JONNA KARLA BAGUIO BARCELOTE, Petitioner v. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, RICKY 0. TINITIGAN, and LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR, DAVAO CITY, Respondents
GR No. 222095 August 7, 2017
TOPIC: birth certificate of illegitimate child without signature of mother
On 24 June 2008, she bore a child out of wedlock with a married man named Ricky 0. Tinitigan in her relative’s residence in Sibulan, Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur. She was not able to register the birth of their child, whom she named Yohan Grace Barcelote, because she did not give birth in a hospital.
To hide her relationship with Tinitigan, she remained in Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur while Tinitigan lived with his legitimate family in Davao City and would only visit her. On 24 August 2011, she bore another child with Tinitigan, whom she named as Joshua Miguel Barcelote. Again, she did not register his birth to avoid humiliation, ridicule, and possible criminal charges. Thereafter, she lost contact with Tinitigan and she returned to Davao City.
When her first child needed a certificate of live birth for school admission, Barcelote finally decided to register the births of both children. She, then, returned to Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur to register their births. The Local Civil Registrar of Santa Cruz approved the late registration of the births of Yohan Grace Barcelote and Joshua Miguel Barcelote, with Registry Nos. 2012-1344 and 2012-1335, respectively, after submitting proof that the National Statistics Office (NSO) has no record of both births on file.
However, upon submission of the copies of the late registration of the births to the NSO, Barcelote was informed that there were two certificates of live birth (subject birth certificates) with the same name of the mother and the years of birth of the children in their office.
The subject birth certificates registered by the Local Civil Registrar of Davao City state the names “Avee Kyna Noelle Barcelote Tinitigan” and “Yuhares Jan Barcelote Tinitigan”. Ricky Tinitigan was the listed Informant in both birth certificates.
Thus, petitioner Barcelote filed a petition with the RTC for the cancellation of the subject birth certificates registered by Tinitigan without her knowledge and participation, and for containing erroneous entries.
RTC granted the cancellation of birth certificates. CA, however, reversed and set aside the same.
Whether or not the certificates of live birth of the two illegitimate children registered by their father Tinitigan, which were not duly signed by their mother Barcelote, were void.
The Court held that since the undisputed facts show that the children were born outside a valid marriage after 3 August 1988, specifically in June 2008 and August 2011, respectively, then they are the illegitimate children of Tinitigan and Barcelote. The children shall use the surname of their mother, Barcelote. The entry in the subject birth certificates as to the surname of the children is therefore incorrect; their surname should have been “Barcelote” and not “Tinitigan.”
The Court did not agree with the CA that the subject birth certificates were the express recognition of the children’s filiation by Tinitigan, because they were not duly registered in accordance with law i.e. the subject birth certificates of the illegitimate children were not signed by their mother.
Act No. 3753, otherwise known as the Civil Registry Law, 16 states:
Section 5. Registration and Certification of Birth. -The declaration of the physician or midwife in attendance at the birth or, in default thereof, the declaration of either parent of the newborn child, shall be sufficient for the registration of a birth in the civil register. Such declaration shall be exempt from the documentary stamp tax and shall be sent to the local civil registrar not later than thirty days after the birth, by the physician, or midwife in attendance at the birth or by either parent of the newly born child. (first paragraph)
In case of an illegitimate child, the birth certificate shall be signed and sworn to jointly by the parents of the infant or only the mother if the father refuses. (fourth paragraph)
The first paragraph of Section 5 of Act No. 3753 assumes that the newborn child is legitimate since our law accords a strong presumption in favor of legitimacy of children. On the other hand, the fourth paragraph of Section 5 specifically provides that in case of an illegitimate child, the birth certificate shall be signed and sworn to jointly by the parents of the infant or only the mother if the father refuses. The fourth paragraph of Section 5 specifically applies to an illegitimate child and likewise underscores its mandatory character with the use of the word “shall.”
Mother must sign the birth certificate of her illegitimate child; otherwise, the same is void
Thus, it is mandatory that the mother of an illegitimate child signs the birth certificate of her child in all cases, irrespective of whether the father recognizes the child as his or not. The only legally known parent of an illegitimate child, by the fact of illegitimacy, is the mother of the child who conclusively carries the blood of the mother. Thus, this provision ensures that individuals are not falsely named as parents. The mother must sign and agree to the information entered in the birth certificate because she has the parental authority and custody of the illegitimate child.
Since it appears on the face of the subject birth certificates that the mother did not sign the documents, the local civil registrar had no authority to register the subject birth certificates.
Clearly, the subject birth certificates were not executed consistent with the provisions of the law respecting the registration of birth of illegitimate children. Aside from the fact that the entry in the subject birth certificates as to the surname of the children is incorrect since it should have been that of the mother, the subject birth certificates are also incomplete as they lacked the signature of the mother.
Accordingly, the Court declared the subject birth certificates void and order their cancellation for being registered against the mandatory provisions of the Family Code requiring the use of the mother’s surname for her illegitimate children and Act No. 3753 requiring the signature of the mother in her children’s birth certificates.