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Digital or E-signatures: Are They Legally Binding in the Philippines?

With technology continuously evolving through time, there are already a lot of traditional methods of communication and relaying information that has been digitally influenced. Being able to have access to different forms of technology such as the computer and mobile devices, makes it easier to do daily tasks instantaneously, whether you are present in that certain place or not.

What is an E-Signature?

An e-signature is often referred to as digital or electronic signature. It is basically a distinctive mark in electronic form that represents the identity of a person and is attached to or logically associated with the electronic data message or electronic document or any methodology or procedures adopted by a person with the intention of authenticating or approving an electronic data message or electronic document (Republic Act No. 8792 or E-Commerce Act of 2000, Section 5, (e)).

Are Digital or E-Signature Legally Binding in the Philippines?

The Electronic Commerce or E-commerce Act of 2000 was initially created to recognize the importance of ICT or Information and Communications Technology in helping to build an information-friendly environment for the citizens of the country to be able to adapt to different forms of technology, as well as make electronic contracting legally binding. This act also recognizes the validity of electronic writing or document and data messages, such as an e-signature. E-signatures on electronic documents are legally binding in the Philippines and serve as legal equivalent of the traditional handwritten signature of a person on a written document. Keep in mind that the signature should prove to prescribe to certain procedures and should be unaltered by the parties interested in the electronic document. 

In accordance to the E-Commerce Act of 2000, e-signatures are deemed valid if:

  • There is a method used to give consent or approval through the electronic signature to identify the person and indicate their access to the electronic document.
  • The method of signing is reliable and appropriate mainly for the purpose of which the electronic document was generated, in light of all the circumstances, including any relevant agreement.
  • The person, who is sought to be bound, provides an electronic signature in order to proceed with the transaction.
  • The other party is authorized and enabled to verify the electronic signature, and make the decision to proceed with the transaction authenticated by the same.

What You Need to Take Note of:

 In any proceedings involving an e-signature, it shall be presumed that – 

  • The electronic signature is the signature of the person to whom it correlates; and
  • 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 signed document knows or has notice of defects in or unreliability of the signature or reliance on the electronic signature is not reasonable under the circumstances (E-Commerce Act of 2000, Section 9). 

Can e-signatures be used to validate contracts?

E-signatures can be used to validate contracts. The E-commerce Act also says that the contract will not be denied its validity just because it is in the form of an electronic data message or electronic document. Traditional handwritten signatures are not needed to validate a contract, as long as two consenting and legally able parties reach an agreement, then that in itself gives validation to the contract. Although in some cases, in order to prove the validity of a contract, parties concerned will have to present evidence in court. 

In need of an e-signature for your website that complies with the standards? Contact us today and we can surely help you!

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