Calida given free hand by President Marcos to do what’s right as COA chair
NEWLY-INSTALLED Commission on Audit (COA) Chairman Jose Callangan Calida formally took the oath with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as chair of the independent constitutional commission on his 72nd birthday last Thursday (July 7) inside the Malacañang Palace.
Known for his proven legal expertise that won him many cases in the Supreme Court (SC) during the time of former President Rodrigo Duterte, the former Solicitor General said the President has given him the free hand to do his job properly without reservation.
“We are just officially named to lead the COA, and now it’s time to start the real work, time to get the job done,” Calida said, adding that President Marcos was glad to see him during the oathtaking of government officials in the afternoon at the Palace. “We’re very happy to see each other, he’s happy and we respect each other.”
“I did not ask for anything nor even asked for this job. I was named to handle this job and I humbly accepted it,” Calida added. “There’s no immediate marching order, no pressure, but to do what’s right, and he has given me the will to do what I have to do. I told him: Don’t worry, I’ll take care of everything there.”
The Marcos administration through press secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles floated the appointment of Calida as their personal choice to handle COA as incoming new chairman last June 29 – a day before the President’s inauguration – before meeting his commissioners and employees for the first time last July 4.
Calida thanked President Marcos for the trust and confidence given to him, assuring the public that the people’s money will be safeguarded for every centavo that will be spent as long as he was in power.
After the oath-taking in Malacañang, Chairman Calida celebrated his birthday the rest of the night with his wife Mila Calida, his son Joseph, close relatives, and friends, including chairman’s consultants Jayke Joson and Jay Ruiz in a Japanese restaurant at Manila Diamond Hotel in Roxas Boulevard.
“There were prominent applicants who want that position in COA, but Calida was the personal choice of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. because of his great track record,” Joson, the former actor-producer, said. “He knows Chairman Calida will do the job done.”