I just read your article about clerical errors in the birth certificate that may be corrected by the civil registrar. In the case of my mother’s birth certificate, the spelling of her name and date of birth are wrong. I see no problem with the spelling; however for the date of birth, I read that only the day and month can be corrected by the civil registrar under R.A. 10172. But what if the month to be corrected is December and January? Of course, in that case, the year will also be wrong. My mother’s birthday is December 4, 1960 but in her birth certificate it is January 20, 1961. Is RA 10172 still applicable in my mother’s case or does she need to go to court for the correction?
According to Article 412 of the New Civil Code, no entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected, without a judicial order. It follows then that a person desiring to amend any wrong entry in his/her certificate of live birth needs to go to court. But this was before Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9048 or more popularly known as the Clerical Error Law was enacted in 2001. Under this law, 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 which can be corrected or changed by the concerned city or municipal civil registrar or consul general (Section 1, RA No. 9048).
Clerical or typographical errors is defined by the said law as follows:
“Section 2. Definition of Terms – As used in this Act, the following terms shall mean:
(3) “Clerical or typographical error” refers to a mistake committed in the performance of clerical work in writing, copying, transcribing or typing an entry in the civil register that is harmless and innocuous, such as misspelled name or misspelled place of birth or the like, which is visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding, and can be corrected or changed only by reference to other existing record or records: Provided, however, That no correction must involve the change of nationality, age, status or sex of the petitioner.
In other words, errors in the civil register pertaining to the nationality, age, status or sex of a person may be corrected only by filing a petition in court. However, when R.A. No. 10172 was enacted into law, it amended some provisions of R.A. No. 9048 by giving authority to the city or municipal civil registrar or consul general to correct errors in the entry of sex and day and month of birth of a person in the civil register.
Going to your question, your mother needs to file a case in court despite the fact that the error in the entry of her date of birth in her certificate of live birth is only a month short from her true and correct date of birth. Since the year needs to be rectified, a petition in court is needed to correct the same. It is clear under the aforementioned law that only clerical or typographical errors in the day and month as appearing in the birth certificate of a person may be corrected or changed by the civil registrar or consul general.
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 guide you with our opinion 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 firstname.lastname@example.org