Makabayan bloc wants Calida out

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 30 2018 06:20 PM

MANILA- The Makabayan bloc, a group of left-leaning members of the House of Representatives, accused Solicitor General Jose Calida of corruption over the multi-million peso contracts of his security agency with several government agencies.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said the top government lawyer should be booted out, alleging that Calida used his position to bag contracts for his firm.

"Di naman siya makakuha ng kontratang iyan kung 'di siya Sol[icitor] Gen[eral]. Ngayon, malinaw ito na sagad-sagarang harap-harapang korupsyon. Tama ang panawagan na sibakin na siya ni Pangulong Duterte,” he said.

(He won't get those contracts if he wasn't the Solicitor General. Now, it is clear that this is rampant corruption. The calls for President Duterte to fire him are right.)

"Kami sa Makabayan nagkakaisa sa panawagan para sa kagyat na pagsibak kay SolGen Calida,” said ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio.

(The Makabayan bloc is one in seeking the removal of SolGen Calida.)

Calida's Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc. (VISAI) bagged several contracts with 6 government agencies months after his 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.

AKO Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin meanwhile called on Calida to open documents on the ownership of his security agencies to scrutiny.

"He’s the Solicitor General. Kung wala naman siyang itinatago eh di dapat ibunyag niya lahat ng dokumento nang pagmemay-ari sa security agency because he’s handling cases representing the Republic of the Philippines," he said.

(If he has nothing to hide, he should release all the documents on the ownership of the security agency because he's handling cases representing the Republic of the Philippines.)

Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao echoed Zarate's sentiments and urged the President to fire Calida as well.

"This is more than conflict of interest, this is corruption dahil ginagamit niya ang kaniyang posisyon para magkaroon ng mga pabor sa mga kontratang ito sa mga ipro-provide na mga security agencies,” Casilao said.

(He is using his position to gain favors in contracts for security agencies.)

"Malinaw na malinaw ang conflict of interest. Kung may delicadeza si SolGen Calida, dapat magresign na siya or tanggalin ni President Duterte,” ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro added.

(The conflict of interest is clear. If SolGen Calida has any delicadeza he should resign or be removed by the President.)