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8.

PLACE OF NOTARIZATION AND complainant who showed bias in


PERSONAL PRESENCE presiding over the trial of the criminal
cases against members of the Cabatos
A. family

JUDGE GERVACIO A. By Reply5 to respondent’s COMMENT,


LOPENA, Petitioners, complainant countered that one of the
vs. witnesses to the questioned document
ATTY. ARTEMIO P. was respondent’s father, Geronimo
CABATOS, Respondent. Cabatos,6 a permanent resident of
Panaytayon who knew as he was related
FACTS: by blood to Crispina Panis,7 hence, it is
incredible for respondent not to know of
Atty. Cabatos (respondent) was Panis’ death on January 15, 1981 or
administratively charged1 by Judge that "he did not know the person of
Lopena (complainant) of SERIOUS Panis even if he had been away from his
BREACH OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS and place of birth since 1958."
GRAVE MISCONDUCT allegedly
committed as follows:
Complainant filed before the IBP a
MANIFESTATION COUPLED WITH MOTION
1) Respondent knowingly falsified a FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADING12
Deed of Donation2 executed by one
Crispina Panis by notarizing the same on
Respondent commented informing that
June 24, 1981 when the donor had died
the criminal complaint lodged against
on January 15, 1981, and
him in connection with his notarization
of the questioned document was
2) Respondent "showed a grave dismissed, he having proved
disrespect to the courts by holding, a
parade around the principal streets of
i) that when he notarized the subject
Tagbilaran City, directed against
complainant who had convicted Deed of Donation – one among six
respondent’s close relatives in three similar documents executed in favor
criminal cases and denied the of Tubigon, Bohol, for purposes of a
applications for probation of two of school site – someone represented to
the convicts. respondent as "Crispina Panis;"

Respondent submitted his COMMENT ii) that she turned [out] to be the
claiming that he had been away from his daughter of Crispina Panis, and that she
place of birth Bohol since 1958, hence, ha[d] been instructed by Gregorio
when he notarized the questioned deed Ricafor[t] who prepared the document to
of donation, he "really did not recognize affix the same Crispina Panis in the
the person of Crispina Panis," but he was document;
led by one Gregorio Ricafort to believe
that "the old woman before him at the iii) that the donation turned out to be
time was the said Crispina Panis." the will and resolve of the heirs of
Crispina Panis[.]
As for the charge of having conducted a
rally/parade, respondent claimed that Respondent accordingly prayed for the
the same was staged by PDP Laban and dismissal of the case.
BAYAN of Bohol as a protest against
The IBP later received a REITERATIVE Moreover, it was easy for the respondent
MANIFESTATION (RE: COMPLAINANT’S to require the person who claimed to
MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE have executed the questioned Deed of
PLEADINGS)18 alleging, among other Donation to produce his Community Tax
things, Certificate and any other documents to
identify him or her. This he did not do.
b) that respondent never personally
knew the late Crispina Panis nor his It can therefore be validly concluded
relationship to her. that respondent Atty. Cabatos failed to
exercise with utmost care and diligence
his duties as Notary Public.
c) that, in fact, the fact of death of said
Crispina Panis was known to respondent
only when he became one of the ISSUE: WON Atty Cabatos failed to
accused in a complaint for "falsification exercise wirh utmost care and diligence
of public document" his duties as Notary Public.

