
with damages adjudicate matters relating to the settlement of the estate of a deceased person

One by which a party sues another for the
enforcement or protection of a right, or the
prevention or redress of a wrong
Includes proceedings which are instituted and
prosecuted according to the ordinary rules and
provisions relating to actions at law or suits in


A remedy by which a party seeks to establish a

status, a right or a particular fact

Includes those proceedings which are not

ordinary in this sense, but is instituted and
prosecuted according to some special mode (no
summons, no regular pleadings)

In the nature of a distinct and independent

proceeding for particular relief, such as may be
instituted independently of a pending action, by
petition or motion upon notice

An action for reconveyance and annulment of title with damages CIVIL ACTION
Matters relating to settlement of the estate of a deceased person SPECIAL PROCEEDING

Matters which involve settlement and distribution of the estate fall within the exclusive province of the
probate court in the exercise of its limited jurisdiction. Questions as to advancement made or alleged to
have been made by the deceased to any heir may be heard and determined by the court having
jurisdiction of the estate proceedings.

The RTC in this case is devoid of any authority to render an adjudication and resolve the issue of
advancement of real property.

Trial courts trying an ordinary action cannot resolve to perform acts pertaining to a special
proceeding because it is subject to specific prescribed rules.

BROADWELL HAGANS vs. ADOLPH WISLIZENUS, Judge of First Instance of Cebu

1920 case


Judge Wislizenus argues that ACT NO. 190 permits him to appoint assessors in special proceedings.
SEC. 154, ACT 190: Either party to an action may apply in writing to the judge for assessors to sit in the

ISSUE: Whether a special proceeding is an action


There is a distinction between an action and a special proceeding. When the law used the word
action it did not mean special proceeding.
An action means an ordinary suit in a court of justice, while every other remedy furnished by law is a
special proceeding.
An action is a formal demand of ones legal rights in a court of justice in the manner prescribed by the
court or by the law. It is a method of applying legal remedies according to definite established rules.
Special proceeding may be defined as an application or proceeding to establish the status or right of a
party, or a particular fact. Usually, no formal pleadings are required, and the remedy is generally granted
upon an application or motion.
Thus, the judge in this case is without authority to appoint assessors.



Troadio Manalo died and was survived by his wife, Pilar, and 11 children. He left several real properties.
Eight of the children (Purita, Milagros, Belen, Rosalina, Romeo, Roberto, Amalia, Imelda) filed a petition for
the judicial settlement of the estate and for the appointment of their brother, Romeo, as administrator.
The wife and three other children (Antonio, Isabelita, Orlando) opposed. They claimed that the petition of
the 8 children is actually an ordinary civil action involving members of the same family, pointing out that
certain averments in the petition are indicative of its adversarial nature.
They claimed that it should be dismissed under Rule 16, Section 1(j) of the Revised Rules of Court which
provides that a motion to dismiss may be filed on the ground that a condition precedent has not been
complied with (that earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made involving members of the same
family prior to filing of the petition pursuant to Art. 222, Civil Code).

ISSUE: Whether Rule 16, Sec. 1(j) applies to a special proceeding for settlement of estate

ART. 222
No suit shall be filed or maintained between members of the same family unless it should appear that
earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made, but that the same have failed
Art. 222 is only applicable to ordinary civil actions. This is clear from the term SUIT that it refers to an
action by one person or persons against another or others in a court o justice in which the plaintiff
pursues the remedy which the law affords him for the redress of an injury or the enforcement of a
right, whether at law or in equity .
The Code Commission intended to make this legal provision applicable only to civil actions which are
essentially adversarial and involve members of the same family.
In this case, the oppositors are not being sued in the special proceeding for any cause of action as in fact
no defendant was impleaded therein.
The Petition for Issuance of Letters of Administration, Settlement and Distribution of Estate is a special
proceeding and, as such, it is a remedy whereby the petitioners therein seek to establish a status, a right,
or a particular fact. The petitioners in such a case merely seek to establish the fact of the death of their
father and to be duly recognized as among the heirs of the deceased.



Chiu Hap Chiu seeks to change his name to Lo Hap Chiu.

