ALL IN THE FAMILY
Be it in Aloguinsan town in southern Cebu or Lapu-Lapu City on Mactan Island, the dismissed or suspended official will be replaced by a relative or an ally.
Aloguinsan Mayor Augustus Caesar Moreno’s projected departure from office will not be the end of his family’s political career.
A younger Moreno, the mayor’s son, in fact, will not only take over the post that the mayor will vacate but is also expected to continue the programs that his father has started.
Cesare Ignatius “Ig-ig” Moreno, 32, the mayor’s oldest child, is now serving as the town vice mayor. He will be appointed mayor as soon as the dismissal order on his father is served by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) 7.
In Lapu-lapu City, suspended Mayor Paz Radaza is being replaced by an ally, Vice Mayor Marcial Ycong while a nephew, first Councilor Harry Don Radaza, will take over as vice mayor.
Augustus Moreno along with his spouse, former mayor Cynthia Moreno, and five other municipal employees who were members of the town’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) in 2010, were ordered dismissed from service by the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas.
The anti-graft office found the Morenos as well as BAC members Pepito Maguilimotan, Nonela Villegas, Marilyn Flordeliza, Gertrudes Ababon and Evangeline Manigos guilty of grave misconduct for municipal purchases of nearly P300,000 worth of food items from a bakery owned by Cynthia in 2010. During that time Cynthia was the mayor for the first half of the year before she relinquished the seat to her husband, then the incoming mayor.
Pending the implementation of the dismissal order, Augustus was going about his duties as mayor yesterday.
He is also not expected to step down without a fight as the Morenos plan to contest the ruling before the Courts of Appeal.
But Ignatius said that should his father be made to step down, he was more than ready to take over the position.
“Ready na gyud ko (I am now ready to assume as the mayor of our town),” Ignatius said.
Ignatius said his administration will be “refreshing” because a young blood will serve as a mayor in their town.
However, he stressed that his assumption will have to wait until after the dismissal order of his father is served.
“Nag meeting na mi. Pero dili pa ko mo take over kay mohuwat pami nga iserve ang order. Taas pa nag process (We had a meeting with my father. But
I will not take over yet since we will be waiting for the order to be implemented. It’s still a long process),” Ignatius said.
Ignatius served as barangay captain of Poblacion in 2013 before running for vice mayor in 2016.
If Ignatius takes over as mayor, first municipal Councilor Alma Gacang will assume as the vice mayor.
As of now, however, the older Moreno is still the mayor since the DILG-7 has not yet serve the dismissal order from the Office of the Ombudsman.
DILG Cebu provincial director Jerome Gonzales was on a birthday leave yesterday.
But he said that the order from the Ombudsman hasn’t arrived his office.
“Kung bag-o pa na napirmahan dili na basta-basta maabot sa opisina (If it is newly signed then it will not immediately arrived at my office),” he said.
Normally, he said, an Office of the Ombudsman order would need to pass through Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno first, after which it is handed to DILG-7 regional director Rene Burdeos before it will arrived at his office for implementation.
“Actually the end of the road is still very far. Taas pa kaayo na og proseso (It still has a long process),” Augustus also said.
He reiterated they will be filing a motion for reconsideration to the Ombudsman.
Yesterday, Augustus went ahead with his usual duties and had a series of meetings with public school teachers and some with his supporters.
He also still signed papers as the incumbent mayor of Aloguinsan.
But should his dismissal becomes final, Augustus said he is prepared to turn over the town’s helm to his son, Ignatius, who he hoped will continue his programs.
to him (I cannot dictate him what to do),” Augustus said.
Cynthia Moreno was elected mayor in May 2007 while Augustus was elected in 2010. Thus the spouses consecutively held office as mayor of Aloguinsan in 2010.
That year, the municipal government made 28 purchases of food supplies from AVG Bakeshop for a total amount of P282,725.
The disbursement vouchers for the payment of the purchase were approved by Cynthia as mayor from February to July 2010 and by Augustus as vice mayor in April and then as mayor from August to December 2010.
The spouses both admitted that Cynthia owned AVG Bakeshop and ran the business as a sole proprietorship. However, both claimed that Cynthia sold the business to a Lyn Tojeno for P70,000 on May 10, 2007. The Ombudsman, however, concluded there was no actual sale and that Cynthia actually retained ownership of the bakeshop.
In addition to their dismissal, the spouses Moreno, as well as Maguilimotan, Villegas, Flordeliza, Ababon, and Manigos, were also indicted separately with violations of Republic Act 3019 or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act” before the Sandiganbayan.
However, the charges for violation of RA 3019 against BAC member Maria Iris Andrino, BAC Technical Working Group’s Orven Nengasca, and BAC Secretariat Emilia Celis were dismissed for lack of probable cause.
Cynthia was also indicted for violation of RA 6713 or the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials” before the Sandiganbayan.
In Lapu-Lapu City, although suspended, Radaza has no worries on the take over of Ycong as the city’s acting mayor for three months since they are party mates who all recently joined PDP-Laban, the political party of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Radaza also went about her usual schedule yesterday, such as visiting the Home Care Center for Children.
She was also confident that her nephew, Councilor Harry Don Radaza can do well with his job as the acting vice mayor, who will preside the sessions the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
Ycong and Radaza took their oath as acting mayor and acting mayor respectively before Burdeos at 4 p.m. yesterday.
“Dili ra man kaayo tasking ang akong trabaho as acting mayor kay simply mga pirmahanan ra man unya motambong sa mga engagement ug mangutana ra man sab ko ni Mayor Paz,” said Ycong.
(My work as acting mayor is not tasking as I only have to sign documents and attend engagement. I also ask Mayor Paz what to do from time to time)
Ycong said he was not also a stranger to taking over the city’s helm since he was also took over as acting mayor for two months two years ago when Mayor Radaza went on a vacation abroad.
Acting Vice Mayor Radaza, on the other hand, said he would have no problem with presiding over the city council’s session since he is familiar with the workings at the council and could still carry out his functions as chairman of the council’ sports and tourism committee.
Radaza was suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged misuse of P15 million in Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) deposited by former Cebu fourth district Rep. Clavel Martinez in 2002 to the account of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines, which allegedly went to her personal account.
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