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Palace: Senate, DOJ free to probe Calida.

Malacanang said on Thursday that the Senate is free to investigate Solicitor General Jose Calida over government contracts clinched by his family's security firm, as it also welcomed the move of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to similarly investigate the government's principal lawyer over the issue.

'I can't tell the Senate what they want to do. They can do so if they wish,' Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing when asked about his comment regarding moves to investigate Calida.

On Wednesday, minority senators filed a resolution urging the Senate to investigate Calida over government contracts awarded to Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc. (Visai) - the security firm owned by his family.

Also on Wednesday, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the DOJ would investigate Calida despite his earlier pronouncement that he would not do so.

'I understand that the Secretary of Justice has relented and has agreed to open a formal investigation, which I think is the better course of action para malinaw na once and for all kung talagang nagkaroon ng conflict of interest,' Roque said.

But despite the impending investigations against Calida, Roque reiterated that Duterte would not fire the top government lawyer.

'The President has said he will not fire Secretary Calida because of this controversy, which sustains my earlier legal view that Solicitor General Calida is not guilty of conflict of interest,' he said.

The President, in a speech likewise on Wednesday, said he sees no reason to fire Calida.

'He has long owned a security agency. Why should I fire him?' he said in a mix of Filipino and English in a speech at the destruction of smuggled luxury vehicles at the Bureau of Customs in Manila.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:May 31, 2018
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