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PhilippineCommissiononWomen

Policy Brief No. 6

EnsuringWomensEqualRightsinMarriageandFamilyRelations: REMOVINGINEQUALITIESINTHEEXERCISEOFPARENTALCONSENTTOMARRY ASPROVIDEDFORINTHEFAMILYCODE

ThispolicybriefprovidestherationaleforamendingArticle14oftheFamilyCodeofthePhilippines.Itputstogetherillustrationsonhowtracesof inequalitybetweenthespousesarestillmaintainedinthesaidlaw,aswellaslegalandpracticalbasesforpolicymakerstoaddresstheissue.

WHAT IS THE ISSUE? TheFamilyCodeofthePhilippines(FCP),providesthat:


Art.14.Incaseeitherorbothofthecontractingparties, nothavingbeenemancipatedbyapreviousmarriage, arebetweentheagesofeighteenandtwentyone,they shall,inadditiontotherequirementsofthepreceding articles,exhibittothelocalcivilregistrar,theconsentto theirmarriageoftheirfather,mother,survivingparent orguardian,orpersonshavinglegalchargeofthem,in theordermentioned.Suchconsentshallbemanifested inwritingbytheinterestedparty,whopersonally appearsbeforetheproperlocalcivilregistrar,orinthe formofanaffidavitmadeinthepresenceoftwo witnessesandattestedbeforeanyofficialauthorizedby lawtoadministeroaths.Thepersonalmanifestation shallberecordedinbothapplicationsformarriage license,andtheaffidavit,ifoneisexecutedinstead,shall beattachedtosaidapplications.(emphasissupplied)

ThefirsttwosentencesofArticle14formpartofthe instructionsprintedonMunicipalFormNo.92orconsent tomarriageofanunderagepersonbeingusedbythe localcivilregistrar.1Notethatthephraseintheorder mentionedunderscoredaboveshowsthatthelawis explicitlypartialtothefathersdecisiontogiveor withholdconsenttothemarriageofasonordaughter. Thus,ifthemotherconsentsbutthefatherobjectstothe marriage,thereisnovalidconsenttothesaidmarriage2. Ifthemarriageiscelebratedwithouttherequired consent,saidmarriageisvoidableunderArticle45ofthe Code.Ontheotherhand,evenwhenthemothermay haveseriousobjectionstowithholdconsenttothe marriage,thechildsfathercoulddecideotherwise. WHY IS THE ISSUE IMPORTANT? ThesaidprovisioninArticle14oftheFCPisinconsistent withtheconceptsofequalityandnondiscrimination. Menandwomenareequalbeforethelaw,andthefact
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thattheyaremarriedshouldnotrestricttherightsof womenorlowerherstatustoonlysecondtoherspouse. Onthecontrary,Article14arbitrarilyplacesthefathers decisionabovethatofthemothers.Thelawdoesnot evenprovideforasituationwhenthefathersdecision maybeoverturned. StatisticsshowthatthetotalnumberofFilipinos employedoverseashasreached2.2million;52.2%of whomaremales3.Considerforexamplethatevenwhen thefatherisemployedoutofthecountryandthemother istheonewhostayswiththechildrenandhasaclearer graspofthesonordaughtersfeelingsorlevelof maturity,shecannotsigntheparentalconsentform.The CivilRegistrarwillrequirethatthefathersignsitandthis meansthattheformhastobemailedorsentbycourier tohim.ThemotherwhoisrighthereinthePhilippines livingwiththesonordaughterwhoisabouttomarry cannotgivetheparentalconsent. Thepreferencegivenbythelawtothefathersdecision, showsthatthemaleisstillconsideredasthewiser parent.Theproxystandardofsexisagainusedinthe law,disregardingthecontributionofthemothertothe rearingofherchildren.Thelawseemstobelittlethe workandroleofthemotherandlooksdownonher abilitytomakeintelligentdecisions. WHAT ARE THE EXISTING LEGISLATIONS OR POLICY ISSUANCES RELATED TO THE ISSUE? RepublicActNo.9710ortheMagnaCartaofWomen providesthatthegovernmentshalltakeallappropriate measurestoeliminatediscriminationagainstwomenin allmattersrelatingtomarriageandfamilyrelations. Further,theprovisiononequaltreatmentbeforethelaw mandatestheStatetotakestepstoreviewandamend and/orrepealexistinglawsthatarediscriminatoryto women,whichincludeFCPArticle14.
2011SurveyonOverseasFilipinos,releasedJune26,2012.Availableonline athttp://www.census.gov.ph/content/totalnumberofwsestimated22 millionresults2011surveyoverseasfilipinos
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Availableonlineat http://www.quezoncity.gov.ph/images/stories/downloadables/forms/ consenttomarriage.pdf,lastaccessedonJuly31,2013 2 Nolledo,JoseN.(2009).TheFamilyCodeofthePhilippineAnnotated,p. 26

