Moreno remains Cagayan de Oro mayor as CA stops dismissal

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Oscar Moreno remains the mayor of Cagayan de Oro after the Court of Appeals 22nd Division Mindanao Station issued a temporary restraining order and a status quo ante order on the Ombudsman's latest ruling to dismiss him over a contract when he was governor of Misamis Oriental. 

Moreno reported back to work on Thursday, February 8, a day after the appellate court's decision. 

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales found Moreno – along with former provincial employees Elmer Wabe, Rolando Pacuribot, and Patrick Gabutina – guilty of “grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service”.

The case against them stemmed from a contract to rent heavy equipment during Moreno's term as provincial governor. The case was filed by engineer Antonio Nuñez after current Misamis Oriental Governor Yvgeny Vincente Emano sought the conduct of a special audit of the rental of heavy equipment.

Graft investigators found the provincial government under Moreno, between 2009 and 2010, made several lease agreements with Equiprent Corporations for the use of heavy equipment worth P2.96 million.

A total of 24 cases were filed by the Ombudsman for each count of check payment for the rental of the said equipment.

The dismissal order based on the 24th case was received by Moreno on January 24, 2018.

Dale Mordeno, lawyer for Moreno, said they had filed for a writ of preliminary injunction (WPI) for to consolidate the 24 cases into one “because by reason of similarity or commonality of facts, issues and parties.”

The mayor said their legal position were very clear, “Unfortunately, special orders from the Ombudsman came one after another.”

The latest dismissal order was served on Monday, February 5, by the Department of the Interior and Local Government Region X Director Arnel Abage.

Moreno said that he did not report to the office on February 6-7 to avoid legal entanglement with the DILG.

Moreno said that during this period he was at his home “working.”

He praised the city hall employees for continuing to work even in his absence. “I’m happy that basic services went unhampered,” Moreno said. – Rappler.com