Monday, November 23, 2015

Installed Oro mayor steps down, Oca regained seat

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CAGAYAN de Oro City (BEN BALCE/Golden Journal) – THE installed City Mayor here on Thursday last week stepped down after the Court of Appeals (CA) counted the reckoning of the effectivity of the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to the day it was filed in court.

The CA’s 22nd Division, based in Cagayan De Oro City on Wednesday granted the petition of City Mayor Oscar Moreno to start the reckoning of the TRO on the day it was filed in court rather than on the day the CA issued a resolution granting him the 60-day TRO.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has served the notice of dismissal of Mayor Moreno on Nov. 12, 2015 and Vice Mayor Caesar Ian Acenas was sworn in as the City Mayor in accordance with the law of succession.

City Councilor Lourdes Darimbang, the first City Councilor, was also sworn in as the City Vice Mayor. The following day, the City Council, chaired by Darimbang held an emergency session and passed a resolution recognizing Acenas as the new City Mayor.

Moreno’s lawyer obtained a restraining order from the CA here in the afternoon on Nov. 13, 2015 after the “emergency session” and a day after Acenas was installed as the new City Mayor. Acenas contested the TRO as moot and academic because the Ombudsman’s order was already served.

The CA gave the DILG, the complainant five days to respond to the CA’s resolution. In their response, Moreno argued that the reckoning of the TRO should start at the time the petition for the issuance of the TRO on the day it was filed in court.

The CA granted the petition of Moreno on Wednesday (Nov. 18, 2015), which also uphold the opinion of the DILG that Moreno is still the Mayor to be recognized pending the resolution of Moreno’s motion for reconsideration with the Ombudsman.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has approved the dismissal of Moreno on October 6, 2015 with Grave Misconduct for entering into a settlement agreement with Ajinomoto Philippines without prior authorization from the Sangguniang Panlungsod in violation of R.A.No. 7160 (The Local Government Code).

The order of dismissal also penalized Moreno and City Treasurer Glenn Banez with perpetual disqualification to hold public office and forfeiture of all retirement benefits.

Under the Ajinomoto agreement, the firm has paid only P300,000 business tax out of the P2.9 million business tax that the firm was supposed to pay to the city government.

In his Motion for Reconsideration, Moreno argued that the Ombudsman order was not final and executory until his motion is acted upon by the anti-graft court. (With report from PNA)

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