SC to act on Calida attempt to stop Senate probe
SC to act on Calida attempt to stop Senate probe

LeAnne Jazul

Solicitor General Jose Calida refuses to participate in a Senate investigation into his family firm's government contracts, saying it is illegal and serves no legislative purpose

MANILA, Philippines – The battle between opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and Solicitor General Jose Calida continues as the Supreme Court (SC) moves forward with the latter’s complaint to block the Senate investigation into his family firm’s government contracts.

“Considering the allegations, issues, and arguments adduced in the petition, as well as in the comment thereon…the Court resolved to give due course to the petition; treat the comment as answer; and require the parties to submit their respective memoranda within 30 days from notice hereof,” states the resolution of the SC en banc dated October 9.

Calida filed a petition with the SC on August 14 questioning the legality of a planned Senate investigation into the government contracts of his family’s security firm Vigilant – 16 contracts worth a total of P358.3 million. These are contracts that Vigilant won after Calida was appointed as the government’s top lawyer.

Trillanes wanted to lead the investigation under his panel, the Senate civil service and government reorganization committee, but Calida told the SC that the committee does not have jurisdiction to inquire into the issue.

Calida said it should be the Senate blue ribbon committee, but even then the solicitor general said it would violate the rules because the investigation does not have a legislative purpose.

Calida’s petition was publicized on August 16, the same day that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the solicitor general called him to inquire about Trillanes’ amnesty application.

Calida would later secure a certification that the application form could not be found, which subjected Trillanes to an intense two months of litigation, with him mostly holed up in his office, fearing a warrantless arrest.

The SC en banc reminded both Trillanes and Calida that: “No new issues may be raised by a party in the memorandum, and the issues raised in the pleadings but not included in the memorandum shall be deemed waived or abandoned. Being a summation of the parties’ previous pleadings, the Court may consider the memorandum alone in deciding or resolving the petition.” –

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