I want to file a petition for correction of entry in my birth certificate to correct my misspelled first name with the Office of the Local Civil Registrar. Since I don’t have money to pay for the filing fee, is there a way that I may be exempted from paying for it? I need the corrected birth certificate because I am applying for work abroad.
Before the enactment of Republic Act (RA) 9048, the correction or cancellation of erroneous entries in the civil registry may only be effected upon the authority granted by the court. This means that a petition should be filed in court praying for the amendment and only after the petition is heard and the court is convinced that there is a need to rectify the record if the correction sought is effected. This is according to Articles 376 and 412 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines.
When RA 9048 took effect, however, the Local Civil Registrar or the Consul General, as the case may be, was authorized to correct or cancel wrong entries in the civil registry, which are considered typographical or clerical errors. These officials are also authorized to effect change of name. Section 1 thereof, which was further amended by RA 10172, reads:
“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.”
Your desire to file a petition to correct your misspelled name before the Office of the Local Civil Registrar is in accordance with the above law. If you are having a hard time to pay the filing fee thereof because of your financial situation, you may be considered as an indigent petitioner. As such, you are exempt from paying the fee. Section 8 of the law as amended by RA 10172, provides:
“SEC. 8. Payment of Fees. – The city or municipal civil registrar or the consul general shall be authorized to collect reasonable fees as a condition for accepting the petition. An indigent petitioner shall be exempt from the payment of the said fee. xxx”
According to the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the law, an indigent petitioner refers to a destitute, needy and poor individual who is certified as such by the social welfare and development office of the city/municipal government (2.7, Rule 2, Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 2001, Rules and Regulations Governing the Implementation of Republic Act No. 9048).
It is clear therefore that to be exempted from paying the required fee in filing the petition, you have to prove that you are indigent. You can do this by simply presenting a certification from the social welfare and development office in your locality that you are an indigent.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com