I am a father to an eight-year-old boy. His mother and I are not married and have broken up when she was pregnant with our child. I have given support ever since our child was two years old. When I was enrolling him in school, I found out that he was not using my surname! I am very present in his life and it hurts me to know that the mother did not register me as the father. She already apologized, but the damage is done. What should I do? Can my son still use my name? Thank you.
Fortunately, you can still acknowledge your child and let him use your surname. Republic Act (RA) 9255, which amends the Family Code of the Philippines, provides that, “[I]llegitimate children may use the surname of their father if their filiation has been expressly recognized by the father through the record of birth appearing in the civil register, or when an admission in a public document or private handwritten instrument is made by the father” (emphasis added).
Although you are not reported as the father of your child, your acknowledgment and permission for your child to use your surname may still be done through RA 9255. According to the Implementing Rules and Regulations Governing the Implementation of RA 9255 (Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 2004), if admission was not made in the birth certificate, your admission of paternity may still be done through a private handwritten instrument. The private handwritten instrument containing the admission must be submitted to the Civil Registrar, who in turn will register the instrument. For its registration, the Civil Registrar will also require you to submit a sworn statement called Affidavit to Use the Surname of the Father, the written consent of your child if he is 18 years old or over at the time of the filing of the document, and any two of the documents stated in the Rules that clearly show your relationship with your child as his father. These documents may be employment records, Social Security System/Government Service Insurance System (SSS/GSIS) records, insurance, certification of membership in any organization, Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) and Income Tax Return (ITR).
The Civil Registrar, after examining the authenticity of the documents presented, will accept the documents and record the same in the Register of Legal Instruments. The Civil Registrar will also make the proper annotation in your child’s Certificate of Live Birth and the Register of Birth, stating: “The surname of the child is hereby changed from (original surname) to (new surname) pursuant to RA 9255.” The original surname as first recorded in the child’s birth certificate, however, will not be changed or deleted, but the annotation on the certificate will now allow him to use your surname.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter. 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