Only court can change names in land titles

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I applied for a home loan from a bank. To secure my loan, I offered a piece of land given to me by my mother as collateral. At present, my application is currently on hold because of a discrepancy in my name on the land title. My second name was not included in the title. Moreover, it was transferred to me when I was still single so it was registered in my maiden name. May I know how can I correct my first name and update my surname?    

Dear Suzie,
As a rule, after the issuance of the certificate of title covering a parcel of land, the title can no longer be altered, modified or cancelled except in a direct proceeding in accordance with law (Sec. 48, Presidential Decree [P.D.] No. 1529). This rule is intended to preserve the integrity and indefeasibility of the title once the claim of ownership is established and recognized, and to give the public the right to rely on what is stated on the face of the title without need of conducting further inquiry (Casimiro Development Corporation v. Mateo, 654 SCRA 676).

Consistent with the above rule, Section 108 of P.D. No. 1529, otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree, provides that “no erasure, alteration, or amendment shall be made upon the registration book after the entry of a certificate of title or of a memorandum thereon and the attestation of the same by the Register of Deeds, except by order of the proper Court of First Instance.” As declared by our Supreme Court, this remedy authorizes an interested person to ask the court for any erasure, alteration, or amendment of a certificate of title or of any memorandum appearing therein. Yet, it involves a summary proceeding in court and contemplates corrections or insertions of mistakes which are only clerical but certainly not controversial issues, meaning there is unanimity among the parties involved, or there is no adverse claim or serious objection on the part of any party in interest (Heirs of Miguel Franco v. CA, 463 Phil. 417). To avail of this remedy, the person asking for change or correction, which the law states may either be the registered owner, other person having an interest in the property, or the concerned register of deed, must file a petition in court.

Specifically, the remedy prescribed above may be availed of in seven instances, to wit: a) when registered interests of any description, whether vested, contingent, expectant, or inchoate, have terminated and ceased; (b) when new interests have arisen or been created which do not appear upon the certificate; (c) when any error, omission or mistake was made in entering a certificate or any memorandum thereon or on any duplicate certificate; (d) when the name of any person on the certificate has been changed; (e) when the registered owner has been married, or, registered as married, the marriage has been terminated and no right or interest of heirs or creditors will thereby be affected; (f) when a corporation, which owned registered land and has been dissolved, has not conveyed the same within three years after its dissolution; and (g) when there is reasonable ground for the amendment or alteration of title (Paz v.Republic, 661 SCRA 74).

The above-mentioned remedy is applicable to your case. Your first concern involves the inclusion of your second name, which was omitted in your land title. This problem is clearly a clerical error or mistake in entering your name on the title. Moreover, it appears that such mistake is neither controversial nor disputed by any party in interest. Similarly, the change in your surname on account of marriage clearly falls under the fifth enumerated instance, i.e. when the registered owner has been married. Hence, you are entitled to avail of the remedy provided above to make the necessary correction or amendment to your land title. You may initiate the action by filing a petition in the proper court of the place where the land is located and registered.

We hope that we were able to sufficiently address your concern. Please bear in mind that this 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


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