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REPUBLIC vs. CAGANDAHAN Posted by bestre on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 (GR No.

166676, September 12, 2008) This could be the first case that was decided under Philippine jurisprudence with such unique facts. The author first heard it in the news and decided to make a digested case of the same. However, the Philippine Supreme Court has no complete record of the case yet online. Despite that the author made use of available online facts provided by the Supreme Court and made it possible to come up with the case digest below.

FACTS: Jennifer Cagandahan filed before the Regional Trial Court Branch 33 of Siniloan, Laguna a Petition for Correction of Entries in Birth Certificate of her name from Jennifer B. Cagandahan to Jeff Cagandahan and her gender from female to male. It appearing that Jennifer Cagandahan is suffering from Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia which is a rare medical condition where afflicted persons possess both male and female characteristics. Jennifer Cagandahan grew up with secondary male characteristics. To further her petition, Cagandahan presented in court the medical certificate evidencing that she is suffering from Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia which certificate is issued by Dr. Michael Sionzon of the Department of Psychiatry, University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital, who, in addition, explained that "Cagandahan genetically is female but because her body secretes male hormones, her female organs did not develop normally, thus has organs of both male and female." The lower court decided in her favor but the Office of the Solicitor General appealed before the Supreme Court invoking that the same was a violation of Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court because the said petition did not implead the local civil registrar. RULING: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the lower court. It held that, in deciding the case, the Supreme Court considered “the compassionate calls for recognition of the various degrees of intersex as variations which should not be subject to outright denial.” The Supreme Court made use of the availale evidence presented in court including the fact that private respondent thinks of himself as a male and as to the statement made by the doctor that Cagandahan's body produces high levels of male hormones (androgen), which is preponderant biological support for considering him as being male.” The Supreme Court further held that they give respect to (1) the diversity of nature; and (2) how an individual deals with what nature has handed out. That is, the Supreme Court respects the respondent’s congenital condition and his mature decision to be a male. Life is already difficult for the ordinary person. The Court added that a change of name is not a matter of right but of judicial discretion, to be exercised in the light of the reasons and the consequences that will follow.