Calida files petition to prevent probe on security agency

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 16) — Solicitor General Jose Calida has filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to halt a Senate inquiry on a security agency owned by his family.

The petition, a copy of which was obtained Thursday, named Senator Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV as respondent and said the inquiry would "result in an unjustified invasion of the Petitioners' private affairs."

Along with the Solicitor General, Milagros O. Calida, Josef Calida, Michelle Calida, and Mark Jorel Calida were named as petitioners in the pleading received by the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The petition asked the Supreme Court to rule whether Trillanes committed "grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction" when he invited the petitioners to appear at a Senate inquiry. The Senate hearing looked into possible conflict of interest in the contracts that the Calida family's Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency, Inc. entered into with several government agencies,

 

The petition said the likelihood of Trillanes "extracting evidence" to be used against Calida was high, which in turn would infringe upon the Solicitor General's right against self-incrimination, and to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

Calida asked for a temporary restraining order and/or a permanent injunction be issued to prevent Trillanes from conducting the inquiry or any other inquiry "without legal authority from the Senate and the law."

He added there was "extreme urgency" to the request as the inquiry was scheduled on Thursday, August 16. The Senate calendar indicated the inquiry had been canceled and no new date has been released.

The Supreme Court gave Trillanes 10 days to comment on Calida's petition.

 

Trillanes said Calida cannot escape the investigation.

"Let me remind Mr. Calida that he is not a sacred cow. He does not have any immunity from any legislative inquiry. Thus, his petition for TRO has no legal basis. No matter where he hides, Mr. Calida's corrupt practices will soon be exposed," he said in a statement on Friday.

Calida came under scrutiny in May after a private citizen dared him to reveal his Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs).

Calida supposedly owned 60 percent of Vigilant which provided security services for he National Economic and Development Authority, National Anti-Poverty Commission, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, and National Parks Development Committee.

The Solicitor General issued a statement denying any conflict of interest and said he would defend himself at the proper forum.

RELATED: DOJ won't probe SolGen Calida in family's deals with government

President Rodrigo Duterte said he would not fire Calida over the issue, and the Solicitor General said he would not leave his post nor divest from Vigilant.

CNN Philippines' Anjo Alimario and Pia Garcia contributed to this report.