Legitimation allows illegitimate child to use father’s surname

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Dear PAO,
I went to a government office for the purpose of securing an identification card (ID). I was told that I still need to secure additional documents aside from my birth certificate if I want to have an ID with the surname of my father in it. I got really confused because although I have my mother’s surname in my birth certificate, I have been using my father’s surname ever since my parents got married, seven years after I was born. What should I do about this?
Tin-tin

Dear Tin-tin,
The government officer who assisted you in your request for an identification card would necessarily follow your name as registered in your birth certificate. Seeing your birth certificate, the officer concerned will conclude that you are an illegitimate child considering that your parents were not married at the time you were born and since you were registered under the surname of your mother. Apparently, your birth certificate did not yet reflect the marriage of your parents which happened seven years after you were born and maybe your father did not acknowledge you as his child therein so the assisting officer required several documents to prove that you are entitled to use the surname of your father.

Legitimation shall take place by a subsequent valid marriage between parents (Article 178, Family Code). Legitimated children shall enjoy the same rights as legitimate children (Article 179, Ibid.), as follows: (1) to bear the surname of the father and the mother, in conformity with the provisions of the Civil Code on Surnames; (2) To receive support from their parents, their ascendants, and in proper cases, their brothers and sisters, in conformity with the provisions of this Code on Support; and (3) To be entitled to legitime and other successional rights granted to them by the Civil Code. (Article 174, Id.)
Based from the foregoing, you shall be entitled to use the surname of your father because of the marriage of your parents. But in order to avoid confusion as to your right to use the surname of your father and to avoid the presentation of other documents aside from your birth certificate when securing an ID, it is best that you cause the recording of the marriage of your parents before the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of the place where your birth was recorded.

We hope that we have answered your query. Our legal opinion may vary if other facts are stated 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 dearpao@manilatimes.net

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