SC upholds dismissal of ex-Paoay mayor for grave misconduct
LAOAG CITY—The Supreme Court has denied with finality the motion of former Paoay Mayor Jessie Galano seeking to reconsider his conviction for “grave misconduct” that resulted in his dismissal from government service in 2018.
In a 10-page resolution dated July 7 and made public on Aug. 26, the high tribunal ruled that Galano’s motion for reconsideration was “utterly devoid of merit.
Galano had challenged the SC resolution in 2019 that affirmed the decision of the Ombudsman and the Court of Appeals, both of which found him liable for grave misconduct for his “unauthorized approval” as vice mayor in 2015 of the local travel outside the municipality and “unauthorized payment of travel and registration expenses” to Paoay Councilor Bruno Dumlao.
In his motion for reconsideration, Galano argued that the “infraction he was found liable for no longer exists,” citing a memorandum circular from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
The DILG memo “authorizes the vice mayor to approve the local travels of SB (Sangguniang Bayan) employees and sign their disbursement vouchers and even carries a retroactivity clause, which allegedly legitimizes his infraction in 2015,” said Galano.
The SC, however, countered Galano’s assertions, saying the “stream cannot rise higher than its source” because the DILG memorandum invoked by him has “departed from the law.”
Existing laws still exclusively vest upon the “[municipal m]ayor the power to authorize official trips outside of the municipality of municipal officials and employees for a period not exceeding thirty (30) days,” the SC said.
Galano also argued that the “condonation doctrine” applied to him, saying that the people who re-elected him as Mayor in May 2016 and 2019 meant that the act complained of was already “deemed condoned.”
But the high court ruled that the “condonation doctrine does not apply to petitioner’s infractions as it could no longer be invoked by officials who have been re-elected after its abandonment which was finalized on April 12, 2016, and in the following elections.”
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