Ombudsman suspends Cagayan De Oro City Mayor Moreno, 2 others anew

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY –- Just as dismissed Cagayan De Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno took his “ceremonial oath taking” Friday morning, the Ombudsman issued another suspension order against him and two other city officials on Friday.

Moreno, together with city budget officer Percy Salazar and City Accountant Beda Joy Elot, were ordered suspended for three months over graft charges that involved the lease contract which the mayor was said to have illegally entered into in 2013 for the city’s “Sports Development Program for Professional and Amateur Boxing.”

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered the filing of an Information in violation of Section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) against the Cagayan De Oro City officials.

The anti-graft court records showed that the city disbursed a total of Php 175,000.00 in rental payments for the lease contract that was entered into without prior authority from its Sangguniang Panglungsod.

According to Ombudsman Morales, “Moreno did not secure authority from the SP CDO before entering into a contract in blatant disregard of the provisions of the Local Government Code [Republic Act no. 7160].”

Under Section 3 (e) of R.A. No. 3019, public officials is prohibited from causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.

In the administrative case, the Ombudsman found Moreno, Salazar and Elot were also found guilty of Simple Misconduct and were ordered suspended from office for three months without pay.

The Ombudsman directed the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to implement the decision.

Moreno took his controversial “oath-taking” Friday morning before former Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., who no longer practices the profession of law.

In a radio interview, Moreno said that the “oath-taking” was ceremonial and admitted that Senator Pimentel has ceased to be a notary public.

The Ombudsman sustained its decision last Aug. 14, 2015 dismissing Moreno and the acting city Treasurer government from service and perpetual disqualification to hold public office for grave misconduct and abuse of authority.

The political opposition petitioned the Commissions on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify Moreno’s Certificate of Candidacy and invalidate his re-election last May 9, 2016 on the grounds of ineligibility based on the Ombudsman order.

Moreno, again, filed a petition with the Court of Appeals (CA) to obtain a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) as the Comelec started to hear his disqualification case.

Pending the resolution of the appeal and the Comelec decision, Moreno took his oath of office Friday morning describing it as “ceremonial” in context. PNA /