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Rudecon Management Corporation and Atty. Rugelio D. Tacorda v. Atty. Manuel N.Camacho(A.C. No.

6403, August 31, 2004)


FACTS:
On September 3, 1998, Si senando Si ngson, represented by herei n respondent Atty.Manuel
N. Camacho, filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City a
complaintagainst herein complainant Rudecon Management Corporation
for damages and reconveyance,docketed as Civil Case No. Q-98-35444. The case was originally
raffled to Branch 79, RTC,Quezon City but was eventually re-raffled to Branch 85 of the same court.On
September 21, 1998, Singson, again represented by Atty. Camacho, filed with Branch78, RTC, Quezon City a
"Motion for I ntervention (With Attached Answer in I ntervention WithAffirmative Defenses and Compulsory
Counterclaim)" in Civil Case No. Q-98-35326, entitled," Rudecon Management Corporati on,
plaintiff-appellee
v s . R a mo n M . V e l u z ,
defendant-appellant
," a case for unlawful detainer on appeal before said court.On October 1, 1998, Rudecon filed a motion
before Branch 78 seeking to cite Singsonand his counsel, Atty. Camacho, for contempt for having
allegedly violated the rule againstforum shopping. And the court, in its dispositive portion
found them guilty. On the basis of theabove-cited order, Rudecon and Tacorda filed the instant complaint
for disbarment or suspensionagainst Atty. Camacho.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Manuel N. Camacho is liable for violation of Canon 10 of the Codeof Professional
Responsibility.
RULING:
Al though respondent was hel d to be gui l ty i n forum shoppi ng, the court agreed wi th

respondent that there was no i ntenti on on hi s part to mi sl ead the court by conceal i ng
the pendency of Ci vi l Case No. Q- 98-
35444 i n Br anch 79 when they f i l ed the Moti on f or I ntervention and Answer in I ntervention
in Civil Case No. Q-98-35326 in Branch 78. I ndeed, thefirst paragraph of the said Answer in I ntervention shows
that respondent and his client called thetri al court s at t ent i on wi th respect
to the pendency of Ci vi l Case No. Q-98-35444. Herei ncomplainant, which is the plaintiff in Civil
Case No. Q-98-35326, does not dispute respondentsallegation that the latter and his client attached to
their Answer in I ntervention a copy of their complaint in Civil Case No. Q-98-35444.

Complainants seek the disbarment or suspension of respondent from the practice of lawfor his
having allegedly violated Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, however,in administrative
cases for disbarment or suspension against lawyers, the quantum of proof required is clearly
preponderant evidence and the burden of proof rests upon the complainant.Moreover, an
administrative case against a lawyer must show the dubious character of the actdone as well as of the
motivation thereof. I n the present case, complainant failed to present
clear and preponderant evi dence to show that respondent wi l l ful l y and del i beratel y resorte
d tofal sehood and unl awful and di shonest conduct i n vi ol ati on of the standards of honest
y
as provi ded for by the Code of Professi onal Responsi bi l i ty whi ch woul d have warranted t
heimposition of administrative sanction against him.Wherefore, Resolution No. XVI -2004-43 dated February 27,
2004 of the I ntegrated Bar of the Philippines is SET ASI DE and the instant administrative case filed against
Atty. Manuel N. Camacho is DI SMI SSED for lack of merit.


DOL ORES VDA. DE F AJ ARDO v s . ATTY. REXI E EFRENBUGARING, A.C. No.
5113, 10/7/2004.
FACTS: Respondent assisted Complainant and her co-heirs in two cases affecting an inherited
land. For every hearing, Respondent was fetched from, and driven back to, his residence, paid
P1,000-appearance fee and sent off with vegetables, candies and other goodies. However,
when asked the fee for legal services, he would only say, Huwag na ninyo alalahanin
iyon. Para ko na kayong nanay o lola. Later, Respondent devised two contracts at P50,000.00
with 25% contingency fee for his services and advised Complainant to show them to her co-heirs
who had been askingfor the cost of legal services. When the cases were
eventuallysettl ed, Compl ai nant and her co-hei rs offered RespondentP100,000 as
attorneys fees, which he rejected. Respondent even secretly proposed to Complainant that he
would only charge her P85,000.00 and her co-heirs P1,200,000.00. Three years later,
Complainant learned that her property had been attached by Respondent after the latter
filed a civil case against her for sum of money.

