Ombudsman Morales sacks Mayor Gaite

BAAO, Camarines Sur 4/21/17 (BICOL STANDARD) Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has ordered the dismissal of town mayor Melquiades Gaite from office, due to the allegedly anomalous lease contract agreement for the lease of the public market.

Morales also approved the findings of Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Maricel Quilates against Gaite for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Also, his civil service eligibility was cancelled.

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.

BICOL STANDARD has not yet reached Gaite for his comments.