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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, July 6, 2019
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Controversy at Legal Office
called ‘miscommunication’


Negros Occidental Provincial Legal Officer Alberto Nellas Jr. said yesterday that the alleged controversy that broke out when Assistant Provincial Legal Officer Mary Ann Manayon Lamis was asked to vacate her office at the Capitol in Bacolod City to move to an adjacent one was due to a miscommunication.

Lamis, who also denied talk that she was unceremoniously made to leave her office on Monday to make way for the new PLO head, called the incident a misunderstanding.

Nellas said being asked to vacate the office she was occupying was not sudden for Lamis, as notification was given on June 4 during a transition team meeting.

It appears that their understanding was to clear the area occupied by former Provincial Legal Officer Jose Ma. Valencia but Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz specifically said it was the one occupied by Lamis, Nellas said, so there was a miscommunication.

Since the office had not been cleared when he and his associates, lawyers Julie Ann Bedrio and Kathleen Ann King, arrived to occupy it, the clearing was expedited, Nellas said.

Talk that Lamis was unceremoniously made to transfer without prior notice broke out when things from her office were allegedly carried out and left in the hallway.

Nellas said that when Lamis’ staff were moving out their things they took folders and a computer that they were told not to take, and an employee, Nellen Marie Gomonit, may not have understood the order.

Gomonit deleted some files from the computer and the manner of her interaction with the associates he brought to the office “was not befitting”, so she has been asked to show cause, he said.

Lamis said it was just a miscommunication, Gomonit did not delete data, she just transferred templates of documents they had developed through the years, and drafts of reports they are completing into a USB.

The documents are there, nothing was deleted, there was no malicious intent, there is nothing to hide, she said.

“It was just a misunderstanding, she (Gomonit) is ready to give her statement,” Lamis said, adding that she was present and witnessed everything herself.

Lamis said she was not aware of the notification during the June 4 meeting as she was not there, but she was preparing to transfer and was already packing up things.

“We have to move on, that’s part of life, there’s no problem with me…I cannot comment further,” she said.

Changes are normal under any new administration, she added.

“It’s a misunderstanding that can be threshed out, no hurt feelings,” Lamis also said, stressing that she is loyal to the job and the province.

Nellas said his first priority is to conduct an inventory of the cases being handled by the PLO “ so we can identify the important ones from the not so important ones”.

Focus will be made on the critical ones first, he said.*


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