Senator Antonio Trillanes IV criticized Friday Solicitor General Jose Calida's plea before the Supreme Court to prevent the Senate from investigating government contracts bagged by his family's security firm, saying Calida is not immune from legislative inquiry.
"Let me remind Mr. Calida that he is not a sacred cow. He does not have any immunity from any legislative inquiry. Thus, his petition for TRO has no legal basis," he said in a statement.
He added: "Mark me, no matter where he hides, Mr. Calida's corrupt practices will soon be exposed. Tuloy ang imbestigasyon!"
In his petition, Calida accused Trillanes of grave abuse of discretion in setting a public hearing and summoning them over the issue “in the absence of a resolution by the Senate or any of its committees approving the proposed resolution directing the conduct of an inquiry in aid of legislation.”
Calida questioned the jurisdiction of the Senate Committee on Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation, chaired by Trillanes, to investigate specific conflicts of interests of certain individual government officials.
He said the Blue Ribbon Committee, chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon, has jurisdiction over their case.
Documents earlier revealed the security firm owned by 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.
Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc. (VISAI) bagged 2 contracts worth nearly P40 million with the National Parks Development Committee, a P2.8 million contract with the National Anti-Poverty Commission, and a P6.8 million contract with the National Economic and Development Authority from 2016 to 2018.
An opposition lawmaker said Calida’s VISAI earns at least P150 million in contracts with various government agencies including the Department of Justice, which, supervises the budget of the Office of the Solicitor General.
"This alone, implicates him in violation of the government’s Code of Conduct. Add the fact that Calida’s company was able to secure 10 government contracts right after he became Solicitor General. Even the long-time security agency in the House of Representatives, Lockheed, was kicked out at the onset of the 17th Congress and replaced by that of Calida's. Clearly, there is cause for suspicion over these dealings," Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said in a statement.