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FIRST DIVISION regard to a persons sex?

May a person successfully petition for a change of name and

ROMMEL JACINTO DANTES G.R. No. 174689 sex appearing in the birth certificate to reflect the result of a sex reassignment surgery?
SILVERIO,
Petitioner, Present:
On November 26, 2002, petitioner Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio filed a petition for
PUNO, C.J., Chairpe
rson, the change of his first name and sex in his birth certificate in the Regional Trial Court
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
- v e r s u s - CORONA,
of Manila, Branch 8. The petition, docketed as SP Case No. 02-105207, impleaded the
AZCUNA and
GARCIA, JJ.
civil registrar of Manila as respondent.
REPUBLIC OF THE
PHILIPPINES,
Respondent. Promulgated: Petitioner alleged in his petition that he was born in the City of Manila to the spouses
October 22, 2007
Melecio Petines Silverio and Anita Aquino Dantes on April 4, 1962. His name was
x---------------------------------------------------x
registered as Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio in his certificate of live birth (birth

DECISION certificate). His sex was registered as male.


CORONA, J.:

When God created man, He made him in He further alleged that he is a male transsexual, that is, anatomically male but feels,
the likeness of God; He created them
male and female. (Genesis 5:1-2) thinks and acts as a female and that he had always identified himself with girls since

Amihan gazed upon the bamboo reed childhood.[1] Feeling trapped in a mans body, he consulted several doctors in the
planted by Bathala and she heard voices
coming from inside the bamboo. Oh United States. He underwent psychological examination, hormone treatment and
North Wind! North Wind! Please let us
out!, the voices said. She pecked the reed breast augmentation. His attempts to transform himself to a woman culminated on
once, then twice. All of a sudden, the
bamboo cracked and slit open. Out came January 27, 2001 when he underwent sex reassignment surgery[2] in Bangkok,
two human beings; one was a male and
the other was a female. Amihan named Thailand. He was thereafter examined by Dr. Marcelino Reysio-Cruz, Jr., a plastic and
the man Malakas (Strong) and the
woman Maganda (Beautiful). (The
reconstruction surgeon in the Philippines, who issued a medical certificate attesting
Legend of Malakas and Maganda)
that he (petitioner) had in fact undergone the procedure.
When is a man a man and when is a woman a woman? In particular, does the law

recognize the changes made by a physician using scalpel, drugs and counseling with
physique of a female. Petitioners misfortune to be trapped in a mans
From then on, petitioner lived as a female and was in fact engaged to be married. He body is not his own doing and should not be in any way taken against
him.
then sought to have his name in his birth certificate changed from Rommel Jacinto to
Likewise, the [c]ourt believes that no harm, injury [or]
Mely, and his sex from male to female. prejudice will be caused to anybody or the community in granting
the petition. On the contrary, granting the petition would bring the
much-awaited happiness on the part of the petitioner and her [fianc]
An order setting the case for initial hearing was published in the Peoples Journal and the realization of their dreams.

Finally, no evidence was presented to show any cause or


Tonight, a newspaper of general circulation in Metro Manila, for three consecutive
ground to deny the present petition despite due notice and
publication thereof. Even the State, through the [OSG] has not seen
weeks.[3] Copies of the order were sent to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG)
fit to interpose any [o]pposition.
and the civil registrar of Manila. WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered GRANTING
the petition and ordering the Civil Registrar of Manila to change the
entries appearing in the Certificate of Birth of [p]etitioner,
On the scheduled initial hearing, jurisdictional requirements were established. No specifically for petitioners first name from Rommel Jacinto
to MELY and petitioners gender from Male to FEMALE. [5]
opposition to the petition was made.

On August 18, 2003, the Republic of the Philippines (Republic), thru the
During trial, petitioner testified for himself. He also presented Dr. Reysio-Cruz, Jr. and
OSG, filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals.[6] It alleged that there is no
his American fianc, Richard P. Edel, as witnesses.
law allowing the change of entries in the birth certificate by reason of sex alteration.

