Republic of the Philippines
This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court raising purely questions of law and seeking a reversal of the Decision dated January 12, 2005 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), which granted the Petition for Correction of Entries in Birth Certificate filed by Jennifer B. Cagandahan and ordered the following changes of entries in Cagandahan's birth certificate: 1. the name "Jennifer Cagandahan" changed to "Jeff Cagandahan" and 2. gender from "female" to "male."
In her petition, she alleged that she was born on January 13, 1981 and was 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 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 have clitoral hyperthropy in her early years and at age six, underwent an ultrasound 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 or menstrual development. She then alleged that for all interests and appearances as 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.
Whether or not Cagandahan may changed his name and gender from Jennifer to Jeff and from female to male.
Yes. In this case, the Court considered that the plaintiff had allowed “nature to take its course” and had not interfered with what “he was born with”. By not forcing his body to become female, he permitted the male characteristics of the body to develop. Thus the Court rejected the objections of the solicitor general and held that, where no law governed the matter, the Court should not force the plaintiff to undergo treatment to reverse his male tendencies.
The Court held that where the individual was biologically or naturally intersex, it was reasonable to allow that person to determine his or her own gender.