My status in my birth certificate is legitimated. However, I was told that I am not qualified for legitimation because my father was married to someone else when I was born. Am I not qualified for legitimation? If not, how can I cancel my legitimation? Can I ask for assistance from your office?
Legitimation is defined as a remedy by means of which, those who in fact were not born in wedlock and should, therefore, be considered illegitimate, are, by fiction, considered legitimate, it being supposed that they were born when their parents were already validly married. There are two requisites in order for a child to be legitimated. These are the following: 1) the parents of the illegitimate child were not under any legal impediment to marry each other except the legal impediment of minority; and 2) subsequent valid marriage between the parents of the illegitimate child (Section 1, Republic Act No. 9858). Hence, you are not qualified for legitimation because your father has the legal impediment of an existing marriage when you were born.
In order to cancel your status as a legitimated child, you shall need to file a petition for cancellation of legitimation before the Regional Trial Court of the place where your birth certificate was registered (Section 1, Rule 108, Rules of Court). Since this is an adversarial proceeding, you shall need to make as parties to your petition the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected by the cancellation of your legitimation (Section 3, id.). Upon filing of your petition, the court shall, by an order, fix the time and place for the hearing of your petition and cause reasonable notice thereof to be given to the parties named in your petition. It shall also cause the order to be published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the province (Section 4, id.). After hearing, the court may either dismiss your petition or issue an order granting the cancellation of your legitimation. In either case, a certified copy of the judgment shall be served upon the civil registrar where your birth certificate was registered who shall annotate the same in his record (Section 7, id.).
Our Office extends free legal assistance to the filing of petition for cancellation before our courts. This is pursuant to our mandate to represent, free of charge, indigents, and other persons qualified for legal assistance in all civil, criminal, labor, administrative and other quasi-judicial cases where, after due evaluation, it is determined that the interest of justice will be served thereby (Section 1, PAO Operations Manual). However, in order to become our client, you need to pass the merit and indigency tests as mandated by the PAO Law and our operations manual. A case shall be considered meritorious, if an assessment of the law and evidence on hand, discloses that the legal services of the office will assist, or be in aid of, or in the furtherance of justice, taking into consideration the interests of the party and those of society (Section 2, PAO Operations Manual). A client shall be considered an indigent if his net income does not exceed: P14,000.00 if residing in Metro Manila; P13,000.00 if residing in other cities; and P12,000.00 if residing in all other places (Section 3, PAO Operations Manual).
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.