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VOL.

526,JUNE29,2007

177

Republic vs. Kho


*

G.R.No.170340.June29,2007.

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs.


CARLITOI.KHO,MICHAELKHO,MERCYNONAKHO
FORTUN, HEDDY MOIRA KHOSERRANO, KEVIN
DOGMOC KHO (Minor), and KELLY DOGMOC KHO
(Minor),respondents.
Civil Registry; Correction of Entries; Names; Citizenship;
Marital Status; Substantial and controversial amendments in
entries in the Civil Registry can only be granted in an adversary
proceeding.It can not be gainsaid that the petition, insofar as it
sought to change the citizenship of Carlitos mother as it appeared
in his birth certificate and delete the married status of Carlitos
parents in his and his siblings respective birth certificates, as well
aschangethedateofmarriageofCarlitoandMarivelinvolvesthe
correction of not just clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous
nature. Rather, the changes entail substantial and controversial
amendments. For the change involving the nationality of Carlitos
motherasreflectedinhisbirthcertificateisagraveandimportant
matter that has a bearing and effect on the citizenship and
nationality not only of the parents, but also of the offspring.
Further,thedeletionoftheentrythat
_______________
* SECONDDIVISION.

178

178

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Republic vs. Kho

Carlitos and his siblings parents were married alters their


filiation from legitimate to illegitimate, with significant
implications on their successional and other rights. Clearly, the
changes sought can only be granted in an adversary proceeding.
LabayoRowe v. Republic, 168 SCRA 294 (1988), explains the
raison dtre:xxx.Thephilosophybehindthisrequirementliesin
the fact that the books making up the civil register and all
documentsrelatingtheretoshallbeprima facieevidenceofthefacts
therein contained. If the entries in the civil register could be
corrected or changed through mere summary proceedings
and not through appropriate action wherein all parties who

may be affected by the entries are notified or represented, the


door to fraud or other mischief would be set open, the
consequence of which might be detrimental and far reaching.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Words and Phrases; Even
substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected through a
petition filed under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court; Adversary
proceeding has been defined as one having opposing parties,
contested, as distinguished from an ex parte application, one of
which the party seeking relief has given legal warning to the other
party, and afforded the latter an opportunity to contest it.In
Republic v. Valencia, 141 SCRA 462 (1986), however, this Court
ruled, and has since repeatedly ruled, that even substantial errors
in a civil registry may be corrected through a petition filed under
Rule 108. It is undoubtedly true that if the subject matter of a
petitionisnotforthecorrectionofclericalerrorsofaharmlessand
innocuous nature, but one involving nationality or citizenship,
which is indisputably substantial as well as controverted,
affirmative relief cannot be granted in a proceeding summary in
nature. However, it is also true that a right in law may be
enforced and a wrong may be remedied as long as the
appropriate remedy is used. This Court adheres to the
principle thateven substantial errors in a civil registry may
be corrected and the true facts established provided the
parties aggrieved by the error avail themselves of the
appropriate adversary proceeding. x x x x What is meant by
appropriateadversaryproceeding?BlacksLawDictionarydefines
adversary proceeding[] as follows: One having opposing parties;
contested, as distinguished from an ex parte application, one of
whichthepartyseekingreliefhasgivenlegalwarningtotheother
party,andaffordedthelatteranopportunitytocontestit.xxx
179

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Republic vs. Kho


Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Republic Act No. 9048; The
enactment in March 2001 of R.A. No. 9048 has been considered to
lend legislative affirmation to the judicial precedence that
substantial corrections to the civil status of persons recorded in the
civil registry may be effected through the filing of a petition under
Rule 108the obvious effect of Republic Act No. 9048 is to make
possible the administrative correction of clerical or typographical
errors or change of first name or nickname in entries in the civil
register, leaving to Rule 108 the correction of substantial changes in
the civil registry in appropriate adversarial proceedings.The
enactment in March 2001 of Republic Act No. 9048, otherwise
known as AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE CITY OR MUNICIPAL
CIVILREGISTRARORTHECONSULGENERALTOCORRECTA
CLERICAL OR TYPOGRAPHICAL ERROR IN AN ENTRY
AND/OR CHANGE OF FIRST NAME OR NICKNAME IN THE
CIVILREGISTERWITHOUTNEEDOFJUDICIALORDER,has
been considered to lend legislative affirmation to the judicial
precedencethatsubstantialcorrectionstothecivilstatusofpersons
recordedinthecivilregistrymaybeeffectedthroughthefilingofa
petitionunderRule108.Thus,thisCourtinRepublic v. Benemerito,
425SCRA488(2004),observedthattheobviouseffectofRepublic

