Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Indigents exempted from paying filing fees

Dear PAO,
I am writing for my mother whose date of birth was erroneously entered in their marriage contract. To correct the date, my mother has to file a Petition for Correction of Entry in the Office of the Local Civil Registrar. Is there a chance that my mother can be exempted from paying the fees for the filing of the petition?
Dear Chloe,
The enactment of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9048 simplified the process of correcting erroneous entries in the civil registry, which are regarded as typographical or clerical errors. Civil registrars and consul generals were authorized by the said law to correct these erroneous entries. This is according to Section 1 thereof, which was amended by R.A. No. 10172, which reads as follows:
“SECTION 1. Authority to Correct Clerical or Typographical Error and Change of First Name or Nickname. No entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order, except for clerical or typographical errors and change of first name or nickname, the day and month in the date of birth or sex of a person where it is patently clear that there was a clerical or typographical error or mistake in the entry, which can be corrected or changed by the concerned city or municipal civil registrar or consul general in accordance with the provisions of this Act and its implementing rules and regulations.”
Assuming that the error in your parents’ marriage contract is clerical or typographical error, indeed a petition before the Local Civil Registrar may be filed to correct the same. However, a fee shall be collected before the petition is acted upon by the said officer. To be exempt from the payment of the said fee, it must be proven that the petitioner is indigent. This is according to Section 8 of the said law as amended by R.A. Act No. 10172,which provides:
“SEC. 8. Payment of Fees. The city or municipal civil registrar or the consul general shall be authorized to collect reasonable fees as a condition for accepting the petition. An indigent petitioner shall be exempt from the payment of the said fee.
In the same vein, an indigent petitioner refers to a destitute, needy and poor individual who is certified as such by the social welfare and development office of the city/municipal government. (2.7, Rule 2, Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 2001, Rules and Regulations Governing the Implementation of Republic Act No. 9048)
Based on the foregoing discussion, to be exempted from paying the required filing fee for the abovementioned petition, your mother has to prove that she is indigent. This can be done through a certification to be issued by the local social welfare and development office in your locality, certifying among other things that your mother is indigent.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

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