By MARK FRANCISCO, Staff Writer
EMBATTLED Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno on Friday has asked the Office of the Ombudsman to reconsider its earlier decision dismissing him from service allegedly for various graft and corrupt practices acts.
In its motion for reconsideration, Moreno’s counsel Atty. Dale Mordeno argued that the same case that was lodged at the Office of the Ombudsman is still pending before the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Ombudsman could have committed “forum shopping” in rendering its decision.
On Thursday, the Office of the Ombudsman announced Moreno’s dismissal from service and filed multiple graft charges against him and seven others in connection with the lease of heavy equipment owned by the provincial government of Misamis Oriental when Moreno was still governor.
But Moreno hinted that the Ombudsman could have violated the rule against legal forum shopping considering that the same case is pending before COA.
This, after Moreno earlier appealed before the commission to review a special audit that was conducted at the Capitol concluding that there was absence of public bidding, rigged/simulated procurement and incomplete documents in the lease of heavy equipment between 2011 and 2012.
COA has yet to act on the petition when the latest Ombudsman’s decision came about.
Even then, the Ombudsman noted in its decision that “the appeals do not foreclose the (Ombudsman’s) authority to investigate (sic) because (it) is given the power to investigate on its own an illegal act or omission of a public official.”
The case stemmed from Moreno’s approval for lease payment of fuel tankers, trailer trucks and vibratory road rollers.
But Mordeno argued in his appeal before the Ombudsman that Moreno’s signatures in the documents in question do not necessarily mean that “he acted to conspire.”
“Moreno is necessarily at the tail-end of the procurement process when he approved and signed documents to disburse the rental expenses. This is known as the Arias doctrine,” Mordeno said, citing a 1989 Supreme Court ruling that the head of office is not required to examine every single detail of any transaction from its inception until it is finally approved.
Meanwhile, Moreno accused his political rivals of politicking after they have insisted for a special audit on the Capitol’s heavy equipment rentals despite the absence of any adverse finding on the yearly regular audits for 2011 and 2012.
Moreno was referring to Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincenti “Bambi” Emano, son of his political archrival and former Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Dongkoy Emano.
Gov. Emano, however, rebuked Moreno’s accusations saying that someone else could have followed up the case in the Office of the Ombudsman.
“I think as good citizens we should follow what was being ordered by the Ombudsman. Dili na nato kinahanglan nga ipahid pa ngadto sa lain ang atong salaod nga nahimo,” Emano said.
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