Palace to CDO mayor: Answer graft raps

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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: The Palace has ordered Cagayan De Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno to submit a verified answer, not a motion to dismiss, within 15 days from receipt in connection with the charges filed against him involving the alleged missing P79-million fund.

The Malacañang order pertains to the anti-graft cases filed against the mayor and three other city hall officers involving eight “unrecorded and unsubstantiated disbursement” vouchers reportedly issued by the city treasurer to Moreno.

It stemmed from the findings of the Commissions on Audit (COA) in Region 10 dated May 19, 2015, that Moreno along with the city treasurer, city budget officer and city accountant have “acted surreptitiously in releasing the eight checks” covering the city government’s account with the Philippine Postal Service Bank, Philippine Veterans Bank, Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines.

The COA reported that the checks were missing and not recorded in the books of account.

The Manila Times obtained a copy of the order (OP-DC Case No. 17-H-146), dated August 18, 2017, signed by Ryan Alvin Acosta, acting Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs of the Office of the President.

Complainant William Guialani, former chairman of Barangay Taglimao, an outskirt village of Cagayan De Oro, said he already received the copy of the order on Tuesday.

“I don’t know if Moreno, who has the usual denial attitude, has received his copy,” he added.
Moreno’s lawyer has denied that the mayor has received the Malacañang order.

In the same order, however, Malacañang dismissed the charges against the treasurer, budget officer and city accountant for lack of jurisdiction.

Last week, Moreno obtained a consolidated temporary restraining order (TRO) from Cagayan De Oro-based Court of Appeals (CA) in connection with six dismissal orders by the Office of the Ombudsman involving graft and corruption cases, according to his lawyers.

The Ombudsman has also issued a separate 18 dismissal orders against Moreno after he obtained a TRO against the six dismissal orders.

The cases were in connection with the alleged transactions when Moreno was then provincial governor of Misamis Oriental before he ran for mayor in Cagayan De Oro.

Aside from ordering Moreno’s dismissal from service together with eight other city officials (formerly working at the provincial capitol in Misamis Oriental), the anti-graft court also filed 18 criminal cases against Moreno before the Sandiganbayan in August 2017.

Moreno is facing 48 anti-graft cases before the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged unauthorized and illegal rentals of heavy equipment amounting to P20.5-million considered by the COA as “fictitious.”

A month before the local elections in 2016, the Ombudsman had, including the recent dismissal, dismissed Moreno 50 times from the service. But the complainants were dismayed because the DILG always serve the order late like when it served the dismissal order only in June, days before the city leadership turn over in July 2016.

However, the DILG was able to serve the Ombudsman order the day before the 10-day period required to serve the order expired. Thus, the then vice mayor assumed the post as city mayor.

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