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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-21806. August 17, 1967.]

IN RE: Petition for the correction and/or Marginal Annotation of Entries in the Birth Certificate of Oscar Sia Oliva. DOMINGO DY OLIVA, and VICENTA SIA OLIVA, Petitioners-Appellees, v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Oppositor-Appellant.

Benjamin D. Simbria for Petitioners-Appellees.

The Solicitor General for Oppositor-Appellant.


SYLLABUS


1. CIVIL LAW; CORRECTION OR ALTERATION OF ENTRIES IN CIVIL REGISTRY UNDER ART. 412, CIVIL CODE; WHAT IS ALLOWED. — It is the settled rule that the jurisdiction of the Court to order the correction or alteration of entries in the civil registry, allowed under Article 412 of the Civil Code, is limited only to innocuous or clerical mistakes (Ansaldo v. Republic, 102 Phil. 1046, reiterated in Black v. Republic, 104 Phil. 848; Tan Su v. Republic, 105 Phil. 578 and other cases).

2. ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. — With the data presently appearing in civil registry, which, according to the certificate of live birth of the child, were furnished by Vicenta S. Oliva (Exh. 1-A), Oscar Sia Oliva, as the son of Domingo Dy Oliva, a Chinese National, and of Vicenta Yu Sia, another Chinese national, is a Chinese citizen. To alter entries by changing the nationality of said parents, from "Chinese" to "Filipino", would be to make it appear in that public record that the same Oscar Sia Oliva is the son of Filipino citizens and, therefore, is a citizen of the Philippines. It is not difficult to see that the changes asked for are neither harmless nor innocuous, as petitioners- appellees pretend them to be. Neither is the case exempted from the operation of the rule simply because the petitioning parents were able to present evidence tending to establish their (the parents’) Philippine citizenship. The fact would not be material in a summary proceeding for judicial correction of the civil registry, citizenship not being a proper subject of inquiry therein.

3. ID.; ID.; PETITION FOR CORRECTION UNDER ART. 108, REV. RULES OF COURT NECESSARY. — Since the correction contemplated does not refer merely to clerical errors, a summary proceeding would not be sufficient. Instead, petitioners should file a petition as that provided for under Article 108 of the Revised Rules of Court, Section 4 of which requires notice and publication (Tan v. Republic, Supra).


D E C I S I O N


REYES, J.B.L., J.:


Appeal of the Solicitor General from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Rizal (Pasay City) in Sp. Proc. No. 1834-P, ordering the Local Civil Registrar of Pasay City to correct his record, "as to the nationality of Oscar Sia Oliva by substituting the word ’Filipino’ in lieu of ’Chinese’ in entry No 8 of his certificate of live birth, upon payment of the prescribed fees."cralaw virtua1aw library

The spouses Domingo Dy Oliva and Vicenta Sia Oliva, allegedly both citizens of the Philippines, petitioned the Court of First Instance on January 22 1963, to order the correction and/or annotation of certain entries in the Certificate of Live Birth of their child Oscar Sia Oliva, who was born on October 28, 1958. It was claimed that through mistake and inadvertence in the preparation and registration of the birth certificate of said child, petitioners’ nationality was entered as Chinese, instead of Filipino. Over the State’s opposition, the lower court rendered the decision now on appeal.

Justifying the exercise of jurisdiction by the lower court, and disputing the applicability in this case of the authorities cited by the Solicitor General, that citizenship cannot be the subject of the summary proceeding for correction of entries in the civil registry, petitioners-appellees contend that it is not the declaration of their citizenship that is here involved, because that is supposed to be already settled, 1 but only the correction of an erroneous entry in the certificate of birth of their son, Oscar.

It is the settled rule that the jurisdiction of the court to order the correction or alteration of entries in the civil registry, allowed under Article 412 of the Civil Code, is limited only to innocuous or clerical mistakes. As stated in the leading case of Ansaldo v. Republic: 2

". . . the clerical errors which might be corrected through judicial sanction under Article 412 of the New Civil Code, would be those harmless and innocuous changes, such as, correction of a name that is clearly misspelled, occupation of the parents, etc.; but for changes involving the civil status of the parents, their nationality or citizenship, those are grave and important matters which may have a bearing and effect on the citizenship and nationality not only of said parents, but of the offsprings, and to seek said changes, it is necessary to file a proper suit wherein not only the State, but also all parties concerned and affected should be made parties defendants or respondents, and evidence should be submitted, either to support the allegations of the petition or complaint, or also to disprove the same so that any order or decision in the case may be made with due process of law and on the basis of facts proven. Then and only then may the change or changes be made in the entry in a civil register that will affect or even determine conclusively the citizenship or nationality of a person therein involved." (Italics supplied.)

With the data presently appearing in the civil registry, which, according to the certificate of live birth of the child, were furnished by Vicenta S. Oliva (Exh. 1-A), Oscar Sia Oliva, as the son of Domingo Dy Oliva, a Chinese national, and of Vicenta Yu Sia, another Chinese national, is a Chinese citizen. To alter the entries by changing the nationality of said parents, from "Chinese" to "Filipino", would be to make it appear in that public record that the same Oscar Sia Oliva is the son of Filipino citizens and, therefore, is a citizen of the Philippines. It is not difficult to see that the changes asked for are neither harmless nor innocuous, as petitioners-appellees pretend them to be.

Neither is the case exempted from the operation of the rule simply because the petitioning parents were able to present evidence tending to establish their (the parents’) Philippine citizenship. That fact would not be material in a summary proceeding for judicial correction of the civil registry, citizenship not being a proper subject of inquiry therein.

Anent the complaint of appellees that parties similarly situated as they are left without recourse under the law, this Court once said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"It follows that since the correction contemplated in this case does not refer merely to clerical errors, a summary proceeding would not be sufficient. Instead, petitioners should file a petition as that provided for under Article 108 of the Revised Rules of Court, section 4 of which requires notice and publication, . . ." 3

and which was precisely established in 1964 for the purposes of petitioners herein.

Wherefore, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed, and the petition ordered dismissed, without prejudice to new proceedings in conformity with Rule 108 of the Revised Rules of Court. Costs against the appellees.

Makalintal, Bengzon, J .P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro, Angeles and Fernando, JJ., concur.

Concepcion, C.J. and Dizon, J., on leave, did not take part.

Foonotes

1. In the court below, petitioners presented proof of their citizenship, consisting of their marriage contract, which placed their nationality as Filipino (Exh. A); Opinion No. 19, s-1952 of the Secretary of Justice, cancelling the alien registration certificates of Domingo Oliva and his sister, Iluminada, allegedly it having been established that their father, Isidoro Oliva, is a Filipino citizen (Exh. C); and the order, dated March 27, 1962, of the Acting Assistant Commissioner of Immigration (C.C. No. 2410), cancelling the alien registry of Vicenta Sia Chua, on account of the naturalization of her father on July 5, 1955, when she was 19 years, 11 months and 4 days old (Exh. D).

2. 102 Phil. 1046, Feb. 14, 1958; reiterated in Black v. Republic, 104 Phil. 848; Tan Su v. Republic, 105 Phil. 578; Bantoto Coo v. Republic, G.R. No. L-14978, May 23, 1961; Lui Sin v. Republic, G.R. No. L-18213, Dec. 24, 1963; David v. Republic, G.R. No. L-21316, Nov. 29, 1965; Baybayan v. Republic, G.R. No. L-20707, March 18, 1966; Tan v. Republic, G.R. No. L-19847, April 29,1966.

3. Tan v. Republic, supra.

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