SC gives due course to Calida’s petition vs Senate inquiry into security agency
MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has given due course to Solicitor General Jose Calida’s petition asking for a halt order against a legislative probe, led by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, into the alleged impropriety of his ownership of a security agency.
In a two-page resolution issued by the SC En Banc made public on Thursday, the tribunal said that it has given both parties 30 days to submit their respective memoranda to the court.
This means that the tribunal would tackle the points raised by the solicitor general and his family in their Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition against the Senate inquiry into the alleged conflict of interest in their ownership of Vigilant security agency.
The agency—which Calida has a stock ownership of 60 percent—bagged multi-million contracts with several government agencies.
On August 14, Calida ran to the highest court and asked for a halt order against the conduct of the Senate’s legislative inquiry led by Trillanes.
He also asked the SC to declare as “void and unconstitutional” Trillanes’ letters inviting them to the Senate as they were “issued in respondent’s sole capacity only or without the authority of the Senate or any of its Committees and for serving no legislative purpose.”
According to Calida, Trillanes, in letters dated August 1, invited the Calida family to an inquiry for the purpose of “threshing out the various issues arising from Proposed Resolution No. 760.”
“Clearly the objective of the Proposed Resolution is to conduct an inquiry in order to humiliate and carry out the personal and hostile agenda of the Respondent,” Calida’s petition further reads.
A legislative inquiry is one of the functions of the Senate. The probe also stemmed from a resolution that was signed by Trillanes and Sens. Risa Hontiveros, Franklin Drilon, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Francis Pangilinan and Leila de Lima.
In the run-up to the 2016 elections, Trillanes — and erstwhile political ally then-Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano — participated in committee hearings into allegations of corruption against Vice President Jejomar Binay and his family. The Binays said then that the hearings were motivated by politics and were meant as propaganda against the vice president.
Among the allegations tackled at those hearings has led to graft cases at the Sandiganbayan.
Calida’s petition was filed the same week that the Senate has scheduled a hearing into the matter.
Three weeks later, President Rodrigo Duterte has declared the amnesty granted to Trillanes as “void from the beginning.” The president later said that Calida initiated the review of Trillanes’ amnesty documents.
Trillanes is has taken the legal battle against Duterte’s order to the Supreme Court. — Kristine Joy Patag