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Republic of the Philippines

Court of Appeals
Manila

SPECIAL TWELFTH DIVISION

IN RE: PETITION FOR THE


CORRECTION OF FIRST NAME CA-G.R. CV No. 112284
OF LEILANIE QUILANG JUAN
FROM “LENIE” TO “LEILANIE”,
THE CORRECTION OF THE
DATE OF BIRTH OF LEILANIE
QUILANG JUAN FROM Members:
“MARCH 23, 1974” TO “MARCH
*
17, 1974” AND THE MOTHER'S SORONGON, E.D.,
FIRST NAME FROM “JANETTE” Acting Chairperson,
TO “CONSORCIA” IN HER QUIJANO-PADILLA, M.L.C., and
AUTHENTICATED BIRTH ROXAS, R.R.G., JJ.
CERTIFICATE; and FOR THE
CANCELLATION OF THE
SECOND CERTIFICATE AND
RECORD OF LIVE BIRTH OF
LEILANIE QUILANG JUAN
DATED JUNE 19, 1998 ISSUED BY
Promulgated:
THE LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRY
OF ECHAGUE, ISABELA,
NOVEMBER 11, 2019
CONSORCIA Q. JUAN,
Petitioner-Appellee,

- versus -

THE LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR


OF ECHAGUE, ISABELA,
Respondent,

REPUBLIC OF THE
PHILIPPINES,
Oppositor-Appellant.
xxx- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -xxx

DECISION

* Vice J. Mario V. Lopez, per Office Order No. 553-19-FLP dated November 5, 2019.
CA-G.R. CV No. 112284 Page 2 of 7
Decision

QUIJANO-PADILLA, J.:

This is an appeal filed by oppositor-appellant Republic of the


Philippines, through the Solicitor General, praying for the reversal
of the Decision1 dated October 9, 2018 of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC), Branch 24, Echague, Isabela, in SP. Proc. No. 24-804.

ANTECEDENTS

Petitioner-appellee alleges that she is the mother of Leilanie


Quilang Juan who was born on March 17, 1974 in Pangal Norte,
Echague, Isabela. It appears then that the fact of birth of her
daughter was registered twice. The first Certificate of Live Birth
was registered in 19732 as per records of the Philippine Statistics
Authority, while the second one was a late registration made on
June 19, 1998,3 the file of which only exists in the Local Civil
Registry of Echague, Isabela. Petitioner-appellee however claims
that the first Certificate of Live Birth of her daughter contains
several erroneous entries: the first name indicated “Lenie” instead of
“Leilanie”; the date of birth is “March 23, 1974” and not the correct
date which is “March 17, 1974” and it was stated that the first name
of the mother is “Janette” instead of “Consorcia.” As proof thereof,
she attached to the petition her daughter's Certificate of Baptism 4
dated March 20, 1975 and Clearance 5 issued by the National Bureau
of Investigation (NBI).

To put things in order, petitioner-appellee filed a Petition, 6


praying for the correction of the erroneous entries in the first
Certificate of Live Birth of Leilanie Quilang Juan and subsequently,
for the cancellation of the second certificate or record of birth of her
daughter.

Acting on said petition, the trial court issued an Order7 dated


June 25, 2018, setting the same for hearing on August 22, 2018 at 8:30
a.m. at which date, time and place, all interested persons were
1 Record, pp. 71-73.
2 Id. at p. 6.
3 Id. at p. 7.
4 Id. at p. 8.
5 Id. at p. 9.
6 Id. at pp. 1-5.
7 Id. at pp. 10-11.
CA-G.R. CV No. 112284 Page 3 of 7
Decision

ordered to appear and show cause, if any, why the petition should
not be granted. Petitioner-appellee was also ordered to cause the
publication of said Order, in a newspaper of general circulation in
the Province of Isabela, once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks.
Notices, along with copies of the Petition, were also ordered to be
sent to the Solicitor General, the Local Civil Registrar of Echague,
Isabela and the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The August 22, 2018 hearing was canceled and reset to


October 4, 2018. After the presentation of jurisdictional
requirements, petitioner-appellee was allowed to present evidence
8

ex parte in support of the petition.9

After going over the evidence on record, the RTC held in its
assailed Decision that petitioner-appellee has proven proper and
reasonable causes for the correction of entries prayed for and thus
decreed:10

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Municipal Local


Civil Registrar of Echague, Isabela is ordered to correct the
erroneous entries in the Certificate of Live Birth of LEILANIE
QUILANG JUAN reflected in Exhibit “J”, to wit:

a. her First Name LENIE should be LEILANIE;

b. her Date of Birth of March 23, 1974 should be March


17, 1974; and

c. her Mother's name JANETTE should be CONSORCIA.

The Municipal Local Civil Registrar of Echague, Isabela


is likewise ordered to cancel LEILANIE QUILANG JUAN'S
Certificate of Live Birth (Exh. “K”) registered on June 19, 1998,
to avoid duplicitous records or double registration for one child
which the law expressly prohibits.

Furnish copy of this Decision to the Office of the Solicitor


General, 134 Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City, Local
Civil Registrar of Echague, Isabela and the Civil Registrar
General, Philippine Statistics Authority, Quezon City.

SO ORDERED.

8 Id. at pp. 65-66.


9 Id. at pp. 67-68.
10 See Note 1 at p. 73.
CA-G.R. CV No. 112284 Page 4 of 7
Decision

The Solicitor General, representing the State, elevated this


matter on appeal before this Court based on the following
assignment of errors:11

A. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT


PETITIONER-APPELLEE FAILED TO SUBSTANTIATE HER
PETITION [AS THERE] AROSE AN ABSURD SITUATION
WHERE THE CERTIFICATE OF LIVE BIRTH WAS ISSUED
PRIOR TO THE BIRTH IT WAS TO RECORD.

