CAGAYAN DE ORO - The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal of former Misamis Oriental Governor and now Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno and seven other government officials for leasing equipment without proper bidding.
Moreno and his co-accused approved the payment of P1.4 million for the lease of fuel tankers, trailer trucks, and vibratory road rollers from 2007 to 2012 without public bidding, the Ombudsman said in a statement released Thursday.
Moreno's co-accused - provincial Bids and Awards Committee members Patrick Gabutina, Elsie Lopoy, Rolando Pacuribot, Divina Bade, Cancio Guibone, Leemar Tinagan and Elmer Wabe - face six charges of graft and were ordered to vacate their posts.
The Ombudsman found Moreno and his co-accused guilty of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
"The order of dismissal carries the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and bar from taking the civil service examination," the Ombudsman said.
Moreno's camp has filed a motion for reconsideration at the Sandiganbayan.
It said the procurement of the lease did not require public bidding as the heavy equipment were used to immediately repair roads ravaged by typhoons Sendong and Pablo in 2011 and 2012.
Given the urgent need for road maintenance, resorting to "negotiated procurement" of the lease of heavy equipment, and skipping a public bidding, was well within the law, said the mayor's camp.
Moreno said he would remain seated as mayor while the case is still being heard.