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De Oro mayor arraigned

/ 07:05 AM December 09, 2018

BID TO KEEP POWER Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno waves to supporters during his filing of candidacy for reelection —JIGGER J. JERUSALEM

The Sandiganbayan’s Second Division on Friday arraigned Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno on 13 graft cases, even as it reset the start of pretrial on seven other graft charges.

The 20 graft cases involved transactions with private companies made by the Cagayan de Oro City government which were alleged to be grossly disadvantageous to the government and resulted in multimillion peso losses.

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Complainants against Moreno alleged that the mayor bypassed the city council in allocating funds for the projects and kept the council in the dark.

79 cases

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Moreno faces a total of 79 graft cases, which are currently lodged at the Sandiganbayan, Court of Appeals, Supreme Court and the Office of the President.

Moreno, in his weekly program at radio station dxCC in Cagayan de Oro, said he welcomed his arraignment because it meant he would be given his day in court.

Moreno said his detractors just wanted to disrupt his official functions as mayor by filing a barrage of cases against him.

“They want to make my life difficult, to taint my name,” he said.

“We will overcome all of these. We will prevail,” he added.

8 checks

Complainants who filed cases against Moreno alleged that the mayor violated several laws—Government Procurement Act, Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and the Local Government Code of 1991.

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In one of the cases, complainant Clemente Atoc alleged that acting city treasurer Glenn Bañez, accountant Beda Joy Elot and another city government employee, Percy Salazar, issued eight checks worth P79 million in favor of Moreno, who eventually exchanged these for cash.

Moreno, the complaint said, neither informed nor sought approval of the city council for the issuance and exchange of the checks.

No bidding

Moreno, who served as Misamis Oriental governor for three terms before becoming mayor, is running for reelection in 2019, facing Pompee La Viña, who headed the social media department of the Duterte campaign in 2016.

Several of the cases involved rental of heavy equipment without public bidding for road projects during Moreno’s tenure as governor.

At least P20.5 million was spent on heavy equipment rental from 2007 to 2012 during Moreno’s term as governor.

The Office of the Ombudsman said Moreno and his coaccused resorted to negotiated procurement.—JIGGER J. JERUSALEM

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TAGS: graft cases, Oscar Moreno, Sandiganbayan
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