SolGen urged to release SALNs to prove integrity

Rg Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 18 2018 03:55 PM

Solicitor General Jose Calida talks to the media, June 13, 2017. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- The government's top lawyer has been asked to release his Statement of Assets Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) amid allegations that he owns a security agency.

Solicitor General Jose Calida was asked to release his SALNs for the years 2016 to 2018 to confirm or debunk allegations that he owns a security agency that is not declared.

The request was made by private citizen Jocelyn Marie Acosta, who previously filed a complaint against Calida for graft before the Ombudsman.

In her freedom of information request addressed to Calida, Acosta noted that the solicitor general owns 60 percent of the capital stock of Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency (VISAI) as stated in the general information sheet filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last Sept. 29, 2016.

Calida's supposed ownership of the security agency shows a conflict of interest according to Acosta, since the firm serves several government agencies such as the National Economic Development Authority, the National Anti-Poverty Commission, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, and the National Parks Development Corporation. 

She also noted that given Calida's quo warranto petition against ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the solicitor general has to prove that he has "more integrity than the chief justice."

Sereno was ousted by the Supreme Court last week as it granted Calida's quo warranto petition which alleged that she was "unlawfully holding" office due to her failure to submit her SALNs when she applied for her post.

"If our investigations show he has no integrity then I think it is just right for him to resign because we need a solicitor general who has unimpeachable integrity after all that is his grounds for filing a quo warranto against CJ Sereno,” Acosta said.

Lawyer Pingky Bernabe, a colleague of Acosta, said based on their preliminary documents, it appears that Calida has failed to disclose his supposed ownership of a security agency.

Acosta also held out the possibility of seeking Calida’s disbarment over his alleged extra-marital affair, which was raised in her complaint before the Ombudsman. 

“If Calida doesn't hold up under scrutiny whether its because of the relationship or whether its because of his SALNs then definitely disbarment will be an option,” she said.