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P. Civil Registrar

1. CONCEPT

Acts, events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons shall be recorded in the civil register. (Article 407, Civil Code)

a. Coverage of recording

Under the Civil Code, the following shall be entered in the civil register:

1) Births;

2) Marriages;

3) Deaths;

4) Legal separations;

5) Annulments of marriage;

6) Judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning;

7) Legitimations;

8) Adoptions;

9) Acknowledgments of natural children;

10) Naturalization;

11) Loss of citizenship;

12) Recovery of citizenship;

13) Civil interdiction;

14) Judicial determination of filiation;

15) Voluntary emancipation of a minor; and

16) Changes of name.  (Article 408, Ibid.)

Under the Family Code, the following shall be entered in the civil register:

1) Those officiating/solemnizing marriages;

2) Applications for marriages (Article 25, Family Code)

2. RESPONSIBILITY OF CIVIL REGISTRAR

No entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected, without a judicial order. (Article 412, Civil Code)

a. Protection of civil register

1) Civil responsibility

Every civil registrar shall be civilly responsible for any unauthorized alteration made in any civil register, to any person suffering damage thereby. (Article 411, Ibid.)

2) Defense

However, the civil registrar may exempt himself from such liability if he proves that he has taken every reasonable precaution to prevent the unlawful alteration. (Ibid.)

b. Processing of marriage application

Where a marriage license is required, each of the contracting parties shall file separately a sworn application for such license with the proper local civil registrar. (Article 11, Family Code)

1) Birth or baptismal requirement

a) Original birth certificates or, in default thereof, baptismal certificates; or, certified true copies thereof

The local civil registrar, upon receiving the marriage application, shall require the presentation of the original birth certificates or, in default thereof, the baptismal certificates of the contracting parties or copies of such documents duly attested by the persons having custody of the originals. These certificates or certified copies of the documents by this Article need not be sworn to and shall be exempt from the documentary stamp tax. The signature and official title of the person issuing the certificate shall be sufficient proof of its authenticity. (Ibid.)

Alternative: Residence certificate or sworn instrument

If either of the contracting parties is unable to produce his birth or baptismal certificate or a certified copy of either because of the destruction or loss of the original or if it is shown by an affidavit of such party or of any other person that such birth or baptismal certificate has not yet been received though the same has been required of the person having custody thereof at least fifteen days prior to the date of the application, such party may furnish in lieu thereof his current residence certificate or an instrument drawn up and sworn to before the local civil registrar concerned or any public official authorized to administer oaths. Such instrument shall contain the sworn declaration of two witnesses of lawful age, setting forth the full name, residence and citizenship of such contracting party and of his or her parents, if known, and the place and date of birth of such party. The nearest of kin of the contracting parties shall be preferred as witnesses, or, in their default, persons of good reputation in the province or the locality.(Paragraph 2, Article 12, Ibid.)

b) When not required: birth or baptismal requirement

The presentation of birth or baptismal certificate shall not be required if the parents of the contracting parties appear personally before the local civil registrar concerned and swear to the correctness of the lawful age of said parties, as stated in the application, or when the local civil registrar shall, by merely looking at the applicants upon their personally appearing before him, be convinced that either or both of them have the required age. (Paragraph 3, Article 12, Ibid.)

2) Consent to marry

In case either or both of the contracting parties, not having been emancipated by a previous marriage, are between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one, they shall, in addition to the requirements of the preceding articles, exhibit to the local civil registrar, the consent to their marriage of their father, mother, surviving parent or guardian, or persons having legal charge of them, in the order mentioned. Such consent shall be manifested in writing by the interested party, who personally appears before the proper local civil registrar, or in the form of an affidavit made in the presence of two witnesses and attested before any official authorized by law to administer oaths. The personal manifestation shall be recorded in both applications for marriage license, and the affidavit, if one is executed instead, shall be attached to said applications. (Article 14, Ibid.)

c. Notice and publication

The local civil registrar shall prepare a notice which shall contain the full names and residences of the applicants for a marriage license and other data given in the applications. The notice shall be posted for ten consecutive days on a bulletin board outside the office of the local civil registrar located in a conspicuous place within the building and accessible to the general public. This notice shall request all persons having knowledge of any impediment to the marriage to advise the local civil registrar thereof. The marriage license shall be issued after the completion of the period of publication. (Article 17, Ibid.)

