Marriage denied despite being disproved by Cenomar


Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I have a live-in partner for three years and we have a two-month-old baby. We had planned to get married as soon as she has given birth. We have prepared most of the documents that will be needed and we have picked out the date and place where the ceremony will be held. Unfortunately, we could not proceed because when we applied for her Cenomar (Certificate of No Marriage), records of the Philippine Statistics Authority yielded information that she had been married. What can we do? She said she could not recall having entered into a contract of marriage yet, so it really perplexes us that there is a record of her to that effect. Please advise us.

Dear Bong,
It will be prudent for your live-in partner to determine first the facts of the marriage that are indicated in the certification issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). It is also advisable for her to further verify before the Office of the Civil Registrar where the entries were recorded and secure pertinent documents relating to the registration of the supposed marriage in order for her to properly determine the facts of such marriage.

If, upon careful verification as well as adequate recollection of your live-in partner, she can confirm that a marriage has actually transpired between her and her supposed spouse, then such record from the PSA will remain and she will not be able to enter into a contract of marriage with you as her existing marriage serves as a legal impediment, unless her spouse has already passed away, or if there is a basis for nullifying/annulling her supposed marriage, an appropriate petition has been filed and the same has been granted by the court.
On the other hand, if no actual marriage transpired between them, to wit: she does not know the person of her supposed husband, the solemnizing officer and/or the witnesses to the marriage, she was not at the place or province where marriage occurred, and that it is not her signature that appears in the marriage certificate as well as all other pertinent documents relating to such marriage, further she has substantial amount of evidence to concretely establish the same, and she desires to cancel and/or correct the entries made in the registered marriage certificate insofar as her details or information is concerned, she or any person who is interested in subject record in the civil register may file a verified petition for the cancellation or correction of the entry relating thereto (Republic of the Philippines vs. Olaybar, G.R. No. 189538, February 10, 2014; ponente, Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta).

Please be advised that the petition must be filed before the Regional Trial Court, which has jurisdiction over the Office of the Civil Registrar where the entries were recorded. The concerned Local Civil Registrar and all persons whose interest may be affected thereby must be made parties to the petition (Sections 1 and 3, Rule 108, Rules of Court).

Once filed, the court will issue an order fixing the time and place of the hearing thereof and require that notices be given to the persons named therein. The court shall also mandate that the order be published in a newspaper of general circulation, once a week for three consecutive weeks. The civil registrar and all persons having or claiming any interest to those entries may file their opposition within fifteen days from notice of the petition or from the last date of publication of such notice. (Sections 4 and 5, Rule 108, Id.) Her petition may be granted by the court if she adequately proves her assertions. A certified copy of the judgment shall be served upon the concerned Civil Registrar, who shall annotate the same in her record. (Section 7, Rule 108, Id.)

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other 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


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