Ombudsman suspends Diaz, exec assistant for ‘conflict of interest’

Posted by watchmen
June 5, 2024



The Office of the Ombudsman has issued a six-month preventive suspension order against Negros Occidental Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz III and Executive Assistant Chery Sheil Valenzuela, citing a “conflict of interest” in their private practices.

The suspension order, which took effect immediately, prohibits the two officials from engaging in any business transactions or receiving any salary from the government.

The order was issued after the Ombudsman found that Diaz and Valenzuela had engaged in private practices while serving as public officials, creating a conflict of interest.

The issue arose when the two government officials, who were serving as counsels for JLL Agriculture and Development, one of the defendants in an expropriation case filed by the Binalbagan municipal government, failed to provide legal assistance to the local government unit (LGU).

The Ombudsman said Diaz and Valenzuela committed serious dishonesty, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, grave abuse of authority, grave misconduct, and gross neglect of duty.

For his part, Diaz said there was no evidence to support the allegations against him.

He said they had been given permission by Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson to practice their profession as lawyers.

While the suspension order is under review, Diaz announced that he will file a motion for reconsideration.

“Daw indi man ‘ni amo ang aton nga facts of the case. Kay una, wala man kita nag-act in conflict with the government or to the disadvantage of any LGU,” Diaz said.

He also clarified that JLL Agriculture and Development was his client before he became provincial administrator./JB, WDJ


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