Ombudsman suspends Diaz, Valenzuela for six months 

The Office of the Ombudsman has suspended Negros Occidental Provincial Administrator Rayfrando 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. 

Diaz, who maintained he has not committed any wrongdoing, said on Monday, June 3, that he is willing to serve suspension or even retire from government.

“I think my time working with the province is over,” he said. 

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 in 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 

Diaz argued that there was no evidence to support the allegation that he and his co-respondent acted against the interest of Binalbagan or that they committed acts of betrayal of duties and responsibilities as employees of the provincial government. 

Diaz said they were granted authority by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson to practice their profession. 

However, the ombudsman’s decision said the authority granted to Diaz and Valenzuela allowed them to engage in the private practice of the legal profession provided it was not in conflict with their obligations to the provincial government. 

Appearing as counsel for JLL undeniably came in conflict with Diaz and Valenzuela’s obligations, the decision said. 

The administrative charges against Diaz and Valenzuela for serious dishonesty, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, grave abuse of authority, grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and oppression were dismissed for lack of merit. 

The administrative complaint against Provincial Legal Officer Alberto P. Nellas was dismissed for lack of merit.* 

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