Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 14

G.R. No.

L-32600 February 26, 1988 The thrust of the said Opposition is that the remedies prayed for by the petitioner
cannot be allowed by the mere submission of the said Petition. The pertinent portions
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, of the written arguments in the Opposition are as follows —
vs.
HON. FELICIANO BELMONTE, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Baguio and Benguet ... A petition for change of name is filed under Rule 103 of the Rules
and ANITA PO alias VERONICA PAO, assisted by her mother HELEN POA, respondents. of Court ... and a petition for correction or cancellation of entries in
the Civil Register is filed under Rule 108 of the same Rules... . Rule
GANCAYCO, J.: 103 and Rule 108 are distinct and separate from each other and
each provides for different requirements that must be satisfied in
Can a petition for a change of name and the correction of certain entries in the civil order that a person may avail of any one of them. The present
registry be joined in the same proceeding? This is the issue posed in this petition for petition apparently satisfies the requirements of Rule 103 on
review of a decision of the Court of First Instance of Baguio and Benguet.1 change of name but fails insofar as the request for correction of
certain entries is concerned because the civil registrar concerned
and the other parties affected by the corrections sought to be made
The record of the case discloses that on August 28, 1968, the herein private
have not been included in the petition as required by section 3 of
respondent Anita Po alias Veronica Pao, a resident of Baguio City, filed with the then
Rule 108. And from the nature of the change sought to be made by
Court of First Instance of Baguio and Benguet a Petition for the change other name
the herein petitioner in her surname, it seems that orderly and
from Anita Po to Veronica Pao.2 For this purpose, she also sought court permission to
proper procedure requires that a correction be first made of the
have her birth records corrected in that her father's name appearing as PO YU be
alleged errors in the names of the petitioner's parents to justify her
corrected to PAO YU and her mother's name recorded as PAKIAT CHAN be changed to
petition for change of name. Thus, petitioner alleges that her
HELEN CHAN. At the time the litigation was commenced, the petitioner was a 16-year
father's name is correctly Pao Yu but the same is recorded in her
old minor. Thus, she was assisted in the case by her mother. The suit was docketed as
birth certificate as Po Yu However, in the said birth certificate,
Special Proceeding Case No. 642.
petitioner's name appears as Anita Po following the name of her
father as registered in the same birth certificate, which is Po Yu. It
The petitioner alleged before the trial court that the maiden name of her mother is
therefore appears that until the name of the father is shown to have
Helen Chan and that the given name Pakiat written on her birth certificate is actually
been registered erroneously, there is no justification for allowing
the given name of her maternal grandmother. The petitioner also asserted that the
the petitioner to use the surname Poa The importance and necessity
name of her father is Pao Yu and not Po Yu as erroneously written in her birth
of first determining the propriety of the corrections sought to be
certificate and as such her real surname is Pao. She assigns these alleged errors to the
made by the herein petitioner before allowing her to change her
common misunderstanding of Chinese names. The petitioner also averred that she
name is magnified when it is noted that the corrections sought
had been baptized by a Catholic priest and that she was christened as Veronica Pao,
involve the very identity of the parents of the herein petitioner,
the first being her Christian given name and the latter being the correct spelling of her
without a clear-cut clarification of which, the court may unwittingly
surname; that since her childhood up to the present, she had always been known and
allow itself to become an instrument in the substitution in a public
referred to as Veronica Pao and not Anita Po.
record of the Identities of certain persons.

On the basis of these allegations, the petitioner asked the trial court to allow her
In view of these circumstances, it appears that considered as a
change of name and to order the correction of her records in the Local Civil Registrar's
petition for change of name, the present petition does not state a
Office at La Trinidad, Benguet to conform to the name Veronica Pao. She also asked
cause of action considering that on the basis of the data appearing
the trial court to order the correction of her father's name recorded in her birth
in the birth certificate, petitioner's father is Po Yu and not Pao Yu
certificate from Po Yu to Pao Yu, as well as her mother's name appearing as Pakiat
And the present petition can not be considered (sufficient) in form
Chan changed to Helen Chan.
and substance as a petition for correction because it does not satisfy
the requirements set forth by section 3 (Rule 108) of the Rules of
At the hearing scheduled by the trial court on March 4,1969, the Office of the Solicitor
General presented its Opposition to the Petition and sought the dismissal of the same.
Court and there is no allegation of how the alleged error was however, deny that the name of her father appearing in her birth certificate is Po Yu
committed. and not Pao Yu. She assigns the discrepancy to mere clerical error.

xxx xxx xxx 3 An examination of her allegations reveal that her claim to the supposed correct name
of Veronica Pao is predicated on the assumption that the correct name other father is
In a Decision dated July 24,1969, the trial court, with respondent Judge Feliciano Pao Yu and not Po Yu as recited in her own birth certificate. The assumption is
Belmonte presiding therein, ruled in favor of the petitioner. 4 The petitioner was baseless, absent any proof that the name other father in her birth certificate was
allowed to change her name from Anita Po to Veronica Pao. The court also allowed entered erroneously. As correctly observed by the Office of the Solicitor General, until
the correction of the names of her parents as prayed for in the Petition in the registry the name of her father is shown to have been registered in her birth certificate
of birth. The Local Civil Registrar of La Trinidad Benguet was ordered to implement the erroneously, there is no justification for allowing the petitioner to use the surname
corresponding corrections. Pao. The corrections sought by the petitioner involve the very Identity of her parents.
Surely, the propriety of such corrections should first be determined in a different
On behalf of the Republic of the Philippines, the Office of the Solicitor General proceeding more adversary in character than the summary case instituted by the
elevated the case to this Court by way of the instant Petition. 5 The Solicitor General petitioner with the trial court. Aside from the change of her name, the petitioner seeks
raises the following issues — a correction of entries in the civil registry for the benefit of her parents. This she may
not do through a summary proceeding. The summary procedure for correction of the
civil register under Rule 108 is confined to innocuous or clerical errors and not to a
(1) Whether or not the private respondent Anita Po alias Veronica
material change in the spelling of a surname as prayed for by the petitioner. 7 A clerical
Pao has presented a proper and reasonable cause for the change of
error must be apparent on the face of the record and should be capable of being
her name; and
corrected by reference to the record alone. 8 The petitioner seeks more than just the
correction of a clerical error.
(2) Whether or not the names Po Yu and Pakiat Chan appearing in
the birth certificate of Anita Po can be changed in the same
Moreover, under Section 3 of Rule 108, when cancellation or correction of an entry in
proceeding for the change of name of Anita Po.
the civil register is sought, the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any
interest which would be affected thereby should be made parties to the proceeding.
The parties having submitted their respective briefs, the case is now submitted for
An inspection of all the pleadings filed by the petitioner with the trial court shows that
decision.
the local civil registrar concerned was never made a party to the proceeding. Said civil
registrar being an indispensable party, a final determination of the case cannot be
We have gone through the entire record of the case and We find merit in the instant made.9
Petition.
The procedure recited in Rule 103 regarding change of name and in Rule 108
The allegations of the private respondent are not disputed by the petitioner. The concerning the cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry are separate
respondent Judge rendered judgment in accordance with these undisputed facts. A and distinct. They may not be substituted one for the other for the sole purpose of
conclusion of a court drawn from undisputed facts raises a question of law. 6 The expediency To hold otherwise would render nugatory the provisions of the Rules of
issues raised in the instant Petition are directed against the conclusions arrived at by Court allowing the change of one's name or the correction of entries in the civil
the respondent Judge and drawn from undisputed facts. Taking into account these registry only upon meritorious grounds. If both reliefs are to be sought in the same
observations and considering that the resolution of the issues raised herein would not proceedings all the requirements of Rules 103 and 108 must be complied with.
require this Court to re-examine the evidence presented before the trial court, We
hold that the two issues raised in this Petition are questions of law. Inasmuch as the
Accordingly, We hold that the Petition filed with the trial court is not sufficient in form
two issues are related to each other, they will be resolved together.
and substance and should have been dismissed by the trial court for lack of merit.

In fine, the petitioner maintains that her correct name is Veronica Pao inasmuch as
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Decision of the Court of First Instance of
Veronica is her Christian name and Pao is the surname of her father. She does not,
Baguio and Benguet in Special Proceeding Case No. 642 dated July 24,1969 is hereby
SET ASIDE and declared to be without force or effect. The entries in the local civil
registry of La Trinidad, Benguet pertaining to the petitioner Anita Po and her parents
Po Yu and Pakiat Chan stand as they were before such Decision. Let a copy of this
Decision be furnished the Local Civil Registrar of La Trinidad, Benguet for his
information and implementation. We make no pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 138496 February 23, 2004


HUBERT TAN CO and ARLENE TAN CO, petitioners, taken his oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines on 15th
vs. February, 1977 in the City of Manila;
THE CIVIL REGISTER OF MANILA and any person having or claiming an interest under
the entry whose cancellation or correction is sought, respondent. (5) At the time of birth of [the] petitioners, their father CO BOON PENG was
still a Chinese citizen that is why entry in their respective birth certificates as
DECISION to their father’s citizenship was Chinese;