Commissioner de los Reyes submitted By Notice of RESOLUTION,21 the IBP


her REPORT and National Secretary quoted the IBP
RECOMMENDATION20 the pertinent Resolution adopting and approving the
portion of which read: Report and Recommendation of the
Investigating Commissioner,
failure of the complainant to
substantiate his serious charges it is That respondent was, if true, exonerated
respectfully recommended that this from the criminal case filed against him
charge for disbarment be dismissed. in connection with his notarization of the
questioned document does not
exonerate him from the present
In Flores v. Chua, where the notary
administrative case.
public is a lawyer, a graver responsibility
is placed upon his shoulder by reason of
his solemn oath to obey the laws and to Nor does, if respondent’s information in
do no falsehood or consent to the doing his Motion to Dismiss25 is true, that the
of any. And in the case Nunga v. person who had been instructed by
Viray, , the Honorable Court ruled that Ricafort to affix the signature of Crispina
notaries public must observe with Panis was the latter’s daughter
utmost care the basic requirements in exonerate him. By such information,
the performance of their duties. he in fact impliedly admits that the
document had already been signed
In the case before us, the respondent when it was brought to him for
himself admitted that he did not exert notarization.
any effort to find out if the person who
acknowledged to have executed the That a notary public should not notarize
Deed of Donation was really Crispina a document unless the persons who
Panis. He merely relied on the assurance signed it are the same persons who
of Mr. Gregorio Ricafort that the person executed and personally appeared
who appeared before him as Notary before him to attest to the contents of
Public was the real Crispina Panis. the truth of what are stated therein
Considering that Tubigon, Bohol is a bears reiterating. On pain of sounding
small town, it would have been easy to like a broken record, this Court has
determine the real identity of the person repeatedly held that the purpose of the
claiming to have executed the injunction is to enable the notary public
document. to verify the genuineness of the
signature of the acknowledging party – actually was no transaction between the
in this case Crispina Panis – and to Pantojas and the Perezes, notarized the
ascertain that the document is the same document apparently in violation
of his oath as a lawyer and a breach of
party’s free act of deed.26
his duty as a notary public. Worst was
the fact that spouses Perez and the
Respondent having thus failed to respondent had the document
faithfully discharge his sacred duties as thumbmarked by Maximina Pantoja as
a notary public, under the facts and appearing above in the same
circumstances of the case, the typewritten name.
revocation of his notarial commission
and disqualification from being
Moreover, the respondent made it
commissioned as notary public for a
appear in the falsified/fabricated and
period of One (1) Year is in order.
forged document that the same was
acknowledged before him on when in
As for the charge against respondent of truth and in fact, he and the spouses
showing "grave disrespect to the courts Perez prepared, falsified, fabricated and
and the administration of justice" by forged the said document, when they
holding a parade/rally, along with his were able to fraudulently secure the first
followers, during which he imputed bias page thereof from Lucresia P. Awe, not
to complainant whom he branded as to mention the fact that neither of the
"worse than President Marcos," it has parties to the said document appeared
not been sufficiently substantiated. before him as required under the
notarial law.
B. CHITA PANTOJA-
MUMAR, Complainant, On the basis of such falsified, fabricated
vs. and forged document denominated as
ATTY. JANUARIO C. Extrajudicial Partition with Absolute Sale,
FLORES, Respondent. [the] spouses Perez with the help of
respondent attorney, were able to effect
FACTS: the issuance of a title over the above-
described property in their names to the
Pantoja-Mumar charging respondent damage and prejudice of complainant.
Atty. Flores with fraud,
misrepresentation, deceit, falsification of Respondent denies the charges against
document, breach of duty and violation him. His version of what transpired
of his oath as a lawyer. during the signing and notarization of
the document is as follows:
Complainant is one of the compulsory
heirs of the late Jose Pantoja, Sr. It During the signing of the document at
appears that respondent had prepared the ancestral home of the Pantojas by
an Extrajudicial Partition with Absolute surviving spouse Celedonia Pantoja and
Sale1 for her and 11 other co-heirs all the children (except Mrs. Mumar), the
covering a three-hectare property in respondent called the attention of Mrs.
Danao City. The deed was executed in Pantoja to the fact that Mrs. Mumar was
favor of the spouses Filomena and not a signatory to the document
Edilberto Perez, who were later able to because she was absent. Mrs. Pantoja
secure a torrens title2 over the property pleaded with the respondent to proceed
under their names. with the notarization of the document
because she badly needed the money.
The complainant alleged that She promised to have the document
Respondent knowing fully well that there
signed by Mrs. Mumar as soon as she went to the residence of Celedonia
would come to Danao City; Pantoja as previously agreed upon. Only
the complainant was not present. After
But Mrs. Pantoja did not make good her the other heirs finished signing the
promise. So, Edilberto Perez (vendee) document, Mrs. Pantoja asked
sent a registered letter to Mrs. Chita P. permission from respondent if she could
Mumar at her address at Talibon, Bohol, bring the document inside the bedroom
informing her of the sale of their 3.3526 because she would be coaxing her
hectare property located in Pandan, daughter to affix her thumbmark. Mrs.
Cambanay, Danao City. Pantoja told them that Maximina was
"reclusive and suffering from mental
Obviously, complainant Mumar already imbalance."
knew of the Deed of Extrajudicial
Partition with Sale. Therefore, her right Complainant pointed out that
of action, whether civil, criminal or respondent had admitted that he did not
administrative, is barred by prescription. see Maximina affix her thumbmark on
She is also guilty of laches in failing to the assailed Deed, yet he notarized it;
assert her right for an unreasonable respondent had also admitted that he
length of time; had committed a breach of his office as
a notary public on cross-examination in
Lastly, the Deed of Extrajudicial Partition Civil Case No DNA-574. Respondent’s
with Sale was published in the Sun Star belief that Maximina Pantoja was
Daily, a newspaper of general circulation suffering from some mental ailment
in the cities and province of Cebu in its and yet still notarized it only proves his
issues of March 18, 23 and 31, 1989, 5.6 misconduct.

