By Cris Diaz
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Nov. 16 (PNA) -– Until the Office of the Ombudsman issues an official reply to the resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA), there are two recognizable city mayors here, an Interior official said Monday.
Nilo Castanares, regional director of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) here, said that the CA has issued the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) sought by “dismissed” City Mayor Oscar Moreno following the execution of the dismissal order last Nov. 12, 2015 here.
Moreno petitioned for the issuance of the TRO with the CA, arguing that the “dismissal order” was not final and executory since the Ombudsman has yet to decide on his Motion for Reconsideration.
“I believe that under the ‘Rule of Law’, I am entitled due process to protect my rights,” Moreno said.
Castanares said that the DILG has already installed Vice Mayor Caesar Ian Acenas as the City Mayor after Acenas has taken his Oath of Office, which was presided by the City Prosecutor on the evening of Nov. 12, 2015.
He said that the CA has given notice to the Office of the Ombudsman and the DILG to comment about the 60-day restraining order granted by the appellate court within five days upon receipt of the resolution.
“Until the Office of the Ombudsman issues a reply of the CA’s resolution, the DILG has to recognize two sitting mayors in Cagayan De Oro City,” Castanares said.
He said that the DILG hopes that the Ombudsman would issue a final decision in reply to Moreno’s motion for reconsideration Monday in order that the operation of the city government would return to normalcy.
Castanares said that the reply of the Ombudsman is urgent because the city’s depository banks are inquiring on whose signatures shall be recognized by banks considering that the salaries and bonuses of about 3,000 city hall workers are at stake.
He said that the resolutions passed by the City Council during an emergency session and on Monday’s regular session that would be approved by the new City Mayor are legal and binding.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has approved the dismissal of Moreno on October 6, 2015 for Grave Misconduct for entering into a settlement agreement with Ajinomoto Philippines without prior authorization from the Sangguniang Panlungsod in violation of Republic Act No. 7160 (The Local Government Code).
Under the Ajinomoto agreement, the firm paid only PHP300,000 business tax out of the PHP2.9 million business tax that the firm was supposed to pay to the city government.
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. (PNA)