The news item titled “Solgen eyes filing case vs De Lima for breaking notarial rules” (Inquirer.net, 3/17/17) proves how desperate and petty the Duterte administration has become in skewering Sen. Leila de Lima—already in detention on nonbailable drug charges (or whatever) filed by the Department of Justice. If this is not throwing everything at her—including the kitchen sink—we don’t know what is.
The alacrity with which the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) has prostituted itself in blind servitude to President Duterte is appalling. It reminds us of what that office became under martial law—an instrument of persecution, repression and oppression.
It is correct that the “notarial rules” require affiants to swear on a document “before a notary public” (i.e., in his presence and with proof of his identity). But these rules are more honored in breach than in observance. In eight out of 10 instances, documents are being notarized without the affiants being anywhere “personally before” the notary public.
In the Philippine setting, prosecutions for such infractions are as laughable as “vagrancy” charges filed by cops gone rogue against hookers if they refuse to render “free service”—or, against pedestrians for jaywalking amid messy traffic, if kotong (extortion) fails.
If the OSG is really serious about it, why single out De Lima? In notarization, it always takes two to tango: the affiant and the notary. Why is the OSG not “eyeing” disbarment against the lawyer-notary, too, who is the more guilty party?
ROSE ANNE BARTOLOME, firstname.lastname@example.org
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