De Lima slams SolGen for snubbing Senate probe on security firm


Posted at Sep 20 2018 03:23 PM

MANILA - Detained Senator Leila de Lima on Thursday scored Solicitor General Jose Calida for supposedly disrespecting the Senate in his refusal to attend its inquiry into contracts between his family's security firm and several government agencies. 

Documents earlier revealed that the security firm owned by Calida's wife Milagros signed multimillion-peso contracts with several state agencies months after his appointment as the government's chief lawyer in 2016.

Critics have scored this as conflict of interest. 

"Refusing to attend the Senate hearings about his family's security firm is showing an outright disrespect of the Senate and its rules. Just because he is a Solicitor General doesn't exempt him from public scrutiny," De Lima said in a statement. 

De Lima's fellow opposition senator, Antonio Trillanes IV, is leading the investigation into Calida's firm, Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc (VISAI), which supposedly secured P358.3-million worth of government contracts. 

Calida has asked the Supreme Court to block the hearings, accusing Trillanes of grave abuse of discretion. 

The Solicitor General argued that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has jurisdiction over his case, not the civil service committee led by Trillanes. 

Calida should not be afraid to attend the hearings and answer questions from the senator if he "has nothing to hide," said De Lima. 

It was Calida who initiated action that eventually led to the voiding of Trillanes' amnesty, President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed earlier this month.