Act No. 9048 is to make possible the administrative correction of


clericalortypographicalerrorsorchangeoffirstnameornickname
inentriesinthecivilregister,leavingtoRule108thecorrectionof
substantial changes in the civil registry in appropriate adversarial
proceedings.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; Parties; Publication of the
order of hearing under Section 4 of Rule 108 cures the failure to
implead an indispensable party.What surfaces as an issue is
whether the failure to implead Marivel and Carlitos parents
rendered the trial short of the required adversary proceeding and
thetrialcourtsjudgmentvoid.Asimilarissuewasearlierraisedin
Barco v. Court of Appeals, 420 SCRA 162 (2004). That case
stemmed from a petition for correction of entries in the birth
certificateofaminor,JuneSalvacionMaravilla,toreflectthename
ofherrealfather(ArmandoGustilo)andtocorrespondinglychange
her surname. The petition was granted by the trial court. Barco,
whose minor daughter was allegedly fathered also by Gustilo,
however, sought to annul the trial courts decision, claiming that
she should have been made a party to the petition for correction.
Failure to implead her deprived the RTC of jurisdiction, she
contended.In
180

180

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Republic vs. Kho

dismissing Barcos petition, this Court held that the publication of


theorderofhearingunderSection4ofRule108curedthefailureto
impleadanindispensableparty.
Same; Same; Same; The cancellation or correction of entries
involving changes of name falls under letter o of Section 2 of Rule
108; Even if the jurisdictional requirements of Rule 103 (which
governs petitions for change of name) were not complied with,
observance of the provisions of Rule 108 suffices to effect the
correction sought for.With respect to the correction in Carlitos
birth certificate of his name from Carlito John to Carlito, the
samewasproperlygrantedunderRule108oftheRulesofCourt.As
correctly pointed out by the CA, the cancellation or correction of
entries involving changes of name falls under letter o of the
following provision of Section 2 of Rule 108: Section 2. Entries
subjecttocancellationorcorrection.Upongoodandvalidgrounds,
the following entries in the civil register may be cancelled or
corrected: (a) births; (b) marriages; (c) deaths; (d) legal separation;
(e) judgments of annulment of marriage; (f) judgments declaring
marriagesvoidfromthebeginning;(g)legitimations;(h)adoptions;
(i) acknowledgments of natural children; (j) naturalization; (k)
election, loss or recovery of citizenship; (l) civil interdiction; (m)
judicial determination of filiation; (n) voluntary emancipation of a
minor; and (o) changes of name. (Emphasis and italics supplied)
Hence, while the jurisdictional requirements of Rule 103 (which
governs petitions for change of name) were not complied with,
observance of the provisions of Rule 108 suffices to effect the
correctionsoughtfor.
Same; Same; Same; The correction of the name of the wife of one

of the petitioners, from Maribel to Marivel, is appropriate, the


mistake being clearly clerical or typographical, which is not only
visible to the eyes, but is also obvious to the understanding
considering that the name reflected in the marriage certificate is
Marivel.Outsidetheambitofsubstantialcorrections,ofcourse,is
the correction of the name of Carlitos wife from Maribel to
Marivel. The mistake is clearly clerical or typographical, which is
notonlyvisibletotheeyes,butisalsoobvioustotheunderstanding
considering that the name reflected in the marriage certificate of
Carlito and his wife is Marivel. Apropos is Yu v. Republic, 21
SCRA 1018 (1967), which held that changing the appellants
Christian name of Sincio to Sencio amounts merely to the
rightingofaclericalerror.The
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181

Republic vs. Kho


changeofnamefromBeatrizLabayo/BeatrizLabayutoEmperatriz
Labayowasalsoheldtobeamereinnocuousalteration,whichcan
be granted through a summary proceeding. The same ruling holds
truewithrespecttothecorrectioninCarlitosmarriagecertificateof
his fathers name from John Kho to Juan Kho. Except in said
marriagecertificate,thenameJuanKhowasuniformlyenteredin
thebirthcertificatesofCarlitoandofhissiblings.

