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Facts:

Complainant filed a complaint for ejectment against a certain Clarita Rodriguez


Magbuhos before the MTCC of Angeles City. Corazon P. Manansala, who claimed to
be Magbuhos’ attorney-in-fact, appeared with her counsel, herein respondent. To
prove her authority, she presented a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) duly notarized
by respondent. However, upon scrutiny of the original SPA, complainant’s counsel
pointed out that the authority pertained to “cash loan extended to one Nestor Cabais”
and not to the ejectment case. Insisting that she was authorized to represent
Magbuhos in the ejectment case, respondent submitted another SPA with notable
handwritten alterations without any initials or counter-signature of Magbuhos.

MTCC denied the admission of the altered SPA which led to the filing of the
instant administrative complaint, with complainant arguing that respondent's act of
submitting before the MTCC an altered and/or falsified document which he himself
had notarized is blatantly and patently immoral, improper, and unlawful, and thus,
he should be accordingly penalized for the same.

Respondent explained that in the preparation of the original SPA, he merely


asked his secretary to get a similar document from his files and insert his corrections.
He reasoned out that the error made on the original SPA was only due to "honest
mistake and oversight" and upon discovery thereof, he himself caused the alterations
on the SPA with the knowledge and verbal consent of Magbuhos.

Issue:

Whether or not respondent should be held administratively liable for the acts
complained of.

Ruling:

The importance of the functions of a notary public is highlighted in De Jesus v.


Sanchez-Malit21 as follows:

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 public's confidence in the integrity of a notarized
document would be undermined.22(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Irrefragably, respondent's acts not only caused damage to those directly affected by
the altered SPA, but also tainted the integrity of the legal profession by degrading
the function of notarization.
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Rolando B. Miranda is found GUILTY of violating the
2004 Rules on Notarial Practice and the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Accordingly, the Court SUSPENDS him from the practice of law for one (1)
year; REVOKES his incumbent notarial commission, if any; and PROHIBITS him
from being commissioned as a notary public for two (2) years, effective immediately,
with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future
shall be dealt with more severely.

2) ATTY. BENIGNO T. BARTOLOME, Complainant, v. ATTY. CHRISTOPHER A.


BASILIO, Respondent.

Facts:
This administrative case stems from a complaint1 filed by complainant Atty.
Benigno T. Bartolome before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) against
respondent Atty. Christopher A. Basilio for violation of the 2004 Rules on Notarial
Practice2 (Notarial Rules) by notarizing a joint affidavit despite the fact that Tañedo
had already passed away.

In his answer, Basilio admitted having notarized the Joint Affidavit but claimed
that, prior to the notarization, he verified the identities of the persons who appeared
before him through their respective Social Security System (SSS) identification cards
and driver's licenses. During the clarificatory hearing, Basilio, who undisputedly
notarized the Joint Affidavit, admitted his failure to: (a) record the subject document
in his notarial book; (b) submit a copy of the same to the Regional Trial Court of
Tarlac City (RTC); and (c) have the notarization revoked or recalled.

Issue:

Whether or not the IBP correctly found Basilio liable for violation of the Notarial Rules.

Ruling:

As the records bear out, Basilio affixed his official signature and seal on the
notarial certificate of the Joint Affidavit without properly identifying the person/s who
signed the same. His claim that he verified the identities of the affiants through their
respective SSS identification cards and driver's licenses cannot be given any credence
considering the ostensible lack of their details on the face of the certificate.

On the other hand, it has been established that one of the named signatories
to the Joint Affidavit was already dead when he notarized the aforesaid document.
Hence, it is sufficiently clear that Basilio had indeed affixed his official signature and
seal on an incomplete, if not false, notarial certificate.
Moreover, by the same account, 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

WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent Atty. Christopher A. Basilio GUILTY


of violating the 2004 Rules of Notarial Practice and Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, the Court hereby SUSPENDS him from the
practice of law for one (1) year; REVOKES his incumbent commission as a notary
public, if any; and PROHIBITS him from being commissioned as a notary public for
two (2) years, effective immediately. He is WARNED that a repetition of the same
offense or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.