Dismissed city mayor obtains TRO again

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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: Embattled Cagayan De Oro (CDO) City Mayor Oscar Moreno again obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) few hours after a dismissal order was reportedly served by the staff of the regional interior local government here on Monday night.

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The TRO was granted by the Court of Appeals (CA) in CDO which nixes the dismissal order and allowed Moreno to continue to perform as city mayor.

The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered Moreno’s dismissal and 13 others in connection with the alleged illegal rental of equipment amounting to P20.5-million when he was still governor of Misamis Oriental in 2013.

The Ombudsman subsequently filed 18 counts of anti-graft and corrupt practices acts against Moreno and eight other former provincial capitol employees before the Sandiganbayan in August.

Amid the confusion and tense situation, the city administrator announced the receipt of the TRO at about 7 p.m., an hour after the DILG reportedly served the dismissal order which copy was furnished to the city council secretariat.

Lawyer Janeth Nuñez, counsel of the complainant to the graft case, questioned the serving of the dismissal order allegedly delivered to the City Council instead of serving it to Moreno.

Moreno and his lawyers were reportedly at the City Hall’s Executive Building guarded by a group of political supporters who vowed to block the serving of the dismissal order.

His lawyers told reporters that they were expecting the TRO because they already filed the petition five days prior the serving of the dismissal order.

Early this month, the Ombudsman also issued five dismissal orders against Moreno who succeeded in consolidating the dismissal orders in a petition for a TRO, which the CA also granted.

Moreno is facing about 50 anti-graft and corrupt practices cases, 20 of which have been decided by the Ombudsman, all with dismissal and suspension orders.

Meanwhile, the Office of the President has ordered Moreno to submit a verified answer to a separate complaint of anti-graft involving the release of P79-million government checks issued in the name of Moreno in 2016.

His lawyer said the amount was used by the city mayor to pay the PhilHealth contributions contrary to the findings of the Commissions on Audit (COA) which allegedly accused the Moreno and other city hall officials of “conniving” in the alleged unauthorized release of government funds.

As of Tuesday it was not known whether Moreno already complied with the order after his lawyers denied receiving the Malacañang order.

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