EXCLUSIVE: Justice Secretary: No anomalies in deals of SolGen's family firm with DOJ

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This story was updated to include a statement from Solicitor General Jose Calida.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 21) — The two controversial contracts won by the security firm owned by the family of Solicitor General Jose Calida at the Department of Justice (DOJ) were all above board, but the government's top lawyer should have divested from the company.

In an exclusive interview with CNN Philippines' The Source on Thursday, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that regulations provided under the government procurement law "were followed from the start of the bidding to the end" in the handling of the contracts worth ₱12 million.

"I examined all the records pertaining to procurement, and all of these were regular," he said.

The Calida family's Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency Inc., won some ₱261.39 in deals with government agencies, including the DOJ, after  the Solicitor General assumed office in 2016. Calida had resigned from the company but admitted that he still held shares there.

The Solicitor General in a statement on Thursday welcomed Guevarra's statement.

"I am not surprised with [his] conclusion that there is no irregularity and conflict of interest in Vigilant’s contract with DOJ," said Calida. "This should put to rest the malicious speculations against my wife’s business and my integrity."

READ: Calida won't resign as SolGen or divest from security firm

Guevarra said there was no conflict of interest in the Vigilant contracts since none of the DOJ officials or members of the Bids and Awards Committee were related to Calida within the third degree of affinity or consanguinity.

"None was found. So as far the DOJ was concerned, iyon ang issue ng conflict of interest," he explained. "So it happens that siya ang lowest and [most] responsive bid among a number of bidders, so nasaayos naman siya [so it's all good]."

Guevarra said he could not speak about the proceedings in the contracts with other government agencies that Vigilant dealt with. 

Asked if the transactions with DOJ were ethical, the Secretary deferred to the Office of the Ombudsman which had received a complaint regarding Calida's firm.

However, Guevarra did have a word of advice for the Solicitor General.

"It's better for him if he divested," he said.