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[A.C. NO.

6294 : November 17, 2004]


ATTY. MINIANO B. DELA CRUZ, Complainant, v. ATTY. ALEJANDRO P.
ZABALA, Respondent.
Facts:
Atty. Dela Cruz filed before the Committee on Bar Discipline of the IBP, a Complaint for Disbarment
against Atty. Zabala, for violating his oath as a notary public.He alleged that respondent notarized with
unknown witnesses, a fake deed of sale allegedly executed by two dead people, in gross violation of his
oath as a Commissioned Notary Public in Quezon City.
Atty. Dela Cruz averred that he was retained by a certain Demetrio C. Marero to finance and undertake
the filing of a Petition for the Issuance of a Second Duplicate Original of the Owner's copy of OCT No.
4153, in the names of Sps. Pedro Sumulong and Cirila Tapales before the Regional Trial Court of
Antipolo City, Branch 72.
Atty. Dela Cruz purchased the said property from Marero and had the title transferred to him and his
wife. OCT No. 4153 was then cancelled and replaced by TCT No. 330000.3
The next day, complainant requested a certain Mrs. Adoracion Losloso and Mr. Nestor Aguirre to
register the title in the former's name at the Assessor's Office of Antipolo City. However, they were
unable to do so because the property was already registered in the name of Antipolo Properties, Inc.,
under TCT No. N-107359.
Respondent notarized a Deed of Absolute Sale over the land covered by OCT No. 4153, executed by
Cirila Tapales and Pedro Sumulong in favor of the complainant and his wife.
Later, Mr. Marero filed a Complaint for Reconveyance of Title of the land, subject of the Deed of Sale
which was notarized by respondent, with damages against the complainant and his wife.
Purportedly, to clear his name, complainant filed this complaint for disbarment against respondent.
According to complainant, respondent notarized an irregular document where one of the parties to the
transaction was already dead, grossly violating his oath as a notary public.
Respondent, in his Answer alleged that as a notary, he did not have to go beyond the documents
presented to him for notarization. In notarial law, he explains, the minimum requirements to notarize a
document are the presence of the parties and their presentation of their community tax certificate. As
long as these requirements are met, the documents may be notarized. Furthermore, he adds, when he
notarized the Deed of Sale, he had no way of knowing whether the persons who appeared before him
were the real owners of the land or were merely poseurs.
Issue: Whether the Respondent should be disbarred for committing notarial negligence
Held: The Court ruled that the prayer for disbarment should be dismissed due to insufficiency of
evidence.
According to the Court, the alleged failures of respondent did not indicate a clear intent to engage in

unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.


However, respondent did not deny that he notarized the cited Deed of Sale under the circumstances
alleged by complainant. It appears that there was negligence on respondent's part. Thus, he violated the
Notarial Law, and our rules regarding Notarial Practice. His commission as Notary Public should be
revoked and for two years he should be disqualified from being commissioned as such.
The IBP noted that on its face, the Deed of Sale was not executed by the purported vendee and that only
Pedro Sumulong appeared and executed the deed even though the property was co-owned by Pedro
Sumulong and Cirila Tapales. In addition, a copy of the title was not attached to the said Deed of Sale
when it was presented for notarization. The aforementioned circumstances should have alerted
respondent. Given the ease with which community tax certificates are obtained these days, respondent
should have been more vigilant in ascertaining the identity of the persons who appeared before him.
The Court further stated that they have empathically stressed that notarization is not an empty,
meaningless routinary act. It is invested with substantive public interest. It must be underscored that the
notarization by a notary public converts a private document into a public document, making that
document admissible in evidence without further proof of authenticity thereof. A notarial document is,
by law, entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. For this reason, a notary 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.
[A.C. NO. 5510 : December 20, 2007]
SAJID D. AGAGON, Complainant, v. ATTY. ARTEMIO F. BUSTAMANTE, Respondent.
Facts:
Agagon filed the instant administrative case against respondent Atty. Artemio Bustamante charging the
latter with malpractice and violation of the lawyer's oath. Complainant alleged that respondent acted as
Notary Public to the "Deed of Sale" allegedly executed by and between Dominador Panglao and
Alessandro Panglao.
In the Report and Recommendation of Investigating Commissioner, the following findings were made:
Jofie, the wife of the complainant won in a labor case against Dominador Panglao. The latter owned a
meat shop which was later sold and transferred to Alessandro Panglao. Upon service of the writ of
execution, Alessandro Panglao, verbally requested from the sheriff to temporarily withhold the service
of the writ with the promise that "they will satisfy the judgment in cash". Subsequently, Alessandro
Panglao offered P10,000 as "settlement" which was promptly rejected by Jofie Agagon for being "way
below the amount duly awarded by the NLRC".
Later, Alessandro Panglao, through his lawyer, herein Respondent, filed before the NLRC an "Affidavit
of Title/Right of Possession of Third Party Claimant" claiming that the levied properties were sold to
him by Dominador Panglao and that the same are exempt from levy. Alessandro Panglao desired to
establish himself as a third party to the case since the respondent in the labor case was Dominador
Panglao, as owner of his own meatshop before it was sold. Attached to this Affidavit is a supposed Deed

