Personal appearance required in notarization of documents

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Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I went to a lawyer to have one document notarized. She refuse to assist me since she found out that the document was for my mother who did not come with me because she was sick. Besides, the lawyer said, the identification card presented by my mother cannot be used because the same is a mere shopping membership card even though the ID shows her picture, address and signature. Is it proper for the lawyer to do this even if I have known many friends who had their documents notarized without them being physically present and using mere club membership IDs?
Sincerely yours,
Aziel

Dear Aziel,
In the case Dr. Basilio Malvar v. Atty. Cora Jane Baleros (A.C. No. 11346, March 8, 2017) penned by the Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes, important provisions of Notarial Rules were pointed out:
“SEC. 2. Prohibitions.

xx xx

(b) A person shall not perform a notarial act if the person involved as signatory to the instrument or document-


(1) is not in the notary’s presence personally at the time of the notarization; and

(2) is not personally known to the notary public or otherwise identified by the notary through competent evidence of identity as defined by these Rules.

“The physical presence of the affiant ensures the proper execution of the duty of the notary public under the law to determine whether the former’s signature was voluntarily affixed. Aside from forbidding notarization without the personal presence of the affiant, the Notarial Rules demands submission of competent evidence of identity such as an identification card with photograph and signature, which requirement can be dispensed with provided that the notary public personally knows the affiant. Competent evidence of identity under Section 12 of Rule II of the Notarial Rules is defined as follows:

“Sec. 12. Competent Evidence of Identity. -The phrase ‘competent evidence of identity’ refers to the identification of an individual based on:

a) at least one current identification document issued by an official agency bearing the photograph and signature of the individual; or

b) the oath or affirmation of one credible witness not privy to the instrument, document or transaction who is personally known to the notary public and who personally knows the individual, or of two credible witnesses neither of whom is privy to the instrument, document or transaction who each personally knows the individual and shows to the notary public documentary identification.” [Emphasis supplied]

The case clearly emphasized the need for personal appearance of the parties and the presentation of an identification card bearing the photograph and signature of the affiant that was issued by an official agency.

In your situation, the shopping membership card of your mother does not fit the requirement of law since the same was not issued by an official or government agency. More important, her physical appearance is needed for the lawyer to properly administer oath. The circumstances of your friends are illegal and cannot then be tolerated but should actually be dealt with by law. It is best in your situation to comply with the above-mentioned rules.

The refusal of the lawyer to administer oath because of the absence of your mother and her observation on the use of the latter’s shopping membership card is therefore proper.

Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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