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Complainant alleged that on January 3, 1998, respondent prepared and notarized a Magkasanib
na Salaysay purportedly executed by Donato Salonga and complainants mother, Basilia de la
Cruz for a certain parcel of land in Bigte, Norzagaray, Bulacan, was being occupied by Rodolfo
Lucas and his family for more than 30 years. Complainant claimed that her mother could not
have executed the joint affidavit on January 3, 1998 because she has been dead since January
28, 1961. Respondent denied that he falsified the Magkasanib na Salaysay. He disclaimed any
knowledge about Basilias death. He alleged that before he notarized the document, he
requested for Basilias presence and in her absence, he allowed a certain Pronebo, allegedly a
son-in-law of Basilia, to sign above the name of the latter as shown by the word by on top of
the name of Basilia
Whether or not Atty. Bernabe committed a deceitful conduct
The records sufficiently established that Basilia was already dead when the joint affidavit was
prepared on January 3, 1998. Respondents alleged lack of knowledge of Basilias death does not excuse
him. It was his duty to require the personal appearance of the affiant before affixing his notarial seal
and signature on the instrument. Respondents act of notarizing the Magkasanib na Salaysay in the
absence of one of the affiants is in violation of Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility and the Notarial Law. By affixing his signature and notarial seal on the instrument, he
led us to believe that Basilia personally appeared before him and attested to the truth and veracity of the
contents of the affidavit when in fact it was a certain Pronebo who signed the document. Respondents
conduct is fraught with dangerous possibilities considering the conclusiveness on the due execution of
a document that our courts and the public accord on notarized documents. Respondent has clearly
failed to exercise utmost diligence in the performance of his function as a notary public and to comply
with the mandates of the law.
A member of the bar who performs an act as a notary public should not notarize a document unless the
persons who signed the same are the very same persons who executed and personally appeared before
him. Respondent was also remiss in his duty when he allowed Pronebo to sign in behalf of Basilia.

VICTOR C. LINGAN, Complainant,


Respondents allowed their secretaries to notarize documents in their stead, in violation of Sections
2455 and 2466 of the Notarial Law. This court suspended respondents from the practice of law for one
year, revoked their notarial commissions, and disqualified them from reappointment as notaries public
for two years. Complainant Victor C. Lingan filed his motion for reconsideration, praying that
respondents be disbarred, not merely suspended from the practice of law. After this court had
suspended Atty. Baliga from the practice of law, the Commission on Human Rights En Banc issued the
resolution suspending him from his position as Director/Attorney VI of the. Commission on Human
Rights Regional Office for Region II. According to the Commission on Human Rights En Banc, Atty.
Baliga's suspension from the practice of law "prevent[ed] [him] from assuming his post [as Regional
Director] for want of eligibility in the meantime that his authority to practice law is suspended.
Complainant Lingan claimed that the discharge of the functions of a Commission on Human Rights
Regional Director necessarily required the practice of law. On July 17, 2009, Atty. Baliga filed a
manifestation, arguing that his suspension from the practice of law did not include his suspension from
public office. Atty. Baliga said, "[t]o stretch the coverage of [his suspension from the practice of law] to
[his] public office would be tantamount to [violating] his constitutional rights [sic] to due process
and to the statutory principle in law that what is not included is deemed excluded." Atty. Baliga
continued performing his functions as Regional Director while he was suspended from the practice of
law. As to Atty. Baliga's claim that he did not practice law while he held his position as Regional
Director and only performed generally managerial functions, complainant Lingan countered that Atty.
Baliga admitted to defying the order of suspension.

