SC nixes Ombudsman complaint against Mati public attorney: 2004 notarial rules don’t apply to 2003 deed
The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed the Ombudsman’s complaint against a Mati, Davao Oriental, district public attorney who notarized a deed of partition in 2003 despite one of the signatories being dead for two years.
In a recent 6-page decision, the SC 1st Division held the now-retired Robelito Diuyan in good faith for relying on the community tax certificates (CTCs), or sedula, submitted by the agrarian reform beneficiaries.
It turned out that one of the signatories in the deed notarized on July 23, 2003, Alejandro Camilo, had already died on August 23, 2001. The Ombudsman, tackling a related administrative case, said it found this “unsettling” and thus furnished a copy of the September 26, 2012 ruling to the SC.
But, the SC said it “finds nothing irregular” with Diuyan’s actions, because the applicable notarial rules at the time allowed the notarization of documents even if only the CTCs were shown as proof of identity.
Personal identification cards were only required under the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice, which “were not yet in effect at that time.”
“There was nothing irregular on the face of the Deed that would have alerted respondent to ask probing questions or inquire about the circumstances behind the execution of the said instrument. On the contrary, the Deed was a valid exercise of the fanners’ right to divide the title in their favor as beneficiaries,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo.