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Solicitor General Calida faces Ombudsman probe

SOLICITOR General Jose Calida is facing an investigation before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with a family-owned security agency that had contracts with the government, according to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.

“Ibig sabihin, kliyente mo ang NEDA dahil ikaw ay may security agency na nakipag-kontrata sa iyo and at the same time, kliyente mo ang NEDA dahil ikaw ang magre-represent sa kanya sa husgado or kaso na ilalahad sa iyo. So iyan ang tinitignan ng mga investigators,” Morales told ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol in an interview.NEDA is the National Economic Development Authority.

Jocelyn Acosta-Nisperos, a private citizen, filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against Calida on May 10.

Nisperos alleged in the complaint that, among others, Calida violated Republic Act 6713 (the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) when he supposedly “failed to completely divest his business interests in his family corporation” upon assuming his post.

She later filed a letter following up the Office of the Ombudsman’s action on the complaint. According to the letter, which was filed on June 1 and addressed to Morales, the 2016 General Information Sheet of Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency, Inc. (VISAI) supposedly showed that Calida owned 60 percent of its capital stock.

“VISAI then acts as the security agency of at least six (6) government agencies, namely the Department of Justice (to which the Office of the Solicitor General is attached), the House of Representatives, the National Economic Development Authority, the National Anti-Poverty Commission, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and the National Parks Development Corporation,” Nisperos said.

She added that government contracts worth P261.39 million have supposedly been awarded to VISAI.

“The foregoing shows a clear conflict of interest,” Nisperos alleged.

Morales told CNN Philippines’ “The Source” that Calida was under investigation. REINA TOLENTINO

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