Moreno sworn in but Ombudsman suspends him and two others in new case

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 1 July) – Mayor Oscar Moreno was sworn into office Friday morning after winning the May elections, besting two tough political rivals for his second term of office as chief executive of this city.

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Reelected Mayor Oscar Moreno being sworn into office by former Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. MindaNews photo by Froilan Gallardo

Former Senator Aquilino Pimentel swore in Moreno and his two political allies – Rep. Rolando “Klarex” Uy (First Dist., Cagayan de Oro) and his son, Vice Mayor Joaquin Uy, in a ceremony at the Freedom Kiosk in Divisoria Friday morning.

But the rejoicing for the political victories were short lived.

On the same day, the Office of the Ombudsman ordered the suspension of Moreno and two other city government officials for three months without pay.

The Ombudsman directed the Department of Interior and Local Government Region 10 office to implement its order immediately.

The order came as a blow for Moreno who had to stave off an attempt by his political rivals to implement another order from the Ombudsman dismissing him and city treasurer Glenn Banez in the Ajinomoto tax case.

Vice Mayor Ian Acenas of the Padayon Pilipino, who was defeated by the younger Uy, asked the DILG last Monday to implement the Ombudsman’s order and threatened to occupy City Hall.

Moreno promptly dismissed Acenas’s move by citing a decision from the Court of Appeals on June 22, 2016.

In its decision today, Friday, the Ombudsman said Moreno, city budget officer Percy Salazar and city accountant Beda Joy Elot violated Section 3 (e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or Republic Act No. 3019 for entering into a lease contract for a building to house promising young boxers without authority from the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

The young boxers undergo training at the house in Aluba, Barangay Macasandig to prepare and compete in national events under the city’s Sports Development Program for Professional and Amateur Boxing.

The Ombudsman said records showed the city government disbursed a total of P175,000 in rental payments for the lease contract which has no prior authority from the City Council.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the filing of criminal information against Moreno and the two other city officials.

She also ordered Moreno, Salazar and Elot to be administratively suspended for three months without pay.