What’s in a name? Change of name without going to court

A name, according to the Supreme Court in a 2005 case, has two parts: (1) the given or proper name and (2) the surname or family name. The given or proper name is that which is given to the individual at birth or at baptism, to distinguish him from other individuals. The surname or family name is that which identifies the family to which he belongs and is continued from parent to child. Parents are free to select the given name of their child, but the law fixes the surname to which the child is entitled to use.

Middle names, on the other hand, are not regulated by law, although the Filipino custom is to use the mother’s surname as the child’s middle name. Still, you cannot drop or delete your middle name. Middle names serve to identify the maternal lineage or filiation of a person as well as further distinguish him from others who may have the same given name and surname as he has.

How about an illegitimate child whose filiation is not recognized by the father? Can that child use the middle name of the mother? The answer is, no. That child “bears only a given name and his mother’ surname, and does not have a middle name.  The name of the unrecognized illegitimate child therefore identifies him as such.”

An illegitimate child may now use the surname of the father. This is a recognition of the fact that illegitimacy is not the child’s fault, and, therefore, the child should be shielded against the social stigma and other negative consequences arising from illegitimacy. To illustrate, what’s your first thought should you notice that a kid uses the name of the mother, and not of the father? Even the illegitimate child’s friends and contemporaries in school, should they learn that, unlike them, their friend follows the surname of the mother, would start asking why.

Another welcome amendment is with respect to the procedure in changing names. Going to court, with all the expenses that goes with it, to change first names and correct clerical errors is no longer necessary. Under Republic Act No. 9048 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, the city or municipal civil registrar or the consul general is authorized to correct a clerical or typographical error in an entry and/or change the first name or nickname in the civil register without need of a judicial order. It must be made clear, however, a court order is still required for substantial changes such as surname, gender, nationality, and status.

R.A. 9048, which took effect on 22 April 2001, amends the Civil Code (Articles 376 and 412), which prohibits the change of name or surname of a person, or any correction or change of entry in a civil register without a judicial order. The matters that you need to know (Primer) about R.A. 9048 is found at the National Statistics Office (NSO) website.

129 thoughts on “What’s in a name? Change of name without going to court

  1. Marian

    Good day,

    I have few concerns, I am legally married to a Canadian citizen and been separated for a long time. Few years after a separation I have relationship with other men and got pregnant.

    During the pregnancy things was not okay with my new relationship and decide to end it. But he was present the day I gave birth to my daughter.

    In the hospital where I gave birth, The people from live birth records told us that I can’t put the baby as the biological father’s name as I was still married to my Canadian husband and as my legal husband he is the one entitled and have the legal rights on the birth certificate which my husband agreed on. Also because the biological father act as an sperm donor in away.

    However, despite of what hospital told us my Daughter has been registered to my ex boyfriend’s name without my permission. I don’t know who registered my daughter to his name as it doesn’t indicate who registered my daughter and my husband already claimed my daughter to be his and to protect me and my daughter from my ex boyfriend.

    I am still married to my husband now and he take responsibilities to my daughter. We want to register my daughter in muntinlupa but as we got the record from the hospital they ask for the certificate of no record of my daughter but when we check at NSO she was registered by unknown persons name.

    I could not register my daughter to my husband’s name using the record and information given by the hospital because someone already registered her in my ex boyfriend’s name without informing me.

    In order for me and my husband to get the papers we needed. We have broken the law for the sake of our daughter. And we both decided to register my daughter in other different location where she was original been born and put she was home birth.

    We know that my husband and I can be in trouble because of what we did, but whatever we did was for the sake of our daughter.

    Now my ex boyfriend want to claim my daughter because he is in the birth certificate which we did not register and was told my hospital not to register my daughter to ex boyfriends name as it is against the law.

    My question is: what penalty should we be getting in the future? And is it possible to request to have the birth certificate registered to my ex boyfriend be void? My daughter is now registered to NSO and we put I gave birth at home for the record and not hospital. Is it possible to change where my daughter is born? What are the steps I need to be doing to make everything right for my daughter?

    Please, I hope you can help me.

    Thank you,


  2. Liezl

    Hi gud pm po…atty gusto ko po ichange ang lastname ng aking anak s apelyido ng tatay nya…s ngayon po apelyido ko gamit s pagkadalaga….ang tatay nya po ay isang japanese hindi po name nya ang nkasulat s birth certificate …ang nkasulat po ay name ng aking husband…..ano po ang pwede kong gawin atty? Help me po..thank you

  3. Kevin

    I want to change my son’s middle name and all I get from lawyer here and local registry is I MUST go to court! this contradicts all I have read.
    “Law Is Silent As To The Use Of
    Middle Name –
    As correctly submitted by both parties, there is no law regulating the use of a middle name. Even Article 17611 of the Family Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 9255, otherwise known as “An Act Allowing Illegitimate Children To Use The Surname Of Their Father,” is silent as to what middle name a child may use.
    Please direct me to someone who can help I am in General Santos.

