MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) in Cagayan de Oro has issued a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) on 5 new dismissal orders against Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno.
The 15-page resolution signed by Associate Justice Louis P. Acosta stopping the implementation of the Ombudsman’s dismissal orders was received by the mayor’s office at 7:35 pm Monday, September 25.
The 5 new dismissal orders issued by the Ombudsman stemmed from allegations of irregularities in the rental of equipment for road project back when Moreno was governor of Misamis Oriental.
According to the city mayor’s office, the accusations are among the 48 cases supposedly instigated by the local opposition PaDayon Pilipino against Moreno.
Moreno’s lead counsel, lawyer Dale Bryan Mordeno, said the cases filed by a certain Antonio Nunez should have been dismissed outright because there were no irregularities in the equipment rental.
He cited a statement by the Commission on Audit regional office 10, which said, “It is an incontrovertible fact that services have been rendered, services of equipment not found exceeding prevailing rental rates, benefits enjoyed by the public, and accomplishments duly recognized and cited.”
Mordeno also said the mayor can invoke the condonation doctrine because the current case referred to equipment rental made back in 2010. Moreno was reelected governor in 2007 and 2010.
Under the condonation doctrine, the administrative offenses of an elected official are already deemed forgiven when he or she is re-elected for another term.
But in 2015, the Supreme Court decided to kill the condonation doctrine.
“Although, we are confident that based on the merits of the case, the equipment rentals were aboveboard, nothing hinders the mayor from invoking the condonation of administrative penalties due to subsequent re-elections,” Mordeno said.
Moreno had earlier faced a dismissal order and perpetual disqualification from public office for allegedly entering into a tax settlement agreement with Ajinomoto Philippines in 2013 without city council authorization.
The CA stopped the implementation of the Ombudsman’s order. – Rappler.com
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