Cagayan de Oro mayor dismissed again for graft
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has again ordered the dismissal of Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno, this time over a spate of cases involving the anomalous lease of road maintenance equipment from 2007 to 2012.
Morales issued a second round of administrative sanctions against Moreno for grave misconduct and serious dishonesty in connection with the “fictitious transactions” for heavy equipment, the antigraft court announced on Wednesday.
The cases arose from dozens of contracts entered into by the Misamis Oriental provincial government when Moreno was still its governor.
The Ombudsman already ordered Moreno’s dismissal in June over specific contracts involving the province’s P20.5-million road maintenance program.
The Court of Appeals’ Special 23rd Division, however, issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday stopping the Ombudsman’s June order.
Because the second batch of cases was not covered by the said injunction, the Department of the Interior and Local Government could enforce Moreno’s dismissal from public office, the Ombudsman said.
Morales found probable cause to order Moreno’s criminal indictment for 18 counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as well as one count of falsification of public documents.
The Misamis Oriental contracts were disallowed by the Commission on Audit (COA) in January 2015. In a report, COA said the transactions were fictitious “as suppliers denied participation in the bidding process.”
Moreno and several provincial procurement officials allegedly resorted to the procurement method of shopping to rent the tankers and road rollers. An excavator was also leased through negotiated procurement.
The Ombudsman said that under the Government Procurement Reform Act, shopping may only be used for regular office supplies or equipment. There was also no emergency situation to justify the negotiated procurement of an excavator.
Moreno’s co-respondents were former provincial accountant Divina Bade, and bids and awards committee members Cancio Guibone, Elmer Wabe, Patrick Gabutina, Rolando Pacuribot, Danilo Maputol, Elsie Lopoy and Leemar Tinagan.
In August 2015, the Ombudsman also found the mayor administratively liable for settling the tax dues of Ajinomoto Philippines for P300,000, instead of pursuing the firm’s P2.92-million deficiency, in 2014.
The Court of Appeals, however, set it aside in October 2016 for lack of evidence.
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