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NOTARIAL LAW

JURISPRUDENCE
28 'Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.29 Shoulder my
yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30
Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.'

Matthew 11:28-30,Catholic Bible


1. 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice
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HEIRS OF PEDRO ALILANO represented by DAVID ALILANO, complainants, vs. ATTY.
ROBERTO E. EXAMEN, respondent.

Notary Public; Rules on Notarial Practice; Under the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice, Rule
IV, Section 3(c), a notary public is disqualified among others to perform the notarial act if he
is related by affinity or consanguinity to a principal within the fourth civil degree.Note must
be taken that under 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice, Rule IV, Section 3(c), a notary public is disqualified
among others to perform the notarial act if he is related by affinity or consanguinity to a principal within
the fourth civil degree, to wit: SEC. 3. Disqualifications.A notary public is disqualified from performing
a notarial act if he: x x x x (c) is a spouse, common-law partner, ancestor, descendant, or relative by
affinity or consanguinity of the principal within the fourth civil degree. That Atty. Examen was not
incompetent to act as a notary public in the present case does not mean that he can evade administrative
liability under the CPR in conjunction with the provisions of the Notarial Law.

The Notarial Law requires notaries public to certify that a party to the instrument
acknowledged before him has presented the proper residence certificate (or exemption from
the residence certificate) and to enter its number, place of issue and date as part of the
certification. Failure to perform his duties results in the revocation of a notarys
commission.In Soriano v. Atty. Basco, 470 SCRA 423 (2005), the Court stated that notaries public are
required to follow formalities as these are mandatory and cannot be simply neglected. Thus, the Notarial
Law requires them to certify that a party to the instrument acknowledged before him has presented the
proper residence certificate (or exemption from the residence certificate) and to enter its number, place
of issue and date as part of the certification. Failure to perform his duties results in the revocation of a
notarys commission. The Court said: As a lawyer commissioned as a notary public, respondent is
mandated to discharge with fidelity the sacred duties appertaining to his office, such duties being
dictated by public policy and impressed with public interest. Faithful observance and utmost respect for
the legal solemnity of an oath in an acknowledgment are sacrosanct. He cannot simply disregard the
requirements and solemnities of the Notarial Law. (Emphasis supplied) Here, based on the submission of
the complainants, it is clear that the residence certificate number used by Ramon Examen and as
notarized by Atty. Examen in both Absolute Deeds of Sale was not in fact the residence certificate of
Ramon but Florentinas residence certificate number. Atty. Examen interposes that he was in good faith
in that it was office practice to have his secretary type up the details of the documents and requirements
without him checking the correctness of same.

A notary public must discharge his powers and duties, which are impressed with public
interest, with accuracy and fidelity. Good faith cannot be a mitigating circumstance in
situations since the duty to function as a notary public is personal.A notary public must
discharge his powers and duties, which are impressed with public interest, with accuracy and fidelity.
Good faith cannot be a mitigating circumstance in situations since the duty to function as a notary public
is personal. We note that the error could have been prevented had Atty. Examen diligently performed his
functions: personally checked the correctness of the documents. To say that it was his secretarys fault
reflects disregard and unfitness to discharge the functions of a notary public for it is he who personally
acknowledges the document. He was behooved under Section 251, Chapter 11 of the Revised
Administrative Code to check if the proper cedulas were presented and inspect if the documents to be
acknowledged by him reflected the correct details. This Court cannot stress enough that notarization is
not a routinary act. It is imbued with substantive public interest owing to the public character of his
duties.

Code of Professional Responsibility; By his negligent act of not checking the work of his
secretary and merely perfunctorily notarizing documents, it cannot be said that he upheld
legal processes thus violating Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR); A
lawyers mandate includes thoroughly going over documents presented to them typed or
transcribed by their secretaries.In violating the provisions of the Notarial Law, Atty. 2
Examen also transgressed his oath as a lawyer, provisions of the CPR and Section 27, Rule
138 of the Rules of Court which provides: SEC. 27. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys
by Supreme Court; grounds therefor.A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his
office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such
office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for
any violation of the oath which he is required to take before admission to practice, or for a wilful
disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court, or for corruptly and willfully appearing as an
attorney for a party to a case without authority so to do. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the
purpose of gain, either personally or through paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice. By his
negligent act of not checking the work of his secretary and merely perfunctorily notarizing documents, it
cannot be said that he upheld legal processes thus violating Canon 1 of the CPR. Neither can it be said
that he promoted confidence in the legal system. If anything, his acts serve to undermine the functions
of a diligent lawyer. He thus ran afoul Rule 1.02 of the CPR. We cannot stress enough that as a lawyer,
respondent is expected at all times to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and refrain
from any act or omission which might lessen the trust and confidence reposed by the public in the
integrity of the legal profession. A lawyers mandate includes thoroughly going over documents presented
to them typed or transcribed by their secretaries.

2. General Considerations

XERXES A. ABADIANO, petitioner, vs. SPOUSES JESUS and LOLITA MARTIR, respondents.

Notarial Law; A notarial document is evidence of the facts in the clear unequivocal manner
therein expressed and has in its favor the presumption of regularity; The defect that the
purportedly notarized Deed of Sale contains the same notarial inscription as an Agreement
on Partition, while not necessarily invalidating the sale, the same error would have meant
that the document cannot be treated as a notarial document and thus, not entitled to the
presumption of regularity.The trial court likewise brushed aside the apparent defect that the
document presented contained the same notarial inscription as the Agreement on Partition. Indeed, the
Deed of Partition and the Compra Y Venta, though executed on different days, were notarized on the
same day, and both documents contained the signatures of the same witnesses and the same notarial
inscription. This notwithstanding, the court concluded, Assuming this to be true, same could be
considered an error which did not nullify, (sic) the Deed of Sale or Compra Y Venta. At most, the
document would be a non-registrable, but valid document. We stress that a notarial document is
evidence of the facts in the clear unequivocal manner therein expressed and has in its favor the
presumption of regularity. In this case, while it is true that the error in the notarial inscription would not
have invalidated the saleif indeed it took placethe same error would have meant that the document
cannot be treated as a notarial document and thus, not entitled to the presumption of regularity. The
document would be taken out of the realm of public documents whose genuineness and due execution
need not be proved.679

LEONOR CAMCAM, JOSE, FORTUNATO, VIRGINIA, GLORIA, FLORENDO, DELFIN, RODRIGO,


LEUTERIO, NARCISO, ONOFRE, ZENAIDA, AURELIA, TEOFILA, FELICIDAD, MERCEDES,
LYDIA, ALFREDO, BIENVENIDO, EFREN, LILIA, ERLINDA, MELINDA, MARYLOU, MERIAM, all
surnamed SALVADOR, petitioners, vs. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS AND ARCADIO
FRIAS, respondents.

Sales; Notarial Law; An irregular notarization merely reduces the evidentiary value of a
document to that of a private document, which requires proof of its due execution and
authenticity to be admissible as evidence.Without passing on the merits of Frias claim that
Leonor originally sold to him 1/2 of Lot No. 18739 as reflected in the first November 4, 1982 document
but later conveyed the remaining 1/2 thereof, hence, the execution of the second document bearing the 3
same date, an irregular notarization merely reduces the evidentiary value of a document to that of a
private document, which requires proof of its due execution and authenticity to be admissible as
evidence. The irregular notarizationor, for that matter, the lack of notarizationdoes not thus
necessarily affect the validity of the contract reflected in the document. Tigno v. Aquino, 444 SCRA 61
(2004), enlightens: x x x [F]rom a civil law perspective, the absence of notarization of the Deed of Sale
would not necessarily invalidate the transaction evidenced therein. Article 1358 of the Civil Code requires
that the form of a contract that transmits or extinguishes real rights over immovable property should be
in a public document, yet it is also an accepted rule that the failure to observe the proper form does not
render the transaction invalid. Thus, it has been uniformly held that the form required in Article 1358 is
not essential to the validity or enforceability of the transaction, but required merely for convenience. We
have even affirmed that a sale of real property though not consigned in a public instrument or formal
writing, is nevertheless valid and binding among the parties, for the time-honored rule is that even a
verbal contract of sale or real estate produces effects between the parties. (Underscoring supplied)

SPOUSES LEHNER and LUDY MARTIRES, petitioners, vs. MENELIA CHUA, respondent.

Evidence; Notarized Documents; A notarized document enjoys the presumption of regularity,


the fact that a deed is notarized is not a guarantee of the validity of its contents.While
indeed a notarized document enjoys the presumption of regularity, the fact that a deed is notarized is not
a guarantee of the validity of its contents. The presumption is not absolute and may be rebutted by clear
and convincing evidence to the contrary. In the present case, the presumption cannot be made to apply,
because aside from the regularity of its notarization, the validity of the contents and execution of the
subject Deed of Transfer was challenged in the proceedings below where its prima facie validity was
subsequently overthrown by the questionable circumstances attendant in its supposed execution. These
circumstances include: (1) the alleged agreement between the parties that the ownership of the subject
property be simply assigned to petitioners instead of foreclosure of the contract of mortgage which was
earlier entered into by them; (2) the Deed of Transfer was executed by reason of the loan extended by
petitioners to respondent, the amount of the latters outstanding obligation being the same as the
amount of the consideration for the assignment of ownership over the subject property; (3) the
inadequacy of the consideration; and (4) the claim of respondent that she had no intention of
transferring ownership of the subject property to petitioners.

THELMA M. ARANAS, petitioner, vs. TERESITA V. MERCADO, FELIMON V. MERCADO,


CARMENCITA M. SUTHERLAND, RICHARD V. MERCADO, MA. TERESITA M. ANDERSON, and
FRANKLIN L. MERCADO, respondents.

Evidence; Notarized Documents; A notarized deed of sale only enjoyed the presumption of
regularity in favor of its execution, but its notarization did not per se guarantee the legal
efficacy of the transaction under the deed, and what the contents purported to be.The fact
that the deed of absolute sale executed by Emigdio in favor of Mervir Realty was a notarized instrument
did not sufficiently justify the exclusion from the inventory of the properties involved. A notarized deed of
sale only enjoyed the presumption of regularity in favor of its execution, but its notarization did not per
se guarantee the legal efficacy of the transaction under the deed, and what the contents purported to be.
The presumption of regularity could be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. As the
Court has observed in Suntay v. Court of Appeals: x x x. Though the notarization of the deed of sale in
question vests in its favor the presumption of regularity, it is not the intention nor the function of the
notary public to validate and make binding an instrument never, in the first place, intended to have any
binding legal effect upon the parties thereto. The intention of the parties still and always is the primary
consideration in determining the true nature of a contract.
JOY A. GIMENO, complainant, vs. ATTY. PAUL CENTILLAS ZAIDE, respondent.
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Notary Public; Notarial Practice Rules; One Active Notarial Register Rule; The Notarial
Practice Rules strictly requires a notary public to maintain only one (1) active notarial
register and ensure that the entries in it are chronologically arranged. The one active
notarial register rule is in place to deter a notary public from assigning several notarial
registers to different offices manned by assistants who perform notarial services on his
behalf.Section 1(a), Rule VI of the Notarial Practice Rules provides that a notary public shall keep,
maintain, protect and provide for lawful inspection as provided in these Rules, a chronological official
notarial register of notarial acts consisting of a permanently bound book with numbered pages. The
same section further provides that a notary public shall keep only one active notarial register at any
given time. On this basis, Atty. Zaides act of simultaneously keeping several active notarial registers is a
blatant violation of Section 1, Rule VI. The Notarial Practice Rules strictly requires a notary public to
maintain only one active notarial register and ensure that the entries in it are chronologically arranged.
The one active notarial register rule is in place to deter a notary public from assigning several notarial
registers to different offices manned by assistants who perform notarial services on his behalf.

Attorneys; Since a notarial commission is personal to each lawyer, the notary public must
also personally administer the notarial acts that the law authorizes him to execute. This
important duty is vested with public interest.Since a notarial commission is personal to each
lawyer, the notary public must also personally administer the notarial acts that the law authorizes him to
execute. This important duty is vested with public interest. Thus, no other person, other than the notary
public, should perform it.

Notarial Registers; Entries in a notarial register need to be in chronological sequence in


order to address and prevent the rampant practice of leaving blank spaces in the notarial
register to allow the antedating of notarizations.Entries in a notarial register need to be in
chronological sequence in order to address and prevent the rampant practice of leaving blank spaces in
the notarial register to allow the antedating of notarizations.

