Press Release
June 5, 2018

Dispatch from Crame No. 319:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on SolGen Calida as a new role model in government corruption


Solicitor General Jose Calida is the Duterte Administration's new poster boy on corruption, not for going against it, but for mainstreaming it in the national psyche.

Just as Duterte has made extra-judicial killings normal and acceptable as a government policy, Calida has made making a profit out of government office a practice worth emulating. For this reason alone, it is better for Calida to stay in office, in order to remind Filipinos everyday of the rapaciousness of government officials who do not shrink at the mention of their name being involved in corruption, but instead brag about the stocks they own in the company doing business with government.

After all, this is what being in power for is, and Calida is not wasting any time in making sure that the amount of his accumulated wealth corresponds to a net profit for every single day he spends in government.

The Constitution provides that no Cabinet member or their deputies shall participate in any business, or be financially interested in any contract with, or in any franchise, or special privilege granted by the Government or any subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof. By being the majority stockholder of a security agency that has bagged multiple government contracts, Calida is spitting on this constitutional provision.

This is already the new normal, of high government officials spitting on the Constitution, after no less than their President proclaimed before troopers of the AFP that for him, the Constitution is nothing but a mere scrap of paper.

This is also the Solicitor General that was just recently acclaimed by the Supreme Court in the case of Republic v. Sereno for his professionalism, independence, and autonomy. The SC was referring to Calida's act of filing the quo warranto case against CJ Sereno, but they might as well be talking about his professionalism, independence, and autonomy in making a personal business out of his government office. Applying these to his business-cum-public office model of wealth accumulation, the Court's accolade might as well be translated to this SolGen's "abilidad", "pamamaraan", and "diskarte".

Maybe the Court should be reminded that this is the Solicitor General they are rooting for, one who has no qualms and second thoughts in making a business out of his government position for his own family's personal enrichment while he is in power. Combined with the constitutional proscription against Cabinet members and their deputies being financially interested in any government contract, the 261 million pesos in contracts Calida's security agency entered into with government constitute plunder.

This is the man the SC is telling us to trust with his professionalism and independence, while they crucify their Chief Justice for unfiled SALNs.

Here is a blatant case of how the SolGen violates the Constitution to go on bagging multi-million-peso government contracts. One wonders what the members of the Court have to say about that, after removing a Chief Justice not even for corruption, but for merely failing to locate her SALNs.

By getting away with millions of pesos in government contracts, Calida is now the role model in government corruption. If we let him get away with it, we are not only normalizing thievery and mainstreaming plunder as a way of life in secret, but out in the open, where enterprising public officials brag about their ill-gotten wealth as the legitimate fruit of being in power, being corrupt, and being shameless about it.

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