He testified that the name given him at birth was Lo Hap Chiu and that during his school days (elementary
to college) he was called by his classmates as Lo Hap Chiu. However, the name in his alien certification of
registration is Chiu Hap Chiu.
Thus, he wants to change his name to avoid confusion.
After receiving evidence, the trial court granted the petition.
The government opposed in view of its failure to find sufficient justification for the change of name.

ISSUE: Whether the petition for change of name should be granted


The State has an interest in the names borne by individuals for purposes of identification. A change of
name is a privilege and not a matter of right. Thus, before a person can be authorized to change his name
either in his birth certificate or in the civil registry, he must show proper cause or any compelling reason to
justify such change.
The following may be considered among others, as proper and reasonable causes to warrant the grant of
petition for change of name:
(1) When the name is ridiculous, tainted with dishonour, or is extremely difficult to write or pronounce
(2) When request for change is a consequence of a change of status (when natural child is acknowledged or
(3) When it is necessary to avoid confusion

In this case, the petitioner failed to show any proper or compelling reason to justify request for change of
name other than the fact that Lo Hap Chiu is the name given him in his birth certificate and schools he
This claim was not satisfactorily proven.
There is nothing in the record to show that the name was used from grade school to college aside from
his own testimony and a photostatic copy of a certification issued in his favor as Doctor of Medicine by
He was registered in the Bureau of Immigration as Chiu Hap Chiu and in all clearances secured from
that Bureau his name was Chiu Hap Chiu, indicating that he considered himself as such as regards the
He also has not shown that he will be prejudiced by the use of his true and official name.
Since the State has an interest in the name borne by an individual, especially an alien, and the latters
identity as a rule is established by the name appearing in his alien certificate of registration, the Court
finds no plausible reason for authorizing the change of name.


Lee King Sing filed a petition for change of name. The petition stated that he is a naturalized Filipino citizen
and it is his desire to be known with a Filipino name inasmuch as his associates, friends and all other
persons with which he is dealing all know him and call him as Antonio or Tony. Thus, he desires to have his
present name be changed to Antonio C. Lee.
The trial court issued an order setting the petition for hearing, which was subsequently published. However
the Solicitor General filed a motion to dismiss the petition on the ground that the name sought to be
adopted and the other names with which petitioner is known are not indicated or included in the title of the
The motion to dismiss was denied and after trial and hearing, the trial court granted the petition.

ISSUE: Whether the petition for change of name should be granted despite the substantial defect in the petition
and publication of the notice of hearing

The proceeding for a change of name is a proceeding in rem. Jurisdiction is acquired after due publication
of the order containing certain data, among which is the name sought to be adopted, a matter which
should be indicated in the title of the petition.
The title of the petition should include these, even if these data are found in the body:
(1) Applicants real name
(2) His aliases or other names, if any
(3) Name sought to be adopted
As for publication to be valid and effective, the published order should state the title of the petition and
should contain correct information as to:
(1) Name or names of applicant
(2) Cause for the changed name
(3) New name asked for
In this case, the petition as well as the order published has the title: In Re: Petition for Change of Name of
Lee King Sing, Petitioner.
It does not contain the name sought to be adopted and names by which petitioner was known to his
friends and associates.
The title should be In the Matter of the Change of Name of Lee King Sing, otherwise known as Antonio
or Tony to Antonio C. Lee, Lee King Sing, Petitioner.
Thus, failure to include the name sought to be adopted in the title of the petition nor in the
title or caption of the published notices renders the trial court without jurisdiction to hear and
determine the petition.
The reason of requiring this is that the ordinary reader only glances fleetingly at the caption. Only if it strikes him does
he proceed to read its contents. The non-inclusion of all the names in the caption defeats the very purpose of its

Since title of the petition and the order setting it for hearing are defective, the lower court did not acquire
jurisdiction over the proceeding.


