Solicitor General Jose Calida appears to have taken a page from Putin’s book and has resorted to bullying COMELEC and its media partners. Calida has threatened the COMELEC with a lawsuit unless it rescinds its Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Rappler. Calida says that COMELEC should not have chosen Rappler to participate in COMELEC’s election activities because of its bias against the Duterte Administration. The MOA appears to be the regular agreement on cooperation entered into by COMELEC and its media partners during the election period. It’s not something exclusive to Rappler.
It is doubtful that the Solicitor General even has the power to bring such kind of action against the COMELEC which is an independent constitutional commission. It is definitely supposed to be independent of Malacan~ang and cannot be told to do the latter’s bidding, especially if it amounts to favoring a candidate in the elections. What is even bewildering is why would Calida even go through all the trouble of bullying COMELEC and bringing it to court, when it is Duterte himself who will be appointing the next Chairperson and the two members of the COMELEC.
Of course, Calida is the last person we expect to be objective when it comes to Rappler. The Duterte Administration is well-known for its attempts to shut down Rappler for being critical of the government and its policies, especially its reporting on Duterte’s role in the Davao Death Squad, featuring the highly explosive Lascañas affidavit submitted to the ICC. Calida and his boss are still waging their war against Rappler up to now, even as the time of the Davao Mafia in power begins to shorten by the day. They are the last desperate acts of a regime whose time is about to run out.
There is no basis for Calida’s tirades on the COMELEC-Rappler MOA. I am confident that even if brought to the Supreme Court, Calida’s case will just be thrown out like the piece of garbage that it is.