BUKIDNON NEWS | VALENCIA BUKIDNON – The Sandiganbayan has found former Valencia City Mayor Jose Galario, Jr. guilty of graft. In a 44-page decision released by the Sandiganbayan First Division, the ex mayor of Valencia City was sentenced to a maximum of 7 years in jail with the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification from public office. This means that Galario does not only face jail time but may also be barred from running for public office.
Galario was found guilty of graft due to his refusal to comply with lawful orders issued by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) in 2003. In 2001, Galario issued an office memoranda which relieved and repeatedly transferred then Valencia City budget officer Ruth Piano to different positions in the city hall. Piano then filed constructive dismissal complaints against Galario before the CSC regional office in Cagayan de Oro. Piano won her case then, which resulted in the issuance of a reinstatement order on May 5, 2003. However, only 3 months later, Galario again issued another office memorandum relieving Piano of her position.
* photo of Jose Galario, Jr. lifted from this Facebook page
The Sandiganbayan First Division chaired by Associate Justice Efren de la Cruz found Galario guilty of violating Section 3(f) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act which penalizes acts of “neglecting or refusing, after due demand or request, without sufficient justification, to act within a reasonable time on any matter pending before him for the purpose of obtaining, directly or indirectly, from any person interested in the matter some pecuniary or material benefit or advantage, or for the purpose of favoring his own interest or giving undue advantage in favor of or discriminating against any other interested party.”
In its 44-page ruling, the Sandiganbayan said Galario tried “to hide behind the excuse that he had sufficient reason to ignore” the CSC’s orders and Piano’s requests for reinstatement because the resolution ordering the reinstatement did not attain finality until May 17, 2004.
The Sandiganbayan ruling also stated: “We disagree. It is clear from the previously quoted Civil Service Rules that a decision of the Commission attains finality upon the lapse of fifteen (15) days without the filing of an appeal with the Court of Appeals or a certiorari petition with the Supreme Court,” adding that Galario cannot “get off the hook simply by reinstating Piano and then later relieving her again or merely reinstating Piano without giving her the authority appurtenant to her position as City Budget Officer.”
Galario has reportedly announced that he will file an appeal. (with a report from Philippine Star)