NENE PIMENTEL. Former senate president Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. gives a talk on federalism in a hotel in Cagayan de Oro City recently. Pimentel has expressed his support for embattled Cagayan de Oro City mayor Oscar Moreno who is facing a series of graft charges filed by various persons before the Office of the Ombudsman. (Jigger J. Jerusalem)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Former senate president Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. expressed his support for the mayor of this city who has been threatened with dozens of criminal and administrative cases.

Pimentel has advised Cagayan de Oro City Oscar Moreno to “fight for what he thinks is right” and not let the series of cases distract him from doing his job.

Pimentel, who was also once the mayor of this city, said the chopping up of cases by the Office of the Ombudsman against Moreno is “wrong” as he sees it as a sort of “political harassment.

“I can say it is unfair that you chop one case to harass an official,” the 83-year-old politician told reporters at a sideline of a forum on federalism on Tuesday, September 26.

Pimentel said he found it ironic that the Ombudsman, one of the government agencies tasked to prevent political harassment, could be used for such.

But the former lawmaker did not put the blame on Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, saying “she (Carpio-Morales) only depends on the recommendation of its regional office in Davao.”

Some 48 graft cases, 24 of them administrative and the other 24 criminal complaints, have been filed against Moreno.

The mayor has maintained that the series of cases he is facing is part of the “hazards of politics” and said he would rather face it alone.

So far, the Ombudsman meted a penalty of dismissal and perpetual disqualification from holding public office on Moreno in 11 different rulings last August and earlier this month for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the interest of service.

Among the cases Moreno is facing is the rental of heavy equipment amounting to about P30 million, when he was the governor of Misamis Oriental, from 2007 to 2012.

On September 25, Moreno again staved off the execution of five other dismissal ordered issued earlier this month when the Court of Appeals granted him a 60-day temporary restraining order.

Lawyer Dale Bryan Mordeno, Moreno’s lead counsel, said they are moving for the consolidation of the chopped-up cases as he thinks these should have been dismissed outright as there were no irregularities committed. (

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