Correcting your Birth Certificate-A A +A
By Kelvin Lee
Questions that Matter
Friday, September 7, 2012
ONE problem that has often plagued people would be errors in their birth certificates. For instance, I have had some people approach me about changing an error in the spelling of their name in their birth certificate.
Once, a lady friend even approached me about changing the gender in her birth certificate, which said that she was male. It turns out that her father had wanted a boy so when she was born, he decided to declare her as male on the birth certificate, despite obvious evidence to the contrary. One can imagine the number of problems that has caused.
In the past, such a change would often require Court intervention. Meaning, the person who seeks a correction in the birth certificate would have to petition the Court in order to authorize that correction.
This, however, has changed with the passage of a new law.
Republic Act 10172 now authorizes the local civil registrar to correct clerical or typographical errors in the birth certificate, which now includes the date of birth and the gender. However, the correction or mistake must be "visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding, and can be corrected or changed only by reference to other existing record or records." Obviously, a mistake in gender would be very visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding.
What this law means is that one does not have to go to Court anymore in order make such corrections, which would greatly shorten the process as there are no more hearings or even testimony needed.
The past law that governed such errors, Republic Act 9048, also allowed for correction of birth certificates without Court intervention, but limited the corrections to the name only. Details such as the gender and birthdates in the past still required Court intervention. With Republic Act 10172, which amends Republic Act 9048, things have suddenly become much easier for people with errors in their birth certificate.
Under Republic Act 10172, the person who seeks to make corrections merely has to file a petition with the Local Civil Registrar of the territory where he/she was born. The petition is required to be in the form of an affidavit, under oath, and "shall set forth facts necessary to establish the merits of the petition and shall show affirmatively that the petitioner is competent to testify to the matters stated. The petitioner shall state the particular erroneous entry or entries, which are sought to be corrected and/or the change sought to be made."
Supporting documents, such as medical and school records, baptismal certificates, and the like, are also required to be attached to the petition.
Furthermore, Republic Act 10172 also requires that the petition "shall be published at least once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation." So newspaper publication is likewise another requirement for this correction.
Though it seems complicated, in the opinion of many lawyers, Republic Act 10172 is actually a better and faster option because of the simple fact that it avoids the clogged dockets of the Courts.
So if you have changes you need to be made in your birth certificate, rest assured that you now have more options than before.
Atty. Kelvin Lee is a consultant of the Siguion Reyna Montecillo & Ongsiako Law Office. The opinions expressed herein are his own. This column does not constitute legal advice nor does it create a lawyer-client relationship with any party. You can reach Kelvin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 07, 2012.