CALLEJO, SR., J.: (6) Upon granting of Philippine citizenship by naturalization to Co Boon Peng
in 1977, [the] petitioners who were born in the Philippines and still minors at
Before the Court is the petition for review on certiorari filed by Hubert Tan Co and that time became Filipino citizens through the derivative mode of
Arlene Tan Co seeking to reverse and set aside the Order1 dated September 23, 1998 naturalization. Our Naturalization Law, specifically Section 15 of
of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 26, dismissing their petition for correction Commonwealth Act No. 473, as amended by Commonwealth Act No. 535
of entries in the Civil Register. Likewise sought to be reversed and set aside is the Order which provides:
dated April 27, 1999 of the court a quo denying the petitioners’ motion for
reconsideration of the said order. "Minor children of persons naturalized under this law who have been born in
the Philippines shall be considered citizens thereof;"
The factual antecedents are as follows:
(7) The naturalization of petitioners’ father in 1977 was an act or event
Hubert Tan Co was born on March 23, 1974. His sister, Arlene Tan Co, was born on affecting and concerning their civil status that must be recorded in the Civil
May 19, 1975. In their respective certificates of birth, it is stated that their parents Co Register, Article 407 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines which provides:
Boon Peng and Lourdes Vihong K. Tan are Chinese citizens.
"Acts, events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons shall be
Thereafter, Co Boon Peng filed an application for his naturalization as a citizen of the recorded in the Civil Register."2
Philippines with the Special Committee on Naturalization under Letter of Instruction
(LOI) No. 270. His application was granted and he was conferred Philippine citizenship The petitioners prayed that, after due proceedings, the trial court render judgment
under Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1055. The Chairman of the Committee issued on correcting and changing the entries in their respective birth certificates as to the
February 15, 1977 Certificate of Naturalization No. 020778 in his favor. Thus, on citizenship of their father Co Boon Peng, from "Chinese" to "Filipino." 3
February 15, 1977, Co Boon Peng took his oath as a Philippine citizen. In the meantime,
Hubert and Arlene Co finished college and earned their respective degrees in On September 23, 1998, the court a quo issued an order dismissing the petition
architecture and accountancy in Philippine schools. outright on the ground that the petition was insufficient, solely because the
petitioners’ father Co Boon Peng applied for naturalization under LOI No. 270 and was
On August 27, 1998, they filed with the Regional Trial Court of Manila a petition under conferred Philippine citizenship by naturalization under PD No. 1055 and not under
Rule 108 of the Rules of Court for correction of entries in their certificates of birth. The Commonwealth Act (CA) No. 473. 4
case was docketed as Sp. Proc. Case No. 98-90470. They alleged, inter alia, in their
petition that: The petitioners sought the reconsideration of the assailed order arguing that LOI No.
270 and CA No. 473 were designed to grant citizenship to deserving aliens; hence,
(3) They were born in the Philippines and the legitimate children of CO BOON should be construed together. They averred that the benefit of Section 15 of CA No.
PENG; 473 should also be granted to the petitioners whose father was granted naturalization
under LOI No. 270. However, the RTC issued an Order on April 27, 1999, denying their
(4) Co Boon Peng, who is formerly a citizen of China, was conferred Philippine motion for reconsideration for the following reasons: (a) although Commonwealth Act
citizenship by naturalization under Presidential Decree No. 1055 and had No. 473 and Letter of Instructions No. 270 are statutes relating to the same subject
matter, they do not provide the same beneficial effects with respect to the minor
children of the applicant. Section 15 of CA No. 473 expressly provides for the effect of
the naturalization on the wife and children of the applicant while LOI No. 270 does not father during their minority is an act or event affecting their civil status that must be
have any proviso to that effect; (b) LOI No. 270 clearly refers to qualified individuals recorded in the Civil Register pursuant to Article 407 of the Civil Code.
only. The rules and regulations promulgated by the Committee established pursuant
to LOI No. 270 and the amendments issued by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos In his Comment, the Solicitor General contends that the court a quo did not err in
(LOI Nos. 292 and 491) clearly speak of qualified individuals only; no proviso therein issuing the assailed orders. Contrary to the petitioners’ theory, LOI No. 270 and CA No.
referred to its effect on the wife and children of the individual; (c) Section 15 of CA 473 are separate and distinct laws; therefore, are not in pari materia. He points out
No. 473 should not be deemed and incorporated in and applied to LOI No. 270; and, that although LOI No. 270 and CA No. 473 both govern the naturalization of aliens, CA
(d) the application of the so-called "pari materia" rule of construction made by the No. 473 deals with the requirements and procedure for naturalization by judicial
petitioners is misplaced, as what should be applied in the instant case is the rule on decree; LOI No. 270, on the other hand, deals with the requirements and procedure
strict construction of legislative grants or franchise. The court a quo stressed that for naturalization by presidential decree.
legislative grants, whether they be of property, rights or privileges, whether granted
to corporations or individuals, must be strictly construed against the grantee and in The Solicitor General further asserts that the petitioners’ contention that the
favor of the grantor. naturalization of their father is an event affecting and concerning their civil status
envisaged in Article 407 of the Civil Code has no legal basis. The correction sought and
Aggrieved, the petitioners now come to this Court assailing the court a quo’s Order allowed under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court must be one that reflects a fact existing
dismissing their petition outright and its Order denying their motion for the before or at the time of birth. In the petitioners’ case, the naturalization of their father
reconsideration of the same. in 1977 took place long after they were born. Moreover, according to the Solicitor
General, under LOI No. 270 and its amendatory laws, the naturalization of a father did
The petitioners contend that the trial court erred in holding that their petition was not ipso facto render his children also naturalized. The petitioners thus cannot invoke
insufficient. They assert that contrary to the ruling of the trial court, they are qualified Article 407 of the Civil Code and Rule 108 of the Rules of Court to avoid strict
to claim the benefit of Section 15 of CA No. 473, which provides that minor children compliance with the naturalization laws.
of persons naturalized thereunder who were born in the Philippines shall likewise be
considered citizens thereof. They contend that although LOI No. 270, under which the The petition is meritorious.
petitioners’ father was naturalized does not contain a provision similar to Section 15
of CA No. 473, the latter provision should be deemed incorporated therein. They point The rule on statutory construction provides that:
out that both laws have the same purpose and objective, i.e., to grant Philippine
citizenship to qualified aliens permanently residing in the Philippines. The petitioners
Statutes in pari materia should be read and construed together because enactments
invoke the rule that statutes in pari materia are to be read together.5 They posit that
of the same legislature on the same subject are supposed to form part of one uniform
CA No. 473 and LOI No. 270 should be harmonized and reconciled since "all statutes
system; later statutes are supplementary or complimentary (sic) to the earlier
relating to the same subject, or having the same general purpose, should be read in
enactments and in the passage of its acts the legislature is supposed to have in mind
connection with it, and should be construed together as they constitute one law." 6
the existing legislations on the subject and to have enacted its new act with reference
thereto.7
The petitioners maintain that the letter and spirit of LOI No. 270 was to grant the
privilege of Philippine citizenship not only to qualified aliens but also to their minor
Statutes in pari materia should be construed together to attain the purpose of an
children who were born in the country. They assert that this is apparent from
expressed national policy, thus:
paragraph 4-A thereof, which extends the option to adopt Filipino names not only to
qualified applicants for naturalization but also to their wives and minor children. They
On the presumption that whenever the legislature enacts a provision it has in mind
submit that when then President Ferdinand E. Marcos enacted LOI No. 270, he must
the previous statutes relating to the same subject matter, it is held that in the absence
be presumed to have been acquainted with the provisions of CA No. 473 and did not
of any express repeal or amendment therein, the new provision was enacted in accord
intend to abrogate and discontinue the beneficial effects of Section 15 thereof;
with the legislative policy embodied in those prior statutes, and they all should be
otherwise, Pres. Marcos would have expressly repealed Section 15 of CA No. 473 in
construed together. Provisions in an act which are omitted in another act relating to
relation to LOI No. 270. Thus, according to the petitioners, the naturalization of their
the same subject matter will be applied in a proceeding under the other act, when not
inconsistent with its purpose. Prior statutes relating to the same subject matter are to
be compared with the new provisions; and if possible by reasonable construction, both Art. 407. Acts, events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons shall
are to be construed that effect is given to every provision of each. Statutes in pari be recorded in the civil register.
materia, although in apparent conflict, are so far as reasonably possible construed to
be in harmony with each other.8 Art. 408. The following shall be entered in the civil register:

LOI No. 270 and CA No. 473 are laws governing the naturalization of qualified aliens (1) Births; (2) Marriages; (3) deaths; (4) legal separations; (5) annulments of marriage;
residing in the Philippines. While they provide for different procedures, CA No. 473 (6) judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning; (7) legitimations; (8)
governs naturalization by judicial decree while LOI No. 270 governs naturalization by adoptions; (9) acknowledgments of natural children; (10) naturalization; (11) loss, or
presidential decree; both statutes have the same purpose and objective: to enable (12) recovery of citizenship; (13) civil interdiction; (14) judicial determination of
aliens permanently residing in the Philippines, who, having demonstrated and filiation; (15) voluntary emancipation of a minor; and (16) changes of name.
developed love for and loyalty to the Philippines, as well as affinity to the culture,
tradition and ideals of the Filipino people, and contributed to the economic, social and Specific matters covered by the said provision include not only status but also
cultural development of our country, to be integrated into the national fabric by being nationality.11 The acts, events or factual errors envisaged in Article 407 of the New
granted Filipino citizenship. Under the LOI, the procedure for the acquisition of Civil Code include even those that occur after the birth of the petitioner. However, in
citizenship by naturalization is more expeditious, less cumbersome and less expensive. such cases, the entries in the certificates of birth will not be corrected or changed. The
The sooner qualified aliens are naturalized, the faster they are able to integrate decision of the court granting the petition shall be annotated in the certificates of birth
themselves into the national fabric, and are thus able to contribute to the cultural, and shall form part of the civil register in the Office of the Local Civil Registrar.12
social and political well- being of the country and its people.
To correct simply means "to make or set aright; to remove the faults or error from."
Clearly, LOI No. 270 and CA No. 473 are, as the petitioners correctly posit, statutes in To change means "to replace something with something else of the same kind or with
pari materia. Absent any express repeal of Section 15 of CA No. 473 in LOI No. 270, something that serves as a substitute. Article 412 of the New Civil Code does not
the said provision should be read into the latter law as an integral part thereof, not qualify as to the kind of entry to be changed or corrected or distinguished on the basis
being inconsistent with its purpose. Thus, Section 15 of CA No. 473,9 which extends of the effect that the correction or change may be.13 Such entries include not only
the grant of Philippine citizenship to the minor children of those naturalized those clerical in nature but also substantial errors. After all, the role of the Court under
thereunder, should be similarly applied to the minor children of those naturalized Rule 108 of the Rules of Court is to ascertain the truths about the facts recorded
under LOI No. 270, like the petitioners in this case. therein.14

It is not enough that the petitioners adduce in evidence the certificate of The proceedings in Rule 108 of the Rules of Court are summary if the entries in the
naturalization of their father, Co Boon Peng, and of his oath of allegiance to the civil register sought to be corrected are clerical or innocuous in nature. However,
Republic of the Philippines, to entitle them to Philippine citizenship. They are likewise where such entries sought to be corrected or changed are substantial: i.e., the status
mandated to prove the following material allegations in their petition: (a) that they and nationality of the petitioners or the citizenship of their parents,15 the proceedings
are the legitimate children of Co Boon Peng; (b) that they were born in the Philippines; are adversarial in nature as defined by this Court in Republic v. Valencia, thus:
and, (c) that they were still minors when Co Boon Peng was naturalized as a Filipino
citizen;
One having opposing parties; contested, as distinguished from an ex parte application,
one of which the party seeking relief has given legal warning to the other party, and
The petitioners’ recourse to Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, as amended, is afforded the latter an opportunity to contest it. Excludes an adoption proceeding. 16
appropriate. Under Article 412 of the New Civil Code, no entry in a civil register shall
be changed or corrected without a judicial order. The law does not provide for a
In such a proceeding, the parties to be impleaded as respective defendants are (a) the
specific procedure of law to be followed. But the Court approved Rule 108 of the Rules
local civil registrar; and, (b) all persons who have claims any interest which would be
of Court to provide for a procedure to implement the law.10 The entries envisaged in
affected thereby.17
Article 412 of the New Civil Code are those provided in Articles 407 and 408 of the
New Civil Code which reads:
In this case, the petitioners alleged in their petition that they are the legitimate
children of Co Boon Peng, who was naturalized as a Filipino citizen, but that their
certificates of birth still indicate that he is a Chinese national. In view of their father’s
naturalization, they pray that the entries in their certificates of birth relating to the
citizenship of their father be changed from "Chinese" to "Filipino."

The petitioners’ recourse to the procedure in Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, as
amended, being appropriate, it behooved the trial court to do its duty under Section
4, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, namely:

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 person 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.

After hearing, the court shall issue an order either dismissing the petition or issue an
order granting the same. In either case, a certified copy of the judgment shall be
served upon the civil registrar concerned who shall annotate the same in the
certificates of birth of the petitioners. The judgment of the court shall form part of the
records of the local civil register.18

In this case, the trial court dismissed the petition outright in violation of Rule 108 of
the Rules of Court. Patently, then, the trial court erred in so doing.

IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Orders of the
Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 26, are SET ASIDE and REVERSED. The trial court
is DIRECTED to reinstate the petition in Special Proceedings NO. 98-90470 in the court
docket, and ORDERED to continue with the proceedings in the said case under Rule
108 of the Rules of Court, as amended.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 181174 December 4, 2009
Remarks : Legitimated by virtue of subsequent marriage
of parents on April 22, 1998 at Manila.
MA. CRISTINA TORRES BRAZA, PAOLO JOSEF T. BRAZA and JANELLE ANN T. BRAZA, Henceforth, the child shall be known as
Petitioners, Patrick Alvin Titular Braza (Emphasis and
vs. underscoring supplied)
THE CITY CIVIL REGISTRAR OF HIMAMAYLAN CITY, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, minor
PATRICK ALVIN TITULAR BRAZA, represented by LEON TITULAR, CECILIA TITULAR and
LUCILLE C. TITULAR, Respondents. Ma. Cristina likewise obtained a copy7 of a marriage contract showing that Pablo and
Lucille were married on April 22, 1998, drawing her and her co-petitioners to file on
DECISION December 23, 2005 before the Regional Trial Court of Himamaylan City, Negros
Occidental a petition8 to correct the entries in the birth record of Patrick in the Local
CARPIO MORALES, J.: Civil Register.

Petitioner Ma. Cristina Torres (Ma. Cristina) and Pablo Sicad Braza, Jr. (Pablo), also Contending that Patrick could not have been legitimated by the supposed marriage
known as "Pablito Sicad Braza," were married1 on January 4, 1978. The union bore Ma. between Lucille and Pablo, said marriage being bigamous on account of the valid and
Cristina’s co-petitioners Paolo Josef2 and Janelle Ann3 on May 8, 1978 and June 7, subsisting marriage between Ma. Cristina and Pablo, petitioners prayed for (1) the
1983, respectively, and Gian Carlo4 on June 4, 1980. correction of the entries in Patrick's birth record with respect to his legitimation, the
name of the father and his acknowledgment, and the use of the last name "Braza"; 2)
a directive to Leon, Cecilia and Lucille, all surnamed Titular, as guardians of the minor
Pablo died5 on April 15, 2002 in a vehicular accident in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia.
Patrick, to submit Parick to DNA testing to determine his paternity and filiation; and 3)
the declaration of nullity of the legitimation of Patrick as stated in his birth certificate
During the wake following the repatriation of his remains to the Philippines,
and, for this purpose, the declaration of the marriage of Lucille and Pablo as bigamous.
respondent Lucille Titular (Lucille) began introducing her co-respondent minor Patrick
Alvin Titular Braza (Patrick) as her and Pablo's son. Ma. Cristina thereupon made
On Patrick’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction, the trial court, by Order9 of
inquiries in the course of which she obtained Patrick's birth certificate 6 from the Local
September 6, 2007, dismissed the petition without prejudice, it holding that in a
Civil Registrar of Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental with the following entries:
special proceeding for correction of entry, the court, which is not acting as a family
court under the Family Code, has no jurisdiction over an action to annul the marriage
Name of Child : PATRICK ALVIN CELESTIAL TITULAR of Lucille and Pablo, impugn the legitimacy of Patrick, and order Patrick to be
subjected to a DNA test, hence, the controversy should be ventilated in an ordinary
Date of Birth : 01 January 1996 adversarial action.

Mother : Lucille Celestial Titular Petitioners’ motion for reconsideration having been denied by Order 10 of November
29, 2007, they filed the present petition for review.
Father : Pablito S. Braza
Petitioners maintain that the court a quo may pass upon the validity of marriage and
Date Received at the January 13, 1997 questions on legitimacy even in an action to correct entries in the civil registrar. Citing
Local Civil Registrar : Cariño v. Cariño,11 Lee v. Court of Appeals12 and Republic v. Kho,13 they contend that
even substantial errors, such as those sought to be corrected in the present case, can
Annotation : "Late Registration"
be the subject of a petition under Rule 108.14
Annotation/Remarks : "Acknowledge (sic) by the father Pablito Braza
on January 13, 1997" The petition fails. In a special proceeding for correction of entry under Rule 108
(Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Original Registry), the trial court has no
jurisdiction to nullify marriages and rule on legitimacy and filiation.
Rule 108 of the Rules of Court vis a vis Article 412 of the Civil Code15 charts the they are not the latter’s children, hence, there was nothing to impugn as there was no
procedure by which an entry in the civil registry may be cancelled or corrected. The blood relation at all between
proceeding contemplated therein may generally be used only to correct clerical,
spelling, typographical and other innocuous errors in the civil registry. A clerical error the petitioners and Keh Shiok Cheng. That is why the Court ordered the cancellation
is one which is visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding; an error made by of the name of Keh Shiok Cheng as the petitioners’ mother and the substitution
a clerk or a transcriber; a mistake in copying or writing, or a harmless change such as thereof with "Tiu Chuan" who is their biological mother. Thus, the collateral attack was
a correction of name that is clearly misspelled or of a misstatement of the occupation allowed and the petition deemed as adversarial proceeding contemplated under Rule
of the parent. Substantial or contentious alterations may be allowed only in 108.
adversarial proceedings, in which all interested parties are impleaded and due process
is properly observed.16 In Republic v. Kho, it was the petitioners themselves who sought the correction of the
entries in their respective birth records to reflect that they were illegitimate and that
The allegations of the petition filed before the trial court clearly show that petitioners their citizenship is "Filipino," not Chinese, because their parents were never legally
seek to nullify the marriage between Pablo and Lucille on the ground that it is married. Again, considering that the changes sought to be made were substantial and
bigamous and impugn Patrick’s filiation in connection with which they ask the court not merely innocuous, the Court, finding the proceedings under Rule 108 to be
to order Patrick to be subjected to a DNA test. adversarial in nature, upheld the lower court’s grant of the petition.