RULING: Respondent
SUSPENDED
. The proper time to deal with the issue of professional fees is upon commencement
of the lawyer-client relationship. In this case, Respondent shouldhave determined and
entered into an agreement regarding his
f ees i n 1991 at the l at es t , when he was f i r s t r et ai ned bycomplainant as her
counsel in the partition case. Such prudence would have spared the Court this controversy
over a lawyers compensation, a suit that should be avoided except to prevent
imposition, injustice or fraud. To be sure, a lawyer is entitled to the protection of the courts
against any attempt on the part of a client to escape payment of legitimate attorneys fees.
However, such protecti on must not be sought at the expense
of truth.Compl et e c andor or hones t y i s expec t ed f r om l awyer s , particularly
when they appear and plead before the courts for their own causes against former clients,
as in this case. With his armada of legal knowledge and skills, Respondent clearly enjoyed the
upper hand. More important, he had the sole opportunity to present evidence
in the collection case
after complainant wasdecl ared i n defaul t, and after he was al l owed to present hi s
evidence ex parte. Respondent is reminded that he is first and foremost an officer of the court. His
bounden duty is to assist it in rendering justice to all. Lest he has forgotten, lawyers must
always be disciples of truth. It is highly reprehensible when they themselves make a
travesty of the truth and mangl e the ends of
j usti ce. Suchbehavi or runs counter to the standards of honesty and fai rdealing
expected from court officers.


PEDRO G. TOLENTINO vs. ATTY. NORBERTO M. MENDOZA,A.C. No. 5151, 11/19/2004.
FACTS: Complainants alleged that Respondent, a former judge, abandoned his legal wife and
cohabited with a married woman
wi th whom he has two chi l dren i n whose bi rth certi fi cates Respondent false indicated
that he and his paramour are married. Further, in his certificate of candidacy, Respondent declared his
l egal wi fe as hi s spouse whi l e i n a subsequent certi fi cate of candidacy, he declared
his civil status as separated. Respondent contended that the fact that he was elected as Mayor
shows that the has not offended the publics sense of morality.

RULING: Respondent
SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY
for immorality until he submits satisfactory proof that he has abandoned his immoral
course of conduct. That Respondent continues to publicly and openly cohabit with a woman who
is not his legal wife, thus, siring children by her, shows his lack of good moral character.
Respondent should keep in mind that the requirement of goodmoral character is not only a
condition precedent to admission to
the Phi l i ppi ne Bar but i s al so a conti nui ng requi rement tomaintain ones good standing
in the legal profession.


REUBEN M. PROTACIO vs. ATTY. ROBERTO M. MENDOZA [Adm. Case No. 5764. J anuary 13,
2003]

FACTS:

Complainant claimed that he did not sign the board resolution nor did he attend a board meeting
of the corporation on the date stated therein (March 30, 1998), and therefore the signature
purporting to be his was a forgery. He alleged that the Notarial Section of the Regional Trial Court
of Manila had in fact certified that it did not have a copy of the board resolution in question
because respondent had not submitted his notarial report for March 1998. Furthermore,
according to complainant, the records of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) showed
that Nobuyasu Nemoto was out of the country on March 30, 1998, having left the Philippines
on March 26, 1998 and having returned only on March 31, 1998. Hence, complainant claimed, it
was impossible for Nobuyasu Nemoto to have attended the supposed board meeting on March 30,
1998 and to have signed the resolution on the same date. Complainant charged that respondent
knowingly and maliciously notarized the said board resolution without the presence of the party
allegedly executing it.

ISSUE: Can a J urat be signed even if the notary public is not present?

RULING:

It is necessary that a party to any document notarized by a notary public appear in person before
the latter and affirm the contents and truth of what are stated in the document.] The importance of
this requirement cannot be gainsaid. The acknowledgement of a document is not an empty
meaningless act. By it a private document is converted into a public document, making it
admissible in court without further proof of its authenticity. For this reason, it behooves every
notary public to see to it that this requirement is observed and that formalities for the
acknowledgment of documents are complied with.