The Court referred the matter to the According to the Investigating


(IBP). Commissioner:

In her Position Paper, complainant 1. The document, although already


insisted that respondent forged her signed by some of the co-heirs/co-
signature, which originally did not owners was not finalized because the
appear on the first page of the transaction was not pursued;
document before it was borrowed. She
added that respondent had also falsified 2. Respondent notarized the document
a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) to on or after June 13, 1988, without the
make it appear that one of her co-heirs authority and/or in the absence of some
had authorized another to sign the deed of the supposed signatories;
for her.
3. Respondent did not see one of the co-
In his Comment on the Position Paper, heirs, Maximina Pantoja, actually affix
respondent alleged that the allegations her thumbmark to the document; and
in the complaint are self-serving and not
supported by evidence. To prove his 4. Respondent notarized the document
point, respondent enclosed the original even if Complainant, also a co-heir, did
duplicate of the SPA which was not sign it.7
notarized.
ISSUE: WON the act of notarizing on the
Regarding Maximina’s thumbmark, part of the respondent is valid.
respondent recalled that he, Clarita
Manulat, and vendee Filomena Perez RULING:
Board of Governors of the IBP did not actually see one of the
Commission on Bar Discipline approved signatories to the subject deed sign, and
Resolution No. XVII-2006-281, worded as that he notarized the deed despite the
follows: absence of the complainant’s
signature:
hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED, the
Report and Recommendation of the Thus, in notarizing the Deed of Absolute
Investigating Commissioner of the Sale without ascertaining that all the
above-entitled case, and considering vendors-signatories thereto were the
that respondent was remiss in his duties very same persons who executed it and
as notaries public, Atty. Januario C. personally appeared before him to attest
Flores is hereby SUSPENDED from the to the contents and truth of what are
practice of law for two (2) years and stated therein, respondent undermined
Respondent’s notarial commission is the confidence of the public on notarial
Revoked and Disqualified from documents; he thereby breached Canon
reappointment for two (2) years. 1 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility which requires lawyers to
It cannot be overemphasized that uphold the Constitution, obey the laws
notarization of documents is not an of the land and promote respect for the
empty, meaningless or routinary act. It law and legal processes, and Rule 1.01
is invested with substantive public thereof, which proscribes lawyers from
interest, such that only those who are engaging in unlawful, dishonest,
qualified or authorized may act as immoral or deceitful conduct.
notaries public. It is through the act of
notarization that a private document is It must be stressed that disbarment is
converted into a public one, making it the most severe form of disciplinary
admissible in evidence without need of sanction, and, as such, the power to
preliminary proof of asthenticity and due disbar must always be exercised with
execution.10 Indeed, a notarial document great caution for only the most
is by law entitled to full faith and credit imperative reasons, and in clear cases of
upon its face, and for this reason, misconduct affecting the standing and
notaries public must observe utmost moral character of the lawyer as an
care in complying with the elementary officer of the court and a member of the
formalities in the performance of their bar. Accordingly, disbarment should not
duties.11 Otherwise, the confidence of be decreed where any punishment less
the public in the integrity of this form of severe – such as a reprimand,
conveyance would be undermined. suspension, or fine – would
Hence, a notary public should not accomplish the end
notarize a document unless the persons desired.15 Considering that this is the
who signed the same are the very same respondent’s first administrative
persons who executed and personally offense, the Court modifies the IBP’s
appeared before him to attest to the
recommendation of a two-year
contents and truth of what are stated
therein.12 A notary public is duty-bound suspension from the practice of law
to require the person executing a to one year.16
document to be personally present, to
swear before him that he is that person C. ARTURO L. SICAT, Complainant,
and ask the latter if he has voluntarily vs. ATTY. GREGORIO E. ARIOLA,
and freely executed the same.13 JR., respondent.

