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San Andres

Rommel Jacinto DantesSilverio, Petitioner,


vs.
Republic of the Philippines, Respondent.
Facts:
Silverio filed a petition to change his name and sex on his birth certificate before
the Regional Trial Court of Manila. He was born in the City of Manila to spouses
MelecioSilverio and Anita Dantes. His certificate of live birth sates that he was
registered with the name Rommel Jacinto DantesSilverio, and is a Male by sex.
Petitioner alleges that he is "anatomically male but feels, thinks and acts as a
female" and had always identified himself with girls since childhood. He then underwent
a series of treatments to transform himself as a woman. He was thereafter examined by
Dr. MarcelinoReysio-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. The court ruled in the affirmative, granting his petition of changing his name
and sex in his birth certificate.
The Republic of the Philippines through the OSG filed a petition opposing the
courts ruling, before the Court of Appeals. It alleges that there is no law allowing such
changes to birth certificates by reason of sex alteration. The CA rendered a decision in
favor of the Republic, setting aside the decision of the trial court. Hence, this petition.
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 of
the Rules of Court and RA 9048.
Issue:
Whether or not the petitioner is entitled to the relief he asked for.
Held:
Article 376 of the Civil Code provides that no person can change his name or
surname without judicial authority which was amended by RA 9048 Clerical Error Law
which does not sanction a change of first name on the ground of sex reassignment.
Before a person can legally change his given name, he must present proper or
San Andres
reasonable cause or any compelling reason justifying such change. In addition, he must
show that he will be prejudiced by the use of his true and official name. In this case, he
failed to show, or even allege, any prejudice that he might suffer as a result of using his
true and official name. Article 412 of the Civil Code provides that no entry in the civil
register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order. The birth certificate of
petitioner contained no error. All entries therein, including those corresponding to his
first name and sex, were all correct. Hence, no correction is necessary. Article 413 of
the Civil Code provides that all other matters pertaining to the registration of civil status
shall be governed by special laws. However, there is no such special law in the
Philippines governing sex reassignment and its effects. Under the Civil Register Law, a
birth certificate is a historical record of the facts as they existed at the time of
birth. 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 reassignment, the determination of a
persons sex made at the time of his or her birth, if not attended by error is immutable.
For these reasons, 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. The remedies
petitioner seeks involve questions of public policy to be addressed solely by the
legislature, not by the courts. Hence, petition is denied.