Mayor Gaite to file MR

BAAO, Camarines Sur –“ I will not resist if the order of the Ombudsman is served upon me by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). However, I would like to let you know that I am left with no other legal recourse but to file a motion for reconsideration (MR) and a petition for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).”

This was how Mayor Melquiades I. Gaite confronted the issue regarding his impending dismissal from service as the town’s chief executive based on the resolution signed by Ombudsman Conchita-Carpio Morales and issued earlier this month, due to the allegedly anomalous lease contract agreement for the lease of the public market.

Gaite joined the municipal officials and employees during the flag raising ceremony in from of the town hall where he explained the dismissal issue that is poised against him.

The order of the Ombudsman against Gaite provided for the most severe penalty of dismissal from service coupled with disqualification from holding public office and the withholding of other benefits that he ought to receive after rendering long years of service.

The Ombudsman’s order stemmed from the complaint filed by municipal councilor Dante Bismonte. The complainant said Gaite acted beyond his authority when he entered into a contract of lease with Lamvert Consolidated Complex Inc. (LCC) covering a 1,704 square meter area of the town’s public market for 25 years.

It was pointed out that under the Revised Market Code, the period for lease agreement is for five years only.

Meanwhile, Bismonte said that Gaite should have sought an authorization of the Sangguniang Bayan to enter into such contract. He cited the opinion of the Department of Interior and Local Government which stated that “separate authority to enter into a contract with the management of LCC for 25 years is necessary.”

Morales did not believe the argument of Gaite, who claims that the “absence of prior authorization was cured by the eventual ratification of the Sangguniang Bayan.”

The Ombudsman affirmed that Gaite committed a corrupt act when he did not enforce the provision “goodwill money” pursuant to the ordinance, thus affording LCC unwarranted benefits.

Meanwhile, Gaite lamented: “I feel very disappointed because you know that I had dedicated almost two decades of my life serving our town. Yet, this sad incident has to happen to me. You may remember that during my first term as mayor, I personally worked for the release of the budget of our municipal market. I know that during that time it was the most felt need of our people. It is with deep regret that this tragic event happened to me.”

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