CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – After Mayor Oscar Moreno barely secured a Writ of Preliminary Injunction (WPI) from the six corruption cases filed against him over an equipment rental from 2007-2012 when he was still the governor of Misamis Oriental, the local chief executive found himself in a legal battle once again when the Ombudsman issued another dismissal order for him.
The Court of Appeals Mindanao Station issued the WPI to temporarily stop the Office of the Ombudsman from removing Moreno from office.
In its 11-page order dated August 29, the CA granted Moreno the WPI in order to “prevent grave and irreparable injury to petitioners, and so as not to render the instant Petitions moot and academic pending their resolution.”
But on August 30, the Office of the Ombudsman, in its website, said it found “probable cause for the filing of additional graft charges against [Moreno]” in connection with the disallowed lease of heavy equipment contracts from 2007 to 2012. The Commission on Audit’s Notice of Disallowances for the alleged anomalous contracts had already become final and executory in January 2015.
In 16 separate Resolutions approved by the anti-graft body last month, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the filing before the Sandiganbayan of 18 counts of violation of section 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or RA 3019 against Moreno.
Included as Moreno’s co-accused are former eight provincial government employees who participated in the procurement process.
The respondents, the Ombudsman said, are also facing charges of falsification of public documents, while Moreno was charged with grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and falsification of public documents.
The Ombudsman’s decision to remove Moreno from office stemmed from a series of complaints filed by Engr. Antonio Nuñez Jr.
Nuñez accused Moreno of approving the lease of heavy equipment without a public bidding when he was the governor of Misamis Oriental.
For these charges, the Ombudsman issued six dismissal orders for Moreno.
Moreno got hold of a copy of the WPI late Tuesday afternoon, which was issued by the appellate court’s Former Special 23rd Division and was signed by Associate Jutices Louis Acosta, Edgardo Camello, and Oscar Badelles.
Lawyer Dale Bryan Mordeno, Moreno’s legal counsel, said he is hoping the CA will issue a consolidated WPI just like what it did in its August 29 resolution.
The CA issued a single WPI for the Ombudsman’s six dismissal orders, docketed as OMB-M-A-15-0530, OMB-M-A-15-0528, OMB-M-A-15-0529, OMB-M-A-15-0532, OMB-M-A-15-0531, and OMB-M-A-15-0533.
Aside from granting the WPI to Moreno, the CA also enjoined the Ombudsman “to resolve petitioner’s Joint Motion for Reconsideration with utmost dispatch.”
Mordeno said Moreno has about 48 complaints, 42 of them still pending at the Office of the Ombudsman awaiting implementation.
He said it would be better for the CA to issue a consolidated WPI since most of the cases contain similar details.
For his part, Nuñez, in an interview, said he was dismayed with the CA’s issuance of WPI but accepted the decision of the court.
He added his motive for filing complaints against Moreno is not personal but for the “common good.”
At present, it was yet to be determined if Moreno’s legal team has already petitioned the CA for issuance of similar WPI for the additional 16 dismissal orders from the Ombudsman.(davaotoday.com)