MANILA, Philippines – Despite controversies surrounding his family's security firm bagging millions of pesos worth of government contracts, Solicitor General Jose Calida will not be fired by President Rodrigo Duterte.
"Itong si Calida matagal naman 'yang security guard [firm] niya. Noon pa 'yan (Calida's security firm has been around for a while). Why should I fire him? He's good," said Duterte on Wednesday, May 30, during an event at the Bureau of Customs in Manila.
Duterte said Calida is not in trouble because he is supposedly no longer participating in his family's company, Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Incorporated. The President also appeared to claim that Calida already divested from the firm.
"Bakit, wala na ba tayong katuwiran magnegosyo? (Why, don't we have the right to have a business)? As long as you do not participate, the fact that you have divested in the sense that you have retired," said Duterte.
As of September 29, 2016, or after Calida assumed the post of Solicitor General, he still owned 60% of Vigilant shares. Calida also admitted in a recent statement that he has not divested yet, but claimed he wasn't required to.
Duterte said people should not be "forcing" the issue.
"Huwag mo pilitin na just because he's retired, 'Hindi, mag-ano pa 'yan siya.' (Don't force it that just because he's retired, 'No, he's still active.') Why do you have to impute or attribute malice there?" said the President.
Calida has insisted there is no conflict of interest in his family's bagging 14 contracts with government agencies.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.