Go Chang filed a petition for change of name. The petition stated that petitioner was registered with the
Local Civil Registrar as Go Chang, but was baptized as Jaime Descals Go Chang. It also stated that at
tender age, he was taken under the care of an uncle and that in his studies from gradeschool to college, he
has been enrolled under the name Jayme S. Tan, and that all his friends know him as Jayme.
Petitioner said that he desires to change his name to clear up an error and avoid confusion. He also said
that because of the discrepancy in his name on his school records and alien certificate of registration, the
Board of Medical Examiners refused to issue him a medical number to be considered as a medical student
until he secures a court order allowing him to use the name Jayme.
The trial court granted the petition.
The State appealed, stating that a discrepancy exists in the petition and published order, whereas in the
Order, the name of petitioner was spelled JAIME while the petition spelled it as JAYME.


Whether the trial court could take cognizance of the petition despite the fact that it did not acquire
jurisdiction by reason of a substantial defect in the petition and publication of order for hearing
Whether the lower court should have granted the petition despite the fact that petitioner failed to adduce
any proper and reasonable reason for changing his name


A discrepancy exists in the petition and the published order.

Petitions for change of name being proceedings in rem, strict compliance with the requirement of
publication is essential, for it is by such means that the court acquires jurisdiction.
Since the proceedings is one for change of name, the defect in the petition and the order, as to the
spelling of the name of petitioner, is substantial, because it did not correctly identify the party to said
Not only is it misleading to the courts, but it also prejudiced the interests of the general public.
In the eyes of the law, petitioner had not complied strictly with the legal requirement regarding
publication, thereby rendering the entire proceeding in the lower court null and void.
It cannot be argued that the difference in spelling is minor, that the I was erroneously typewritten as Y
or vice versa. The difference of one letter in a name may mean the distinction of identity of one person
with that of another.


No reasonable circumstance exists or was proven to warrant the change of name.

Except for his testimony, no other evidence was introduced to show that in school and to his friends, he
was using, or he was known by the name of JAYME.
If his purpose is to correct an error or avoid confusion, he should retain the use of his name GO CHANG
appearing in the Civil Registrar and Bureau of Immigration. The real name of a person is that given him in
the Civil Register, not the name by which he was baptized in church or by which he has been known in the
community, or which he has adopted.
There is also no practical purpose to allow his name to be changed in order to give him a medical number
because not being a Filipino, he could not be admitted to take the Medical Board Examinations.
Also, he has continuously been violating the Anti-Alias Law and the granting of the petition would in effect
be sanctioning an illegal act.



Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio filed a petition for the change of his first name and sex in his birth
certificate, from Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio to Mely and his sex from male to female.
He alleged that he is a male transsexual. He consulted several doctors in the US and underwent
psychological examination, hormone treatment and breast augmentation. He then underwent sex
reassignment surgery in Bangkok, Thailand.
From then on, petitioner lived as a female and was in fact engaged to be married!!
The trial court rendered a decision in favor of petitioner, basing its decision on the principles of justice and
The Republic filed for certiorari in the CA, alleging that there is no law allowing change of entries by reason
of sex alteration. The CA rendered a decision in favor of the Republic, ruling that the trial courts decision
lacked legal basis.


Whether a persons first name can be changed on the ground of sex reassignment
Whether a persons sex as stated in the birth certificate can be changed on the ground of sex
Whether entries in the birth certificate as to first name or sex be changed on the ground of equity


A persons first name cannot be changed on the ground of sex reassignment.

A change of name is a privilege, not a right. These petitions are controlled by statutes.
RA 9408 governs the change of first name. These are the grounds for which change of first name may be
(1) Name is ridiculous, tainted with dishonour, extremely difficult to write or pronounce
(2) New name has been habitually and continuously used and petitioner is publicly known by that name
(3) Change will avoid confusion

In this case, the basis for change of name is sex reassignment. However, a change of name does not alter
ones legal capacity or civil status. RA 9048 does not sanction a change of first name on the ground of sex
reassignment. Also, petitioner failed to show any prejudice that he might suffer as a result of using his true
and official name. Furthermore, the petition should have been filed with the local civil registrar. This is an
improper remedy because the proper remedy should be administrative.

