My cousin was born and raised in the province. Although he only finished elementary school, he has been working with a private company for 23 years now. He just turned 58 years old, and is really looking forward to his retirement in a couple of years. It was only recently that he obtained a copy of his birth certificate in his desire to collate all documents that may be possibly needed for his retirement. He noticed that the date of his birth was wrongly indicated as June 13, 1959, instead of June 18, 1959. He is getting anxious that this may cause problems once he applies for his pension benefits with the Social Security System. Does he need to go to court to have this error corrected? Please advise us on this matter.
The general rule is that all entries in the civil register cannot be changed or corrected without a judicial order. Nevertheless, Republic Act 9048, which was subsequently amended by RA 10172, provided exceptions to such rule. Pursuant to Section 1 of RA 10172:
“SECTION 1. Section 1 of Republic Act 9048, hereinafter referred to as the Act, is hereby amended to read as follows:
“SECTION 1. Authority to Correct Clerical or Typographical Error and Change of First Name or Nickname. – No entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order, except for clerical or typographical errors and change of first name or nickname, the day and month in the date of birth or sex of a person where it is patently clear that there was a clerical or typographical error or mistake in the entry, which can be corrected or changed by the concerned city or municipal civil registrar or consul general in accordance with the provisions of this Act and its implementing rules and regulations.” (Emphasis supplied)
Applying the foregoing, we submit that your cousin does not need to go to court to secure the correction of the entry in his birth certificate insofar as the erroneous entry of his day of birth, if such error is obviously or demonstrably a clerical or typographical one or a mistake in writing, copying, transcribing or typing (Section 2 (3), RA 10172). Instead, he only needs to file his verified petition before the local civil registry office of the city or municipality where his birth record is kept. If he has already migrated to another place within the Philippines, and it will not be practical for him, in terms of transportation expenses, time and effort, to appear in person before the local civil registrar, he may file his petition, in person, with the local civil registrar of the place where he is presently residing (Section 3, RA 9048).
We wish to emphasize that the petition, which is in the form of an affidavit, must be subscribed and sworn to before any person authorized by law to administer oaths and must be filed in three (3) copies. It must state the particular erroneous entry, which he seeks to be corrected, and must be supported by his: (a) certified true machine copy of his birth certificate or of the page of the registry book containing such entry; (b) at least two public or private documents showing the correct day of his birth; and (c) such other documents which he or the city or municipal civil registrar may consider relevant and necessary for the approval of his petition. In addition, his petition must be accompanied by his earliest school record or earliest school documents like his medical records, baptismal certificate and other documents issued by religious authorities. His petition must be published at least once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation. Lastly, he must submit a certification from the appropriate law enforcements agencies that he has no pending case or no criminal record (Section 3, RA 10172).
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org