It was a spur of the moment decision, one that was made while everyone was getting a good buzz from the holiday drinks the boss gave everyone for Christmas. All of the people at the office knew that Gail (not her real name) and Marco (not his real name too) have been dating for some time now. It is also a known fact that Marco’s parents approve of Gail and have openly expressed that they are looking forward to having her as an official part of their family.
Marco, for his part, have tried several times to ask for Gail’s hand in marriage. But for some reason, he would always choose to hold back or delay. Thinking “Hindi pa ito ang tamang panahon,” was his way of consoling himself. He was just glad that he and Gail are happy together.
The real reason Gail could not marry is because her parents have filed a petition for her migration to the U.S. In order for the petition to be granted, she has to remain single until she leaves for the U.S. as an immigrant. The minute she ties the knot and changes her last name, the petition is dissolved. Gail has always been a good daughter to her parents and a caring sister to her siblings. She would give up everything for them, including her desire to marry and settle with Marco here in the Philippines.
And so it was to everyone’s surprise when on the night of the company Christmas party, both she and Marco decided to “get married”. The following day, they invited a few of their friends to stand as witnesses; the “wedding” will be held at Gail’s condominium unit. When her friends grilled her on this bold move, she gamely laughed and said that she and Marco decided to celebrate her birthday with a “wedding” theme, complete with a mock ceremony, rings, vows, the works. She said the solemnizing officer is not licensed anyway so no need to worry about really getting hitched. But just for fun, she and Marco requested for copies of their CENOMAR and Birth Certificates and submitted these to their friend who contacted the solemnizing officer. “At least man lang ma-experience ko kung paano mag file ng mga documents pang kasal!”
Gail’s pad was filled to bursting with friends who got wind of the “celebration”. The fake wedding ceremony was carried out, with the couple crying real tears of joy and sadness knowing that this is the nearest they can ever get to getting “married”. They signed the fake marriage documents and exchanged rings. They even had a reception at an all-you-can-eat restaurant where their friends arranged for the traditional wedding fun fare of releasing of doves, taking off the garter from Gail’s thighs, and of course, throwing of the bouquet. It was Gail’s happiest birthday ever.
Fast forward to two years later when Gail received a notice from the U.S. Embassy, advising her to prepare her civil registry documents, employment papers, and medical history. Her aunt told her to simply have the civil registry documents delivered to her office as it is more convenient that way. She ordered for copies of her Birth Certificate and her Certificate of Singleness (CENOMAR). She got the shock of her life when two days later, she received, in place of her CENOMAR, a CRS Form No. 5 or Advisory on Marriages!
The details of her supposed mock wedding with Marco were clearly reflected on the form, printed on Security Paper, and signed by the National Statistician. She is legally married! How could this be?
For some reason, the papers they signed on their fake wedding found its way to the Civil Registry office. And Gail later on found out that the solemnizing officer was legit – licensed and holds office in Quezon City.
She had to call her parents to break the sad news to them. They were shocked and could not believe this was actually happening. Gail will have to consult a lawyer to sort things out and find out if there is any chance she can save her petition.
The saddest part? Gail and Marco split up a year after their mock wedding. It is a good thing they have remained friends and Marco has agreed to cooperate in whatever legal proceeding they both need to go through.