- The Office of the Ombudsman confirmed it has started investigation on Calida’s firm
- Morales said field investigators are now gathering documents for possible ‘case build-up’
- Calida has maintained there is no conflict of interest on his part
MANILA, Philippines – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has confirmed her office has launched a fact-finding investigation on Solicitor General Jose Calida whose security company has secured multi-million contracts with government agencies.
Morales refused to divulge details of the probe but said investigators are now gathering documents for a possible “case build-up”.
“As I said, the case is pending fact-finding investigation. I don’t like to pre-empt the result of the fact-finding investigation… Whatever I might say now, he might say I’m taking revenge,” said Morales in an interview over CNN Philippines.
While Morales did not confirm if Calida may be held liable for conflict of interest, she explained in an early radio interview that as the government’s chief lawyer, the Solicitor General may have duties to government agencies which his firm, the Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc. (Visai), have signed contracts with.
“Ibig sabihin kliyente mo ang NEDA dahil ikaw ay may security agency na nakipagkontrata sa (kanya) and at the same time kliyente mo rin ang NEDA dahil ikaw ang magrerepresenta sa kanya sa korte so iyan ang mga tinitingnan ng investigators,” said Morales.
[It means your client os NEDA because your security agency has contract with them, and at the same time, NEDA is also your client because you will represent them in court, so that’s what’s the investigators are looking into.]
Calida maintains there is no conflict of interest on his part; arguing that he has since resigned as president of Visai before accepting the position of Solicitor General. He further insisted he was not required to divest his shares from the company since OSG was not involved in the deals nor was it mandated to regulate companies like Visai.