What have they done to deserve their extraordinarily high salaries?
So, Solicitor General Jose Calida is once again in the limelight for being the second-highest paid among our “public servants,” amassing almost P17 million in 2019 alone. He is second only to former United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) president Higinio Macadaeg Jr. with P20.47 million for the same year (“Calida is 2nd highest-paid government official,” 7/30/20). Incidentally, the UCPB was created under a Marcos decree (Presidential Decree No. 755, therefore, a government-owned bank) with a special mandate to help improve the plight of coconut farmers. What has Macadaeg done for the farmers during his watch to deserve the most lucrative “honor” of earning so much? Are the farmers better off now? Last anyone checked, their plight has remained pathetic, if not worse.
As to Calida, what made him secure such a mind-boggling bounty, obscenely way more than the other solicitors general before him ever could? From all indications, it seemed like a generous reward for his “quo warranto initiative” that everyone else in the legal profession thought was unheard of and utterly untenable: to oust a sitting chief justice, the one person President Duterte hated the most. And having gotten away with the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno in 2018 (all thanks to a Duterte-friendly supermajority in the Supreme Court), he also “quo-warrantoed” ABS-CBN—the network Mr. Duterte had promised to “kill” one way or the other—and got its franchise “killed” with greater dispatch, courtesy of congressmen who got the message loud and clear.
Calida has certainly mastered the art of making some “sense” out of senseless gobbledygook. The people would have appreciated it more—even if he got paid a hundredfold—if his very fertile imagination also showed him the way, and he found the guts, to commence a “quo warranto” of sorts in the International Court of Justice to oust China from its unlawful occupation of our territories in the West Philippine Sea. Doon masusubukan ang galing niya before a truly independent and impartial tribunal.
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