BACOLOD City Mayor Evelio Leonardia said Sunday, January 22, that he is thankful that the Court of Appeals (CA) granted his petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) that will now give him more time to make his case.

"This is good news, but our journey has just begun, our quest for justice, our fight for what is right, our search for validation of our brand of public service," Leonardia said in a press statement.

On Friday, the CA Visayas Station 18th Division in Cebu City granted a 60-day TRO to Leonardia, who is facing a dismissal order from the Office of the Ombudsman, which found him guilty for grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty in the procurement of furniture and fixtures for Bacolod Government Center amounting to almost P50 million in 2008.

The mayor has been ordered to post a bond of P100,000.

"In granting us the TRO, the CA said 'the abandonment of the condonation doctrine should not have a retroactive effect as to prejudice the petitioner for the acts he committed when said doctrine was still recognized' and that petitioner's reliance on the defense of condonation prior to its abandonment should be respected," he cited the order.

The CA added: "It seems that in the prospective abandonment of the condonation doctrine, the reckoning point should be the day when the administrative infraction was allegedly committed. In the instant case, this would be the day when petitioner Leonardia signed the purchase order and other documents in 2008. Thus, petitioner has a clear and unmistakable right to the injunctive relief sought."

"After 2008, we were re-elected mayor in 2010, congressman in 2013, and elected mayor again for a fifth term in 2016," the mayor said.

He added: "We accept the TRO with gratitude, and a resolve to get to the bottom of these issues not just to clear our names, but to show our people and the future generations that the right and the good will always draw favor from justice."

"I personally thank the people of Bacolod for their unstinting trust and confidence, for standing by me and the rest of their public officials in this case. Their overwhelming show of support is such a big source of inspiration," Leonardia added.