The stand off at Cagayan de Oro City Hall ended less than a day after the Court of Appeals granted Mayor Oscar S. Moreno’s petition to stop the implementation of the dismissal order from the Ombudsman.
The CA in a decision released around 5 p.m., Friday also ordered a status quo ante, cutting short the assumption of Vice Mayor Ian Acenas. Acenas who was sworn in as acting mayor around 7 p.m., Thursday along with no. 1 city councilor Candy Darimban who was sworn in as vice mayor.
There was jubilation at the City Hall where Moreno supporters, mostly in yellow exploded in celebration, hugging each other, raising Laban sign as Moreno emerged at the balcony of his office fronting the Cathedral of St. Augustine. The supporters have gathered at the City Hall since yesterday afternoon.
Moreno, who was holed up in his office at the old City Hall building on Thursday night, admitted that he had “long sleepless night” following his ouster.
Tension gripped City Hall since yesterday afternoon when the DILG announced it would serve the dismissal order of Moreno and acting city treasurer Glenn Banez. The tension escalated Friday afternoon after Acenas said he is asking the police to physically remove Moreno from the mayor’s office.
Moreno benefited from the Supreme Court decision in the case of Makati Mayor Junjun Binay. The SC decision released last Tuesday included among others the recognition of the powers of the CA to review and stop orders of the Ombudsman.
Dismissal order from Ombudsman
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales approved the dismissal of Moreno on October 6, 2015 for grave misconduct for entering into a tax settlement agreement with Ajinomoto Philippines without prior authorization from the Sangguniang Panlungsod in violation of Republic Act No. 7160 or The Local Government Code.
Moreno and City Treasurer Glenn Banez were also ordered perpetually disqualified from holding public office and all retirement benefits forfeited.
The mayor did not blame the department for serving his dismissal but said something is amiss with the failure of the Ombudsman to rule within three days as mandated by law, on their motions for reconsideration.
“The DILG was very conscious of the 10-day service period the Ombudsman gave them, but the Ombudsman has not acted with equal zeal on our motion for reconsideration,” Moreno said.
He said he hopes the Ombudsman “will realize their fatal error” in dismissing him and Banez without due process.
The Ombudsman decision cited the ousted mayor failed to file his counter-affidavit. But this was denied by Moreno.