Sandiganbayan: Galario guilty on axing budget officer; Galario: “I will appeal the decision”

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/11 September) Former Valencia City mayor Jose M. Galario Jr. will appeal the decision of the Sandiganbayan First Division sentencing him of six years imprisonment after they found him guilty of violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Galario told DXMV Radyo Ukay Monday he will exhaust his legal remedies to appeal the decision and will still file for a certificate of candidacy for the 2013 elections.

He said he could file a petition for certiorari or a motion for reconsideration before the anti-graft court or an appeal before the higher court.

The former mayor laughed off reports he was put behind bars and hand cuffed.

He said in the radio station’s Monday morning program “Kulokabildo” (Interaction) that it is not yet his political career’s end. He added that the decision is not yet final and executory.

The Manila Bulletin and the Malaya newspapers reported the Sandiganbayan’s decision on September 7.

Aside from six years of imprisonment, the reports said, Galario was also meted “perpetual disqualification from public office.”

Associate Justice Rafael Lagos of the Sandiganbayan First Division penned down the decision with concurrence of Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz, First Division Chairperson and Associate Justice Rodolfo A. Ponferrada, the reports added.

According to the reports, the case against Galario stemmed from the complaint of Ruth P. Piano, whom Galario replaced as the Valencia City budget officer when he assumed as city mayor on July 2, 2001.

The latter has been the budget officer of Valencia City since 1982, the prosecution cited, “but for still unknown reason” Galario replaced her with Bartolome Barte.

Piano filed the graft complaint against Galario as a result of her sudden relief as city budget officer, as quoted in the reports. After being relieved as city budget officer, she was designated by Galario as Liaison Officer, a position which was inexistent and is not found in the plantilla of personnel of Valencia City, the report added.

The Sandiganbayan found sufficient ground for finding of probable cause for the purpose of issuing a warrant of arrest against accused Galario in June 2005. Galario reportedly bailed for P 40, 000.

The court, as quoted in the report, said Galario committed the offense despite the order/resolution of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), Cagayan de Oro City, Region 10 Branch and CSC Quezon City to reinstate Piano to her previous position as city budget officer within a reasonable time, without sufficient justification, for the purpose of favouring his own interest or giving undue advantage in favor of Barte by designating the latter as budget officer.

Manila Bulletin reported that the anti-graft court said no civil liability is adjudged against Galario considering that aside from the withheld representation and transportation allowance (RATA), which was later paid to the complainant, no damages were proven by the prosecution.

Galario told DXMV Radyo Ukay the reason why he changed Piano citing alleged lost of “trust and confidence”. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News with reports from Jun Estore and Ching Cascuera in Valencia City)