As what we are used to, surnames are the last names of our fathers that have been passed over to their kids and it has always been that way ever since.
But just recently, legitimate children now have the right to adopt their mother’s maiden surname as ruled by the Supreme Court last February 25 to show the State’s commitment to gender equality.
Associate Justice Marvic Leonen was the one who made the decision. As per Leonen, this was so legitimate children can use their mother’s surname; he was the one who wrote the 15-page decision.
Recent Surname Change Case
Because of this ruling, the Court of Appeals and Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga City denied it. However, it was reversed by the high tribunal.
Anacleto B. Alanis III, the petitioner who appealed to be allowed to use her mother’s maiden surname “Ballaho”, said that he has been using this surname ever since he was a child.
He wants to use his mother’s surname instead of their father’s since their mother single-handedly raised them.
The first decision of the Regional Trial Court in Zamboanga gave it a NO, and the request because permitting him to do so would be in violation of the Family and Civil Code that states that “legitimate children shall principally use their fathers’ surnames”.
Equality Between Men and Women
But the Supreme Court said that equality between men and women is sure but by no less than the Constitution.
It pointed over to Article 2 Section 14, to which it said that the dismantling of patriarchy is the duty of the active state.
It is in the State’s positive duty to actively dismantle the existing patriarchy by addressing the culture that supports it.”
They also further pointed that our country is a signatory and part of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
The high court also said that movements in non-discriminating women are emerging. Therefore, it’ll be part of the state’s responsibility for this not to happen.
One thing they highlighted as well, was that the Regional Trial Court’s application of Article 364 of the Civil Code was wrong since it only stated there that legitimate children shall “principally” use the surname of the father.
Indeed, the provision states that legitimate children shall ‘principally’ use the surname of the father, but ‘principally’ does not mean ‘exclusively.’ This gives ample room to incorporate into Art. 364 the State policy of ensuring the fundamental equality of women and men before the law, and no discernible reason to give it.”
Principal But Not Exclusively
Principal, not exclusively. They also pointed that “Accordingly, where the text of a law allows for an interpretation that treats women and men more equally, that is the correct interpretation.”
What this means is that it would be with how they interpret the Civil Code; it is more equal than what the RTC had already ruled out.
So that’s why legitimate children can use their mother’s surname now. It is to show that men and women have the rights to pass on whatever surname their child would prefer; depending on the situation and request of the child, of course.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think that it’s something that can contribute to what we are currently experiencing?
Source: ABS-CBN News
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