By Rey Panaligan
The Supreme Court (SC) has suspended from the practice of law for two years a lady lawyer who notarized a deed of sale 24 years ago when she was not a commissioned notary public.
Suspended and barred permanently from being commissioned as a notary public was lawyer Nelly E. Abao. The complaint against Abao was filed in 2016 by spouses Pepito Frias and Prescila Chavez Frias.
Abao was found to have violated her lawyer’s oath and Canons 1 and 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR).
The SC’s decision written by Associate Justice Diosdao M. Peralta directed that a copy be furnished to all courts in the country, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the Office of the Bar Confidant. A copy was also ordered attached and recorded personal files of Abao.
The SC found that Abao notarized in 1995 a deed of absolute sale in Dao, Capiz, although she did not have a valid notarial commission as certified to by lawyer Jelou F. Almalbis-Laguna, Clerk of Court VI of the Office of the Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court, 6th Judicial Region based in Roxas City.
The certification stated that Abao was never commissioned as notary public in Roxas City in Capiz for the year 1995 and had no notarial files on record for the same year.
The SC said that under the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice, a person commissioned as a notary public may perform notarial acts in any place within the territorial jurisdiction of the commissioning court for a period of two years commencing the first day of January of the year in which the commissioning is issued.
“Clearly, Atty. Abao could not perform notarial functions in Dao, Capiz, since she was not commissioned in the said places to perform such act in the year 1995,” it said.
Also, the SC pointed out that Abao committed a form of falsehood for misrepresenting in the 1995 deed of absolute sale that she was a notary public for and in Dao, Capiz, when in fact she was not.
“By performing notarial acts without the necessary commission from the court, Atty. Abao violated not only her oath to obey the laws, particularly the Rules on Notarial Practice, but also Canons 1 and 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which proscribe all lawyers from engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct and directs them to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession at all times,” the SC stressed.
While the decision was issued on April 10, 2019, a copy was made public only last week.