No law allows the change of entry in the birth certificate as to sex on the ground of sex
RA 9408 only covers clerical or typographical errors. Under this law, it is provided that no correction must
involve the change of nationality, age, status or sex of the petitioner. Thus, a correction involving the
change of sex is a substantial change for which the applicable procedure is Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.
The entries correctable under Rule 108 are those provided in Articles 407 and 408 of the Civil Code.


ART. 407. Acts, events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons shall be recorded in the civil register.
ART. 408. The following shall be entered in the civil register:
1) Births; (2) marriages; (3) deaths; (4) legal separations; (5) annulments of marriage; (6) judgments declaring
marriages void
from the beginning; (7) legitimations; (8) adoptions; (9) acknowledgments of natural children; (10)
naturalization; (11) loss, or
(12) recovery of citizenship; (13) civil interdiction; (14) judicial determination of filiation; (15)
voluntary emancipation of a
minor; and (16) changes of name.

No reasonable interpretation of these provisions can justify the conclusion that it covers the correction on
the ground of sex reassignment. Neither is this ground recognized nor even mentioned by any law,
expressly or impliedly. No special law in the Philippines governs sex reassignment and its effects.

The sex of a person is determined at birth, visually done by the birth attendant by examining the genitals
of the infant. Considering that there is no law legally recognizing sex reassignment, the determination of a
persons sex made at the time of his or her birth, if not attended by error, is immutable.

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

The entries in the birth certificate as to first name or sex cannot be changed on the ground of

The changes sought by petitioner will have serious and wide-ranging legal and public policy consequences.

It is stated that the change in the entries was the first step towards petitioners eventual marriage to his
male fianc. However, one of the essential requisites of marriage is the legal capacity of the contracting
parties who must be a male and a female. To grant the petition would allow the union of a man with
another man who has undergone sex reassignment.

Also, there are various laws which apply particularly to women such as the provisions of the Labor Code on
employment of women, certain felonies under the RPC, and presumption of survivorship under the Rules of
Court, among others.

It is true that no court shall decline to render judgment by reason of the silence, obscurity, or insufficiency
of the law. However, this is not a license for courts to engage in judicial legislation. It is the legislature,
should it choose to do so, to determine what guidelines should govern the recognition of the effects of sex

In this case, the remedies petitioner seeks involves questions of public policy to be addressed solely by the
legislature, not by the courts.




Jennifer Cagandahan filed a petition for correction of entries in her birth certificate before the RTC, by
changing her name from Jennifer Cagandahan to JEFF CAGANDAHAN, and her gender from female to MALE.

She alleged that she was born and registered as a female in her birth certificate but while growing up, she
developed secondary male characteristics and was diagnosed to have Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
(CAH) which is a condition where persons thus afflicted possess both male and female characteristics.

She was diagnosed to have clitoral hypertrophy in her early years and at age 6, underwent an ultrasound
where it was discovered that she has small ovaries. At 13, her ovarian structures had minimized and she
has no breast or menstrual development.

For all interests and appearances as well as in mind and emotion, she alleged that she has become a male

A medical doctor testified that genetically Cagandahan is female but because her body secretes male
hormones, her female organs did not develop normally and she has two sex organs, male and female. Her
uterus is not fully developed and she has no monthly period, and that this condition is permanent.

The RTC granted the petition.

ISSUE: Whether the trial court is correct in ordering the correction of entries on the ground of her medical
condition known as CAH

The determination of a persons sex appearing in his birth certificate is a legal issue and the court must
look to the statutes. Under RA 9048, a correction in the civil registry involving change of sex is not a mere
clerical or typographical error. It is a substantial change for which the applicable procedure is Rule 108 of
the Rules of Court.

In this case, Cagandahan undisputedly has CAH. A person with this condition produces too much androgen,
a male hormone. As the child grows older, some features start to appear male, such as deepening of the
voice, facial hair, and failure to menstruate at puberty. CAH is one of the many conditions that involve
intersex anatomy. Intersexuality applies to human beings who cannot be classified as either male or

The Court is of the view that where the person is biologically or naturally intersex, the determining factor
in his gender classification would be what the individual, having reached the age of majority, with good
reason thinks of his/ her sex. Here, Cagandahan thinks of himself as 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 is fixed.

