Diaz to file MR on Ombudsman suspension order

NEGROS. Negros Occidental Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II says a consensus will be made on the proposal not to require negative RT-PCR test for inbound travelers. (File Photo)
NEGROS. Negros Occidental Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II says a consensus will be made on the proposal not to require negative RT-PCR test for inbound travelers. (File Photo)

Negros Occidental Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II said Tuesday, June 4, he will file a motion for reconsideration on the six months suspension from service ordered by the Office of the Ombudsman against him.

"The decision was adverse to us. That's life nothing is certain and permanent but life goes on. Government is like a boxing, pagod ka na, bubugbugin ka pa. Despite what we're doing for the good of the province, there are risks," Diaz said.

The Office of the Ombudsman has suspended  Diaz and Executive Assistant II Chery Sheil Valenzuela for six months without pay for “conflict of interest” while engaging in the private practice of their profession during their incumbency in government.

The complaint stemmed from their alleged failure to provide legal assistance or representation to Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, relative to an expropriation case that the municipality filed with the Regional Trial Court of Himalayan City.

The complaint said it was a conflict of interest on the part of the respondents who appeared as counsel for JLL Agriculture and Development, one of the defendants in the expropriation case during their incumbencies as provincial administrator and executive assistant II

Pursuant to the authority granted to them on July 8, 2019, Diaz and Valenzuela were allowed to engage in the private practice of the legal profession, provided that said private practice shall not, in any way, interfere with or come in conflict with their obligations to the PGNO. But appearing as counsel for JLL undeniably came in conflict with Diaz and Valenzuela's obligations as officials of the PGNO, the Ombudsman's decision stated.

"Even if the trial court did not officially consider Valenzuela's appearance during the pre-trial conference on January 27, 2020, the fact remains that she was still the counsel of JLL during the incumbency of her employment in the government, which is prohibited. Thus, substantial evidence exists that Diaz and Valenzuela committed a violation of Section 7(b)(2) of R.A. No. 6713," the decision further stated.

Diaz said they would file an MR because the decision does not reflect the real facts of the case.

"We did not act in conflict with the government or to the disadvantage of any LGU. It was my client before I entered the province. In fact, my client offered the lot for free through a donation provided that it would not pass through the heart of the subdivision. We offered an amicable settlement at no expense on the part of the Binalbagan, which during that time had no funds for expropriation. It was to the advantage of the LGU. The ground situation is different from the papers presented," Diaz added.

He said a private lawyer was hired before during the time of former mayor Emmanuel Aranda, but the case was already assisted by the province when Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson assumed office for the lack of a private lawyer for Binalbagan.

The case was filed in 2019.

Diaz said he even wants to voluntarily serve the suspension, but it would depend on the governor. "I will respect the decision of the governor about the situation and we've been working on the case and hope our side would be heard," Diaz added.*

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