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New Cagayan de Oro mayor sworn in; Moreno holds out

Bobby Lagsa
New Cagayan de Oro mayor sworn in; Moreno holds out
(UPDATED) Vice Mayor Ian Acenas has been sworn in the regional DILG official, but dismissed Mayor Oscar Moreno says he will submit his pleading with the appeals court

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines (UPDATED) – Cagayan de Oro City Vice Mayor Cesar Ian Acenas took his oath as the new mayor shortly before 7 pm Thursday, November 12, a week after the Ombudsman dismissed Mayor Oscar Moreno.

Councilor Lourdes Candy Darimbang, meanwhile, was sworn in as vice mayor.

They were sworn in by Fiscal Abdullah Macagaan after a lawyer from the regional office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government served Moreno’s dismissal order.

Yet Moreno continued to hold office at city hall, saying he would file with the Court of Appeals on Friday morning an immediate motion for reconsideration with prayer for temporary restraining order.

On Thursday night, hundreds of employees stayed inside the city hall for a vigil.

Moreno was dismissed from the office after William Guialani, a businessman and former village chief, accused him of grave abuse of authority. The city government, he alleged, entered into an agreement with Ajinomoto Philippines for a tax settlement.

The mayor said the Ombudsman investigators recommended his dismissal based on his supposed failure to submit his counter-affidavit. But Moreno claims that he actually filed his counter-affidavit.

“They (investigators) missed out my counter-affidavit and that’s a serious miscarriage of justice,” he said during a press conference last week.

Complainant just expecting suspension

VIGIL. Dismissed Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno stays in city hall with some employees the night of November 12, 2015, saying he will appeal his case before the Court of Appeals. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/ Rappler


Guialani, the complainant, appeared to think the Ombudsman’s action against Moreno was harsh. He told the local newspaper Goldstar Daily that the most he was expecting was for the Ombudsman to just suspend, not dismiss, Moreno.

He is now saying that there are hands at work to damage Moreno’s reputation.

Moreno’s accuser, businessman Guialani, had also filed complaints before the Ombudsman against former mayor Emano.

He complained of Emano rescinding the contract which he (Guialani) brokered between New Wishing Star Corporation of Jacky Ching and the city government for the rental of the entire second floor of the Carmen Public Market.

Guialani then tried to sway Moreno to honor the contract he brokered with Emano.

Moreno himself said the “Capitol” is hard at work on several cases. By that, he meant Governor Yvegeney Emano, son of his archrival former city mayor Vicente Emano.


Acenas is a protegé of Vicente Emano. He had been elected vice mayor for two terms and was a councilor before that. For 2016, he had filed his candidacy for vice mayor.

Darimbang, the vice mayor now, won under the ruling Liberal Party as councilor of the first district in 2013.

Meanwhile, Moreno, an ally of President Aquino, had filed for re-election as mayor before the Ombudsman ordered his dismissal.

Moreno said he would be citing in his appeal the Supreme Court’s ruling on Wednesday on the case of dismissed Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. In that ruling, the High Court upheld the power of the Court of Appeals to review the orders of Ombudsman.

“Now that there is a precedent that the Supreme Court can decide on cases like this, we will use that,” Moreno  said. 

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