THE Court of Appeals has stopped the Ombudsman and Department of Interior and Local Government from enforcing an order disqualifying Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio M. Umali from public office.
“Considering that he was meted the maximum penalty of dismissal from service and perpetual disqualification to re-enter the government, it becomes necessary to preserve the status quo,” the appellate court said in a three-page resolution dated Sept. 9.
The 60-day temporary restraining order is meant to protect the electorate of Nueva Ecija and Mr. Umali from any grave or irreparable injury, the court said.
The Ombudsman earlier found the governor administratively liable in connection with pork barrel scam in Congress.
In its order, the appellate court said Mr. Umali had presented novel questions of law.
The Ombudsman in 2016 indicted him for four counts of graft and three counts of malversation. One of his co-accused was convicted plunderer and businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
Mr. Umali was accused of mishandling P15 million of congressional funds when he was a congressman. The money, originally meant for fertilizers and irrigation pumps, were used for livelihood projects allegedly without bidding. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas