E-sign Laws: The Philippines

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

Part 10: Signing in to the digital age

The Philippines has become a fast growing nation over the past decades and attributes its growth to the enthusiastic working population, which welcomes globalisation and overseas opportunities. 

This is a country that has its citizens stationed all over the world proving the importance of international business for their economy. It is a country with plenty of business opportunities and worth investigating further in, which is why it is of importance to learn about the legality of electronic signatures’ to allow business to be conducted easily from wherever you are.

Read on to learn more about the legal compliance for electronic signatures in The Philippines specifically and watch out for more in this series on Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, China, New Zealand, Australia, UK, Cayman Islands, and BVI.

The Rules

The Philippines has an Electronic Commerce Act and adopts a tiered legal model. 

Section 8

Legal Recognition of Electronic Signatures.- An electronic signature on the electronic document shall be equivalent to the signature of a person on a written document if the signature is an electronic signature and proved by showing that a prescribed procedure, not alterable by the parties interested in the electronic document, existed under which-

(a) A method is used to identify the party sought to be bound and to indicate said party’s access to the electronic document necessary for his consent or approval through the electronic signature;

(b) Said method is reliable and appropriate for the purpose for which the electronic document was generated or communicated, in the light of all circumstances, including any relevant agreement;

(c) It is necessary for the party sought to be bound, in or order to proceed further with the transaction to have executed or provided the electronic signature; and

(d) The other party is authorised and enabled to verify the electronic signature and to make the decision to proceed with the transaction authenticated by the same.

Section 9

Presumption Relating to Electronic Signatures: In any proceedings involving an electronic signature, it shall be presumed that,

(a) The electronic signature is the signature of the person to whom it correlates; and

(b) The electronic signature was affixed by that person with the intention of signing or approving the electronic document unless the person relying on the electronically designed electronic document knows or has noticed of defects in or unreliability of the signature or reliance on the electronic signature is not reasonable under the circumstances.

Applicability of an Electronic Signature 

Section 11. Authentication of Electronic Data Messages and Electronic Documents. Until the Supreme Court by appropriate rules shall have so provided, electronic documents, electronic data messages and electronic signatures, shall be authenticated by demonstrating, substantiating and validating a claimed identity of a user, device, or another entity is an information or communication system, among other ways, as follows;

(a) The electronic signatures shall be authenticated by proof rather than a letter , character, number or other symbol in electronic form representing the persons named in and attached to or logically associated with an electronic data message, electronic document, or that the appropriate methodology or security procedures, when applicable, were employed or adopted by such person, with the intention of authenticating or approving in an electronic data message or electronic document.

By Celestine Loh

Founded in 2013, Zegal is the fastest growing LegalTech company operating across Asia Pacific and Europe. Today, business users and lawyers across the globe trust Zegal’s software to solve legal problems in an affordable and efficient way.

Zegal is led by a talented team of 60 employees and has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Nepal, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.

Zegal has been featured in the New York Times, Forbes, and Huffington Post, and was recently recognised in the South China Morning Post as an emerging LegalTech company in the artificial intelligence space.

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