GERONIMO C. FUENTES vs. JUDGE ROMUALDO G. BUNO A.M. No.

MTJ-99-1204 ; July 28 2008

FACTS! The Facts of the case relates that Geronimo Fuentes appointed through a Special Power of Attorney his brother Alejandro to mortgage a piece of agricultural land located in Bohol. owever! the same tract of land was partitioned and an Absolute "eed of Sale was prepared! notari#ed by respondent $udge Buno. According to Geronimo Fuentes the respondent judge notari#ed said document as e%&officio 'otary Public! thereby abusing his discretion and authority as well as committing graft and corruption. $udge Buno answered that in a municipality were a notary public is not available( a municipal judge is empowered to notari#e documents or deeds as e%&officio notary public. e also asserted that he acted in good faith after learning that the SPA only authori#ed his brother! Alejandro Fuentes to mortgage the property( he summoned the latter! his mother and the buyer of the land. Alejandro then assured him that they would be responsible to the complainant and that the buyer was willing to return complainant)s share in the property. The *+A recommended that a fine of ,-!--- pesos is in order for unauthori#ed notari#ation of a private document which would be deducted from his retirement benefit. The *+A stated too that the respondent judge performed notari#ation which is outside of his official functions as a judge. .n its /emorandum 0eport! the *+A recommended that the present case be re& doc1eted as a regular administrative matter and that respondent be fined in the amount of P,-!---.-- for unauthori#ed notari#ation of a private document! the same to be deducted from his retirement benefit. The said *+A recommendation was premised on the lac1 of authority of respondent judge to prepare and notari#e the document in 2uestion! which had no direct relation to the performance of his official functions as a judge. "ELD! S+ +ircular 'o. ,&3- prohibits judges from underta1ing the preparation and ac1nowledgment of private documents! contracts and other deeds of conveyances which have no direct relation to the discharge of their official functions. .n this case! respondent judge admitted that he prepared both the document itself! entitled 45%tra&judicial Partition with Simultaneous Absolute "eed of Sale4 and the ac1nowledgment of the said

'5 of Twelve Thousand Pesos 9P. ere! no such certification was made in the 5%tra&$udicial Partition with Simultaneous "eed of Sale.&3-.AB85 for failure to comply with S+ +ircular 'o.! to be deducted from the amount withheld from his retirement benefits. e is hereby *0"505" to pay a F.specifically re2uires that a certification attesting to the lac1 of any lawyer or notary public in the said municipality or circuit be made in the notari#ed document. .and the 0ules on 'otarial Practice. 6 505F*05! respondent $udge 0*/7A8"* G. 6hether or not respondent judge truly acted in good faith when he prepared and ac1nowledged the subject document is beside the point since he failed to strictly observe the re2uirements of S+ +ircular 'o. +learly! then! respondent judge! who was the sitting judge of the /+T+! Talibon&Getafe! Bohol! failed to comply with the aforesaid conditions prescribed by S+ +ircular 'o. . These acts of respondent judge are clearly proscribed by the aforesaid +ircular. 0espondent judge also failed to indicate in his answer as to whether or not any notarial fee was charged for that transaction! and if so! whether the same was turned over to the /unicipal Treasurer of Talibon! Bohol. B7'*! now retired! of the /unicipal +ircuit Trial +ourt of Talibon&Getafe! Bohol! is found 8.:!---.&3. 6hile it may be true that no notary public was available or residing within respondent judge)s territorial jurisdiction! as shown by the certifications issued by the 0T+ +ler1 of +ourt and the /unicipal /ayor of Talibon! Bohol! S+ +ircular 'o. .document! which had no relation at all to the performance of his function as a judge.--. .&3.&3-! even if he could have acted as notary public e%& officio in the absence of any lawyer or notary public in the municipality or circuit to which he was assigned. .