MANILA President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Wednesday said that he will not fire Solicitor General Jose Calida over deals between his family's security company and some government agencies.
Duterte, in a speech at the Bureau of Customs, stressed that the security company owned by Calida's family has been around for the longest time so it was not a reason to fire him.
Itong si Calida. Matagal naman yang security guard [sic] niya. Noon pa 'yan (This Calida. His security agency has been there for the longest time). Why should I fire him? He's good, Duterte said.
Duterte said he did not see why there was a need to question Calida's right to engage in business transactions since they underwent the required procurement process.
Bakit, wala na ba tayong katwiran mag negosyo (Why? Don't we have the right to engage in businesses)? Duterte said.
The fact that you have divested in the sense that you have retired, 'wag mong pilitin na (don't try to force that) just because he's retiredwhy do you have to impute or attribute malice there? he added.
MalacaAang earlier defended Calida from allegations that he violated the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees by entering into deals with the government.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that his interpretation of Section 13 of Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution did not prohibit Calida from owning stocks in his family's security company.
Stock ownership, obviously, is not covered. I think mere stock ownership is not prohibited for as long as you declare it in your SALN (statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth), Roque said.
Roque also claimed that Calida's enemies are only getting back at him for winning his quo warranto petition which led to the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno as Chief Justice last May 11.
Earlier this month, complainant Jocelyn Nisperos filed before the Office of the Ombudsman a complaint alleging that Calida violated the law for the multi-million peso contracts bagged by his family's security agency with several government agencies since 2016.
Calida, however, denied that he had violated the law noting that he had already resigned as chairman and president of his security agency, Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc. (VISAI), on May 30, 2016, or before assuming as Solicitor General in July of the same year.
He took his oath as chief of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) on June 30, 2016, along with other Cabinet members appointed by the President.
Calida acknowledged that he has stock ownership in the security firm but does not exercise any management powers.
According to a general information sheet on VISAI as of September 2016, Calida owned 60 percent of the firm, while his wife and three children owned 10 percent each. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency