Remedial Law

In the matter of the change of name of Jesus Ng Yao Siong

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G.R. No. L-20306 – 123 Phil. 318 – 16 SCRA 483 – Remedial Law – Special Proceedings – Rule 103; Change of Name – Name to be changed must be the registered name

Jesus Ng Yao Siong is a Chinese residing in Dumaguete City. He has been living in the Philippines for so long already. He studied here and was also making a living here.

He filed a petition to change his name from Jesus Ng Yao Siong to Keng Lee Uy. His petition was captioned as “In the matter of the change of name of Jesus Ng Yao Siong, Jesus Ng Yao Siong, petitioner.”

His petition was published. Trial ensued and his petition was granted. The Solictor General questioned the grant on the ground that Jesus Ng Yao Siong’s real name is Jesus Ng and not Jesus Ng Yao Siong.

ISSUE: Whether or not the change of name petition should be granted.

HELD: No. Only the registered name or the real name as appearing in the civil registry records may be changed. An unofficial name cannot be the subject of a change of name petition. Here, petitioner’s registered name was simply “Jesus Ng” and not “Jesus Ng Yao Siong.”

When his petition was published, the order of publication indicated the title of the case as “In the matter of the change of name of Jesus Ng Yao Siong, Jesus Ng Yao Siong, petitioner.” But Jesus Ng Yao Siong the name appearing in the petition, the order of publication, and the publication itself, is not the true name of petitioner. Again, his name appearing in the civil register is merely “Jesus Ng” without the Yao Siong. The name to be changed is Jesus Ng — not Jesus Ng Yao Siong. It thus results that there is no name to be changed in the petition. This failure in the heading of the application to give the true name sought to be changed is fundamental; such failure is non-compliance with the strict requirements of publication; it is fatal; and the court did not acquire jurisdiction to hear the case.

SIDE ISSUE: Petitioner here has been using many aliases, is there a need to indicate such aliases in the petition?

YES. There is a necessity of including aliases in the title of the petition — not only in the body thereof. So that, the title of his petition should read “In the matter of the change of name of Jesus Ng, otherwise known as Jesus Ng Yao Siong, Jesus Uy Keng Lee, Uy Keng Lee Jesus, Keng Lee Uy and Uy Keng Lee.” The reason for this is obvious. Notices in the newspapers, like the one under consideration, usually appear in the back pages. The reader, as is to be expected, merely glances at the title of the petition. It is only after he has satisfied himself that the title interests him, that he proceeds to read down further. The probability is that the portions in the publication heretofore quoted will escape the reader’s notice. The purpose of which the publication is made, that is, to inform, may thus be unserved.

For a publication of a petition for a change of name to be valid, the title thereof should include, first, his real name, and second, his aliases, if any.

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Note: This is an example of a case where an alien was allowed to file a petition for change of name. An alien may be allowed to file a petition to change his name but it is submitted that his birth record must be registered in the Philippines.

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