The Court of Appeals Special 5th Division ruled that the dismissal of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo would ruin his reputation as individual and as a public official, and deprive his right to assume his post as the newly elected governor.
The CA made the ruling in the grant of the temporary restraining order petitioned by Degamo, and to maintain a status quo ante effectively immediately, for 60 days, unless sooner lifted. The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Stephen Cruz, and concurred in by associate justices Samuel Gaerlan and Ramon Paul Hernando.
It prohibited and enjoined the implementation of the Joint Resolution of the Ombudsman dated January 12, 2016 and May 16, 2016, dismissing Degamo, allegedly for malversation of public funds and grave misconduct on the use of the P480 million calamity fund in 2012.
The TRO status quo ante said the “injury to petitioner by virtue of his dismissal will not be susceptible to any mathematical computation and cannot be adequately compensated in damages because what is involved is not just anything or something but the petitioner’s right to property, public office, which he acquired through the voice of the people who voted for him”.
If the TRO sought should be refused, Degamo and even the voting public of Negros Oriental would suffer greater loss than which may be suffered by private respondent through granting the same.
A hearing on the propriety of the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction is set for oral argument 2 p.m. on July 12, at the Court of Appeals in Manila.
The division clerk of court was directed to personally serve the copies of the resolution to the Office of the Ombudsman, Department of Interior and Local Government and other concerned agencies, the parties and their agents and their counsels for their information and guidance.
The CA ruling says that whatever was the condition of the province before the controversy should be respected and so Degamo will remain as governor.
Degamo’s legal counsel, Richard Enojo, said that on June 22, or a day before the issuance of the TRO, the opposite camp filed an opposition to the petition for TRO, telling the appellate court that it is moot and academic because Vice Gov. Edward Mark Macias has already taken his oath and has assumed as governor.
Meanwhile, Macias claimed he has not yet received the official copy of the TRO and so will continue to dispense with the duties and functions of the Office of the Governor.
He said as soon as he receives the order from the Department of Interior and Local Government for him to vacate the position, he will not hesitate to do so, lest he be accused or liable of dereliction of duty if he steps down without the proper order.
To date, Macias continues to sign payrolls, and reassigns personnel, being the assumed governor.
Board Member Rommel Erames is of the opinion the TRO is not yet effective unless there is a proper service of the order and with time on their side, such TRO may be considered moot and academic because it has to be mailed June 27, after which the DILG will have to communicate with Macias and then schedule for his relinquishment before Degamo’s reinstallation.
Last June 17, the DILG issued a writ of execution of the Ombudsman’s dismissal of Degamo from public service but the latter refused, saying the process was highly irregular and illegal.
Degamo said he had not received a copy of the Ombudsman’s decision at the time of the service of the writ of execution.
The DILG had also immediately installed Macias as governor.*JG/JFP