Lex Rex Ph

Republic vs. Labrador Digest

Facts

Labrador filed to have the name appearing on the birth certificate of Sarah Zita Cañon Erasmo changed from “Sarah Zita Erasmo” to “Sarah Zita Canon” and that the name of Sarah Zita’s mother, which appeared as “Rosemarie B. Canon” in the child’s birth record, be changed to “Maria Rosario Canon.” Petitioner Republic contended that the summary proceedings under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court and Article 412 of the Civil Code may be used only to correct or change clerical or innocuous errors. It argued that Rule 108 cannot be used to modify, alter or increase substantive rights, such as those involving the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the child, which Labrador desired to do so.

Issue

The main issue is whether Rule 108 of the Rules of Court may be used to change the entry in a birth certificate regarding the filiation of a child.

Ruling

Yes. Indeed, the respondent correctly cites Article 176 of the Family Code, which states that “illegitimate children shall use the surname[s] . . . of their mothers.” But to enforce such provision, the proper recourse is an adversarial contest. It must be stressed that Rule 108 does not contemplate an ordinary civil action but a special proceeding. By its nature, this recourse seeks merely to correct clerical errors, and not to grant or deny substantial rights. To hold otherwise is tantamount to a denial of due process to third parties and the whole world.

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