Valencia’s Galario initiates recall election vs Catarata

Galario told Church-run radio station DXDB "Bandilyo sa Bukidnon" he has begun a signature campaign this month after deciding on it in November.

Recall election is a remedy voters can take due to loss of confidence on a present leader.

The former mayor claimed the move was propelled by a public clamor for his return over alleged irregularities in the administration of his successor, Leandro Jose Catarata.

Galario said leaders from Valencia City's barangays are behind him in the move.

"Personally, I could wait for 2010, but there's a public clamor for this," he told radio audiences Tuesday morning.

Galario said it was the people from the barangays who made him initiate recall election as they were allegedly pushed aside in the present administration.

Central Mindanao Newswatch quoted him as saying they have already been to 20 of the city's 31 barangays for the signature campaign and is expected to finish the remaining 11 villages in February.

Galario lobbed accusations at the Catarata administration over alleged imbalance in projects among barangays, lavish extra bonus to city officials, unkempt public markets, dilapidated barangay roads and delayed payment of accounts of the city government.

He also accused the present administration of courting "massive unemployment".

Earlier, Aris Collado, the city's acting information officer, defended Catarata's policy to go slow on settling the city's payables to different entities. He said they are careful in releasing payments of questionable accounts incurred in Galario's time.

Galario said they are preparing to gather 15,000 to 30,000 validated signatures of registered voters around the city's 31 barangays.

Galario said they can gather the required number of validated voters out of the city's 90,000 registered voters.

The power of recall for loss of confidence could be exercised by registered voters of a local government unit to which the local elective official subject to such recall belongs, according to Sec. 29, Chapter 5 of the Local Government Code of 1991.

It could be initiated by a preparatory recall assembly or by the registered voters of the local government unit.

The Local Government Code requires 25 percent of the total number of registered voters in pushing for a recall election, according to Sec. 70d, Chapter 5.

But Galario said he could file the petition for recall in July as the law requires a period of one year upon the assumption of officials.

Catarata, who defeated Galario in May 2007, lost to Galario in 2004 in an election marred by massive disenfranchisement of voters.

The Catarata camp was coy over statements in a text message to MindaNews on Wednesday.

"Every Valenciano should have aspirations, it's Galario's right kay Valenciano naman kaha siya" (It's Galario's right since he claimed he is already a Valenciano)" Collado quoted Catarata as saying.

Collado denied the claim that the Catarata administration, on its seventh month in office, has neglected barangays.

He claimed the Catarata administration is giving more financial aid to barangays. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)