On June 4, 2003, the trial court rendered a decision[4] in favor of petitioner. Its relevant
On February 23, 2006, the Court of Appeals[7] rendered a decision[8] in favor
portions read:
of the Republic. It ruled that the trial courts decision lacked legal basis. There is no
Petitioner filed the present petition not to evade any law or
judgment or any infraction thereof or for any unlawful motive but law allowing the change of either name or sex in the certificate of birth on the ground
solely for the purpose of making his birth records compatible with
his present sex.
of sex reassignment through surgery. Thus, the Court of Appeals granted the Republics
The sole issue here is whether or not petitioner is entitled
to the relief asked for. petition, set aside the decision of the trial court and ordered the dismissal of SP Case

The [c]ourt rules in the affirmative. No. 02-105207. Petitioner moved for reconsideration but it was denied. [9] Hence, this

Firstly, the [c]ourt is of the opinion that granting the petition.


petition would be more in consonance with the principles of justice
and equity. With his sexual [re-assignment], petitioner, who has
always felt, thought and acted like a woman, now possesses the
Petitioner essentially claims that the change of his name and sex in his birth

certificate is allowed under Articles 407 to 413 of the Civil Code, Rules 103 and 108 This Civil Code provision was amended by RA 9048 (Clerical Error Law).

of the Rules of Court and RA 9048.[10] In particular, Section 1 of RA 9048 provides:

SECTION 1. Authority to Correct Clerical or Typographical Error


The petition lacks merit. and Change of First Name or Nickname. No entry in a civil register
shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order, except for
clerical or typographical errors and change of first name or
nickname which can be corrected or changed by the concerned city
A PERSONS FIRST or municipal civil registrar or consul general in accordance with the
NAME CANNOT provisions of this Act and its implementing rules and regulations.
BE CHANGED ON
THE GROUND OF
SEX
REASSIGNMENT RA 9048 now governs the change of first name. [14] It vests the power and

authority to entertain petitions for change of first name to the city or municipal civil

Petitioner invoked his sex reassignment as the ground for his petition for change of registrar or consul general concerned. Under the law, therefore, jurisdiction over

name and sex. As found by the trial court: applications for change of first name is now primarily lodged with the aforementioned
Petitioner filed the present petition not to evade any law or
judgment or any infraction thereof or for any unlawful motive administrative officers. The intent and effect of the law is to exclude the change of
but solely for the purpose of making his birth records
compatible with his present sex. (emphasis supplied) first name from the coverage of Rules 103 (Change of Name) and 108 (Cancellation

or Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry) of the Rules of Court, until and unless
Petitioner believes that after having acquired the physical features of a
an administrative petition for change of name is first filed and subsequently
female, he became entitled to the civil registry changes sought. We disagree.
denied.[15] It likewise lays down the corresponding venue, [16] form[17] and procedure.

The State has an interest in the names borne by individuals and entities for In sum, the remedy and the proceedings regulating change of first name are primarily

purposes of identification.[11] A change of name is a privilege, not a right.[12] Petitions administrative in nature, not judicial.

for change of name are controlled by statutes.[13] In this connection, Article 376 of the RA 9048 likewise provides the grounds for which change of first name may

Civil Code provides: be allowed:

ART. 376. No person can change his name or surname without


judicial authority.
SECTION 4. Grounds for Change of First Name or
Nickname. The petition for change of first name or nickname may In sum, the petition in the trial court in so far as it prayed for the change of
be allowed in any of the following cases:
petitioners first name was not within that courts primary jurisdiction as the petition
(1) The petitioner finds the first name or nickname to
be ridiculous, tainted with dishonor or extremely should have been filed with the local civil registrar concerned, assuming it could be
difficult to write or pronounce;
legally done. It was an improper remedy because the proper remedy was
(2) The new first name or nickname has been
habitually and continuously used by the petitioner
administrative, that is, that provided under RA 9048. It was also filed in the wrong
and he has been publicly known by that first name
or nickname in the community; or
venue as the proper venue was in the Office of the Civil Registrar of Manila where his
(3) The change will avoid confusion.
birth certificate is kept. More importantly, it had no merit since the use of his true and

official name does not prejudice him at all. For all these reasons, the Court of Appeals
Petitioners basis in praying for the change of his first name was his sex
correctly dismissed petitioners petition in so far as the change of his first name was
reassignment. He intended to make his first name compatible with the sex he thought
concerned.
he transformed himself into through surgery. However, a change of name does not
NO LAW
alter ones legal capacity or civil status.[18] RA 9048 does not sanction a change of first ALLOWS THE
CHANGE OF
name on the ground of sex reassignment. Rather than avoiding confusion, changing ENTRY IN
THE BIRTH
petitioners first name for his declared purpose may only create grave complications in CERTIFICAT
E AS TO SEX
the civil registry and the public interest. ON THE
GROUND OF
SEX
Before a person can legally change his given name, he must present proper REASSIGNME
NT
or reasonable cause or any compelling reason justifying such change. [19] In addition,

he must show that he will be prejudiced by the use of his true and official name. [20] In
The determination of a persons sex appearing in his birth certificate is a legal
this case, he failed to show, or even allege, any prejudice that he might suffer as a
issue and the court must look to the statutes.[21] In this connection, Article 412 of the
result of using his true and official name.
Civil Code provides:

