If you have both penis, vagina, courts may allow you to correct your 'name,' 'sex' in your birth certificate

Atty. Gerry T. Galacio posted on December 14, 2010 a case digest/article about the case of Republic v. Cagandahan. He cleverly entitled the post, "From “Jennifer ” to “Jeff ” and from female to male (correction of entries in birth certificate due to intersexuality)."

Legal Updates and free legal information Family Code Philippines: Can a man who had a sex change operation have his birth certificate entry for gender changed from "male" to female"?; http://famli.blogspot.com/2007/11/can-man-who-had-sex-change-operation.html

The RTC of Siniloan, Laguna allowed Jennifer Cagandahan (GR No. 166676, September 12, 2008) to change his name to Jeff Cagandahan and his "sex" from male to female. The Republic, being the protector of public policy, elevated the case up to the Supreme Court, which affirmed the RTC decision in view of Jeff's intersexuality. This means that he has the reproductive organs both for males and females.

Atty. Galacio previously wrote something about Silverio v. Republic where Silverio had a sex change or reassignment operation in Bangkok, Thailand and petitioned the Court to allow him to change his sex from male to female as reflected on his birth certificate.

He was not allowed to do so. The Supreme Court through then-Justice and later-Chief Justice Corona introduced the decision saying, "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 regard to a person’s sex? May a person successfully petition for a change of name and sex appearing in the birth certificate to reflect the result of a sex reassignment surgery?"

The decision unfavorable to Silverio was based on the following two strong points:

[1] 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. There is no special law in the country governing sex reassignment and its effect. This is fatal to petitioner’s cause.
[2] In our system of government, it is for the legislature, should it choose to do so, to determine what guidelines should govern the recognition of the effects of sex reassignment. The need for legislative guidelines becomes particularly important in this case where the claims asserted are statute-based.

So, what is the difference between Silverio and Cagandahan?

Well, what happened to Silverio was considered "unnatural" by the Supreme Court. Whereas, Cagandahan's case was considered a "work of nature." The Court furthered:

"[Cagandahan] simply let nature take its course and has not taken unnatural steps to arrest or interfere with what he was born with. And accordingly, he has already ordered his life to that of a male. Respondent could have undergone treatment and taken steps, like taking lifelong medication, to force his body into the categorical mold of a female but he did not. He chose not to do so. Nature has instead taken its due course in respondent's development to reveal more fully his male characteristics.Silverio deliberately took the sex reassignment operations to change his body to that of a woman. Cagandahan, on the other hand, from birth had a female body, male hormones, two sex organs, and no monthly period."


[1] Jennifer has a female body but male hormones. She has two sex organs. She does not experience monthly menstruation.
[2] She prayed to be allowed to change her name and sex on her birth certificate. She was allow by the RTC.


[1] Respondent (Jennifer) undisputedly has CAH. This condition causes the early or “inappropriate” appearance of male characteristics. A person, like respondent, with this condition produces too much androgen, a male hormone. A newborn who has XX chromosomes coupled with CAH usually has a (1) swollen clitoris with the urethral opening at the base, an ambiguous genitalia often appearing more male than female; (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, 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.
[2] Granted.