Petitioners insist, however, that the main cause of action is for the correction of It is thus clear that the facts in the above-cited cases are vastly different from those
Patrick’s birth records17 and that the rest of the prayers are merely incidental thereto. obtaining in the present case.

Petitioners’ position does not lie. Their cause of action is actually to seek the WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.
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. SO ORDERED.
No. 02-11-10-SC which took effect on March 15, 2003, and Art. 171 18 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
G.R. No. 186571 August 11, 2010 In its October 30, 2008 decision,7 the RTC denied Gerbert’s petition. The RTC
concluded that Gerbert was not the proper party to institute the action for judicial
GERBERT R. CORPUZ, Petitioner, recognition of the foreign divorce decree as he is a naturalized Canadian citizen. It
vs. ruled that only the Filipino spouse can avail of the remedy, under the second
DAISYLYN TIROL STO. TOMAS and The SOLICITOR GENERAL, Respondents. paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code,8 in order for him or her to be able to
remarry under Philippine law.9 Article 26 of the Family Code reads:
DECISION
Art. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines, in accordance with the laws
BRION, J.: in force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also
be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4), (5) and (6),
36, 37 and 38.
Before the Court is a direct appeal from the decision1 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
of Laoag City, Branch 11, elevated via a petition for review on certiorari 2 under Rule
45 of the Rules of Court (present petition). Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and
a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or
her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall likewise have capacity to remarry under
Petitioner Gerbert R. Corpuz was a former Filipino citizen who acquired Canadian
Philippine law.
citizenship through naturalization on November 29, 2000.3 On January 18, 2005,
Gerbert married respondent Daisylyn T. Sto. Tomas, a Filipina, in Pasig City. 4 Due to
work and other professional commitments, Gerbert left for Canada soon after the This conclusion, the RTC stated, is consistent with the legislative intent behind the
wedding. He returned to the Philippines sometime in April 2005 to surprise Daisylyn, enactment of the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, as determined
but was shocked to discover that his wife was having an affair with another man. Hurt by the Court in Republic v. Orbecido III;10 the provision was enacted to "avoid the
and disappointed, Gerbert returned to Canada and filed a petition for divorce. The absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who,
Superior Court of Justice, Windsor, Ontario, Canada granted Gerbert’s petition for after obtaining a divorce, is no longer married to the Filipino spouse."11
divorce on December 8, 2005. The divorce decree took effect a month later, on
January 8, 2006.5 THE PETITION