As correctly found by the Investigating PER CURIAM:


Commissioner, respondent admitted he
Complainant Arturo Sicat, a Board SPA was cancelled the same day he
Member of the Sangguniang notarized it, hence, legally, there was no
Panglalawigan of Rizal, charged public document that existed.
respondent Atty. Gregorio E. Ariola, the Respondent prayed that the complaint
Municipal Administrator of Cainta, Rizal, be dismissed on the ground of forum-
with violation of the Code of Professional shopping since similar charges had been
Responsibility by committing fraud, filed with the Civil Service Commission
deceit and falsehood in his dealings, and the Office of the Deputy
particularly the notarization of a (SPA) Ombudsman for Luzon.
purportedly executed by Benitez.
According to complainant, respondent Court referred the complaint to the (IBP)
made it appear that Benitez executed
the said document on January 4, 2001 it is evident that respondent notarized
when in fact the latter had already died the Special Power of Attorney dated 4
on October 25, 2000. January 2001 purportedly executed by
Benitez long after Mr. Benitez was dead.
He alleged that prior to the notarization, It is also evident that respondent cannot
the Municipality of Cainta had entered feign innocence and claim that he did
into a contract with J.C. Benitez Architect not know Mr. Benitez was already dead
and Technical Management, represented at the time because respondent, as
by Benitez, for the construction of low- member of the Prequalification and
cost houses. The cost of the Awards Committee of the Municipality of
architectural and engineering designs Cainta, personally knew Mr. Benitez
amounted to P11,000,000 and two because the latter appeared before the
consultants were engaged to supervise Committee a number of times. It is
the project. For the services of the evident that the Special Power of
consultants, the Municipality of Cainta Attorney was part of a scheme of
issued a check dated January 10, 2001 individuals to defraud the Municipality of
in the amount of P3,700,000, payable to Cainta of money which was allegedly
J.C. Benitez Architects and Technical due them, and that respondent by
Management and/or Cesar Goco. The notarizing said Special Power of Attorney
check was received and encashed by helped said parties succeed in their
the latter by virtue of the authority of plans. The IBP recommended to the
the SPA notarized by respondent Ariola. Court that respondent's notarial
commission be revoked and that he be
Complainant further charged respondent suspended from the practice of law for a
with the crime of falsification by making period of one year.
it appear that certain persons
participated in an act or proceeding ISSUE: WON Atty Ariola engaged in
when in fact they did not. unlawful, dishonest, immoral, conduct in
notarizing the SPA despite prior death of
Respondent explained that, as early as the signatory.
May 12, 2000, Benitez had already
signed the SPA. He claimed that due to RULING: YES, his act was a serious
inadvertence, it was only on January 4, breach of the sacred obligation imposed
2001 that he was able to notarize it. upon him by the Code of Professional
Nevertheless, the SPA notarized by him Responsibility, specifically Rule 1.01 of
on January 4, 2001 was not at all Canon 1. As a lawyer and as an officer of
necessary because Benitez had signed a the court, it was his duty to serve the
similar SPA in favor of Goco sometime ends of justice,9 not to corrupt it. Oath-
before his death, on May 12, 2000. bound, he was expected to act at all
Because it was no longer necessary, the times in accordance with law and ethics,
and if he did not, he would not only by Abelardo Mallari ("Abelardo"), father
injure himself and the public but also of Manuel Mallari ("Manuel") and
bring reproach upon an honorable Rebecca Alsol ("respondent"). Before
profession.10 Abelardo’s death he gave the stalls to
Manuel and respondent. Manuel and
In the case at bar, the records show that his wife Millie Mallari ("petitioners")
Benitez died on October 25, 2000. occupied Stall No. 7 while
However, respondent notarized the SPA,
respondent and her husband
purportedly bearing the signature of
Benitez, on January 4, 2001 or more Zacarias Alsol occupied Stall No. 8.
than two months after the latter's death.
The notarial acknowledgement of Respondent’s daughter became sick
respondent declared that Benitez and the Alsol family had to stay in
"appeared before him and Manila for two months for the
acknowledged that the instrument was medical treatment. They returned to
his free and voluntary act." Clearly,
Cabanatuan City only to find out that
respondent lied and intentionally
perpetuated an untruthful statement. petitioners were already occupying
Notarization is not an empty, Stall No. 8. The partition between
meaningless and routinary act.13 It Stalls No. 7 and 8 had been removed
converts a private document into a and respondent’s merchandise and
public instrument, making it admissible things were already gone. Petitioners
in evidence without the necessity of refused respondent’s demand to
preliminary proof of its authenticity and vacate Stall No. 8.
due execution.
Respondent sought the help of the
Neither will respondent's defense that Market Committee ("Committee"). The
the SPA in question was superfluous and Committee passed Kapasiyahan Blg. 1,
unnecessary, and prejudiced no one, s-1989 granting Stall No. 7 to Manuel
exonerate him of accountability. His and Stall No. 8 to respondent.
assertion of falsehood in a public Respondent and the City Government of
document contravened one of the most Cabanatuan represented by ("Mayor
cherished tenets of the legal profession Perez"), executed a ("Lease Contract").
and potentially cast suspicion on the The Lease Contract granted respondent
truthfulness of every notarial act. As the the right to occupy Stall No. 8 for a
Municipal Administrator of Cainta, he monthly rental of P316 subject to
should have been aware of his great increase or decrease in accordance with
responsibility not only as a notary public the rules and ordinances of the City
but as a public officer as well. Government.