The Supreme Court (SC) stresses that a notary public should not trivialize his functions as
his powers and duties are impressed with public interest.This Court stresses that a notary
public should not trivialize his functions as his powers and duties are impressed with public interest. A
notary publics office is not merely an income-generating venture. It is a public duty that each lawyer
who has been privileged to receive a notarial commission must faithfully and conscientiously perform.
Atty. Zaide should have been acutely aware of the requirements of his notarial commission. His flagrant
violation of Section 1, Rule VI of the Notarial Practice Rules is not merely a simple and excusable
negligence. It amounts to a clear violation of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which
provides that a lawyer [should] uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect
for law and legal processes.

3. Disqualifications

FE A. YLAYA, complainant, vs. ATTY. GLENN CARLOS GACOTT, respondent.

Disbarment; In Angalan v. Delante, 578 SCRA 113 (2009), despite the Affidavit of Desistance, the
Supreme Court disbarred the respondent therein for taking advantage of his clients and for transferring
the title of their property to his name.In Angalan v. Delante, 578 SCRA 113 (2009), despite the
Affidavit of Desistance, we disbarred the respondent therein for taking advantage of his clients and for
transferring the title of their property to his name. In Bautista v. Bernabe, 482 SCRA 1 (2006), we
revoked the lawyers notarial commission, disqualified him from reappointment as a notary
public for two years, and suspended him from the practice of law for one year for notarizing
a document without requiring the affiant to personally appear before him.
BERNARD N. JANDOQUILE, complainant, vs. ATTY. QUIRINO P. REVILLA, JR., respondent. 5

Notary Public; 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice; Atty. Revilla, Jr. readily admitted that he
notarized the complaint-affidavit signed by his relatives within the fourth civil degree of
affinity. Section 3(c), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice clearly disqualifies him
from notarizing the complaint-affidavit, from performing the notarial act, since two of the
affiants or principals are his relatives within the fourth civil degree of affinity.Indeed, Atty.
Revilla, Jr. violated the disqualification rule under Section 3(c), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial
Practice. We agree with him, however, that his violation is not a sufficient ground for disbarment. Atty.
Revilla, Jr.s violation of the aforesaid disqualification rule is beyond dispute. Atty. Revilla, Jr. readily
admitted that he notarized the complaint-affidavit signed by his relatives within the fourth civil degree of
affinity. Section 3(c), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice clearly disqualifies him from
notarizing the complaint-affidavit, from performing the notarial act, since two of the affiants or principals
are his relatives within the fourth civil degree of affinity. Given the clear provision of the disqualification
rule, it behooved upon Atty. Revilla, Jr. to act with prudence and refuse notarizing the document. We
cannot agree with his proposition that we consider him to have acted more as counsel of the affiants, not
as notary public, when he notarized the complaint-affidavit. The notarial certificate at the bottom of the
complaint-affidavit shows his signature as a notary public, with a notarial commission valid until
December 31, 2012. He cannot therefore claim that he signed it as counsel of the three affiants.

If the notary public knows the affiants personally, he need not require them to show their
valid identification cards.On the second charge, we agree with Atty. Revilla, Jr. that he cannot be
held liable. If the notary public knows the affiants personally, he need not require them to show their
valid identification cards. This rule is supported by the definition of a jurat under Section 6, Rule II of
the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice. A jurat refers to an act in which an individual on a single occasion:
(a) appears in person before the notary public and presents an instrument or document; (b) is personally
known to the notary public or identified by the notary public through competent evidence of identity; (c)
signs the instrument or document in the presence of the notary; and (d) takes an oath or affirmation
before the notary public as to such instrument or document. In this case, Heneraline Brosas is a sister of
Atty. Revilla, Jr.s wife; Herizalyn Brosas Pedrosa is his wifes sister-in-law; and Elmer Alvarado is the live-
in houseboy of the Brosas family. Atty. Revilla, Jr. knows the three affiants personally. Thus, he was
justified in no longer requiring them to show valid identification cards. But Atty. Revilla, Jr. is not without
fault for failing to indicate such fact in the jurat of the complaint-affidavit. No statement was included
therein that he knows the three affiants personally. Let it be impressed that Atty. Revilla, Jr. was clearly
disqualified to notarize the complaint-affidavit of his relatives within the fourth civil degree of affinity.
While he has a valid defense as to the second charge, it does not exempt him from liability for violating
the disqualification rule.

2004 Rules on Notarial Practice; A person shall not perform a notarial act if the person
involved as signatory to the instrument or document (1) is not in the notarys presence
personally at the time of the notarization and (2) is not personally known to the notary
public or otherwise identified by the notary public through a competent evidence of
identity.As we said, Atty. Revilla, Jr.s violation of the disqualification rule under Section 3(c), Rule IV
of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice is not a sufficient ground to disbar him. To our mind, Atty. Revilla,
Jr. did not commit any deceit, malpractice, gross misconduct or gross immoral conduct, or any other
serious ground for disbarment under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. We recall the case of
Maria v. Cortez, 669 SCRA 87 (2012), where we reprimanded Cortez and disqualified him from being
commissioned as notary public for six months. We were convinced that said punishment, which is less
severe than disbarment, would already suffice as sanction for Cortezs violation. In Cortez, we noted the
prohibition in Section 2(b), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice that a person shall not perform
a notarial act if the person involved as signatory to the instrument or document (1) is not in the notarys
presence personally at the time of the notarization and (2) is not personally known to the notary public or
otherwise identified by the notary public through a competent evidence of identity. Cortez had notarized
a special power of attorney without having the alleged signatories appear before him. In imposing the 6
less severe punishment, we were mindful that removal from the Bar should not really be decreed when
any punishment less severe such as reprimand, temporary suspension or fine would accomplish the end
desired.

4. Refusal to Notarize and False or Incomplete Certificates

MERCEDITA DE JESUS, complainant, vs. ATTY. JUVY MELL SANCHEZ-MALIT, respondent.

Notarial Law; The 2004 Rules on Notarial Law contain no provision declaring the
inadmissibility of documents obtained in violation thereof.The 2004 Rules on Notarial Law
contain no provision declaring the inadmissibility of documents obtained in violation thereof. Thus, the
IBP correctly considered in evidence the other notarized documents submitted by complainant as
additional evidence. Respondents argument that the Urgent Ex-Parte Motion of complainant constitutes a
supplemental pleading must fail as well. As its very name denotes, a supplemental pleading only serves
to bolster or adds something to the primary pleading. Its usual office is to set up new facts which justify,
enlarge or change the kind of relief with respect to the same subject matter as the controversy referred
to in the original complaint. Accordingly, it cannot be said that the Urgent Ex-Parte Motion filed by
complainant was a supplemental pleading. One of her charges against respondent is that the latter
notarized incomplete documents, as shown by the SPAs and lease agreement attached to the Affidavit-
Complaint. Complainant is not legally barred from submitting additional evidence to strengthen the basis
of her complaint.

Notarized Documents; Notarization converts a private document into a public document,


making it admissible in evidence without further proof of its authenticity.The important role
a notary public performs cannot be overemphasized. The Court has repeatedly stressed that notarization
is not an empty, meaningless routinary act, but one invested with substantive public interest. Notarization
converts a private document into a public document, making it admissible in evidence without further
proof of its authenticity. Thus, a notarized document is, by law, entitled to full faith and credit upon its
face. It is for this reason that a notary public must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in
the performance of his notarial duties; otherwise, the publics confidence in the integrity of a notarized
document would be undermined.

Notary Public; Where the notary public admittedly has personal knowledge of a false
statement or information contained in the instrument to be notarized, yet proceeds to affix
the notarial seal on it, the Supreme Court (SC) must not hesitate to discipline the notary
public accordingly as the circumstances of the case may dictate.Where the notary public
admittedly has personal knowledge of a false statement or information contained in the instrument to be
notarized, yet proceeds to affix the notarial seal on it, the Court must not hesitate to discipline the notary
public accordingly as the circumstances of the case may dictate. Otherwise, the integrity and sanctity of
the notarization process may be undermined, and public confidence in notarial documents diminished. In
this case, respondent fully knew that complainant was not the owner of the mortgaged market stall. That
complainant comprehended the provisions of the real estate mortgage contract does not make
respondent any less guilty. If at all, it only heightens the latters liability for tolerating a wrongful act.
Clearly, respondents conduct amounted to a breach of Canon 1 and Rules 1.01 and 1.02 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.

A notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who signed it are the
very same ones who executed it and who personally appeared before the said notary public
to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated therein.A notary public should not
notarize a document unless the persons who signed it are the very same ones who executed it and who
personally appeared before the said notary public to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated
therein. Thus, in acknowledging that the parties personally came and appeared before her, respondent
also violated Rule 10.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and her oath as a lawyer that she shall 7
do no falsehood.

EUPROCINA I. CRISOSTOMO, MARILYN L. SOLIS, EVELYN MARQUIZO, ROSEMARIE


BALATUCAN, MILDRED BATANG, MARILEN MINERALES, and MELINDA D. SIOTING,
complainants, vs. ATTY. PHILIP Z. A. NAZARENO, respondent.

Notarial Law; It is a standing rule that for every notarial act, the notary shall record in the
notarial register at the time of the notarization, among others, the entry and page number of
the document notarized, and that he shall give to each instrument or document executed,
sworn to, or acknowledged before him a number corresponding to the one in his register.
Separately, the Court further finds Atty. Nazareno guilty of malpractice as a notary public, considering
that he assigned only one document number (i.e., Doc. No. 1968) to the certifications against forum
shopping attached to the six (6) April 1, 2004 complaints for rescission and ejectment despite the fact
that each of them should have been treated as a separate notarial act. It is a standing rule that for every
notarial act, the notary shall record in the notarial register at the time of the notarization, among others,
the entry and page number of the document notarized, and that he shall give to each instrument or
document executed, sworn to, or acknowledged before him a number corresponding to the one in his
register. Evidently, Atty. Nazareno did not comply with the foregoing rule.

Notary Public; Atty. Nazareno notarized the certifications against forum shopping attached
to all the aforementioned complaints, fully aware that they identically asserted a material
falsehood, i.e., that Rudex had not commenced any actions or proceedings or was not aware
of any pending actions or proceedings involving the same issues in any other forum.Atty.
Nazareno notarized the certifications against forum shopping attached to all the aforementioned
complaints, fully aware that they identically asserted a material falsehood, i.e., that Rudex had not
commenced any actions or proceedings or was not aware of any pending actions or proceedings involving
the same issues in any other forum. The administrative liability of an erring notary public in this respect
was clearly delineated as a violation of Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code in the case of Heirs of the Late
Spouses Villanueva v. Atty. Beradio, 512 SCRA 17 (2007), to wit: Where admittedly the notary public has
personal knowledge of a false statement or information contained in the instrument to be notarized, yet
proceeds to affix his or her notarial seal on it, the Court must not hesitate to discipline the notary public
accordingly as the circumstances of the case may dictate. Otherwise, the integrity and sanctity of the
notarization process may be undermined and public confidence on notarial documents diminished. In this
case, respondents conduct amounted to a breach of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility,
which requires lawyers to obey the laws of the land and promote respect for the law and legal processes.
Respondent also violated Rule 1.01 of the Code which proscribes lawyers from engaging in unlawful,
dishonest, immoral, or deceitful conduct. (Emphasis supplied) In said case, the lawyer who knowingly
notarized a document containing false statements had his notarial commission revoked and was
disqualified from being commissioned as such for a period of one (1) year. Thus, for his malpractice as a
notary public, the Court is wont to additionally impose the same penalties of such nature against him.
However, due to the multiplicity of his infractions on this front, coupled with his willful malfeasance in
discharging the office, the Court deems it proper to revoke his existing commission and permanently
disqualify him from being commissioned as a notary public.

Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is invested with substantive


public interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries
public.Indeed, respondent ought to be reminded that: Notarization is not an empty, meaningless,
routinary act. It is invested with substantive public interest, such that only those who are qualified or
authorized may act as notaries public. Notarization converts a private document into a public document
thus making that document admissible in evidence without further proof of its authenticity. A notarial
document is by law entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. Courts, administrative agencies and the 8
public at large must be able to rely upon the acknowledgment executed by a notary public and appended
to a private instrument. x x x x When a notary public certifies to the due execution and delivery of the
document under his hand and seal he gives the document the force of evidence. Indeed, one of the
purposes of requiring documents to be acknowledged before a notary public, in addition to the solemnity
which should surround the execution and delivery of documents, is to authorize such documents to be
given without further proof of their execution and delivery. Where the notary public is a lawyer, a graver
responsibility is placed upon him by reason of his solemn oath to obey the laws and to do no falsehood or
consent to the doing of any. Failing in this, he must accept the consequences of his unwarranted actions.
5. Commission Period and Expiration

EFIGENIA M. TENOSO, complainant, vs. ATTY. ANSELMO S. ECHANEZ, respondent.

Attorneys; Notarial Law; Respondent merely posited that the notarized documents
presented by complainant were tampered and adulterated or were results of forgery, but
he failed to present any proof. Respondent also resorted to a sweeping and unsupported
statement that he never notarized any document. Accordingly, the reasonable conclusion is
that respondent repeatedly notarized documents without the requisite notarial
commission.Respondent failed to present evidence to rebut complainants allegations. Per Section 1,
Rule 131 of the Rules of Court, the burden of proof is vested upon the party who alleges the truth of his
claim or defense or any fact in issue. Thus, in Leave Division, Office of Administrative Services, Office of
the Court Administrator v. Gutierrez, 666 SCRA 29 (2012), where a party resorts to bare denials and
allegations and fails to submit evidence in support of his defense, the determination that he committed
the violation is sustained. Respondent merely posited that the notarized documents presented by
complainant were tampered and adulterated or were results of forgery, but he failed to present any
proof. Respondent also resorted to a sweeping and unsupported statement that he never notarized any
document. Accordingly, the reasonable conclusion is that respondent repeatedly notarized documents
without the requisite notarial commission.

Notary Public; In misrepresenting himself as a notary public, respondent exposed party-


litigants, courts, other lawyers and the general public to the perils of ordinary documents
posing as public instruments; Evidently, respondents conduct falls miserably short of the
high standards of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing required from lawyers. It is
proper that he be sanctioned.The duties of notaries public are dictated by public policy and
impressed with public interest. [N]otarization is not a routinary, meaningless act, for notarization
converts a private document to a public instrument, making it admissible in evidence without the
necessity of preliminary proof of its authenticity and due execution. In misrepresenting himself as a
notary public, respondent exposed party-litigants, courts, other lawyers and the general public to the
perils of ordinary documents posing as public instruments. As noted by the Investigating Commissioner,
respondent committed acts of deceit and falsehood in open violation of the explicit pronouncements of
the Code of Professional Responsibility. Evidently, respondents conduct falls miserably short of the high
standards of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing required from lawyers. It is proper that he be
sanctioned.

ST. LOUIS UNIVERSITY LABORATORY HIGH SCHOOL (SLU-LHS) FACULTY and STAFF,
complainant, vs. ATTY. ROLANDO C. DELA CRUZ, respondent.

Notarial Law; Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary actit is invested with
substantive public interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as
notaries public.It has been emphatically stressed that notarization is not an empty, meaningless,
routi-nary act. On the contrary, it is invested with substantive public interest, such that only those who
are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public. Notarization of a private document converts the
document into a public one making it admissible in court without further proof of its authenticity. A
notarial document is by law entitled to full faith and credit upon its face and, for this reason, notaries 9
public must observe with the utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of their duties.
Otherwise, the confidence of the public in the integrity of this form of conveyance would be undermined.
The requirements for the issuance of a commission as notary public must not be treated as a mere casual
formality. The Court has characterized a lawyers act of notarizing documents without the requisite
commission to do so as reprehensible, constituting as it does not only malpractice but also x x x the
crime of falsification of public documents.

HEINZ R. HECK, complainant, vs. JUDGE ANTHONY E. SAN-TOS, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT,
BRANCH 19, CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY,1The respondent compulsorily retired from the
judiciary on May 22, 2002. respondent.

Notarial Law; Words and Phrases; Notarization by a notary public converts a private
document into a public one, making it admissible in evidence without the necessity of
preliminary proof of its authenticity and due execution.It must be remembered that notarization
is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. On the contrary, it is invested with substantive public
interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public. Notarization by
a notary public converts a private document into a public one, making it admissible in evidence without
the necessity of preliminary proof of its authenticity and due execution.

Falsification of Public Documents; The Court has characterized a lawyers act of notarizing
documents without the requisite commission therefor as reprehensible, constituting as it
does not only malpractice, but also the crime of falsification of public documents.The
requirements for the issuance of a commission as notary public must not be treated as a mere casual
formality. The Court has characterized a lawyers act of notarizing documents without the requisite
commission therefore as reprehensible, constituting as it does not only malpractice, but also the crime of
falsification of public documents. For such reprehensible conduct, the Court has sanctioned erring
lawyers by suspension from the practice of law, revocation of the notarial commission and disqualification
from acting as such, and even disbarment.

Notarial Law; Judges; Prescription; An administrative complaint against an erring lawyer


who was thereafter appointed as a judge, albeit filed only after twenty-four years after the
offending act was committed, is not barred by prescriptionno matter how much time has
elapsed from the time of the commission of the act complained of and the time of the institution of the
complaint, erring members of the bench and bar cannot escape the disciplining arm of the Court; Even
the lapse of considerable time from the commission of the offending act to the institution of the
administrative complaint will not erase the administrative culpability of a lawyer who notarizes documents
without the requisite authority therefor.Pursuant to the foregoing, there can be no other conclusion than
that an administrative complaint against an erring lawyer who was thereafter appointed as a judge, albeit
filed only after twenty-four years after the offending act was committed, is not barred by prescription. If
the rule were otherwise, members of the bar would be emboldened to disregard the very oath they took
as lawyers, prescinding from the fact that as long as no private complainant would immediately come
forward, they stand a chance of being completely exonerated from whatever administrative liability they
ought to answer for. It is the duty of this Court to protect the integrity of the practice of law as well as
the administration of justice. No matter how much time has elapsed from the time of the commission of
the act complained of and the time of the institution of the complaint, erring members of the bench and
bar cannot, escape the disciplining arm of the Court. This categorical pronouncement is aimed at
unscrupulous members of the bench and bar, to deter them from committing acts which violate the Code
of Professional Responsibility, the Code of Judicial Conduct, or the Lawyers Oath. This should particularly
apply in this case, considering the seriousness of the matter involvedthe respondents dishonesty and
the sanctity of notarial documents. Thus, even the lapse of considerable time, from the commission of
the offending act to the institution of the administrative complaint, will not erase the administrative
culpability of a lawyer who notarizes documents without the requisite authority therefor. 10

A lawyer, in representing that he was possessed of the requisite notarial commission when
he was, in fact, not so authorized, violated Rule 10.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility and his oath as a lawyer that he shall do no falsehood.Time and again, we have
stressed the settled principle that the practice of law is not a right but a privilege bestowed by the State
on those who show that they possess the qualifications required by law for the conferment of such
privilege. Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. A high sense of morality,
honesty, and fair dealing is expected and required of a member of the bar. By his actuations, the
respondent failed to live up to such standards; he undermined the confidence of the public on notarial
documents and thereby breached Canon I of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which requires
lawyers to uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for the law and legal
processes. The respondent also violated Rule 1.01 thereof which proscribes lawyers from engaging in
unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. In representing that he was possessed of the requisite
notarial commission when he was, in fact, not so authorized, the respondent also violated Rule 10.01 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility and his oath as a lawyer that he shall do no falsehood.

The supreme penalty of disbarment is meted out only in clear cases of misconduct that seriously affect
the standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the courtthe Court will not disbar a lawyer
where a lesser penalty will suffice to accomplish the desired end. The supreme penalty of disbarment is
meted out only in clear cases of misconduct that seriously affect the standing and character of the lawyer
as an officer of the court. While we will not hesitate to remove an erring attorney from the esteemed
brotherhood of lawyers where the evidence calls for it, we will likewise not disbar him where a lesser
penalty will suffice to accomplish the desired end. Furthermore, a tempering of justice is mandated in this
case, considering that the complaint against the respondent was filed twenty-four years after the
commission of the act complained of; that there was no private offended party who came forward and
claimed to have been adversely affected by the documents so notarized by the respondent; and, the fact
that the respondent is a retired judge who deserves to enjoy the full measure of his well-earned
retirement benefits. The Court finds that a fine of P5,000.00 is justified in this case. Heck vs. Santos, 423
SCRA 329, A.M. No. RTJ-01-1657 February 23, 2004

MILA VIRTUSIO, complainant, vs. ATTY. GRENALYN V. VIRTUSIO, respondent.

A lawyer who notarizes a document without a proper commission violates his lawyers oath
to obey the law.A lawyer who notarizes a document without a proper commission violates his
lawyers oath to obey the law. He makes it appear that he is commissioned when he is not. He thus
indulges in deliberate falsehood that the lawyers oath forbids. This violation falls squarely under Rule
1.01 of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Canon 7 as well. A proper sanction is
authorized.

VICTORINA BAUTISTA, complainant, vs. ATTY. SERGIO E. BERNABE, respondent.

Legal Ethics; Notaries Public; A notary public should not notarize documents unless the
persons who signed the same are the very same persons who executed and personally
appeared before them to attest the contents and truth of what are stated therein.The
records sufficiently established that Basilia was already dead when the joint affidavit was prepared on
January 3, 1998. Respondents alleged lack of knowledge of Basilias death does not excuse him. It was
his duty to require the personal appearance of the affiant before affixing his notarial seal and signature
on the instrument. A notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who signed the
same are the very same persons who executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the
contents and truth of what are stated therein. The presence of the parties to the deed will enable the
notary public to verify the genuineness of the signature of the affiant.
The act of notarizing a joint affidavit in the absence of one of the affiants is in violation of 11
Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Notarial Law; By
affixing his signature and notarial seal on the instrument, a notary public leads the public to
believe that the affiant personally appeared before him and attested to the truth and
veracity of the document when in truth and in fact another person signed it.Respondents act
of notarizing the Magkasanib na Salaysay in the absence of one of the affiants is in violation of Rule 1.01,
Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Notarial Law. By affixing his signature and
notarial seal on the instrument, he led us to believe that Basilia personally appeared before him and
attested to the truth and veracity of the contents of the affidavit when in fact it was a certain Pronebo
who signed the document. Respondents conduct is fraught with dangerous possibilities considering the
conclusiveness on the due execution of a document that our courts and the public accord on notarized
documents. Respondent has clearly failed to exercise utmost diligence in the performance of his function
as a notary public and to comply with the mandates of the law.

Attorneys; A member of the bar who performs an act as a notary public should not notarize a
document unless the persons who signed the document are the very same persons who
executed and personally appeared before him; The acts of the affiant cannot be delegated to
anyone for what are stated therein are facts of which they have personal knowledge.
Respondent was also remiss in his duty when he allowed Pronebo to sign in behalf of Basilia. A member
of the bar who performs an act as a notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons
who signed the same are the very same persons who executed and personally appeared before him. The
acts of the affiants cannot be delegated to anyone for what are stated therein are facts of which they
have personal knowledge. They should swear to the document personally and not through any
representative. Otherwise, their representatives name should appear in the said documents as the one
who executed the same. That is the only time the representative can affix his signature and personally
appear before the notary public for notarization of the said document. Simply put, the party or parties
who executed the instrument must be the ones to personally appear before the notary public to
acknowledge the document.

An allegation in the affidavit of desistance that the lawyer who notarized the affidavit of the
complainant attached to her complaint filed with the Commission on Bar Discipline of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, without requiring her to appear before him, in violation of
the Notarial Law, must likewise be investigated.It has not escaped our notice that in paragraph
2 of complainants affidavit of desistance, she alluded that Atty. Carlitos C. Villarin notarized her
Sinumpaang Salaysay dated November 12, 2004 which was attached to the complaint filed with the
Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP, without requiring her to personally appear before him in
violation of the Notarial Law. This allegation must likewise be investigated. , 482 SCRA 1, A.C. No. 6963
February 9, 2006

SPOUSES CLARO and NIDA BAUTISTA, petitioners, vs. BERLINDA F. SILVA, Represented by
HERMES J. DORADO, in his capacity as Attorney-In-Fact, respondent.

