The problem with Solicitor General Jose (JoeCal) Calida is he has been winning all the cases his office has brought before the Supreme Court.
Against all arguments raised by his critics all of whom are now pounding him with all kinds of maliciously contrived and decidedly baseless issues, Calida has shouldered on winning for the administration such landmark cases as the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, the war-on-drugs-cum-De Lima case and recently, the quo warranto case which caused the ouster of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno from the high court.
He has, in effect, become the anti-Duterte forces’ biggest problem in their manic efforts to embarrass if not altogether scuttle any initiative which the President has taken in implementation of his ‘agenda for change.’ Trying to put a veneer of legalese in their oust-Duterte plots which Calida has successfully thwarted, he now needs to be silenced if not altogether removed from his office by whatever means, fair or foul.
They are doing this with such vengeful ferocity I won’t be surprised if tomorrow they come out with another baseless tale like that filed by Sereno loyalist Jocelyn Nisperos before the Ombudsman just to tie JoeCal down. Actually, by that filing, these guys have succeeded in derailing his being considered as possible replacement for the retiring Ombudsman.
Maybe that was their idea all along, to sideline JoeCal, considering the long list of pending and future cases against denizens of the previous regime which the next Ombudsman will have to investigate and file. Calida as Ombudsman will be their worst nightmare, indeed.
In any event, we have to ask: Is there any merit in their allegations? If we go by the laws governing the conduct of government officials, there is none. Zero. Zilch. Take the case of his ties to the family’s security agency, Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency, Inc., which has become the most contentious issue brought against him. Well, applying the law which is his calling, Calida has extensively explained the same to the satisfaction of President Duterte and Senator Koko Pimentel who are both lawyers.
First, he has declared his holdings in his SALN (unlike some of his most vociferous critics) and reported the same to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Second, he has resigned as the company’s chairman and president as required under the law. That he has not divested his holdings has also been explained. JoeCal noted that the law requires a public official either to divest or resign upon assuming office. It is OR not AND so he chose to resign his posts.
In any event, he says he is poised to divest—with which we agree. But will that silence the critics? I doubt it. They will finds ways to cast aspersions and dig more “dirt” just to tie him down and slow down the administration’s change initiatives such as the BBL which is likely to be challenged by the same set of critics who have been losing all their cases before the Supreme Court.
As for that striptease of a tale allegedly involving Calida’s use of office funds for the benefit of a young intern in the office, that has remained a tall tale. Despite efforts by the critics to drag JoeCal’s wife into the fray, complete with alleged pictures of impropriety, nothing has been proven at all. Aside from the complaint of Nisperos, nothing has been shown so far.
What is clear in this sordid anti-Duterte tale is that nothing has been shown to prove any of the allegations of wrongdoing. In the event, JoeCal has explained himself and proven the critics wrong. He has also welcomed the investigation being conducted by the DoJ to determine if there is any conflict of interest in his being the Solicitor General and his company’s contracts with some government offices. More importantly, he has asked the CoA and the DoJ to determine if the contracts are in accord with the procurement law and, of course, passed scrutiny by CoA.
With all of these developments, there is nothing more for JoeCal to prove. No need to answer the critics point-by-point. No need to be apologetic about these baseless accusations. He should just keep his cool and scan the horizon for whatever cases which may be brought against the administration as it works its way in overturning the
hyper ventilated, self-promoting and ultimately, pernicious business-as-usual practices of the previous administration.
I am sure he will again triumph against whatever delusional charges these self-declared “hopes of the fatherland” are wont to mount at every turn that President Duterte takes as he embarks on nation building—in his own unorthodox ways.