REMOVING INEQUALITIES IN THE EXERCISE OF PARENTAL CONSENT TO MARRY

PCWPolicyBrief No.6

August 2013

Intheeventthatmarriageiscelebratedwithoutthe requiredconsentfromthefather,Article45oftheFCP providesthatsaidmarriageisvoidable. WHAT ARE THE CONSIDERATIONS IN ADDRESSING THIS ISSUE IN THE COUNTRY? Promoting womens rights and gender equality Removingthepreferentialtreatmentforthefathers decisioningivingconsenttothemarriageofasonor daughterwillcontributetopromotingwomensrights, ensuringequalitybeforethelawbetweenhusbandand wife,enhancingwomensstatusinthefamilyand transforminggenderrelationsbetweenthespouses. Responding to International Commitments TheFourthWorldConferenceonWomenDeclaration (Beijing,1995)statesthatequalrights,opportunities andaccesstoresources,equalsharingofresponsibilities forthefamilybymenandwomen,andaharmonious partnershipbetweenthemarecriticaltotheirwellbeing andthatoftheirfamiliesaswellastotheconsolidation ofdemocracy. Repealingtheprovisionsgivingautomaticpreferenceto thefathersdecisioninArticle14oftheFCPisconsistent withthePhilippineGovernmentsStateObligationunder theConventionontheEliminationofAllFormsof DiscriminationAgainstWomen(CEDAW),particularly Article16.1.d,whichmandatesStatePartiestotakeall appropriatemeasurestoeliminatediscriminationagainst womeninallmattersrelatingtomarriageandfamily relationsandinparticularshallensure,onabasisof equalityofmenandwomen:(d)Thesamerightsand responsibilitiesasparents,irrespectiveoftheirmarital status,inmattersrelatingtotheirchildren;inallcases theinterestsofthechildrenshallbeparamount Alignment with National Priorities Theproposedamendmentisalsoconsistentwithitem13 onGenderEqualityofthegovernments16PointAgenda

whichstates;fromalackofconcernforgender disparitiesandshortfall,tothepromotionofequal genderopportunityinallspheresofpublicpoliciesand programs. Moreimportantly,itrespondstothemandateof CongressundertheMagnaCartaofWomentoamendor repeallawsthatarediscriminatorytowomen. POLICY RECOMMENDATION ItisrecommendedthatFCPArticle14beamendedto removethebiasforthefathersdecisiontogiveor withholdconsenttoasonordaughtersmarriage.There aretwopossibleoptionsforthis: 1. Merelyrequiretheconsentofeitherofthe parents;or 2. Requiretheconsentofbothparents CONCLUSION TheFCPisoftencitedasonewhichisrepletewith provisionsthatimplementtheobservanceof fundamentalequalitybeforethelawofwomenandmen asenshrinedinourConstitution.However,such progressiveprovisionsoftheCodeisbeingpulledback,if nottotallynegatedbythefactthattheystillcontain provisionswhichgiveutmostimportancetothedecision ofthehusbandorfatherdespitethefactthatthe spousesarepresumedtobeofequalstatuswithinthe family.Oneoftheseprovisionswhichneedtobe amendedisArticle14. LegislativeproposalstoremovethegenderbiasinArticle 14oftheFamilyCodewerefiledbutremained unapprovedduringthepreviousCongressdespitestrong legalandpracticalbases.Itishopedthat,intheinterest offulfillingtheirmandateundertheConstitutionandthe MagnaCartaofWomen,ourlegislatorswillprioritizeand favortheimmediateenactmentofalawtoamendthe saidprovisions.#

PCWPolicyBriefsaimtostimulateinformeddiscourseandguidepolicyactionsonissuesconcerningthe empowermentofwomenandpromotionofgenderequality.
OFFICEOFTHEPRESIDENT

PhilippineCommissiononWomen 1145J.P.LaurelStreet,SanMiguel,1005Manila http://www.pcw.gov.ph|pdad@pcw.gov.ph|+6327358918 REMOVING INEQUALITIES IN THE EXERCISE OF PARENTAL CONSENT TO MARRY