In case of any impediment known to the local civil registrar or brought to his attention, he shall note down the particulars thereof and his findings thereon in the application for marriage license, but shall nonetheless issue said license after the completion of the period of publication, unless ordered otherwise by a competent court at his own instance or that of any interest party. No filing fee shall be charged for the petition nor a corresponding bond required for the issuances of the order. (Article 18, Ibid.)

d. Charge fees

The local civil registrar shall require the payment of the fees prescribed by law or regulations before the issuance of the marriage license. No other sum shall be collected in the nature of a fee or tax of any kind for the issuance of said license. It shall, however, be issued free of charge to indigent parties, that is those who have no visible means of income or whose income is insufficient for their subsistence a fact established by their affidavit, or by their oath before the local civil registrar. (Article 19, Ibid.)

e. Issuance of marriage license

A marriage license shall be issued by the local civil registrar of the city or municipality where either contracting party habitually resides, except in marriages where no license is required.(Article 9, Ibid.)

The local civil registrar concerned shall enter all applications for marriage licenses filed with him in a registry book strictly in the order in which the same are received. He shall record in said book the names of the applicants, the date on which the marriage license was issued, and such other data as may be necessary. (Article 25, Ibid.)

f. Receipt of marriage certificates and affidavits, if any

It shall be the duty of the person solemnizing the marriage to furnish either of the contracting parties the original of the marriage certificate referred to in Article 6 and to send the duplicate and triplicate copies of the certificate not later than fifteen (15) days after the marriage, to the local civil registrar of the place where the marriage was solemnized. Proper receipts shall be issued by the local civil registrar to the solemnizing officer transmitting copies of the marriage certificate. The solemnizing officer shall retain in his file the quadruplicate copy of the marriage certificate, the copy of the marriage certificate, the original of the marriage license and, in proper cases, the affidavit of the contracting party regarding the solemnization of the marriage in place other than those mentioned in Article 8. (Article 23, Ibid.)

In the cases [of articulo mortis or physical impossibility of transport from distant residence], the solemnizing officer shall state in an affidavit executed before the local civil registrar or any other person legally authorized to administer oaths that the marriage was performed in articulo mortis or that the residence of either party, specifying the barrio or barangay, is so located that there is no means of transportation to enable such party to appear personally before the local civil registrar and that the officer took the necessary steps to ascertain the ages and relationship of the contracting parties and the absence of legal impediment to the marriage. (Article 29, Ibid.)

The original of the affidavit required in the last preceding article, together with the legible copy of the marriage contract, shall be sent by the person solemnizing the marriage to the local civil registrar of the municipality where it was performed within the period of thirty days after the performance of the marriage. (Article 30, Ibid.)

g. Duty to prepare other documents for marriage

It shall be the duty of the local civil registrar to prepare the documents required by this Title, and to administer oaths to all interested parties without any charge in both cases. The documents and affidavits filed in connection with applications for marriage licenses shall be exempt from documentary stamp tax. (Article 24, Ibid.)

h. All other matters, Special Laws

All other matters pertaining to the registration of civil status shall be governed by special laws. (Article 413, Civil Code)

3. CIVIL REGISTRY BOOKS

a. As public documents

The books making up the civil register and all documents relating thereto shall be considered public documents and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts therein contained. (Article 410, Ibid.)

b. Judicial orders

In cases of legal separation, adoption, naturalization and other judicial orders,  it shall be the duty of the clerk of the court which issued the decree to ascertain whether the same has been registered, and if this has not been done, to send a copy of said decree to the civil registry of the city or municipality where the court is functioning. (Article 409, Ibid.)

4. SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES

a. Delegation to Consular officials

Marriages between Filipino citizens abroad may be solemnized by a consul-general, consul or vice-consul of the Republic of the Philippines. The issuance of the marriage license and the duties of the local civil registrar and of the solemnizing officer with regard to the celebration of marriage shall be performed by said consular official. (Article 10, Family Code)

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