However, petitioners still refused to


vacate Stall No. 8. Instead, they filed an
D. MANUEL MALLARI and MILLIE action for annulment of the Lease
MALLARI, Petitioners, Contract
vs.
REBECCA ALSOL, Respondent. Respondent filed an action for recovery
and possession before the trial court.
FACTS:
RTC: judgment is hereby rendered in
Stalls No. 7 and 8 of the Supermarket favor of the respondents
Section of the Cabanatuan City Public
Market were awarded to and occupied
CA: sustained respondent’s right to to direct and immediate supervision,
occupy Stall No. 8 by virtue of the administration and control over the
Lease Contract she entered with the Cabanatuan public markets and its
personnel.10 The city treasurer has the
City Government.
authority to designate spaces and stalls
to vendors,11 but the authority does not
ISSUES: include signing of contracts on behalf of
the City Government.
Petitioners raise the following issues:
Petitioners also allege that the Lease
Whether the Lease Contract executed Contract is not valid because Mayor
between respondent and the City Perez did not appear before the notary
Government is valid. public who notarized the document.

RULING: We cannot sustain this argument.

Validity of the Lease Contract Notarization converts a private


document into a public
Petitioners insist that the Lease Contract document.12 However, the non-
is not valid because the City Treasurer appearance of the parties before the
should have signed the Lease Contract notary public who notarized the
and not Mayor Perez. Petitioners further document does not necessarily nullify
allege that granting Mayor Perez has the nor render the parties’ transaction void
authority to sign the Lease Contract, ab initio.13 Thus:
Mayor Perez did not appear before the
notary public who notarized the Lease
x x x Article 1358 of the New Civil Code
Contract. Hence, the Lease Contract did
on the necessity of a public document is
not produce any right in favor of
only for convenience, not for validity or
respondent.
enforceability. Failure to follow the
proper form does not invalidate a
The Court agrees with petitioners that contract. Where a contract is not in the
RA 7160 is not the applicable law. form prescribed by law, the parties can
Instead, the Court of Appeals should merely compel each other to observe
have applied Batas Pambansa Blg. that form, once the contract has been
3379 or the old Local Government Code. perfected. This is consistent with the
Still, even under BP 337, city mayors basic principle that contracts are
have the authority to sign contracts on obligatory in whatever form they may
behalf of city governments. have been entered into, provided all
essential requisites are present.14
Applying BP 337, there is nothing in the
powers and functions of the city Hence, the Lease Contract is valid
treasurer that gives the city treasurer despite Mayor Perez’s failure to appear
authority to sign contracts for the city
before the notary public.
government. Instead, it clearly provides
that the city mayor shall represent the
city in its business transactions and sign E. ST. MARY'S FARM, INC., Petitioner,
contracts of the city. Hence, Mayor Perez vs.
has the authority to sign the Lease PRIMA REAL PROPERTIES, INC.,
Contract on behalf of the City
Government. Even under the Revenue Plaintiff was the registered owner of land
Code of Cabanatuan City of 1974, the situated at Bo. Pugad Lawin, Las Piñas City.
authority of the city treasurer is limited
In compliance with a final court decision, ground that Venice B. Agana and Ma.
plaintiff passed and approved on a board Natividad A. Villacorta who filed in behalf of
resolution authorizing defendant Rodolfo A. the plaintiff the original complaint and the
Agana to cede to T.S. Cruz Subdivision amended and the second amended
(4,000) square meters of the land covered by complaints as well, respectively, lacked legal
the aforecited Transfer Certificate of Title No. capacity to sue because they were not
S-1648 (11521-A). Allegedly, after the authorized therefor by the board of directors of
consummation of this transaction, defendant the plaintiff. Furthermore, defendant Prima
Rodolfo A. Agana did not return to plaintiff the argued that it acted in good faith when it relied
borrowed aforementioned title and instead, solely on the face of the purported
allegedly forged a board resolution of the authorization of defendant Rodolfo A. Agana
plaintiff corporation supposedly to the effect and entered into the deed of absolute sale
that plaintiff had authorized him to sell the and paid in full the purchase price This fact,
remaining (21,598) square meters of the according to defendant Prima, made it a buyer
subject property. A series of transactions in good faith and for value. To cap its
thereafter took place between defendant argument, defendant Prima in adopting the
Rodolfo A. Agana and defendant Prima Real defense of defendant Agana asserted that
Properties, Inc. (Prima) which transactions even assuming that the authorization of
culminated to the signing of an absolute deed defendant Agana was forged when plaintiff,
of sale transferring the ownership of the through its President, Marcelino A. Agana, Jr.
subject land from herein plaintiff to herein accepted/received part of the aforestated
defendant Prima. After the consummation of purchase price knowing fully well the same to
the sale, defendant Prima effected the be the proceeds of the sale of the subject
cancellation of TCT in the name of plaintiff and property, plaintiff has been precluded as it is
in lieu thereof another TCT in the name of now estopped from asking for rescission of
defendant Prima was issued by Register of the deed of absolute sale and reconveyance
Deeds. of the subject property.

