Monday, September 21, 2009

Cenomar, take two

LAST week’s column about a serial philanderer who used a Certificate of No Marriage Record (Cenomar) to weasel out of his responsibilities to his family and take on multiple partners drew reactions from readers.

Issued by the National Statistics Ofice (NSO), the Cenomar establishes that a person has not contracted marriage.

Though technically unmarried, Jun (all names used in this column are aliases to protect real persons), intermittently goes home to Gabriela, his common-law partner of more than two decades.

Aside from using Jun’s NSO-certified eligibility to absolve him of any moral obligation to his family, his past and present partners flaunted the Cenomar to taunt Gabriela when she tried to assert her rights, as well as the interests of the children fathered by Jun.

Here are some of the reactions of readers, shared in the hope of clarifying matters. Whether a Jun or a Gabriela, you are meant to live with authenticity, with or without a Cenomar:

Reader, with mobile number 639268765589, texted that his or her Bohol-based niece was not yet able to apply for a marriage license as she still has to procure a Cenomar, which is one of the requirements stipulated in a municipal ordinance.

According to official websites and many blogs, only the following must be submitted with an application for a marriage license to the local civil registrar: a certified true copy of the parties’ birth certificates, parents' consent (for those aged 18-21 years) or parent's advice (for those aged 21-25 years); and Certificate of Attendance in a pre-marital counseling and family planning seminar conducted by the Division of Maternal and Child Health at the municipal/city hall where the parties have applied for a marriage license.

Those seeking to clarify if the Cenomar is required or not can email

The same reader complained about the high costs of documentary requirements for marriage.

While the expenses are considerable (online applications for birth certificates and Cenomars range from P315 to P415, reportedly P1,000 or more if “facilitated” by a third party), the risks and insecurity of live-in arrangements are also not inconsiderable.

Another reader, in her 20s, asked how to procure the Cenomar of the person she is dating. He is 10 years older than her and living alone. She doesn’t want him to know of her plans to apply for the Cenomar, but wonders if an online application will require more than his name and birthday, which is all the basic information she knows about him.

I advised the reader to visit the official NSO website at for information and the for online applications.

According to the former website, one can request for certifications of civil registry documents, such as the Cenomar, from the Office of the Civil Registrar General (OCRG) of the NSO.

The requesting party or his/her representative has three options: a personal application at any Census Serbilis Center (all outlets are posted on; the postal service system; or the e-Census website (

To facilitate verification of the records, the NSO requires the following information from those requesting a certification of no record of marriage: complete name of the person, complete name of the father, complete maiden name of the mother, date of birth, place of birth, complete name and address of the requesting party, number or copies needed, and purpose for the certification.

Perhaps before considering marriage with anyone, it is best to know more than just the basic information about him/her.

While irrefutable, a Cenomar cannot buy trust and peace of mind. 09173226131

* First published in the Sept. 20, 2009 issue of "Matamata" of Sun.Star Cebu


Angela said...

I have been annulled around 4 years ago. My NSO Certificate of Marriage in 2008 indicated that my marriage has been annulled. I have copies of it now. It took months and months of following up with NSO for them to finally do it. I am about to be married next month but I am in New Zealand. Since I'll be married in another country next month, lots of paperwork is required. I was appalled when I received my Cenomar from NSO. I am still married in their records even if my NSO marriage certificate indicates it has been annulled! Now, I am in tears because I don't think I will be able to marry this March :( Oh NSO, how can you destroy the lives of people?

Angela Perez

Mayette Q. Tabada said...

Hi, Angela. I'm sorry to hear about the bureaucracy messing up your plans. I suggest trying to visit the NSO website and posting an inquiry how the records can be updated. If this does not work, getting in touch with a good lawyer may still help you walk down the aisle as you and your partner plan. All the best. God bless!

Angela said...

Hi Mayette,

Thank you soooo much for your reply and suggestions. I have emailed NSO already (ecensus info and LHufana). The lawyer in Manila asked $650 for the processing of my Cenomar in the DFA (authentication) and the Danish embassy in Manila (p2,000 fee) so I can get my legal capacity to marry in Denmark. I think $650 is way too expensive, huhu :( Any suggestions?

More power and God bless!!!


Mayette Q. Tabada said...

Hi, Angela. I'm not familiar with legalities. Does this lawyer come highly recommended? Can you consult and get counter-proposals from other lawyers? I can only think of approaching other government agencies for referrals. Inevitably, the concerns you have to balance are the cost of processing versus the March timetable. Just make sure you get a fair deal. God bless, Angela! :-)

Angela said...

Hi Mayette,

The NSO (ecensus) replied to me a few hours after I emailed them. Everything is okay, yipeeee! I tore my hair and wept for nothing. I have the right documents, haha! Thank you so much Mayette and NSO :) Sorry for the overacting worry!


Mayette Q. Tabada said...

Cheers, Angela! God bless in the new path you're treading :-)