Marriages are governed by the Family Code which took effect in 1988 as promulgated by then President Corazon C. Aquino. The said code provides for almost every aspect of marriage including the persons authorized to solemnize or officiate marriages. It provides: “Art. 7. Marriage may be solemnized by: (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 mentioned in Article 31; (4) Any military commander of a unit to which a chaplain is assigned, in the absence of the latter, during a military operation, likewise only in the cases mentioned in Article 32; (5) Any consul-general, consul or vice-consul in the case provided in Article 10.”
Mayors are not Included
If the quoted article will be read very carefully, the mayor is not included. How then is it legally possible for city and municipal mayors to solemnize marriages? Around three years after the effectivity of the Family Code, when the 1987 Constitution was now in effect, Congress promulgated the Local Government Code and inserted the power of the mayors to solemnize marriages. In two provisions (on municipal and city mayor) of the LGC, the powers of the mayors are enumerated which include the power to: “Solemnize marriages, any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding” ((b)1(xviii) of Sec 444 and 455) Although the Family Code does not provide, the Local Government Code now includes the mayors as solemnizing officers. Can governors, who are the chief executive of the province, solemnize marriages? No. The Local Government Code does not give the governor the power to solemnize marriages. Only mayors were given this power. As to the reason why only mayors were given this power or why they are given the power in the first place, some theorize that it was an insertion by the drafters and overlooked by congress. How about officials who assume the office of the mayor in an acting or officer-in-charge capacity, can they also solemnize marriages? The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has already answered the question in the affirmative, but the provisions of the LGC alone are sufficient to answer the question. In case an official temporarily assumes the office of the mayor, he may exercise all the powers of the mayor “…except the power to appoint, suspend, or dismiss employees.” [Section 46(c)] What is only prohibited for the OIC or acting mayor to perform is the power to appoint, suspend, or dismiss employees but he is not prohibited from solemnizing marriages.