Guevarra flip-flops, will now probe security contract with Calida firm

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 30 2018 05:08 PM

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and Solicitor General Jose Calida. Composite


MANILA- Newly-confirmed Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday said his department will now look into its contracts with a security firm owned by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

This, despite his earlier statement that the contracts his department entered into with Calida's Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc. (VISAI) complied with procurement laws and guidelines.

“Yung contracts with the DOJ now na parang sort of merong question about the validity then we’ll look into it,” he told reporters.

"So the DOJ will be open also to review yung mga contracts na yun but only insofar as the DOJ contract is concerned," he added.

(We'll look into the contracts with DOJ that have some sort of questions into the validity.) 

The justice chief made the statement in reaction to Senator Francis Pangilinan's manifestation during the former's appointment hearing.

Pangilinan asked Guevarra to look into the series of news reports on the contracts of Calida's security firm with several government agencies.

VISAI bagged several contracts with 6 government agencies months after Calida's appointment as the government's chief lawyer in 2016, documents 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 Office of the Solicitor General, however, has maintained that there is no conflict of interest since these did not require the approval of the said office.

It also noted that Calida resigned as chairman and president of VISAI on May 30, 2016 before assuming office.

Guevarra on Tuesday said the justice department's contract with VISAI complied with procurement laws and guidelines.

“From the viewpoint of the DOJ, what is important is that all procurement laws, rules, and regulations were observed when it entered into these contracts,” Guevarra said.
 
He, however, noted that the DOJ "should exercise more circumspection" in the future.

-report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News