Capitol execs’ clash escalates

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – The verbal tussle between two executives of the Negros Occidental provincial government has escalated with the head of the Security Services Division (SSD) accusing the provincial administrator of biased and unfair accusations.

SSD head Renelo Lastierre said in an open statement to the media Wednesday that Provincial Administrator Atty. Rayfrando  Diaz “in his media statements seems to prejudge the SSD guilty imputing conspiracy and casting motives of non-renewal for the incident without first waiting for the result of the governor’s tasking the Police investigation on the matter.”

“We have full trust in the integrity of the governor and respect his decision at all times,” Lastierre added.

He said that Negros Occidental governor Eugenio Jose Lacson has asked the police to dig deeper into the bullet controversy that triggered the verbal tussle between him and Diaz.

The statement is in relation to the recovery of two live caliber 9 mm ammunitions at the Food Terminal that coincided with the processing of the renewal of contractual workers being held in the said area.

Diaz earlier accused the SSD of giving lots of excuses when he sent people to check the CCTV footage.

There seems to be “a conspiracy to sabotage” the operation of the provincial government, Diaz further said.

Diaz also said that he will recommend the dismissal from government service of the job order (JO) worker, who is assigned to the Office of Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), for possession of live ammunition.

In his statement, Lastierre further said that “the mentioned incident was bloated and immediately after three days I was issued a Memorandum, stripping me of my supervision over all security guards, and properties being used by SSD in its operation were ordered returned, which includes service firearm and vehicle used 24/7 in case of incidents to be addressed in all buildings and properties.”

He further said that such actions and statements of accusations against him and the dismissed watchmen without waiting for the conclusive evidence and the result of the police investigation are manifestations of unfair and biased actuation.

“An atmosphere of fear after series of dismissals and accusations left and right among employees may be felt, in the guise of disciplining employees,” Lastierre said.

He further said that “the workforce now fears to speak of what is really happening around because they may lose their employment and their family will suffer.”

All these things are of general knowledge to the employees and the public, Lastierre said.

He said that even his present status as union president was attacked “after the simultaneous imputations by what seems to be fear inflicted in the minds of the employees and some Board of Directors, because it seems that if Atty. Diaz doesn’t like my presence, it would be likely that employees’ benefits and proposed welfare will be affected especially the forging of the 2023 to 2026 Collective Negotiation Agreement which was not acted on until now (pending in his Office)”.

He said he was even asked to go on indefinite leave as president of the union for fear of what Diaz will do against the employees’ union.

“I told them that PACE being the last bastion of employees’ defense should not be undermined and terrorized by the situation it being separate and distinct from my official duty with the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental,” Lastierre added.

Diaz could not be reached for comment as of this writing.

Lacson, on the other hand, downplayed the reported clash between the two executives by dismissing it as “a mere perception of the public.”