I am a government employee who is about to retire from service. I discovered that the name I am using is different from the one stated in my birth certificate, including my employment record with the government. I fear that this might cause a problem when I process my retirement benefits so I want to fix it now. May I know what I should do?
There are two alternative legal remedies available to address your present predicament depending on which name you wish to retain. The first one is the correction of your registered name as it appears in your birth certificate, so that it would conform to the name you have been habitually using. The procedure for such may either be administrative or judicial.
Administrative correction of birth certificate refers to the remedy provided under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9048, as amended, where an error in a birth certificate is rectified without going to court. Rather, the petition is filed directly with the concerned civil register where the birth was recorded who has the power to make the necessary correction even without a court order. The remedy is available to correct clerical or typographical errors in writing, copying, transcribing or typing which are harmless and innocuous, visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding, and can be corrected or changed by reference to other existing record or records (Sec. 2(3), R.A. No. 9048, as amended). In case the error is in the first name or nickname, administrative correction is also allowed should the name be ridiculous, tainted with dishonor or extremely difficult to write or pronounce, or the new first name or nickname has been habitually and continuously used by the person and he has been publicly known by that name, or to avoid confusion. (Sec. 4, Id.)
If the error in the name does not fall under any of the mentioned categories, then judicial correction of error in the birth certificate must be resorted to. In such a case, the applicant is required to file a verified petition in the Regional Trial Court of the place where the concerned civil register is located, i.e. where the birth was recorded, and follow the procedure outlined in Rule 108 of the Rules of Court to effect the necessary correction.
The second remedy that you may avail is to adopt the registered name appearing in your birth certificate and correct your employment record with the government. Choosing this remedy would mean that you will drop the name you have been habitually using and instead use your registered name. To avail of this remedy, a request for correction of personal information should be filed with the Civil Service Commission, unless the request is filed earlier than five years from mandatory retirement of the concerned employee, in which case the application should be filed with the appropriate CSC regional office. Note, however, that all requests for correction of personal information must be filed not later than one year before the applicant’s expected date of retirement (Sec. 90, Rule 18, Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service).
We hope we were able to sufficiently address your concern. Please bear in mind that our opinion is based on the facts you narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary if 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