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498 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Vda. de Rosales vs. Ramos

*
Adm. Case No. 5645. July 2, 2002.

ROSALINDA BERNARDO VDA. DE ROSALES,


complainant, vs. ATTY. MARIO G. RAMOS, respondent.

Notarial Law; Sales; A notary public who fails to register in


his notarial book a deed of absolute sale he notarized violates the
Notarial Law.We cannot wholly agree with the findings and
recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. It is clear
from the pleadings before us that respondent violated the
Notarial Law in failing to register in his notarial book the deed of
absolute sale he notarized, which fact respondent readily
admitted. The Notarial Law is explicit on the obligations and
duties of a notary public. It requires him to keep a notarial
register where he shall record all his official acts as notary, and
specifies what information with regard to the notarized document
should be entered therein. Failure to perform this duty results in
the revocation of his commission as notary public.
Same; Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary
act; 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

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* SECOND DIVISION.

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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.
Same; 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.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 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.
Same; If the document or instrument does not appear in the
notarial records and there is no copy of it therein, doubt is
engendered that the document or instrument was not really
notarized, so that it is not a public document and cannot bolster
any claim made based on this document; Considering the
evidentiary value given to notarized documents, the failure of the
notary public to record the document in his notarial registry is
tantamount to falsely making it appear that the document was
notarized when in fact it was not.The notary public is further
enjoined to record in his notarial registry the necessary
information regarding the document or instrument notarized and
retain a copy of the document presented to him for
acknowledgment and certification especially when it is a contract.
The notarial registry is a record of the notary publics official acts.
Acknowledged documents and instruments recorded in it are
considered public documents. If the document or instrument does
not appear in the notarial records and there is no copy of it
therein, doubt is engendered that the document or instrument
was not really notarized, so that it is not a public document and
cannot bolster any claim made based on this document.
Considering the evidentiary value given to notarized documents,

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the failure of the notary public to record the document in his


notarial registry is

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Vda. de Rosales vs. Ramos

tantamount to falsely making it appear that the document was


notarized when in fact it was not.
Same; Sale; It is appalling for a notary public to do away with
the basics of notarial procedure in order to accommodate the
alleged need of a friend and client.Respondent alleges that he
merely signed the Deed of Absolute Sale inadvertently and that
his signature was procured through mistake, fraud, undue
influence or excusable negligence as he relied on the assurances of
Manuel A. Bernardo, a kababayan from Pampanga, that the
document would not be used for any illegal purpose. We cannot
honor, much less give credit to this allegation. That respondent
notarized the document out of sympathy for his kababayan is not
a legitimate excuse. It is appalling that respondent did away with
the basics of notarial procedure in order to accommodate the
alleged need of a friend and client. In doing so, he displayed a
decided lack of respect for the solemnity of an oath in a notarial
document. He also exhibited his clear ignorance of the importance
of the office of a notary public. Not only did he violate the Notarial
Law, he also did so without thinking of the possible damage that
might result from its non-observance.
Same; Attorneys; Evidence; The principal function of a notary
public is to authenticate documentswhen he certifies to the due
execution and delivery of the document under his hand and seal he
gives the document the force of evidence; 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.The principal function of a notary public is to
authenticate documents. 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

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any. Failing in this, he must accept the consequences of his


unwarranted actions.
Same; Same; Disbarment; Disbarment should never be
imposed unless it is evidently clear that the lawyer, by his serious
misconduct, should no longer remain a member of the bar.From
his admissions we find that Atty. Mario G. Ramos failed to
exercise the due diligence required of him in the performance of
the duties of notary public. We do not agree however that his
negligence should merit disbarment, which is the most severe
form of disciplinary sanction. Disbarment should never be
imposed unless

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Vda. de Rosales vs. Ramos

it is evidently clear that the lawyer, by his serious misconduct,


should no longer remain a member of the bar. Removal from the
bar should not really be decreed when any punishment less severe
reprimand, temporary suspension or finewould accomplish
the end desired. Under the circumstances, imposing sanctions
decreed under the Notarial Law and suspension from the practice
of law would suffice.

