MANILA—There is no conflict of interest in the contracts between the security firm owned by Solicitor General Jose Calida's wife Milagros and a government agency, his spokesperson said Saturday.
In a statement, Office of the Solicitor General spokesman Atty. Hector Calilung said Calida resigned as chairman and president of Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc., on May 30, 2016 before assuming office.
"Clearly then, Solgen Calida complied with Section 9 of RA 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) when he resigned as chairman and president of Vigilant before he assumed office as solicitor general. His interest in Vigilant was stated in his SALN when he assumed office," he said.
"There is no conflict of interest. The contracts between Vigilant and the NPDC (National Parks Development Committee) did not require the approval of the OSG. Also, the OSG does not regulate, supervise or license security agencies like Vigilant."
VISAI bagged several contracts with the 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.
Calilung asserted that all government deals with VISAI were "the result of public bidding in which [it] submitted the lowest responsive bid in accordance with the Procurement Act (RA 9184)."
"Vigilant (VISAI) was awarded its first contract with NPDC in July 2014 or two years before Solgen Calida became the Solicitor General. All subsequent contracts with NPDC were obtained through public biddings and were therefore above board," Calilung added.