In this case, Nobuyasu Nemoto, who was allegedly a signatory to a resolution of a corporation,
allegedly notarized by respondent, could not have signed the document on March 30, 1998, the
date indicated therein, since he was not then in the Philippines. Respondents explanation that
Nemoto actually signed the document on March 31, 1998, after arriving from J apan, cannot be
accepted. Documents must speak the truth if their integrity is to be preserved. That is what a
notary public vouches for when he states in the jurat that the parties have appeared before him at
the time and in the place he (the notary public) states and that the document is then a free act and
deed. It is for this reason that public documents are given full faith and credit, at least as to their
due execution.

MENA U. GERONA vs. ATTY. ALFREDO DATINGALING A.C. No. 4801 February 27, 2003

FACTS

It was alleged that respondent lawyer notarize a document entitled Consent to Quary purported lt
containing the agreement between the complainant, her brother and sisters on hand, and Ronald Reagan
Hernandez, represented by Bayano Melo, on the other allowing the latter to enter or occupy a portion of
their property in Batangas, when in truth and in fact the complainant, her brother and sisters did not
appear before the respondent. This nonappearance by the complainant and party was evidenced by the
individual daily time records of their work in Manila. It said that it is clear from the evidence of the
complainant that respondent has violated the Code of Professional Responsibility as against the
unconvincing explanation, silence and failure to file a rejoinder of the respondent. The IBP Board of
Governors approved the report with modifications. It endorsed the suspension of respondents
commission as Notary Public with disqualification from appointment as Notary Public for two(2) years
from receipt of notice.

ISSUE

Whether or not the acts of the respondent constitute violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility
where penalty is in order?

HELD

The SC upheld the decision of the IBP as fully supported by evidence. Respondent failed to do his duty in
requiring the persons claiming to have executed the document to appear personally before him and to
attest to the contents and truth of what are stated in the document. The acknowledgment shall be made
before a notary public or an officer duly authorized by law of the country to take acknowledgments of
instruments or documents in the place where the act is done. The notary public or the officer taking the
acknowledgment shall certify that the person acknowledging the instrument or document is known to him
and that he is the same person who executed it, and acknowledged that the same is his free act and
deed. The certificate shall be made under his official seal, if he is by law required to keep a seal, and if
not, his certificate shall so state. Respondents failure to controvert evidence as to the inconsistencies of
persons who appeared to have executed the document lent credence to complainants claim that the
document is fictitious.


Ma. Corazon D. Fulgencio vs. Atty. Bienvenido G. Martin, A.C. No. 3223, May 29, 2003

Facts:

This is an action against Atty. Bienvenido G. Martin for falsifying and notarizing two Documents
of Sale.

On June 1, 1983, in Isabela, Basilan, respondent notarized two documents, a Deed of Absolute
Sale over a parcel of land and a Bill of Sale over a Toyota sedan, both supposedly executed by Kua Se
Beng (Kua), complainants husband. Complainant alleged that the two documents could not have been
executed and notarized in Basilan by her husband Kua, who died on July 5, 1983, because he was
confined at the Makati Medical Center from May 30 to June 30, 1983. She also denied having affixed her
signature on the first document.



On the other hand, respondent admitted that he prepared and notarized the questioned Deed of
Absolute Sale and Bill of Sale without the vendor Kua personally appearing before him. He asserted,
however, that he prepared and notarized the deeds upon the express request of Kua whom he
considered as a trusted friend. He insisted that the Kuas and complainants signature are genuine, he
being acquainted with their signatures on account of his long years of lawyering for Kua and their family
corporation.

Issue: Whether or not Atty. Martin violated Notarial Law.

Held:

Atty. Martin admitted that Kua did not appear before him when he notarized the deeds in Basilan
but stated, however, in the Acknowledgement portion of each of the documents that Kua, on the first day
of June 1983, personally appeared before [him]known to [him] and to [him] known to be the same
person who signed and executed the foregoing instrument and acknowledgedto him that the same is
his free and voluntary act. He thus made an untruthful statement, thus violating his oath as a lawyer that
he shall not do any falsehood.

