Geraldine Roman is the newly elected member of the House of Representatives from Bataan. Many have attributed his success to him being a transgender, and he represents the fight for “equality.” But we take notice of the fact that he also a member of the powerful and influential dynasty in Bataan politics – the Roman family – which should take more credit for his win, then his being a transgender.
Mr. Roman has been referred to as “Congresswoman” and “she” in many posts in the news and other media sites. But how is that legally possible in the Philippines? For a man to become a woman?
- Republic Act 10172 states (An Act Further Authorizing the City or Municipal Civil Registrar or the Consul General to Correct Clerical or Typographical Errors in the Day and Month in the Date of Birth or Sex of a Person Appearing in the Civil Register Without Need of a Judicial Order, Amending for this Purpose Act Numbered Ninety Forty-Eight.):SEC. 3. Section 5 of the Act is hereby amended to read as follows: nor shall any entry involving change of gender corrected except if the petition is accompanied by a certification issued by an accredited government physician attesting to the fact that the petitioner has not undergone sex change or sex transplant.
- And again in the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 10172 :6.6. In case of correction of sex, the petition shall be supported with a medical certification issued by an accredited government physician that the petitioner has not undergone sex change or sex transplant.
- Even earlier, in the case of Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio vs. Republic (G.R. No. 174689, 22 October 2007):
- Article 407 of the Civil Code authorizes the entry in the civil registry of certain acts (such as legitimations, acknowledgments of illegitimate children and naturalization), events (such as births, marriages, naturalization and deaths) and judicial decrees (such as legal separations, annulments of marriage, declarations of nullity of marriages, adoptions, naturalization, loss or recovery of citizenship, civil interdiction, judicial determination of filiation and changes of name). These acts, events and judicial decrees produce legal consequences that touch upon the legal capacity, status and nationality of a person. Their effects are expressly sanctioned by the laws. In contrast, sex reassignment is not among those acts or events mentioned in Article 407. Neither is it recognized nor even mentioned by any law, expressly or impliedly.
- 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.
- Here a positive change of gender from female to male, but due to a medical condition [Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) where testimony in the case explained that genetically respondent is female but because her body secretes male hormones, her female organs did not develop normally and she has two sex organs female and male. [It was] testified that this condition is very rare, that respondents uterus is not fully developed because of lack of female hormones, and that she has no monthly period. [It was] further testified that respondents condition is permanent] in the case of Jennifer Cagandahan vs. Republic (G.R. No. 166676, 12 September 2008):
- In so ruling we do no more than give respect to (1) the diversity of nature; and (2) how an individual deals with what nature has handed out. In other words, we respect respondents congenital condition and his mature decision to be a male. Life is already difficult for the ordinary person. We cannot but respect how respondent deals with his unordinary state and thus help make his life easier, considering the unique circumstances in this case.
So did Representative-elect Geraldine Roman also have CAH, and so legally change his gender to female? In his Certificate of Candidacy, did he say he was male or female? Shouldn’t the Republic obey the law as well and refer to him as his real gender?
Is the incoming Congressman already breaking the law? We will continue this investigation.