I am using the name ELSA in all my records. When, however, I secured a copy of my birth certificate from the National Statistics Office, I found out that my name registered there is MARTHA. How can I change my name in my birth certificate?
As a rule, the name that a person should use is the one appearing in his birth certificate. There are instances, however, when the name used is entirely different from what is registered in one’s birth certificate. In such case, rather than changing the name in the documents and identification of a person to conform with the name in his birth certificate, it would be more practical to just change the name in the birth certificate to that which he has been publicly known. This is allowed under Section 4 of Republic Act (RA) 9048, to wit:
“SECTION 4. Grounds for Change of First Name or Nickname. The petition for change of first name or nickname may be allowed in any of the following cases:
1.The petitioner finds the first name or nickname to be ridiculous, tainted with dishonor or extremely difficult to write or pronounce;
2.The new first name or nickname has been habitually and continuously used by the petitioner and he has been publicly known by that first name or nickname in the community; or
3.The change will avoid confusion.”
Since you have been using the name ELSA in all your records and you are publicly known in such name, you may file a verified petition for the change of name in your birth certificate before the local civil registry office of the place where your birth certificate was registered. Your petition shall be accompanied by the following: 1) a certified true machine copy of the certificate sought to be changed; 2) at least two public or private documents upon which the change shall be based; and, 3) other documents that the petitioner or the city or municipal civil registrar may consider relevant and necessary for the approval of the petition. Your petition shall also be published at least once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation. In addition, you also need to submit a certification from the appropriate law enforcement agencies that you have no pending case or criminal record. (Section 3, RA 10172). If your petition is granted, your birth certificate shall contain an annotation stating that your name is changed from Martha to Elsa.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts that 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