PETITIONforreviewoncertiorariofadecisionoftheCourt
ofAppeals.
ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.
The Solicitor Generalforpetitioner.
Dollfuss R. Go and Associates Law Offices for
respondents.
CARPIOMORALES,J.:
Challenged via petition 1for review on certiorari is the
October27,2005Decision oftheCourtofAppeals(CA)in
CAG.R. CV No.
78124 which affirmed the September 4,
2
2002Decision oftheRegionalTrialCourt(RTC)ofButuan
City,Branch5grantingtheprayerofrespondentsCarlitoI.
Kho (Carlito), Michael Kho, Mercy Nona KhoFortun, and
Heddy Moira KhoSerrano for the correction of entries in
their birth certificates as well as those of Carlitos minor
childrenKevinandKellyDogmocKho.
Theundisputedfactsareasfollows:
OnFebruary12,2001,CarlitoandhissiblingsMichael,
Mercy Nona and Heddy Moira filed before the RTC of
Butuan City a verified petition for correction of entries in
thecivil
_______________
1CARollo,pp.5063;pennedbyJusticeMyrnaDimarananVidaland

concurred in by Justices Romulo V. Borja (then Chairman of the


TwentySecondDivision)andRicardoR.Rosario.

2Rollo,pp.4548;pennedbyJudgeAugustusL.Calo.

182

182

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Republic vs. Kho

registryofButuanCitytoeffectchangesintheirrespective
birthcertificates.Carlitoalsoaskedthecourtinbehalfofhis
minor children, Kevin and Kelly, to order the correction of
someentriesintheirbirthcertificates.
InthecaseofCarlito,herequestedthecorrectioninhis
birthcertificateofthecitizenshipofhismothertoFilipino
instead of Chinese, as well as the deletion of the word
marriedoppositethephraseDateofmarriageofparents
because his parents, Juan Kho and Epifania Inchoco
(Epifania),wereallegedlynotlegallymarried.
Thesamerequesttodeletethemarriedstatusoftheir
parentsfromtheirrespectivebirthcertificateswasmadeby
CarlitossiblingsMichael,MercyNona,andHeddyMoira.
WithrespecttothebirthcertificatesofCarlitoschildren,
he prayed that the date of his and his wifes marriage be
correctedfromApril27,1989toJanuary21,2000,thedate
appearingintheirmarriagecertificate.
TheLocalCivilRegistrarofButuanCitywasimpleaded
asrespondent.
On April
23, 2001, Carlito et al. filed an Amended
3
Petition inwhichitwasadditionallyprayedthatCarlitos
second name of John be deleted from his record of birth;
andthatthenameandcitizenshipofCarlitosfatherinhis
(Carlitos)marriagecertificatebecorrectedfromJohnKho
toJuanKhoandFilipinotoChinese,respectively.
As required, the
petition was published for three
4
consecutive weeks in Mindanao Daily PatrolCARAGA, a
newspaperofgeneralcirculation,afterwhichitwassetfor
hearingonAugust9,2001.
_______________
3Id.,atpp.3943.
4Records,pp.6264.ThepetitionwaspublishedonJune1,8,and15,

2001asshownbythecopiesofthenewspaperpublicationsofevendate,
whichweremarkedasExhibitsE,FandG.
183

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Republic vs. Kho


InaletterofJune18,2001addressedtothetrialcourt,the
5
citycivilregistrar statedherobservationsandsuggestions
to the proposed corrections in the birth records of Carlito
and his siblings but interposed no objections to the other
amendments.
On the scheduled hearing of the petition on August 9,
2001, only the counsel for respondents appeared as the
Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) had yet to enter its

appearanceforthecitycivilregistrar.Thetrialcourtthus
6
reset7the hearing to October 9, 2001. On September 14,
2001, the OSG entered its appearance with an
authorization to the city prosecutor of Butuan City to
appearinthecaseandrenderassistancetoit(theOSG).
On January 31, 2002, respondents presented
documentary evidence showing compliance with the
jurisdictional requirements of the petition. They also
presentedtestimonialevidenceconsistingofthetestimonies
of Carlito and his mother, Epifania. During the same
hearing,anadditionalcorrectioninthebirthcertificatesof
Carlitos children was requested to the effect that the first
name of their mother be rectified from Maribel to
Marivel.
8
By Decision of September 4, 2002, the trial court
directed the local civil registrar of Butuan City to correct
the entries in the record of birth of Carlito, as follows: (1)
change the citizenship of his mother from Chinese to
Filipino;(2)deleteJohnfromhisname;and(3)deletethe
wordmarriedoppositethedateofmarriageofhisparents.
Thelastcorrectionwasorderedtobeeffectedlikewiseinthe
birthcertificatesofrespondentsMichael,MercyNona,and
HeddyMoira.
Additionally,thetrialcourtorderedthecorrectionofthe
birth certificates of the minor children of Carlito to reflect
the
_______________
5Id.,atpp.3031,SoledadA.Cruz.
6Id.,atp.34;OrderofAugust9,2001.
7Id.,atp.36.
8Rollo,pp.4548.

