Tension has died down in Cagayan de Oro City for now but having two mayors running the city create confusion as to the authority to sign documents and issue orders that may greatly affect public service.
On Monday Mayor Oscar Moreno sounded resolute in staving off his dismissal order and making sure City Hall is functioning business as usual, while Vice Mayor Ian Acenas, designated acting mayor by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), convened a meeting with City Hall department heads at around 1 p.m.
The regular Monday flag raising ceremony was facilitated by members of the Philippine National Police on orders of DILG Undersecretary Austere Panadero to prevent supporters of both camps from a potentially tense show of force.
Moreno faced members of the media around 11 a.m., later and called on the DILG “to uphold the Rule of Law.”
He said there should be no confusion on the Court of Appeals decision last Friday that issued a temporary restraining order against his dismissal by the Ombudsman.
“The Court of Appeals Mindanao has clearly spoken and issued its TRO ‘enjoining the public respondent DILG, its officers and agents and all persons acting under them, from enforcing, implementing and effecting its decision dated 14 August 2015,” Moreno said in a statement which he distributed to the media and sent to the DILG.
“The TRO applies to the dismissal itself and not to the service of the dismissal,” Moreno emphasized during the press conference.
He had called on DILG secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento to affirm the rule of law “to ensure continued timely delivery of public services” in the city.
The embattled mayor and city treasurer Glenn Banez were ordered dismissed by the Ombudsman for Grave Misconduct, having allegedly entering into a tax settlement agreement with a food seasoning company without prior authorization from the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
Tension gripped City Hall last Friday when the DILG served the dismissal order and sworn into office Acenas as acting mayor and top city councilor Candy Darimbang as vice mayor on Thursday night.
This was contested by Moreno through a petition for a restraining order, which was granted late on Friday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Moreno threatened to sue Acenas with usurpation of authority should he continue to exercise the powers of the mayor.
Despite the threat, however, Acenas, assumed the function of the executive by calling for a meeting with City Hall department heads at his office at around 1 p.m.
He told The Manila Times, he was happy with the attendance of some department heads. “Lipay gihapon ko sa resulta. Naa gihapo’y uban nga ni apil,” Acenas said. (I am still happy with the results. There were department heads who responded.)
He however refused to comment on legal matters, saying he would leave it to his lawyers.