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Luzviminda R. Lustestica vs. Atty. Sergio E.

Bernabe FACTS: Complainant filed a disbarment case against the respondent for notarizing a falsified or forged Deed of Donation of real property despite the non-appearance of the donors, Benvenuto H. Lustestica (complainants father) and his first wife, Cornelia P. Rivero, both of whom were already dead at the time of execution of the said document. The respondent admitted the fact of death of Benvenuto H. Lustestica and Cornelia P. Rivero, considering their death certificates attached to the complaint. The respondent claimed, however, that he had no knowledge that the real Benvenuto H. Lustestica and Cornelia P. Rivero were already dead at the time he notarized the Deed of Donation. He also claimed that he exerted efforts to ascertain the identities of the persons who appeared before him and represented themselves as the donors under the Deed of Donation.

ISSUE: Whether or not Respondent committed a falsehood in violation of his oath as a lawyer and his duties as Notary Public when he notarized the Deed of Donation purportedly executed by Benvenuto H. Lustestica and Cornelia P. Rivero as the donors and Cecilio R. Lustestica and Juliana Lustestica as the donees on 5 August 1994. HELD: The records undeniably show the gross negligence exhibited by the respondent in discharging his duties as a notary public. He failed to ascertain the identities of the affiants before him and failed to comply with the most basic function that a notary public must do, i.e., to require the parties presentation of their residence certificates or any other document to prove their identities. Given the respondents admission in his pleading that the donors were already dead when he notarized the Deed of Donation, we have no doubt that he failed in his duty to ascertain the identities of the persons who appeared before him as donors in the Deed of Donation. Considering these established rulings, read in light of the circumstances in the present case, we find that Atty. Bernabe should be disbarred from the practice of law and perpetually disqualified from being commissioned as a notary public. We emphasize that this is respondents second offense and while he does not appear to have any participation in the falsification of the Deed of Donation, his contribution was his gross negligence for failing to ascertain the identity of the persons who appeared before him as the donors. This is highlighted by his admission in his Answer that he did not personally know the parties and was not acquainted with them. The blank spaces in the Acknowledgment indicate that he did not even require these parties to produce documents that would prove that they are the same persons they claim to be.

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Bernard N. Jandoquile vs. Atty. Quirino P. Revilla Jr. FACTS: Atty. Revilla, Jr. notarized a complaint-affidavit signed by Heneraline L. Brosas, Herizalyn Brosas Pedrosa and Elmer L. Alvarado. Heneraline Brosas is a sister of Heizel Wynda Brosas Revilla, Atty. Revilla, Jr.'s wife. 3 Jandoquile complains that Atty. Revilla, Jr. is disqualified to perform the notarial act per Section 3( c), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice which reads as follows:
SEC. 3. Disqualifications. A notary public is disqualified from performing a notarial act if he: xxxx (c) is a spouse, common-law partner, ancestor, descendant, or relative by affinity or consanguinity of the principal4 within the fourth civil degree.

Jandoquile also complains that Atty. Revilla, Jr. did not require the three affiants in the complaint-affidavit 5 to show their valid identification cards. In his comment to the disbarment complaint, Atty. Revilla, Jr. did not deny but admitted Jandoquiles material allegations. ISSUE: Whether the single act of notarizing the complaint-affidavit of relatives within the fourth civil degree of affinity and, at the same time, not requiring them to present valid identification cards is a ground for disbarment. HELD: Atty. Revilla, Jr.s violation of the aforesaid disqua lification 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 complaintaffidavit, 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 6 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. 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.

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Father RANHILIO C. AQUINO, et. al. vs. Atty. EDWIN PASCUA FACTS: Complainant alleged that respondent falsified two documents for he made appear that he notarized the two Affidavit-Complaint. Father Aquino further alleged that on June 23 and July 26, 1999, Atty. Angel Beltran, Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court, Tuguegarao, certified that none of the above entries appear in the Notarial Register of Atty. Pascua; that the last entry therein was Document No. 1200 executed on December 28, 1998; and that, therefore, he could not have notarized Documents Nos. 1213 and 1214 on December 10, 1998. Atty. Pascua admitted having notarized the two documents on December 10, 1998, but they were not entered in his Notarial Register due to the oversight of his legal secretary, Lyn Elsie C.Patli, whose affidavit was attached to his comment. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent is guilty of violating the Rules on Notarial Practice. HELD: Under the notarial law, 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 executing, swearing to, or acknowledging the instrument, xxx xxx. 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 (Sec. 246, Article V, Title IV, Chapter II of the Revised Administrative Code). 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 is a ground for revocation of his commission (Sec. 249, Article VI). In the instant case, there is no question that the subject documents allegedly notarized by Atty. Pascua were not recorded in his notarial register. Atty. Pascua claims that the omission was not intentional but due to oversight of his staff. Whichever is the case, Atty. Pascua cannot escape liability. His failure to enter into his notarial register the documents that he admittedly notarized is a dereliction of duty on his part as a notary public and he is bound by the acts of his staff.

