SC: Calida’s bid to stop Senate inquiry on security agency now moot
MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed as moot Solicitor General Jose Calida’s petition to stop a Senate inquiry into his family-owned Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc., and the government contracts it acquired for supposed conflict of interest.
In the resolution promulgated September 3 and released October 24, the high court said the petition for certiorari filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, his wife Milagros, and children Josef, Michelle, and Mark Jorel could no longer be subject to judicial review as the 17th Congress already ended.
Former opposition Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Bam Aquino, and incumbent senators Risa Hontiveros, Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan and Leila de Lima filed Senate Resolution No. 760 calling for an investigation into Calida’s alleged conflict of interest when his family-owned security firm bagged several government contracts.
The resolution was filed during the 17th Congress, which adjourned on June 4, 2019. The proposed probe under the resolution “automatically ceased, rendering this case moot,” according to the court.
Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, who penned the 10-page decision, also noted that Trillanes’ term has already ended.
In filing the petition for certiorari and prohibition with an urgent application for issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction before the SC on August 14, Calida and his kin claimed Trillanes acted without authority in inviting resource persons, including him.
The Calidas also alleged that the investigation was “clearly intended merely to target and humiliate them.”
Trillanes countered the petitioners’ claims, saying they were “never under any legal compulsion to attend” the hearings. He also argued that the Senate’s power and authority to conduct investigations in aid of legislation are provided in the Constitution.
In the decision, the SC noted that such power of Congress is not absolute and that any legislative inquiry “must respect the individual rights of the persons invited to or affected by the legislative inquiry.” /kga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.