ART. 412. No entry in the civil register shall be changed or


corrected without a judicial order.
The entries envisaged in Article 412 of the Civil Code and correctable under

Together with Article 376 of the Civil Code, this provision was amended by Rule 108 of the Rules of Court are those provided in Articles 407 and 408 of the Civil

RA 9048 in so far as clerical or typographical errors are involved. The correction or Code:[24]

change of such matters can now be made through administrative proceedings and ART. 407. Acts, events and judicial decrees concerning the civil
status of persons shall be recorded in the civil register.
without the need for a judicial order. In effect, RA 9048 removed from the ambit of
ART. 408. The following shall be entered in the civil register:
[22]
Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the correction of such errors. Rule 108 now applies
(1) Births; (2) marriages; (3) deaths; (4) legal separations; (5)
only to substantial changes and corrections in entries in the civil register. [23] annulments of marriage; (6) judgments declaring marriages void
from the beginning; (7) legitimations; (8) adoptions; (9)
acknowledgments of natural children; (10) naturalization; (11) loss,
Section 2(c) of RA 9048 defines what a clerical or typographical error is: or (12) recovery of citizenship; (13) civil interdiction; (14) judicial
determination of filiation; (15) voluntary emancipation of a minor;
SECTION 2. Definition of Terms. As used in this Act, the following and (16) changes of name.
terms shall mean:

xxx xxx xxx


The acts, events or factual errors contemplated under Article 407 of the Civil
(3) Clerical or typographical error refers to a mistake
committed in the performance of clerical work in Code include even those that occur after birth.[25] However, no reasonable
writing, copying, transcribing or typing an entry in
the civil register that is harmless and innocuous,
interpretation of the provision can justify the conclusion that it covers the correction
such as misspelled name or misspelled place of
birth or the like, which is visible to the eyes or
obvious to the understanding, and can be corrected on the ground of sex reassignment.
or changed only by reference to other existing
record or records: Provided, however, That To correct simply means to make or set aright; to remove the faults or error
no correction must involve the change
of nationality, age, status or sex of the petitioner. from while to change means to replace something with something else of the same
(emphasis supplied)
kind or with something that serves as a substitute.[26] The birth certificate of petitioner

contained no error. All entries therein, including those corresponding to his first name
Under RA 9048, a correction in the civil registry involving the change of sex
and sex, were all correct. No correction is necessary.
is not a mere clerical or typographical error. It is a substantial change for which the

applicable procedure is Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. Article 407 of the Civil Code authorizes the entry in the civil registry of

certain acts (such as legitimations, acknowledgments of illegitimate children and


ART. 413. All other matters pertaining to the registration of civil
naturalization), events (such as births, marriages, naturalization and deaths) status shall be governed by special laws.

and judicial decrees (such as legal separations, annulments of marriage, declarations

of nullity of marriages, adoptions, naturalization, loss or recovery of citizenship, civil But there is no such special law in the Philippines governing sex reassignment

interdiction, judicial determination of filiation and changes of name). These acts, and its effects. This is fatal to petitioners cause.

events and judicial decrees produce legal consequences that touch upon the legal
Moreover, Section 5 of Act 3753 (the Civil Register Law) provides:
capacity, status and nationality of a person. Their effects are expressly sanctioned by
SEC. 5. Registration and certification of births. The declaration of
the laws. In contrast, sex reassignment is not among those acts or events mentioned in the physician or midwife in attendance at the birth or, in default
thereof, the declaration of either parent of the newborn child, shall
Article 407. Neither is it recognized nor even mentioned by any law, expressly or be sufficient for the registration of a birth in the civil register. Such
declaration shall be exempt from documentary stamp tax and shall
be sent to the local civil registrar not later than thirty days after the
impliedly.
birth, by the physician or midwife in attendance at the birth or by
either parent of the newborn child.
Status refers to the circumstances affecting the legal situation (that is, the sum
In such declaration, the person above mentioned shall certify to the
following facts: (a) date and hour of birth; (b) sex and nationality of
total of capacities and incapacities) of a person in view of his age, nationality and his infant; (c) names, citizenship and religion of parents or, in case the
father is not known, of the mother alone; (d) civil status of parents;
family membership.[27] (e) place where the infant was born; and (f) such other data as may
be required in the regulations to be issued.
The status of a person in law includes all his personal qualities and
relations, more or less permanent in nature, not ordinarily xxx xxx xxx (emphasis supplied)
terminable at his own will, such as his being legitimate or
illegitimate, or his being married or not. The comprehensive
term status include such matters as the beginning and end of legal
personality, capacity to have rights in general, family relations, and
Under the Civil Register Law, a birth certificate is a historical record of the
its various aspects, such as birth, legitimation, adoption,
emancipation, marriage, divorce, and sometimes even
succession.[28] (emphasis supplied) facts as they existed at the time of birth.[29] Thus, the sex of a person is determined at