184

184

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Republic vs. Kho

dateofmarriageofCarlitoandMarivelDogmoc(Marivel)as
January21,2000,insteadofApril27,1989,andthename
MaribelasMarivel.
With respect to the marriage certificate of Carlito and
Marivel,thecorrectionsorderedpertainedtothealteration
of the name of Carlitos father from John Kho to Juan
Kho and the latters citizenship from Filipino to
Chinese.
Petitioner,RepublicofthePhilippines,appealedtheRTC
DecisiontotheCA,faultingthetrialcourtingrantingthe
petition for correction of entries in the subject documents
despite the failure of respondents to implead the minors
mother, Marivel, as an indispensable party and to offer
sufficientevidencetowarrantthecorrectionswithregardto
thequestionedmarriedstatusofCarlitoandhissiblings
parents,andthelatterscitizenship.
Petitioner also faulted the trial court for ordering the
changeofthenameCarlitoJohnKhotoCarlitoKhofor
noncompliance with jurisdictional requirements for a

changeofnameunderRule103oftheRulesofCourt.
By the assailed Decision of October 27, 2005, the CA
denied petitioners appeal and affirmed the decision of the
trialcourt.
The CA found that Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of
Court,whichoutlinestheproperprocedureforcancellation
orcorrectionofentriesinthecivilregistry,wasobservedin
thecase.
RegardingCarlitosminorchildrenKevinandKelly,the
appellate court held that the correction of their mothers
firstnamefromMaribeltoMarivelwasmadetorectify
aninnocuouserror.
AsforthechangeinthedateofthemarriageofCarlito
andMarivel,albeittheCAconcededthatitisasubstantial
alteration,itheldthatthedatewouldnotaffecttheminors
filiationfromlegitimatetoillegitimateconsideringthat
atthetimeoftheirrespectivebirthsin1991and1993,their
fatherCarlitosfirstmarriagewasstillsubsistingasithad
beenannulledonlyin1999.
185

VOL.526,JUNE29,2007

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Republic vs. Kho


In light of Carlitos legal impediment to marry Marivel at
the time they were born, their children Kevin and Kelly
wereillegitimate.Itfollowed,theCAwentontostate,that
Marivel was not an indispensable party to the case, the
minorshavingbeenrepresentedbytheirfatherasrequired
9
underSection5ofRule3 oftheRevisedRulesofCourt.
Further, the CA ruled that although Carlito failed to
observetherequirementsofRule103oftheRulesofCourt,
he had complied nonetheless with the jurisdictional
requirements for correction of entries in the civil registry
under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. The petition for
correction of entry in Carlitos birth record, it noted, falls
underletterooftheenumerationunderSection2ofRule
108.
Inthepresentpetition,petitionercontendsthatsincethe
changessoughtbyrespondentsweresubstantialinnature,
they could only be granted through an adversarial
proceedinginwhichindispensableparties,suchasMarivel
and respondents parents, should have been notified or
impleaded.
Petitioner further contends that the jurisdictional
requirements to change Carlitos name under Section 2 of
Rule 103 of the Rules of Court were not satisfied because
theAmendedPetitionfailedtoallegeCarlitospriorthree
yearbonafideresidenceinButuanCity,andthatthetitle
of the petition did not state Carlitos aliases and his true
nameasCarlitoJohnI.Kho.Petitionerconcludesthatthe
samejurisdictionaldefectsattachedtothechangeofname
ofCarlitosfather.
Thepetitionfails.
It can not be gainsaid that the petition, insofar as it
sought to change the citizenship of Carlitos mother as it
appeared in his birth certificate and delete the married

