Republic of the Philippines


G.R. No. L-15811             March 27, 1961

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, oppositor-appellant.

Priscillo Evangelista for petitioners-appellees.
Office of the Solicitor General for oppositor-appellant.


In a petition for change of name filed by Juan Manuel and his children Alexander, Gloria, Jack, and Victor, all surnamed Manuel, in the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan (Sp. Proc. No. 13791), it was alleged, among others

1. That petitioner Juan Manuel is the father of the other petitioners Alexander, Gloria, Jack, and Victor, all surnamed Manuel; that they are all of legal age, except petitioners Gloria Manuel, Tick Manuel and Victor Manuel, who are 20, 18, and 16 years of age, respectively, Filipinos, and residents of No. 17 Castillo Street, Municipality of Lingayen, Province of Pangasinan, Philippines;

2. That the petitioners have been and still are bona fide residents of the Municipality of Lingayen, Province of Pangasinan, Philippines, since the time of their birth up to the present;

3. That petitioner Juan Manuel desires to change his name, because there are several persons not only in the street where he resides but in the whole municipality of Lingayen, whose names are identical to his name, Juan Manuel, thus causing confusion, particularly whenever a letter is addressed simply "Juan Manuel", it could not be determined with certainty who is the person referred to. Another reason for the desire to change his name is that he is the child born outside of wedlock of one John Eaton, an American, and Maria Arachea Manuel, a Filipino, now both deceased. When petitioner Juan Manuel was baptized he used the family name of his mother; now, however, he desires to follow the name and surname of his father;

4. That the other petitioners Alexander, Gloria, Jack and Victor, all surnamed Manuel naturally and logically desire to follow their father's family name;

5. That petitioner Juan Manuel desires to change his name to John M. Eaton and petitioners, Alexander, Gloria, Jack and Victor all surnamed Manuel; desire to change their names to Alexander, Gloria, Jack and Victor, all surnamed EATON;

6. That the petitioners desire that the order of hearing be published in the Pangasinan Courier.

This petition was duly published in the Pangasinan Courier once a week for three consecutive weeks.

The Solicitor General filed an opposition thereto on certain procedural grounds.

After due trial, during which only the petitioners appeared and adduced their evidence, the court granted the petition. From this decision, the oppositor has appealed.

It may be observed from the petition quoted above that the plea for change of name, from Juan Manuel to Juan M. Eaton, is prompted not only by the inconveniences his present name brings to petitioner but also by his desire to carry and use the surname of his putative father. Actually, therefore, the granting of the petition would not only result in the change of the name by which he is customarily known, but would also give judicial sanction to the use by petitioner who, admittedly, was born out of wedlock to Maria Arichea Manuel and one John Eaton, of his alleged father's surname.

Under the Civil Code, a natural child may use the father's surname if he is acknowledged by both parents. Should he be recognized by only one of the parents, the natural child shall employ the surname of such recognizing parent. (Art. 366; also Art. 282). There is no evidence on record that petitioner Juan Manuel was duly recognized by the alleged father. The petition, therefore, for change of his name from Juan Manuel to Juan M. Eaton, should have been denied by the trial court.

It is true that the question of paternity is not the issue in the instant case, and there may really be some need for a change of his name, yet petitioner should not be allowed to use a surname which otherwise he is not permitted to employ under the law.

With the above conclusion, it follows that the prayer of the other petitioners must also be denied.

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby reversed, without pronouncement as to costs. So ordered.

Bengzon, Actg. C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion and Reyes, J.B.L., JJ., concur.

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