Republic Act 9255 allowing illegitimate children to use their father’s surnames opened the door to illegitimate mothers and fathers eager to let their children bear the father’s surname just like legitimate children.
The problem started when the implementing rules of RA 9255 made it mandatory for illegitimate children to use their father’s surnames upon the execution and registration of the Affidavit Allowing Children to Use the Surname of their Fathers (AUSF) and the paternity acknowledgment appearing on the back portion of the birth certificate.
The main culprit is that RA 9255’s implementing rules used the word ‘shall’ instead of ‘may’ in giving effect to the law allowing children to use their father’s surnames. Today, that conflict has been resolved with the high court’s pronouncement that it was voiding that particular provision in RA 9255’s implementing rules insofar as it provides for the mandatory use of the illegitimate father’s surname. The Supreme Court reiterates that the illegitimate child has the choice of surname by which they wish to be known. (Grande vs. Antonio, GR No. 206248, February 18, 2014)