Today's Punto
Today's Punto
Case closed

May 31, 2018

Case “A FISH is caught by its mouth. By saying that he has not divested himself of his majority shares from a family business that has snared millions of pesos worth of government contracts, Mr. Calida has virtually admitted to allegations of corrupt practices and conflict of interest. Case closed. Game over, “

So, said Sen. Risa Hontiveros in the wake of reports that Solicitor General Jose Calida allegedly admitted that he has yet to divest himself of his business interest in the Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc. (VISAI) that bagged some P150 million in contracts from various government agencies since 2016.

Reports said records from the Securities and Exchange Commission show that Calida owns 60 percent of VISAI while the remaining shares in the company belong to his wife and other members of their family.

In a press statement, Hontiveros cited Section 3(i) of Republic Act No. 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees that defined conflict of interest as a situation where a public official “is a member of a board, an officer or a substantial stockholder of a private corporation or owner or has a substantial interest in a business, and the interest of such corporation or business, or his rights or duties therein, may be opposed to or affected by the faithful performance of official duty.”

She also referenced Section 4 (a) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act which states that it is “unlawful for any person having family or close personal relation with any public official to capitalize or exploit or take advantage of such family or close personal relation by directly or indirectly requesting . . . pecuniary advantage from any other person having some business, transaction, application, request or contract with the government.”

The senator also said that Calida violated Article VII, Section 13 of the Constitution stating that “the President, Vice-President, the Member of the Cabinet, and their deputies or assistants shall not, unless otherwise provided in this Constitution, hold any other office or employment during their tenure. They shall not, during said tenure, directly or indirectly, practice any other profession, participate in any business, or be financially interested in any contract with, or in any franchise, or special privilege granted by the Government or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations, or their subsidiaries. They shall strictly avoid conflict of interest in the conduct of their office.”

Dared Hontiveros: “The violations are many and unmistakable. I reiterate my challenge to President Duterte to fire and file cases against Mr. Calida. Can’t the President smell it? This is not just a whiff of corruption. The stench is nauseating.”

“Itong si Calida matagal naman ‘yang security guard [firm] niya. Noon pa ‘yan…Bakit, wala na ba tayong katuwiran magnegosyo?”

So President Duterte peremptorily dismissed all allegations of wrongdoing against Calida.

Case, indeed, closed. Game, hopefully, not over yet.

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