CASE: [CASE BRIEF 2019- 0019]Norberto S. Collantes vs. Atty. Alselmo B. Mabuti (AC No. 9917 January 14, 2019)

PONENCIA: Perlas-Bernabe, J.:

CASE BRIEF 2019- 0019

FACTS:

In a complaint, it was alleged that Atty. Mabuti notarized a “Memorandum of Agreement,” without being commissioned as a notary public at the time of notarization. In 2016, after its  investigation, the IBP Board of Governors imposed the penalty of perpetual disqualification from being commissioned as a Notary Public upon Atty. Mabuti. The IBP explained that in view of the fact that in 2013 he was found guilty by the IBP for violation of the Notarial Rules in another case, the penalty is aggravated.

ISSUE: Whether the IBP is correct in using its earlier finding of guilt in aggravating the penalty to be imposed upon Atty. Mabuti.

RULING:

No.

The earlier resolution of the IBP in the “other case” must be forwarded to the Court for its approval. It is the Supreme Court, not the IBP, which has the constitutionally mandated duty to discipline lawyers. The factual findings of the IBP can only be recommendatory. Its recommended penalties are also, by their nature, recommendatory.

Thus, pending approval by the Court, the findings and resolution in the earlier IBP case are only recommendatory, and hence (1) fail to establish the fact that Atty. Mabuti has already been held liable for a prior offense, and (2) cannot consequently serve to aggravate the penalty in this case.

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THINGS DECIDED:

a) It is the Supreme Court, not the IBP, which has the constitutionally mandated duty to discipline lawyers.

b) The factual findings of the IBP can only be recommendatory. Its recommended penalties are also, by their nature, recommendatory.


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