CAGAYAN de Oro City–Malacañang ordered Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno to submit a verified answer (not a motion to dismiss) in 15 days in connection with the charges filed against him involving the missing P79 million, a former barangay official here said Wednesday.
William Guialani, the former village chief of Taglimao, an outskirt village of Cagayan de Oro City, the complainant against Moreno, said that he received the copy of the order Tuesday afternoon.
The order numbered OP-DC Case No. 17-H-146, furnished The Mindanao Daily News was dated August 18, 2017, signed by Ryan Alvin Acosta, Acting Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs of the Office of the President.
Guialani said that he has already signed the return card to prove that he has received the directive. “I don’t know if Moreno, who has the usual denial attitude, has received his copy,” he added.
Moreno’s lawyer has denied that the City Mayor has received the Malacañang order.
The Malacañang order pertains to the case involving the issuance of eight “unrecorded and unsubstantiated disbursement vouchers” with a total amount of P79 million by the City Treasurer in 2015 in favor of Oscar Moreno as the Payee.
The order cited the findings of the Commissions on Audit (COA) in Region 10 dated May 19, 2015, which reported that Moreno along with the city treasurer, city budget officer, and city accountant, “acted surreptitiously in releasing the eight checks.”
The checks cover the city government’s account in the Philippine Postal Service Bank, the Philippine Veterans Bank, the Land Bank of the Philippines, and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
According to the COA findings, the checks were issued and cashed out, but the covering vouchers, payrolls, and their documents were reportedly submitted in violation of COA circulars 2012-005 and COA circular 2009-006.
The COA reported that the eight checks were missing, not recorded in the books of account. The Malacañang order involved anti-graft cases filed against Moreno as Cagayan de Oro City Mayor.
In the same order, Malacañang dismissed the charges against the City Treasurer, City Budget Office, and City Accountant for the lack of jurisdiction.
Last week, Moreno obtained a consolidated temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Cagayan de Oro-based Court of Appeals (CA) in connection with six dismissal order by the Office of the Ombudsman involving graft and corruption cases.
His lawyers said that the CA granted their petition to issue a consolidated TRO involving the six dismissal orders of Moreno by the Office of the Ombudsman.
The Office of the Ombudsman has also issued a separate 18 dismissal order against Moreno after the City Mayor obtained a TRO against the six dismissal orders.
The case stemmed from an anti-graft cases filed when Moreno was then provincial governor of Misamis Oriental before he jumped to Cagayan de Oro City and ran for the city mayor.
Aside from ordering Moreno dismissed from service together with eight other city officials (formerly working at the provincial capitol in Misamis Oriental), the anti-graft court also filed 18 criminal cases against Moreno with the Sandiganbayan in August 2017.
Moreno is facing 48 anti-graft cases with the Office of the Ombudsman allegedly involving unauthorized and illegal rentals of heavy equipment amounting to P20.5 million considered by the COA as “fictitious.”
A month before the local elections in 2016, the Ombudsman had, including the recent dismissal, already dismissed Moreno 50 times from service, but the complainants were dismayed because the DILG always served the order late like when it served the dismissal order only in June, days before the city leadership changed hands in July 2016.
However, the DILG was able to serve the Ombudsman order the day before the 10-day period required to serve the order expired. Thus, the then Vice Mayor formally assumed the post as City Mayor.
Moreno, however, contested the DILG order and obtained a TRO from the local CA although the dismissal order was already served and the Vice Mayor already officially installed.
Since 2016 until 2017, Moreno easily gets TRO and subsequently the writ of preliminary injunction (WPI) from the CA every time a dismissal order by the Office of the Ombudsman is issued against him.