Del Rosario: Change of citizenship from Chinese to Filipino

A WOMAN filed a petition for correction of entries in her birth certificate, particularly her first name, surname and citizenship. She wanted her birth certificate to reflect the name which she has been known since childhood and which she has been using in her school records and passport. Claiming that her parents were not married, she also wanted to change her family name and use the family name of her mother. In addition, she also wanted her citizenship changed from Chinese to Filipino because all her siblings were allegedly Filipino citizens.

The Regional Trial Court granted the petition in order to avoid confusion. However, the matter was raised to the Court of Appeals and thereafter to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court nullified the decision of the Regional Trial Court on the ground that the petition failed to implead indispensable parties who have a claim or interest which would be affected by the petition.

The Supreme Court ruled that the changes she wanted are substantial and not merely clerical because it would result in a complete change of her name and citizenship. Furthermore, the change in her name would also effect a change of her status from legitimate to illegitimate because she would be using the family name of her mother. Substantial errors may be corrected in an adversarial proceeding with the opposing parties (given) the opportunity to contest the petition. In this case, only the Local Civil Registrar was impleaded in the petition. In this case, the woman’s parents and siblings should have been impleaded and notified because they will be affected by the corrections. (Republic of the Philippines vs. Dr. Norma S. Lugsanay Uy, G.R. 198010 [2013])

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