Notarial Law; When the document under scrutiny is a special power of attorney that is duly
notarized, we know it to be a public document where the notarial acknowledgment is prima
facie evidence of the fact of its due execution; In sum, all things being equal, a person
dealing with a seller who has possession and title to the property but whose capacity to sell
is restricted, qualifies as a buyer in good faith if he proves that he inquired into the title of
the seller as well as into the latters capacity to sell, and that in his inquiry, he relied on the
notarial acknowledgment found in the sellers duly notarized special power of attorney.
When the document under scrutiny is a special power of attorney that is duly notarized, we know it to be
a public document where the notarial acknowledgment is prima facie evidence of the fact of its due
execution. A buyer presented with such a document would have no choice between knowing and finding
out whether a forger lurks beneath the signature on it. The notarial acknowledgment has removed that 12
choice from him and replaced it with a presumption sanctioned by law that the affiant appeared before
the notary public and acknowledged that he executed the document, understood its import and signed it.
In reality, he is deprived of such choice not because he is incapable of knowing and finding out but
because, under our notarial system, he has been given the luxury of merely relying on the presumption
of regularity of a duly notarized SPA. And he cannot be faulted for that because it is precisely that fiction
of regularity which holds together commercial transactions across borders and time. In sum, all things
being equal, a person dealing with a seller who has possession and title to the property but whose
capacity to sell is restricted, qualifies as a buyer in good faith if he proves that he inquired into the title of
the seller as well as into the latters capacity to sell; and that in his inquiry, he relied on the notarial
acknowledgment found in the sellers duly notarized special power of attorney. He need not prove
anything more for it is already the function of the notarial acknowledgment to establish the appearance
of the parties to the document, its due execution and authenticity.

A notarial seal is a mark, image or impression on a document which would indicate that the
notary public has officially signed it.Said photocopy of the SPA contains no notarial seal. A notarial
seal is a mark, image or impression on a document which would indicate that the notary public has
officially signed it. There being no notarial seal, the signature of the notary public on the notarial
certificate was therefore incomplete. The notarial certificate being deficient, it was as if the notarial
acknowledgment was unsigned. The photocopy of the SPA has no notarial acknowledgment to speak of.
It was a mere private document which petitioners cannot foist as a banner of good faith.

6. Notarial Jurisdiction

BELLA A. GUERRERO, petitioner, vs. RESURRECION A. BIHIS, respondent.

Wills and Succession; Notarial Law; Words and Phrases; A notarial will that is not
acknowledged before a notary public by the testator and the instrumental witnesses is void
and cannot be accepted for probate; An acknowledgment is the act of one who has executed
a deed in going before some competent officer and declaring it to be his act or deed, and in
the case of a notarial will, that competent officer is the notary public.One of the formalities
required by law in connection with the execution of a notarial will is that it must be acknowledged before
a notary public by the testator and the witnesses. This formal requirement is one of the indispensable
requisites for the validity of a will. In other words, a notarial will that is not acknowledged before a notary
public by the testator and the instrumental witnesses is void and cannot be accepted for probate. An
acknowledgment is the act of one who has executed a deed in going before some competent officer and
declaring it to be his act or deed. In the case of a notarial will, that competent officer is the notary public.

The acknowledgment of a notarial will coerces the testator and the instrumental witnesses
to declare before an officer of the law, the notary public, that they executed and subscribed
to the will as their own free act or deed; Acknowledgment can only be made before a
competent officer, that is, a lawyer duly commissioned as a notary public.The
acknowledgment of a notarial will coerces the testator and the instrumental witnesses to declare before
an officer of the law, the notary public, that they executed and subscribed to the will as their own free
act or deed. Such declaration is under oath and under pain of perjury, thus paving the way for the
criminal prosecution of persons who participate in the execution of spurious wills, or those executed
without the free consent of the testator. It also provides a further degree of assurance that the testator is
of a certain mindset in making the testamentary dispositions to the persons instituted as heirs or
designated as devisees or legatees in the will. Acknowledgment can only be made before a competent
officer, that is, a lawyer duly commissioned as a notary public.
Outside the place of his commission, a notary public is bereft of power to perform any
notarial acthe is not a notary public; An acknowledgment taken outside the territorial 13
limits of the officers jurisdiction is void as if the person taking it were wholly without official
character.A notary publics commission is the grant of authority in his favor to perform notarial acts. It
is issued within and for a particular territorial jurisdiction and the notary publics authority is co-
extensive with it. In other words, a notary public is authorized to perform notarial acts, including the
taking of acknowledgments, within that territorial jurisdiction only. Outside the place of his commission,
he is bereft of power to perform any notarial act; he, is not a notary public. Any notarial act outside the
limits of his jurisdiction has no force and effect. As this Court categorically pronounced in Tecson v.
Tecson, 61 Phil. 781 (1935): An acknowledgment taken outside the territorial limits of the officers
jurisdiction is void as if the person taking it were wholly without official character.

The violation of a mandatory or a prohibitory statute renders the act illegal and void unless the law itself
declares its continuing validity.Article 5 of the Civil Code provides: ART. 5. Acts executed against the
provisions of mandatory or prohibitory laws shall be void, except when the law itself authorizes their
validity. The violation of a mandatory or a prohibitory statute renders the act illegal and void unless the
law itself declares its continuing validity. Here, mandatory and prohibitory statutes were transgressed in
the execution of the alleged acknowledgment. The compulsory language of Article 806 of the
Civil Code was not complied with and the interdiction of Article 240 of the Notarial Law was
breached. Ineluctably, the acts of the testatrix, her witnesses and Atty. Directo were all
completely void.

JUDGE LILY LYDIA A. LAQUINDANUM, complainant, ATTY. NESTOR Q. QUINTANA,


respondent.

Administrative Law; Notary Public; Rules on Notarial Practice; Aside from being a violation of
Sec. 11 of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice, the act of notarizing documents outside ones
area of commission also partakes of malpractice of law and falsification; Notarizing
documents with an expired commission is a violation of the lawyers oath to obey the laws,
more specifically, the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice.The act of notarizing documents outside
ones area of commission is not to be taken lightly. Aside from being a violation of Sec. 11 of the 2004
Rules on Notarial Practice, it also partakes of malpractice of law and falsification. Notarizing documents
with an expired commission is a violation of the lawyers oath to obey the laws, more specifically, the
2004 Rules on Notarial Practice. Since the public is deceived into believing that he has been duly
commissioned, it also amounts to indulging in deliberate falsehood, which the lawyers oath proscribes.
Notarizing documents without the presence of the signatory to the document is a violation of Sec.
2(b)(1), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice, Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, and the lawyers oath which unconditionally requires lawyers not to do or declare any
falsehood. Finally, Atty. Quintana is personally accountable for the documents that he admitted were
signed by his wife. He cannot relieve himself of liability by passing the blame to his wife. He is, thus,
guilty of violating Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which requires lawyers not to
directly or indirectly assist in the unauthorized practice of law.

Attorneys; Penalties; That Atty. Quintana relies on his notarial commission as the sole source
of income for his family will not serve to lessen the penalty that should be imposed on him; A
notarial commission is a privilege granted only to those who are qualified to perform duties
imbued with public interest.That Atty. Quintana relies on his notarial commission as the sole source
of income for his family will not serve to lessen the penalty that should be imposed on him. On the
contrary, we feel that he should be reminded that a notarial commission should not be treated as a
money-making venture. It is a privilege granted only to those who are qualified to perform duties imbued
with public interest. As we have declared on several occasions, notarization is not an empty, meaningless,
routinary act. It is invested with substantive public interest, such that only those who are qualified or
authorized may act as notaries public.
The notarial commission of Atty. Nestor Q. Quintana, if still existing, is revoked and he is disqualified from 14
being commissioned as notary public for a period of two (2) years; He is also suspended from the
practice of law for six (6) months effect immediately.IN VIEW WHEREOF, the notarial commission of
Atty. Nestor Q. Quintana, if still existing, is hereby REVOKED, and he is DISQUALIFIED from being
commissioned as notary public for a period of two (2) years. He is also SUSPENDED from the practice of
law for six (6) months effective immediately, with a WARNING that the repetition of a similar violation will
be dealt with even more severely. He is DIRECTED to report the date of his receipt of this Decision to
enable this Court to determine when his suspension shall take effect.

RE: VIOLATION OF RULES ON NOTARIAL PRACTICE

Notary Public; 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice; Under the rule, only persons who are
commissioned as notary public may perform notarial acts within the territorial jurisdiction of
the court which granted the commission.Section 11, Rule III of the 2004 Rules on Notarial
Practice provides that: Jurisdiction and Term A person commissioned as notary public may
perform notarial acts in any place within the territorial jurisdiction of the commissioning
court for a period of two (2) years commencing the first day of January of the year in which
the commissioning is made, unless earlier revoked or the notary public has resigned under
these Rules and the Rules of Court. Under the rule, only persons who are commissioned as
notary public may perform notarial acts within the territorial jurisdiction of the court which
granted the commission. Clearly, Atty. Siapno could not perform notarial functions in
Lingayen, Natividad and Dagupan City of the Province of Pangasinan since he was not
commissioned in the said places to perform such act.

Notarized Documents; It must be emphasized that the act of notarization by a notary public
converts a private document into a public document making that document admissible in
evidence without further proof of authenticity.Time and again, this Court has stressed that
notarization is not an empty, meaningless and routine act. It is invested with substantive
public interest that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public. It
must be emphasized that the act of notarization by a notary public converts a private
document into a public document making that document admissible in evidence without
further proof of authenticity. A notarial document is by law entitled to full faith and credit
upon its face, and for this reason, notaries public must observe with utmost care the basic
requirements in the performance of their duties.

Attorneys; Code of Professional Responsibility; 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice; By


performing notarial acts without the necessary commission from the court, Atty. Siapno
violated not only his oath to obey the laws particularly the Rules on Notarial Practice but
also Canons 1 and 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR) which proscribes all
lawyers from engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct and directs them
to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession, at all times.By performing
notarial acts without the necessary commission from the court, Atty. Siapno violated not
only his oath to obey the laws particularly the Rules on Notarial Practice but also Canons 1
and 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which proscribes all lawyers from engaging
in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct and directs them to uphold the integrity
and dignity of the legal profession, at all times.

7. Notarial Seal and Register

Father RANHILIO C. AQUINO, LINA M. GARAN, ESTRELLA C. LOZADA, POLICARPIO L.


MABBORANG, DEXTER R. MUNAR, MONICO U. TENEDRO, ANDY R. QUEBRAL, NESTOR T.
RIVERA, EDUARDO C. RICAMORA, ARTHUR G. IBAEZ, AURELIO C. CALDEZ and DENU A.
AGATEP, complainants, vs. Atty. EDWIN PASCUA, respondent. 15

Attorneys; Notarial Law; Statutory Construction; Words and Phrases; Misconduct Defined;
A lawyer is guilty of misconduct in the performance of his duties for failing to register in his
Notarial Register affidavits-complaints.After a close review of the records of this case, we resolve
to adopt the findings of facts and conclusion of law by the Office of the Bar Confidant. We find Atty.
Pascua guilty of misconduct in the performance of his duties for failing to register in his Notarial Register
the affidavit-complaints of Joseph B. Acorda and Remigio B. Domingo. Misconduct generally means
wrongful, improper or unlawful conduct motivated by a premeditated, obstinate or intentional purpose.
The term, however, does not necessarily imply corruption or criminal intent.

Misconduct; Penalties; The penalty to be imposed for acts of misconduct committed by a


lawyer is addressed to the sound discretion of the Court; A three-month suspension from
practice of law for a first time offender is in order, and since the offense is a ground for
revocation of his notarial commission, the same should likewise be imposed.The penalty to
be imposed for such act of misconduct committed by a lawyer is addressed to the sound discretion of the
Court. In Arrieta v. Llosa, 282 SCRA 248 (1997), wherein Atty. Joel A. Llosa notarized a Deed of Absolute
Sale knowing that some of the vendors were already dead, this Court held that such wrongful act
constitutes misconduct and thus imposed upon him the penalty of suspension from the practice of law
for six months, this being his first administrative offense. Also, in Vda. de Rosales v. Ramos, 383 SCRA
498 (2002), we revoked the notarial commission of Atty. Mario G. Ramos and suspended him from the
practice of law for six months for violating the Notarial Law in not registering in his notarial book the
Deed of Absolute Sale he notarized. In Mondejar v. Rubia, 496 SCRA 1 (2006), however, a lesser penalty
of one month suspension from the practice of law was imposed on Atty. Vivian G. Rubia for making a
false declaration in the document she notarized. In the present case, considering that this is Atty.
Pascuas first offense, we believe that the imposition of a three-month suspension from the practice of
law upon him is in order. Likewise, since his offense is a ground for revocation of notarial commission,
the same should also be imposed upon him.

SPOUSES BENJAMIN SANTUYO and EDITHA SANTUYO, complainants, vs. ATTY. EDWIN A.
HIDALGO, respondent.

Attorneys; Legal Ethics; Notarial Law; Respondent lawyer had been negligent not only in the
supposed notarization but foremost in having allowed the office secretaries to make the
necessary entries in his notarial registry which was supposed to be done and kept by him
alone.In finding respondent negligent in performing his notarial functions, the IBP reasoned out: x x x
xxx x x x. Considering that the responsibility attached to a notary public is sensitive respondent
should have been more discreet and cautious in the execution of his duties as such and should not have
wholly entrusted everything to the secretaries; otherwise he should not have been commissioned as
notary public. For having wholly entrusted the preparation and other mechanics of the document for
notarization to the secretary there can be a possibility that even the respondents signature which is the
only one left for him to do can be done by the secretary or anybody for that matter as had been the case
herein. As it is respondent had been negligent not only in the supposed notarization but foremost in
having allowed the office secretaries to make the necessary entries in his notarial registry which was
supposed to be done and kept by him alone; and should not have relied on somebody else.
MARIANO AGADAN, EDEN MOLLEJON, ARSENIO IGME, JOSE NUMBAR, CECILIA LANGAWAN,
PABLO PALMA, JOSELITO CLAVERIA, MIGUEL FLORES, and ALBERT GAYDOWEN,
complainants, vs. ATTY. RICHARD BALTAZAR KILAAN, respondent.

Notary Public; Attorneys; It is settled that it is the notary public who is personally
accountable for the accuracy of the entries in his Notarial Register.It is settled that it is the
notary public who is personally accountable for the accuracy of the entries in his Notarial Register. The
Court is not persuaded by respondents explanation that he is burdened with cases thus he was 16
constrained to delegate the recording of his notarial acts in his Notarial Register to his secretary.

2004 Rules of Notarial Practice; Rule VI, Sections 1 and 2 of the 2004 Rules of Notarial
Practice require a notary public to keep and maintain a Notarial Register wherein he will
record his every notarial act.Indeed, Rule VI, Sections 1 and 2 of the 2004 Rules of Notarial
Practice require a notary public to keep and maintain a Notarial Register wherein he will record his every
notarial act. His failure to make the proper entry or entries in his notarial register concerning his notarial
acts is a ground for revocation of his notarial commission. As mentioned, respondent failed to make the
proper entries in his Notarial Register; as such, his notarial commission may be properly revoked.

Aside from violating the Notarial Law, respondent also violated his Lawyers Oath and the
Code of Professional Responsibility by committing falsehood in the pleadings he submitted
before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).Aside from violating the Notarial Law,
respondent also violated his Lawyers Oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility by committing
falsehood in the pleadings he submitted before the IBP. His claim that Adasing was abroad hence could
not corroborate the explanation made by Batingwed was proved to be untruthful when complainants
submitted the Affidavit of Adasing insisting that he never left the country. Canon 10, Rule 10.01 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility expressly provides that [a] lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor
consent to the doing of any in Court; nor shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be misled by any
artifice. In the same vein, Canon 1, Rule 1.01 mandates that [a] lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. Respondent failed to observe these Rules and hence must be
sanctioned.

CARLITO ANG, complainant, vs. ATTY. JAMES JOSEPH GUPANA, respondent.

Notarial Law; Notary Public; The party acknowledging must appear before the notary public
or any other person authorized to take acknowledgments of instruments or documents.It is
clear that the party acknowledging must appear before the notary public or any other person authorized
to take acknowledgments of instruments or documents. In the case at bar, the jurat of the Affidavit of
Loss stated that Candelaria subscribed to the affidavit before respondent on April 29, 1994, at Mandaue
City. Candelaria, however, was already dead since March 26, 1991. Hence, it is clear that the jurat was
made in violation of the notarial law. Indeed, respondent averred in his position paper before the IBP that
he did not in fact know Candelaria personally before, during and after the notarization thus admitting that
Candelaria was not present when he notarized the documents.

Notarized Documents; Time and again, we have held that notarization of a document is not
an empty act or routine; Notarization converts a private document into a public document
thus making that document admissible in evidence without further proof of its
authenticity.Time and again, we have held that notarization of a document is not an empty act or
routine. Thus, in Bernardo v. Atty. Ramos, 383 SCRA 498 (2002), the Court emphasized the significance
of the act of notarization, to wit: The importance attached to the act of notarization cannot be
overemphasized. Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is invested with substantive
public interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public.
Notarization converts a private document into a public document thus making that document admissible
in evidence without further proof of its authenticity. A notarial document is by law entitled to full faith
and credit upon its face. Courts, administrative agencies and the public at large must be able to rely upon
the acknowledgment executed by a notary public and appended to a private instrument. For this reason
notaries public must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of their duties.
Otherwise, the confidence of the public in the integrity of this form of conveyance would be undermined.
Hence a notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who signed the same are the
very same persons who executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and truth 17
of what are stated therein. The purpose of this requirement is to enable the notary public to verify the
genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the document is the
partys free act and deed.

Notary Public; Attorneys; Where the notary public is a lawyer, a graver responsibility is
placed upon his shoulder by reason of his solemn oath to obey the laws and to do no
falsehood or consent to the doing of any.As a lawyer commissioned as notary public, respondent
is mandated to subscribe to the sacred duties appertaining to his office, such duties being dictated by
public policy impressed with public interest. Faithful observance and utmost respect of the legal solemnity
of the oath in an acknowledgment or jurat is sacrosanct. Simply put, such responsibility is incumbent
upon respondent and failing therein, he must now accept the commensurate consequences of his
professional indiscretion. As the Court has held in Flores v. Chua, 306 SCRA 465 (1999), Where the
notary public is a lawyer, a graver responsibility is placed upon his shoulder by reason of his solemn oath
to obey the laws and to do no falsehood or consent to the doing of any. The Code of Professional
Responsibility also commands him not to engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct and
to uphold at all times the integrity and dignity of the legal profession.

Code of Professional Responsibility; A lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the
performance of any task which by law may only be performed by a member of the Bar in good
standing.Respondent likewise violated Rule 9.01, Canon 9, of the Code of Professional Responsibility
which provides that [a] lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the performance of any task
which by law may only be performed by a member of the Bar in good standing. Respondent averred in
his position paper that it had been his consistent practice to course through clerical staff documents to be
notarized. Upon referral, said clerical staff investigates whether the documents are complete as to the
fundamental requirements and inquires as to the identity of the individual signatories thereto. If
everything is in order, they ask the parties to sign the documents and forward them to him and he again
inquires about the identities of the parties before affixing his notarial signature. It is also his clerical staff
who records entries in his notarial report. As aforesaid, respondent is mandated to observe with utmost
care the basic requirements in the performance of his duties as a notary and to ascertain that the
persons who signed the documents are the very same persons who executed and personally appeared
before him to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated therein. In merely relying on his clerical
staff to determine the completeness of documents brought to him for notarization, limiting his
participation in the notarization process to simply inquiring about the identities of the persons appearing
before him, and in notarizing an affidavit executed by a dead person, respondent is liable for misconduct.
Under the facts and circumstances of the case, the revocation of his notarial commission, disqualification
from being commissioned as a notary public for a period of two years and suspension from the practice
of law for one year are in order.

ATTY. AURELIO C. ANGELES, JR., PROVINCIAL LEGAL OFFICER, BATAAN CAPITOL, BALANGA
CITY, BATAAN, complainant, vs. ATTY. RENATO C. BAGAY, respondent.

Attorneys; Notary Public; Rules of Notarial Practice; Words and Phrases; Section 9 of the
2004 Rules on Notarial Practice provides that a Notary Public refers to any person
commissioned to perform official acts under these Rules.Respondent admitted in his comment
and motion for reconsideration that the 18 documents were notarized under his notarial seal by his office
secretary while he was out of the country. This clearly constitutes negligence considering that respondent
is responsible for the acts of his secretary. Section 9 of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice provides that
a Notary Public refers to any person commissioned to perform official acts under these Rules. A notary
publics secretary is obviously not commissioned to perform the official acts of a notary public.
Respondent cannot take refuge in his claim that it was his secretarys act which he did not authorize. He
is responsible for the acts of the secretary which he employed. He left his office open to the public while
leaving his secretary in charge. He kept his notarial seal and register within the reach of his secretary,
fully aware that his secretary could use these items to notarize documents and copy his signature. Such 18
blatant negligence cannot be countenanced by this Court and it is far from being a simple negligence.
There is an inescapable likelihood that respondents flimsy excuse was a mere afterthought and such
carelessness exhibited by him could be a conscious act of what his secretary did.

Code of Professional Responsibility; Respondent violated Canon 9 of the Code of Professional


Responsibility (CPR) which requires lawyers not to directly or indirectly assist in the unauthorized practice
of law.Because of the negligence of respondent, the Court also holds him liable for violation
of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR). His failure to solemnly perform his duty as
a notary public not only damaged those directly affected by the notarized documents but
also undermined the integrity of a notary public and degraded the function of notarization.
He should, thus, be held liable for such negligence not only as a notary public but also as a
lawyer. Where the notary public is a lawyer, a graver responsibility is placed upon his shoulder by
reason of his solemn oath to obey the laws and to do no falsehood or consent to the doing of any.
Respondent violated Canon 9 of the CPR which requires lawyers not to directly or indirectly assist in the
unauthorized practice of law. Due to his negligence that allowed his secretary to sign on his behalf as
notary public, he allowed an unauthorized person to practice law. By leaving his office open despite his
absence in the country and with his secretary in charge, he virtually allowed his secretary to notarize
documents without any restraint.

Respondent also violated his obligation under Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR),
which directs every lawyer to uphold at all times the integrity and dignity of the legal profession.
Respondent also violated his obligation under Canon 7 of the CPR, which directs every lawyer to uphold
at all times the integrity and dignity of the legal profession. The people who came into his office while he
was away, were clueless as to the illegality of the activity being conducted therein. They expected that
their documents would be converted into public documents. Instead, they later found out that the
notarization of their documents was a mere sham and without any force and effect. By prejudicing the
persons whose documents were notarized by an unauthorized person, their faith in the integrity and
dignity of the legal profession was eroded.

Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is invested with substantive


public interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notary
public.Respondent should remember that a notarial commission is a privilege and a significant
responsibility. It is a privilege granted only to those who are qualified to perform duties imbued with
public interest. As we have declared on several occasions, notarization is not an empty, meaningless,
routinary act. It is invested with substantive public interest, such that only those who are qualified or
authorized may act as notary public. The protection of that interest necessarily requires that those not
qualified or authorized to act must be prevented from imposing upon the public, the courts, and the
administrative offices in general.

Notarization by a notary public converts a private document into a public document, making
that document admissible in evidence without further proof of its authenticity.It must be
underscored that notarization by a notary public converts a private document into a public document,
making that document admissible in evidence without further proof of its authenticity. Thus, notaries
public must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of their duties.
Otherwise, the confidence of the public in the integrity of public instruments would be undermined.

ATTY. BENIGNO T. BARTOLOME, complainant, vs. ATTY. CHRISTOPHER A. BASILIO,


respondent.

Notary Public; A notary public must observe the highest degree of care in complying with the
basic requirements in the performance of his duties in order to preserve the confidence of
the public in the integrity of the notarial system.The act of notarization is impressed with public
interest. As such, a notary public must observe the highest degree of care in complying with the basic 19
requirements in the performance of his duties in order to preserve the confidence of the public in the
integrity of the notarial system.

Notarized Documents; Notarial Certificates; Words and Phrases; A notarial certificate, as


defined in Section 8, Rule II of the Notarial Rules, requires a statement of the facts attested
to by the notary public in a particular notarization.A notarial certificate, as defined in Section 8,
Rule II of the Notarial Rules, requires a statement of the facts attested to by the notary public in a
particular notarization, viz.: SEC. 8. Notarial Certificate.Notarial Certificate refers to the part of, or
attachment to, a notarized instrument or document that is completed by the notary public, bears the
notarys signature and seal, and states the facts attested to by the notary public in a particular
notarization as provided for by these Rules.

