THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) dismissed the disqualification case filed by Taglimao village chair William Guialani against Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno during the May 2016 elections.
Lawyer Dale Bryan Mordeno, Moreno’s legal counsel, said the Comelec dismissed the case on the grounds that the Office of the Ombudsman still has to make a final decision on the Ajinomoto tax settlement case.
Mordeno said they received a copy of the decision Thursday afternoon.
"We just received the decision that the case was already dismissed because, according to the Comelec, the disqualification that was made by Guialani as ground to disqualify Moreno was not yet final. Mayor Moreno had filed an appeal at the Court of Appeals (CA) and in fact, the CA granted him earlier with a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction," Mordeno said.
Guialani in his complaint said that the Comelec should disqualify Moreno from the 2016 mayoral race because of this. Or if he wins, the Comelec should suspend Moreno’s proclamation on the basis that he has been perpetually barred from holding public office in relation to the Ajinomoto case.
But Mordeno said they argued that the decision was not final following the filing of legal remedies at the CA.
"Guialani said in his complaint nga Mayor Moreno can’t run because na-dismiss siya sa Ombudsman, tungod sa Ajinomoto case, but among contention, tinuod lage nga naay Ombudsman decision pero wala man to nahimong final kay amo man nadala sa Court of Appeals unya gani gi-issuehan pa ug TRO and WPI," Mordeno said.
"And then he said, gi-deny ang MR pero gi-appeal naman pud namo sa CA so para namo wala gyud nahimong final ang decision kay under review paman siya sa Court of Appeals, naa man sa rules nga ang decision sa Ombudsman pwede i-appeal sa CA, so dili pa gayud siya final," Mordeno added.
Mordeno said Guialani can still contest the Comelec decision.
"He can still file but the fact is klaro na kaayo, we have two decisions favoring us already, one from the CA and this one from the Comelec, I dont think he will be able to change the view of the justices that wrote and made the ruling," Mordeno said.
"Kung mag-motion for reconsideration siya, samot na gane nga among ingnon ang Comelec na naay desisyon ang CA nga gi-dismiss na and as I have said, the CA ruling favoring us will be persuasive with the other cases against us," he said.
Mordeno said there is still a pending case against Moreno at the Comelec, particularly the Quo Warranto filed by former mayor Vicente Emano.
Emano had petitioned the Comelec to declare him mayor following Moreno’s dismissal by the Ombudsman over the tax settlement case.
Mordeno, however, said the CA ruling would have a positive implication on the Quo Warranto case.
"The Quo-warranto is not yet done, but Quo Warranto and disqualification case practically have the same grounds so we are confident that mao ni ang sunod ma-dismiss," Mordeno said.
Last Monday, October 17, Moreno's camp received a copy of the CA ruling that threw out the ruling of the Office of the Ombudsman dismissing Mayor Oscar Moreno and City Treasurer Glenn Bañez.
The CA had reversed the Ombudsman’s decision on the tax settlement case for lack of merit.