CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Short of saying to leave him be, Mayor Oscar Moreno has informed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday, February 8, that he is still the city’s local chief executive, citing the latest ruling of the Court of Appeals (CA) in his favor on the slew of administrative cases filed against him.
Moreno, in his February 8 letter addressed to DILG Undersecretary Austere Panadero, explained that the CA has granted him a legal remedy that will essentially protect him from being suspended or removed from office due to complaints filed against him for “grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service” at the Office of the Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman has ordered Moreno’s dismissal after finding him guilty of several charges over the lease of heavy equipment when he was still the governor of Misamis Oriental, from 2007 to 2012, amounting to nearly P3 million. He became the city mayor on 2013.
The DILG regional office served the Dec. 12 dismissal order issued by the Ombudsman on Feb. 5 not to Moreno’s office but to lawyer Dale Mordeno, his legal counsel.
Moreno was not around on Monday although he later admitted that he did not report to City Hall from Monday to Wednesday, opting to stay out of office “to avoid being perceived as defiant” to free the DILG from the inconveniences of any legal tussle that might arise.
But in a press conference on Thursday, Moreno said there was no vacuum and that he is still the city mayor since the writ of preliminary injunction (WPI) issued to him by the CA on Aug. 29, 2017 is still in effect.
On Feb. 7, the CA-Mindanao Station promulgated a resolution in CA-G.R. SP No. 08539-MIN granting Moreno’s petition to consolidate all the cases in relation to the heavy equipment rental.
In its Nov. 28, 2017 resolution, CA states: “With the subsequent consolidation of all the five cases in caption by reason of similarity or commonality of facts, issues and parties, the WPI’s protective and preservative mantle implicitly and necessarily embraces all the other consolidated cases as well: CA-G.R. SP No. 08308-MIN, CA-G.R. SP No. 08321-MIN, CA-G.R. SP No. 08363-MIN.”
With this development, Moreno said the consolidation of the 24 administrative cases, along with the 24 dismissal orders, is complete.
With the consolidation, Mordeno said the 24 cases will be treated as one case since they are just the same.
“Accordingly, since there is already a categorical ruling on the binding effect of the injunctive writs to all the consolidated cases, I see no reason why I should be further disturbed in continuing to discharge my official function. Thus, effective today, February 8, I will report back to office,” Moreno said in his letter. (davaotoday.com)