I have an illegitimate son with my previous live-in partner. We parted ways in 2010 because of his unbearable attitude. My son was acknowledged by his father in his certificate of live birth and is now using “Singko,” the surname of my former partner. From then on, we did not have any communication, and I do not know his whereabouts.
Last year, I married Borgy Siete, and he treated my son as his own. Borgy also wanted my son to bear his surname. Can we file a petition for correction of entry or change of name, so that my illegitimate son will bear the surname of my husband?
Change of name is governed by provisions of Rule 103 of the 1997 Rules of Court. Among the grounds for change of name are those enumerated in the case of Wang vs. Cebu City Civil Registrar (G.R. No. 159966. March 30, 2005), to wit:
(a) When the name is ridiculous, dishonorable or extremely difficult to write or pronounce;
(b) When the change results as a legal consequence, as in legitimation;
(c) When the change will avoid confusion;
(d) When one has continuously used and been known since childhood by a Filipino name, and was unaware of alien parentage;
(e) A sincere desire to adopt a Filipino name to erase signs of former alienage, all in good faith and without prejudicing anybody; and
(f) When the surname causes embarrassment and there is no showing that the desired change of name was for a fraudulent purpose or that the change of name would prejudice public interest.
In your case, the reason you stated in your letter does not fall under any of the grounds mentioned in the above-stated case for change of name. The Petition for Correction of Entries is not also the proper legal remedy because the correction that you sought is substantial. It is suggested that you and your husband jointly adopt your illegitimate child subject to the requirements/qualifications as provided under Republic Act (RA) 8552 (Domestic Adoption Act of 1998) and if the adoption is granted by the Family Court, your illegitimate son will now be treated as legitimate and the latter can also bear the surname of your husband (Sections 14 and 17, RA 8553).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org