MARIA FATIMA JAPITANA v. ATTY. SYLVESTER C. PARADO (A.C. No. 10859 [Formerly CBD Case No. 09-2514], January 26, 2016)

by | Jan 9, 2021

Doctrine: A lawyer who acts as a notary public without the necessary notarial commission is remiss in his professional duties and responsibilities, violating not only his oath to obey the laws particularly the Rules on Notarial Practice but also Canons 1 and 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

 

A.C. No. 10859 [Formerly CBD Case No. 09-2514]  |  January 26, 2016

MARIA FATIMA JAPITANA, complainant, vATTY. SYLVESTER C. PARADO, respondent.

Narrative:

On June 22, 2006, Atty. Parado notarized the Real Estate Mortgage, between RC Lending Investors, Inc. as mortgagee and the complainant’s sisters as mortgagors, covering a parcel of land on which the family home of the Japitanas was constructed. Atty. Parado also notarized the affidavit allegedly executed by the mortgagors and three other witnesses to show compliance to the mortgage. The mortgage was then foreclosed and a Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) was issued to RC Lending, acquiring ownership over the land. However, Fatima Japitana filed a complaint against Atty. Parado alleging that: 1) the signatures in the mortgage and the affidavit were forgeries; 2) Parado did not require the signatories to present any valid identification; and 3) Parado had no notarial authority.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) concluded that there was no evidence to prove that Atty. Parado forged the documents. However, it was found that Atty. Parado lied when he testified in court that he had a notarial commission effective until 2008 when in truth, he had none as supported by the certification issued by the RTC Clerk of Court stating that Atty. Parado had not been issued a notarial commission for 2006.

The Supreme Court held that without a commission, a lawyer is unauthorized to perform any of the notarial acts. In this case, Atty. Parado’s performance of notarial acts without the necessary notarial commission and dishonesty before the court violated his oath to obey the laws (e.g., Rules on Notarial Practice) and Canons 1 and 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which prohibits all lawyers from engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct and directs them to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession, at all times. Also, Atty. Parado did not claim to personally know the signatories of the documents, so his reliance on their CTCs (or cedula) alone was insufficient as it is not considered as competent evidence of identity according to the Rules, which is a punishable indiscretion by the notary public. Hence, Atty. Parado’s misdeeds are breach of his duties and responsibilities both as a lawyer and a notary public.

Atty. Parado was then suspended from the practice of law for 2 years and permanently disqualified from being commissioned as a Notary Public.

Digested by Nurlailah Ali, 2 – JD, S.Y. 2020-2021, Mindanao State University – College of Law Iligan Extension