2018 SC rulings re notarization, notarial acts

Notarization is invested with substantive public interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public; notarization of documents ensures the authenticity and reliability of a document; it converts a private document into a public one, and renders it admissible in court without further proof of its authenticity. (Gonzales vs. Atty. Bañares, A.C. No. 11396, June 20, 2018; Zarcilla vs. Atty. Quesada, Jr., A.C. No. 7186, March 13, 2018)

Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, or routinary act; it is impressed with substantial public interest, and only those who are qualified or authorized may act as such; it is not a purposeless ministerial act of acknowledging documents executed by parties who are willing to pay fees for notarization; notarization of documents ensures the authenticity and reliability of a document. (Orola vs. Atty. Baribar, A.C. No. 6927, March 14, 2018)

Notarization is not an empty, meaningless routinary act, but one invested with substantive public interest; it 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; for this reason, a notary public must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of his notarial duties. (Triol vs. Atty. Agcaoili, Jr., A.C. No. 12011, June 26, 2018)

Notarization of a private document converts such document into a public one, and renders it admissible in court without further proof of its authenticity; courts, administrative agencies and the public at large must be able to rely upon the acknowledgment executed by a notary public and appended to a private instrument. (Orola vs. Atty. Baribar, A.C. No. 6927, March 14, 2018)

Respondent was remiss in the faithful observance of his duties as a notary public when he failed to confirm the identity of the person through the competent evidence of identity required by the 2004 Notarial Rules; jurisprudence provides that a community tax certificate or cedula is no longer considered as a valid and competent evidence of identity; rationale. (Dandoy vs. Atty. Edayan, A.C. No. 12084, June 06, 2018)

The act of notarization is impressed with public interest; notarization converts a private document to a public document, making it admissible in evidence without further proof of its authenticity.  (Dandoy vs. Atty. Edayan, A.C. No. 12084, June 06, 2018)

The 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice provides that a notary public should not notarize a document unless the signatory to the document is in the notary’s presence personally at the time of the notarization, and personally known to the notary public or otherwise identified through competent evidence of identity; Sec. 12, Rule II of the same rules defines “competent evidence of identity”. (Dandoy vs. Atty. Edayan, A.C. No. 12084, June 06, 2018)The 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice stresses the necessity of the affiant’s personal appearance before the notary public; Rule II, Sec. 1 states: x x x Thus, a document should not be notarized unless the persons who are executing it are the very same ones who are personally appearing before the notary public; notaries public are enjoined from notarizing a fictitious or spurious document; it is their duty to demand that the document presented to them for notarization be signed in their presence; their function is, among others, to guard against illegal deeds. (Gonzales vs. Atty. Bañares, A.C. No. 11396, June 20, 2018)

The statements made by the witnesses to the documents as regards the identity of the persons do not  comply with the 2004 Notarial Rules’ requirements on competent evidence of identity; Sec. 12 clearly states that the credible witness/es making the oath – as to the identity of the individual subscribing the document – must: not be a privy to the document, etc.; personally know/s the individual subscribing; and, must either be (a) personally known to the notary public, or (b) must show to the notary public a photograph-and-signature-bearing identification document. (Dandoy vs. Atty. Edayan, A.C. No. 12084, June 06, 2018)

PERSONAL APPEARANCE REQUIREMENT

A document should not be notarized unless the person/s who is/are executing it is/are personally or physically present before the notary public; the personal and physical presence of the parties to the deed is necessary to enable the notary public to verify the genuineness of the signature/s of the affiant/s therein and the due execution of the document. (Almario vs. Atty. Llera-Agno, A.C. No. 10689, Jan. 08, 2018)

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 to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated therein; it is his duty to demand that the document presented to him for notarization be signed in his presence; the purpose of the requirement of personal appearance by the acknowledging party before the notary public is to enable the latter to verify the genuineness of the signature of the former. (Orola vs. Atty. Baribar, A.C. No. 6927, March 14, 2018)

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 to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated therein; the purpose of this requirement is to enable the notary public to verify the genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the document is the party’s free act and deed. (Gonzales vs. Atty. Bañares, A.C. No. 11396, June 20, 2018; Zarcilla vs. Atty. Quesada, Jr., A.C. No. 7186, March 13, 2018)

A person shall not perform a notarial act if the person involved as signatory to the instrument or document is not in the notary’s presence personally at the time of the notarization. (Orola vs. Atty. Baribar, A.C. No. 6927, March 14, 2018)

SECTION 2 (B), RULE IV

Sec. 2 (b), Rule IV of the 2004 Notarial Rules requires a duly-commissioned notary public to perform a notarial act only if the person involved as signatory to the instrument or document is: (a) in the notary’s presence personally at the time of the notarization; and (b) personally known to the notary public or otherwise identified by the notary public through competent evidence of identity as defined by these Rules; the purpose of this requirement is to enable the notary public to verify the genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the document is the party’s free act and deed. (Triol vs. Atty. Agcaoili, Jr., A.C. No. 12011, June 26, 2018)

VIOLATION

A lawyer cannot be held liable for violation of his duties as Notary Public when the law in effect at the time of his complained act does not provide any prohibition to the same, as in the case at bench. (Mabini vs. Atty. Kintanar, A.C. No. 9512, Feb. 05, 2018)

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