Negros Oriental governor secures 60-day TRO on 2nd dismissal order

Marchel P. Espina

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Negros Oriental governor secures 60-day TRO on 2nd dismissal order
The Court of Appeals stops the implementation of a second dismissal order against Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo over a complaint regarding his alleged misuse of calamity funds

NEGROS ORIENTAL, Philippines – Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo has again stopped the implementation of another dismissal order against him after he was able to secure a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Court of Appeals (CA).

The appellate court issued the TRO on Monday, February 13.

This was the second time Degamo was ordered dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman over the same complaint: that he allegedly misused P480 million worth of calamity funds in 2012.

Slamming the Ombudsman for allegedly being “biased,” the governor pointed out that it was a case of double jeopardy as the CA had already dismissed the same complaint.

Degamo added that the CA reversed the Ombudsman ruling because he was covered by the so-called Aguinaldo doctrine, a legal principle which effectively absolves an elected official of any administrative liability during his previous term if he gets re-elected to his post.

The governor stressed that the decision of the CA should prevail because it is the second highest judicial court after the Supreme Court.

Degamo said he will stay in office as he was not served with the dismissal order by the interior department. He also expressed confidence that he will be able to secure a permanent injunction from the CA after 60 days.

On January 27, Degamo surrendered to the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan after his arrest order for malversation and graft charges came out.

He also posted a bail of P1.115 million after the Sandiganbayan approved his request for reduction of bail.

The court had set P200,000 bail each for the 11 counts of malversation and P30,000 for graft, or a total of P2.23 million.

The charges against Degamo stemmed from his alleged misuse of the calamity fund meant for the rehabilitation of infrastructure damaged by Typhoon Sendong in December 2011 and the earthquake in February 2012 in Negros Oriental.

But the budget department later withdrew the Special Allotment and Release Orders due to non-compliance with the guidelines for infrastructure projects. The Commission on Audit also issued 11 notices of disallowance.

Degamo, however, proceeded with the project and awarded P143.2-million worth of contracts for infrastructure projects. –

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