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Canon 2: PROVIDE EFFICIENT AND CONVENIENT LEGAL SERVICES Not to Refuse to Give Legal Advice Rule 2.

.02 Prepared by: Michael Joseph Nogoy, JD 1 CASE No. 24 [A.C. No. 6252. October 5, 2004] JONAR SANTIAGO, complainant, vs. ATTY. EDISON V. RAFANAN, respondent PONENTE: PANGANIBAN, J.: o NOTE: I cant pinpoint where Rule 2.02 plays in so this digest will be a bit long since Ill tackle them all. But I do have guesses about Rule 2.02 here. I hope they are correct o NOTE 2: I dont know the precedent facts before all of these happened. In case they will be asked, just say the truth - theyre not mentioned in the case Basta na lang nagreklamo si Santiago dito. FACTS: This is a disbarment case filed by BJMP employee Jonar Santiago against Atty. Edison Rafanan. Santiago, in his complaint, alleged among others that Rafanan, in notarizing several documents on different dates failed and/or refused to: o Make the proper notation regarding the cedula or community tax certificate of the affiants (*one making the affidavit); o Enter the details of the notarized documents in the notarial register; o Make and execute the certification and enter his PTR and IBP numbers in the documents he notarized Santiago also alleged that Rafanan executed an Affidavit in favor of his client and offered it as evidence (Rafanan stood as counsel and as witness of his client) and Rafanan, as alleged by Santiago, waited for him together with his men and disarmed Santiago and uttered insulting words at him. ATTY. RAFANANS CONTENTIONS: o Admitted having administered the oath to the affiants whose Affidavits were attached to the Complaint of Santiago. But Rafanan believed that the non-notation of their Residence Certificates in the Affidavits and Counter-Affidavits were allowed because: Notation of residence certificates applied only to documents acknowledged by a notary public, and

Was not mandatory for affidavits related to cases pending before courts and other government offices (Side comment: If they were not notarized and were used for court proceedings, edi hindi sila naging public documents? Paano sila magiging admissible sa court? Tenge lang yata si Rafanan) He also pointed out that older practitioners in Nueva Ecija also do what he did they do not indicate affiants residence certificates on documents they notarized, or have entries in the notarial register for these documents. As to his alleged failure to comply with Sec.3 Rule 112 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure: as counsel to the affiants, he had the option not comply or not with the certification. As to his alleged violation of Rule 12.08 of CPR: lawyers could testify on behalf of their clients on substantial matters, in cases where [their] testimony is essential to the ends of justice. Santiago charged Rafanans clients with attempted murder. Rafanan said that since his clients were in his house during the alleged crime, thats why he said his testimony is very essential. He also contends that the case filed by Santiago was only to harass Rafanan since he is the counsel of the parties who filed cases against him before the ombudsman (Brgy. Capt. Ernesto Ramos and BJMP)

ISSUES: Whether or not Rafanan is guilty in violating the Notarial Law. Whether or not a lawyer (in this case, Rafanan) can stand as witness in favor of his clients. HELDS: Yes, he violated the Notarial Law for not making the proper notation and entering the details of the notarized documents. Yes, a lawyer can stand as witness of a client. RATIO DECIDENDI: On Issue No. 1 The Notarial Law is explicit on the obligations and duties of notaries public. And these formalities are mandatory and cannot be simply neglected. They are required to certify that the party to every document acknowledged before them has presented the proper residence certificate (or exemption from

the residence tax); and to enter its number, place of issue and the date as part of such certification. They are also required to keep a notarial register; to enter therein all instruments notarized by them; etc. As to Rafanans defense that its a common practice in Nueva Ecija, SC says: It is appalling and inexcusable that he did away with the basics of notarial procedure allegedly because others were doing so. Being swayed by the bad example of others is not an acceptable justification for breaking the law.

RULING: Atty. Rafanan is GUILTY of violating the Notarial Law and Canon 5 of the CPR. He is fined P3,000.00 with a warning that similar infractions will be dealt more severely.

On Issue No. 2 A lawyer is not disqualified from being a witness, except only in certain cases pertaining to privileged communication arising from an attorney-client relationship. Reason: The difficulty posed upon lawyers by the task of dissociating their relationship to their clients as witnesses from that as an advocate (Note: A witness must only say what happened. Only the truth. As compared with the task of a lawyer who will use all the available remedies and actions in his arsenal for his client to win the case.) It is difficult to distinguish the fairness and impartiality of a disinterested witness from the zeal of an advocate. The preference is for lawyers to REFRAIN from testifying as witnesses, unless they absolutely have to; and should they do so, to withdraw from active management of the case. In the case at bar: o Atty. Rafanan cannot be administratively liable because: Its a duty of the lawyer to assert every remedy and defense that is authorized by law for the benefit of the client. (Remember, there is a criminal case of attempted murder against his client which will deprive his client of his life and liberty, if they fail to display a good defense.) On the Side Issues: There is no harassment of the part of Rafanan against Santiago because there were no pieces of evidence presented. Mere allegation is never equivalent to proof, and a bare charge cannot be equated with liability.