Calida sued at Ombudsman over security agency

 

MANILA, Philippines – A complaint was filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against Solicitor General Jose Calida on Thursday, May 10, accusing him of violating the Code of Conduct for Public Officials for a majority share in a security agency.

The complaint was filed by Jocelyn Nisperos-Acosta, a private individual who is a vocal supporter of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Jocelyn Nisperos Acosta, a vocal supporter of CJ Sereno. files a complaint vs @SolGenCalida before the Office of the Ombudsman for violation of Code of Conduct over a security agency he supposedly owns @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/vrEACwDnNF — Lian Buan (@lianbuan) May 10, 2018

 

In the complaint, Acosta said Calida owns 60% of capital stocks of security agency Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc (VISAI), based on the General Information Sheet filed with the Securities and Exchange Commmission on September 29, 2016.

"[Calida's] wife and 3 children own 10% each," the complaint said.

According to Acosta, VISAI has contracts with government, particularly with the National Economic Development Authority, the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, and the National Parks Development Corporation.

Acosta said Calida's wife Milagros signed a 2016 contract with NAPC as the company's chairperson and president.

Acosta attached Facebook posts of VISAI employees referring to Calida as their boss.

This, Acosta said, violates Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct For Public Officials.

Under Section 9 of RA 6713, a public official shall resign from his position in a company when a conflict of interest arises.

"The fact that his wife remains as President of VISAI proves that respondent still has material pecuniary interest in VISAI," said the complaint.

It added: "Respondent cannot be the lawyer of the government, at the same time its client. By basically owning VISAI, respondent places the government at a disadvantageous position."

The last public official who was indicted for conflict of interest was Davao del Norte 2nd District Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr, who is facing graft charges at the Sandiganbayan for having financial interest in Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco).

Tadeco has a multi-million land lease with the government.

Rumored affair

The complaint also accused Calida of having an affair with an Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) intern. It further accused Calida of diverting P1.8 million in OSG funds to his rumored girlfriend.

Acosta wants to charge Calida for malversation over this. The complaint, however, offers no evidence yet except for "reports."

Acosta also included in the complaint Calida's quo warranto petition against Sereno, as well as the reforms he's undertaking so that the OSG would control the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).

Saying that the quo warranto petition is unconstitutional, Acosta said Calida can be charged with graft for "persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer – the Supreme Court in this case – to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority."

In the PCGG reform, Acosta said Calida being a Marcos loyalist makes him liable under Article 2308 of the Revised Penal Code, which prohibits public officials from "tolerating commission of offenses."

"The fact that the PCGG does in fact currently refuse to perform its mandate of running after Marcos' ill-gotten wealth, all point to the same conclusion: respondent is not true to his oath as Solicitor General. He is not acting as a lawyer for the Government. He lawyers for the Marcoses," the complaint said.

Calida had earlier refuted claims of conflict of interest in the PCGG reforms, saying his ties do not influence his duties as solicitor general.

Acosta was the one who wrote Calida to initiate a similar quo warranto petition against Supreme Court Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro, a request which the solicitor general denied. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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