Court reinstates dismissed mayor pending Ombudsman’s final resolution’

By Cris Diaz

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Nov. 19 (PNA) – “Dismissed” City Mayor Oscar Moreno on Thursday regained his seat after the Court of Appeals (CA) recognized him as the City Mayor pending the final resolution of the dismissal order by the Ombudsman.

“I hope today would be the closure of the episode that consumed us. It was a grueling week (referring to the days when Moreno was holed up at the City Hall building here),” Moreno told the local media during a press conference Thursday morning.

The CA also upheld its TRO where the reckoning of its effectivity started on the day Moreno filed the petition with the court on Nov. 11, 2015 instead of on the day when the CA granted the TRO on Nov. 13, 2015.

He said that after the CA ruling, he hopes that everybody could now move on and the city government could focus on full restoration and the delivery of the basic services pursued.

Moreno also urged his political adversaries to stop issuing confusing statements, which are useless when there are legal remedies that they (political opposition) could avail of.

“I hope that as we restore normalcy, I exhort everyone to adhere to the principle of professionalism, regardless of political colors, let us work together,” Moreno said.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales approved the dismissal of Moreno last October 6 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).

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 paid only PHP300,000 out of the PHP2.9-million business tax that the firm was supposed to pay to the city government.

Moreno filed a certiorari and a petition for a TRO with the CA to contest the Ombudsman decision pending the final resolution of the Motion for Reconsideration that he filed with the anti-graft court. (PNA)