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ATTY. FLORITA S. LINCO vs. ATTY. JIMMY D. LACEBAL FACTS: Complainant alleged that Atty. Jimmy D. Lacebal (respondent), a notary public for Mandaluyong City, 2 notarized a deed of donation allegedly executed by her husband in favor of Alexander David T. Linco, a minor. The notarial acknowledgment thereof also stated that Atty. Linco and Lina P. Toledo (Toledo), mother of the donee, allegedly personally appeared before respondent on July 30, 2003, despite the fact that complainants husband died on July 29, 2003. On July 30, 2003, respondent claimed that Toledo and Algodon went to his law office and informed him that Atty. Linco had passed away on July 29, 2003. Respondent was then asked to notarize the deed of donation. Respondent admitted to have consented as he found it to be his commitment to a fellow lawyer. Thus, he notarized the subject deed of donation, which was actually signed in his presence on July 8, 2003. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent violated the basics of notarial procedure. HELD: The IBP-CBD observed that respondent wanted it to appear that because the donor appeared before him and signed the deed of donation on July 8, 2003, it was just ministerial duty on his part to notarize the deed of donation on July 30, 2003, a day after Atty. Linco died. The IBP-CBD pointed out that respondent should know that the parties who signed the deed of donation on July 8, 2003, binds only the signatories to the deed and it was not yet a public instrument. Moreover, since the deed of donation was notarized only on July 30, 2003, a day after Atty. Linco died, the acknowledgement portion of the said deed of donation where respondent acknowledged that Atty. Lincopersonally came and appeared before me is false. This act of respondent is also violative of the Attorney's Oath to obey the laws and do no falsehood.

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NELSON BUENSUCESO, et. al. vs ATTY. JOELITO T. BARRERA FACTS: Complainants charges respondent Atty. Joelito T. Barrera with unauthorized notarization of document. The basic allegation of complainants is that long after the notarial commision of respondent Atty. Barrera expired in 1978, the latter continued to perform acts of notarization and affixing, in connection therewith, his notarial seal and official signature with intent to impart to said documents the appearance of notarial authenticity. Respondent, in his comment dated 9 January 1992, does not deny that he had notarized the five (5) mentioned documents. He, however, maintains that his failure to apply for renewal of his notarial commision was due to excusable inadvertence and negligence. His fault, according to him, if any, was caused by his secretary to whom he had entrusted the task of making sure that his notarial commision was renewed annually. He states that he had no intention to violate the notarial law nor intentionally to mislead and injure the public. Upon learning from his "adversaries" that his notarial commision had expired, he completely ceased all notarial activities and, to protect the validity of documents he had notarized during the period in question, he (respondent Atty. Barrera) filed before the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City, a petition for confirmation of his notarial acts and status as a notary public, dated 2 October 1991. ISSUE: Whether or not the act of respondent constitutes violation of law and gross misconduct. HELD: In the instant case, more than twelve (12) years lapsed before respondent Atty. Barrera "realized" that his commission as a notary public had expired in 1978 and had not thereafter been renewed. His effort to shift responsibility from his shoulders to those of his hapless secretary do not strike the Court as the kind of diligence properly required of a member of the Bar in performing his duties as notary public. We consider that respondent Atty. Barrera's behavior constituted violation of law and gross misconduct on his part.

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SPOUSES BENJAMIN SANTUYO AND EDITHA SANTUYO, complainants, vs. ATTY. EDWIN A. HIDALGO FACTS: Complainants stated that sometime in December 1991, they purchased a parcel of land covered by a deed of sale. The deed of sale was allegedly notarized by respondent lawyer and was entered in his notarial register. Complainant spouses averred that about six years after the date of notarization, they had a dispute with one Danilo German over the ownership of the land. The case was estafa through falsification of a public document. During the trial of the case, German presented in court an affidavit executed by respondent denying the authenticity of his signature on the deed of sale. The spouses allegedly forged his notarial signature on said deed.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent violated the Rules on Notarial Law.

HELD: 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.

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