Solemnizing Officers Allowed to Officiate Marriages under Philippine Laws

The Family Code (Art. 7) provides an exclusive enumeration of persons authorized to solemnize marriage in the Philippines. Among the formal requisites of a valid marriage is the authority of the solemnizing officer (the person who officiated over the marriage ceremony). The contracting parties must personally appear before the solemnizing officer. The absence of any of the formal requisites renders the marriage void from the very beginning, subject to a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage.

The following are the persons authorized to solemnize marriage:

  • (1) Any incumbent member of the judiciary within the court’s jurisdiction.
  • (2) Any priest, rabbi, imam, or minister of any church or religious sect duly authorized by his church or religious sect and registered with the civil registrar general, acting within the limits of the written authority granted by his church or religious sect and provided that at least one of the contracting parties belongs to the solemnizing officer’s church or religious sect.
  • (3) Any ship captain or airplane chief only in the case of a marriage in articulo mortis (at the point of death) between passengers or crew members, not only while the ship is at sea or the plane is in flight, but also during stopovers at ports of call.
  • (4) Any military commander of a unit to which a chaplain is assigned, in the absence of the latter, during a military operation, only in marriages celebrated in articulo mortis (at the point of death) between persons within the zone of military operation, whether members of the armed forces or civilians.
  • (5) Any consul-general, consul or vice-consul, in marriages between Filipino citizens abroad. 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.
  • Mayor (or vice-mayors, in an acting capacity as mayor), under the Local Government Code of 1991, within the jurisdiction of the local government unit.

Notwithstanding the absence of authority of the solemnizing officer, the marriage may be valid if it was contracted with either or both parties believing in good faith that the solemnizing officer had the legal authority to do so.

P&L Law

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