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Mahilum v.

Lezama
A.C. No. 10450 | July 30, 2014 ISSUE: W/N the IBP was correct in ruling against Lezama

FACTS: RULING: YES

1. Emerita Mahilum seeks the disbarment of Atty. Samuel Lezama, a 1. Section 1 of Public Act No. 2103, or the Notarial Law mandates that affiants
commissioned notary public and practicing lawyer in San Carlos City, must personally appear to the notary public.
Negros Occidental, for notarizing a 'Deed of Donation' in the absence of the 2. Also, under Section 2(b) of Rule IV of the Rules on Notarial Practice of 2004,
affiants. a commissioned notary public is enjoined from performing a notarial act
2. Emerita averred that Lezama notarized a Deed of Donation executed by her unless the affiant is:
estranged husband, Rodolfo, as donor, and their common daughter, a. in his presence at the time of the notarization; and
Jennifer, as donee, pertaining to the donor's share of one-half portion over a b. personally known to him or otherwise identified by him through
parcel of land. competent evidence of identity as defined by these Rules.
3. Attached to the complaint is a copy of the deed of donation bearing the 3. The physical presence of the affiants enables the notary public to verify the
signatures of Rodolfo and Jennifer, as well as the notarial seal and signature genuineness of the signatures of the acknowledging parties and to ascertain
of Lezama, attesting to the personal appearance of Rodolfo and Jennifer that the document is the parties’ free act and deed.
before him when the same was notarized (May 24, 2006). 4. Notarization of a private document converts such document into a
4. Emerita said that Jennifer could not have appeared before Lezama on the public document, and renders it admissible in court without further
date of notarization as the Jennifer was in the US at the time. proof of its authenticity. Courts, administrative agencies and the public at
5. Lezama asserted that the donor, donee, and instrumental witnesses to the large must be able to rely upon the acknowledgment executed by a notary
donation were all physically present. public and appended to a private instrument.
a. That he is personally acquainted with Rodolfo and he had no 5. Notarization is not an empty routine; to the contrary, it engages public
reason to cast doubts upon him when he introduced his daughter interest in a substantial degree and the protection of that interest requires
Jennifer. preventing those who are not qualified or authorized to act as notaries public
b. That Emerita has a long-running feud with Rodolfo and she and from imposing upon the public and the courts and administrative offices
some of their common children are using this complaint as part o generally.
fher personal vendetta against Rodolfo. 6. Contrary to the IBP’s findings that such failure was due to carelessness, the
6. The parties were summoned for mandatory conference before the IBP, Court finds and so holds that Leazma deliberately disregarded the Rules on
where they undertook to present documentary evidence showing the actual Notarial Practice and the Notarial Law.
whereabouts of Jennifer during the dates in question. a. A holistic examination of the records illustrates that the respondent
7. Emerita submitted a Certification from the Bureau of Immigration showing has actually met Jennifer when she went home to visit the ailing
the arrival and departure records of Jennifer in the Philippines. Rodolfo. But this was before and definitely not during the
a. Based there on,Jennifer did not enter the Philippines in the year notarization of deed of donation because based on her travel
2006. records, she did not come to the Philippines in 2006.
8. Lezama failed to file any rebutting evidence re: Jennifer’s whereabouts. b. Lezama accommodated the notarization of the deed sans Jennifer’s
a. The only supporting evidence he proffered were the documents physical appearance before him on May 24, 2006 since he was
attached to his Answer showing the present marital status of personally acquainted with Rodolfo. Hence, he took the latter’s
Emerita – that she’s now married to a Canadian. representation that Jennifer voluntarily executed the deed as
b. Likewise attached is an Affidavit executed by Rodolfo attesting that reliable and faithful.
Jennifer was physically present when she signed the deed of
donation.
DISPOSITION:
9. IBP found that the Lezama failed to exercise diligence in ascertaining the
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby finds Atty. Samuel SM. Lezama GUILTY of violating
identity of the person who appeared before him as done.
the Notarial Law and the Code of Professional Responsibility.
a. Recommended that his notarial commission be revoked and that he
be prohibited from being commissioned as a Notary Public for a
period of two years.