Tension eases in De Oro as acting mayor steps down
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—The week-long tension that gripped city hall because of the Ombudsman’s order unseating Mayor Oscar Moreno for gross misconduct has ended.
Vice Mayor Caesar Ian Acenas, who was installed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as acting mayor, has stepped down.
Acenas said he was vacating the mayor’s office in deference to the 60-day temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) in favor of Moreno.
Councilor Lourdes Darimbang also said she was vacating the vice mayor’s office.
Darimbang said she voluntarily stepped down as acting vice mayor after the CA made it clear in a resolution on Wednesday that the TRO it issued in favor of Moreno last week is tantamount to status quo order.
The DILG sought CA clarification amid the confusion caused by its installation of Acenas. Moreno had contested the Ombudsman decision and claimed it was not final and executory. He continued to function as mayor.
The confusion extended to depository banks, which withheld funds as they were uncertain on who to recognize as mayor.
With Acenas stepping down, the banks started honoring Moreno’s signature on Thursday.
On the same day, city hall employees were able to draw their salaries.
The CA’s special 22nd division ruled that the Nov. 13 TRO stopped the Ombudsman’s Nov. 5 order unseating the mayor and other officials for gross misconduct over a tax deal with Ajinomoto Phils.
The CA said the DILG’s serving of the Ombudsman dismissal order on Nov. 12 “was not consummated as the decision was served improperly by the DILG.”
The CA had directed the DILG to restore status quo at city hall.
“That precisely is the status referred to in a TRO…,” said the CA in its second resolution.
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