whether Atty. Baliga's motion to lift order of suspension should be granted

We find that Atty. Baliga violated this court's order of suspension. We, therefore, suspend him further
from the practice of law for six months.
The Commission on Human Rights is an independent office created under the Constitution with power
to investigate "all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights[.]"62 It is
divided into regional offices with each office having primary responsibility to investigate human rights
violations in its territorial jurisdiction.
the Regional Director has the following powers and functions:
a. To administer oaths or affirmations with respect to "[Commission on Human Rights]
b. To issue mission orders in their respective regional offices;66
c. To conduct preliminary evaluation or initial investigation of human rights complaints in
the absence of the legal officer or investigator;67
d. To conduct dialogues or preliminary conferences among parties and discuss "immediate
courses of action and protection remedies and/or possible submission of the matter to an
alternative dispute resolution";68
e. To issue Commission on Human Rights processes, including notices, letter-invitations,
orders, or subpoenas within the territorial jurisdiction of the regional office;69 and
f. To review and approve draft resolutions of human rights cases prepared by the legal
These powers and functions are characteristics of the legal profession. Oaths and affirmations are
usually performed by members of the judiciary and notaries public71 - officers who are necessarily
members of the bar.72 Investigating human rights complaints are performed primarily by the
Commission's legal officer.73 Discussing immediate courses of action and protection remedies and
reviewing and approving draft resolutions of human rights cases prepared by the legal officer require
the use of extensive legal knowledge.
This court suspended Atty. Baliga from the practice of law for one year on June 15, 2006, "effective
immediately."75 From the time Atty. Baliga received the court's order of suspension on July 5, 2006,76
he has been without authority to practice law.
Under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, willful disobedience to any lawful order of a
superior court is a ground for disbarment or suspension from the practice of law:
SEC. 27. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court; grounds therefor. - A member of
the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit,
malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of
his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is
required to take before admission to practice, or for a willful disobedience of any lawful order of
a superior court, or for corruptly or willfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without
authority so to do. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either personally or
through paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice.

ELSA L. MONDEJAR, complainant,

ATTY. VIVIAN G. RUBIA, respondent.

Sometime in 2002, Mondejar charged Marilyn Carido (Marilyn) and her common law husband
Japanese national Yoshimi Nakayama (Nakayama) before the Digos City Prosecutor's Office for
violation of the Anti-Dummy Law. in support to Marilyn's counter affidavit, she attached a
Memorandum of Joint Venture Agreement3 (the document) forged by her and Nakayama,
acknowledged before respondent on January 9, 2001 but appearing to have been entered in
respondent's notarial register for 2002 and bearing respondent's Professional Tax Receipt (PTR) No.
issued in 2002. The document purported to show that Marilyn owned Bamiyan, albeit its capital was
provided by Nakayama. Mondejar, an employee of Marilyn's business, filed the complaint against
respondent, as well as criminal complaints for falsification of public document and use of falsified
public document before the Prosecutor's Office also against respondent, together with Marilyn,
Nakayama, and the witnesses to the document Mona Liza Galvez and John Doe.

Whether or not Rubia committed a deceitful conduct.

relative to the discrepancies of dates appearing in the document, Commissioner Aguila found
respondent to have violated Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility reading: Canon 1,
Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. In the
Memorandum of a Joint Venture Agreement, Atty. Rubia stated in the acknowledgment portion thereof
that the parties personally appeared before her "on this 9th day of January, 2001." But then this
document . . . was entered in respondent's notarial register on 2002. All of the foregoing show that the
respondent effectively made an untruthful declaration in a public document when she attested that the
Memorandum of a Joint Venture Agreement was acknowledged before her on 09 January 2001 when
evidence clearly shows otherwise.
Lawyers commissioned as notaries public are thus mandated to subscribe to the sacred duties
appertaining to their office, such duties being dictated by public policy impressed with public
interest.19 A graver responsibility is placed upon them by reason of their solemn oath to obey the laws,
to do no falsehood or consent to the doing of any, 20 and to guard against any illegal or immoral
arrangement,21 and other duties and responsibilities.

AC No. 6010
Atty. Dela Cruz has a pending criminal case for child abuse allegedly committed by
him against a high school student filed before the Prosecutors Office of Baguio City; a
pending administrative case filed by the Teachers, Staff, Students and Parents before an
Investigating Board created by SLU for his alleged unprofessional and unethical acts
of misappropriating money supposedly for the teachers; and the pending labor case
filed by SLU-LHS Faculty before the NLRC, Cordillera Administrative Region, on
alleged illegal deduction of salary by respondent. He also contracted a second marriage
despite the existence of his first marriage, and notarizing documents despite the
expiration of his commission. respondent was legally married to Teresita Rivera on 31
May 1982 at Tuba, Benguet, before the then Honorable Judge Tomas W. Macaranas. He
thereafter contracted a subsequent marriage with one Mary Jane Pascua,

A lawyer has the privilege and right to practice law only during good behavior, and he
can be deprived of it for misconduct ascertained and declared by judgment of the court
after opportunity to be heard has been afforded him. Without invading any constitutional
privilege or right, an attorneys right to practice law may be resolved by a proceeding to
suspend, based on conduct rendering him unfit to hold a license or to exercise the duties
and responsibilities of an attorney. One of the conditions prior to admission to the bar is
that an applicant must possess good moral character. Possession of such moral character
as requirement to the enjoyment of the privilege of law practice must be continuous.
Otherwise, membership in the bar may be terminated when a lawyer ceases to have good
moral conduct.