Apr 6, 2021 @ 15:37

SC suspends Bulacan lawyer over failure to submit affidavit of use of surname to archives

The Supreme Court (SC) has suspended abogado Cenon Navarro from practicing law for 6 months for failing to submit to the archive office a copy of an “affidavit of acknowledgment and use of surname” that he had notarized, causing problems for the child when she had to submit her birth certificate for employment purposes.

In a 7-page decision on A.C. No. 12912, the SC 2nd Division also disqualified Navarro from being commissioned as a notary public for 2 years for violation of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice.

The administrative case arose from the complaint of Dolores de Vera regarding the document executed by her later husband Manuel de Vera, Jr., on August 7, 2007.

Manuel executed the affidavit to acknowledge their daughter Donna Belle as his illegitimate child and allow her to use his surname. This was because Donna Belle’s birth certificate indicated Dolores’ maiden name Angeles as her surname as the parents only got married two years after she was born.

The document was allegedly prepared by Navarro.

In 2016, Dolores and Donna Belle secured a copy of her birth certificate so she could work abroad. However, when they tried to secure a certified true copy of the 2007 affidavit, the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos City, Bulacan issued a Certification that the affidavit was not included in the monthly report submitted by Navarro for the month of August 2007.

During mediation before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Bulacan chapter, Navarro offered to financially assist Dolores in filing a case for the correction of the entry in Donna Belle’s birth certificate. However, Dolores lost contact with Navarro, while the latter ended up claiming that the affidavit was actually forged.

The SC, however, found the affidavit to be “regular and valid on its face, bearing as it does his notarial seal, notarial details, and signature.”

It pointed out that the document was stamped with Navarro’s seal, which was “an irrefutable and concrete evidence of notarization.”

“Indubitably, Atty. Navarro was remiss in his duties as a notary public, causing prejudice and injury not only to Dolores but more importantly, to Donna Belle, whose Certificate of Live Birth contained inaccuracies when she needed the same for employment purposes,” read the decision penned by Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe.

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