Jose Calida faces multiple raps

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
Jose Calida faces multiple raps
Private citizens show the complaint they filed against Solicitor General Jose Calida at the Office of the Ombudsman yesterday.
Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — A supporter of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno yesterday filed a criminal complaint against Solicitor General Jose Calida over the supposedly unconstitutional quo warranto petition he filed against the chief magistrate as well as his alleged extramarital affair with one of his employees.

In a 14-page complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, Marie Acosta-Nisperos, founder of the Silent Majority movement and a known supporter of Sereno, said Calida should be investigated for violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Nisperos said Calida should be held responsible for malversation of public funds under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code and negligence in prosecuting offender under Article 208 of the RPC.

Calida was accused of violating Section 3 (a) of RA 3019 by “persuading or influencing” the Supreme Court (SC) justices to violate the rules by urging them to rule in favor of the quo warranto petition, which he filed against Sereno last March seeking to nullify her appointment as Chief Justice in 2012 by then president Benigno Aquino III.

Nisperos said Calida filed the petition against Sereno but refused to lodge a similar complaint against SC Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro for the same grounds he cited against the Chief Justice.

Last month, Nisperos submitted a letter to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) requesting Calida to file a quo warranto case against De Castro for her alleged failure to file the required statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) before the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) when she applied for the chief justice post in 2012.

“The Solicitor General simply denied the request, thereby giving undue favor, advantage or preference to Justice De Castro,” Nisperos said in her complaint. 

Calida, in his quo warranto petition, argued that Sereno’s appointment was void from the start as she supposedly did not meet the requirements for the post for her failure to submit her SALNs for at least 10 years prior to the date of her application for the chief justice post.

Business interests

Nisperos said Calida also violated the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees when he allegedly failed to divest his business interests in a security agency owned by his family.

Nisperos alleged that Calida owns 60 percent of the capital stock of Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc. (VISAI), with his wife and three children owning 10 percent each.

The complainant said Calida failed to divest his shares in VISAI even when the company was doing business with four government agencies: the National Economic and Development Authority, National Anti-Poverty Commission, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and National Parks Development Corp.

The contracts to be the security provider of these government agencies were awarded to VISAI from August 2016 to January 2018 when Calida was named solicitor general, according to Nisperos.

“He cannot be the lawyer for the government, at the same time its client. By basically owning VISAI, he placed the government at a disadvantageous position,” the complaint read.

Extramarital affair?

Nisperos claimed that Calida was having an affair with a 22-year-old employee of the OSG and allegedly diverted to her account P1.8 million in public funds. 

“When Calida’s wife found out about the affair and the corruption, she confronted him in his office last April 23,” Nisperos said.

Nisperos said the alleged mistress has taken a leave of absence since the supposed confrontation.

In an interview with reporters after filing her complaint, Nisperos admitted, “We do not have evidence about the relationship, although we have reliable information from verified sources who confirmed what really happened on April 23.”

Nisperos said she is leaving it to the ombudsman to investigate the matter.

“It’s up to the ombudsman to probe Calida’s alleged immorality and corruption,” she said.

Biased for Marcoses

Nisperos accused Calida of exhibiting bias in favor of the Marcos family, citing his intention to dissolve the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and transfer its functions to the OSG.

The PCGG is tasked to recover the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.

Nisperos alleged that while a bill seeking the dissolution of the PCGG remains pending in Congress, Calida had ordered a government lawyer to withdraw from a civil case pending in New York concerning the recovery of the Marcos paintings.

“There is a conflict of interest on the part of Calida considering that he is a true-blue Marcos loyalist,” Nisperos said.




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