birth, visually done by the birth attendant (the physician or midwife) by examining

the genitals of the infant. Considering that there is no law legally recognizing sex
A persons sex is an essential factor in marriage and family relations. It is a
reassignment, the determination of a persons sex made at the time of his or her birth,
part of a persons legal capacity and civil status. In this connection, Article 413 of the
if not attended by error,[30] is immutable.[31]
Civil Code provides:
NEITHER MAY ENTRIES
When words are not defined in a statute they are to be given their common IN THE BIRTH
CERTIFICATE AS TO
and ordinary meaning in the absence of a contrary legislative intent. The words sex, FIRST NAME OR SEX BE
CHANGED ON THE
male and female as used in the Civil Register Law and laws concerning the civil GROUND OF EQUITY

registry (and even all other laws) should therefore be understood in their common and

ordinary usage, there being no legislative intent to the contrary. In this connection, sex The trial court opined that its grant of the petition was in consonance with the

is defined as the sum of peculiarities of structure and function that distinguish a male principles of justice and equity. It believed that allowing the petition would cause no

from a female[32] or the distinction between male and female. [33] Female is the sex that harm, injury or prejudice to anyone. This is wrong.

produces ova or bears young[34] and male is the sex that has organs to produce
The changes sought by petitioner will have serious and wide-ranging legal and public
[35]
spermatozoa for fertilizing ova. Thus, the words male and female in everyday
policy consequences. First, even the trial court itself found that the petition was but
understanding do not include persons who have undergone sex reassignment.
petitioners first step towards his eventual marriage to his male fianc. However,
Furthermore, words that are employed in a statute which had at the time a well-known
marriage, one of the most sacred social institutions, is a special contract of permanent
meaning are presumed to have been used in that sense unless the context compels to
union between a man and a woman.[37] One of its essential requisites is the legal
the contrary.[36] Since the statutory language of the Civil Register Law was enacted in
capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female.[38] To grant the
the early 1900s and remains unchanged, it cannot be argued that the term sex as used
changes sought by petitioner will substantially reconfigure and greatly alter the laws
then is something alterable through surgery or something that allows a post-operative
on marriage and family relations. It will allow the union of a man with another man
male-to-female transsexual to be included in the category female.
who has undergone sex reassignment (a male-to-female post-operative transsexual).

For these reasons, while petitioner may have succeeded in altering his body Second, there are various laws which apply particularly to women such as the

and appearance through the intervention of modern surgery, no law authorizes the provisions of the Labor Code on employment of women,[39] certain felonies under the

change of entry as to sex in the civil registry for that reason. Thus, there is no legal Revised Penal Code[40] and the presumption of survivorship in case of calamities under

basis for his petition for the correction or change of the entries in his birth certificate. Rule 131 of the Rules of Court,[41] among others. These laws underscore the public

policy in relation to women which could be substantially affected if petitioners petition

were to be granted.
It is true that Article 9 of the Civil Code mandates that [n]o judge or court Petitioner pleads that [t]he unfortunates are also entitled to a life of happiness,

shall decline to render judgment by reason of the silence, obscurity or insufficiency of contentment and [the] realization of their dreams. No argument about that. The Court

the law. However, it is not a license for courts to engage in judicial legislation. The recognizes that there are people whose preferences and orientation do not fit neatly

duty of the courts is to apply or interpret the law, not to make or amend it. into the commonly recognized parameters of social convention and that, at least for

In our system of government, it is for the legislature, should it choose to do them, life is indeed an ordeal. However, the remedies petitioner seeks involve

so, to determine what guidelines should govern the recognition of the effects of sex questions of public policy to be addressed solely by the legislature, not by the courts.

reassignment. The need for legislative guidelines becomes particularly important in WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED.

this case where the claims asserted are statute-based.