ADMINISTRATIVE MATTER in the Supreme Court.


Disbarment.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.


Luis Paredes for respondent.

BELLOSILLO, J.:

This complaint for disbarment was filed in behalf of


complainant Rosalinda Bernardo Vda. de Rosales by the
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against respondent
Atty. Mario G. Ramos for violation of Act No. 2711 of the
Revised Administrative Code of 1917, Title IV, Ch. 11,
otherwise know as the Notarial Law, particularly Secs. 245
and 246 thereof.
In September 1990 Manuel A. Bernardo, brother of
complainant Rosalinda Bernardo Vda. de Rosales,
borrowed from Rosalinda the Original Transfer Certificate
of Title No. 194464 covering Lot No. 1-B-4-H in her name.
The lot measures 112 square meters and is located at the
back of Manuels house on Fabie Street, Paco, Metro

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Manila. On 25 November 1990 Rosalinda sold this lot to


one Alfredo P. Castro. When she asked her brother Manuel
to return her title he refused.
On 22 October 1990 Rosalinda executed an Affidavit of
Loss of her title and presented the affidavit to the Register
of Deeds of Manila.
On 3 September 1991 the Register of Deeds informed
Rosalinda that her title to the property was already
transferred to Manuel by virtue of a Deed of Absolute Sale
she purportedly executed in favor of Manuel on 5
September 1990. The document was notarized by
respondent Atty. Mario G. Ramos on 1 October 1990 and
entered in his Notarial Register as Doc. No. 388, Page No.
718, Book No. 10, Series of 1990. Rosalinda however denied
having signed any deed of sale over her property in favor of
Manuel.
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Vda. de Rosales vs. Ramos

On 3 September 1991 Rosalinda filed with the NBI a


complaint for falsification of public document against her
brother Manuel. The NBI invited respondent Atty. Ramos
for questioning. The complaint alleged among others that
on 12 September 1991 Atty. Mario G. Ramos executed an
affidavit before the NBI admitting that when Manuel
presented the purported Deed of Absolute Sale to him for
notarization, he (Atty. Ramos) found some defects in the
document and that complainant Rosalinda was not around.
The NBI Questioned Documents Division also compared
Rosalindas signature appearing in the Deed of Absolute
Sale with samples of her genuine signature, and found that
the signature in the purported Deed of Absolute Sale and
her genuine signatures were not written by one and the
same person.
On 5 October 1992 the NBI transmitted its findings to
the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila with the
recommendation that Manuel and Atty. Ramos be
prosecuted for Falsification of Public Document under Art.
172 in relation to Art. 171 of The Revised Penal Code, and
that Atty. Ramos be additionally charged with violation of
the Notarial Law.
The NBI also transmitted to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD)
photocopies of the NBI investigation1
report and its
annexes, and a verified complaint for disbarment signed
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by Rosalinda. The CBD received the records on 5 October


1992. On the same date, the CBD through Commissioner
Victor C. Fernandez directed respondent to submit an
answer to the complaint within fifteen (15) days from
notice. 2
Respondent admitted in his Answer that he had affixed
his signature on the purported Deed of Absolute Sale but
failed to enter the document in his Notarial Registry Book.
He also admitted executing before the NBI on 12
September 1991 an affidavit regarding the matter.
Respondent prayed for the dismissal of the complaint since
according to him he only inadvertently signed the
purported Deed of Absolute Sale and/or that his signature
was procured through mistake, fraud, undue influence or
excusable negligence, claiming that he simply relied on the
assurances of