Further, Respondent also breached the injunction of the notarial law not to do any notarial act
beyond the limits of his jurisdiction.

FELICIDAD VDA. DE BERNARDO vs. ATTY. JOSE R. RESTAURO [AC. No. 3849. June 25, 2003]

FACTS:

Complainant averred that on July 19, 1990, respondent prepared and notarized a Special Power of
Attorney making it appear that complainant, her deceased spouse, Alberto Bernardo and Hildegarda
Mejia appointed Marcelino G. Soriano, Jr. as their attorney-in-fact to sell a parcel of land, when they
neither appeared nor executed and acknowledged said document before respondent.

Complainant further alleged that her husband, Alberto Bernardo, could not have appeared and executed
said Special Power of Attorney before respondent on July 19, 1990 since her husband died on January
30, 1980.


Respondent further averred that a living Alberto Bernardo appeared before him in Davao City and signed
the Special Power of Attorney at the time of its execution. He also stated that Pangasinan and Davao
City are far apart; hence, events happening in either places (alluding to the death of complainants
husband, Alberto Bernardo) are not always known to everybody. Atty. Restauro prayed for the dismissal
of the complaint.

RULING:

The principal function of a notary public is to authenticate documents. When a notary public certifies to
the due execution and delivery of a document under his hand and seal, he gives the document the force
of evidence. Indeed, one of the purposes of requiring documents to be acknowledged before a notary
public, in addition to the solemnity which should surround the execution and delivery of documents, is to
authorize such documents to be given without further proof of their execution and delivery. A notarial
document is by law entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. Hence, a notary public must discharge
his powers and duties, which are impressed with public interest, with accuracy and fidelity.

However, the act of respondent does not warrant his disbarment or indefinite suspension. Considering all
the circumstances in this case, particularly the absence of any evidence of fraud involved, this Court finds
a suspension of six (6) months as notary public sufficient.

Valencia vs locquiao
This case is about a donation made in consideration of marriage, known in law as donation propter
nuptias.
Benny was engaged to be married to Myra. A few weeks before their marriage, his parents executed a
donation written in the Ilocano dialect and denominated as Inventario Ti Sagut wherein he and his
prospective bride Myra were gifted with four parcels of land, as well as a male cow and one-third portion
of his parents own conjugal house. After their marriage, the fact of their marriage were inscribed at the
back of the land Titles donated.
parents died, leaving as heirs, Benny and his two brothers and three sisters. With Benny and Myras
permission, the youngest sister Marta took possession and cultivated one of the lands donated to Benny
and Myra wherein the fact of their marriage was annotated on the title.
Benny and Myra registered the Deed of Donation so the titles of the donated land including OCT 18383
were already cancelled and in lieu thereof, new titles were issued in Benny and Myras name. OCT 18383
was thus replaced by TCT 84897. Marta however remained in possession and cultivation of the land.
Sometime in 1977, when Martas husband got sick, her daughter Vilma took over possession of the land
Sometime in 1983, Vilma filed an action for annulment of title against Benny and Myra before the RTC
which was however dismissed. This move prompted Benny and Myra to file an action for ejectment of
Vilma before the Municipal Trial Court which rendered a decision on November 25, 1985 ordering Vilma
to vacate the land.
To counter this ruling, Vilma and her mother Marta filed another complaint before the RTC for the
annulment of Benny and Myras TCT No. 84897 They alleged that the donation propter nuptias or
Inventario Ti Sagut was spurious because it did not observe the form required by law as there was no
written acceptance on the document itself or in a separate public instrument.
To buttress their claim that the document was falsified, the petitioners rely mainly on
the Certification
32
dated July 9, 1984 of the Records Management and Archives Office that
there was no notarial record for the year 1944 of Cipriano V. Abenojar who notarized the
document on May 22, 1944 and that therefore a copy of the document was not available.
issue: whether or not atty. abenojar violated the notarial act law
The certification is not sufficient to prove the alleged inexistence or spuriousness of the
challenged document. The appellate court is correct in pointing out that the mere absence
of the notarial record does not prove that the notary public does not have a valid notarial
commission and neither does the absence of a file copy of the document with the archives
effect evidence of the falsification of the document.
33
This Court ruled that the failure of the
notary public to furnish a copy of the deed to the appropriate office is a ground for
disciplining him, but certainly not for invalidating the document or for setting aside the
transaction therein involved