Jurat; Words and Phrases; A jurat is, among others, an attestation that the person who
presented the instrument or document to be notarized is personally known to the notary
public or identified by the notary public through competent evidence of identity as defined
by the Notarial Rules.A jurat is, among others, an attestation that the person who presented the
instrument or document to be notarized is personally known to the notary public or identified by the
notary public through competent evidence of identity as defined by the Notarial Rules: SEC. 6. Jurat.
Jurat refers to an act in which an individual on a single occasion: (a) appears in person before the
notary public and presents an instrument or document; (b) is personally known to the notary public or
identified by the notary public through competent evidence of identity as defined by these Rules; (c)
signs the instrument or document in the presence of the notary; and (d) takes an oath or affirmation
before the notary public as to such instrument or document.

Notarial Rules; Section 2(b), Rule IV of the Notarial Rules prohibits the notarization of a
document if the person involved is not personally known to the notary public or has not
identified himself through competent evidence of identity.Basilio violated Section 2(b), Rule IV
of the Notarial Rules which prohibits the notarization of a document if the person involved is not
personally known to the notary public or has not identified himself through competent evidence of
identity: SEC. 2. Prohibitions.x x x x x x x (b) A person shall not perform a notarial act if the person
involved as signatory to the instrument or document (1) is not in the notarys presence personally at
the time of the notarization; and (2) is not personally known to the notary public or otherwise identified
by the notary public through competent evidence of identity as defined by these Rules.

Notarized Documents; Considering the evidentiary value given to the notarized documents,
the failure of the notary public to record the document in his notarial register is tantamount
to falsely making it appear that the document was notarized when, in fact, it was not.Since
the notarial register is a record of the notary publics official acts, he is charged with recording therein the
necessary information regarding the document or instrument notarized. If the document or instrument
does not appear in the notarial records, doubt as to its nature arises so that the alleged notarized
document cannot be considered a public document. Considering the evidentiary value given to the
notarized documents, the failure of the notary public to record the document in his notarial register is
tantamount to falsely making it appear that the document was notarized when, in fact, it was not, as in
this case.

Notarial Rules; The requirement therefor, as stated under Section 2(h), Rule VI of the
Notarial Rules, applies only to instruments acknowledged before the notary public.It should
be clarified, however, that while Basilio had also failed to submit a copy of the Joint Affidavit to the Clerk
of Court of the RTC, and to retain a copy thereof for his own records, the requirement therefor, as stated
under Section 2(h), Rule VI of the Notarial Rules, applies only to instruments acknowledged before the
notary public. Documents like the Joint Affidavit which contain a jurat and not an acknowledgment are
not required to be forwarded to the Clerk of Court. Hence, there should be no administrative infraction on
this score. Nevertheless, Basilios aforediscussed violations of the Notarial Rules are grave enough to 20
warrant sanctions from the Court.

Notary Public; A notary public should not notarize a document unless the person who signed
the same is the very person who executed and personally appeared before him to attest to
the contents and the truth of what are stated therein.A notary public exercises duties calling for
carefulness and faithfulness. Notaries must inform themselves of the facts they certify to; most
importantly, they should not take part or allow themselves to be part of illegal transactions. In line with
this mandate, a notary public should not notarize a document unless the person who signed the same is
the very person who executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and the truth
of what are stated therein. By failing in this regard, the notary public permits a falsehood which does not
only transgress the Notarial Rules but also Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility,
which provides that [a] lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
Verily, a notarized document is, by law, entitled to full faith and credit upon its face; and it is for this
reason that a notary public must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of
his duties; otherwise, the publics confidence in the integrity of a notarized document would be
undermined.

8. Place of Notarization and Personal Presence

JUDGE GERVACIO A. LOPENA, petitioner, vs. ATTY. ARTEMIO P. CABATOS, respondent.

Notarial Law; That a notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who
signed it are the same persons who executed and personally appeared before him to attest
to the contents of the truth of what are stated therein bears reiteratingthe purpose being
to enable the notary public to verify the genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging
party and to ascertain that the document is the partys free act of deed.That respondent was,
if true, exonerated from the criminal case filed against him in connection with his notarization of the
questioned document does not exonerate him from the present administrative case. Nor does, if
respondents information in his Motion to Dismiss is true, that the person who had been instructed by
Ricafort to affix the signature of Crispina Panis was the latters daughter exonerate him. By such
information, he in fact impliedly admits that the document had already been signed when it was brought
to him for notarization. That a notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who
signed it are the same persons who executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the
contents of the truth of what are stated therein bears reiterating. On pain of sounding like a broken
record, this Court has repeatedly held that the purpose of the injunction is to enable the notary public to
verify the genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging partyin this case Crispina Panisand to
ascertain that the document is the partys free act of deed. Respondent having thus failed to faithfully
discharge his sacred duties as a notary public, under the facts and circumstances of the case, the
revocation of his notarial commission and disqualification from being commissioned as notary public for a
period of One (1) Year is in order.

CHITA PANTOJA-MUMAR, complainant, vs. ATTY. JANUARIO C. FLORES, respondent.

Legal Ethics; Attorneys; Notarial Law; Notarization of documents is not an empty,


meaningless or routinary actit is through the act of notarization that a private document is
converted into a public one, making it admissible in evidence without need of preliminary
proof of authenticity and due execution; a notary public should not notarize a document
unless the persons who signed the same are the very same persons who executed and
personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated
therein.It cannot be overemphasized that notarization of documents is not an empty, meaningless or
routinary act. It is invested with substantive public interest, such that only those who are qualified or
authorized may act as notaries public. It is through the act of notarization that a private document is 21
converted into a public one, making it admissible in evidence without need of preliminary proof of
authenticity and due execution. Indeed, a notarial document is by law entitled to full faith and credit
upon its face, and for this reason, notaries public must observe utmost care in complying with the
elementary formalities in the performance of their duties. Otherwise, the confidence of the public in the
integrity of this form of conveyance would be undermined. Hence, a notary public should not notarize a
document unless the persons who signed the same are the very same persons who executed and
personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated therein. A notary
public is dutybound to require the person executing a document to be personally present, to swear
before him that he is that person and ask the latter if he has voluntarily and freely executed the same.

ARTURO L. SICAT, complainant, vs. ATTY. GREGORIO E. ARIOLA, JR., respondent.

Legal Ethics; Attorneys; Notarial Law; The act of a lawyer of notarizing a Special Power of
Attorney knowing that the person who allegedly executed it was already dead is a serious
breach of the sacred obligation imposed upon him by the Code of Professional
Responsibility, specifically Rule 1.01 of Canon 1, which prohibited him from engaging in
unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conductas a lawyer and as an officer of the court,
it is his duty to serve the ends of justice, not to corrupt it.After a careful review of the records,
we find that respondent never disputed complainants accusation that he notarized the SPA purportedly
executed by Benitez on January 4, 2001. He likewise never took issue with the fact that on said date,
Benitez was already dead. His act was a serious breach of the sacred obligation imposed upon him by the
Code of Professional Responsibility, specifically Rule 1.01 of Canon 1, which prohibited him from
engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. As a lawyer and as an officer of the court,
it was his duty to serve the ends of justice, not to corrupt it. Oath-bound, he was expected to act at all
times in accordance with law and ethics, and if he did not, he would not only injure himself and the
public but also bring reproach upon an honorable profession.

Lawyers commissioned as notaries public should not authenticate documents unless the
persons who signed them are the very same persons who executed them and personally
appeared before them to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated therein.In the
recent case of Zaballero v. Atty. Mario J. Montalvan, where the respondent notarized certain documents
and made it appear that the deceased father of complainant executed them, the Court declared the
respondent there guilty of violating Canon 10, Rule 10.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The
Court was emphatic that lawyers commissioned as notaries public should not authenticate documents
unless the persons who signed them are the very same persons who executed them and personally
appeared before them to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated therein. The Court added
that notaries public must observe utmost fidelity, the basic requirement in the performance of their
duties, otherwise the confidence of the public in the integrity of notarized deeds and documents will be
undermined.

Notarization is not an empty, meaningless and routinary actit converts a private document
into a public instrument, making it admissible in evidence without the necessity of
preliminary proof of its authenticity and due execution.In the case at bar, the records show
that Benitez died on October 25, 2000. However, respondent notarized the SPA, purportedly bearing the
signature of Benitez, on January 4, 2001 or more than two months after the latters death. The notarial
acknowledgement of respondent declared that Benitez appeared before him and acknowledged that the
instrument was his free and voluntary act. Clearly, respondent lied and intentionally perpetuated an
untruthful statement. Notarization is not an empty, meaningless and routinary act. It converts a private
document into a public instrument, making it admissible in evidence without the necessity of preliminary
proof of its authenticity and due execution.
A lawyers assertion of falsehood in a public document contravenes one of the most 22
cherished tenets of the legal profession and potentially cast suspicion on the truthfulness of
every notarial act.Neither will respondents defense that the SPA in question was superfluous and
unnecessary, and prejudiced no one, exonerate him of accountability. His assertion of falsehood in a
public document contravened one of the most cherished tenets of the legal profession and potentially
cast suspicion on the truthfulness of every notarial act. As the Municipal Administrator of Cainta, he
should have been aware of his great responsibility not only as a notary public but as a public officer as
well. A public office is a public trust. Respondent should not have caused disservice to his constituents by
consciously performing an act that would deceive them and the Municipality of Cainta. Without the
fraudulent SPA, the erring parties in the construction project could not have encashed the check
amounting to P3,700,000 and could not have foisted on the public a spurious contractall to the extreme
prejudice of the very Municipality of which he was the Administrator. Sicat vs. Ariola, Jr., 456 SCRA 93,
A.C. No. 5864 April 15, 2005

MANUEL MALLARI and MILLIE MALLARI, petitioners, vs. REBECCA ALSOL, respondent.

Notarial Law; Documents; The non-appearance of the parties before the notary public who
notarized the document does not necessarily nullify nor render the parties transaction void
ab initio.Notarization converts a private document into a public document. However, the non-
appearance of the parties before the notary public who notarized the document does not necessarily
nullify nor render the parties transaction void ab initio. Thus: x x x Article 1358 of the New Civil Code on
the necessity of a public document is only for convenience, not for validity or enforceability. Failure to
follow the proper form does not invalidate a contract. Where a contract is not in the form prescribed by
law, the parties can merely compel each other to observe that form, once the contract has been
perfected. This is consistent with the basic principle that contracts are obligatory in whatever form they
may have been entered into, provided all essential requisites are present. Hence, the Lease Contract is
valid despite Mayor Perezs failure to appear before the notary public.

ST. MARYS FARM, INC., petitioner, vs. PRIMA REAL PROPERTIES, INC., RODOLFO A. AGANA,
JR., and THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF LAS PIAS, METRO MANILA, respondents.

Notarial Law; The non-appearance of the party before the notary public who notarized the
deed does not necessarily nullify or render the parties transaction void ab initio.Further
challenging the due execution of the board resolution bearing the Secretarys Certification, petitioner
wants us to consider the same as inadmissible on the ground that Atty. Agcaoili did not appear before a
notary public for notarization. We do not agree, because in the past, we have already held that the non-
appearance of the party before the notary public who notarized the deed does not necessarily nullify or
render the parties transaction void ab initio. However, the non-appearance of the party exposes the
notary public to administrative liability which warrants sanction by the Court. This fact notwithstanding,
we agree with the respondent court that it is not enough to overcome the presumption of the
truthfulness of the statements contained in the board resolution. To overcome the presumption, there
must be sufficient, clear and convincing evidence as to exclude all reasonable controversy as to the falsity
of the certificate. In the absence of such proof, the document must be upheld. Notarization converts a
private document into a public document, making it admissible in court without further proof of its
authenticity.

