Facts: Complainants Basiyo and Simmons, who are common-law husband and wife, were looking for a piece of land since they needed a bigger place. That was the time when they met Alisuag, who recommended a lot in Bacungan. He told complainants that the vendors, Rogelio Garcia and Rosalina Talorong, had the full right to dispose of the same although the property was in the name of one Alejandro Castillo.
On January 12, 2008, Alisuag prepared and notarized a Deed of Absolute Sale for the purchase price of P1,973,820.00, covering a lot registered under the name of Alejandro Castillo, with an area of 32,897 square meters. Prior to that, however, there had been a similar document, also dated January 12, 2008, but with Basiyo as the lone vendee. This had also been notarized by Alisuag sans the notarial document details. Yet another Deed of Sale, dated January 19, 2008, with Document Number 77, Page Number 16, Book XII, Series of 2008, was also signed and acknowledged by Alisuag as notary public, as published on the local newspaper, Palawan Mirror. Notably, the purchase price indicated in this document was only P120,000.00. According to Alisuag, he agreed to notarize the same because the vendors told him that the P120,000.00 was the purchase price the parties had eventually agreed on. However, six (6) days after Alisuag had notarized the deed of sale with the purchase price of P120,000.00, he gave complainants an estimate of P150,000.00 for capital gains tax.
Moreover, despite receiving an additional P10,000.00 for the filing of a civil suit against Ganzon, Alisuag never filed said case. He likewise failed to secure the environmental clearance and the wildlife permit for which he had previously received P300,000.00. He also refused to render a complete accounting of the alleged expenses incurred relative to the purchase of the subject property.
Issue: Whether or not Atty. Alisuag should be held administratively liable
Decision: Yes. By notarizing another deed of sale with a much lower purchase price, which was later submitted to the BIR for the purpose of paying the capital gains tax, Alisuag clearly violated his duty of upholding the respect for the law and protecting the integrity and dignity of the legal profession. Also, Alisuag’s failure and inordinate refusal to render an accounting and return the remaining money after numerous demands raises a reasonable presumption that he had converted it to his own use.
Atty. Alisuag is ordered:
1. Suspended for two (2) years;
2. Revoked notarial commission;
3. Perpetually disqualified from being commissioned as a notary public;
4. Ordered to render the necessary accounting of expenses incurred relative to the purchase of the property;
5. Return to complainants the remaining unutilized amount within sixty (60) days from notice;
6. WARNS him that a repetition of the same or similar offense, including the failure to render the necessary accounting and to return any remaining amount, shall be dealt with more severely
Case Digest Author
Lenard L. Bautista
Arellano University School of Law