New COA Chairperson Jose Calida assumes office

Published: 6 July 2022

Newly-appointed Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Jose C. Calida formally assumed office as Chairperson on Monday, 4 July 2022. He was warmly welcomed by COAns led by Commissioner Mario G. Lipana.

In a briefing with senior COA officials, Chairperson Calida assured the careful scrutiny of government accounts and warned auditors against shenanigans. “COA auditors should correctly scrutinize and carefully inspect accounts. But be careful. I am warning anybody in COA that if there are shenanigan and mischievous activities, I will boot them out. But those who are earnest in their work will remain in this Office,” he said.

Chairperson Calida invoked the same “win, win, win” mantra of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) for the Commission, reminding everyone that the OSG had won all cases filed in the Supreme Court during his stint as Solicitor General. He also vowed to reward valiant COA officials and those who work hard.

Prior to his appointment by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., Chairperson Calida served as Solicitor General under former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte since July 2016. He served as Undersecretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ) from 2001 to 2004. As DOJ Undersecretary, he was in-charge of the National Bureau of Investigation, Witness Protection, Security and Benefits Program, Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, DOJ National Task Force on Terrorism and Internal Security, and DOJ Task Force on Financial Fraud and Money Laundering. He was also head of the DOJ Action Center which extends free counseling and assistance to the public, especially to indigents.

He also served as Executive Director of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) in 2004. He conceptualized and implemented the DDB’s flagship project “Barkada Kontra Droga” on drug prevention and control which was adopted as the government’s model in demand reduction strategy. It is a peer-based antidrug advocacy program empowering the youth to become change agents in their school and community. He also implemented the “Lakbay Aral Kontra Droga” program which is a preventive education guided field trip cum lecture/workshop of youth leaders and the “Lakbay Kontra Droga” nationwide caravan to heighten public awareness in the government’s anti-drug policies and programs. He served as consultant of the House of Representatives Committee on Dangerous Drugs from 2005 to 2007. He was awarded the “International Award of Honor” by the International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association in recognition of outstanding accomplishment in the field of Narcotic Law Enforcement.

Chairperson Calida was also a practicing lawyer of J. Calida & Associates Law Firm, with fields of expertise in litigation, Anti-money Laundering Law and Dangerous Drugs Law. He was the Senior Vice-President and General Counsel of Prudential Guarantee and Assurance, Inc. (Coyiuto Group of Companies), Chairman and President of Vigilant Investigative and Security Agency, Inc., and General Counsel of Philippine Association of Detective and Protective Agency Operators, Inc. He was a founder, Chairman and President of the Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption and a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International.

Chairperson Calida obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1973 from the Ateneo de Manila University, College of Law, where he was a consistent Dean’s Lister. He passed the Bar Examinations in 1973 with ratings of 100% in Criminal Law, 90% in Civil Law, and 90% in Taxation Law. He graduated cum laude with a Major in English and Minor in Philosophy from Ateneo de Davao University in 1969. He and his wife, Milagros, are blessed with children, Michelle, Atty. Josef, and Atty. Mark Jorel.