Special Power of Attorney; Sales; Buyers in Good Faith; A buyer has every reason to rely on a
persons authority to sell a particular property owned by a corporation on the basis of a
notarized board resolutionundeniably the buyer is an innocent purchaser for value in good
faith.On the basis of this notarized board resolution, respondent had every reason to rely on Rodolfo
Aganas authority to sell the subject property. Undeniably then, the respondent is an innocent purchaser
for value in good faith. Our pronouncement in Bautista v. Silva is instructive: A buyer for value in good
faith is one who buys property of another, without notice that some other person has a right to, or
interest in such property and pays full and fair price for the same, at the time of such purchase, or before 23
he has notice of the claim or interest of some other persons in the property. He buys the property with
the well-founded belief that the person from whom he receives the thing had title to the property and
capacity to convey it. To prove good faith, a buyer of registered and titled land need only show that he
relied on the face of the title to the property. He need not prove that he made further inquiry for he is
not obliged to explore beyond the four corners of the title. Such degree of proof of good faith, however,
is sufficient only when the following conditions concur: first, the seller is the registered owner of the land;
second, the latter is in possession thereof; and third, at the time of the sale, the buyer was not aware of
any claim or interest of some other person in the property, or of any defect or restriction in the title of
the seller or in his capacity to convey title to the property.

When the document under scrutiny is a special power of attorney that is duly notarized, the
notarial acknowledgment is prima facie evidence of the fact of its due executiona buyer
presented with such a document would have no choice between knowing and finding out
whether a forger lurks beneath the signature on it.It is of no moment that the checks were
made payable to Rodolfo Agana and not to the company which, according to the petitioner, should have
alerted the respondent to inquire further into the extent of Aganas authority to transfer the subject
property. This was no longer necessary considering that respondent had every reason to rely on Rodolfo
Aganas authority to sell, evidenced by the notarized Certification. As explained in the Bautista case:
When the document under scrutiny is a special power of attorney that is duly notarized, we know it to be
a public document where the notarial acknowledgment is prima facie evidence of the fact of its due
execution. A buyer presented with such a document would have no choice between knowing and finding
out whether a forger lurks beneath the signature on it. The notarial acknowledgment has removed that
choice from him and replaced it with a presumption sanctioned by law that the affiant appeared before
the notary public and acknowledged that he executed the document, understood its import and signed it.
In reality, he is deprived of such choice not because he is incapable of knowing and finding out but
because, under our notarial system, he has been given the luxury of merely relying on the presumption
of regularity of a duly notarized SPA. And he cannot be faulted for that because it is precisely that fiction
of regularity which holds together commercial transactions across borders and time.

METROPOLITAN BANK & TRUST COMPANY, petitioner, vs. SERVANDO ARGUELLES


(Deceased) & CLAUDIO ARGUELLES and MARILOU TRINIDAD, for herself and as guardian ad
litem of her minor children namely, LLOYD, MARK, ADRIAN, and GEORGIA, all surnamed
TRINIDAD, TRISTAN TRINIDAD and EDGARDO TRINIDAD, JR., respondents.

G.R. No. 179131. August 29, 2012.*

MARILOU TRINIDAD, for herself and as guardian ad litem of her minor children LLOYD,
MARK, ADRIAN & GEORGIA, all surnamed TRINIDAD, EDGARDO TRINIDAD, JR. and
TRISTAN TRINIDAD, petitioners, vs. SERVANDO ARGUELLES (Deceased) and CLAUDIO
ARGUELLES, and METROPOLITAN BANK & TRUST COMPANY, respondents.

Notarial Law; It is too much to expect a notary public who had but a brief time with the
parties during the notarial ceremony to remember their faces 12 years later.But it is too
much to expect a notary public who had but a brief time with the Arguelleses during the notarial
ceremony to remember their faces 12 years later. What matters is Atty. Saulog, Jr.s testimony respecting
the ritual of notarization that he invariably followed. He gave unbending assurance that he ascertained
the identities of the parties to documents who appeared before him, including the Arguelleses, by
requiring them to show documentary proofs of the same and to sign the documents in his presence.
Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company vs. Arguelles, 679 SCRA 348, G.R. No. 176984 August 29, 2012
24
MARY JANE D. VELASCO, complainant, vs. ATTY. CHARLIE DOROIN and ATTY. HECTOR
CENTENO, respondents.

When the complainant visited the lot situated at Kingspoint Subdivision sometime in June 1996, there
was no house constructed thereon, but when she visited it again on January 1999, there was already a
four-door townhouse constructed. Complainant was informed by the caretaker at the site that the owner
is one Evangeline Reyes-Tonemura. Complainant also learned later on that the property, which was one
of the properties submitted to the Court handling the Special Proceedings case in the Inventory of
Property dated 3 April 1996, was sold by Atty. Doroin to Evangeline Reyes-Yonemura [sic], by forging the
signature of complainants late father. Atty. Hector B. Centeno, a Notary Public of Quezon City, knowing
that complainants father was already dead as of 21 January 1996, made it appear in the said Deed of
Absolute Sale, that complainants father appeared before him in Quezon City on 17 January 1997. 1avvphi1

Legal Ethics; Attorneys; Disbarment; Nothing should be done by any member of the legal fraternity which
might tend to lessen in any degree the confidence of the public in the fidelity, honesty and integrity of
the profession; Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditionsa lawyer has the privilege
and right to practice law during good behaviour and can only be deprived of it for misconduct ascertained
and declared by judgment of the court after opportunity to be heard has afforded him.Lawyers must
conduct themselves beyond reproach at all times, whether they are dealing with their clients or the public
at large, and a violation of the high moral standards of the legal profession justifies the imposition of the
appropriate penalty, including suspension and disbarment. In Marcelo v. Javier, 214 SCRA 1 (1992), we
reminded the members of the legal profession that: A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and
dignity of the legal profession. The trust and confidence necessarily reposed by clients require in the
attorney a high standard and appreciation of his duty to his clients, his profession, the courts and the
public. The bar should maintain a high standard of legal proficiency as well as of honesty and fair dealing.
Generally speaking, a lawyer can do honor to the legal profession by faithfully performing his duties to
society, to the bar, to the courts and to his clients. To this end, nothing should be done by any member
of the legal fraternity which might tend to lessen in any degree the confidence of the public in the
fidelity, honesty and integrity of the profession. It bears stressing that membership in the bar is a
privilege burdened with conditions. A lawyer has the privilege and right to practice law during good
behaviour and can only be deprived of it for misconduct ascertained and declared by judgment of the
court after opportunity to be heard has afforded him. Without invading any constitutional privilege or
right, and attorneys right to practice law may be resolved by a proceeding to suspend or disbar him,
based on conduct rendering him unfit to hold a license or to exercise the duties and responsibilities of an
attorney.

Same; Same; Same; Quantum of Proof; In disbarment proceedings, the case against the respondent
lawyer must be established by clear, convincing and satisfactory proof.In disbarment proceedings, the
burden of proof generally rests upon the complainant, and for the court to exercise its disciplinary
powers, the case against the respondent must be established by clear, convincing and satisfactory proof.

Same; Same; Same; The complained actuations of the respondent lawyersthat they forged the deed of
sale and forced the complainant to sign a deed of extrajudicial settlement by explaining to her that it was
in accordance with law when it was notconstitute a blatant violation of the lawyers oath to uphold
the law and the basic tenets of the Code of Professional Responsibility that no lawyer shall engage in
dishonest conduct.In the case at bar, complainant claims that respondent lawyers forged the deed of
sale and forced her to sign the deed of extrajudicial settlement by explaining to her 3that it was in
accordance with law. The complained actuations of the respondent lawyers constitute a blatant violation
of the lawyers oath to uphold the law and the basic tenets of the Code of Professional Responsibility that
no lawyer shall engage in dishonest conduct. Elementary it is in succession law that compulsory heirs like
the widowed spouse shall have a share in the estate by way of legitimes and no extrajudicial settlement 25
can deprive the spouse of said right except if she gives it up for lawful consideration, but never when the
spouse is not a party to the said settlement. And the Civil Code reminds us, that we must give every
man his due.

Same; Same; Same; Administrative Complaints; A lawyers failure to answer the complaint against him
and his failure to appear at the investigation are evidence of his flouting resistance to lawful orders of the
court and illustrate his despiciency for his oath of office in violation of Section 3, Rule 138, Rules of
Court.The guilt of the respondent lawyers is beyond dispute. They failed to answer the complaint filed
against them. Despite due notice, they failed to attend the disciplinary hearings set by the IBP. Hence,
the claims and allegations of the complainant remain uncontroverted. In Ngayan v. Tugade, 193 SCRA
779, 784 (1991), we ruled that [a lawyers] failure to answer the complaint against him and his failure to
appear at the investigation are evidence of his flouting resistance to lawful orders of the court and
illustrate his despiciency for his oath of office in violation of Section 3, Rule 138, Rules of Court.

Same; Same; Same; The license to practice law, though it is not a property right, sustains a lawyers
primary means of livelihood and to strip someone of such license amounts to stripping one of a career
and a means to keep himself alive.The Court is mindful that disbarment is a grave penalty. Considering
that the license to practice law, though it is not a property right, sustains a lawyers primary means of
livelihood and to strip someone of such license amounts to stripping one of a career and a means to keep
himself alive, we agree with the modification submitted by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines that an
indefinite suspension would be the more appropriate penalty on Atty. Charlie Doroin. However, we
cannot be as lenient with Atty. Hector Centeno who, aside from committing a dishonest act by depriving
a person of her rightful inheritance, also committed a criminal offense when he falsificated a public
document and there-4after absconded from the criminal proceeding against him after having posted bail.

Integrated Bar of the Philippines; The Integrated Bar of the Philippines and its regional and city chapters
are reminded to maintain an updated record of the office and residence addresses of their members to
help facilitate looking for lawyerslawyers should be readily available upon the Courts beckoning.We
also take this opportunity to remind the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and their regional and city
chapters to maintain an updated record of the office and residence addresses of their members to help
facilitate looking for lawyers. As officers of the court, lawyers should be readily available upon the Courts
beckoning. Velasco vs. Doroin, 560 SCRA 1, A.C. No. 5033 July 28, 2008

9. Competent Evidence of Identity

CHARLES B. BAYLON, complainant, vs. ATTY. JOSE A. ALMO, respondent.

Legal Ethics; Attorneys; Notarization; Notarization is invested with substantive public


interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public;
Notarization converts a private document into a public document thus making that
document admissible in evidence without further proof of its authenticity; Courts,
administrative agencies and the public at large must be able to rely upon the
acknowledgment executed by a notary public and appended to a private instrument.The
importance attached to the act of notarization cannot be overemphasized. In Santiago v. Rafanan, 440
SCRA 91 (2004), we explained, . . . Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is
invested with substantive public interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as
notaries public. Notarization converts a private document into a public document thus making that
document admissible in evidence without further proof of its authenticity. A notarial document is by law
entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. Courts, administrative agencies and the public at large must
be able to rely upon the acknowledgment executed by a notary public and appended to a private
instrument. For this reason, notaries public should not take for granted the solemn duties pertaining to 26
their office. Slipshod methods in their performance of the notarial act are never to be countenanced.
They are expected to exert utmost care in the performance of their duties, which are dictated by public
policy and are impressed with public interest.

Competent Evidence of Identity; Community Tax Certificates; A notary should not have
relied on the Community Tax Certificate in view of the ease with which community tax
certificates are obtained these days; As a matter of fact, recognizing the established
unreliability of a community tax certificate in proving the identity of a person who wishes to
have his document notarized, the Supreme Court did not include it in the list of competent
evidence of identity that notaries public should use in ascertaining the identity of persons
appearing before them to have their documents notarized.Mindful of his duties as a notary
public and taking into account the nature of the SPA which in this case authorized the complainants wife
to mortgage the subject real property, the respondent should have exercised utmost diligence in
ascertaining the true identity of the person who represented himself and was represented to be the
complainant. He should not have relied on the Community Tax Certificate presented by the said impostor
in view of the ease with which community tax certificates are obtained these days. As a matter of fact,
recognizing the established unreliability of a community tax certificate in proving the identity of a person
who wishes to have his document notarized, we did not include it in the list of competent evidence of
identity that notaries public should use in ascertaining the identity of persons appearing before them to
have their documents notarized.

MARIA FATIMA JAPITANA, complainant, vs. ATTY. SYLVESTER C. PARADO, respondent.