DOMINADOR L. CABANILLA vs. ATTY. ANA LUZ B. CRISTAL-TENORIO A.C. No. 6139, November 11, 2003

Facts:

In February 1988, Dominador Cabanilla sold his right over a 34-square-meter portion of the said house to his
neighbor, Rodolfo Sabangan. Thereafter, Rodolfo brought an already-signed one-page Deed of Sale to Dominador
for the latters signature. Dominador affixed his signature above his typewritten name. When he reviewed the said
deed, however, Dominador noticed that contrary to the agreement, it appeared that he was relinquishing his
rights not only over the portion of the house thereon but also the lot where such portion of the house stood.
Dominador, thus, made notations at the bottom of the said deed and also wrote on the left margin of the deed the
words Please change, and initialed the same.

Dominador then returned the deed to Rodolfo. A few days after, Rodolfo gave Dominador a copy of the said deed
which was not revised as requested by the latter. Moreover, appended to the deed as page 2 thereof was an
acknowledgment containing the names of the Cabanilla children, including Eddie Cabanilla, Johny Cabanilla, Raul
Cabanilla, Diosdado Cabanilla, Ferdinand Cabanilla and David Cabanilla. It appeared in the acknowledgment that
those listed therein were also vendors of the property.

On October 16, 1995, Dominador et al. executed a Joint Affidavit of Complaint for falsification of a document
under Article 171 in relation to Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code against Rodolfo and the respondent. In her
Counter-Affidavit, the respondent alleged, inter alia, that the parties to the Deed of Sale appeared before her and
acknowledged the authenticity of their signatures therein, and even showed their residence certificates which she
entered in her notarial register; and that after finding that everything was in order, she proceeded to notarize the
deed of sale which was prepared by the parties themselves. She also averred that she exercised due diligence in
ascertaining if the signatures appearing in the deed of sale were authentic and genuine; that she was not a
handwriting expert who could determine if the signatures appearing in the said document were forged or not; and
that she acted in good faith when she notarized the deed.

Issue: What is the effect of notarizing a falsified deed?

Ruling:

Under Section 1(a) of Act 2103, a notary public taking the acknowledgment in a document or instrument is
mandated to certify that the person acknowledging the instrument or document is known to him and that he is the
same person who executed it and acknowledged that the same is his free act and deed. To acknowledge before
means to avow; to own as genuine, to assert, to admit; and before means in front or preceding in space or ahead
of. A party acknowledging must appear before the notary public.

A notary public is enjoined from notarizing a fictitious or spurious document. The function of a notary public is,
among others, to guard against any illegal deed. Clearly, the respondent violated her duty as a notary public. A
notary public is mandated to discharge sacred duties which are dictated by public policy and, as such, are
impressed with public interest. The respondent miserably failed.

ROGELIO R. SANTOS, SR., complainant, vs. ATTY. RODOLFO C. BELTRAN, respondent.
Complainant filed a verified complaint against atty. Beltran before the (IBP), alleging that when
respondent notarized a Deed of Donation executed by his mother in favor of her nine children,
except complainant, the siblings did not personally appear before him. Complainant submitted the
affidavit executed by his brothers Benito and Renato attesting to the fact that they signed the Deed of
Donation not in the law office of the respondent but in their houses at Villa Benita Subdivision.

Complainant further alleged that respondent represented conflictinginterest when he entered his
appearance as defense counsel in an ejectment case in which his former client, Erlinda R. Santos-Crawford, was
the plaintiff.

The Supreme Court found respondent guilty of representing conflicting
interest. According to the Court, there is conflict of interest when a lawyer represents inconsistent interests of
two or more opposing parties. In the case at bar, Civil Case No.12105 for ejectment was filed by Arcely Y. Santos
in behalf of Erlinda Santos-Crawford against complainant and Renato Santos. Respondent, however,
appeared as counsel for Evalyn Valino, Norberto Valino and Danilo Agsaway in Civil Case No.
14823 for ejectment filed by complainant as attorney-i n-fact of Erlinda Santos-
Crawford. CivilCase No. 14823, although litigated by complainant, was actually brought in behalf of and
to protect the interest of Erlinda Santos-Crawford. Respondent's act of representing the parties against whom his
other client, Erlinda Santos-Crawford, filed suit constituted conflict of interest.

