CA reinstalls Oscar Moreno as CDO mayor
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Court of Appeals on Wednesday issued a resolution affirming Oscar Moreno’s authority to remain in office as Cagayan de Oro City mayor, despite the earlier installation by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) of Vice Mayor Caesar Ian Acenas as acting mayor.
The appellate court’s Special 22nd Division issued the ruling after Moreno filed a motion for reconsideration on the Ombudsman ruling that dismissed him from service. The Court of Appeals also ruled that the November 13 temporary restraining order (TRO) granted to Moreno and acting city treasurer Glenn Bañez effectively stopped the Ombudsman’s Nov. 5 order.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales had dismissed the mayor and Bañez for gross misconduct over a tax deal with Ajinomoto Philippines.
Acenas’ camp has claimed the 60-day TRO was moot and academic as it was issued a day after the vice mayor was installed as acting mayor.
But the CA said it was not the case.
The appellate court said the DILG’s serving of the Ombudsman dismissal order on November 12 “was not consummated as the decision was served improperly by the DILG.”
It noted Moreno’s claim that he was not personally served the order and that the DILG only posted it on the wall of the ground floor of the Legislative Bldg.
In this resolution, penned by Associate Justice Henri Jean Paul Inting and signed by Associate Justices Edgardo Camello and Pablito Perez, the CA also directed the DILG to restore the status quo at City Hall.
“In the instant case, the last, actual, peaceable and uncontested condition before the DILG served the assailed (sic) Ombudsman Decision is petitioner Oscar Moreno sitting as the elected Cagayan de Oro City Mayor and Glenn Bañez as the Officer-in-Charge of the City Treasurer’s Office,” the resolution reads.
“That precisely is the status referred to in a TRO taking into account the litany of decisions defining how a TRO operates,” it added.
“In fact, the DILG has correctly understood and captured the concept and essence of a restraining order,” the resolution said.
Lawyer Dale Bryan Mordeno, head of Moreno’s legal team, said the CA resolution has put to rest the issue of who, between Moreno and Acenas, should sit as the mayor.
Mordeno said the CA resolution should now make Acenas stop discharging the functions of the mayor and revert to his previous position as the city’s vice mayor.
“If Acenas persists in functioning as the mayor, he can be charged with usurpation of authority,” Mordeno said.
Lawyer Janet Nuñez, a member of Acenas’ legal team, maintained that the vice mayor was legally installed as acting mayor.
“He can only be removed legally,” she said.
Asked for comment on the CA’s November 18 resolution, Nuñez, in a text message, said they have not received a copy of the order. SFM
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