Electronic signatures (or “eSignatures”) have been legal in the Philippines since 2000, with the passage of Republic Act No. 8792, also known as The Electronic Commerce Act.
Under Philippine law, a written signature is not required for a valid agreement or contract. Contracts are generally considered valid if legally competent parties agree to its terms, whether they agree verbally, electronically, or using a physical paper document.
Republic Act No. 8792 (also known as The Electronic Commerce Act) specifically confirms that contracts cannot be denied enforceability just because they are created electronically. Under the Electronic Commerce Act, an electronic signature is deemed valid if the following conditions are met:
- There is a prescribed method of signing that is not alterable by the parties interested in the electronic document;
- The method of signing identifies the party sought to be bound and indicates the party’s access to the electronic document;
- The method of signing is reliable and appropriate for the purpose of the electronic document in light of all circumstances, including any relevant agreement;
- The transaction cannot proceed unless the party sought to be bound provides an electronic signature; and
- The other party is authorized and enabled to verify the electronic signature, and to make the decision to proceed with the transaction authenticated by the electronic signature.
Common eSignature use cases
Use cases where electronic signatures are considered appropriate in the Philippines include:
- HR documents such as regular employment contracts, NDAs, employee invention agreements, privacy notices, benefit paperwork, and other new employee onboarding documents
- Commercial agreements between corporate entities including purchase orders, invoices, sales agreements, distribution agreements, service agreements, procurement contracts, and NDAs
- Consumer agreements including new retail account opening documents, sales terms, service terms, software licenses, user manuals, and policies
- Intellectual property licenses (excluding trademarks)
- Intangible property transfers
- Residential and commercial real estate lease agreements
Use cases where eSignature is not appropriate
Certain use cases are specifically barred from electronic processes or require formal notarization under the Civil Code of the Philippines, making them incompatible with electronic signature. These include:
- Acts and contracts which have for their object the creation, transmission, modification, or extinguishment of real rights over immovable property
- The cessation, repudiation, or renunciation of hereditary rights or those of the conjugal partnership of gains
- The power to administer property, or any other power which has for its object an act appearing or which should appear in public document, or should prejudice a third person
- The cession of action or rights proceeding from an act appearing in a public document
- Other deeds and documents that are required under applicable laws and regulations to appear in a public document
Technology standards in the Philippines
The requirements for electronic signature technology vary significantly between countries. The Philippines follows a tiered eSignature model, which recognizes different types of electronic signature. Similar to the EU’s eIDAS regulations, a simple electronic signature is sufficient for most use cases but may require extra evidence to support it if a dispute arises.
The information on this site is for general education and informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide and should not be considered legal advice. Laws pertaining to electronic signatures may change quickly, so Conga cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information on this site. Consult with a licensed attorney for answers to any specific legal questions on this topic.
Last updated: 09/09/2021