A.C. No. 10695, March 18, 2015
CRESCENCIANO M. PITOGO, Complainant, v. ATTY. JOSELITO TROY SUELLO, Respondent.
R E S O L U T I O N
Crescenciano M. Pitogo (Pitogo) purchased a motorcycle from Emcor, Inc. However, Emcor, Inc. allegedly failed to cause the registration of the motorcycle under his name. Pitogo, thus, filed a Civil Complaint before the Regional Trial Court against EMCOR, Inc.1
The motorcycle was eventually registered in Pitogo’s name based on three (3) documents notarized by respondent Atty. Joselito Troy Suello (Suello).2 The documents indicate that they are registered in Suello’s notarial register as follows:
1. Deed of Assignment between
Maria P. Ponce / Rogelio
Ponce and EMCOR, Inc.
Doc. No. 436;
Book No. 83;
Page No. 88;
Series of 20093
2. Deed of Sale with Assumption
of Mortgage between Maria P.
Ponce and Mariza G. Ono-on
Doc. No. 437,
Page No. 88;
Book No. 83,
Series of 20094
3. Deed of Sale with Assumption
of Mortgage between Mariza
G. Ono-on and Crescenciano M.
Doc. No. 235;
Page No. 85;
Book No. 83;
Series of 20095
a. Doc. No. 436: Deed of Absolute Sale of Mr. Roel D. Rago;12
b. Doc. No. 437: Deed of Absolute Sale of Mrs. Conchita Pitogo Tautho;13
c. Doc. No. 235: Contract to Sell of BF Property Development Corporation.14
RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby unanimously ADOPTED and APPROVED, with modification, the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner in the above-entitled case, herein made part of this Resolution as Annex “A”, and finding the recommendation fully supported by evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules and considering respondent violated the Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, Atty. Joselito Troy Suello’s Notarial Commission is hereby REVOKED immediately if presently commissioned and DISQUALIFIED from reappointment as Notary Public for four (4) years.25 (Emphasis in the original)
1. That the sanction imposed is excessive. The respondent realizes that the mere existence of those documents with his notarization makes him inevitably answerable for them. Regardless how unaware he may be of how these came about, he is still the only one to answer for them. Not the complainant and not any party who may have access to his office implements to do this. It made him aware of the need review his procedure to avoid these mistakes. Respondent however finds the sanction against him is much too excessive and respectfully invokes the following, to wit:
- This is the first infraction lodged against him in his 15 years of practice.
- The respondent is not in bad faith and has no dishonest or selfish motive.
- There is no actual or potential injury caused to any private party;26
2. That substantial justice has not been done. The respondent completely understands that this matter only pertains to him and his liability and not about anybody or anything else. His indignation distracted him to the mistaken belief that the complainant’s dubious motives would not merit his complaint attention because he did not come with clean hands. After being properly reminded, the respondent realizes his mistake and respectfully apologizes for his oversight to this Honorable Commission. The respondent finds it however grossly unjust that he is imposed with such sanction for resisting to accommodate and be a part of the unscrupulous undertaking sought to be accomplished motivating the complaint which is much bigger wrong.27
RESOLVED to DENY Respondent’s Motion for Reconsideration, there being no cogent reason to reverse the findings of the Commission and the resolution subject of the motion, it being a mere reiteration of the matters which had already been threshed out and taken into consideration under Resolution No. XX-2013-416 dated April 15, 2013. However the Board DEEMED it judicious to reduce the penalty imposed on Atty. Joselito Troy Suello from DISQUALIFICATION from reappointment as Notary Public from four (4) years to two (2) years. The IMMEDIATE REVOCATION of his Notarial Commission, if existing, under said Resolution stands.28 (Emphasis in the original)
Sec. 2. Entries in the Notarial Register. – (a) For every notarial act, the notary shall record in the notarial register at the time of the notarization the following:(1) The entry number and page number;(e) The notary public shall give to each instrument or document executed, sworn to, or acknowledged before him a number corresponding to the one in his register, and shall also state on the instrument or document the page/s of his register on which the same is recorded. No blank line shall be left between entries.
(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.
. . . .
SECTION 1. Revocation and Administrative Sanctions. – . . . .
(b) In addition, the Executive Judge may revoke the commission of, or impose appropriate administrative sanctions upon, any notary public who:
. . . .
(2) fails to make the proper entry or entries in his notarial register concerning his notarial acts[.]30
A notarial register is prima facie evidence of the facts there stated. It has the presumption of regularity and to contradict the veracity of the entry, evidence must be clear, convincing, and more than merely preponderant. . . .
. . . .
. . . Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is invested with such substantial public interest that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public. Notarization converts a private document into a public document, making that document admissible in evidence without further proof of its authenticity. For this reason, notaries must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of their duties. Otherwise, the confidence of the public in the integrity of this form of conveyance would be undermined.32
* Designated Acting Member per S.O. No. 1951 dated March 18, 2015.
1Rollo, p. 3.
3 Id. at 6. (The document entry states: Doc No. 436; Book No. 88; Page No. 83; Series of 2009.)
4 Id. at 7.
5 Id. at 8. (Entry is not legible.)
6 Id. at 4.
8 Id. at 13.
9 Id. at 4.
11 Id. at 3–4.
12 The copy of the notarial register attached to the records does not indicate the Book Number.
13 The copy of the notarial register attached to the records does not indicate the Book Number.
14Rollo, p. 4. The copy of the notarial register attached to the records does not indicate the Book Number. The page number indicated is 47.
15 Id. at 29.
16 Id. at 30.
18 Id. at 75.
22 Id. at 76.
23 Id. at 77.
24 Id. at 92–93.
25 Id. at 89.
26 Id. at 95.
27 Id. at 95.
28 Id. at 102.
29 NOTARIAL PRAC. RULE, Rule VI.
30 NOTARIAL PRAC. RULE, Rule XI, sec. 1.
31 491 Phil. 198 (2005) [Per J. Quisumbing, First Division].
32 Id. at 202–203.
33 CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, Canon 1 – A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes.
34Rollo, p. 30.
35 Id. at 75.
36 CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY , Canon 1 – A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes.
Rule 1.01 – A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
37 See Agadan, et al. v. Atty. Kilaan, A.C. No. 9385, November 11, 2013, 709 SCRA 1, 8 [Per J. Del Castillo, Second Division].
38 A.C. No. 9385, November 11, 2013, 709 SCRA 1 [Per J. Del Castillo, Second Division].
39 Id. at 12.