Notary Public; 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice; Under the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice, a
person commissioned as a notary public may perform notarial acts in any place within the
territorial jurisdiction of the commissioning court for a period of two (2) years commencing
the first day of January of the year in which the commissioning is made.Under the 2004 Rules
on Notarial Practice, a person commissioned as a notary public may perform notarial acts in any place
within the territorial jurisdiction of the commissioning court for a period of two (2) years commencing the
first day of January of the year in which the commissioning is made. Commission either means the grant
of authority to perform notarial or the written evidence of authority. Without a commission, a lawyer is
unauthorized to perform any of the notarial acts. A lawyer who acts as a notary public without the
necessary notarial commission is remiss in his professional duties and responsibilities.

Section 2(b), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice requires the presentation of a
competent evidence of identity, if the person appearing before the notary public is not
personally known by him.Atty. Parado knowingly performed notarial acts in 2006 in spite of the
absence of a notarial commission for the said period. Further, he was dishonest when he testified in court
that he had a notarial commission effective until 2008, when, in truth, he had none. Atty. Parados
misdeeds run afoul of his duties and responsibilities, both as a lawyer and a notary public. Moreover,
even if Atty. Parado had a valid notarial commission, he still failed to faithfully observe the Rules on
Notarial Practice when he notarized the Real Estate Mortgage and the Affidavit of Conformity with the
persons who executed the said documents merely presenting their Residence Certificate or Community
Tax Certificate (CTC) before him. Section 2(b), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practicerequires the
presentation of a competent evidence of identity, if the person appearing before the notary public is not
personally known by him. Section 12, Rule II of the same Rules defines competent evidence of identity
as: (a) at least one current identification document issued by an official agency bearing the photograph
and signature of the individual; or (b) the oath or affirmation of one credible witness not privy to the
instrument, document or transaction, who is personally known to the notary public and who personally
knows the individual, or of two credible witnesses neither of whom is privy to the instrument, document
or transaction who each personally knows the individual and shows to the notary public a documentary
identification. 27

Atty. Parado did not claim to personally know the persons who executed the said documents. Hence, the
presentation of their Community Tax Certificates (CTCs) was insufficient because those cannot be
considered as competent evidence of identity, as defined in the Rules.Atty. Parado did not claim to
personally know the persons who executed the said documents. Hence, the presentation of their CTCs
was insufficient because those cannot be considered as competent evidence of identity, as defined in the
Rules. Reliance on the CTCs alone is a punishable indiscretion by the notary public. Doubtless, Atty.
Parado should be held accountable for failing to perform his duties and responsibilities expected of him.
The penalty recommended, however, should be increased to put premium on the importance of the
duties and responsibilities of a notary public. Pursuant to the pronouncement in Re: Violation of Rules on
Notarial Practice, 746 SCRA 331 (2015), Atty. Parado should be suspended for two (2) years from the
practice of law and forever barred from becoming a notary public. Japitana vs. Parado, 782 SCRA 34,
A.C. No. 10859 January 26, 2016

10. Judges and Clerks of Court as Notaries Public Ex Officio

AQUILES RIOSA, petitioner, vs. TABACO LA SUERTE CORPORATION, respondent.

Evidence; Presumption of Regularity; Notarial Documents; A notarial document is evidence


of the facts in the clear unequivocal manner therein expressed and has in its favor the
presumption of regularity.La Suerte insists that the discrepancy on the dates was a mere clerical
error that did not invalidate the deed of sale. It is worthy to stress that a notarial document is evidence
of the facts in the clear unequivocal manner therein expressed and has in its favor the presumption of
regularity. While it is true that an error in the notarial inscription does not generally invalidate a sale, if
indeed it took place, the same error can only mean that the document cannot be treated as a notarial
document and thus, not entitled to the presumption of regularity. The document would be taken out of
the realm of public documents whose genuineness and due execution need not be proved.

Notary Public; Judge Base, who acted as ex officio notary public, is not allowed under the
law to notarize documents not connected with the exercise of his official duties.An even
more substantial irregularity raised by Aquiles pertains to the capacity of the notary public, Judge Base,
to notarize the deed of sale. Judge Base, who acted as ex officio notary public, is not allowed under the
law to notarize documents not connected with the exercise of his official duties. The case of Tigno v.
Aquino, 444 SCRA 61 (2004), is enlightening: There are possible grounds for leniency in connection with
this matter, as Supreme Court Circular No. I-90 permits notaries public ex officio to perform any act
within the competency of a regular notary public provided that certification be made in the notarized
documents attesting to the lack of any lawyer or notary public in such municipality or circuit. Indeed, it is
only when there are no lawyers or notaries public that the exception applies. The facts of this case do not
warrant a relaxed attitude towards Judge Carios improper notarial activity. There was no such
certification in the Deed of Sale. Even if one was produced, we would be hard put to accept the veracity
of its contents, considering that Alaminos, Pangasinan, now a city, was even then not an isolated
backwater town and had its fair share of practicing lawyers.

Notarial Documents; Private Documents; An irregular notarization reduces the evidentiary


value of a document to that of a private document, which requires proof of its due execution
and authenticity to be admissible as evidence.Although it is true that the absence of notarization
of the deed of sale would not invalidate the transaction evidenced therein, yet an irregular notarization
reduces the evidentiary value of a document to that of a private document, which requires proof of its
due execution and authenticity to be admissible as evidence. It should be noted that the deed of sale was
offered in evidence as authentic by La Suerte, hence, the burden was upon it to prove its authenticity
and due execution. La Suerte unfortunately failed to discharge this burden. Accordingly, the
preponderance of evidence is in favor of Aquiles. Riosa vs. Tabaco La Suerte Corporation, 708 SCRA 653,
G.R. No. 203786 October 23, 2013 28

REX M. TUPAL, complainant, vs. JUDGE REMEGIO V. ROJO, Branch 5, Municipal Trial Court in
Cities (MTCC), Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, respondent.

Notary Public; Judges; Municipal trial court and municipal circuit trial court judges may act
as notaries public; They may notarize documents, contracts, and other conveyances only in
the exercise of their official functions and duties.This court finds Judge Rojo guilty of violating
the New Code of Judicial Conduct and of gross ignorance of the law. Judge Rojo violated Circular No. 1-
90 and the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice. Municipal trial court and municipal circuit trial court judges
may act as notaries public. However, they may do so only in their ex officio capacities. They may notarize
documents, contracts, and other conveyances only in the exercise of their official functions and duties.

Judges of municipal trial courts may act as notaries public ex officio only if lawyers or
notaries public are lacking in their courts territorial jurisdiction. They must certify as to the
lack of lawyers or notaries public when notarizing documents ex officio.They may also act as
notaries public ex officio only if lawyers or notaries public are lacking in their courts territorial jurisdiction.
They must certify as to the lack of lawyers or notaries public when notarizing documents ex officio:
However, the Court, taking judicial notice of the fact that there are still municipalities which have neither
lawyers nor notaries public, rules that MTC and MCTC judges assigned to municipalities or circuits with no
lawyers or notaries public may, in the capacity as notaries public ex officio, perform any act within the
competency of a regular notary public, provided that: (1) all notarial fees charged be for the account of
the Government and turned over to the municipal treasurer (Lapena, Jr. vs. Marcos, Adm. Matter No.
1969-MJ, June 29, 1982, 114 SCRA 572); and, (2) certification be made in the notarized documents
attesting to the lack of any lawyer or notary public in such municipality or circuit.

Notary Public; Affidavit of Cohabitation; Affidavits of cohabitation are documents not


connected with the judges official function and duty to solemnize marriages. Notarizing
affidavits of cohabitation is inconsistent with the duty to examine the parties requirements
for marriage.Based on law and the Guidelines on the Solemnization of Marriage by the Members of
the Judiciary, the person who notarizes the contracting parties affidavit of cohabitation cannot be the
judge who will solemnize the parties marriage. As a solemnizing officer, the judges only duty involving
the affidavit of cohabitation is to examine whether the parties have indeed lived together for at least five
years without legal impediment to marry. The Guidelines does not state that the judge can notarize the
parties affidavit of cohabitation. Thus, affidavits of cohabitation are documents not connected with the
judges official function and duty to solemnize marriages. Notarizing affidavits of cohabitation is
inconsistent with the duty to examine the parties requirements for marriage. If the solemnizing officer
notarized the affidavit of cohabitation, he cannot objectively examine and review the affidavits
statements before performing the marriage ceremony. Should there be any irregularity or false
statements in the affidavit of cohabitation he notarized, he cannot be expected to admit that he
solemnized the marriage despite the irregularity or false allegation.

Notary Public; Judges; Affidavit of Cohabitation; Judges cannot notarize the affidavits of
cohabitation of the parties whose marriage they will solemnize.Judges cannot notarize the
affidavits of cohabitation of the parties whose marriage they will solemnize. Affidavits of cohabitation are
documents not connected with their official function and duty to solemnize marriages. Judge Rojo
admitted that he notarized affidavits of cohabitation of parties on the same day [he solemnized their
marriages]. He notarized documents not connected with his official function and duty to solemnize
marriages. Thus, Judge Rojo violated Circular No. 1-90. Judge Rojo argued that the Guidelines on the
Solemnization of Marriage by the Members of the Judiciary does not expressly prohibit judges from
notarizing affidavits of cohabitation. Thus, he cannot be prohibited from notarizing affidavits of
cohabitation.
Affidavit of Cohabitation; An affidavit of cohabitation remains a private document until 29
notarized.An affidavit of cohabitation remains a private document until notarized. Notarization
converts a private document into a public document, [rendering the document] admissible in court
without further proof of its authenticity. The affidavit of cohabitation, even if it serves a public
purpose, remains a private document until notarized. Thus, when Judge Rojo notarized the affidavits of
cohabitation, he notarized nine private documents. As discussed, affidavits of cohabitation are not
connected with a judges official duty to solemnize marriages. Judge Rojo violated Circular No. 1-90.

Judges; That other judges have notarized affidavits of cohabitation of parties whose
marriages they solemnized does not make the practice legal.That other judges have notarized
affidavits of cohabitation of parties whose marriages they solemnized does not make the practice legal.
Violations of laws are not excused by practice to the contrary.

Same; 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice; Rule IV, Section 2, paragraph (b) of the 2004 Rules
on Notarial Practice prohibits a notary public from notarizing documents if the signatory is
not personally known to him.Judge Rojo also violated the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice. Rule IV,
Section 2, paragraph (b) of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice prohibits a notary public from notarizing
documents if the signatory is not personally known to him. Otherwise, the notary public must require the
signatory to present a competent evidence of identity: SEC. 2. Prohibitions.x x x x (b) A person shall
not perform a notarial act if the person involved as signatory to the instrument or document (1) is not
in the notarys presence personally at the time of the notarization; and (2) is not personally known to the
notary public or otherwise identified by the notary public through competent evidence of identity as
defined by these Rules.

Administrative Law; Judges; 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice; Gross Ignorance of the Law;
For violating Circular No. 1-90 and the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice nine times, Judge
Rojo is guilty of gross ignorance of the law.For violating Circular No. 1-90 and the 2004 Rules on
Notarial Practice nine times, Judge Rojo is guilty of gross ignorance of the law.

UWE MATHAEUS, petitioner, vs. SPOUSES ERIC and GENEVIEVE MEDEQUISO, respondents.

Notary Public; Clerks of Court; Clerks of Court are notaries public ex officio, and may thus notarize
documents or administer oaths but only when the matter is related to the exercise of their official
functions.We have held that Clerks of Court are notaries public ex officio, and may thus notarize
documents or administer oaths but only when the matter is related to the exercise of their official
functions. x x x [C]lerks of court should not, in their ex officio capacity, take part in the execution of
private documents bearing no relation at all to their official functions.

11. Notarization and Legal Representation

ADELPHA E. MALABED, complainant, vs. ATTY. MELJOHN B. DE LA PEA, respondent.

Judicial Ethics; Judges; Conflict of Interests; Notarization is different from representation.


Complainant accuses respondent of conflict of interest when the latter allegedly notarized a deed of
donation of a parcel of land executed by complainants family in favor of the Roman Catholic Church.
Eventually, respondent allegedly sought to litigate as counsel for the opposing parties who are occupants
in the lot owned by complainants family. Suffice to state that notarization is different from
representation. A notary public simply performs the notarial acts authorized by the Rules on Notarial
Practice, namely, acknowledgments, oaths and affirmations, jurats, signature witnessings, and copy
certifications. Legal representation, on the other hand, refers to the act of assisting a party as counsel in
a court action.