Illegitimate kids do not have middle names

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My daughter is an illegitimate child and her father did not acknowledge her. Her middle name and surname in her birth certificate is the same as my middle name and surname. I was told before that there should be no problem. Is this true? If not, how can I correct it? Thank you and more power.
Dear MP,

As provided under Section 1 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9255:
“Article 176. Illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the parental authority of their mother, and shall be entitled to support in conformity with this Code.

However, illegitimate children may use the surname of their father if their filiation has been expressly recognized by the father through the record of birth appearing in the civil register, or when an admission in a public document or private handwritten instrument is made by the father. x x x”

Accordingly, your illegitimate child should really follow your surname considering that her father has not acknowledged his filiation with the said child.

However, as to your child’s middle name, we submit that she should not bear any middle name. While the aforementioned law is clear as to the surname of an illegitimate child, it made no mention with regard to an illegitimate child’s middle name. Nevertheless, we take into account the ruling of our Supreme Court in the case of In Re: Petition for Change of Name and/or Correction/Cancellation of Entry in Civil Registry of Julian Lin Carulasan Wang (G.R. No. 159966, March 30, 2005):

“x x x Applying these laws, an illegitimate child whose filiation is not recognized by the father bears only a given name and his mother’s surname, and does not have a middle name. The name of the unrecognized illegitimate child therefore identifies him as such. It is only when the illegitimate child is legitimated by the subsequent marriage of his parents or acknowledged by the father in a public document or private handwritten instrument that he bears both his mother’s surname as his middle name and his father’s surname as his surname, reflecting his status as a legitimated child or an acknowledged illegitimate child. x x x”

Given that your child has a middle name in her birth certificate and it is the same as yours, this should be lawfully corrected by filing a petition for change of name and/or correction/cancellation of entry in the Civil Registry before the Regional Trial Court which has jurisdiction over the local civil registry where your child’s birth was registered.

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.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to


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    Dear PAO,

    I have an illegitimate daughter. We ended our relationship when our daughter was 1 year old., And now the father of my daughter us working abroad as a licensed engineer and just got married last July 2014.

    During first year of my daughter he supported us but not on a monthly basis only during occasion related to her daughter like birthday.

    Just this 2014 I don’t have work because of health problem. I detailed my status to him. So, again I humbly asked him for the support. He just told me I will support my daughter if only she will be using my surname.

    It came to the point I agreed him so I sent him documents to sign.

    Unfortunately, he don’t reply me anymore. No action. Everything was hanged up.

    My questions are:

    1. Can I obliged the father to provide for monthly support for his daughter? Even if he has not yet signed our child’s birth certificate? And my daughter is using my family name?
    2. What if the father of my daughter unjustly refused to support my child? What action do I need to take?
    3. He do recognized my child thru his family members and acknowledge her as father on my daughter’s facebook account. But I don’t have any document acknowledging her as her child. I do have taken pictures during first year of my daughter together with him. Is this a legal document that I can use?
    4. I do have saved conversations in my facebook account that he is acknowledging her as her child but he is willing to support if only my daughter is using his family name. He is wrong, am I right?
    5. If I go with him to change and use his family name, what could be the advantages and disadvantages?
    6. Whom shall I ask for help? Im here in Cebu while he is in UAE.

    I hope you can guide me.

    Thank you.


  2. Mother has been annulled since 2007 and part of the court decision is for the father to give financial support. but to this day the father has not given any financial support since childhood. the daughter is now 14 years old and wants to carry the maiden name of the mother. is the daughter allowed to use also the middle name of the maiden name of the mother? what will be the legal process?