Illegitimate children are able to carry their father’s last name by virtue of an Affidavit of Acknowledgment and an Affidavit to Use the Surname of the Father (AUSF). Should the parents decide to get married later on, the illegitimate children’s birth rights may also be changed from “illegitimate” to “legitimate” through the process of Legitimation Due to Subsequent Marriage (of parents).
In some cases though, the father exits the picture and the mother is left to take care of the children on her own. This can go from bad to worse when the father ends up marrying a different woman, completely abandoning his responsibilities with his children from his previous relationship.
Such is the case of Patty, a single mother of 2 children, born 2 years apart. She is a call center agent and is raising her kids with the help of her parents. Her boyfriend, Alex, left her and their children before her youngest son was even one year old. He said that he was leaving for the U.S. to work and promised to send financial support for the children’s needs and education. A few months after he left, Alex told Patty that he needs to marry his high school classmate who is now a U.S. citizen in order for him to legally work in Florida. “Marriage for convenience lang.”
Patty’s worst fears were confirmed when she received an email from Alex telling her that he and his wife will be migrating to New Zealand soon and he could no longer promise to send his regular support for their children. A few months after that, Patty found out that Alex and his new wife were expecting their first child. She was devastated.
Patty’s children carry Alex’s last name in all of their identifications, including their PSA birth certificates. Now that Patty is left to raise both kids on her own, she would like for the children to drop their father’s last name and carry hers instead. She would not allow for Alex to have the honor of giving his name to his children when he has now clearly abandoned them for his new family.
Question is, can Patty have Alex’s last name dropped from the children’s birth certificates?
Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) website, www.psa.gov.ph, an illegitimate child has the right to carry his father’s last name for as long as the father duly acknowledged him by virtue of the following:
- The father executed an Affidavit of Acknowledgement
- The father presents a Private Handwritten Instrument (PHI)
- The father acknowledged the child at the back of the birth certificate or in a separate public instrument.
With respect to any of the above conditions, the child’s birth certificate bears his father’s last name as his last name. Although he is still considered “illegitimate” (since his parents were not married at the time of his birth), he is given the right to use his father’s last name.
Dropping or removing the father’s last name from the children’s birth certificate, even if their birth right is illegitimate, must go through a court order. It is not considered a clerical error and therefore, changing the child’s last name cannot be done by simply filing a petition for clerical error.