BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA
A Negros Occidental provincial lawyer filed administrative complaints against Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz for alleged gross insubordination, gross neglect of duty, and grave misconduct.
Attorney IV Ernie Magaspag of the Provincial Legal Office, who received a show-cause order from Diaz for alleged unauthorized absences and failure to report the actual hours of work, said his three-page complaint-affidavit is not based on an anonymous letter but on documents and direct evidence.
He said the government’s Citizen’s Complaint Hotline received a complaint detailing a “very slow processing of payment for the supplies purchased by the province.”
The complainant, Magaspag claimed, was referring to Diaz’s office because the checks are released by the Office of the Provincial Administrator.
He said the complaint was endorsed to the Department of the Interior and Local Government in Negros Occidental on March 2 this year, and was then forwarded to the office of Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson the following day.
On March 4, Lacson’s office endorsed the complaint to the PLO for appropriate action, Magaspag said, adding the case was assigned to him.
He said he prepared a letter on March 5 addressed to Diaz for him to comment on the complaint and this was received by the latter’s office the following day.
“As of this date and feeling powerful in the province, Atty. Diaz just ignored the letter as there is no official communication or even verbal action which was ever received or relayed to the undersigned,” Magaspag said in his complaint-affidavit.
He claimed that Diaz’s actions are “blatant defiance” of the governor’s 2nd endorsement and “open disrespect” for a co-equal department head, the PLO.
“He seems to act like he is more powerful than the Honorable Governor by ignoring his 2nd endorsement and the Provincial Legal Officer who is a co-equal Department Head,” Magaspag added.
He said the “actions of Atty. Diaz, being the supposed to be respected high official of the province must be stopped and be meted with appropriate sanctions”, and this prompted him to file administrative complaints against the Provincial Administrator.
LETTER TO LACSON
Magaspag, in a four-page letter to Lacson dated July 10, said he could “not bear and tolerate the persecution” of his colleagues by his kumpare (friend) and former law partner, Diaz, claiming that it is the latter’s “personal vendetta in the guise of alleged reforms in the province”.
He added it is very sad and unfortunate that the administration of Lacson is being dragged down by Diaz’s alleged personal vendetta.
He also claimed that Diaz is moving heaven and earth to look for evidences so that all possible cases, criminal and administrative, may be filed against me and my colleagues.
Magaspag also stated in his letter to Lacson that Diaz “hates the people in the province who are identified with the Marañons”.
When sought for a reaction, Diaz stressed he is not vindictive, and he has not sowed hatred against anybody.
He said he only signed a show-cause order that was authorized by the governor. He said Magaspag should stick to the issue and not resort to personal issues.
“I’m also a Marañon boy. I was the Provincial Legal Officer of the late governor Joseph Marañon in 2001. When I stepped down, I continued to have a relationship with him, being my client,” Diaz said.
He said that Marañon’s brother, former governor Alfredo Jr., had also tasked him legal works during his incumbency. “I have nothing against them,” he stressed.
He added that Magaspag was hired at PLO based on his recommendation.
He said he has nothing to do with the investigation of Capitol employees who were issued show cause orders since it is the PLO that’s tasked to handle the matter.
He said he has no time for hatred, and he enjoys serving the province under Lacson. “If they don’t need me, I’m happy to go back to my private life,” he added.
Lacson, when sought for a reaction, said he has no comment.*