My wife was born in 1950. Before we got married, she applied for the issuance of a copy of her birth certificate from the Local Civil Registry in the municipality where she was born, and obtained a birth certificate with correct entry as to her date of birth. She secured another copy from the same office which she used when she applied for her passport. That copy bears the correct entry of her date of birth as well.
Several years ago, my daughter asked us to give her copies of our birth certificates so that she can reg-ister us as her beneficiaries in her PhilHealth, and the like. My wife went to the Philippine Statistics Au-thority (PSA) to get such copies, and she was surprised when she was handed her birth certificate bearing “1962” as her year of birth. She verified with the concerned local civil registry on how this hap-pened, and she was told that the copy they have bears the same information (1962) as to her year of birth. So, that is the same copy which they have forwarded to the PSA during the national computeri-zation of birth records.
We will greatly appreciate if you can advise us on how we can have my wife’s birth certificate correct-ed. Is it necessary that she does it herself? Thank you, and more power.
The remedy for erroneous entries in the civil register depends as to whether the errors involved are merely clerical or typographical in nature or simply comprise the change of first name or nickname, the day and month in the date of birth or sex of a person, or if such errors are substantive in nature. If the erroneous entries fall under the first category abovementioned, such may be corrected or changed by filing an appropriate petition before the local civil registry office of the city or municipality where the record being sought to be corrected or changed is kept, or where the interested party is presently re-siding or domiciled if he or she has migrated in another place. If the petitioner is residing or domiciled in a foreign country, he or she may file the said petition, in person, before the nearest Philippine Con-sulate (Section 1, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10172 in relation to Section 3, R.A. No. 9048). On the other hand, if the erroneous entries are substantive in nature, a petition for correction of entry must be filed before the regional trial court which has jurisdiction over the place where the corresponding civil regis-try, where such registration was made, is located (Section 1, Rule 108, Revised Rules of Court).
In the situation that you have presented, we believe that the proper remedy is to file a petition for correction of entry before the regional trial court which has jurisdiction over the local civil registry where your wife’s birth was registered. This is so because the error that is involved is substantive in nature as it concerns not simply the day or month of her birth but the year thereof.
It is not essential that it be your wife, herself, who will file the petition. Pursuant to Section 1, Rule 108 of our Rules of Court, any person who is interested in any act, event, order or decree concerning the civil status of persons which has been recorded in the civil register, may file the verified petition in court. But it is necessary that the concerned local civil registrar and all persons who have interest which may be affected thereby be made parties to the proceedings. (Section 3, Ibid.)
Once the petition is filed, the court will issue an order fixing the time and place of the hearing and shall require that notices be given to such persons named in the petition. The court will likewise mandate that the said order be published in a newspaper of general circulation, once a week for three (3) con-secutive weeks. (Sections 3 and 4, Id.)
The court may then issue an order, after the hearing, granting the correction in your wife’s birth certif-icate if she or the person who filed the petition for her is able to establish that the entry as to the year of her birth is indeed erroneous. A certified copy of the said judgment will be served to the concerned civil register for proper annotation (Section 7, Id.)
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