BACOLOD City Mayor Evelio Leonardia said Monday he is hopeful that the nine current and former city executives, who were also ordered dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman, can obtain a temporary restraining order (TRO) before the Court of Appeals.
Leonardia said lawyer Goldwyn Nifras, who was the Bids and Awards Committee chairperson, Department of Public Services head Nelson Sedillo Sr., City Engineer Belly Aguillon; City Engineer Aladino Agbones, City Engineer Jaries Ebenizer Encabo; BAC Secretariat head Melvin Recabar, former city budget officer Luzviminda Treyes, former city accountant Eduardo Ravena, and former city treasurer Annabelle Badajos filed separate petitions for the issuance of a TRO.
The Office of the Ombudsman had earlier ordered the dismissal from service of Leonardia and the nine others after they were found 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.
On Friday, the CA Visayas Station 18th Division in Cebu City granted a 60-dayTRO to Leonardia.
Leonardia said they filed separate petitions because they have different legal bases.
“I am an elected official and they are appointed officers. Our main argument is the Aguinaldo doctrine which applies only to elected officials. We already talked with their lawyers,” he said.
Leonardia added that he also talked to someone who can connect them to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to consider his appeal to give a chance to the other respondents while awaiting the decision for their petition for TRO.
“How I wish the order will not be implemented. I pity them. We got the TRO so it can also happen to them,” the mayor said.
Thousands of supporters of Leonardia Monday flocked to Bacolod Government Center for a thanksgiving mass for the granting of the TRO.
Also present were the political allies of Leonardia in Grupo Progreso, including Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, Councilors Bartolome Orola, Dindo Ramos, Em Ang, Caesar Distrito, Ricardo Tan, and Cindy Rojas.
Several barangay captains and village councilmen also came.
In his message, Leonardia said “if you recall, we were all here and we were all so confident that we had the legal basis to contest the decision. Deep in our hearts we know in the first place that it was all in good faith that we delivered to you this Government Center.”