Negros Oriental gov secures 60-day TRO vs dismissal order

NEGROS ORIENTAL, Philippines – Reelected Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo has stopped the implementation of his dismissal order after securing a 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Special Fifth Division of the Court of Appeals. (READ: Dismissed Negros Oriental governor refuses to leave office)

The 7-page resolution dated June 23 was signed by Associate Justice Stephen Cruz and concurred by Associate Justices Samuel Gaerlan and Ramon Paul Hernando. 

The Office of the Ombudsman had earlier ordered Degamo's dismissal, along with two other officials, for alleged calamity fund misuse.

In its resolution, the court said out that “the injury to petitioner by virtue of his dismissal will not be susceptible to any mathematical computation and cannot be adequately compensated in damages because what is involved is not just anything or something but petitioner’s right to property – public office, which he acquired through the voice of the people who voted for him.”

“Also, his dismissal would ruin his reputation as individual and as public official, not to mention the deprivation to his right to assume his post as the newly-elected governor of Negros Oriental. Obviously, no device can measure and calculate the injury that petitioner will suffer," it added. 

The court scheduled the oral arguments on the propriety of the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction on July 12 at 2 pm at the Court of Appeals in Manila.

‘God is really with us’

Degamo, who confirmed he received the TRO on Thursday afternoon, said he felt vindicated. "God is really with us," he said.

He said the dismissal order was only until June 30, and that he would take his oath again as governor after securing a fresh mandate in the May 9 elections.  

In March, the Office of the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal of Degamo from government service for grave misconduct over the disbursement of the P480 million calamity funds. Also ordered dismissed were  Provincial Treasurer Danilo Mendez and Provincial Accountant Teodorico Reyes.

The funds was supposedly intended for the repair, rehabilitation and construction of structures damaged by Typhoon Sendong in 2011 and the 6.9 magnitude earthquake in 2012.

The Ombudsman also found probable cause to file malversation and graft charges against the 3 for proceeding to award 11 infrastructure projects worth P143.2 million despite a  lack of funds.

Degamo alleged the decision to be “very anomalous and unfair.” He stressed he should have been covered by the Aguinaldo Doctrine, which should have absolved his administrative liability when he was reelected in 2013. 

On June 17, the Department of the Interior and Location Govenrment served Degamo with the dismissal order at the Provincial Capitol in Dumaguete City, but he refused to receive it. 

Since then, Degamo had remained in the governor’s office, while his supporters camped outside the capitol building.

Homebound

Degamo finally went home on Friday, June 24, after being holed up in his office for 6 days, and thanked his supporters who stood by him, saying that they defended their votes.

He also slammed Negros Oriental Vice Governor Mark Macias for replacing the department heads just a few days after he was sworn in as governor. He alleged that Macias’ move “created chaos” in the provincial government as “he reshuffled key positions.”

With the TRO, Degamo stressed that Macias would revert back to his previous position.

Degamo said everything is “back to normal” at the provincial government, and that he has reinstated the department heads earlier replaced by Macias.  Rappler.com