Ex-DOJ Usec Jose Calida is Duterte admin Solicitor General

MANILA, Philippines – Former justice undersecretary Jose Calida will be the  Solicitor General of the incoming administration, president-elect Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman said on Friday, May 20.

"Former justice undersecretary Jose Calida has been chosen to become Solicitor General," said Duterte spokesman Salvador Panelo.

Calida, one of Duterte's campaign managers, was justice undersecretary of the Arroyo administration from 2001 to 2004. He was concurrent executive director of the Dangerous Drugs Board from January to October 2004.

Asked about his appointment, Calida said in an interview on ANC on Friday: "I'm a lawyer since 1974. I'm a practicing lawyer so it will not be an easy task but we can handle it."

On Duterte's marching orders, he said: "Knowing our president-elect, the marching order is do your best. And I will do it."

Calida is among the former officials of the Arroyo administration who have been tapped to serve the incoming administration.

The others are former Armed Forces chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr, former Cabinet secretary Silvestre Bello III, former press secretary Jesus Dureza, former defense chief Gilbert Teodoro Jr, and Alfonso Cusi. (READ: LIST: Who's who in the incoming Duterte Cabinet)

Asked about his connection with Arroyo, who is under hospital arrest for plunder charges over the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds, Calida said this would have no bearing on his new job.

"I am a lawyer and my loyalty is the rule of law. It doesn't matter who appointed me. When I become the Solicitor-General, I will take an oath and that is to defend the Constitution and to enforce the rule of law, regardless of who the appointing authority is," he said.

Calida completed his AB English degree at the Ateneo de Davao University in 1969, and his law degree at the Ateneo Law School in 1973. – Rappler.com

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