Calida asks SC to nullify Senate’s call for probe into his family’s firms
Solicitor General Jose Calida and his family asked the Supreme Court to nullify the Senate’s call for an investigation into his family-owned security agency and the government contracts it acquired.
Aside from Calida, the petitioners include his wife Milagros and three children. They own the Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc.
Calida owns 60 percent share of the agency but said he already divested his share when he became solicitor general.
The Calida family told the high court that pending the ruling on their petition, the SC should issue a restraining order against the planned Senate probe.
The Calida family went to the Supreme Court after Senator Antonio Trillanes IV sent them an invitation for a public hearing scheduled today, Aug. 16. However, according to the Senate website, the hearing was canceled.
In their 39-page petition, the Calida family asked the high court to nullify and declare as unconstitutional Trillanes’ Aug. 1 letter of invitation because they were “issued in respondent [Trillanes’] sole capacity only or without the authority of the Senate or any of its Committees and for serving no legislative purpose.”
Trillanes’ letter was issued pursuant to Senate Resolution 760 calling for an investigation on the alleged conflict of interest on the part of Calida after Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc. his family owned bagged several government contracts.
“The intended investigation is a grave abuse of discretion of the investigative power of the legislative by a single senator,” read the petition.
“As respondent has exercised and intends to continue to exercise by himself and on his own volition the powers reserved for the Senate, respondent is acting with grave abuse of discretion,” the petitioners added.
Calida added that the question of conflict of interest is a power that falls within the executive and the judicial branches of government.
“The Senate is not the proper arbiter that determines its existence,” Calida added.
The Solicitor General also told the high court that Trillanes’ actions “is motivated by his political biases and personal hostility” against him and President Rodrigo Duterte.
Aside from this, Calida noted that the Ombudsman is already investigating the matter.
Last May, a complaint was filed against him by a certain Jocelyn Acosta-Nisperos and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales already said the complaint is subject to a fact-finding investigation.
The high court already ordered Trillanes to comment within 10 days from receipt of the order. /vvp
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