Ponente: CORONA, J.

Decision Date: 2007-10-19

GR Number: G.R. NO. 174689

Benedict Victa 10 months ago
Avg. Rating:

Summary:

Petitioner, Silverio, who has undegone medical procedures on sex reassignment filed a petition for change of name and sex in his birth records. The SC denied the petition explaining that there is no law supporting change of change of name and sex based on sex reassignment.

Doctrine:

1) RA 9048 likewise provides the grounds for which change of first name may be allowed:

SECTION 4. Grounds for Change of First Name or Nickname. The petition for change of first name or nickname may be allowed in any of the following cases:
 

(1)

The petitioner finds the first name or nickname to be ridiculous, tainted with dishonor or extremely difficult to write or pronounce;

 

(2)

The new first name or nickname has been habitually and continuously used by the petitioner and he has been publicly known by that first name or nickname in the community; or

 

(3)

The change will avoid confusion.

 

 

2) Petitioner's basis in praying for the change of his first name was his sex reassignment. He intended to make his first name compatible with the sex he thought he transformed himself into through surgery. However, a change of name does not alter one's legal capacity or civil status. RA 9048 does not sanction a change of first name on the ground of sex reassignment.

 

3) ART. 412. No entry in the civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order. 

Together with Article 376 of the Civil Code, this provision was amended by RA 9048 in so far as clerical or typographical errors are involved. The correction or change of such matters can now be made through administrative proceedings and without the need for a judicial order. In effect, RA 9048 removed from the ambit of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the correction of such errors.[22] Rule 108 now applies only to substantial changes and corrections in entries in the civil register

 

4) Section 2(c) of RA 9048 defines what a "clerical or typographical error" is:

SECTION 2. Definition of Terms. As used in this Act, the following terms shall mean:

xxx xxx xxx
 

(3)

"Clerical or typographical error" refers to a mistake committed in the performance of clerical work in writing, copying, transcribing or typing an entry in the civil register that is harmless and innocuous, 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 or changed only by reference to other existing record or records: Provided, however, That no correction must involve the change of nationality, age, status or sex of the petitioner. (emphasis supplied)

 

 

5) Under RA 9048, a correction in the civil registry involving the change of sex 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.

Facts:

Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio filed a petition for the change of his first name and sex in his birth certificate in the Regional Trial Court of Manila. 

He further alleged that he is a male transsexual, that is, "anatomically male but feels, thinks and acts as a female" and that he had always identified himself with girls since childhood. Feeling trapped in a man's body, he consulted several doctors in the United States. He underwent psychological examination, hormone treatment and breast augmentation. His attempts to transform himself to a "woman" culminated on January 27, 2001 when he underwent sex reassignment surgery in Bangkok, Thailand. He was thereafter examined by Dr. Marcelino Reysio-Cruz, Jr., a plastic and reconstruction surgeon in the Philippines, who issued a medical certificate attesting that he (petitioner) had in fact undergone the procedure.

From then on, petitioner lived as a female and was in fact engaged to be married. He then sought to have his name in his birth certificate changed from "Rommel Jacinto" to "Mely," and his sex from "male" to "female."

The trial court granted his petition but the OSG assailed the decision of the trial court before the Court of Appeals. The CA reversed the decision of the trial court.

Silverio appealed the decision of the CA to SC and prayed for its reversal.

 

Issues Ratio:

Whether or not, there is merit in the petition of Silverio to allow him to change his name and sex in his certificate of birth.

In ruling in the negative, the SC explained that there RA No 9048 does not allow correction of name and sex by virtue of medical interefence and sex reassignment procedures. Thus:

"RA 9048 likewise provides the grounds for which change of first name may be allowed:

SECTION 4. Grounds for Change of First Name or Nickname. The petition for change of first name or nickname may be allowed in any of the following cases:

(1) The petitioner finds the first name or nickname to be ridiculous, tainted with dishonor or extremely difficult to write or pronounce;

(2) The new first name or nickname has been habitually and continuously used by the petitioner and he has been publicly known by that first name or nickname in the community; or

(3) The change will avoid confusion.

Petitioner's basis in praying for the change of his first name was his sex reassignment. He intended to make his first name compatible with the sex he thought he transformed himself into through surgery. However, a change of name does not alter one's legal capacity or civil status. RA 9048 does not sanction a change of first name on the ground of sex reassignment."

While petitioner may have succeeded in altering his body and appearance through the intervention of modern surgery, no law authorizes the change of entry as to sex in the civil registry for that reason. Thus, there is no legal basis for his petition for the correction or change of the entries in his birth certificate.

Dispositive:

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED.

Other Notes:

This case is advised to be cross-read with Rep. vs. Cagandahan where the SC granted the petition for change of sex in the petitioner's birth records. 

The difference between this case (Silverio vs. Rep.) and Rep. vs. Cagandahan is that, the basis of the change of entry in Rep. vs. Cagandahan is natural, biological and rare disorder. Whereas, in this case, the basis of SIlverio was sex reassignment.

In Cagandahan, the SC granted the petition base on compassion, in this case, the SC denied granting the petition base on equity on the ground that  it will substantially reconfigure and greatly alter the laws on marriage and family relations. Granting the petition will allow the union of a man with another man who has undergone sex reassignment (a male-to-female post-operative transsexual).


AIC Grande Tower Garnet Road
Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Metro Manila Philippines

+639451244898

Digest

Digest is a legal technology platform committed to modernizing the Philippine legal system.

Contact Us