Lawyer denies notarizing Philrem messenger’s affidavit

Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - April 19, 2016 - 1:47am

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 1 3:47 p.m.) - The lawyer who supposedly notarized the affidavit of Philrem Service Corporation messenger Mark Palmares appeared before the Senate blue ribbon committee on Tuesday to deny the document’s authenticity.

Lawyer Renato De Jesus, the supposed signatory of Palmares' notarized affidavit said the signature on the document was not his.

“Hindi po ito totoo. Hindi ko po ito signature. Hindi po ako ito,” De Jesus said. “Wala po akong kinalaman po dito tungkol sa bagay na ito.”

Palmares, however, insisted that he met De Jesus to have his affidavit notarized, adding he also swore to the accuracy of the statements in the affidavit before the lawyer. The messenger narrated that he gave his affidavit to De Jesus’ secretary.

“Pumunta po ako sir sa Pasig City Hall po. ‘Yun po yung naka-pink (referring to De Jesus). Binigay ko po sa secretary niya yung papel ko. Ito pong affidavit na ito,” Palmares said.

“Nakita ko lang po [siya] doon. Nagsumpa po ako doon, sir. Kay Mr. Renato de Jesus sir,” he added.

De Jesus said that Palmares was lying as he had never seen the messenger before.

Senate blue ribbon committee chair Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile then asked De Jesus about the professional numbers indicated under his name in the supposed notarized affidavit. However, the lawyer said he did not have the numbers memorized. 

The committee gave De Jesus 30 minutes to call his office and verify the professional numbers such as the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Number and Professional Tax Receipt Number as well as other details indicated in the affidavit to check the authenticity of the document.

Despite doubts on the authenticity of Palmares’ affidavit, Sen. Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV said the committee would let him give his side.

De Jesus then submitted another document to prove that the signature in the notarized affidavit was not his. Enrile found the lawyer’s claim suspicious saying the signature was “free flowing” and nobody can do that forgery unless warranted by the notary public referring to De Jesus.

Enrile added that Palmares appeared to be more credible as his statements were spontaneous and he pointed out the lawyer’s presence, unlike De Jesus who kept on saying he could not verify the details right away.
“Gawa ho ito ng kung sinumang pumirma dito e… From the very start as I have told you, hindi naman ito dumaan sa amin e,” De Jesus said.
Enrile grilled De Jesus about his notarial book saying he should have the custody of the document as the affidavit cannot write itself in his notarial book unless he allowed somebody to record it there.
“You explain that to the Supreme Court, I think you are open to disbarment,” Enrile warned.
Guingona asked the lawyer to produce a copy of the notarial book to be examined by the Senate in the next hearing.
Palmares and De Jesus were invited by the Senate to attend the sixth hearing on the alleged money laundering of $81 million stolen from the central bank of Bangladesh.  The messenger had previously failed to turn up twice, citing health reasons. Palmares supposedly witnessed the delivery of money remitted through Philrem.


RELATED: Senate to summon Philrem’s messenger, a no- show in 2 hearings

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