Is Personal Appearance Required For Notarization of Documents?
Please note the the case of Dr. Basilio Malvar v. Atty. Cora Jane Baleros (AC 11346, March 8, 2017) penned by Associate Justice Andres Reyes Jr., who pointed out the important provisions of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice, viz.:
"SEC. 2. Prohibitions.
"x x x
"(b) A person shall not perform a notarial act if the person involved as signatory to the instrument or document–
"(1) is not in the notary's presence personally at the time of the notarization; and
"(2) is not personally known to the notary public or otherwise identified by the notary through competent evidence of identity as defined by these Rules.
"The physical presence of the affiant ensures the proper execution of the duty of the notary public under the law to determine whether the former's signature was voluntarily affixed. Aside from forbidding notarization without the personal presence of the affiant, the Notarial Rules demands the submission of competent evidence of identity such as an identification card with photograph and signature which requirement can be dispensed with provided that the notary public personally knows the affiant.
Competent evidence of identity under Section 12 of Rule II of the Notarial Rules is defined as follows:
"Sec. 12. Competent Evidence of Identity. – The phrase 'competent evidence of identity' 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; 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."
The case clearly emphasized the need of personal appearance of the parties and the presentation of an identification card bearing the photograph and signature of the affiant, which was issued by an official agency.