Lawyer haunted after serving dead clients

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THE Supreme Court has penalized a lawyer for making it appear that the sellers of a parcel of land had appeared before him in 1993 although they had long been dead.

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In a full court ruling, the high court revoked the notarial commission of lawyer Ciriaco Calalang.

“He is permanently disqualified from being appointed as notary public. He is further suspended from the practice of law for two years. He is warned that the commission of a similar will be dealt with more severely,” the ruling, signed by clerk of court Enriqueta Vidal, read.

In his complaint on February 25, 2010 with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Larry Carta charged Calalang with violation of the notarial law and the Code of Professional Responsibility when he notarized on September 23, 1993, a deed of sale over a 150-square meter parcel of land at Instruccion Street, Sampaloc, Manila, where the purported sellers were Maria Lavina and Mateo Lavina while the buyer was Wilfredo Lavina.

Carta claimed that the sellers, Maria and Mateo, could not have executed the instrument and appeared before Calalang as the former died on January 24, 1977 while the latter died on June 22, 1963.

The complainant said because of the illegal notarization, Wilfredo was able to mortgage the property to the bank, which eventually foreclosed the property to the damage and prejudice of the heirs.

In the decision, the high court held that Calalang “failed to exercise utmost diligence in the exercise of his duties as notary public when he notarized the deed of sale without the presence of the purported sellers as they had long been dead.

“We are not convinced by the bare explanation of the respondent that he ascertained the identities of the affiants through an examination of their identification cards and community tax certificates,” the ruling added.

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