In a resolution dated August 9 penned by Associate Justice Franchito Diamante, the CA’s 4th Division stopped the one-year suspension of Sabili and ordered former Lipa City Social Welfare Development Officer Teresita Pesa, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) not to implement the suspension order.
The CA also directed the petitioners to each post a PHP100,000 bond.
"Wherefore, considering the issues raised in the petition and the possible repercussion on the people of Lipa, Batangas who will be affected by the suspension of their elective official, let a temporary restraining order be issued effective for 60 days unless sooner lifted by this court," the resolution read.
“The basic purpose of the restraining order is to preserve the status quo until the hearing of the application for preliminary injunction. It is a preservative remedy for the protection of substantive rights and interests,” it said.
The appellate court also ordered the respondents to file their comment on the petitioner’s application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and on the Petition for Review within 10 days from receipt of the same.
The case was originally raffled off to CA Justice Eduardo Peralta, however, he decided to inhibit from the case until it was raffled off to Diamante.
This is the second suspension issued by then Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales against Sabili, who was also suspended in 2016. The mayor managed to secure a TRO from Supreme Court's 2nd Division.
On June 27, 2018, Sabili was suspended by Morales on the basis of a complaint filed by Pesa on Sept. 15, 2010 after she was placed on a "floating position" and transferred to a different assignment.
Sabili argued that the reshuffling was necessary to cleanse the ranks in the city hall and it is within his authority as mayor to order such personnel movement.