Two years after the divorce, Gerbert has moved on and has found another Filipina to From the RTC’s ruling,12 Gerbert filed the present petition.13
love. Desirous of marrying his new Filipina fiancée in the Philippines, Gerbert went to
the Pasig City Civil Registry Office and registered the Canadian divorce decree on his Gerbert asserts that his petition before the RTC is essentially for declaratory relief,
and Daisylyn’s marriage certificate. Despite the registration of the divorce decree, an similar to that filed in Orbecido; he, thus, similarly asks for a determination of his rights
official of the National Statistics Office (NSO) informed Gerbert that the marriage under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. Taking into account the
between him and Daisylyn still subsists under Philippine law; to be enforceable, the rationale behind the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, he contends
foreign divorce decree must first be judicially recognized by a competent Philippine that the provision applies as well to the benefit of the alien spouse. He claims that the
court, pursuant to NSO Circular No. 4, series of 1982.6 RTC ruling unduly stretched the doctrine in Orbecido by limiting the standing to file
the petition only to the Filipino spouse – an interpretation he claims to be contrary to
Accordingly, Gerbert filed a petition for judicial recognition of foreign divorce and/or the essence of the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. He considers
declaration of marriage as dissolved (petition) with the RTC. Although summoned, himself as a proper party, vested with sufficient legal interest, to institute the case, as
Daisylyn did not file any responsive pleading but submitted instead a notarized there is a possibility that he might be prosecuted for bigamy if he marries his Filipina
letter/manifestation to the trial court. She offered no opposition to Gerbert’s petition fiancée in the Philippines since two marriage certificates, involving him, would be on
and, in fact, alleged her desire to file a similar case herself but was prevented by file with the Civil Registry Office. The Office of the Solicitor General and Daisylyn, in
financial and personal circumstances. She, thus, requested that she be considered as their respective Comments,14 both support Gerbert’s position.
a party-in-interest with a similar prayer to Gerbert’s.
Essentially, the petition raises the issue of whether the second paragraph of Article 26 To maintain x x x that, under our laws, [the Filipino spouse] has to be considered still
of the Family Code extends to aliens the right to petition a court of this jurisdiction for married to [the alien spouse] and still subject to a wife's obligations x x x cannot be
the recognition of a foreign divorce decree. just. [The Filipino spouse] should not be obliged to live together with, observe respect
and fidelity, and render support to [the alien spouse]. The latter should not continue
THE COURT’S RULING to be one of her heirs with possible rights to conjugal property. She should not be
discriminated against in her own country if the ends of justice are to be served.22
The alien spouse can claim no right under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the
Family Code as the substantive right it establishes is in favor of the Filipino spouse As the RTC correctly stated, the provision was included in the law "to avoid the absurd
situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who, after
The resolution of the issue requires a review of the legislative history and intent obtaining a divorce, is no longer married to the Filipino spouse."23 The legislative intent
behind the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. is for the benefit of the Filipino spouse, by clarifying his or her marital status, settling
the doubts created by the divorce decree. Essentially, the second paragraph of Article
26 of the Family Code provided the Filipino spouse a substantive right to have his or
The Family Code recognizes only two types of defective marriages – void15 and
her marriage to the alien spouse considered as dissolved, capacitating him or her to
voidable16 marriages. In both cases, the basis for the judicial declaration of absolute
remarry.24 Without the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, the judicial
nullity or annulment of the marriage exists before or at the time of the marriage.
recognition of the foreign decree of divorce, whether in a proceeding instituted
Divorce, on the other hand, contemplates the dissolution of the lawful union for cause
precisely for that purpose or as a related issue in another proceeding, would be of no
arising after the marriage.17 Our family laws do not recognize absolute divorce
significance to the Filipino spouse since our laws do not recognize divorce as a mode
between Filipino citizens.18
of severing the marital bond;25 Article 17 of the Civil Code provides that the policy
against absolute divorces cannot be subverted by judgments promulgated in a foreign
Recognizing the reality that divorce is a possibility in marriages between a Filipino and
country. The inclusion of the second paragraph in Article 26 of the Family Code
an alien, President Corazon C. Aquino, in the exercise of her legislative powers under
provides the direct exception to this rule and serves as basis for recognizing the
the Freedom Constitution,19 enacted Executive Order No. (EO) 227, amending Article
dissolution of the marriage between the Filipino spouse and his or her alien spouse.
26 of the Family Code to its present wording, as follows:
Additionally, an action based on the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code
Art. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines, in accordance with the laws
is not limited to the recognition of the foreign divorce decree. If the court finds that
in force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also
the decree capacitated the alien spouse to remarry, the courts can declare that the
be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4), (5) and (6), Filipino spouse is likewise capacitated to contract another marriage. No court in this
36, 37 and 38.
jurisdiction, however, can make a similar declaration for the alien spouse (other than
that already established by the decree), whose status and legal capacity are generally
Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and governed by his national law.26
a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or
her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall likewise have capacity to remarry under
Given the rationale and intent behind the enactment, and the purpose of the second
Philippine law.
paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, the RTC was correct in limiting the
applicability of the provision for the benefit of the Filipino spouse. In other words, only
Through the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, EO 227 effectively the Filipino spouse can invoke the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code;
incorporated into the law this Court’s holding in Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr. 20 and Pilapil the alien spouse can claim no right under this provision.
v. Ibay-Somera.21 In both cases, the Court refused to acknowledge the alien spouse’s
assertion of marital rights after a foreign court’s divorce decree between the alien and
The foreign divorce decree is presumptive evidence of a right that clothes the party
the Filipino. The Court, thus, recognized that the foreign divorce had already severed
with legal interest to petition for its recognition in this jurisdiction
the marital bond between the spouses. The Court reasoned in Van Dorn v. Romillo
that:
We qualify our above conclusion – i.e., that the second paragraph of Article 26 of the
Family Code bestows no rights in favor of aliens – with the complementary statement
that this conclusion is not sufficient basis to dismiss Gerbert’s petition before the RTC. Section requires proof, either by (1) official publications or (2) copies attested by the
In other words, the unavailability of the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family officer having legal custody of the documents. If the copies of official records are not
Code to aliens does not necessarily strip Gerbert of legal interest to petition the RTC kept in the Philippines, these must be (a) accompanied by a certificate issued by the
for the recognition of his foreign divorce decree. The foreign divorce decree itself, proper diplomatic or consular officer in the Philippine foreign service stationed in the
after its authenticity and conformity with the alien’s national law have been duly foreign country in which the record is kept and (b) authenticated by the seal of his
proven according to our rules of evidence, serves as a presumptive evidence of right office.
in favor of Gerbert, pursuant to Section 48, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court which
provides for the effect of foreign judgments. This Section states: The records show that Gerbert attached to his petition a copy of the divorce decree,
as well as the required certificates proving its authenticity, 30 but failed to include a
SEC. 48. Effect of foreign judgments or final orders.—The effect of a judgment or final copy of the Canadian law on divorce.31 Under this situation, we can, at this point,
order of a tribunal of a foreign country, having jurisdiction to render the judgment or simply dismiss the petition for insufficiency of supporting evidence, unless we deem it
final order is as follows: more appropriate to remand the case to the RTC to determine whether the divorce
decree is consistent with the Canadian divorce law.
(a) In case of a judgment or final order upon a specific thing, the judgment or
final order is conclusive upon the title of the thing; and We deem it more appropriate to take this latter course of action, given the Article 26
interests that will be served and the Filipina wife’s (Daisylyn’s) obvious conformity with
(b) In case of a judgment or final order against a person, the judgment or final the petition. A remand, at the same time, will allow other interested parties to oppose
order is presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their the foreign judgment and overcome a petitioner’s presumptive evidence of a right by
successors in interest by a subsequent title. proving want of jurisdiction, want of notice to a party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake
of law or fact. Needless to state, every precaution must be taken to ensure conformity
In either case, the judgment or final order may be repelled by evidence of a want of with our laws before a recognition is made, as the foreign judgment, once recognized,
jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or shall have the effect of res judicata32 between the parties, as provided in Section 48,
fact. Rule 39 of the Rules of Court.33