Costs against petitioner.

To reiterate, the statutes define who may file petitions for change of first
SO ORDERED.
name and for correction or change of entries in the civil registry, where they may be

filed, what grounds may be invoked, what proof must be presented and what

procedures shall be observed. If the legislature intends to confer on a person who has

undergone sex reassignment the privilege to change his name and sex to conform with

his reassigned sex, it has to enact legislation laying down the guidelines in turn

governing the conferment of that privilege.

It might be theoretically possible for this Court to write a protocol on when a

person may be recognized as having successfully changed his sex. However, this Court

has no authority to fashion a law on that matter, or on anything else. The Court cannot

enact a law where no law exists. It can only apply or interpret the written word of its

co-equal branch of government, Congress.


On December 11, 2003, respondent Jennifer Cagandahan filed a Petition for
SECOND DIVISION Correction of Entries in Birth Certificate[2] before the RTC, Branch 33 of Siniloan,
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 166676 Laguna.

Petitioner,
In her petition, she alleged that she was born on January 13, 1981 and was
Present:
registered as a female in the Certificate of Live Birth but while growing up, she
developed secondary male characteristics and was diagnosed to have Congenital
QUISUMBING, J., Chairperson, Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) which is a condition where persons thus afflicted possess
both male and female characteristics. She further alleged that she was diagnosed to
CARPIO MORALES,
- versus - have clitoral hyperthropy in her early years and at age six, underwent an ultrasound
TINGA, where it was discovered that she has small ovaries. At age thirteen, tests revealed that
her ovarian structures had minimized, she has stopped growing and she has no breast
VELASCO, JR., and
or menstrual development. She then alleged that for all interests and appearances as
BRION, JJ. well as in mind and emotion, she has become a male person. Thus, she prayed that her
birth certificate be corrected such that her gender be changed from female to male and
her first name be changed from Jennifer to Jeff.
Promulgated:
JENNIFER B. CAGANDAHAN,
The petition was published in a newspaper of general circulation for three (3)
Respondent.
September 12, 2008 consecutive weeks and was posted in conspicuous places by the sheriff of the
court. The Solicitor General entered his appearance and authorized the Assistant
Provincial Prosecutor to appear in his behalf.
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
To prove her claim, respondent testified and presented the testimony of Dr.
DECISION Michael Sionzon of the Department of Psychiatry, University of
QUISUMBING, J.: the PhilippinesPhilippine General Hospital. Dr. Sionzon issued a medical certificate
stating that respondents condition is known as CAH. He explained that genetically
respondent is female but because her body secretes male hormones, her female organs
This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court raising purely
did not develop normally and she has two sex organs female and male. He testified
questions of law and seeking a reversal of the Decision[1] dated January 12, 2005 of the
that this condition is very rare, that respondents uterus is not fully developed because
Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 33 of Siniloan, Laguna, which granted the Petition
of lack of female hormones, and that she has no monthly period. He further testified
for Correction of Entries in Birth Certificate filed by Jennifer B. Cagandahan and ordered
that respondents condition is permanent and recommended the change of gender
the following changes of entries in Cagandahans birth certificate: (1) the name Jennifer
because respondent has made up her mind, adjusted to her chosen role as male, and
Cagandahan changed to Jeff Cagandahan and (2) gender from female to male.
the gender change would be advantageous to her.

The facts are as follows.


