REPUBLIC ACT NO. 904
AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE CITY OR MUNICIPAL CIVIL REGISTRAR OR THE CONSUL GENERAL TO CORRECT A CLERICAL OR TYPOGRAPHICAL ERROR IN AN ENTRY AND/OR CHANGE OF FIRST NAME OR NICKNAME IN THE CIVIL REGISTER WITHOUT NEED OF A JUDICIAL ORDER, AMENDING FOR THIS PURPOSE ARTICLES 376 AND 412 OF THE CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES
Section 1. Authority to Correct Clerical or Typographical Error and Change of First Name or Nickname – No entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order, except for clerical or typographical errors and change of first name or nickname which can be corrected or changed by the concerned city or municipal civil registrar or consul general in accordance with the provisions of this Act and its implementing rules and regulations.
Section 2. Definition of Terms – As used in this Act, the following terms shall mean:
(1) “City or Municipal civil registrar” refers to the head of the local civil registry office of the city or municipality, as the case may be, who is appointed as such by the city or municipal mayor in accordance with the provisions of existing laws.
(2) “Petitioner” refers to a natural person filing the petition and who has direct and personal interest in the correction of a clerical or typographical error in an entry or change of first name or nickname in the civil register.
(3) “Clerical or typographical error” refers to a mistake committed in the performance of clerical work in writing, copying, transcribing or typing an entry in the civil register that is harmless and innocuous, such as misspelled name or misspelled place of birth or the like, which is visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding, and can be corrected or changed only by reference to other existing record or records:Provided, however, That no correction must involve the change of nationality, age, status or sex of the petitioner.
(4) “Civil Register” refers to the various registry books and related certificates and documents kept in the archives of the local civil registry offices, Philippine Consulates and of the Office of the Civil Registrar General.
(5) “Civil registrar general” refers to the Administrator of the National Statistics Office which is the agency mandated to carry out and administer the provision of laws on civil registration.
(6) “First name” refers to a name or nickname given to a person which may consist of one or more names in addition to the middle and last names.
Section 3. Who May File the Petition and Where. – Any person having direct and personal interest in the correction of a clerical or typographical error in an entry and/or change of first name or nickname in the civil register may file, in person, a verified petition with the local civil registry office of the city or municipality where the record being sought to be corrected or changed is kept.
In case the petitioner has already migrated to another place in the country and it would not be practical for such party, in terms of transportation expenses, time and effort to appear in person before the local civil registrar keeping the documents to be corrected or changed, the petition may be filed, in person, with the local civil registrar of the place where the interested party is presently residing or domiciled. The two (2) local civil registrars concerned will then communicate to facilitate the processing of the petition.
Citizens of the Philippines who are presently residing or domiciled in foreign countries may file their petition, in person, with the nearest Philippine Consulates.
The petitions filed with the city or municipal civil registrar or the consul general shall be processed in accordance with this Act and its implementing rules and regulations.
All petitions for the clerical or typographical errors and/or change of first names or nicknames may be availed of only once.
Section 4. Grounds for Change of First Name or Nickname. – The petition for change of first name or nickname may be allowed in any of the following cases:
(1) The petitioner finds the first name or nickname to be ridiculous, tainted with dishonor or extremely difficult to write or pronounce.
(2) The new first name or nickname has been habitually and continuously used by the petitioner and he has been publicly known by that by that first name or nickname in the community: or
(3) The change will avoid confusion.
Section 5. Form and Contents of the Petition. – The petition shall be in the form of an affidavit, subscribed and sworn to before any person authorized by the law to administer oaths. The affidavit shall set forth facts necessary to establish the merits of the petition and shall show affirmatively that the petitioner is competent to testify to the matters stated. The petitioner shall state the particular erroneous entry or entries, which are sought to be corrected and/or the change sought to be made.
The petition shall be supported with the following documents:
(1) A certified true machine copy of the certificate or of the page of the registry book containing the entry or entries sought to be corrected or changed.
(2) At least two (2) public or private documents showing the correct entry or entries upon which the correction or change shall be based; and
(3) Other documents which the petitioner or the city or municipal civil registrar or the consul general may consider relevant and necessary for the approval of the petition.
In case of change of first name or nickname, the petition shall likewise be supported with the documents mentioned in the immediately preceding paragraph. In addition, the petition shall be published at least once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation. Furthermore, the petitioner shall submit a certification from the appropriate law enforcement agencies that he has no pending case or no criminal record.
The petition and its supporting papers shall be filed in three (3) copies to be distributed as follows: first copy to the concerned city or municipal civil registrar, or the consul general; second copy to the Office of the Civil Registrar General; and third copy to the petitioner.
Section 6. Duties of the City or Municipal Civil Registrar or the Consul General. – The city or municipal civil registrar or the consul general to whom the petition is presented shall examine the petition and its supporting documents. He shall post the petition in a conspicuous place provided for that purpose for ten (10) consecutive days after he finds the petition and its supporting documents sufficient in form and substance.
The city or municipal civil registrar or the consul general shall act on the petition and shall render a decision not later than five (5) working days after the completion of the posting and/or publication requirement. He shall transmit a copy of his decision together with the records of the proceedings to the Office of the Civil Registrar General within five (5) working days from the date of the decision.
Section 7. Duties and Powers of the Civil Registrar General. – The civil registrar general shall, within ten (10) working days from receipt of the decision granting a petition, exercise the power to impugn such decision by way of an objection based on the following grounds:
(1) The error is not clerical or typographical;
(2) The correction of an entry or entries in the civil register is substantial or controversial as it affects the civil status of a person; or
(3) The basis used in changing the first name or nickname of a person does not fall under Section 4.
The civil registrar general shall immediately notify the city or municipal civil registrar or the consul general of the action taken on the decision. Upon receipt of the notice thereof, the city or municipal civil registrar or the consul general shall notify the petitioner of such action.
The petitioner may seek reconsideration with the civil registrar general or file the appropriate petition with the proper court.
If the civil registrar general fails to exercise his power to impugn the decision of the city or municipal civil registrar or of the consul general within the period prescribed herein, such decision shall become final and executory.
Where the petition is denied by the city or municipal civil registrar or the consul general, the petitioner may either appeal the decision to the civil registrar general or file the appropriate petition with the proper court.
Section 8. Payment of Fees. – The city or municipal civil registrar or the consul general shall be authorized to collect reasonable fees as a condition for accepting the petition. An indigent petitioner shall be exempt from the payment of the said fee.
Section 9. Penalty Clause. – A person who violates any of the provisions of this Act shall, upon conviction, be penalized by imprisonment of not less than six (6) years but not more than twelve (12) years, or a fine of not less than Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) but not more than One Hundred Thousand pesos (P100,000.00), or both, at the discretion of the court.
In addition, if the offender is a government official or employee he shall suffer the penalties provided under civil service laws, rules and regulations.
Section 10. Implementing Rules and Regulations. – The civil registrar general shall, in consultation with the Department of Justice, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the Supreme Court Administrator, the University of the Philippines Law Center and the Philippine Association of Civil Registrars, issue the necessary rules and regulations for the effective implementation of this Act not later than three (3) months from the effectivity of this law.
Section 11. Retroactivity Clause. – This Act shall have retroactive effect insofar as it does not prejudice or impair vested or acquired rights in accordance with the Civil Code and other laws.
Section 12. Separability Clause. – If any portion or provision of this Act is declared void or unconstitutional, the remaining portions or provisions thereof shall not be affected by such declaration.
Section 13. Repealing Clause – All laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations, other issuances, or parts thereof inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
Section 14. Effectivity Clause. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its complete publication in at least two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.
Approved: 22 March 2001.