Will he be removed this time? CDO mayor Moreno dismissed again

Lian Buan
Will he be removed this time? CDO mayor Moreno dismissed again
Oscar Moreno is also charged before the anti-graft court over over irregularities in a space rental deal in Cagayan de Oro

MANILA, Philippines – He has dodged 11 dismissal orders in 2017, but Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno faces the new year with another order that threatens to finally remove him from office.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, in a statement on Wednesday, January 3, said her office found Moreno guilty of the administrative offenses of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, and conduct prejudicial to the best Interest of the service, meriting his dismissal.

The case stems from Moreno’s P2.9-million worth of lease with an equipment firm from 2009 to 2010 when he was still governor of Misamis Oriental. 

The Commission on Audit (COA) found the rentals irregular “due to deficiencies, such as lack of public bidding and the necessary documents as required under Republic Act Number 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act).” Auditors have also issued a Notice of Disallowance.

For this issue, Moreno was slapped with 24 administrative cases. 

In 2017, the Office of the Ombudsman issued 11 dismissal orders against Moreno, but he was able to secure temporary restraining orders (TROS) on all of them from the Court of Appeals.

Originally, it was a plunder case against Moreno filed by Antonio Nunez, a supporter of the local opposition party in Misamis Oriental, Padayon Pilipino.

The total amount for all the rentals reached P33 million, so the Ombudsman did not proceed with the plunder case because it was below the P50-tmillion threshold.

The Ombudsman instead pursued 24 separate cases.

Hunted down

Former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr, himself a former Cagayan de Oro mayor, said it was “political harassment” to chop up one case into 24 cases.

“The said acts show a clear intent to violate the law on procurement and a flagrant disregard of established rule, and definitely gave a bad image to public service, tantamount to Grave Misconduct, Serious Dishonesty and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service,” Ombudsman Morales said in her resolution.

The resolution was signed on December 12, 2017. The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is tasked to implement the order.

Moreno is hunted down by political rivals.

The camp of former city mayor Vicente Emano, whom Moreno defeated twice in the election, previously filed 80 cases against Moreno for a different lease agreement in Cagayan de Oro.

One of those progressed, and Morales, in 2016, charged Moreno for graft over a P175,000 disbursement for the space rental of the city’s Sports Development Program for professional and amateur boxing. Rappler.com

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.