To our mind, direct involvement or being the subject of the foreign judgment is In fact, more than the principle of comity that is served by the practice of reciprocal
sufficient to clothe a party with the requisite interest to institute an action before our recognition of foreign judgments between nations, the res judicata effect of the
courts for the recognition of the foreign judgment. In a divorce situation, we have foreign judgments of divorce serves as the deeper basis for extending judicial
declared, no less, that the divorce obtained by an alien abroad may be recognized in recognition and for considering the alien spouse bound by its terms. This same effect,
the Philippines, provided the divorce is valid according to his or her national law.27 as discussed above, will not obtain for the Filipino spouse were it not for the
substantive rule that the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code provides.
The starting point in any recognition of a foreign divorce judgment is the
acknowledgment that our courts do not take judicial notice of foreign judgments and Considerations beyond the recognition of the foreign divorce decree
laws. Justice Herrera explained that, as a rule, "no sovereign is bound to give effect
within its dominion to a judgment rendered by a tribunal of another country." 28 This As a matter of "housekeeping" concern, we note that the Pasig City Civil Registry Office
means that the foreign judgment and its authenticity must be proven as facts under has already recorded the divorce decree on Gerbert and Daisylyn’s marriage
our rules on evidence, together with the alien’s applicable national law to show the certificate based on the mere presentation of the decree.34 We consider the recording
effect of the judgment on the alien himself or herself.29 The recognition may be made to be legally improper; hence, the need to draw attention of the bench and the bar to
in an action instituted specifically for the purpose or in another action where a party what had been done.
invokes the foreign decree as an integral aspect of his claim or defense.
Article 407 of the Civil Code states that "[a]cts, events and judicial decrees concerning
In Gerbert’s case, since both the foreign divorce decree and the national law of the the civil status of persons shall be recorded in the civil register." The law requires the
alien, recognizing his or her capacity to obtain a divorce, purport to be official acts of entry in the civil registry of judicial decrees that produce legal consequences touching
a sovereign authority, Section 24, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court comes into play. This upon a person’s legal capacity and status, i.e., those affecting "all his personal qualities
and relations, more or less permanent in nature, not ordinarily terminable at his own (3) Legitimation, acknowledgment, adoption, change of name and
will, such as his being legitimate or illegitimate, or his being married or not." 35 naturalization register.

A judgment of divorce is a judicial decree, although a foreign one, affecting a person’s But while the law requires the entry of the divorce decree in the civil registry, the law
legal capacity and status that must be recorded. In fact, Act No. 3753 or the Law on and the submission of the decree by themselves do not ipso facto authorize the
Registry of Civil Status specifically requires the registration of divorce decrees in the decree’s registration. The law should be read in relation with the requirement of a
civil registry: judicial recognition of the foreign judgment before it can be given res judicata effect.
In the context of the present case, no judicial order as yet exists recognizing the
Sec. 1. Civil Register. – A civil register is established for recording the civil status of foreign divorce decree. Thus, the Pasig City Civil Registry Office acted totally out of
persons, in which shall be entered: turn and without authority of law when it annotated the Canadian divorce decree on
Gerbert and Daisylyn’s marriage certificate, on the strength alone of the foreign
(a) births; decree presented by Gerbert.

(b) deaths; Evidently, the Pasig City Civil Registry Office was aware of the requirement of a court
recognition, as it cited NSO Circular No. 4, series of 1982,36 and Department of Justice
Opinion No. 181, series of 198237 – both of which required a final order from a
(c) marriages;
competent Philippine court before a foreign judgment, dissolving a marriage, can be
registered in the civil registry, but it, nonetheless, allowed the registration of the
(d) annulments of marriages;
decree. For being contrary to law, the registration of the foreign divorce decree
without the requisite judicial recognition is patently void and cannot produce any legal
(e) divorces; effect.1avvphi1

(f) legitimations; Another point we wish to draw attention to is that the recognition that the RTC may
extend to the Canadian divorce decree does not, by itself, authorize the cancellation
(g) adoptions; of the entry in the civil registry. A petition for recognition of a foreign judgment is not
the proper proceeding, contemplated under the Rules of Court, for the cancellation
(h) acknowledgment of natural children; of entries in the civil registry.

(i) naturalization; and Article 412 of the Civil Code declares that "no entry in a civil register shall be changed
or corrected, without judicial order." The Rules of Court supplements Article 412 of
(j) changes of name. the Civil Code by specifically providing for a special remedial proceeding by which
entries in the civil registry may be judicially cancelled or corrected. Rule 108 of the
xxxx Rules of Court sets in detail the jurisdictional and procedural requirements that must
be complied with before a judgment, authorizing the cancellation or correction, may
be annotated in the civil registry. It also requires, among others, that the verified
Sec. 4. Civil Register Books. — The local registrars shall keep and preserve in their
petition must be filed with the RTC of the province where the corresponding civil
offices the following books, in which they shall, respectively make the proper entries
registry is located;38 that the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any
concerning the civil status of persons:
interest must be made parties to the proceedings;39 and that the time and place for
hearing must be published in a newspaper of general circulation.40 As these basic
(1) Birth and death register; jurisdictional requirements have not been met in the present case, we cannot consider
the petition Gerbert filed with the RTC as one filed under Rule 108 of the Rules of
(2) Marriage register, in which shall be entered not only the marriages Court.
solemnized but also divorces and dissolved marriages.
We hasten to point out, however, that this ruling should not be construed as requiring
two separate proceedings for the registration of a foreign divorce decree in the civil
registry – one for recognition of the foreign decree and another specifically for
cancellation of the entry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. The recognition of the
foreign divorce decree may be made in a Rule 108 proceeding itself, as the object of
special proceedings (such as that in Rule 108 of the Rules of Court) is precisely to
establish the status or right of a party or a particular fact. Moreover, Rule 108 of the
Rules of Court can serve as the appropriate adversarial proceeding 41 by which the
applicability of the foreign judgment can be measured and tested in terms of
jurisdictional infirmities, want of notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake
of law or fact.

WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition for review on certiorari, and REVERSE the
October 30, 2008 decision of the Regional Trial Court of Laoag City, Branch 11, as well
as its February 17, 2009 order. We order the REMAND of the case to the trial court for
further proceedings in accordance with our ruling above. Let a copy of this Decision
be furnished the Civil Registrar General. No costs.

SO ORDERED.