Basic Information About Notarization of Documents in the Philippines
"Notarial Act" and "Notarization" refer to any act that a notary public is empowered to perform under the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice (Rule II, Sec. 7, 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice).
The notarization of a document carries considerable legal effect. Notarization of a private document converts such document into a public one, and renders it admissible in court without further proof of its authenticity. (Tigno v. Sps. Aquino, G.R. No. 129416, 25 Nov. 2004).
"Notary Public" and "Notary" refer to any person commissioned to perform official acts under the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice, such as the following:
2. Affirmation Oath;
4. Signature witnessing; and
5. Copy certifications.
Where can a notary public perform notarial acts?
A person commissioned as notary public may perform notarial acts in any place within the territorial jurisdiction of the commissioning court, and he/she may only do so at his/her "regular place of work or business," which refers to a stationary office in the city or province wherein he/she renders legal and notarial services.
As an illustration, a notary public in Quezon City may notarize a Deed of Absolute Sale within the territorial limits of Quezon City only. This is an absolute rule without any exceptions. As a general rule, a Quezon City notary public may offer and perform notarial services in Quezon City at his/her "regular place of work or business" only within such city. However, the Deed of Absolute Sale may be notarized at the request of the parties in the following sites that must still be located within Quezon City:
1. public offices, convention halls, and similar places where oaths of office may be administered;
2. public function areas in hotels and similar places for the signing of instruments or documents requiring notarization;
3. hospitals and other medical institutions where a party to an instrument or document is confined for treatment; and
4. any place where a party to an instrument or document requiring notarization is under detention.
In the above example, it is not required for the buyer and seller in the Deed of Absolute Sale to be residents of Quezon City. What is essential is that they are personally present in Quezon City before the notary public during the notarization of Deed of Absolute Sale.
What should you bring during notarization of documents in the Philippines?
1. Multiple original copies of the document, as the notary public will keep a copy or two of this document for submission to the Regional Trial Court (RTC); and
2. Competent Evidence of Identity, which refers to the identification of an individual based on:
a. at least one current identification document issued by an official agency bearing the photograph and signature of the individual, such as but not limited to, passport, driver’s license, Professional Regulations Commission ID, National Bureau of Investigation clearance, police clearance, postal ID, voter’s ID, Barangay certification, Government Service and Insurance System (GSIS) e-card, Social Security System (SSS) card, Philhealth card, senior citizen card, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) ID, OFW ID, seaman’s book, alien certificate of registration/immigrant certificate of registration, government office ID, certification from the National Council for the Welfare of Disable Persons (NCWDP), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) certification, national ID; or
b. the oath or affirmation of one credible witness not privy to the instrument, document or transaction who is personally known to the notary public and who personally knows the individual, or of two credible witnesses neither of whom is privy to the instrument, document or transaction who each personally knows the individual and shows to the notary public documentary identification.
What can you do to verify the validity of the notarial act or authority of the notary public?
The notarized document should contain the following:
1. notarial seal;
2. roll of attorneys number, which you may verify at https://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/lawyers-list-2/;
3. notarial commission number;
4. place of notarial commission;
5. expiration date of the notarial commission;
6. IBP membership number (either lifetime or for the current year);
7. professional tax receipt number for the current year;
8. MCLE compliance number;
9. office address;
10. document number, page number, book number, and series number, which should be identical with the Notarial Register entry; and
11. complete name of the notary public (check if the office is indeed the notary public’s regular place of business or if he/she is just letting some persons who are not lawyers to use his/her notarial commission).