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CIVIL REGISTRY Prepared by: Michael Joseph Nogoy, JD 1 CASE No. 197 [G.R. No. 174689.

October 19, 2007.] ROMMEL JACINTO DANTES SILVERIO, petitioner, vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent. PONENTE: CORONA, J.:

HELD: NO, he cannot legally change his name and sex in his birth certificate on the ground of sex reassignment. RATIO: SC gave 3 reasons: (1) A person's first name cannot be changed on the ground of sex reassignment; (2) No law allows the change of entry in the birth certificate as to sex on the ground of sex reassignment; and (3) Neither may entries in the birth certificate as to first name or sex be changed on the ground of equity. 1. A Person's First Name Cannot Be Changed On The Ground Of Sex Reassignment The State has an interest in the names borne by individuals and entities for purposes of identification. A change of name is a privilege, not a right. RA 9048 does not sanction a change of first name on the ground of sex reassignment. Rather than avoiding confusion, changing petitioner's first name for his declared purpose may only create grave complications in the civil registry and the public interest. (See the grounds allowed by RA 9048; sex reassignment is not one of them). No Law Allows The Change Of Entry In The Birth Certificate As To Sex On The Ground Of Sex Reassignment RA 9048: Clerical or typographical errors are allowed to be corrected (See RA 9048 for the provision). 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. The entries foreseen in Article 412 of the Civil Code and correctable under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court are those provided in Articles 407 and 408 of the Civil Code (See the following provisions, they are provided by the case). Neither May Entries In The Birth Certificate As To First Name Or Sex Be Changed On The Ground Of Equity The changes sought by petitioner will have serious and wide-ranging legal and public policy consequences. o This is the first step of Rommel for marriage with Edel sacred social institution between a man and a woman. (Kung magiging babae siya sa records, edi pwede na siyang ikasal dito! Useless na yung laws natin about marriage.) o Laws which are generally in favor of or particularly apply to women (the Labor Code on employment of women, certain felonies under the Revised Penal Code, etc.) will be substantially altered if the grant will be given. o Side comment: Nagalingan naman daw ako sa pagkakasulat ni Corona dito. Naisip niya talaga tong 2 issues above.

FACTS: November 26, 2002, Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio filed a petition for the change of his first name and sex in his birth certificate in the RTC of Manila, Branch 8. Rommel was born in the City of Manila to the spouses Melecio Petines Silverio and Anita Aquino Dantes on April 4, 1962. His name was registered as "Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio" in his birth certificate. His sex was registered as "male." Rommel, according to him, 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. January 27, 2001: 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 had in fact undergone the procedure. From then on, he 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." An order setting the case for initial hearing was published in the People's Journal Tonight, for three consecutive weeks. Copies of the order were sent to the OSG and the civil registrar of Manila. On the scheduled initial hearing, jurisdictional requirements were established. No opposition to the petition was made. Witnesses: himself, Dr. Reysio-Cruz, Jr. and his American fianc, Richard P. Edel RTC: Ruled in the AFFIRMATIVE (reasons, see page 2 of the original case [soft copy]) OSG appealed to the CA CA: REVERSED RTC Decision (lack of legal basis) ISSUE: Whether or not Rommel can legally change his name and sex in his birth certificate on the ground of sex reassignment.

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RULING: Petition is DENIED.