Evidence fabricated, terminated lawyer says

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BY CARLA P. GOMEZ

Lawyer Roxenne Sumanting, a recently terminated Negros Occidental Provincial Legal Office employee, said yesterday that the decision against her was based on fabricated evidence and in retaliation by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson on behalf of his officials after she filed serious corruption cases against them before the Office of the Ombudsman.

“The brazen injustice committed by the Governor, with his officials, sends a chilling message to all capitol employees: If they can carry out bold legal violations against lawyers who know the laws and the application of the laws, how much more to other employees who hardly know about laws and their application?” she said in a letter sent to the Visayan DAILY STAR.

Sumanting, lawyer Ernie Magaspag and book binder Warlito Butalon of the PLO were terminated based on substantial evidence with regards to Daily Time Record irregularities, Provincial Legal Officer Alberto Nellas Jr. said earlier.

Magaspag said he and Butalon are filling motions for reconsideration.

Sumanting said the basis for the uniform complaint against her and other PLO employees is the letter from anonymous businessmen allegedly received by Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz with no proof of receipt.

During the hearing on the prosecution’s presentation of evidence by lawyer Chery Shell Valenzuela, the governor’s Executive Assistant, Sumanting said she raised her objection to the apparently fabricated evidence but was ignored.

“This resulted to a charade trial,” she said, adding that “the hearing officer waived my right for pre-trial on my behalf, without my permission and against my will.”

“The hearing officer issued a memorandum to exclude my audience to the trial in the guise of Covid protocols. Notwithstanding my substantial evidence against their fabricated evidence, they terminated me. I am the last to be issued show-cause, yet I am the first few to be terminated,” Sumanting said.

She said her termination was a foregone conclusion, “they already formed a decision in advance of proper and fair consideration of evidence and arguments.”

The decision was rendered on September 28, without a complete transcript of stenographic notes yet, she added.*

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