CAGAYAN de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno is facing another batch of cases as the Office of the Ombudsman came out with five administrative and nine criminal complaints against the mayor stemming from alleged anomalous equipment rentals when he was still Misamis Oriental governor.
Lawyer Dale Mordeno, Moreno’s legal counsel, said a total of 26 cases already came out against the mayor out of the 48 cases filed by Antonio Nuñez for the allegedly anomalous equipment rental.
Of the 26 cases, 15 are criminal cases, while the other 11 cases administrative in nature.
Mordeno said he filed a motion for reconsideration before the Ombudsman on Monday, September 11, and if need be, will again file a petition for the issuance of TRO before the CA to prevent the mayor’s dismissal.
Moreno reiterated that prices of the rented equipment were reasonable and that the people of the province benefited from the said equipment.
Moreno likened the cases to political harassment saying his critics are only using the legal forum to immobilize him and to prevent him from performing.
"Ang question karon, when will this end? Sa kang Dongkoy, humana man siguro ang istorya," he said, referring to former mayor Vicente Emano.
"But let me point out that to destroy is not the way to get the mandate of the people, not by demolishing other rivals, that is not the way to demolish other people, mao na ilang gibuhat kang Elizaga, Tagarda, Lagbas, even kang Ambing, Atty. Soriano, tanan nga potential rivals, demolition was the key. Dongkoy has never been known to be a performer, Dongkoy is a good demolisher," he said.
"Pero, I think the worst is over now. Naa pa gihapon ang demolition, pero I hope remnants nalang ni," he added.
Moreno explained that he needed to rent the equipment since the province then could not afford to buy its own equipment.
He said when he assumed office, the province had no money because of the huge debt incurred by the province-run Misamis Oriental Telephone System, Incorporated (Msortel).
"When I assumed office, daghan kaayong problema sa probinsya. Number 1 walay equipment atong Provincial Engineer, wala gani backhoe, walay pison, ikaduha, walay kwarta ang Misamis Oriental, tungod sa utang Misortel, kay remember, half a billion pesos, giutang sa panahon ni Dongkoy for the expansion of Misortel, pero grabe na expansion wala man nahitabo, they were targeting more than 30,000 subscribers, pero wala gane muabot ug 15,000," he said.
"The subsidy then in 2004 was already P48 million, unya dili man mahimo na dili kini bayran kay naka-assign man diha ang IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment( sa probinsya sa DBP, so sigeng bayad ang province, minus ang revenue sa Misortel, walay revenue," he added.
The mayor said the money that could have been used for the infrastructure, and other projects was not available anymore, thus resorted to the rental.
Mordeno, meanwhile, said the mayor is "standing on good ground."
He said this was affirmed when the SC last week cleared the magistrates of the CA-Mindanao Station from accusations it committed a mistake when it issued Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO) and Writ of Preliminary Injunctions (WPI), against the implementation of the dismissal order which found Moreno, along with former city treasurer Glen Bañez, of having committed grave misconduct for entering into an alleged illegal tax settlement agreement with Ajinomoto Philippines.
Mordeno said there is a good chance that their case has a shot at the SC.
"Ang tubag, we cannot pre-empt the decision of the Supreme Court in the main case, but we can pretty well say that we are standing on good grounds, for one, because, there are factual and legal basis on the issuance of the TRO, the same is true to the issuance of WPI," he said.
Mordeno also said that there are "technical deficiency" in Guialani's petition, which he doubts that the latter can comply.
"So we will see, but we can say that we are standing on good grounds, and to us, that is enough, of course Guialani can still file motion for reconsideration, but you must remember that the decision was rendered En Banc, meaning tanan Justices nagpirma, even the Chief Justice, unanimous pa gayud, so I doubt if that can be reversed," he said.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 13, 2017.