statusofCar
_______________
9

SEC. 5. Minor or incompetent persons.A minor or a person

alleged to be incompetent, may sue or be sued, with the assistance of


hisfather,mother,guardian,orifhehasnone,aguardianad litem.
186

186

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Republic vs. Kho

litos parents in his and his siblings respective birth


certificates,aswellaschangethedateofmarriageofCarlito
andMarivelinvolvesthecorrectionofnotjustclericalerrors
10
ofaharmlessandinnocuousnature. Rather,thechanges
entailsubstantialandcontroversialamendments.
For the change involving the nationality of Carlitos
mother as reflected in his birth certificate is a grave and
important matter that has a bearing and effect on the
citizenshipandnationalitynotonlyoftheparents,butalso
11
oftheoffspring.
Further, the deletion of the entry that Carlitos and his
siblings parents were married alters their filiation from
legitimate to illegitimate, with significant implications
ontheirsuccessionalandotherrights.
Clearly, the changes sought can only be granted
in an
12
adversaryproceeding.LabayoRowe v. Republic explains
theraison dtre:
xxx.Thephilosophybehindthisrequirementliesinthefactthat
the books making up the civil register and all documents relating
theretoshallbeprima facieevidenceofthefactsthereincontained.
If the entries in the civil register could be corrected or
changed through mere summary proceedings and not
through appropriate action wherein all parties who may be
affected by the entries are notified or represented, the door to
fraud or other mischief would be set open, the consequence of
which might be detrimental and far reaching.xxx(Emphasis
supplied)
_______________
10LabayoRowe

v. Republic,G.R.No.L53417,December8,1988,168

SCRA 294, 300301; Republic v. Valencia, 225 Phil. 408, 413; 141 SCRA
462, 467468 (1986); Baybayan v. Republic, 123 Phil. 230, 232; 16 SCRA
403,405(1966);David v. Republic,122Phil.848,851;15SCRA438, 440
(1965).
11Ty
12

Kong Tin v. Republic,94Phil.321,324(1954).

Supra note 10 at pp. 299300, citing Ty Kong Tin v. Republic,

supra.
187

VOL.526,JUNE29,2007
Republic vs. Kho

187

13

InRepublic v. Valencia, however,thisCourtruled,andhas


sincerepeatedlyruled,thatevensubstantialerrorsinacivil
registry may
be corrected through a petition filed under
14
Rule108.
Itisundoubtedlytruethatifthesubjectmatterofapetitionisnot
for the correction of clerical errors of a harmless and innocuous
nature, but one involving nationality or citizenship, which is
indisputably substantial as well as controverted, affirmative relief
cannot be granted in a proceeding summary in nature. However,
it is also true that a right in law may be enforced and a
wrong may be remedied as long as the appropriate remedy
is used. This Court adheres to the principle that even
substantial errors in a civil registry may be corrected and the
true facts established provided the parties aggrieved by the
error avail themselves of the appropriate adversary
proceeding.
xxxx
What is meant by appropriate adversary proceeding? Blacks
LawDictionarydefinesadversaryproceeding[]asfollows:
Onehavingopposingparties;contested,asdistinguishedfroman
ex parteapplication,oneofwhichthepartyseekingreliefhasgiven
legal warning to the other party, and afforded the latter an
15
opportunity to contest it. x x x (Emphasis, italics and
underscoringsupplied)

The enactment in March 2001 of Republic Act No. 9048,


otherwise known as An Act Authorizing the City or
MunicipalCivilRegistrarortheConsulGeneraltoCorrect
a Clerical or Typographical Error in an Entry and/or
Change of First Name or Nickname in the Civil Register
Without Need of Judicial Order, has been considered to
lend legislative affirmation to the judicial precedence that
substantialcorrections
_______________
13Supranote10.
14Vide

Republic v. Lim,464Phil.151,157;419SCRA123,127(2004);

