By LITO RULONA
THE Department of Interior and Local Government yesterday delivered five dismissal and disqualification orders against Mayor Oscar Moreno to city hall through the office of Vice Mayor Raineir Joaquin Uy.
But unlike in late 2015 when a similar order from the ombudsman was delivered to city hall, no one was hurriedly sworn in as the new mayor or new vice mayor.
The Court of Appeals meanwhile issued a 60-day temporary restraining order against the implementation of the five ombudsman orders. The TRO was received by city administrator Dionne Gersana at around 7:35 pm.
In a six-page letter, DILG regional director Arnel Agabe informed Moreno that his office was serving the orders from the Office of the Ombudsman based on five Sept. 8, 2017 memoranda he received from Interior Undersecretary Austere Panadero.
Agabe “served” the dismissal order to the Office of the City Vice Mayor, and the city council at around 4:30 pm yesterday, right after the local legislature ended its Monday session. Those who reportedly received it were city secretary Arturo de San Miguel and a staff member at Uy’s office identified only as “Bing.”
Uy was not there to receive the ombudsman’s orders from Agabe — the vice mayor is reportedly in Manila on official business.
It remained unclear at presstime why the DILG director opted to handcarry the five orders to Uy’s office instead of bringing these to the mayor’s office.
Jim Calambria, a city hall guard, said that although Moreno was not around at that time, the mayor’s office was open the entire afternoon. He said no one from DILG went to the mayor’s office.
This paper checked and found Moreno’s office with people inside, including city social services office head Teodoro Sabuga-a, at around 6:30 pm.
The DILG’s move was based on five recent decisions of the ombudsman to dismiss and perpetually disqualify Moreno from public office for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. The cases stemmed from the capitol’s repeated lease of heavy equipment without public biddings when Moreno was the governor.
Aside from Moreno, those slapped with dismissal orders were former members of the capitol’s bids and awards committee: Elmer Wabe, Patrick Gabutina, Rolando Pacuribot, Elsie Lopoy, Divina Bade, and administrative aide Leemar Tinagan. (with a report from cong b. corrales)