THE Court of Appeals (CA) has temporarily stopped the implementation of six dismissal orders against Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno on Tuesday, August 29.
The CA granted the request of Moreno's camp for the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction, which is a remedy from the court that prevents the execution of the dismissal order from the Office of the Ombudsman while the cases against the mayor are being resolved.
Moreno received the copy of the 11-page resolution at 3:17 p.m., Tuesday, issued by the CA's former Special 23rd Division and signed by Associate Justices Louis Acosta, Edgardo Camello, and Oscar Badelles.
Last June 8, the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal of Moreno from service, owing to the multiple charges of graft filed against him and seven others for the lease of heavy equipment without the conduct of public bidding when Moreno was still governor of the province.
The Ombudsman found Moreno, along with the other petitioners, guilty of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
In July, Moreno was again slapped with another five dismissal orders but the CA issued a 60-day reprieve stopping its implementation.
Prior to the case's resolution, the CA requested the Ombudsman to resolve the petitioners' joint motion for reconsideration "with utmost dispatch."
The Ombudsman, however, said the petitions were "prematurely filed," adding that the petitions lack merit as petitioners failed to disclose any evidence that would show the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in finding the petitioners administratively liable.
The Ombudsman also noted that the issuance of the temporary restraining orders were "erroneous" and further argued that a writ of preliminary injunction should not have been issued as the decisions were immediately executory.
In the resolution, the CA pointed out that the Ombudsman cannot insist that their decisions and orders are immediately executory, since it still has not resolved the petitioners' motion for reconsideration.
"As this Court has previously noted, while the Rules of Procedure of the Ombudsman provide that decisions shall be executory pending appeal, the said provision clearly refers to a situation where a motion for reconsideration has already been resolved, or where the period for filing one has already lapsed," the resolution stated.
The CA added, "the ends of justice and fairness would be better served if the motion for reconsideration was first resolved before the penalty will be implemented."
"Wherefore, this Court resolves to grant petitioners application for the issuance of injunction in order to prevent grave and irreparable injury to petitioners, and so as not to render the instant petitions moot and academic pending their resolution," it added.
Moreno thanked lawyer Dale Mordeno, the mayor's legal counsel, and the public for their support.
"Mapasalamaton kita kay nakab-ot na gyud ang hustisya. (We are grateful because justice has been served)," Moreno said.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 30, 2017.