Thursday, December 5, 2013

Petitions for correction of birth certificate errors not as costly as criminal or civil cases

Dear PAO,
I have a legal problem regarding the entries in the birth certificates of my two children. From my reading of your column, I learned that the error in the entries in the birth certificates of my children will require correction which can only be effected by an order of the court. My questions are, how is the petition filed and how much will I spend for this including the lawyer’s fees?
Ms. Saipan
Dear Ms. Saipan,
Before you can file the petition to effect the correction in the birth certificates of your children, you should consult a lawyer who will prepare the said petition. The Petition for Correction of Entry in the record of birth of any party seeking for correction in the same may be filed in the Regional Trial Court of the place where the birth is registered. In your case, you may file the petition in the place of the appropriate civil registry where the births of your two (2) children are registered. The said remedy is provided for under Section 1, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court which provides that:
“Any person interested in any act, event or order or decree concerning the civil status of persons which has been recorded in the civil register may file a verified petition for the cancellation or correction of any entry relating thereto, with the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court) of the province where the civil registry is located.”
The following entries in the Civil Register may be cancelled or corrected: (a) births; (b) marriages; (c) deaths; (d) legal separations; (e) judgments or annulments of marriage; (f) judgment declaring marriages void from the beginning; (g) legitimations; (h) adoptions; (i) acknowledgments of natural children; (j) naturalization; (k) election, loss or recovery of citizenship; (l) civil interdiction; (m) judicial determination of filiation; (n) voluntary emancipation of a minor; and (o) changes of name (Section 2, Rule 108, Rules of Court).
Relative to your query of how much is the cost for the filing of the petition, you will be spending for the filing fees in court as well as the expenses for the publication. Filing fees for this kind of cases are minimal. However, the amount of expenses for the publication would depend on the kind of newspaper that will publish the Order of the court giving due course to your petition. Judicial publications are determined through raffle and made through the Office of the Clerk of Court which has jurisdiction over your petition.
As for the lawyers’ fee, the same is dependent on the intricacies of the case, the professional standing of the lawyer, among others, and subject to the guidelines as imposed by the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Canon 20 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, provides, that a lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees and in the determination of the lawyers’ fees, a lawyer shall be guided by the following factors, to wit:
a) The time spent and the extent of the services rendered or required;
b) The novelty and difficulty of the questions involved;
c) The importance of the subject matter;
d) The skill demanded;
e) The probability of losing other employment as a result of the acceptance of the proferred case;
f) The customary charges for similar services and the schedule of fees of the IBP chapter to which he belongs;
g) The amount involved in the controversy and the benefits resulting to the client from the service;
h) The character of the employment, whether occasional or established; and
i) Professional standing of the lawyer (Rule 20.01 Code of Professional Responsibility).
Petitions for correction of entries may not be as difficult as other criminal or civil cases, hence, lawyers may not be charging you much more than what is fair and reasonable.
We hope that we were able to substantially answer all your queries. However, please be reminded that our opinion is based on your narration of facts and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary if other facts are added or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to

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