Provincial legal officer named Negros Occ administrator

Provincial Legal Officer Atty. Alberto Nellas (Negros Capitol Photo | Facebook)

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD CITY – Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson announced that Provincial Legal Officer Atty. Alberto Nellas will also serve as the Provincial Administrator, replacing Atty. Rayfrando Diaz.

This, as Diaz was ordered suspended for six months by the Office of the Ombudsman due to an alleged “conflict of interest” involving another capitol lawyer.

The governor stated that Nellas will begin his duties as Provincial Administrator on Monday, June 10, 2024.

Lacson told reporters on Monday that Atty. Diaz and Atty. Chery Sheil Valenzuela, an executive assistant, requested permission to serve their six-month suspension ordered by the Ombudsman.

“Of course, I granted their request to show respect to the Ombudsman, but we are also filing a Motion for Reconsideration,” Lacson said.

“I am hopeful it will be reversed,” he added.

The governor assured that Diaz’s suspension would not affect the provincial government’s functions.

“We do not rely solely on individuals; we have a system in place. I am confident we will continue to function well because of this system,” the governor said.

Earlier, Lacson expressed support for Diaz following the suspension by the Ombudsman.

Diaz and Valenzuela were suspended without pay for “conflict of interest” while practicing law privately and working for the provincial government.

The suspension order stemmed from a complaint alleging that Diaz and Valenzuela failed to provide legal assistance or representation to Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, in an expropriation case filed by the municipality with the Regional Trial Court of Himamaylan City.

It was alleged that there was a conflict of interest because Diaz and Valenzuela, then provincial administrator and executive assistant II, acted as counsel for JJL Agriculture and Development, a defendant in the expropriation case.

Diaz denied the allegation, asserting that he and his co-respondent did not act against the interests of Binalbagan or commit acts of betrayal of their duties and responsibilities as provincial government employees.

He also contended that they were granted authority by the governor to practice their law profession.

Diaz said he would file a Motion for Reconsideration and appeal the decision.

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