Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Carvajal: He should go

SOLICITOR General Jose Calida’s case is no different from that of Ms. Wanda Teo’s. Hence, like her he should go. I can’t believe the Palace (or is it just spokesperson Harry Roque?) is justifying this moral wrong. I thought President Duterte was uncompromising in his drive against even just a whiff of corruption. More than a whiff, this one stinks.

Ms. Teo could have wiggled out through the smallest of legal loopholes. But decency required that she got out of the morally deep hole she dug for herself by way of resignation. A high ranking official, she should have avoided anything that would look like she was using her position to favor her brothers. Decency should have raised a red flag when she was asked to sign a check for a government network to which her brothers are connected.

In like manner, granting that SolGen Calida had nothing to do with the approval of the multi-million-peso contracts of his family’s security agency with the government, as a high ranking official of an administration that has vowed to fight even a whiff of corruption, he should have had the decency to tell his family to stay away from those contracts that he ought to know would surely arouse suspicions of partiality. He did not have the moral sensitivity to see that.

To stay in office just because he can find legal loopholes when decent folks are seeing or suspecting (and reasonably so) something dark ranks up there among pure and simple cases of corruption and arrogance of power. How can he make us believe he had nothing to do with his family’s multi-million peso contracts with the government of which he is Solicitor General? He should have known the only way to convince people his hands were clean was to tell his family to stay away from government contracts.

He did not do this. He “allowed” his family to get contracts during his watch as Solicitor General. So now, the only way to wash his hands of any accountability in this very dubious, to say the least, transaction is to resign. Actually it will not wash away the stain of corruption. But it will restore decency and dignity into his person. He erred in allowing his family to enter into these contracts but by resigning he tells the world he is man enough to admit to his error of omission.

In Ms. Teo’s case, the brothers were willing to return the P60 million to DOT. Atty. Jose Calida’s family should also be willing to rescind all government contracts they got while he was Solicitor General. Still, like Ms. Teo he should resign to spare the president of any embarrassment and so we can trust again that this administration is dead serious about stamping out official corruption.

SolGen Calida should go. Mr. Roque had better check with the President again.


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