defendant Prima duly purchased from T.S. RTC: dismissing the complaint for annulment
Cruz Subdivision the aforementioned four of sale with damages filed by the petitioner.4
thousand (4,000) square meters portion of the
subject property. CA: affirmed in toto.

In its complaint, plaintiff alleged that the Petitioner insists that "the sale of the realty
authorization certified to by Agcaoili, entered into between respondent Agana,
Corporate Secretary of the plaintiff and used purportedly on behalf of the petitioner, and
by defendant Agana in selling the subject respondent Prima is null and void for lack of
property to defendant Prima was a forgery as authority on the part of respondent Agana to
the board of directors of the plaintiff never sell the property."7 The board resolution
enacted a resolution authorizing herein allegedly granting Agana the authority to sell
defendant Agana to sell herein subject in behalf of the company, as certified by Atty.
property to defendant Prima or to anyone else Agcaoili, is alleged to be a forgery.
for that matter. Plaintiff further claimed that
defendant Prima in collusion with defendant ISSUE: WON Respondent Agana was duly
Rodolfo A. Agana acted maliciously and in bad authorized by Petitioner to enter into the sale
faith in relying on the forged authority without of the subject property with Respondent Prima
taking any step to verify the same with the Real.
plaintiff as owner of the subject property.
WON the board resolution is inadmissible
defendant Prima separately with defendant despite nonappearance before notary public.
Rodolfo A. Agana in their respective answers,
sought and insisted constantly on the
RULING:
dismissal of the complaint based solidly on the
Anent the forged signature of Atty. Agcaoili, On the basis of this notarized board
the CA did not err in not giving evidentiary resolution, respondent had every reason to
weight to the findings of (NBI) on the ground rely on Agana’s authority to sell the subject
that the findings were not really conclusive. In property. Undeniably then, the respondent is
the first place, the procedure for the an innocent purchaser for value in good faith.
investigation of questionable handwriting was
not properly followed. There is nothing on It is of no moment that the checks were made
record that will conclusively show that the payable to Agana and not to the company
alleged standard sample signatures of Atty. which, according to the petitioner, should have
Antonio Agcaoili, which were submitted to the alerted the respondent to inquire further into
NBI and made the basis of comparison, were the extent of Agana’s authority to transfer the
the genuine signatures of the same Atty. subject property. This was no longer
Antonio Agcaoili. necessary considering that respondent had
every reason to rely on Agana’s authority to
Moreover, the examiner testified that it was sell, evidenced by the notarized Certification
possible to have variations in the standard
signatures of Atty. Agcaoili, caused by certain In sum, all things being equal, a person
factors such as passage of time, pressure and dealing with a seller who has [in his]
physical condition of the writer which may possession title to the property but whose
have decisive influences on his handwriting’s capacity to sell is restricted, qualifies as a
characteristics.8 buyer in good faith if he proves that he
inquired into the title of the seller as well as
Thus, in the instant case, it cannot readily be into the latter’s capacity to sell; and that in his
concluded that a particular signature inquiry, he relied on the notarial
appearing in those documents is not genuine acknowledgment found in the seller’s duly
for lack of proper identification and a more notarized special power of attorney. He need
accurate comparison of signatures. Mere not prove anything more for it is already the
allegation of forgery is not evidence and the function of the notarial acknowledgment to
burden of proof lies in the party making the establish the appearance of the parties to the
allegation.9 Unfortunately, in the case at bar, document, its due execution and authenticity.19
the petitioner failed to discharge this burden.
