Cheating in evidence in admin case at PhilPost

Cheating in evidence in admin case at PhilPost

Evidence "fabricator": Atty. Lee Palma Viceral
 By TIRSO PAGLICAWAN, JR.

For every case, for every honest-fighting lawyer, for every innocent accused, manufacturing of evidence by the opponent is the most detestable thing to happen.

One clear fabrication of evidence happened in the signature forgery case filed in April 2011 by Oscar V. Lazo, an official of Philippine Postal Corp. (PhilPost), against acting postal inspector Rowena A. Andal.

The chief of the legal department of PhilPost, Atty. Lee Palma Viceral, processed the complaint of Lazo despite the fact Lazo did not swear under oath to his complaint.

And so, Andal received a notice asking her to give her side on the complaint of Lazo that she forged the signatures of Lazo in her daily time records (DTRs) for August, September and October, all of 2010.

If one takes a look at these DTRs, he or she cannot detect any forgery because the signatures of Lazo in these DTRs are similar to his signatures in other DTRs. 

The only reason given by Lazo to say his signatures were forged was that these DTRs did not contain the counter-sign of his chief of staff then.

In the notice sent by Viceral to Andal, it was noted that the complaint of Lazo was not sworn under oath and was not supported with a certificate of non-forum shopping. These two requisites are indispensable in administrative cases as commanded to by the Revised Rules in Administrative Cases in Civil Service issued by the Civil Service Commission.

Nevertheless, upon the advice of her lawyer, Berteni “Toto” Cataluña Causing, Andal chose not to explain so that Viceral resolved to recommend the filing of a Formal Charge against her.

When the first hearing was held for the listing of witnesses and documents to be presented in the trial, the lawyer of Andal was shocked because the complaint of Lazo was now containing a subscription signed by Viceral.

This prompted Andal’s lawyer to say before the hearing officer: “I am sorry, this is falsification. We will file a falsification charge against Mr. Viceral.”

Nevertheless, the hearing was set for August 1, 2012 for the presentation of witnesses and the prosecutor listed her witnesses as Viceral and Lazo.

Despite the floods, Andal and her lawyer attended the hearing, expecting to cross-examine Viceral and Lazo on the falsified complaint.

But Viceral and Lazo did not attend, reasoning they were in Baguio City and they cannot attend the hearing.

On that day, the lawyer of Andal had another bombshell.  He discovered that Viceral made it appear that Lazo swore before him on January 22, 2012.

Alas, January 22, 2012 fell as a Sunday. So that during the August 1 hearing, her lawyer asked the prosecutor and the hearing officer whether the Post Office opens its offices on a Sunday. Then Andal’s lawyer presented the same complaint as having made to appear as sworn to on a Sunday.  This fact left the hearing officer and the prosecutor dumbfounded.

It was noted there that Viceral signed his seal on Lazo’s complaint not as a notary public but as an investigating officer although he has been the chief of office that he can assign the investigating work to any of his subordinates.

That early, Causing remarked: “Indeed, the chief of the legal department of Philpost is risking himself to disbarment, imprisonment and dismissal from the service.” (Written by TIrso Paglicawan, Jr.)

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