New Bicolano SEC commissioner

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Malacanang Executive Sec. Eduardo Ermita announces the selection of Atty. Manuel B. Gaite to be the Security and Exchange Commissioner (SEC,) a replacement of Jesus Martinez who retired last week. He said Gaite’s appointment papers are still to be signed by the president.

It’s Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo’s choice that Gaite takes over the post vacated by Martinez who left with charges that he was bribed and given lavish gifts by a firm connected with controversial the Legacy Group. As result of the collapse of Legacy under the headship of Celso de los Angeles, 50,000 pre-need plan holders are left in limbo.

Ermita believes Gaite who is from Baao, Camarines Sur is well-qualified having served as the deputy executive secretary of legal affairs. The public recalls the incoming SEC secretary is the “good Samaritan” to whistle-blower Rodolfo Lozada, the star witness to the $329 million NBN-ZTE broadband deal scandal. He lent Lozada P500,000 for his trip to Hongkong. (Photo Credit: WN/ Manila Times/ Renzelle Mae Abosolo)=0=

UPDATE: It is said that the controversial appointment of Gaite is not yet final. Despite Malacanang’s favorable endorsements, there are critics like Sen. Mar Roxas who assert Gaite has questionable integrity based on his involvement in the NBN-ZTE scandal. The senator believes the appointment is Gloria Arroyo’s reward in helping silence Lozada. Roxas speaks of the Securities Regulation Code (SEC) on the qualifications of commissioners, which stimpulate that they “must be of good moral character, of unquestionable integrity, of known probity and patriotism, and with recognized competence.”—GMA News. TV (03/16/09, Balagtas-See, A)

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