By NITZ ARANCON
MAYOR Oscar Moreno’s lawyer yesterday said the interior department cannot serve the latest order of the Office of the Ombudsman to dismiss and bar the local chief executive from public office because of a Court of Appeals injunction against it.
Lawyer Dale Bryan Mordeno argued that the Dec. 12 ombudsman decision on the case is among the over 20 administrative cases that were consolidated and covered by a writ of preliminary injunction issued by the appellate court last year.
In a decision approved on Dec. 12, 2017, the ombudsman directed the secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government to implement the dismissal order.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales found Moreno and three others guilty of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and ordered their dismissal from the service in connection with agreements between the capitol and Equiprent Corp. from October 2009 to October 2010 for the lease of heavy equipment for P2.9 million.
Moreno was Misamis Oriental’s governor during that period.
The Commission on Audit found the rental of heavy equipment and the disbursement for payments irregular due to lack of public bidding and the necessary documents as required underthe Government Procurement Reform Act.
The ombudsman also said former acting provincial budget officer Elmer Wabe, former provincial administrator Patrick Gabutina, and former assistant provincial engineer Rolando Pacuribot were administratively liable.
Mordeno said the decision of the ombudsman, which he received on Dec. 22, 2017, was not a cause for worry.
Along with over 20 other cases, it was initially stopped with the issuance of a temporary restraining order and subsequently, a writ of preliminary injunction by the CA.
“Gani man nag-expire na ang temporary restraining order ana ug naka-nakakuha na usab kami ug writ of preliminary injunction ana,” Mordeno said.
Aside from dismissal from the government service, the ombudsman’s order also means perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of civil service eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and bar from taking the civil service examinations.
Mordeno said the ombudsman’s ruling could no longer be implemented against the officials, and “wala nay bili” because of the writ of preliminary injunction.
“Consolidation… Ang nahitabo man gud ani, pag-gawas gyud sa decision sa ombudsman… nagsunod-sunod man gud na, nagtinagsa ba… Unya pag-file namo og motion for reconsideration, amo dayon nga gipa-consolidate kay aron mausa ra kay ma-o ra man ang issue sa kaso — kadto lagi kunong rental sa mga heavy equipment sa kapitolyo sa una nga wala kunoy bidding,” he said “Mao na nga medyo libog kaayo ba kon dili nimo masunod kaso kay gitinagsa man gud sa ombudsman ang ilang denial sa among MR (motion for reconsideration).”