Correction of erroneous entry on religion in a birth certificate

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Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
When I tried to obtain a passport, I was required to submit a certificate from the Office of Muslim Affairs (OMA) because it appears in my birth certificate that both of my parents are Muslims. When I spoke to my parents about it, they told me that there must have been a mistake because they have always been practicing Roman Catholics. How do I change this erroneous entry in my birth certificate?

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Sincerely yours,
Yuli

Dear Yuli,
Please be informed that there are two (2) ways of correcting erroneous entries in a document, such as a Birth Certificate, registered with the Office of the Civil Registrar. The first is through an administrative process of correcting entries in the Local Civil Registrar where the pertinent document was registered, in accordance with Republic Act (R.A) No. 9048 or the Clerical Error Law, as amended by R.A. No. 10172, if the matter involved is the correction of clerical or typographical errors in the first name, nickname, place of birth, day and month of birth or sex of a person. All other forms of erroneous entry may only be corrected through a petition in court.

Clearly stated in the case of Onde v. The Office of the Local Civil Registration of Las Piñas City (G.R. No. 197174, 10 September 2014), penned by the Honorable former Associate Justice Martin S. Villarama, Jr., that:

“[C]orrections of entries in the civil register including those on citizenship, legitimacy of paternity or filiation, or legitimacy of marriage, involve substantial alterations. Substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and the true facts established provided the parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary proceedings.”

Just like in your situation, the erroneous entry with respect to the religion of your parents cannot be considered as mere clerical or typographical in nature. In order to correct this entry and record your parents’ religion as “Roman Catholic”, you need to file a petition for Correction of Entry in accordance with Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, to be filed in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) with jurisdiction over the place where your birth certificate was registered.

In the said petition, the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected by the change shall be made parties to the case. (Section 3, Rule 108, Id.) Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall set the case for a hearing and that reasonable notice thereof be given to the persons named in the petition. The court shall also cause the order to be published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in your province having jurisdiction on the respondent local civil registry. (Section 4, Id.) If you successfully prove your petition, the court, after hearing, shall issue an order granting the correction you prayed for and a certified copy of the judgment shall be served upon the civil registrar concerned who shall annotate the same in his record.(Section 7, Id.) Thereafter, your birth certificate shall reflect the correct religion of your parents.

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 dearpao@manilatimes.net

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