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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Benguet Caretaker Congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Yap recently filed a bill extending the existing 3-year validity of the authority to solemnize marriage of priests, ministers, or rabbis to 5 years.
House Bill (HB) 9897 seeks to amend certain provisions of Republic Act (RA) 6514 to allow solemnizing priests, ministers, rabbis to undergo annual seminar throughout the whole duration of the 5-year validity period of their authority to solemnize marriage while the public official who is in charge of registration may also by regulation fix and collect fees for the authorization to solemnize marriage.
“Actually, the issue was raised when the Association of Baguio-Benguet Solemnizing Officers (ABBSO) wrote a letter seeking my support for the proposed extension of the validity of their authority to solemnize marriage from the current 3 years to 5 years. I think this is one of their major concerns which is a valid issue that we should look into. I will work hard to lobby for the bill’s immediate passage in Congress,” Congressman Yap stressed.
Under pertinent provisions of RA 6514, the validity period of the authority to solemnize marriage issued to priests, ministers or rabbis is 3 years where the same will expire on the 31st of December of the 3rd year.
Once approved, the lawmaker explained that the authority to solemnize marriage will be valid for a maximum period of 5 years which will expire on the 31st day of December of the 5th year and renewable for the same period during the month of December of the 5th year.
“Ideally, hindi n asana dapat kumuha pa ang mga ministers, pastors, priests it iba pang solemnizing officers ng license o authority from the government. But then again, it has to be regulated to a certain extent kaya nagkaroon ng need for them to secure license to solemnize marriage. However, the least we can do for them is to make it easier, instead of having them renew every 3 years, it should be 5 years at least,” Congressman Yap added.
Further, the bill stated that priests, ministers, or rabbis belonging to one diocese or religious order or congregation, or sect, may apply for authorization to solemnize marriage, through their bishop, head of religious order or congregation chief of ministers or duly authorized representative.
Article 7 of the Family Code of the Philippines provides that any priest, rabbi, imam, or minister of any church or religious sect duly authorized by his church or religious sect duly 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 belong to the solemnizing officer’s church or religious sect may solemnize marriage.
Congressman Yap assured the members of the ABBSO that future engagements will be done with them to ascertain other issues and concerns that need to be acted upon through various means to help in attending to their needs as priests, ministers or rabbis of their respective churches or religious sect duly recognized by the government.
Section 95 of the Civil Code of the Philippines did not provide for the validity period of the authority to solemnize marriage but RA 6514 fixed the same to 3 years.