Palace tells Laguna town mayor to vacate office
SAN PEDRO, Laguna—Malacañang has ordered Mayor Calixto Cataquiz of this municipality to vacate his office and heed a Supreme Court ruling that found Cataquiz, former general manager of Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), guilty of graft.
In a three-page order dated April 5, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. ordered Cataquiz, a member of the Nacionalista Party, to immediately vacate his office in accordance with the high court decision disqualifying the mayor from employment in government service.
“Respondent (Cataquiz) is hereby removed as mayor of the municipality of San Pedro, Laguna. Accordingly, he is ordered to vacate his office immediately,” the order read.
Ochoa, in a separate order dated April 4, directed Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas to enforce the high court order that strips Cataquiz of his position.
Copies of both orders were received by a source in the municipal government on Monday and was furnished the Inquirer on Tuesday.
In a phone interview on Tuesday, Cataquiz declined to comment, saying his office has yet to formally receive a copy of the Malacañang orders.
Cataquiz earlier sought a motion for reconsideration but the Supreme Court in December 2012 denied his appeal and upheld its Sept. 14, 2011, ruling that imposed on Cataquiz the penalties of “disqualification from reemployment in the government service and forfeiture of retirement benefits.”
The Supreme Court ruling stemmed from a case filed by Concerned Employees of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (Cellda) at the former Presidential Anti-Graft Commission.
Cellda, the employees’ union of the lake agency, said Cataquiz disbursed P500,000 in LLDA funds, appropriated the agency’s funds as gifts for residents of his town, solicited funds to promote a film entry to the 2002 Metro Manila Film Festival and illegally entered into transactions with fish-pen operators, including a Taiwanese company, without the approval of the LLDA board.
Cataquiz served as LLDA general manager in 2001 until his dismissal in 2003 “on the grounds of corrupt and unprofessional behavior and management incompetence.”
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