CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 16 Nov) – Trouble was averted at City Hall Monday after the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) asked dismissed mayor Oscar Moreno and supporters of newly-installed mayor Ian Acenas, to refrain from holding separate flag raising rites as residents await resolution of the problem on who is the rightful mayor of the city.
DILG Undersecretary Aostere Panadero instead sent a contingent of 300 policemen, some in anti-riot gear, to raise the Philippine flag at City Hall Monday.
RIOT GEAR. Police anti-riot gear laid aside near Police Station 1 in Cagayan de Oro City after the regional office of the Department of Interior and Local Government defused a potential trouble at City Hall Monday, Nov. 16. The DILG asked dismissed mayor Oscar Moreno and newly–installed mayor Ian Acenas to refrain from holding separate flag ceremonies to ease tension in the city. This, as residents await resolution on who is the rightful mayor of the city. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
“We were ordered by the DILG to prevent supporters of both sides from going against each other. We have to maintain peace and order,” Police Station 1 commander Chief Inspector Victor Cacdac said.
Cacdac said policemen were also sent to guard all the gates of City Hall and to frisk everyone coming in for hidden weapons.
“We want to prevent their followers from making trouble and ensure the public has safe access,” he said.
Panadero sent the request to Moreno and the Padayon Pilipino’s Acenas, the vice mayor who was sworn in as mayor on Thursday night.
The DILG asked Moreno and Acenas not to hold separate flag raising rites while they wait for advise and instructions from the Office of the Ombudsman.
”We deemed it prudent to seek the advise of our principal, the Ombudsman, on how to proceed with the TRO issued by the Court of Appeals,” Panadero said.
The Court of Appeals issued the TRO Friday after Moreno and his co-accused, Glenn Banez, officer-in-charge of the City Treasurer’s Office, filed a petition for certiorari assailing the Office of the Ombudsman’s decision to dismiss them for grave misconduct.
The DILG carried out the order last November 12.
In their motions for reconsideration, Moreno and Banez said the Office of the Ombudsman decided their case without taking into consideration their counter-affidavits which the investigators claimed they did not receive.
“The Supreme Court in a recent ruling gave the Court of Appeals the power to review cases decided by the Ombudsman and grant ancillary reliefs, “ Justice Henri Jean Paul Inteng of the CA 22nd Division said.
Inteng directed the DILG and all concerned agencies not to implement the Ombudsman’s decision for 60 days pending the resolution of the motion for reconsiderations filed by Moreno and Banez.
Panadero said they are hopeful the Ombudsman would decide on the issue of who is the mayor of Cagayan de Oro now but as of 8 p.m. Monday, no order or notice arrived at City Hall from DILG region 10.
Moreno and Acenas had agreed to heed the request of the DILG to prevent any trouble at City Hall.
Councilor Ramon Tabor of Padayon Pilipino said they are recognizing Acenas as the city mayor and Councilor Candy Darimbang as the vice mayor after the DILG swore them into office Thursday night.
Tabor said the TRO issued by the Court of Appeals is considered “moot and academic” after the DILG swore in Acenas and Darimbang.
“We have to perform our duties otherwise the DILG might charge us with dereliction of duty,” Darimbang said.
Darimbang presided the City Council’s session Monday afternoon.
Moreno called on his and Padayon Pilipino supporters to exercise caution “in order not to add to the overwhelming emotions that may result to violence.”
“We stand on solid legal ground therefore we call upon the DILG to take definitive action to defuse escalating tension and obviate possible violent outbursts,” Moreno said in a statement. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)