• CA allows woman to correct gender error

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    THE 13th Division of the Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld a lower court decision allowing a woman who was erroneously registered as a “male” to have her birth certificate corrected.

    In a decision dated May 20, 2015, the CA affirmed the 2012 judgment and 2013 order of the Tuguegarao City (Cagayan) Regional Trial Court (RTC) dismissing the opposition of the Office of the Solicitor General to a petition of Teresita M. Lopez-Gorst to have her state document corrected.

    Lopez-Gorst was born a female on April 8, 1964 in Aggugaddan, Peñablanca, Cagayan, but in her Certificate of Live Birth her gender was identified as “male.” The trial court found sufficient evidence to grant the petition for correction of entry.

    The OSG, however, filed an appeal asking the court to reconsider its decision but the judge denied the motion. This prompted the state lawyers to elevate the case to the appellate court.

    The OSG harped on the inadmissibility and lack of probative value of the certification issued by Dr. Albert De Leon who neither testified in court to identify the document nor qualified as an expert witness. The OSG was apparently suspecting Lopez-Gorst to be a transgender.

    But in its decision, the CA held that the certification issued by de Leon was hearsay evidence because he was not presented in court to identify the medical report or confirm its contents.

    The appellate tribunal, however, explained that it appeared from the records that even without the medical certification, the RTC “still has basis to grant [Lopez-Gorst’s] petition for correction of entry.”

    The CA said the RTC conducted a physical examination and found that Lopez-Gorst has the female anatomy in all aspects.

    “In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the physical examination conducted by the BCC [Branch Clerk of Court] deserves weight and credence even if unsupported by a medical certification,” it pointed out.

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