DOJ to start probe on Calida’s security agency
On Senator Francis Pangilinan’s prodding, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will now start its own probe on the alleged contracts entered by the department with the security agency owned by the family of Solicitor General Jose Calida.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the DOJ would conduct the probe even without any complaint filed against Calida or the Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc. (Visai) which his family owns.
“As a matter of fact, it was already brought to our attention na baka merong some things to look into yung mga contracts na yun. I just said earlier na there’s a presumption of regularity but that is just a presumption so ang ibig sabihin nun if there is evidence to the contrary na baka there are some violations of let us say sa procurement laws natin then it is something that its worth looking into,” Guevarra said in an interview at the Senate on Wednesday.
“So the DOJ will be open also to review also yung mga contracts na yun but only in so far as the DOJ contract is concerned,” he added.
The DOJ, he said, would not touch on other reported contracts that the security agency had allegedly cornered with various government agencies
“Ang concern ng DOJ principally is whether yung mga procurements laws, rules and regulations had been followed kasi public bidding yan, everyone is entitled to bid. It is open to the public so regardless who the bidder is, kung nagco-comply sya sa hinahanap ng DOJ then that is it unless you know there are some other violations of law that may be discovered. But for now the presumption is regular on its face,” Guevarra said.
Asked how the DOJ would start its probe, the DOJ chief said: “I’ll call the BAC, I’ll call the Bids and Awards Committee and find out from them if all the proper procedures were observed.”
It was Pangilinan who asked during Guevarra, during the hearing before the Commission on Appointment’s committee on justice and judicial and bar council to the Justice Secretary, to look into the allegations against Calida.
Pangilinan noted Guevarra’s earlier statement in the media that there was no need for the DOJ to look into the matter unless there are complaints lodged questioning the validity of said government contracts with Calida’s security agency.
“We ask this because perhaps the Secretary can review the matter further considering that it has been just a few days since this controversy…erupted and that more information may still be available , that may further enlighten the Secretary regarding the controversy,” said the senator. /muf
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