eSignature Legality Summary

eSignatures are legally valid and admissible in the court of law. Philippine follows a hierarchical root of trust model where eSignatures or digital signatures issued by a Certifying Authority are considered legally valid. Specific use cases for eSignatures are indicated in the EC Act.

Under Philippine law, a written signature is not necessarily required for a valid contract - contracts are generally valid if legally competent parties reach an agreement, whether they agree verbally, electronically or in a physical paper document, and if the following essential requisites are present: (1) consent of the contracting parties, (2) object certain which is the subject matter of the contract, and (3) cause of the obligations which is established (Civil Code of the Philippines, Article 1318). Republic Act No. 8792, otherwise known as the Electronic Commerce Act, together with its Implementing Rules and regulations, specifically confirms that contracts cannot be denied enforceability merely because they are concluded electronically. To prove a valid contract, parties sometimes have to present evidence in court. Leading digital transaction management solutions can provide electronic records that are admissible in evidence under A.M. No. 01-7-01-SC, otherwise known as the Rules on Electronic Evidence, to support the existence, authenticity and valid acceptance of a contract.

Electronic documents are provided the same legal protection as paper-based documents. For instance, Philippine courts will be duty- bound to accept electronic documents as evidence. This is not to say that courts can accept any type of electronically- generated document for the very same bills have set certain standards for its acceptability. Under this law, information shall not be denied validity or enforceability solely on the ground that it is in the form of an electronic data message or that it is merely incorporated by reference in that electronic.

*The information on this site is "AS IS" and for general information purposes only.

Use Cases for eSignatures ?

Use cases where an SES is typically appropriate include:

  • Speedy HR document preparation with preapproved templates, easy update of each employee, new employee onboarding processes as well as 360 degree view of employee files.
  • End user agreements including sales & service terms, new retail account opening documents, invoices, shipment details, user manual, EULAs, policies
  • Contracts including intangible property transfers

Use Cases for Qualified Signatures ?

Use cases where an AES is typically appropriate include:

  • Purchase, procurement and commercial agreements including invoices, trade and payment terms, certificates, NDAs, sales & distribution agreements, order acknowledgements.
  • Real estate lease agreements for residential and commercial purpose
  • Intellectual property licenses excluding trademark licensing

Use Cases that are not appropriate for Electronic Signatures

Use cases that are specifically barred from digital or electronic processes or that include explicit requirements, such as handwritten (e.g. wet ink) signatures or formal notarial process that are not usually compatible with electronic signatures or digital transaction management.

  • Formal notarization - acts and contracts which have for their object the creation, transmission, modification or extinguishment of real rights over immovable property (Civil Code of Philippines)
  • Formal notarization - the cession, repudiation or renunciation of hereditary rights or of those of the conjugal partnership of gains (Civil Code of Philippines)
  • Formal notarization - the power to administer property, or any other power which has for its object an act appearing or which should appear in a public document, or should prejudice a third person (Civil Code of Philippines)
  • Formal notarization - the cession of actions or rights proceeding from an act appearing in a public document (Civil Code of Philippines)
  • Formal notarization - other deeds and documents that are required under applicable laws and regulations to appear in a public document (Civil Code of Philippines)

List of Local Trust Service Providers

Institute Regulatory Body/CA/DSC Providers Supported by emSigner Website
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Accreditation and Assessment Body Yes
Philippine RootCA (ICTO-NCC) Root and Government CA Yes

“Digital Signature” means a transformation of a message using an asymmetric cryptosystem such that a person having the initial message and the signer’s public key can accurately determine
(a) whether the transformation was created using the private key that corresponds to the signer’s public key;
(b) whether the message has been altered since the transformation was made

[1] An AES is an “advanced electronic signature”, a type of electronic signature that meets the following requirements:
(a) it is uniquely linked to the signatory;
(b) it is capable of identifying the signatory;
(c) it is created using means that are under the signatory’s sole control;
(d) it is linked to other electronic data in such a way that any alteration to the said data can be detected.

[2] A QES is a specific digital signature implementation that has met the particular specifications of a government, including using a secure signature creation device, and been certified as ‘qualified’ by either that government or a party contracted by that government.

External Resources

DISCLAIMER: This information is intended to help you understand the legal framework of electronic signatures. However, eMudhra cannot provide legal advice. The law of electronic signatures is constantly evolving. This guide is not intended as a legal advice and should not serve as a substitute for professional legal advice. You should consult an attorney regarding any specific legal concerns.
eMudhra, and all associates including agents, officers, employees or affiliates, are not liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, exemplary or consequential damages.