Galario to appeal Sandigan ruling on graft

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/12 September) – Former Valencia City mayor Jose M. Galario Jr. will appeal the decision of the Sandiganbayan First Division sentencing him to six years imprisonment after they found him guilty of violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

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.

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 handcuffed.

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. Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz, First Division chairperson, and Associate Justice Rodolfo A. Ponferrada concurred, 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, 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 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 P40,000.

The court, as quoted in the report, said Galario committed the offense despite the order/resolution 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.

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, 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 – lost of “trust and confidence.” (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)