More lawmakers join calls for Calida’s ouster as SolGen
More opposition lawmakers have joined the calls for President Rodrigo Duterte to fire Solicitor General Jose Calida.
The official was in the hot seat after it was revealed that a security firm owned by his family has bagged multi-million peso deals from several government agencies.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said President Duterte should dismiss erring officials and file charges against them.
“The question here is Calida securing the government, or securing the future of his family?’ And I think the latter form of securing is manifested here,” Villarin said.
Rep. Edcel Lagman said the corporate officials and stockholders of Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc. (VISAI) were all members of Calida’s family.
“Having financial interest, intervention and/or conflict of interest in government contracts are prohibited under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees,” he pointed out.
Lagman said a mere resignation is not enough. “Calida should have disallowed his family corporation from securing government contracts where his influence could have clinched the deals,” he stressed.
Asked to comment on Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s defense that Calida is “not exercising any management powers in the company,” Lagman said Roque was “mistaken.”
Calida earlier said he would answer the allegations against him in the proper forum.
Meanwhile, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said this is a clear case of “conflict of interest.”
“The issue here is if your family has a business with government agencies, would you not benefit from it?” he asked in Filipino.
Villarin added that the company remains a “conjugal property” and so “walang lusot dito si (there’s no excuse for) Calida.”
Opposition Senators Francis Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros have earlier dared Calida to step down.
Calida’s security firm, Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency, reportedly bagged more than P150.8 million worth of government contracts from six agencies, including the Department of Justice, National Economic and Development Authority, House of Representatives and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. /ee
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