SC suspends lawyer over notarial practice violation

A lawyer who initiated a complaint against Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso when he was still the city’s vice mayor has been sanctioned by the Supreme Court (SC) for violating rules on notarial practice.

In a seven-page decision dated Dec. 7 and made public Monday, the court’s Second Division through Senior Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe found lawyer Socrates G. Maranan guilty of violating the 2004 Rules of Notarial Practice and suspended him from the practice of law for six months.

The SC also ruled that Maranan’s notarial commission, if any, be immediately revoked and disqualified him from being commissioned as a notary public for a period of two years.

Associate Justices Alexander G. Gesmundo, Amy C. Lazaro-Javier Mario V. Lopez and Ricardo Rosario concurred in the decision.

Maranan had filed a criminal complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against then vice mayor Domagoso, charging him with falsification of public documents and violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019 for having signed, on behalf of the Manila City government, consultancy contracts with persons who were either deceased or out of the country for extended periods of time.

Domagoso claimed that he signed the contracts upon the assurance of his former secretary, Abraham Cabochan, that everything was in order and pointed out that it was Maranan who actually notarized the subject contracts.

After due proceedings, the Ombudsman dismissed the charges against Domagoso and referred the matter to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for determination of Maranan’s administrative liability for having notarized the consultancy contracts.

In sanctioning the lawyer, the SC noted that he should have kept a closer watch on his notarial records.

“Instead of offering any plausible explanation as to how the consultancy contracts came to be stamped with his notarial seal, Atty. Maranan merely insisted that he never notarized nor authored said contracts, that his signatures therein were forgeries, and that said contracts were not included in his notarial reports,” the court noted.

The court added that Maranan had been remiss in his obligation as a notary public.

“Had he been more vigilant in the performance of his notarial duties, his notarial seal would not have been affixed in the subject contracts. Indubitably, this failure on the part of Atty. Maranan constitutes a transgression of the 2004 Notarial Rules for which he must be held administratively liable.” the court said

Source: Philippines News agency

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