FORMER senator Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel said Mayor Oscar Moreno should “fight for what he thinks is right” and stand his ground against what the former city mayor and Senate President characterized as political harassment.
Pimentel said political harassment often comes with being a public official and recalled that he, too, was a victim of political persecution during the time of former President Ferdinand Marcos.
The elder Pimentel, father of incumbent Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, served as city mayor from 1980-1984. As city mayor, Pimentel was imprisoned and removed from office for his opposition to Marcos.
"Mayor Moreno, nga magpabilin kang mayor para sa kaayohan sa nasud. Kanang mga harassment batok kanimo, tipik kana sa imong public position," he said.
Pimentel, who spoke in a forum on federalism on Tuesday, September 26, also came to the defense of Moreno saying that ‘chopping up’ one case just to harass a public official is unjustifiable.
Pimentel, however, said while he has not read facts of the charges against Moreno, he has been told about the political predicament of Moreno.
Moreno on Monday, September 25, was almost removed from office after the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) implemented 5 dismissal orders by the Office of the Ombudsman stemming from Moreno’s time as governor of Misamis Oriental.
Moreno’s camp, however, insisted that the service of the Ombudsman dismissal orders had no effect as these were not served to Moreno personally.
Moreno's team also got a temporary restraining order and status quo ante order on the same day the DILG served the Ombudsman orders.
"Tinuod pagkasulti, natingala kaayo ko, porbida kadaghan ba kaayong asunto ang gaatubangon ni Mayor Moreno, unya gipahibalo nila kanako na usa ra na ka asunto pero ila kanang gi chop chop. Dili man tingali matarong kana, sa akong tan-aw lang, ako abogado di man ako makahatag ug hugpong nga tubag unless I see the readings, but from afar, dili man tingali matarong na ang usa ka asunto imong himuon sa daghan aron ma-harras mo ang hingtungdan nga official, on that principle, dili maayo (Honestly, I am confused why he is facing so many cases and I learned, this is one just one case but was intentionaly chopped. This is unfair, for me, from afar, I can say it is unfair that you chop one case only to harass an official, on that principle, that is not a good practice) ," the 83 years old Pimentel said.
Pimentel said while it is good that the mayor can avail of legal remedies such as the temporary restraining order, he said the ‘current practice’ of the Office of the Ombudsman is unfair.
"Political harassment kini. Usa sa mga ahensya sa gobyerno na gi-atasan aron walay political harassment mao ang Ombudsman, pero ang Ombudsman, pananglitan si (Conchita) Carpio-Morales, magsalig man sab na siya sa iyang regional Ombudsman na naa sa Davao, you see? So daghan kaayo ang angay pang buhaton (This is political harassment. One of the agencies of government tasked to prevent political harassment is the Ombudsman, but the Ombudsman, for example, Carpio Morales, she will also only depend on its regional office in Davao. So there are still so much to do)," he said.
"Kanang idea lang nga buk-on nimo ang usa ka kaso nga himuon daghan, murag dili na matarong, speaking from afar (The idea that you break a case into pieces to make it into multiple cases, it's not fair, speaking from afar)," Pimentel added.
Moreno’s accuser, Antonio Nuñez, earlier said he only filed plunder and three other complaints against Moreno over the allegedly anomalous lease of heavy equipment without public bidding.
Nuñez, however, said it is the Ombudsman chopped up his complaints, from 4 cases to a total of 48 administrative and criminal cases against the mayor and former members of the Provincial Government's bids and awards committee.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 28, 2017.