Detained Sen. Leila De Lima criticized Solicitor General Jose Calida for refusing to attend Senate hearings regarding the government contracts granted to a security agency owned by his family.
In a statement on Thursday, September 20, De Lima said that the Solicitor General is not exempted from being investigated by the Senate that has oversight power over alleged favored contracts with the government.
“Mr. Calida has the constitutional obligation to personally appear before the Senate to answer questions about his supposed conflict of interest for bagging fat government contracts for security agency his family owns,” De Lima said.
“Refusing to attend the Senate hearings about his family’s security firm is showing an outright disrespect of the Senate and its rules. Just because he is a Solicitor General doesn’t exempt him from public scrutiny,” the senator added.
The female lawmaker stressed that Calida should not be afraid to attend the Senate probe if he is really not guilty of violating the Constitution for his personal agenda.
“Calida’s arrogance in refusing to attend the Senate hearings is his other way of saying that he is guilty of corruption anomaly, in that he is the majority stockholder of a security agency that has bagged multiple government contracts,” De Lima said.
“After all, if Calida has nothing to hide, he should not be afraid to attend the hearings and answer questions from the good chair,” De Lima added.
Calida refused to attend the hearings of the Senate Committee on Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation, chaired by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
The Solicitor General has also filed a petition in the Supreme Court to stop the Senate inquiry on the government contracts granted to Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc. (VISAI), the security firm headed by his wife Milagros Calida.
Publicized documents showed that VISAI won at least 10 government contracts since the appointment of the Solicitior General in 2016.
These contracts include a Php 29.2-million contract with the National Parks Development Committee, a Php 6.8 million contract with the National Economic and Development Authority, and a Php 2.8 million contract with the National Anti-Poverty Commission.