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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
CATHERINE S. VALENTE