MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/ 4 October)- Former Valencia City mayor Jose M. Galario Jr. filed Wednesday his certificate of candidacy (COC) for this city’s mayoralty post, said Merlyn Rasonable, Commission on Elections city assistant officer.
Galario, who ran in the past four elections and won in 2001 and 2004, was nominated by the Aksyon Demokratikong Pilipino party.
He would be facing incumbent Mayor Leandro Jose Catarata, the city’s chief executive since 2007.
Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. told reporters Wednesday afternoon that Catarata will be the standard-bearer of the Bukidnon Paglaum Party in the city.
Catarata, however, has yet to file his COC as of 5 p.m. Wednesday but he has until Friday to do so.
Galario’s son, incumbent city councilor Glenn Galario, is in his six-man city council slate. The city council has 10 members.
The Sandiganbayan convicted Galario to six years imprisonment after it found him guilty of violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
But Galario had appealed the decision before the Sandiganbayan First Division.
Reports said the case against Galario stemmed from the complaint of Ruth P. Piano, whom Galario replaced as city budget officer when he assumed as city mayor on July 2, 2001.
Galario told DXMV Radyo Ukay last month he will exhaust all legal remedies to appeal the decision and vowed to run in 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 a higher court.
The former mayor laughed off reports he was handcuffed and put behind bars.
He said in the radio station’s Monday morning program “Kulokabildo”(Interaction) that “his political career is not yet over,” adding the anti-graft court’s decision is not yet final and executory.
The Sandiganbayan decision came out in the September 7 edition of the Manila Bulletin and the Malaya newspapers.
Aside from six years imprisonment, reports said that Galario was also meted “a perpetual disqualification from public office.”
Associate Justice Rafael Lagos penned the decision and concurred by Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz, the Sandiganbayan First Division chairperson, and Associate Justice Rodolfo A. Ponferrada, reports said.
According to the reports, Piano had been the budget officer of Valencia City since 1982, “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.
After being relieved as city budget officer, she was designated by Galario as liaison officer, a position that was non-existent in the plantilla of personnel of Valencia City, reports said.
In June 2005, an arrest warrant was issued against Galario after the Sandiganbayan found a probable cause in the case filed against him. But he reportedly placed a bail of P40,000
The court, as quoted in the report, said Galario committed the offense despite the order of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) regional office in Cagayan de Oro City and the CSC national office to reinstate Piano to her previous position as city budget officer within a reasonable time.
The Manila Bulletin reported that the anti-graft court found no civil liability against Galario considering that aside from the withheld representation and transportation allowance, which was later paid to the complainant, no damages were proven by the prosecution.
Galario told DXMV Radyo Ukay he replaced Piano because of lost of “trust and confidence.” (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)