In this case Cagandahan simply let nature take its course and has not taken unnatural steps to arrest or
interfere with what he was born with. Nature has taken its due course in his development to reveal more
fully his male characteristics.

Thus the Court affirms as valid and justified Cagandahans position and his personal judgment of being a
male, in the absence of evidence that he is an incompetent and in the absence of evidence to show that
classifying him as a male will harm other members of society who are equally entitled to protection under
the law.

The Court chooses to give respect to the diversity of nature and how an individual deals with what nature
has handed out.

MARCELO LEE, et al. vs. COURT OF APPEALS, et al.


This is a story of two sets of children sired by one and the same man but begotten of 2 different mothers.
One set, the private respondents, are the children of Lee Tek Sheng and his lawful wife, Keh Shiok Cheng.
The other set, the petitioners, are allegedly the children of Lee Tek Sheng and his concubine, Tiu Chuan.

Tiu Chuan was introduced by Lee Tek Sheng to his family as their new housemaid but she also became Lee
Tek Shengs mistress. As a result, she gave birth to petitioners. Everytime this happened, Lee Tek Sheng
falsified the entries in their birth records by making it appear that their mother was Keh Shiok Cheng.

When Keh Shiok Cheng died, Lee Tek Sheng insisted that the names of all his children, including
petitioners, be included in the obituary notice. This piqued the curiosity of private respondents, and they
requested the NBI to conduct an investigation. The NBI reported that the birth records of petitioners were

Private respondents then filed petitions to cancel/ correct the false and erroneous entries in the birth
records of petitioners by deleting/ cancelling therein the name of Keh Shiok Cheng as their mother, and by
substituting the name Tiu Chuan who is allegedly their true birth mother.

The judges ordered the 2 petitions for hearing. Petitioners thus filed with the CA a Petition for Certiorari
and Prohibition with Application for the Issuance of a TRO/ Writ of Preliminary Injunction, which the CA

ISSUES: Whether the suit before the lower courts are collateral attacks against petitioners legitimacy in the guise
of a Rule 108 proceeding

The proceedings are simply aimed at establishing a particular fact, status and/ or right. The petitions are
intended to establish that for physical and biological reasons, it was impossible for Keh Shiok Cheng to
have conceived and given birth to the petitioners as shown in their birth records. The prayer is not to
declare that petitioners are illegitimate children of Keh Shiok Cheng, but to establish that they are not the
latters children.

Even substantial errors in a civil register may be corrected and the true facts established provided the
parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary proceeding.

A proceeding under Rule 108 ceases to be summary in nature and takes on the characteristics of an
appropriate adversary proceeding when all the procedural requirements under Rule 108 are complied with.

When an opposition to the petition is filed either by the Civil Registrar or any person having or claiming
any interest in the entries and the opposition is actively prosecuted, the proceedings thereon become
adversary proceedings.

In the instant case, the petitions filed by private respondents by way of special proceeding for cancellation/
correction of entries in the civil registers with the requisite parties, notices and publications could very well
be regarded as that proper suit or appropriate action.

If the purpose of the petition is merely to correct clerical errors, the court may, under a summary
procedure, issue an order for the correction of a mistake. However, changes which may affect the civil
status from legitimate to illegitimate, as well as sex, are substantial and controversial alterations which
can be allowed after appropriate adversary proceedings.

A special proceeding is not always summary.

Therefore, Rule 108, when all procedural requirements thereunder are followed, is the appropriate
adversary proceeding to effect substantial corrections and changes in the entries of the civil register.

ART. 412, CIVIL CODE: No entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected, without a judicial order.
Art. 412 does not merely contemplate a summary procedure. It does not provide for a specific procedure of law
to be followed except that the corrections or changes must be effected by judicial order.
Art. 412 has been substantially amended by RA 9408. Clerical or typographical errors can now be corrected and
changed without need of judicial order and by the city or municipal civil registrar or consul general. Thus, what is
left for the scope of Rule 108 are substantial changes and corrections. RA 9408 now embodies the summary
procedure while Rule 108 is the appropriate adversary proceeding.