September 05, 2014 12:37 AM
By: Wenceslao E. Mateo Jr.
TWO officials of the Iloilo City Local Civil Registrar’s (LCR) Office confirmed the existence of an alleged wedding fixer who facilitates the registry of civil marriages done at the Iloilo Hall of Justice.
Civil registry officers Christine E. Pecaoco and Jose Pensueña Jr. identified the “fixer” as a certain Jimely “Jen-Jen” Diaz.
Diaz allegedly duped more than 100 couples who paid P4,000 to P5,000 for the processing of the wedding papers.
They later found out that their weddings were not registered with the LCR or the National Statistics Office.
The two LCR officers said Diaz is not an employee of their office nor of any office at the City Hall.
“We were told that she is not also an employee at the Hall of Justice. We learned, however, that she is a daughter of a retired janitress at the Hall of Justice, who was then also entrusted to submit marriage documents to our office,” Pensueña said.
“She is in her mid-20s and has been doing this odd job of her mother as facilitator of the registration of marriages at the Hall of Justice with our office. She had been doing that job for about 3 years already.”
Pecaoco said Diaz has been a trusted facilitator of wedding documents from the Hall of Justice.
“That is why we never distrusted her. Another thing, all we do here is check the documents and see whether they are complete or not and subsequently enter them in our logbook. We then transmit the documents to the NSO (National Statistics Office), which will further verify and record them,” Pecaoco added.
The LCR officers also confirmed that Diaz was also involved in the alleged falsification of the registry numbers of some documents and the signatures of the concerned officials.
“We discovered this on the requests for certification of marriage at our end. The registry numbers Jen-Jen gave the couples were already assigned to different persons based on our logbook. Sometimes we could not locate the registry numbers, suggesting that they may have been faked,” Pecaoco said.
“The signatures of Civil Registrar Romeo Manikan Jr. and of Mr. Pensueña were also faked, and even those of the solemnizing judges,” she added.
Pecaoco said they discovered the anomaly involving Diaz when the NSO brought up in May this year the marriage of a Filipina to an American national.
The woman requested for her marriage papers from the NSO as she was to follow her husband to the USA. But no record of their marriage was found with the NSO or with the LCR.
“Jen-Jen could have faked the signatures, including ours here at the LCR, and gave the couple a fully accomplished marriage registration document. The couple could have paid her a sizeable amount for facilitating the registry of their marriage,” Pecaoco observed.
Since then, complaints started to bombard the LCR on marriage documents that were allegedly falsified or were not submitted for registration.
The couples claimed that they paid huge sums to Diaz for the processing of their papers.
“Over 100 complaints,” Pensueña said.
Manikan then wrote the Hall of Justice that the LCR would no longer accept marriage documents processed by Diaz.
“Complaints continued to be filed with the LCR until last week,” Pecaoco said.