Duterte defends decision to allow Calida to keep his post

SEOUL — President Rodrigo Duterte defended his decision to keep embattled Solicitor General Jose Calida, despite accusations that there was conflict of interest in his family-owned security firm bagging multi-million-peso contracts with various government agencies.

Speaking before the Filipino community at the Grand Hilton hotel here, the President asked why he should fire Calida when he knew all along that the solicitor general had inherited the security agency from his father, a soldier.

“I know that because he’s from Davao and that was the family business,” President Duterte explained.

The President explained that there is nothing irregular in the contracts as long as the security agency took part in competitive public bidding for government projects.

“Anything in government, you have to participate in biddings. That’s okay, there is no problem there. There will be a problem if there is no bidding. So all (government contracts) have biddings, [and] there will be a winner. If he won (the contract), then he is (the winner),’” he said.

The President clarified that his Cabinet members are not allowed to transact business and do not get involved with government contracts, only policies. And this applies to him as well.

He added that the Cabinet secretaries who look at these contracts have his trust. /ee

READ: Palace: No conflict of interest in Calida security firm’s P150-M deals with gov’t

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