Ombud suspends assistant legal officer

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Saturday, February 18, 2012


THE assistant city legal officer of Mandaue City was ordered suspended for six months without pay after the anti-graft court found him guilty of cheating on his wife.

The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas ordered the suspension of Mandaue City Assistant Legal Officer Eliseo Ceniza, a lawyer, after it was proven that he allegedly committed disgraceful and immoral conduct unbecoming of a government official.

An official of the Mandaue City Government confirmed to Sun.Star Cebu that they have received Ceniza’s suspension order.

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Mandaue City Administrator James Abadia said Ceniza has been suspended after they received the order from the ombudsman earlier this month.

The decision to suspend Ceniza stemmed from a complaint filed by wife Amalia in July 2009.

Cheating

In her complaint, Amalia said she found out in 2008 that Ceniza was cheating on her, after his staff members reportedly told her about his alleged affair with another woman.

They found out from the alleged mistress’s relatives that Ceniza and the woman reportedly lived in a subdivision in Lapu-Lapu City.

They confronted Ceniza regarding about the alleged affair, but he denied it.

In 2008, Ceniza asked his wife for an annulment, but she refused, since their children were against it.

In November, Ceniza reportedly admitted to his wife that he had a girlfriend and told her to find another man that would make her happy.

Tired of her husband’s alleged womanizing, Amalia filed a complaint against Ceniza at the anti-graft office.

In his counter-affidavit, Ceniza denied the allegations against him and revealed that his wife had considered him as a sort of “investment.”

‘Business associate’

Ceniza claimed that the woman his wife referred to as his mistress is actually a “business associate.”

He added that the complaint against him speaks of his wife’s character, disrespect and attitude toward him.

Ceniza said his life became miserable when he decided to study law, because his wife was against the idea. She did not give him financial or moral support while he was studying, he said.

Despite the humiliation he suffered from his wife, he continued to support his family by paying the bills and tuition of their children, and bought what they need.

Ceniza said he decided to leave his wife as there was no longer love left between them. He also left to prevent any physical confrontation with her.

Evidence

But Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer I Yvette Christine Labrador-Soleng favored Amalia’s case.

Based on her decision, Soleng said that while both parties made accusations against each other, Amalia was able to build her case against Ceniza by providing evidence to support her claims.

While it is true that Amalia failed to present a photograph of Ceniza and the alleged mistress together, she provided evidence that led to the “unmistakable conclusion” that they were having an illicit affair, Soleng said.

Soleng added that photographs and declarations made by several witnesses also proved that Ceniza’s relationship with the alleged mistress negate the respondent’s claim that they are business partners.

“Granting that this (allegation) is true, the disgraceful and immoral conduct consists of having extra-marital relations with a married person.

Nevertheless, even without considering this circumstance, the fact of respondent’s own betrayal of his marital vow of fidelity, coupled with the aforementioned disquisition, is more than sufficient to penalize him administratively,” Soleng said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 18, 2012.

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