Eleosida v. Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City,431 Phil. 612, 619; 382
SCRA 22, 27 (2002); Republic v. Labrador, 364 Phil. 934, 943944; 305
SCRA438,448(1999).
15Republic

v. Valencia, supranote10.
188

188

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Republic vs. Kho

to the civil status of persons recorded in the civil registry


maybeeffectedthroughthefilingofapetitionunderRule
16
108.
17
Thus, this Court in Republic v. Benemerito observed
thattheobviouseffectofRepublicActNo.9048istomake
possible the administrative correction of clerical or
typographicalerrorsorchangeoffirstnameornicknamein
entries in the civil register, leaving to Rule 108 the
correction of substantial changes in the civil registry in

appropriateadversarialproceedings.
When all the procedural requirements under Rule 108
are thus followed, the appropriate adversary proceeding
necessary to effect substantial
corrections to the entries of
18
the civil register is satisfied. The pertinent provisions of
Rule108oftheRulesofCourtread:
SEC. 3. Parties.When cancellation or correction of an entry in
thecivilregistrarissought,thecivilregistrarandall persons who
have or claim any interest which would be affected thereby
shall be made parties to the proceeding.
SEC.4.Notice and publication.Uponthefilingofthepetition,
thecourtshall,byanorder,fixthetimeandplaceforthehearing
ofthesame,andcausereasonablenoticethereoftobegiventothe
personsnamedinthepetition.Thecourtshallalsocausetheorder
tobepublishedonceinaweekforthree(3)consecutiveweeksina
newspaperofgeneralcirculationintheprovince.
SEC. 5. Opposition.The civil registrar and any person
having or claiming any interest under the entry whose
cancellation or correction is sought may, within fifteen (15) days
from notice of the petition, or from the last date of publication of
such notice, file his opposition thereto. (Emphasis and italics
supplied)
_______________
16 Barco

v. Court of Appeals, 465 Phil. 39, 61; 420 SCRA 162, 177

(2004).
17G.R.No.146963,March15,2004,425SCRA488,492493.
18 Lee

v. Court of Appeals, 419 Phil. 392, 405; 367 SCRA 110, 129

(2001).
189

VOL.526,JUNE29,2007

189

Republic vs. Kho


19

ThereisnodisputethatthetrialcourtsOrder settingthe
petition for hearing and directing any person or entity
20
having interest in the petition to oppose it was posted as
well as published for the required period; that notices of
hearingsweredulyservedontheSolicitorGeneral,thecity
prosecutorofButuanandthelocalcivilregistrar;andthat
trialwasconductedonJanuary31,2002duringwhichthe
public prosecutor, acting in behalf of the OSG, actively
participatedbycrossexaminingCarlitoandEpifania.
What surfaces as an issue is whether the failure to
implead Marivel and Carlitos parents rendered the trial
short of the required adversary proceeding and the trial
courtsjudgmentvoid.
A similar
issue was earlier raised in Barco v. Court of
21
Appeals. Thatcasestemmedfromapetitionforcorrection
ofentriesinthebirthcertificateofaminor,JuneSalvacion
Maravilla,toreflectthenameofherrealfather(Armando
Gustilo) and to correspondingly change her surname. The
petitionwasgrantedbythetrialcourt.
Barco,whoseminordaughterwasallegedlyfatheredalso
by Gustilo, however, sought to annul the trial courts

decision,claimingthatsheshouldhavebeenmadeaparty
to the petition for correction. Failure to implead her
deprivedtheRTCofjurisdiction,shecontended.
In dismissing Barcos petition, this Court held that the
publicationoftheorderofhearingunderSection4ofRule
108curedthefailuretoimpleadanindispensableparty.
The essential requisite for allowing substantial corrections of
entriesinthecivilregistryisthatthetruefactsbeestablishedinan
appropriate adversarial proceeding. This is embodied in Section 3,
Rule108oftheRulesofCourt,whichstates:
_______________
19Records,pp.2829.TheOrderwasissuedbythenActingPresiding

JudgeVictorA.Tomaneng.
20Id.,atp.32.AffidavitofPosting.
21Supranote16.

190

190

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Republic vs. Kho

Section 3. Parties.When cancellation or correction of an entry in


the civil register is sought, the civil registrar and all persons who
haveorclaimanyinterestwhichwouldbeaffectedtherebyshallbe
madepartiestotheproceeding.
xxxx
Undoubtedly,BarcoisamongthepartiesreferredtoinSection3
ofRule108.Herinterestwasaffectedbythepetitionforcorrection,
as any judicial determination that June was the daughter of
Armandowouldaffectherwardsshareintheestateofherfather.
xxx.
Yet, even though Barco was not impleaded in the petition, the
CourtofAppealscorrectlypointedoutthatthedefectwascuredby
compliance with Section 4, Rule 108, which requires notice by
publicationxxx.
xxxx
ThepurposepreciselyofSection4,Rule108istobindthewhole
worldtothesubsequentjudgmentonthepetition.Thesweepofthe
decisionwouldcoverevenpartieswhoshouldhavebeenimpleaded
underSection3,Rule108,butwereinadvertentlyleftout.xxx
xxxx
Verily, a petition for correction is an action in rem, an action
against a thing and not against a person. The decision on the
petitionbindsnotonlythepartiestheretobutthewholeworld.An
in rem proceeding is validated essentially through publication.
Publicationisnoticetothewholeworldthattheproceedinghasfor
its object to bar indefinitely all who might be minded to make an
objectionofanysortagainsttherightsoughttobeestablished.Itis
the publication of such notice that brings in the whole world as a
party in the case and vests the court with jurisdiction to hear and
22
decideit.

