CA rules Nito Durano stays as mayor of Danao City pending review of his Ombudsman case
The Court of Appeals (CA) Seventh division has allowed Ramon “Nito” Durano III to remain as Danao City Mayor pending the review of the Ombudsman’s order to suspend him for three months for simple neglect of duty case.
CA justices also barred the Office of the Visayas Ombudsman from intervening in their ongoing review of Durano’s case.
“The Ombudsman is not an appropriate party to intervene in the case as it must remain impartial and detached. Aside from emphasizing that the matter of intervention is addressed to the sound discretion of the court, the Supreme Court had the occasion to rule that the Ombudsman must be mindful of its role as adjudicator, not an advocate,” said the four-page CA order.
It added that when “judges actively participate in the appeal of their judgment, they in a way, cease to be judicial and have become adversarial instead.”
The CA order dated June 5, 2017 was signed by Associate Justice and 7th Division Chairperson Romeo Barza and Associate Justices Socorro Inting and Maria Filomena Singh.
On June 22, 2016, the Ombudsman ordered Durano’s suspension for three months following a complaint filed by Danao city hall employees Orlando Dagatan Jr., Amabella Gomez, Cecilia Lawas, Celso Manula, Leo Enriquez, Onchita Batoto and Maria Softelyn Camance who accused the mayor of violating of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
The complainants alleged that Durano refused to heed a Civil Service Commission (CSC) order reinstating them in service with payment of back wages.
Durano petitioned for the issuance of a 60-day Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and a writ of preliminary injunction pending review of his appeal and paid a bond of P100, 000 on April 10, 2017.
The Ombudsman asked the CA to recall the TRO and to deny Durano’s petition for the issuance of a writ for preliminary injunction.
But with the expiration of the CA-issued TRO on June 9, 2017, the justices proceeded to resolve the pending issue on the issuance of a writ of injunction.
“The petitioner has convinced the Court that his right to the injunctive relief prayed for should be maintained and the implementation of the assailed decision should be enjoined until the controversy is resolved in the main case. After all, the sole object of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo until the merits of the case can be heard,” the CA decision said.
CA justices said the TRO that has expired should now be converted into a writ of preliminary injunction, at the same time retaining the P100, 000 bond that Durano earlier paid.
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