444 Phil. 103
“A parcel of land (Lot 1110-N. Psd-064502-023179), being a portion of Lot 1110, Cad. 40, Bago Cadastre), situated in the Barrio of Talotog, City of Bago, Prov. Of Negros Occ., Island of Negros, bounded on the NE. and SE. along lines 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 by Lot 1112, Cad. 40 Bago Cadastre; on the SE., along line 12-13 by Lot 1110-S; on the NW., along lines 13-14-15 by 1110-0; along lines 15-16-17 by Lot 1110-J; by Lot 1110-M, all of the subd. Survey; along lines 18-1 by Lot 111. x x x; containing an area of ONE HUNDRED FORTY NINE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED TWENTY EIGHT (149,728) SQUARE METERS, more or less.”According to complainants, the deed was neither dated nor notarized. Subsequently, Jose Villarosa sold the property to Loreto Cauntoy and a deed of agreement, dated 08 April 1997, was executed by the parties.
“RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED, the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the above-entitled case, herein made part of this Resolution/Decision as Annex `A;’ and, finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules, with modification, and considering that respondent has trifled with the importance or significance of his notarial commission, and had consequently prejudiced the integrity of the instruments/documents presented to him in his capacity as Notary Public which dishonest action amounts to gross misconduct, Respondent is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for five (5) years and Revocation of his Notarial Commission and Perpetual Disqualification from being appointed as Notary Public.”Atty. Pomperada filed a motion for reconsideration contending that he was utterly deprived of his fundamental right of due process when Commissioner Milagros San Juan submitted her report, recommending the penalty of suspension from the practice of law and perpetual disqualification from being appointed Notary Public, without any formal investigation having first been conducted.
“Complaints against lawyers for misconduct are normally addressed to the Court. If, at the outset, the Court finds a complaint to be clearly wanting in merit, it outrightly dismisses the case. If, however, the Court deems it necessary that further inquiry should be made, such as when the matter could not be resolved by merely evaluating the pleadings submitted, a referral is made to the IBP for a formal investigation of the case during which the parties are accorded an opportunity to be heard. An ex parte investigation may only be conducted when respondent fails to appear despite reasonable notice. Hereunder are some of the pertinent provisions of Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court on this matter; viz.:Considering the gravity of the offense charged and the sanction recommended by IBP, a formal investigation that would allow respondent lawyer a full right to be heard is unavoidable.“`SEC. 3. Duties of the National Grievance Investigator. – The National Grievance Investigators shall investigate all complaints against members of the Integrated Bar referred to them by the IBP Board of Governors.“The procedures outlined by the Rules are meant to ensure that the innocents are spared from wrongful condemnation and that only the guilty are meted their just due. Obviously, these requirements cannot be taken lightly.”
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`SEC. 5. Service or dismissal. – If the complaint appears to be meritorious, the Investigator shall direct that a copy thereof be served upon the respondent, requiring him to answer the same within fifteen (15) days from the date of service. If the complaint does not merit action, or if the answer shows to the satisfaction of the Investigator that the complaint is not meritorious, the same may be dismissed by the Board of Governors upon his recommendation. A copy of the resolution of dismissal shall be furnished to the complainant and the Supreme Court which may review the case motu proprio or upon timely appeal of the complainant filed within 15 days from notice of the dismissal of the complaint.
`No investigation shall be interrupted or terminated by reason of the desistance, settlement, compromise, restitution, withdrawal of the charges, or failure of the complainant to prosecute the same.
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`SEC. 8. Investigation. – Upon joinder of issues or upon failure of the respondent to answer, the Investigator shall, with deliberate speed, proceed with the investigation of the case. He shall have the power to issue subpoenas and administer oaths. The respondent shall be given full opportunity to defend himself, to present witnesses on his behalf and be heard by himself and counsel. However, if upon reasonable notice, the respondent fails to appear, the investigation shall proceed ex parte.
`The Investigator shall terminate the investigation within three (3) months from the date of its commencement, unless extended for good cause by the Board of Governors upon prior application.
`Willful failure to refusal to obey a subpoena or any other lawful order issued by the Investigator shall be dealt with as for indirect contempt of Court. The corresponding charge shall be filed by the Investigator before the IBP Board of Governors which shall require the alleged contemnor to show cause within ten (10) days from notice. The IBP Board of Governors may thereafter conduct hearings, if necessary, in accordance with the procedure set forth in this Rule for hearings before the Investigator. Such hearing shall as far as practicable be terminated within fifteen (15) days from its commencement. Thereafter, the IBP Board of Governors shall within a like period of fifteen (15) days issue a resolution setting forth its findings and recommendations, which shall forthwith be transmitted to the Supreme Court for final action and if warranted, the imposition of penalty.’