The Court, however, ruled that complainant failed to controvert by clear and convincing evidence the
evidentiary weight with respect to its due execution and presumption of regularity conferred upon a
notarized document and documents acknowledged before a notary public. Instead, the quantum of
evidence showed that complainant' s siblings appeared before the respondent as notary public
and in fact, signed the deed. The claim of Renato and Benito Santos in their affidavit that they did not
sign the document in the law office of the respondent but in their houses at Villa Benita
Subdivision is admissible only against them. Respondent was suspended from the practice of law for a
period of one (1) year and sternly warned that a commission of the same or similar act in the future will be dealt
with more severely.

GROSS MI SCONDUCT AND
MAL PRACT I CE; DOCUMENTS ACKNOWLEDGED BEFORE A NOTARY PUBLIC HAVE IN
THEIRF A V O R P R E S U M P T I O N O F R E G U L A R I T Y ; C O M P L A I N A N T F A I
L E D T O C ON T R OV E R T T H E S A I D P R E S U MP T I ON B Y C L E A R A N D C ON
V I N C I N G EVIDENCE. The rule is that a notarized document carries the evidentiary
weight conferred upon it with respect to its due execution, and documents acknowledged
before a notary public have in their favor the presumption of regularity. In the instant case,
complainant failed to controvert the said presumption by clear and convincing evidence. Instead,
the quantum of evidence shows that complainant's siblings appeared before the respondent as notary public
and in fact, signed the deed. The claim of Renato and Benito Santos in their affidavit that they did
not sign the document in the law office of the respondent but in their houses at Villa Benita is admissible only
againstt hem. Li kewi se, we f i nd t he al l egat i on of t he compl ai nant t hat i t was physi cal l yi
mpossible for his siblings to sign the document untenable. The certifications issued by the BID that the
complainant's siblings were absent at the time of the execution of the Deed of Donation is not absolute.
There are many ports of entry which complainant's siblings may have used in coming into the country.
The possibility that complainant's siblings executed and signed the Deed is not remote. The
discrepancy in the date stamped in the Deed and the date when complainant's siblings obtained their CTCs had
been substantially explained in the affidavit executed by the secretary of the law office, Mely Lachica.

COMPLAINTS FOR DISBARMENT; FORMAL INVESTIGATION
MERCEDES NAVA VS. ATTY. BENJAMIN SORONGON
AC No. 5442. January 26, 2004

Facts: Respondent Atty. Sorongon had been the counsel of complainant Mercedes Nava for years. The
former informed her of his intention to withdraw as her counsel in two of her cases due to a stroke that
paralyzed his right body but proposed to be retained in two other criminal cases with lesser paper works.
He filed his withdrawal on December 4, 1996 and was granted by the court. Complainant alleged that
while she continuously paid for the respondents services, the latter represented other clients with hostile
interests and cases filed against her. Complainant cried that respondent assisted one Francisco Atas in
filing a formal complaint for 11 counts of violation of B.P. 22 against her.
Thereafter, the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline issued a resolution suspending respondent from the
practice of law for one year considering his clear violation of the prohibition against representing
conflicting interest.

Issue: Whether or not a formal investigation is mandatory in complaints for disbarment.

Held: In complaints for disbarment, a formal investigation is a mandatory requirement. The court may
dispense with the normal referral to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines if the records are complete and
the question raised is simple. Similarly, if no further, factual determination is necessary, the court may
decide the case on the basis of the extensive pleading on record.
Complaints against lawyers for misconduct are normally addressed to the Court. If, at the outset, the
Court finds a complaint to be clearly wanting in merit, it out rightly dismisses the case. If, however, the
Court deems it necessary that further inquiry should be made, such as when the matter could not be
resolved by merely evaluating the pleadings submitted, a referral is made to the IBP for a formal
investigation of the case during which the parties are accorded an opportunity to be heard. An ex parte
investigation may only be conducted when respondent fails to appear despite reasonable notice.