Given the above ruling, it becomes unnecessary to rule on


whetherMarivelorrespondentsparentsshouldhavebeen
impleadedaspartiestotheproceeding.Itmaynotbeamiss
to

_______________
22 Supra at pp. 5557. The ruling was reiterated in Alba

v. Court of

Appeals,G.R.No.164041,July29,2005,465SCRA495,506508.
191

VOL.526,JUNE29,2007

191

Republic vs. Kho


mention,however,thatduringthehearingonJanuary31,
2002,thecityprosecutorwhowasactingasrepresentative
oftheOSGdidnotraiseanyobjectiontothenoninclusion
ofMarivelandCarlitosparentsaspartiestotheproceeding.
Parenthetically,itseemshighlyimprobablethatMarivel
wasunawareoftheproceedingstocorrecttheentriesinher
childrens birth certificates, especially since the notices,
orders and
decision of the trial court were all sent to the
23
residence shesharedwithCarlitoandthechildren.
It is also well to remember that the role of the court in
hearing a petition to correct certain entries in the civil
registry24is to ascertain the truth about the facts recorded
therein.
With respect to the date of marriage
of Carlito and
25
Marivel, their certificate of marriage shows that indeed
they were married on January 21, 2000, not on April 27,
1989. Explaining the error, Carlito declared that the date
April27,1989wassuppliedbyhishelper,addingthathe
wasnotmarriedtoMarivelatthetimehissonswereborn
26
becausehispreviousmarriagewasannulledonlyin1999.
Given the evidence presented by respondents, the CA
observedthattheminorswereillegitimateatbirth,hence,
the correction would bring about no change at all in the
natureoftheirfiliation.
WithrespecttoCarlitosmother,itbearsnotingthatshe
declaredatthewitnessstandthatshewasnotmarriedto
_______________
23 Records, p. 75. Copies of these Orders and of the Decision were

mailed to 717 Molave Road, Guingona Subdivision, Butuan City, which


was reflected as the residence of both Carlito and Marivel in their
CertificateofMarriage.DuringthehearingonJanuary31,2002,Carlito
alsotestifiedthatMarivelwasstilllivingwithhim.
24Republic

v. Valencia, supranote10atp.416.

25Records,p.55,ExhibitK.
26 Id.,

at pp. 7476. Transcript of Stenographic Notes, January 31,

2002.
192

192

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Republic vs. Kho
27

JuanKhowhodiedin1959. Again,thattestimonywasnot
challengedbythecityprosecutor.
Thedocumentaryevidencesupportingthedeletionfrom
Carlitos and his siblings birth certificates of the entry

Married opposite the date of marriage of their parents,


moreover, consisted of a certification issued on November
24,1973bySt.Joseph(ButuanCity)ParishpriestEugene
van Vught stating that Juan Kho and Epifania had been
livingtogetherascommonlawcouplesince1935buthave
28
nevercontractedmarriagelegally.
Acertificationfromtheofficeofthecityregistrar,which
was appended to respondents Amended Petition, likewise
statedthatithasnorecordofmarriagebetweenJuanKho
29
andEpifania. Underthecircumstances,thedeletionofthe
wordMarriedoppositethedateofmarriageofparentsis
warranted.
WithrespecttothecorrectioninCarlitosbirthcertificate
ofhisnamefromCarlitoJohntoCarlito,thesamewas
properlygrantedunderRule108oftheRulesofCourt.As
correctly pointed out by the CA, the cancellation or
correctionofentriesinvolvingchangesofnamefallsunder
30
letteroofthefollowingprovisionofSection2ofRule108:
Section2.Entries subject to cancellation or correction.Upongood
andvalidgrounds,thefollowingentriesinthecivilregistermaybe
cancelledorcorrected:(a)births;(b)marriages;(c)deaths;(d)legal
separation; (e) judgments of annulment of marriage; (f) judgments
declaring marriages void from the beginning; (g) legitimations; (h)
adoptions; (i) acknowledgments of natural children; (j)
naturalization; (k) election, loss or recovery of citizenship; (l) civil
interdiction;(m)judicialdeterminationoffiliation;(n)voluntary
_______________
27Id.,atp.67.
28Id.,atp.50,ExhibitI.
29Id.,atp.20,AnnexAtoAmendedPetition.
30Vide

