Sun.Star Cebu

Sonny O. seeks CA’s clarificat­ion on one-year suspension

- / GMD

Toledo City Mayor John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña wants to know if the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) can compel him to continue serving the remaining four months of his suspension for grave abuse of authority.

Osmeña’s lawyers, Rey Gealon and Floro Casas, Jr., filed a “very urgent motion” asking the Court of Appeals (CA) to clarify its decision that cleared him of charges that he refused to release the tax shares of a barangay in 2017.

In an interview, Gealon allayed fears that Osmeña may be held liable for usurpation of official functions for reportedly signing millions worth of contracts after he returned to office without completely serving his suspension.

Gealon believes the appeals court’s decision cleared the mayor of administra­tive liability, thus allowing him to legally function as the city mayor.

In the motion, Osmeña’s lawyers asked the CA to explain whether or not the dismissal of the case means Osmeña can return to his office without serving the remaining four months.

The mayor’s petition came after Maria Loisella Lucino, DILG 7 officer-in-charge, directed Osmeña to finish serving his suspension up to Sept. 14, despite the CA’s decision dismissing the administra­tive case last May.

“Unless the penalty has been fully served, the Ombudsman decision remains to be implemente­d,” read Lucino’s order.

The Office of the Ombudsman suspended Osmeña for one year without pay for grave abuse of authority last August 2017.

He began serving his one-year suspension on Sept. 14, 2017. He returned to office in May 2018 after his former lawyer got a CA decision that granted the mayor’s petition for review.

In a decision dated May 10, 2018, the appeals court reversed the Ombudsman’s decision, which earlier indicted him of six counts of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

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