Ex-CamSur mayor gets 10 years over lease deal

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has sentenced former mayor Melquiades Gaite of Baao, Camarines Sur to six to 10 years in prison in connection with an allegedly anomalous lease contract for the Baao Public Market.

In a decision promulgated on March 4, the court’s Fourth Division found Gaite guilty of violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Aside from the prison term, the anti-graft court disqualified Gaite from holding public office.

Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2018, the case stemmed from the award of a 25-year lease contract to the Lamvert Consolidated Complex Development Corp. Inc. (LCC) involving some portions of the Baao Public Market.

State prosecutors said the award was not authorized by the municipal council, which said it violated a local ordinance that set the lease term at not more than five years.

Although the prosecution failed to establish the injury suffered by the local government, the anti-graft court said it was able to prove that the LCC enjoyed unwarranted benefits from the deal.

The decision was penned by Fourth Division chair Associate Justice Alex Quiroz and concurred in by Associate Justices Lorifel Pahimna and Bayani Jacinto.


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