The RTC granted respondents petition in a Decision dated January 12, CORRECTION OF ENTRY UNDER RULE 108 DOES NOT
ALLOW CHANGE OF SEX OR GENDER IN THE BIRTH
2005 which reads: CERTIFICATE, WHILE RESPONDENTS MEDICAL
CONDITION, i.e., CONGENITAL ADRENAL HYPERPLASIA
The Court is convinced that petitioner has satisfactorily DOES NOT MAKE HER A MALE.[4]
shown that he is entitled to the reliefs prayed [for]. Petitioner has
adequately presented to the Court very clear and convincing proofs
for the granting of his petition. It was medically proven that
petitioners body produces male hormones, and first his body as well Simply stated, the issue is whether the trial court erred in ordering the
as his action and feelings are that of a male. He has chosen to be correction of entries in the birth certificate of respondent to change her sex or gender,
male. He is a normal person and wants to be acknowledged and from female to male, on the ground of her medical condition known as CAH, and her
identified as a male.
name from Jennifer to Jeff, under Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Civil Register of
Pakil, Laguna is hereby ordered to make the following corrections
The OSG contends that the petition below is fatally defective for non-
in the birth [c]ertificate of Jennifer Cagandahan upon payment of
the prescribed fees: compliance with Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court because while the local civil
registrar is an indispensable party in a petition for cancellation or correction of entries
a) By changing the name from Jennifer under Section 3, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court, respondents petition before the court a
Cagandahan to JEFF CAGANDAHAN; and
quo did not implead the local civil registrar.[5] The OSG further contends respondents
b) By changing the gender from female to petition is fatally defective since it failed to state that respondent is a bona fide resident
MALE. of the province where the petition was filed for at least three (3) years prior to the date
of such filing as mandated under Section 2(b), Rule 103 of the Rules of Court. [6] The
It is likewise ordered that petitioners school records, voters
registry, baptismal certificate, and other pertinent records are hereby OSG argues that Rule 108 does not allow change of sex or gender in the birth
amended to conform with the foregoing corrected data. certificate and respondents claimed medical condition known as CAH does not make
her a male.[7]
SO ORDERED.[3]

On the other hand, respondent counters that although the Local Civil
Thus, this petition by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) seeking a Registrar of Pakil, Laguna was not formally named a party in the Petition for
reversal of the abovementioned ruling. Correction of Birth Certificate, nonetheless the Local Civil Registrar was furnished a
copy of the Petition, the Order to publish on December 16, 2003 and all pleadings,
The issues raised by petitioner are: orders or processes in the course of the proceedings, [8] respondent is actually a male
person and hence his birth certificate has to be corrected to reflect his true
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GRANTING THE PETITION
sex/gender,[9] change of sex or gender is allowed under Rule 108, [10] and respondent
CONSIDERING THAT:
I. substantially complied with the requirements of Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of
Court.[11]
THE REQUIREMENTS OF RULES 103 AND 108 OF THE
RULES OF COURT HAVE NOT BEEN COMPLIED WITH;
AND, Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court provide:
II.
Rule 103 municipality or city where the court issuing the same is situated,
CHANGE OF NAME who shall forthwith enter the same in the civil register.

SECTION 1. Venue. A person desiring to change his name shall Rule 108
present the petition to the Regional Trial Court of the province in CANCELLATION OR CORRECTION OF ENTRIES
which he resides, [or, in the City of Manila, to the Juvenile and IN THE CIVIL REGISTRY
Domestic Relations Court].
SECTION 1. Who may file petition. Any person interested in any
SEC. 2. Contents of petition. A petition for change of name shall be act, event, order or decree concerning the civil status of persons
signed and verified by the person desiring his name changed, or which has been recorded in the civil register, may file a verified
some other person on his behalf, and shall set forth: petition for the cancellation or correction of any entry relating
thereto, with the Regional Trial Court of the province where the
(a) That the petitioner has been a bona fide resident of the corresponding civil registry is located.
province where the petition is filed for at least three (3)
years prior to the date of such filing; SEC. 2. Entries subject to cancellation or correction. Upon good
and valid grounds, the following entries in the civil register may be
(b) The cause for which the change of the petitioner's name cancelled or corrected: (a) births; (b) marriages; (c) deaths; (d) legal
is sought; separations; (e) judgments of annulments of marriage; (f) judgments
declaring marriages void from the beginning; (g) legitimations; (h)
(c) The name asked for. adoptions; (i) acknowledgments of natural children; (j)
naturalization; (k) election, loss or recovery of citizenship; (l) civil
SEC. 3. Order for hearing. If the petition filed is sufficient in form interdiction; (m) judicial determination of filiation; (n) voluntary
and substance, the court, by an order reciting the purpose of the emancipation of a minor; and (o) changes of name.
petition, shall fix a date and place for the hearing thereof, and shall
direct that a copy of the order be published before the hearing at SEC. 3. Parties. When cancellation or correction of an entry in the
least once a week for three (3) successive weeks in some newspaper civil register is sought, the civil registrar and all persons who have
of general circulation published in the province, as the court shall or claim any interest which would be affected thereby shall be made
deem best. The date set for the hearing shall not be within thirty (30) parties to the proceeding.
days prior to an election nor within four (4) months after the last
publication of the notice. SEC. 4. Notice and publication. Upon the filing of the petition, the
court shall, by an order, fix the time and place for the hearing of the
SEC. 4. Hearing. Any interested person may appear at the hearing same, and cause reasonable notice thereof to be given to the persons
and oppose the petition. The Solicitor General or the proper named in the petition. The court shall also cause the order to be
provincial or city fiscal shall appear on behalf of the Government of published once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a
the Republic. newspaper of general circulation in the province.

