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17, 2005]
According to respondent, he once worked as a junior lawyer at Carpio General and
Jacob Law Office where he was asked to apply for a notarial commission. While he
admitted that he notarized several documents in that office, these, however, did not
include the subject deed of sale. He explained that, as a matter of office procedure,
documents underwent scrutiny by the senior lawyers and it was only when they
gave their approval that notarization was done. He claimed that, in some occasions,
the secretaries in the law firm, by themselves, would affix the dry seal of the junior
associates on documents relating to cases handled by the law firm. Respondent
added that he normally required the parties to exhibit their community tax
certificates and made them personally acknowledge the documents before him as
notary public.
He would have remembered complainants had they actually
appeared before him. While he admitted knowing complainant Editha Santuyo, he
said he met the latters husband and co-complainant only on November 5, 1997, or
about six years from the time that he purportedly notarized the deed of sale.
Moreover, respondent stressed that an examination of his alleged signature on the
deed of sale revealed that it was forged; the strokes were smooth and mild. He
suspected that a lady was responsible for forging his signature.
To further refute the accusations against him, respondent stated that, at the time
the subject deed of sale was supposedly notarized, on December 27, 1991, he was
on vacation. He surmised that complainants must have gone to the law office and
enticed one of the secretaries, with the concurrence of the senior lawyers, to
notarize the document. He claimed he was a victim of a criminal scheme motivated
by greed.
ISSUE: Can be the notary public be held liable for the acts of the forger?
Considering that the responsibility attached to a notary public is sensitive
respondent should have been more discreet and cautious in the execution of his
duties as such and should not have wholly entrusted everything to the secretaries;
otherwise he should not have been commissioned as notary public.
For having wholly entrusted the preparation and other mechanics of the document
for notarization to the secretary there can be a possibility that even the
respondents signature which is the only one left for him to do can be done by the
secretary or anybody for that matter as had been the case herein.
As it is respondent had been negligent not only in the supposed notarization but
foremost in having allowed the office secretaries to make the necessary entries in
his notarial registry which was supposed to be done and kept by him alone; and
should not have relied on somebody else.

Respondent Atty. Edwin A. Hidalgo is hereby found GUILTY of negligence in the

performance of his duties as notary public.

Donton v. Atty. Tansingco, A.C. No. 6057, June 27, 2006

Peter Donton filed a complaint against Atty. Emmanuel Tansingco, as the
notary public who notarized the Occupancy Agreement, and against others
(Duane Stier, and Emelyn Manggay) for estafa thru falsification of public
A disbarment complaint filed by petitioner on May 20, 2003 against
respondent Atty. Emmanual O. Tansingco for serious misconduct and deliberate
violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and 1.02 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility arose when respondent Atty. Tansingco filed a counter-charge of
perjury against Donton.
Atty. Tansingco in his complaint stated that he prepared and notarized the
Occupancy Agreement at the request of Mr. Stier, an owner and long-time
resident of a real property located at Cubao, Quezon City. Since Mr. Stier is a
U.S. Citizen and thereby disqualified to own real property in his name, he agreed
that the property be transferred in the name of Mr. Donton, a Filipino.
Donton averred that Atty. Tansingcos act of preparing the Occupancy
Agreement, despite knowledge that Stier is a foreign national, constitutes
serious misconduct and is a deliberate violation of the Code. Donton prayed that
Atty. Tansingco be disbarred.
Atty. Tansingco claimed that complainant Donton filed disbarment case
against him upon the instigation of complainants counsel, Atty. Bonifacio A.
Aletajan, because he refused to act witness in the criminal case against Stier
and Manggay.
In Resolution dated October 1, 2003, the court referred the matter to the
IBP for investigation, report and recommendation and for which the latter,
through Commissioner Milagros San Juan of the IBP Commission of Discipline
recommended suspension from the practice of law for two years and
cancellation of his commission as Notary Public.
The IBP Board of Governors adopted, with modification, the Report and
recommended respondents suspension from the practice of law for six months.
The report was then forwarded to SC as mandated under Section 12(b),
Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court.
Issue: Whether or Not Atty. Tansingco is guilty of serious misconduct?

Ruling: Yes. Atty. Tansingco is liable for violation of Canon 1 and Rule 1.02 of the
Code. The Court ruled that a lawyer should not render any service or give advice
to any client which will involve defiance of the laws which he is bound to uphold
and obey. A lawyer who assists a client in a dishonest scheme or who connives
in violating law commits an act which justifies disciplinary action against the
Atty. Tansingco had sworn to uphold the Constitution. Thus, he violated his oath
and the Code when he prepared and notarized the Occupancy Agreement to
evade the law against foreign ownership of lands. Atty. Tansingco used his
knowledge of the law to achieve an unlawful end. Such an act amounts to
malpractice in his office, for which he may be suspended. As such, respondent
is being suspended for six (6) months.