The lawyer of our neighbor notarized a document with incomplete details, which is now the subject of our neighbor’s problem. Our neighbor also found out that he did not fully accomplish the details about the said document in his notarial register, which casted doubt in our neighbor’s credibility over a certain transaction. Can my neighbor’s lawyer be held accountable for this?
Considering your concerns, the case of Spouses Chambon vs Atty. Ruiz (AC No. 11478, September 5, 2017) penned by Associate Justice Noel Tijam, could shed light in your predicament. It clearly stated:
“We emphasize that Section 5 of Rule IV of the 2004 Rules provides:
Sec. 5. False or Incomplete Certificate. – A notary public shall not:
(a) execute a certificate containing information known or believed by the notary to be false.
(b) affix an official signature or seal on a notarial certificate that is incomplete.”
xxx xxx xxx
Rule VI -Notarial Register Sec. 1. Form of Notarial Register. – (a) A notary public shall keep, maintain, protect and provide for lawful inspection as provided in these Rules, a chronological official notarial register of notarial acts consisting of a permanently bound book with numbered page.
SEC. 2. Entries in the Notarial Register. – (a) For every notarial act, the notary shall record in the notarial register at the time of notarization the following:
(1) the entry number and page number;
(2) the date and time of day of the notarial act;
(3) the type of notarial act;
(4) the title or description of the instrument, document or proceeding;
(5) the name and address of each principal;
(6) the competent evidence of identity as defined by these Rules if the signatory is not personally known to the notary;
(7) the name and address of each credible witness swearing to or affirming the person’s identity;
(8) the fee charged for the notarial act;
(9) the address where the notarization was performed if not in the notary’s regular place of work or business; and
(10) any other circumstance the notary public may deem of significance or relevance.
(b) A notary public shall record in the notarial register the reasons and circumstances for not completing a notarial act.
Here, it is undisputed that the respondent’s Notarial Register did not bear the details pertaining to said Notice of Loss/Affidavit of Loss. To exculpate himself from liability, he attributed negligence and omission on the part of his secretary who prepared the same.
On this note, We reiterate that a notary public is personally accountable for all entries in his notarial register. He cannot relieve himself of this responsibility by passing the buck to his secretary. The act of recording such entries in the Notarial Register is part and parcel of the duties of a notary public. Keeping in mind the nature of a notary public’s responsibility, the respondent should not have shifted such responsibility to his office secretary and allowed her to make such pertinent entries.”
Undoubtedly, the lawyer of your neighbor was negligent of his duties as a commissioned notary public. Based on the above-discussion, his commission may be revoked and be suspended or accordingly disciplined by the Supreme Court.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com