______________

1 Records, pp. 2-5.


2 Id., pp. 37-45.

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Manuel that the document would not be used for purposes


other than a loan between brother and sister, and that he
affixed his signature thereon with utmost good faith and
without intending to obtain personal gain or to cause
damage or injury to another.
The CBD set the case for hearing on 3 March 2000, 28
April 2000, 16 June 2000 and 5 October 2000. Complainant
never appeared. The records show that the notices sent to
her address at 1497 3
Fabie Street, Paco, Manila, were
returned unclaimed.
On 26 January 2002 the IBP Board of Governors
approved the report and recommendation of the CBD
through Commissioner Fernandez that the case against
respondent be dismissed in view of complainants failure to
prosecute and 4for lack of evidence on record to substantiate
the complaint. The Investigating Commissioner found that
the notices sent to complainant were returned unclaimed
with the annotation moved out, and that she did not leave
any forwarding address, and neither did she come to the
CBD to inquire about the status of her case. From these
actuations, he concluded that complainant had lost interest
5
in the further prosecution of this case,
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5
in the further prosecution of this case, and so
recommended its dismissal.
We cannot wholly agree with the findings and
recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. It is
clear from the pleadings before us that respondent violated
the Notarial Law in failing to register in his notarial book
the deed of absolute sale he notarized, which fact
respondent readily admitted.
The Notarial Law is explicit on the obligations and
duties of a notary public. It requires him to keep a notarial6
register where he shall record all his official acts as notary,
and specifies what information with regard to the notarized
document should be entered

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3 Id., pp. 48, 50, 53, and 58.


4 Id., p. 60.
5 Id., p. 62.
6 The Notarial Law, Sec. 245. Notarial Register.Every notary public
shall keep a register to be known as the notarial register, wherein record
shall be made of all his official acts as notary x x x x

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Vda. de Rosales vs. Ramos

7
therein. Failure to perform this duty results 8
in the
revocation of his commission as notary public.
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 9
qualified or
authorized may act as notaries public. Notarization
converts a private document into a public document thus
making that document admissible 10
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 11
by a notary
public and appended to a private instrument.

______________

7 Id.; Sec. 246. Matters to be entered therein.The notary public shall


enter in such register, in chronological order, the nature of each
instrument executed, sworn to, or acknowledged before him, the person
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executing, swearing to, or acknowledging the instrument, the witnesses, if


any, to the signature, the date of execution, oath, or acknowledgment of
the instrument, the fees collected by him for his services as notary in
connection therewith, and when the instrument is a contract, he shall
keep a correct copy thereof as part of his records, and shall likewise enter
in said records a brief description of the substance thereof, and shall give
to each entry a consecutive number, beginning with number one in each
calendar year. The notary shall give to each instrument executed, sworn
to, or acknowledged before him a number corresponding to the one in his
register, and shall also state on the instrument the page or pages of his
register on which the same is recorded. No blank line shall be left between
entries x x x x
8 Id., Sec. 249. Grounds for revocation of commission.The following
derelictions of duty on the part of a notary public shall, in the discretion of
the proper judge of first instance, be sufficient ground for the revocation of
his commission x x x x (b) The failure of the notary to make the proper
entry or entries in his notarial register touching his notarial acts in the
manner required by law x x x x
9 Maligsa v. Atty. Cabanting, 338 Phil. 912; 272 SCRA 408 (1997).
10 Sec. 30, Rule 132, Rules of Court.
11 Joson v. Baltazar, Adm. Case No. 575, 14 February 1991, 194 SCRA
114, 119.

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Vda. de Rosales vs. Ramos

For this reason notaries public must observe with utmost


care the12
basic requirements in the performance of their
duties. Otherwise, the confidence of the public in the 13
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 14
to the contents and truth 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 15
that the
document is the partys free act and deed.
The notary public is further enjoined to record in his
notarial registry the necessary information regarding the
document or instrument notarized and retain a copy of the
document presented to him for acknowledgment 16
and
certification especially when it is a contract. The notarial
registry is a record of the notary publics official acts.
Acknowledged documents and instruments recorded in it
are considered public documents. If the document or
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instrument does not appear in the notarial records and


there is no copy of it therein, doubt is engendered that the
document or instrument was not really notarized, so that it
is not a public document and cannot bolster any claim
made based on this document. Considering the evidentiary
value given to notarized documents, the failure of the
notary public to record the document in his notarial
registry is tantamount to falsely making it appear that the
document was notarized when in fact it was not.
We take note of respondents admission in his Answer
that he had affixed his signature in the purported Deed of
Absolute Sale but he did not enter it in his notarial
registry. This is clearly in violation of the Notarial Law for
which he must be disciplined.

