Palace welcomes possible Senate, DOJ probe on Calida

Published May 31, 2018, 3:20 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang welcomed the possible move of the Senate and Department of Justice (DOJ) to probe Solicitor General Jose Calida, saying it is one way to settle the issue once and for all.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after opposition senators filed a petition urging the Senate Committee on Civil Service and Government Reorganization Committee to look into the contracts awarded to the Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc. (VISAI).

Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque (YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque

On Wednesday, newly-confirmed Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that the DOJ will now look into its contracts with VISAI.

Calida is being criticized over the multi-million peso government contracts bagged by his family’s security firm.

Roque, in his Thursday press briefing, said that it is up to the Senate if it wants to probe Calida.

“I can’t the Senate what they want to do, they can do so if they wish,” he said.

“I understand that the Secretary of Justice has relented and has agreed to open formal investigation, which I think is a better course of action para malaman na once for all kung may (so we can know once and for all if there is a) conflict of interest,” he added.

On Wednesday, President Duterte said that he will not fire Calida over the allegations, saying that there is nothing wrong with a government official having a private and legal business.

According to Roque, Duterte’s statement only reinforces his earlier legal view that there is no conflict of interest in the part of the solicitor general.

“The President has said he will not fire Secretary Calida over this controversy, which sustains my earlier legal view that Solicitor General Calida is not guilty of conflict of interest,” he said.