SEC. 5. Judgment. Upon satisfactory proof in open court on the date SEC. 5. Opposition. The civil registrar and any person having or
fixed in the order that such order has been published as directed and claiming any interest under the entry whose cancellation or
that the allegations of the petition are true, the court shall, if proper correction is sought may, within fifteen (15) days from notice of the
and reasonable cause appears for changing the name of the petition, or from the last date of publication of such notice, file his
petitioner, adjudge that such name be changed in accordance with opposition thereto.
the prayer of the petition.
SEC. 6. Expediting proceedings. The court in which the proceedings
SEC. 6. Service of judgment. Judgments or orders rendered in is brought may make orders expediting the proceedings, and may
connection with this rule shall be furnished the civil registrar of the also grant preliminary injunction for the preservation of the rights of
the parties pending such proceedings.
SEC. 7. Order. After hearing, the court may either dismiss the removed from the ambit of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the correction of such
petition or issue an order granting the cancellation or correction
prayed for. In either case, a certified copy of the judgment shall be errors. Rule 108 now applies only to substantial changes and corrections in entries in
served upon the civil registrar concerned who shall annotate the the civil register.[18]
same in his record.

Under Rep. Act No. 9048, a correction in the civil registry involving the
The OSG argues that the petition below is fatally defective for non- change of sex is not a mere clerical or typographical error. It is a substantial change
compliance with Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court because respondents petition for which the applicable procedure is Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. [19]
did not implead the local civil registrar. Section 3, Rule 108 provides that the civil
registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected The entries envisaged in Article 412 of the Civil Code and correctable under
thereby shall be made parties to the proceedings. Likewise, the local civil registrar is Rule 108 of the Rules of Court are those provided in Articles 407 and 408 of the Civil
required to be made a party in a proceeding for the correction of name in the civil Code:
registry. He is an indispensable party without whom no final determination of the case
ART. 407. Acts, events and judicial decrees concerning the civil
can be had.[12] Unless all possible indispensable parties were duly notified of the
status of persons shall be recorded in the civil register.
proceedings, the same shall be considered as falling much too short of the requirements
of the rules.[13] The corresponding petition should also implead as respondents the civil
registrar and all other persons who may have or may claim to have any interest that ART. 408. The following shall be entered in the civil register:
would be affected thereby.[14] Respondent, however, invokes Section 6,[15] Rule 1 of
the Rules of Court which states that courts shall construe the Rules liberally to promote
their objectives of securing to the parties a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of (1) Births; (2) marriages; (3) deaths; (4) legal separations; (5)
the matters brought before it. We agree that there is substantial compliance with Rule annulments of marriage; (6) judgments declaring marriages void
108 when respondent furnished a copy of the petition to the local civil registrar. from the beginning; (7) legitimations; (8) adoptions; (9)
acknowledgments of natural children; (10) naturalization; (11) loss,
or (12) recovery of citizenship; (13) civil interdiction; (14) judicial
The determination of a persons sex appearing in his birth certificate is a legal determination of filiation; (15) voluntary emancipation of a minor;
issue and the court must look to the statutes. In this connection, Article 412 of the and (16) changes of name.
Civil Code provides:

The acts, events or factual errors contemplated under Article 407 of the Civil
ART. 412. No entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected Code include even those that occur after birth.[20]
without a judicial order.

