Sonny O is back as Toledo mayor

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo May 11,2018 - 11:29 PM

Mayor John Henry Osmeña has reclaimed the Toledo City Hall.

Osmeña returned as mayor on Friday (May 11), after the Court of Appeals (CA) reversed the ruling of the Office of the Ombudsman imposing a one-year suspension on the 82-year-old mayor.

Osmeña was suspended on August 29, 2017, or more than eight months after the Ombudsman found him guilty of grave abuse of authority.

The complaint was lodged by officials of Barangay Daanglungsod after Osmeña withheld the real property tax share of the barangay from the third quarter of 2014.

In the 12-page resolution signed by Associate Justices Louis Acosta, Edgardo Delos Santos and Edward Contreras, the CA ruled that the Osmeña’s “misconduct” should be deemed as condoned, pursuant to the Aguinaldo doctrine or condonation doctrine, after he was re-elected as city mayor in 2016.

Despite the fact that the condonation doctrine has been abandoned by the ruling of the Supreme Court in the case of former Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay Jr. in 2016, the CA maintained that the doctrine still applies for actions committed before the abandonment of the same.

“This Court is not unmindful of the fact that the Supreme Court in Conchita Carpio Morales v. CA and Jejomar Binay Jr., has abandoned the “condonation doctrine.” However, the High Court was explicit in its pronouncement that the abandonment of the “condonation doctrine” is prospective in application, hence, the same doctrine is applicable in cases that transpired prior to the ruling,” read the decision.

“Considering that Osmeña’s misconduct or misdemeanor happened during his previous term and before the abandonment of the “condonation doctrine” in the Morales case, the same doctrine thus finds application herein,” it added.

Lawyer Innocencio Dela Cerna, Osmeña’s counsel, said that the suspended mayor should automatically reassume his office since by effect, the order to suspend him has been nullified.

In a phone interview with Cebu Daily News, Dela Cerna said that the office of the mayor has been turned over peacefully on Friday afternoon by Acting Mayor Dr. Antonio Yapha.

Dela Cerna said that upon learning of the CA ruling, Yapha voluntarily vacated the mayor’s office and re-assumed his post as vice mayor of Toledo City.

He added that Yapha’s key appointees, including the controversial city legal officer lawyer Teresito Largo, have already tendered their resignations.

Largo, who was sued by the city councilors before the Ombudsman for sitting as city legal officer despite their non concurrence, will be replaced by lawyer Hazan Bargamento.

Dela Cerna clarified that the filed cases will push through amid the reinstatement of Osmeña.

Dela Cerna said that the first order of business after Osmeña’s return would include the forming of a review committee to look into the contracts signed by Yapha during his eight months tenure as acting city mayor.

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