We were married in Madagascar in 2007, but our marriage certificate was not registered with the nearest Philippine Embassy, which is in Kenya. In 2008, our work was transferred to Bangladesh and we also tried to ask the assistance of the Philippine Embassy there for its registration, but to no avail. Could we apply for a civil wedding in the Philippines using Article 34 of the Family Code in order to have a record of our marriage in the Philippines? Is the marriage certificate issued in Madagascar acceptable in applying for a passport using my married surname? I hope you could enlighten me on this matter.
Article 34 of the Family Code provides that no marriage license shall be necessary for the marriage of a man and a woman who have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and without any legal impediment to marry each other. This provision of law exempting the need of a marriage license for parties who are intending to marry each other may be applicable to you, assuming that there is no legal impediment to marry each other, because, as you have stated, you were married in 2007. Thus, you have been living together for almost eight years now as husband and wife. For marriage under Article 34 of the Family Code, it is only required that you state these facts in an affidavit before any person authorized by law to administer oaths.
Since you are already married in Madagascar in 2007, to avoid having two marriage certificates with different dates, we suggest that you proceed to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to report the fact of your marriage. A copy of the report of marriage will be available once the process for the reporting in the DFA is accomplished.
On the other hand, the DFA only recognizes marriage certificates that are authenticated by the Philippine Statistics Authority, formerly known as the National Statistics Office, not certificates from foreign countries, such as your marriage certificate issued by the government of Madagascar, for purposes of passport applications. This is so because our courts do not take judicial notice of foreign judgments and laws (Gerbert R. Corpuz v. Daisylyn Tirol Sto. Tomas, G.R. No. 186571, August 11, 2010). Hence, you will not be able to use the surname of your husband in the application for passport utilizing the marriage certificate issued by the government of Madagascar.
We hope that we have answered your query. Our legal opinion may vary if other facts are stated 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 email@example.com