Respondent undisputedly has CAH. This condition causes the early or


inappropriate appearance of male characteristics. A person, like respondent, with this
Together with Article 376[16] of the Civil Code, this provision was amended condition produces too much androgen, a male hormone. A newborn who has XX
[17]
by Republic Act No. 9048 in so far as clerical or typographical errors are involved. chromosomes coupled with CAH usually has a (1) swollen clitoris with the urethral
The correction or change of such matters can now be made through administrative opening at the base, an ambiguous genitalia often appearing more male than female;
proceedings and without the need for a judicial order. In effect, Rep. Act No. 9048 (2) normal internal structures of the female reproductive tract such as the ovaries,
uterus and fallopian tubes; as the child grows older, some features start to appear male, subjects birth certificate entry is in order.
such as deepening of the voice, facial hair, and failure to menstruate at puberty. About
1 in 10,000 to 18,000 children are born with CAH. Biologically, nature endowed respondent with a mixed (neither consistently
and categorically female nor consistently and categorically male)
CAH is one of many conditions[21] that involve intersex anatomy. During the composition. Respondent has female (XX) chromosomes. However, respondents
twentieth century, medicine adopted the term intersexuality to apply to human beings body system naturally produces high levels of male hormones (androgen). As a result,
[22]
who cannot be classified as either male or female. The term is now of widespread respondent has ambiguous genitalia and the phenotypic features of a male.
use. According to Wikipedia, intersexuality is the state of a living thing of
a gonochoristic species whose sex chromosomes, genitalia, and/or secondary sex Ultimately, we are of the view that where the person is biologically or
characteristics are determined to be neither exclusively male nor female. An organism naturally intersex the determining factor in his gender classification would be what the
with intersex may have biological characteristics of both male and female sexes. individual, like respondent, having reached the age of majority, with good reason
thinks of his/her sex. Respondent here thinks of himself as a male and considering that
Intersex individuals are treated in different ways by different cultures. In his body produces high levels of male hormones (androgen) there is preponderant
most societies, intersex individuals have been expected to conform to either a male or biological support for considering him as being male. Sexual development in cases
[23]
female gender role. Since the rise of modern medical science in Western societies, of intersex persons makes the gender classification at birth inconclusive. It is at
some intersex people with ambiguous external genitalia have had their genitalia maturity that the gender of such persons, like respondent, is fixed.
[24]
surgically modified to resemble either male or female genitals. More commonly,
an intersex individual is considered as suffering from a disorder which is almost Respondent here has simply let nature take its course and has not taken
always recommended to be treated, whether by surgery and/or by taking lifetime unnatural steps to arrest or interfere with what he was born with. And accordingly, he
medication in order to mold the individual as neatly as possible into the category of has already ordered his life to that of a male. Respondent could have undergone
either male or female. treatment and taken steps, like taking lifelong medication,[26] to force his body into the
categorical mold of a female but he did not. He chose not to do so. Nature has instead
In deciding this case, we consider the compassionate calls for recognition of taken its due course in respondents development to reveal more fully his male
the various degrees of intersex as variations which should not be subject to outright characteristics.
denial. It has been suggested that there is some middle ground between the sexes, a
no-mans land for those individuals who are neither truly male nor truly female. [25] The In the absence of a law on the matter, the Court will not dictate on respondent
current state of Philippine statutes apparently compels that a person be classified either concerning a matter so innately private as ones sexuality and lifestyle preferences,
as a male or as a female, but this Court is not controlled by mere appearances when much less on whether or not to undergo medical treatment to reverse the male tendency
nature itself fundamentally negates such rigid classification. due to CAH. The Court will not consider respondent as having erred in not choosing
to undergo treatment in order to become or remain as a female. Neither will the Court
In the instant case, if we determine respondent to be a female, then there is force respondent to undergo treatment and to take medication in order to fit the mold
no basis for a change in the birth certificate entry for gender. But if we determine, of a female, as society commonly currently knows this gender of the human
based on medical testimony and scientific development species. Respondent is the one who has to live with his intersex anatomy. To him
showing the respondent to be other than female, then a change in the belongs the human right to the pursuit of happiness and of health. Thus, to him should
belong the primordial choice of what courses of action to take along the path of his
sexual development and maturation. In the absence of evidence that respondent is an
incompetent[27] and in the absence of evidence to show that classifying respondent as
a male will harm other members of society who are equally entitled to protection under
the law, the Court affirms as valid and justified the respondents position and his
personal judgment of being a male.

In so ruling we do no more than give respect to (1) the diversity of nature;


and (2) how an individual deals with what nature has handed out. In other words, we
respect respondents congenital condition and his mature decision to be a male. Life is
already difficult for the ordinary person. We cannot but respect how respondent deals
with his unordinary state and thus help make his life easier, considering the unique
circumstances in this case.

As for respondents change of name under Rule 103, this Court has held that
a change of name is not a matter of right but of judicial discretion, to be exercised in
the light of the reasons adduced and the consequences that will follow. [28] The trial
courts grant of respondents change of name from Jennifer to Jeff implies a change of
a feminine name to a masculine name. Considering the consequence that respondents
change of name merely recognizes his preferred gender, we find merit in respondents
change of name. Such a change will conform with the change of the entry in his birth
certificate from female to male.

WHEREFORE, the Republics petition is DENIED. The Decision


dated January 12, 2005 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 33 of Siniloan, Laguna,
is AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.