Camarines Sur town mayor dismissed for grave misconduct

MANILA-- The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal from service of Baao, Camarines Sur Mayor Melquiades Gaite after he was found guilty of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Probe showed that in May 2014, Gaite entered into a 25-year lease contract with Lamvert Consolidated Complex Development Corporation over a portion of the Baao public market building covering 1,704 square meters.

Gaite failed to present evidence that the lease deal was made with the prior authorization of the Sangguniang Bayan (SB).

The Ombudsman said that under the Local Government Code of 1991, "no contract may be entered into by the local chief executive in behalf of the local government unit without prior authorization by the Sanggunian concerned."

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said "the act of respondent, a veteran local chief executive with almost two decades of experience, in entering into a contract of lease for a period beyond that in Municipal Ordinance No. 03 amounts to a transgression of some established and definite rule of action more particularly unlawful behaviour or gross negligence by a public officer."

Under Municipal Ordinance No. 3, the duration of the lease contract should not be more than five years.

Gaite also failed to enforce the provision on "goodwill money" for the lease deal.

Under this contractual provision, the "goodwill money" consisting of PHP25,000 for the first 10 square meters and PHP1,000 for every succeeding square meter of the rented space, or PHP1,719,000 must be paid by the applicant-lessee.

From such amount, 70 percent would accrue to the coffers of the municipality as trust fund, to be spent exclusively for the development of the market and its facilities, and the 30 percent will serve as the lessee's deposit.

"Clearly, respondent committed a corrupt act that would classify his misconduct as grave," Morales said.

The Ombudsman directed the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to implement the dismissal order.

In case of separation from the service, the penalty shall be converted into a fine equivalent to the respondent's salary for one year.

Source: Philippines News Agency