• Correcting ‘marriage’ and other erroneous entries in civil registry

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    I requested a Certificate of Marriage or Cenomar from the Philippine Statistics Authority last week, and was shocked to discover that their record shows that I am already married. Worse, I do not know and have never met the person I allegedly married so I don’t know where he is or where he lives. How can I solve my problem? Should I file an annulment case?
    Ever

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    Dear Ever,
    No, you don’t need to file a case to annul your alleged marriage, or to be more precise, to have it declared void in order to remedy your predicament. An action for declaration of nullity of marriage is a suit primarily intended to secure an affirmation from the court that the marriage between the involved parties is void from the beginning because of some facts or circumstances that render it void such as lack of essential or formal requisites of marriage, or public policy consideration. In your case, no marriage transpired between you and your alleged husband. You even mentioned that you do not know the person and have never met him. Therefore, there is no marriage to begin with on your part, not even an ostensible one that may require you to file an action to have such marriage declared void.

    Your concern is only with respect to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) marriage record that makes it appear that you got married. In which case, the proper remedy to take is to correct the marriage record to reflect the fact that you are not a party to such marriage. To achieve this purpose, you may avail of the remedy provided under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court which is specifically designed to correct or cancel erroneous entries in the civil registry including marriage.

    Such remedy was also resorted to in the case of Republic vs. Olaybar where, similar to your case, a record of marriage was found under petitioner’s name although she did not participate in the alleged marriage. In the case, the Supreme Court allowed the correction of the marriage certificate through Rule 108 of the Rules of Court by deleting the name of petitioner on the wife portion of the alleged marriage contract after it was shown that there was indeed no marriage between her and the purported husband by proving that her signature on the marriage contract was forged and through the testimony of a witness that the person who appeared before the solemnizing officer during the marriage is not the petitioner (G.R. No. 189538, February 10, 2014).

    In accordance with the foregoing, you may file a verified petition for correction of entries in your purported marriage contract and ask the court to delete your name on the wife portion of your purported marriage contract. Such petition can be filed at the regional trial court of the province where the corresponding civil registry, which keeps the record of the marriage, is located.

    Please bear in mind that this opinion is based on the facts you narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary if facts are changed or elaborated.

    Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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    1 Comment

    1. It seems the LCR’s and PSA are not doing their mandated tasks correctly or efficiently.

      To have a marriage performed several prerequisites are necessary. First a marriage licence must be issued at which time proof of identity must be shown.

      The next step is to find a marriage celebrant to perform the marriage ceremony and complete the associated forms. That requires another set of signatories complete with names and addresses.

      Then after the ceremony the LCR receives the documentation and records the information before sending it to the PSA for the issuance of a Certificate of Marriage.

      It should not be too difficult to track down the officiating marriage celebrant or the alleged groom as his details are held by the LCR as that information will be on the Cert of Marriage.

      Clearly an act of fraud has been committed and the perpetrators should be located and punished through a substantial fine of not less than the total costs incurred in having the erroneous entry corrected.

      The woman who is the subject of the fraudulent marriage now has to pay to have a file and pay a court fees to correct the erroneous entry and pay (bribe) the PSA to issue a Cenomar. That could take many months!