B. APPELLEE FAILED TO SUBMIT SUBSTANTIAL


EVIDENCE THAT HER REAL NAME IS “CONSORCIA”
AND NOT “JANETTE.”

RULING

Essentially, the appeal is limited to the Solicitor General's


argument that petitioner-appellee failed to establish by
preponderance of evidence the correct date of birth and the correct
mother's name of Leilanie, as prayed for in the petition.

First, as to the correct date of birth of the child, the Solicitor


General states that Entry No. 26 in the first Certificate of Live Birth
indicates that said document was prepared on “3-23-73” or March
23, 1973. According to the OSG, the inference to be drawn
therefrom is that Leilanie was born on March 23, 1973 and not on
either March 23, 1974 or March 17, 1974. Since the Certificate of Live
Birth was prepared in the year 1973, to allow the correction of the
child's date of birth would result in an absurd situation where the
birth certificate was prepared in March 1973, in anticipation of the
child's birth in March 17, 1974.

We do not agree.

Contrary to the position of the Solicitor General, we find that


the birth certificate was issued in the year 1975 and not 1973. One
could immediately observe that Entry No. 26 in the first Certificate
of Live Birth, referring to the details when the certificate was
prepared, is quite illegible because the handwritten entry as to year
may be read as 1973 or 1975. Yet, upon closer examination of said
document and as correctly pointed out by petitioner-appellee in her

11 Rollo, p.18.
CA-G.R. CV No. 112284 Page 5 of 7
Decision

Appellee's Brief:12

x x x However, the handwritten year in Entry No. 26


though blurred is more proximate to 1975 than 1973. As point
of reference, in item No. 24 of the same Exh. “J”, referring to the
date of marriage of parents of the child, year written there is
1973. The number 3 in item number 24 has no similarity to the
last number in item no. 26. If it were 1973, the figure 3, should
be similar to the number 3 in item number 24, but they are not.
As a matter of fact, the last number in item 26 looks more like
number 5. Additionally, in the item for the date of birth of
Leilanie Quilang Juan in Exh. “J”, the year is legibly 1974 with
the number 4 slightly superimposed with the number 23 on its
upper portion. With these evidence, the birth year of Leilanie
Quilang Juan is easily established as 1974 and not 1973.

Now, as regards the day of Leilanie's birth, it was also


established that March 17 is the correct date of her birth and not
March 23 with the presentation of the latter's Birth Record with the
Local Civil Registrar of Echague, Isabela, her NBI Clearance and
Philippine passport. Having been duly registered with the proper
government offices, these are considered public documents and the
entries found therein are presumed correct, unless the party who
contests its accuracy can produce positive evidence establishing
otherwise.13

Next, the Solicitor General contends that petitioner-appellee


failed to present sufficient proof that the name of the mother in the
first Certificate of Live Birth should be changed from “Janette” to
“Consorcia.” It argues that petitioner-appellee's testimony that a
certain Mang Norberto, the person tasked to cause the registration,
wrote her name as “Janette” in the entry pertaining to the child's
mother because the same is her nickname or the name by which she
is commonly known in their community – is unsubstantiated and
uncorroborated. Further, the baptismal certificate marked in
evidence does not prove the veracity of the statement contained
therein that the name of Leilanie's mother is indeed “Consorcia” as
said document is only conclusive of fact that the sacrament of
baptism was administered to the child.

12 Id. at p. 40.
13 See Delfin v. Billones, G.R. No. 146550, March 17, 2006, citing Philippine American Life Insurance
Company v. Court of Appeals, 398 Phil. 559, 567 (2000).
CA-G.R. CV No. 112284 Page 6 of 7
Decision

We agree.

In Heirs of Pedro Cabais v. Court of Appeals,14 the Supreme Court


reiterated that a baptismal certificate, like all documents in general,
attests to the fact leading to its execution and the date thereof, the
administration of the sacrament on the day therein specified, but not
to the veracity of the statements therein contained regarding the
kinsfolk of the person baptized.

Therefore the presentation of Leilanie's baptismal certificate in


this case, along with petitioner-appellee's lone, self-serving
testimony are not enough to prove that the correct name of the
latter, as mother, is “Consorcia” and not “Janette.” Petitioner-
appellee could have easily proven her correct name had she
submitted her own record of birth or other pertinent public
documents, like passport and other government-issued
identification cards. Also, she could have presented other witnesses
who can confirm that she was indeed known in their locality as
“Janette” to account for the mistake in her daughter's birth
certificate. None was found in the record of this case, hence, We are
constrained to partially reverse the RTC's ruling.

WHEREFORE, the appeal is partly GRANTED.

The Decision dated October 9, 2018 of the Regional Trial


Court, Branch 24, Echague, Isabela, in SPL. Proc. No. 24-804 is hereby
AFFIRMED with modification that the order for Local Civil
Registrar of Echague, Isabela to correct the entry pertaining to the
name of the mother from “JANETTE” to “CONSORCIA” be
DELETED.

SO ORDERED.

ORIGINAL SIGNED
MA. LUISA C. QUIJANO-PADILLA
Associate Justice

14 G.R. Nos. 106314-15, October 8, 1999, citing Adriano v. De Jesus, 23 Phil. 350, 353-354.
CA-G.R. CV No. 112284 Page 7 of 7
Decision

WE CONCUR:

ORIGINAL SIGNED ORIGINAL SIGNED


EDWIN D. SORONGON RUBEN REYNALDO G. ROXAS
Associate Justice Associate Justice

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Article VIII, Section 13 of the Constitution, it is


hereby certified that the conclusions in the above decision were
reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of
the opinion of the Court.

ORIGINAL SIGNED
EDWIN D. SORONGON
Acting Chairperson
Special Twelfth Division