Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1984 > February 1984 Decisions > A.C. No. 1699 February 20, 1984 - TEODORICO F. LARA v. PEDRO M. BARRETTO:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

SECOND DIVISION

[A.C. No. 1699. February 20, 1984.]

NBI AGENT TEODORICO F. LARA, Complainant, v. PEDRO M. BARRETTO, Respondent.

The Solicitor General for complainant.

Pedro M. Barretto for and in his own behalf.


SYLLABUS


1. LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS; DISBARMENT; GROUNDS; ACKNOWLEDGING A DOCUMENT IN THE ABSENCE OF ALL SIGNATORIES; CASE AT BAR. — A member of the bar who acknowledges a Special Power of Attorney without the presence of all the signatories will be reprimanded and warned that repetition of the same will be dealt with more severely based on a finding, among others, that no damage has been suffered by the complainant who subsequently validated the Special Power of Attorney by a document confirming its contents.


D E C I S I O N


ABAD SANTOS, J.:


Investigating Agent Teodorico F. Lara of the National Bureau of Investigation seeks the disbarment of Atty. Pedro M. Barretto. It is alleged that the respondent committed falsification of a public document.

The spouses Dionisio Arena and Restituta Arandela owned a parcel of coconut land in Gumaca, Quezon. Dionisio died in 1975 and was survived by his widow and seven children, namely: Florentina, Senen, Emerenciana, Tiburcio, Lita, Rosa and Gaspar.

A power line of the National Power Corporation traversed the family property, causing damage to coconut and other fruit trees. To collect compensation from the National Power Corporation it was deemed expedient to execute a power of attorney in favor of Tiburcio. Restituta, the widow, and the children, except Florentina, signed the power of attorney. Lita signed for Florentina because her mother needed money to pay the debts incurred in connection with the burial of Dionisio.chanrobles.com.ph : virtual law library

Atty. Pedro M. Barretto was the notary public who formalized the power of attorney. The specific complaint against him is that he stated in the acknowledgment that Florentina personally appeared before him and exhibited her residence certificate when in fact nothing of the sort occurred.

It appeared that Florentina refused to sign the power of attorney because she was estranged from her family. When she discovered that her family had collected compensation through a power of attorney where her signature was forged she complained to the NBI and the consequences were a criminal complaint for falsification of public document against Restituta, Lita and Atty. Barretto plus the instant disbarment complaint against Atty. Barretto.

Atty. Barretto does not deny that Florentina did not appear before him. In fact, he admits that only Gaspar and Senen personally appeared before him; the other principals did not because for one thing Restituta was sick and, moreover, the "fact that the instrument is a simple power of attorney wherein the parties merely empowered Tiburcio Arena to collect for them such amount that the National Power Corporation may pay to them, without any of them waiving any right nor interest in the amount that may be collected." chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

The complaint for disbarment was referred to the Solicitor General for investigation, report and recommendation. By agreement of the parties who resided in Quezon, the Provincial Fiscal of that province, was commissioned to conduct the investigation. The Provincial Fiscal reported in part as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"Considering the close blood ties of the complainant and the respondents, being mother and daughters, with the exception of Pedro M. Barretto, the undersigned investigator, having in mind the preservation of family solidarity, tried to effect a reconciliation among the parties.

"After a protracted conference among the members of the Arandela-Arena family, which was marked by emotional outbursts and outpouring of years of accumulated grievances and recriminations, an atmosphere of peace and reconciliation finally descended upon the family.

"Florentina Arena de Empleo, the principal accuser, executed on 6 July 1978, a document affirming and confirming the contents of the Special Power of Attorney and further requesting the Office of the Provincial Fiscal of Quezon to allow her to withdraw her complaint against Atty. Pedro M. Barretto, her mother Restituta Arandela, and her sister Lita Arena. Because of lack of interest and hostility of the complainant Florentina Arena de Empleo, the complaint for falsification of public document was dismissed.

"Considering that no damage has been suffered by the complainant, who had already validated the Special Power of Attorney by a document confirming its contents, it is respectfully recommended that the administrative complaint for disbarment against Atty. Pedro M. Barretto be dismissed with an admonition that he should be more circumspect in the performance of his duties as notary public in the future."cralaw virtua1aw library

The Solicitor General concurs with the recommendation of the Provincial Fiscal.

WHEREFORE, finding the recommendation to be well taken, Atty. Pedro M. Barretto is hereby reprimanded for acknowledging the special power of attorney without the presence of all the signatories thereto and warned that repetition of the same will be dealt with more severely.

SO ORDERED.

Makasiar, Aquino, Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero, De Castro and Escolin, JJ., concur.




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