  4. KENLY

    Hello po,

    Pwede po ako makahinge ng advise. May prob po ako. 2 po ang Birth Cert ko isang Kenly Sedano Perida ( (late registered, Perida is the surname of my father) at isang Joan Sedano (1st registered apilyedo ng mama ko, no father appeared sa birth Cert ko). Since pagkabinyag sa akin kenly S. Perida na gamit ko, i and we never knew na existed ang Joan Sedano. Last year po kumuha po ako ng NSO but ang binibigay nila is Joan Sedano. Malaki po ang pag kakaiba. Nung nag punta ako sa Civil Registrar kung saan naka rehistro ang Joan Sedano para mapa pa change ng name ok lang daw po sa change ng 1st name but pag sa surname na kailangan i daan sa court because of the (grande vs. antonio case). Nasa legal age na po ako. Pero gusto ko po sana kenly sedano nalng ang gagamitin ko. Pero paano po ang mga school records ko po. Is there any way na pwedeng baguhin ang school records ko from Perida to Sedano?

    Thank you po.

  5. Rei

    I have a question regarding the change of my daughter’s surname from his father to mine? I was married to the father of my child last march 2014 through civil wedding. We only lived together for about a month then I returned to my parents roof after a month. I was 4 months pregnant then. By mid June 2014, he left without a single word and never returned since then. I had no idea of his whereabouts from then on. His parents and siblings were kinda telling me to forget him and stop pursuing my marriage with him..how could it be when we were legally married? He didnt comply to his paternal responsiblities to our child from pregnancy to birth til now. And lately, i learned that he is a gay and he is now in a relationship with the same gender as him. That’s why i made my decisions to change my daughter’s last name to mine since i shoulder all the parental responsibilities to my child. And plus the thought that i dont want my child to be bullied around when she reaches the school age. Thank u for the reply.

  6. Jlo

    Hi. Po may problema po ako sa birthcertificate
    Madami pong mali sa birthcertificate
    Pero all record ko po hindi pareho sa original ano po dapat kung gawin need ko po kasi kumuha ng birthcertificate na ginagamit ko po noon pang name. Year. Birthplace. Yan po ang may wrong pls help po kailangan na kailangan ko pong birthcertificate kahit affidavit po. As soon as possible. Thank u po

  7. jenn

    hello.. question: what if I wanted my daughter to use my surname VS her fathers last name (which she currently using) what steps should I do? is that possible for me to process that as change of name in NSO since we are not married. thank you!

  8. Ailyn

    Hi am ailyn, a single mother but my son’s surname was his father surname, but now i want it to change, i want my son’s to use my surname.is it possible that i can change my son’s surname? thank you.

  9. pearl

    hello .
    i would like to ask something regarding with my birth certificate.
    i was planning to get a passport and thr problem was, on my birth cert. my father doesnt have a middle name and my mother’s middle name was mispelled. do i have to correct those for me to get a passport ?
    thank u ?


  10. milky

    My name is “Milky” but my NSO name is “Micky”…. I want to change it to “Milky” what am I ganna do ? … am I ganna spend money for these?…….. MILKY is my name…. plsss help me….

  11. Moiselle

    Hi Sir,

    Good Day! I hope this finds you well.

    I would just like to know, if it can be possible for me to change my last name from my Father’s to my Mother’s last name?

    I am now 29 years old. My parents were not married when I was born. From the beginning of the pregnancy, until to date, my father never performed any paternal duties to assist my mother in raising me. I just knew my father because I searched for him and sometimes asks for some time from him to bridge the gap.

    Before I was born, he already got a son with another woman. He is currently based in the US and I knew him personally because I introduced myself to him when I was able to search for him via Friendster. I got the information about my brother’s name from my mom. My father never introduced us to each other. We just did our best so we can align our plans and finally meet when he was already 28 years old and I was 26 years old.

    My father also got married several years ago, and had a currently 15 years old daughter with his wife. His daughter knew my older brother, but never knew anything about me. I tried to do something to connect myself with her but my father didn’t want me to communicate with her as he has no plans of doing it by that time and he said he is planning to do it at a later time when she can understand. His daughter was 9 years old then, and she is 15 years old now. But still, my existence to his daughter and to his entire clan was an unknown story.

    During my 29 years of living, I never knew anyone from his side of clan, aside from him and my older half-brother, and he’s never planning anything to make it happen. This was the reason why I think my last name is irrelevant for me to use, and I have been thinking about changing it for the longest time and now is the time that I have already decided that I really want to do it.

    I hope you can give me an advise, on the feasibility of changing my name. I want to use my mother’s last name, because in the first place, the family that I’ve known all my life was just her family.

    Thank you in advance.

  12. Candy

    Hi good afternoon. What documents do I need to show the local civil registry office in the province of Iloilo, if I want to add a “de” in my family name for my marriage certificate? Will the following documents be accepted? A) bank records B) Drivers’ License C) Land Title D) Passport of my husband.
    Thank you and God bless.

  13. Guia

    Good day!

    Ipinangalan ng parents ko ang along anak sa kanila upon giving birth to him. He is now 10yo at ang parents ko ay both govt employees and about to retire next year. Gusto ko sana e transfer ang name nya to be under my name. My any ways po ba na magawa ko yan na hindi makulong ang parents ko, at ilang years po ba bago ma approve ang petition?

    Salamat po.

  14. Lovelyn

    Im married but already separated since 2009, I just want to change my daughter’s surname to mine for future references like migrating to another country without his consent cause i already have a partner who stands to be my daughter’s father for 6 years…is that possible?


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