Sacked Valencia CIty mayor hired as consultant

The Ombudsman suspended Galario for defying an earlier order of the Civil Service Commission to reinstate a city budget officer he terminated in 2005.

According to Verano's letter of request, as reported by Malaybalay City-based Central Mindanao Newswatch, Galario is entitled to any privileges authorized by law; including travel, accommodations, and can represent Verano in any activity.  

The paper reported that Galario accepted the offer from Verano to be his consultant in the period of his suspension. But this irked Galario's erstwhile political ally Governor Jose Ma. R. Zubiri, Jr.

Zubiri reportedly said hiring the suspended mayor is a mockery of the Ombudsman’s order.    

Lawyer Marco Buena, spokesperson of the Office of the Ombudsman in Mindanao, confirmed they have received a letter from the Department of Interior and Local Government in Northern Mindanao requesting for opinion on the consultancy status.

Buena could not provide details of the Ombudsman's official reply but he told MindaNews the move is viewed as invalid and is a circumvention of the order.

Galario was reported to have said he will stop working as consultant if charges are pressed against him and Verano.  

Earlier, another Ombudsman lawyer told MindaNews the suspension order for Galario is not covered by the ban on suspension of elective government officials because it is a penalty sanction, not preventive.   

The suspension was effective January 3 this year, more than two months after former Tanodbayan Merceditas Gutierrez directed the Department of Interior and Local Government to enforce an earlier 60-day suspension on Galario.

Galario secured a 60-day temporary restraining order, which expired on December 27 last year and was served on January 3. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)