I became an instant “ninong” or a wedding witness for my two friends. The wedding was solemnized by a trial court judge.
In the Philippine customs and traditions, choosing a ninong is feisty job. Elites would invite associates to stand as witnesses in their weddings. But the masses had a way to put some air on their wedding. This partly explains why the mayor and other high ranking elective officials would normally get invited to stand as wedding witnesses. It is a status symbol for many. Big shot wedding witnesses are equated to bigger gifts and lend bigger credence on the occasion.
I checked the “The Family Code of the Philippines” (E.O. 209, as amended). It reveals the basic qualification of a wedding witness who must be of legal age (at least 18 years old). Witnesses are one of the three formal requisites of marriage. The other two are following:
1. Authority of the solemnizing officer; and
2. A valid marriage license .
The absence of any of these requirements would render the marriage void.
In other words, it doesn’t matter who the witnesses are for as long as they’re 18 years old. It’s not even required they be capable of affixing their signature on a marriage contract. The signature of a powerless and uninfluential wedding witness carries an equal weight to that of the high and mighty.