Friday, March 12, 2010

Can you change your first name without going to court?

There is available summary procedure in changing first name without need of costly and tedious court proceedings.
Before Republic Act No. 9048 took effect on 22 April 2001, it would take years for Filipinos to change their first name as the controlling laws then, particularly Article 376 of the Civil Code provides that all changes in names needs judicial authority. In addition, Article 412 of the same Civil Code also provides that all entries in the civil register cannot be changed or corrected without a judicial order.
With the stringent requirement for all changes in names and all entries in the civil registry needing court approval, many Filipinos could not afford the legal costs and expenses in the attendant court proceedings even in situations where errors that should be corrected are clearly clerical in nature.
Under Republic Act No. 9048, 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. However, all corrections that involve the change of nationality, age, status or sex still need court approval.
And so, Republic Act No. 9048 became known only as the law which allows for summary administrative procedures for clerical or typographical errors in our civil registry records.
But there is more under the above named law, as you can also change your first name or nickname under certain conditions. Take note the law speaks of change, not mere correction of clerical or typographical errors, as change of name requires court approval as a general rule.
Under Section 4 of Republic Act No. 9048, 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.
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.
Republic Act No. 9048 also contains penal provisions. It states that 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. Changing First Name Without Court Order
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  1. How about the legality of Bong Revilla's changing of last name so he'll appear at the top of the ballots? Why is that legal?

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