CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Incumbent and reelected Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno will not be stepping down from office even after the Ombudsman rejected his motion for reconsideration in connection with the administrative case filed against him by former village chair William Guialani.
“The latest ruling of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales will not remove the mayor from his elected position,” Moreno’s legal counsel, Dale Bryan Mordeno, said.
In her February 16 decision, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Moreno and City Treasurer Glenn Bañez, several months after the Ombudsman ordered Moreno’s removal from office last November.
In its 8-page denial of the motion for reconsideration, the Ombudsman said Moreno failed to present his original counter-affidavit which he claimed to have filed on time.
But Mordeno said the two officials can still perform their official respective functions since the ruling is not yet final.
“The decision, orders or judgment in any court, not only in the Ombudsman, will not become final until the period within which to appeal will lapse or expire. That is part of due process,” Mordeno said in a press conference held at the mayor’s office Tuesday morning, June 28.
In his complaint, Guialani said the two officials committed a violation when they reduced the tax obligation of a private company without the approval of the City Council.
In November, the Ombudsman ordered Moreno’s removal from office for failing to file his counter-affidavit. But the Court of Appeals granted Moreno a 90-day temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction, essentially restoring his official capacity as the city mayor.
Two city mayors
Meanwhile, outgoing vice mayor Cesar Ian Acenas said that he is taking over city hall for two days. In a letter sent on Tuesday to Arnel Agabe, regional director of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Acenas said that he had already taken his oath of office as city mayor.
But according to Moreno’s camp, Acenas and city first councilor Lourdes Candy Darimbang – who also took her oath as vice mayor – now face usurpation suits.
Branding these moves as his political rivals’ harassment, Moreno said he is striking hard against Acenas and Darimbang by suing them for usurpation of authority.
“The assumption of Acenas and Darimbang as mayor and vice mayor respectively last June 28, 2016 smacks of usurpation of authority as the denial of the Ombudsman of the motion for reconsideration of Mayor Moreno and acting city treasurer Glenn Banez in the Ajinomoto case does not automatically create a vacancy in the office of the mayor and subsequently the vice mayor,” Moreno said. – Rappler.com
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