Ponente: DAVIDE, JR., C.J.
Victor D. Nunga, president of the Masantol Rural Bank filed a complaint for disbarment against Atty. Venancio M. Viray on the ground of gross and serious misconduct for notarizing documents when he was not commissioned to do so at the time the said documents were executed, including the Absolute Deed of Sale of a foreclosed lot to his 18-year old son. Respondent alleged that he was always commissioned as notary public and the fact that Pampanga is under several feet of floodwaters. Certification issued by the Clerk of Court of Pampanga negated respondent’s allegation that he [had been] commissioned as notary public since 1965. The Investigating Commissioner of the IBP Board of Governors recommended that if respondent is presently commissioned as notary public, the same should be revoked, and [he should] not be granted any commission as notary public up to December 31, 2002.
Whether or not the disciplinary action recommended by IBP to Atty. Viray was just and fair.
NO. The penalty was aggravated and likewise suspended from practice of law for three (3) years.
By such misconduct as a notary public, the lawyer [likewise] violated Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which directs every lawyer to uphold at all times the integrity and dignity of the legal profession.
What aggravated respondent’s unlawful notarization in 1987 was the fact that the transaction involved was in favor of his son, who was then only eighteen years old and, therefore, a minor. Under Article 402 of the Civil Code, which was the governing law as of 22 May 1987 when the said transaction was made, the age of majority was twenty-one years. Republic Act No. 6809, which reduced the age of majority to eighteen years was approved only on 13 December 1989 and became effective two weeks after publication in two newspapers of general circulation.