Incumbent Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno recently expressed confidence the slew of cases filed against him by the opposition party would ultimately be dismissed.
“It’s true a lot of cases have been filed against me but almost all have been dismissed,” Moreno said during the Mayoralty Debate sponsored by dxIF Bombo Radyo last Saturday, April 6.
Moreno is optimistic none of the cases would prosper since these were obviously politically-motivated. He identified former city mayor Vicente Emano as the mastermind behind the filing of charges almost every month to malign him and his leadership of the city.
Atty. Dale Bryan Mordeno, Moreno’s chief legal counsel, said of over 100 cases filed again the chief executive and his key officials by parties in the opposition, only 16 are still pending
“Because they can find nothing adverse against him, they trump up charges against Mayor Moreno — in a way, weaponizing legal cases, which is bad for our justice system,” said City Administrator Teodoro Sabuga-a, Jr. “All these cases are baseless, unfounded and meant to drag him down.”
“The pattern is clear — the people filing complaints against him are either connected to the local opposition he defeated in the last two elections or those whom he refused to give concessions to protect the interest of the city,” he added.
Sabuga-a identified the complainants who filed the most cases against Moreno as William Guiliani, barangay chair of Barangay Taglimao; Engr. Antonio Nunez, whose wife is the lawyer of former vice mayor Caesar Ian Acenas, and former Puntod barangay chairman Marvin Beja, who all belong to the opposition Padayon Pilipino party founded by former Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Vicente Y. Emano whom Moreno beat soundly in the last two elections.
Having previously served as Cagayan de Oro City Mayor for a total of 12 years and as Vice Mayor for 3 years, Emano is again seeking election as Vice Mayor.
Guialani’s resentment against Moreno arose from the Mayor’s disapproval of a lease agreement between City Hall and Wishing Star Corporation for the use of a portion of the Carmen Market which the chief executive thought disadvantageous to the city.
In all the cases filed against Moreno, there was no evidence he profited and/or misused public funds. The equipment rental cases when he was governor of Misamis Oriental was twitted as irregular because there was no bidding, although existing procurement laws allowed other options such as “shopping,” under certain conditions.
The Commission of Audit regional office in Northern Mindanao stated a report that: “It is incontrovertible that services have been rendered, services of equipment not found exceeding the prevailing rental rules, benefits enjoyed by the public, and the accomplishments duly recognized and cited.”
Mordeno said he is confident Moreno will overcome these legal cases which he said are actually politically-motivated.
Guiliani filed the Ajinomoto tax settlement case, the administrative and criminal aspects of which have been dismissed by the Court of Appeals and the Office of the Ombudsman, respectively.
The administrative aspect of the 24 cases for alleged equipment rental when Moreno was still governor of Misamis Oriental have been merged into one case by the Court of Appeals which also issued a Writ of Preliminary Injunction on the cases that meted the mayor with the penalty of dismissal and perpetual disqualification from public office.
Two of the 24 criminal cases have been dismissed by the Sandiganbayan and the remaining 22 consolidated into one case.
The cases filed by Beja for augmentation of budget for the successful sports program of the mayor have also been dismissed, as have been another two filed by Acenas.
Moreno, who is the standard bearer under the administration PDP-Laban, is seeking re-election for his 3rd and last term, with a platform touting the need to complete what remains unfinished from his first two terms.
These include building over 600 classrooms in 15 school campuses around the city; modernizing the 200-bed JR Borja Memorial City Hospital; constructing of two 50-bed hospitals to relieve congestion in the Northern Mindanao Medical Center and city hospital; concreting of around 175-kms of farm-to-market roads; distribution of over 2,000 land titles to informal settlers; and the construction and operation of a Sanitary Landfill that is compliant with RA 9003.
Cagayan de Oro City has consistently been ranked in the Top 10 of the Most Competitive Urban Cities of the Philippine Competitiveness Council during Moreno’s incumbency and ranked fifth in the Highly Urbanized Cities Category and No. 1 in Resiliency for 2018.
Also in 2018, Cagayan de Oro was a recipient of Jury’s Award – Asian Townscape Awards for the “Hapsay Sapa: Surging Towards Resilience” project. Cagayan de Oro City was also a recipient of the Gawad Galing Pook awards for “Rising Up from the Mud” (Empowering People After Sendong)  and “No Vote Ibot No More”  (the story of awarding land titles to informal settlers).
Cagayan de Oro was recognized with the Seal of Good Education Governance in 2017 and 2018. (RMB)