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RA 9255’s IRR makes the use of the father’s surnameautomatic and mandatory
Under the IRR, if the father signs the birth certificate,then AUTOMATICALLY the child will carry his surname.
For example, Rule 7.1.1 states:
“The illegitimate child shall use the surname of the father if a public document is execu-ted by the father, either at the back of the Certificate of LiveBirth or in a separate document.”
Rule 8.2 also provides that “for births previously registeredunder the surname of the mother”, the following rule shallbe followed:
Rule 8.2.1 If admission of paternity was made either at the back of the Certificate of Live Birth or in aseparate public document or in a private handwrit-ten document, the public document or AUSF shall be recorded in the Register of Legal Instruments.Proper annotation shall be made in the Certificateof Live Birth and the Register of Births as follows:“The surname of the child is hereby changed from(original surname) to (new surname) pursuant toRA 9255.” The original surname of the child appearing in theCertificate of Live Birth and Register of Births shall not be changed or deleted.
RA 9255 and its IRR as a tool of oppression againstwomen?
Where is the mother’s freedom of choice in what sur-name her illegitimate child will use? What if the womandecides to raise the child by her own without any helpor support from the man?
Unknowingly or unintentionally,the people who crafted the IRR of RA 9255 made it as a toolof oppression against women. If the biological father simplysigns the birth certificate or issues a public or private docu-ment acknowledging the child, the child automatically willcarry his surname, even without the mother’s knowledge or consent.For example, I know of a pregnant 18-year old girl. The girl’sfamily wisely refused to allow the man (22 years old, joblessand irresponsible) to marry the girl. The family is taking careof the girl and planning to raise the baby by themselveswithout any help from the guy. But based on the IRR of RA9255, the guy can create a lot of problems if he is able tosign the birth certificate OR if he simply issues a documentacknowledging the child. Based on the mandatory nature of the IRR, the child will automatically carry his surname,despite whatever objections the girl and her family mighthave.Another case: The illegitimate child was born in the 1990’swith the birth certificate carrying the mother’s maiden sur-name. The father signed the back of the birth certificate, butfrom the child’s birth, he never gave any financial support.The mother was forced to work overseas to support the childby herself. Recently, upon coming back to the Philippines,she discovered that her child was under the custody of thebiological father and was now using his surname in schoolrecords. Why? The man and his family (who have now be-come interested in the child) submitted the requirements tothe Local Civil Registrar. Under the mandatory nature of theIRR, the child is now using his surname, without the know-ledge and/or permission of the mother!
Based on the letter and spirit of RA 9255, the womanshould give her consent as to whether she wants or nother child to carry the man’s surname.
The IRR is wrongbecause of its mandatory nature. Meaning, okay, let the mansign the birth certificate to acknowledge the child. That is for the benefit of the child with regards the issue of support andinheritance. But as to what surname that child will carry, themother should be given the freedom to choose, whether touse the man’s surname or use her maiden surname.Sen. Loren Legarda is the principal sponsor of RA 9255.The spirit and intent of RA 9255 are certainly commendable.But the IRR as it stands now makes RA 9255 a tool for op-pressing women. Without waiting for Sen. Legarda’s clarifi-cation or for the NSO to act on this matter, women affectedby this situation should go to court to seek relief. One optionis to file a petition for declaratory relief under Rule 63 of theRules of Court. In layman’s terms, a petition for declaratoryrelief is asking the court to issue its legal opinion on whether the IRR exceeded the letter and intent of RA 9255. Thispetition can only be filed by a party who has not yet beenadversely affected by the IRR.In the case of mothers or children who have already beenadversely affected by the IRR (that is, the child now carriesthe surname of the biological father despite the lack of knowledge or consent of the mother), a petition for certiorariunder Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is the appropriate remedy.