Aside from the pertinent documents
(2) We do not agree, because in the past, we presented, respondent also relied on the
have already held that the non-appearance of confirmation and certification of the Register
the party before the notary public who of Deeds of Las Piñas City and Mr. Timoteo S.
notarized the deed does not necessarily nullify Cruz, owner of the land likewise sold by
or render the parties’ transaction void ab Rodolfo Agana for the petitioner, with similar
initio.10 However, the non-appearance of the authorization by the petitioner and signed by
party exposes the notary public to the corporate secretary Atty. Agcaoili. Agana
administrative liability which warrants sanction acted as petitioner’s authorized agent and had
by the Court. This fact notwithstanding, we full authority to bind the company in that
agree with the respondent court that it is not transaction with Cruz.
enough to overcome the presumption of the
truthfulness of the statements contained in the Contrary to the allegations of the petitioner
board resolution. To overcome the that respondent Agana’s authority was only
presumption, there must be sufficient, clear limited to negotiate and not to sell the subject
and convincing evidence as to exclude all property, suffice it to state that the board
reasonable controversy as to the falsity of the resolution further averred that he was
certificate.11 In the absence of such proof, the "authorized and empowered to sign any and
document must be upheld. Notarization all documents, instruments, papers or writings
converts a private document into a public which may be required and necessary for this
document, making it admissible in court purpose to bind the Corporation in this
without further proof of its authenticity.12
1avvphi1
undertaking."20 The certification of the respondent Agana with the intention to end
President, Marcelino Agana, Jr. also attests to the rift in the family corporation.
this fact. With this notarized board resolution,
respondent Agana, undeniably, had the Considering all the foregoing, it cannot be
authority to cede the subject property, carrying gainsaid that respondent Prima is an innocent
with it all the concomitant powers necessary purchaser in good faith and for value.
to implement said transaction. On the strength
of the deed of absolute sale executed
pursuant to such authority, title over the land
in petitioner’s name was cancelled and a new
certificate of title – TCT No. T-617521 – was
already issued in the name of Prima Real
Properties, Inc.

Thus, it is too late in the day to have the sale


voided, notwithstanding the retraction made
by Rodolfo Agana in his Comment 22 on the
Petition filed with this Court. Therein, he
admits that he acted solely and without proper
authority of the corporation. Agana states that
he wishes to end once and for all the rift that
had occurred in the corporation; and in order
to buy peace for all the parties and for himself,
he is willing to return the money paid by Prima
so that ownership of the property can be
returned to the petitioner. In light of this
admission that Agana had no authority,
petitioner posits that there is justifiable reason
for the Court to re-visit or evaluate the facts of
the case anew.

Unfortunately, the Court cannot give weight to


this magnanimous gesture of Agana; neither
will the Court lend credence to Agana’s
assertion that he acted solely and without
proper authority from the corporation,
inasmuch as it was raised for the very first
time in this Court and only after 8 years from
the inception of the case. In all the pleadings
filed by respondent Agana in court, he was
steadfast in his position that he had authority
to sell the subject property. A judicial
admission conclusively binds the party making
it. He cannot thereafter take a position
contradictory to, or inconsistent with his
pleadings. Acts or facts admitted do not
require proof and cannot be contradicted
unless it is shown that the admission was
made through palpable mistake or that no
such admission was made.23 In the instant
case, there is no proof of these exceptional
circumstances. Clearly, the retraction was
merely an afterthought on the part of