Republic v. Court of Appeals,325Phil.361,368;255SCRA99,

105(1996).
193

VOL.526,JUNE29,2007

193

Republic vs. Kho


emancipationofaminor;and(o)changes of name.(Emphasisand
italicssupplied)

Hence, while the jurisdictional requirements of Rule 103


(which governs petitions for change of name) were not
complied with, observance of the provisions of Rule 108
sufficestoeffectthecorrectionsoughtfor.
More importantly, Carlitos official transcript
of record
31
from the Urious College in Butuan City, certificate
of
32
eligibility from the33Civil Service Commission, and voter
registration record satisfactorily show that he has been
knownbyhisfirstnameonly.Noprejudiceisthuslikelyto
arisefromthedroppingofthesecondname.
The correction of the mothers citizenship from Chinese
to Filipino as appearing in Carlitos birth record was also
proper.Ofnoteisthefactthatduringthecrossexamination
by the city prosecutor of Epifania, he did not deem fit to
question her citizenship. Such failure to oppose the

correctionprayedfor,whichcertainlywasnotrespondents
fault,doesnotinanywaychangetheadversarialnatureof
theproceedings.
Also significant to note is that the birth certificates of
Carlitos siblings uniformly stated the citizenship of
EpifaniaasFilipino.TodisallowthecorrectioninCarlitos
birthrecordofhismotherscitizenshipwouldperpetuatean
inconsistencyinthenatalcircumstancesofthesiblingswho
areunquestionablybornofthesamemotherandfather.
Outsidetheambitofsubstantialcorrections,ofcourse,is
thecorrectionofthenameofCarlitoswifefromMaribelto
Marivel. The mistake is clearly clerical or typographical,
whichisnotonlyvisibletotheeyes,butisalsoobviousto
the
_______________
31Records,pp.5152,ExhibitJ.
32Id.,atp.53,ExhibitJ1.
33Id.,atp.54,ExhibitJ2.

194

194

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Republic vs. Kho
34

understanding consideringthatthenamereflectedinthe
marriagecertificateofCarlitoandhiswifeisMarivel.
35
AproposisYu v. Republic whichheldthatchangingthe
appellantsChristiannameofSinciotoSencioamounts
merely to the righting of a clerical error. The change of
name from Beatriz Labayo/Beatriz Labayu to Emperatriz
Labayo was also held to be a mere innocuous alteration,
36
whichcanbegrantedthroughasummaryproceeding. The
same ruling holds true with respect to the correction in
Carlitos marriage certificate of his fathers name from
John Kho to Juan Kho. Except in said marriage
certificate,thenameJuanKhowasuniformlyenteredin
37
thebirthcertificatesofCarlitoandofhissiblings.
WHEREFORE,thePetitionisDENIED.TheDecisionof
theCourtofAppealsisAFFIRMED.
SOORDERED.
Carpio (Actg. Chairperson), TingaandVelasco, Jr.,
JJ.,concur.
Quisumbing (Chairperson),OnOfficialLeave.
Petition denied, judgment affirmed.
Notes.Afalseentryinabirthcertificateregardingthe
alleged marriage between the parents of the child puts to
doubt the other data in said birth certificate. (Tijing vs.
Court of Appeals,354SCRA17[2001])
An in rem proceeding is validated essentially through
publication. (Alba vs. Court of Appeals, 465 SCRA 495
[2005])
o0o

_______________
34 Leonor

v. Court of Appeals, 326 Phil. 74, 87; 256 SCRA 69 (1996);

Black v. Republic,104Phil.848,849(1958).
35129Phil.248,249;21SCRA1018,1020(1967).
36LabayoRowe

v. Republic, supranote10atp.300.

37Records,pp.710;ExhibitsNtoQ.

195

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