HEALTH & WEALTH: Caution on engaging services of novice notary public

Last month, Sam, an old client from the East Bay, called me and requested help for the apostille of a notarized Special Power of Attorney(SPA) which was returned from the Philippines.
After further conversation, I found out that his sister sent to the Philippines the SPA notarized by a novice Notary Public. The notarized SPA was sent back to her sister for apostille. I told Sam to come to our home office in San Francisco, California with his sister and the notarized SPA which was returned to her. Sam scheduled two appointments but were cancelled and re-scheduled twice.
Finally, I was able to meet Sam and his sister last Saturday morning, 11am, on October 7, 2023. After some preliminaries, I checked and reviewed the notarized SPA which was returned to his sister. I found out that the novice Notary Public did not use the right Acknowledgment Form as required in California. Sam’s sister also told me that the novice Notary Public didn’t advise her to have the notarized SPA be apostilled first before sending to the Philippines.
I notarized the returned SPA using the right Acknowledgment Form as required in the State of California. I also had Sam’s sister signed my Journal of Notarial Acts and put her right thumb marks. After notarization, my beloved wife and I submitted the notarized SPA to the Secretary of State, Notary Public Section in Sacramento, California for apostille, last Monday October 9,2023.
Due to the urgency of the situation, I waited for the release of the apostilled SPA from the Front Desk of the Secretary of State, Notary Public Section in Sacramento, California. The apostilled SPA (with red stamp) was released and given to me in the afternoon.
The following day, Tuesday, 11am, October 10, 2023, Sam picked up in our home office in San Francisco, California the apostilled SPA for his sister. Sam was unexpectedly surprised for the very fast and quick turn-around in the apostille processing of the notarized SPA. Sam and his sister were very happy and thankful for the prompt, efficient and professional services at the Mobile Signing Services (MSS).
The very bad experience of Sam’s sister should be a warning for everyone to avoid the services of novice Notary Public especially in the notarization of documents needed in the Philippines. If Sam and his sister contacted us earlier, she should have avoided the following:
1.    Unwanted delay in the submission of apostilled SPA needed in the Philippines;
2.    Additional cost in redoing the notarization and apostle of the notarized SPA;
3.    Unexpected anxiety, pressure and worry.
For the information and guidance of our readers and the general public, I would like to share excerpts of the Special Notice from the Philippine Consulate Office, Legal Section, in San Francisco, California on the Accession of the Philippines to the Hague Apostille Convention,                                     as follows:
Philippine Consulate shall no longer issue Authentication Certificates (red ribbon) for documents notarized or apostilled in the State sunder its jurisdiction namely: Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington State, Northern Nevada, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming and Northern California.
If you notarized documents before 14 May, 2019, the Philippine Consulate will (1)still accept it for authentication (red ribbon) or (2) you may advice the applicant to secure an Apostille. On the other hand, if you notarized documents from 14 May, 2019 onwards, we will no longer authenticate said documents. The applicant should forward it to the issuing State/Competent Authority for the issuance of an Apostille Certificate.
Please note that Apostilled documents no longer need additional authentication by the Philippine Consulate General. Once apostilled, it already has legal validity, and can be sent to the Philippines for use.”
Here are advantages and benefits with MSS: 1. AVOID TAKE OFF FROM WORK – You don’t need to take off from work and drive to Sacramento just to submit notarized documents to the Secretary of State, Notary Public Section, for apostille. MSS will take care everything for you.
2. DISCOUNTS FOR THE ELDERLY AND VETERANS – We offer special discounts for the elderly and veterans;
3. SAVINGS ON GAS AND MILEAGE FEES –  We encourage all our old and new clients to come to our home office in  San Francisco, California for savings on gas and mileage fees ($60 -$130).
4. FREE PARKING – When we had our Office at the Philippine Center near the Philippine Consulate Office, our old clients were complaining for the expensive parking fees in downtown San Francisco. With our home office, old and new clients can now have FREE parking  in our driveway and the available street parking spaces nearby.
5. FLEXIBLE APPOINTMENTS –  We offer  very flexible appointments for old and new clients during regular office hours, after office hours, weekends except on Sundays.
6. DISCOUNTS ON MULTIPLE DOCUMENTS AND MULTIPLE SIGNATURES – We offer 5-% to 10% discounts on multiple documents and multiple signatures for old and new clients.
7. FLEXIBLE LOCATIONS OF APPOINTMENTS – For those who can’t come to our home office in San Francisco, California, we can do signing and notarization in the privacy of homes, offices, restaurants, BART lobby, hospitals, Post Office Station lobby and other locations.
8. DOCUMENTS PRAPARATION DISCOUNTS – Through our paralegal and lawyer-friends, we offer special discounts in the drafting, preparation and copies of documents for old and new clients.
9. CONVENIENCE AND PEACE OF MIND –  Like what Sam and his sister experienced with us, you have total convenience and  peace of mind with the complete, prompt, efficient, unique and professional services at MSS.
For immediate help and assistance in the signing, notarization and apostille follow-up of Affidavits, Special Power of Attorney, DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE, Proof of Life, DEED OF DONATION, Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate and other documents needed in the Philippines and the other member nations of the Hague Apostille Convention, just write or contact: MOBILE SIGNING SERVICES, 730  Madrid Street, San Francisco, CA  94112. Tel. (650) 438-3531 or (415) 584-7095 or email:
(ART GABOT MDLAING is accredited and commissioned Notary Public and licensed Real Estate Broker (DRE #00635976) in California since 1981. He is founder of MOBILE SIGNING SERVICES, FITNESS FOR HUMANITY (aka FITNESS FOR CHRIST) and ACAPINOY. Art is active Evangelist with the GOLDEN GATE CHURCH OF CHRIST in San Francisco, California USA.)