of Sale dated October 6, 2000 executed by Dominador Panglao and Alessandro Panglao and notarized
by herein Respondent. The Deed of Sale has the notarial series of: Doc. No. 375, Page No. 76, Book No.
XXXIII, Series of 2000.
To verify the authenticity of the Deed of Sale, Complainant verified with the Office of the Clerk of
Court, RTC, Baguio City on September 4, 2001 that said Deed of Sale does not appear in Respondent's
Notarial Reports and, in fact, a different document corresponds with the aforesaid notarial entries.
Complainant submits a Certificate to this effect.
Moreover, he checked with the Baguio City Treasurer's Office and it showed that the supposed
Community Tax Certificate (CTC) numbers of the two affiants in the Deed of Sale were never issued to
either of the two affiants.
Respondent admitted that he was the one who prepared the Deed of Sale. However, he claimed that the
parties merely dictated to him their Community Tax Certificate Numbers; that he inadvertently failed to
include the Deed of Sale in the report submitted to the Office of the Clerk of Court; that it was pure
inadvertence that the document that was reported and included in the report to the Office of the Clerk of
Court and which bore the document number assigned to the Deed of Sale was an Affidavit executed by
Teofilo Malapit.
Issue: Whether Respondent's excuses can be accepted as satisfactory that would thus classify his acts as
"excusable negligence."
Held: The Court ruled in the negative.
There is nothing on record that can excuse Respondent or that can justify his lapses. That the
Respondent did not ask to see the CTC of the affiants and that the affiants simply dictated to him their
CTC numbers out of memory is an unacceptable excuse and explanation. This is gross negligence.
According to the Court, it is unusual that the Respondents clients could have easily recited their CTC
numbers from thin air. This should have already prompted the Respondent to be suspicious but he was
easily fooled by his clients.
Respondent's failure to include the Deed of Sale in his notarial report is another act of gross negligence.
This negligence is highlighted by the fact that said Deed of Sale was subsequently introduced into a
quasi-judicial proceeding when it was attached to Alessandro Panglao's "Affidavit of Title/Right of
Possession of Third Party Claimant". Its non-inclusion in the notarial report is inexcusable and for which
only the lawyer himself, and not his secretary, should be held to account.
A notary public is empowered to perform a variety of notarial acts, most common of which are the
acknowledgment and affirmation of a document or instrument. In the performance of such notarial acts,
the notary public must be mindful of the significance of the notarial seal as affixed on a document. The
notarial seal converts the document from private to public, after which it may be presented as evidence
without need for proof of its genuineness and due execution. Thus, notarization should not be treated as
an empty, meaningless, or routinary act.
The Court ruled that respondent be reprimanded for violating the Code of Professional Responsibility

and suspended from the practice of law for one (1) year and revocation and suspension of respondent's
notarial commission for two (2) years.