Calida security firm won multimillion-peso gov't contracts: documents

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 26 2018 01:59 PM | Updated as of May 26 2018 10:03 PM

MANILA - The security firm owned by Solicitor General Jose Calida's wife Milagros signed multimillion-peso contracts with at least 3 government agencies months after his appointment as the government's chief lawyer in 2016, documents showed.

Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc. (VISAI) bagged several contracts with the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) from 2016 to 2018, documents from these agencies showed. 

These came to light as Calida faced graft charges at the Office of the Ombudsman, where a private complainant alleged that he still owned 60 percent of the security agency. 

The papers showed that the NPDC awarded a P29.2-million contract to Calida's firm in January 2018 for security services at the Rizal and Paco parks in the capital city. 

One document, a service agreement between NPDC and VISAI dated Jan. 31, 2018, identified Milagros Calida as the security agency's "Chairwoman/President." 

Last year, the NPDC, an agency under the Department of Tourism, also awarded a P10.3 million security contract to VISAI to provide security for the two parks.

The Solicitor General's family business also secured a P2.8 million service contract from the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) in August 2016, while the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) paid Calida's agency P6.8 million in September 2016 for year-long security services.

Both contracts (NAPC and NEDA) may be renewed up to three years.

Calida has not returned all calls and text messages from ABS-CBN News seeking comment. He was reported to have already divested from the business.

CALIDA SECURITY FIRM CITED IN GRAFT COMPLAINT

Earlier this month, a private complainant cited Calida's security firm in a graft complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman. 

In the complaint, Jocelyn Marie Acosta cited a document from the Securities and Exchange Commission that showed that Calida still owned 60 percent of the security agency as of 2016.

Acosta is a supporter of Maria Lourdes Sereno, who was ousted as chief justice based on Calida's quo warranto petition that questioned her appointment at the Supreme Court. 

Her complaint cited Calida for alleged violation of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. 

Section 9 of this law requires a public official to "avoid conflict of interest at all times," mandating that "he (or she) shall resign from his (or her) position in any private business enterprise within thirty (30) days from his assumption of office and/or divest himself (or herself) of his shareholdings or interest within sixty (60) days from such assumption."

It said conflict of interest arises when a public official's involvement as "a member of the board, an officer, or a substantial stockholder of a private corporation" or being an owner or having "substantial interest in a business... may be opposed to or affected by the faithful performance of official duty."

Duterte picked Calida as his Soliciter General in May 2016, upon his election to office. He served as one of the President's campaign managers. 

See the NPDC, NAPC and NEDA documents below: 

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