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12 Nunga v. Viray, Adm. Case No. 4758, 30 April 1999, 306 SCRA 487,
491.
13 Arrieta v. Llosa, Adm. Case No. 4369, 28 November 1997, 282 SCRA
248, citing Ramirez v. Ner, 21 SCRA 207 (1967).
14 Villarin v. Sabate, Jr., Adm. Case No. 3324, 9 February 2000, 325
SCRA 123, 128.
15 Flores v. Chua, 306 SCRA 465 (1999).
16 See Note 7.

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Vda. de Rosales vs. Ramos

Respondent alleges that he merely signed the Deed of


Absolute Sale inadvertently and that his signature was
procured through mistake, fraud, undue influence or
excusable negligence as he relied on the assurances of
Manuel A. Bernardo, a kababayan from Pampanga, that
the document would not be used for any illegal purpose.
We cannot honor, much less give credit to this
allegation. That respondent notarized the document out of
sympathy for his kababayan is not a legitimate excuse. It is
appalling that respondent did away with the basics of
notarial procedure in order to accommodate the alleged
need of a friend and client. In doing so, he displayed a
decided lack of respect for the solemnity of an oath in a
notarial document. He also exhibited his clear ignorance of
the importance of the office of a notary public. Not only did
he violate the Notarial Law, he also did so without thinking

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8/26/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 383

of the possible damage that might result from its non-


observance.
The principal function of a notary public is to
authenticate documents. 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
17
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
18
and to do no falsehood or consent to
the doing of any. Failing in this, he must accept the
consequences of his unwarranted actions.
From his admissions we find that Atty. Mario G. Ramos
failed to exercise the due diligence required of him in the
performance of the duties of notary public. We do not agree
however that his negligence should merit disbarment,
which is the most severe form of disciplinary sanction.
Disbarment should never be imposed unless it is evidently
clear that the lawyer, by his serious misconduct, should no
longer remain a member of the bar. Removal from the

______________

17 Antillon v. Barcelon, 37 Phil. 148 (1917).


18 See Note 15.

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bar should not really be decreed when any punishment less


severereprimand, temporary 19
suspension or finewould
accomplish the end desired. Under the circumstances,
imposing sanctions decreed under the Notarial Law and
suspension from the practice of law would suffice.
WHEREFORE, for lack of diligence in the observance of
the Notarial Law, the commission of respondent Atty.
Mario G. Ramos as Notary Public, if still existing, is
REVOKED and thereafter Atty. Ramos should be
DISQUALIFIED from reappointment to the office of
Notary Public.
Respondent Atty. Mario G. Ramos is also SUSPENDED
from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months
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effective immediately. He is DIRECTED to report to this


Court his receipt of this Decision to enable it to determine
when his suspension shall have taken effect.
The Clerk of Court of this Court is DIRECTED to
immediately circularize this Decision for the proper
guidance of all concerned. Let copies of this Decision be
furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant and the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
SO ORDERED.

Mendoza and Corona, JJ., concur.


Quisumbing, J., On Official Business.

Respondents notarial commission revoked and he is


disqualified from reappointment to office of Notary Public.
He is further suspended from practice of law for six (6)
months.

Notes.Mere preponderance of evidence is not


sufficient to overthrow a certificate of a notary public to the
effect that the grantor executed a certain document and
acknowledged the fact of its execution before him.
(Hemedes vs. Court of Appeals, 316 SCRA 347 [1999])
The party acknowledging must appear before the notary
public or any other person authorized to take
acknowledgments of in

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19 In re: Almacen, No. L-27654, 18 February 1970, 31 SCRA 562, 602.

508

508 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Tierra Firma Estate and Development Corporation vs.
Quintin

struments or documents. (Coronado vs. Felongco, 344


SCRA 565 [2000])

o0o

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