This is verified petition filed on April 28, 1978 by petitioner Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte through her counsel, Atty. Rosauro Alvarez, praying that her name be changed from Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte to Estrella S. Alfon.
The notice setting the petition for hearing on December 14, 1978 at 8:30 o'clock in the morning was published in the Times Journal in its issues of July 28, August 5 and 11, 1978 and a copy thereof together with a copy of the petition was furnished the Office of the Solicitor General (Exhibits C, C-1, C-2 and C-3).
At the hearing of the petition on December 14, 1978, Atty. Rosauro Alvarez appeared for the petitioner and Fiscal Donato Sor. Suyat, Jr. represented the office of the Solicitor General, Upon motion of counsel for the petitioner, without objection on the part of Fiscal Suyat, the Deputy Clerk of Court was appointed commissioner to receive the evidence and to submit the same for resolution of the Court.
From the testimonial and document evidence presented, it appears that petitioner Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte was born on May 15, 1952 at the U.S.T. Hospital (Exhibit A). She was registered at the local Civil Registrar's Office as Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte On June 15, 1952, she was baptized as Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte at the St. Anthony de Padua Church Singalong, Manila (Exhibit B). Her parents are Filomeno Duterte and Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte has been taken cared of by Mr. and Mrs. Hector Alfon. Petitioner and her uncle, Hector Alfon, have been residing at 728 J.R. Yulo Street corner Ideal Street, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila for twenty-three (23) years. When petitioner started schooling, she used the name Estrella S. Alfon. She attended her first grade up to fourth year high school at Stella Maris College using the name Estrella S. Alfon (Exhibits E, E-1, E-2 and E-3). After graduating from high school she enrolled at the Arellano University and finished Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Exhibit E-4). Her scholastic records from elementary to college show that she was registered by the name of Estrella S. Alfon. Petitioner has exercised her right of suffrage under the same name (Exhibit D). She has not committed any felony or misdemeanor (Exhibits G, G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-4).
Petitioner has advanced the following reasons for filing the petition:
1. She has been using the name Estrella Alfon since her childhood;
2. She has been enrolled in the grade school and in college using the same name;
3. She has continuously used the name Estrella S. Alfon since her infancy and all her friends and acquaintances know her by this name;
4. She has exercised her right of suffrage under the same name.
Section 5, Rule 103 of the Rules of Court provides:
Upon satisfactory proof in open court on the date fixed in the order that such order has been published as directed and that the allegations of the petition are true, the court shall if proper and reasonable cause appears for changing the name of the petitioner adjudge that such name be changed in accordance with the prayer of the petition.
The evidence submitted shows that the change of name from Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte to Estrella Alfon is not proper and reasonable with respect to the surname. The fact that petitioner has been using a different surname and has become known with such surname does not constitute proper and reasonable cause to legally authorize and change her surname to Alfon. The birth certificate clearly shows that the father of petitioner is Filomeno Duterte. Petitioner likewise admitted this fact in her testimony. To allow petitioner to change her surname from Duterte to Alfon is equivalent to allowing her to use her mother's surname. Article 364 of the Civil Code provides:
Legitimate and legitimated children shall principally use the surname of the father.
If another purpose of the petitioner is to carry the surname of Alfon because her uncle who reared her since childhood has the surname "Alfon" then the remedy is not a petition for change of name.
WHEREFORE, the petition insofar as the first name is granted but denied with respect to the surname. Petitioner is authorized to change her name from Maria Estrella Veronica Primitiva Duterte to Estrella Alfon Duterte.
Let copy of this order be furnished the Local Civil Registrar of Pasig, Metro Manila pursuant to Section 3, Rule 103 of the Rules of Court.