(UPDATED — 11:35 a.m.) MANILA, Philippines — Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday went to the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office to file a complaint against Sen. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros.
Aguirre asked Pasay City Assistant Prosecutor Ju-Haree Dc. Tolentino to investigate Hontiveros’ alleged violation of Republic Act 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Law in relation to the senator’s Sept. 11 privilege speech at the Senate.
In her speech, Hontiveros presented as evidence a digital photo of Aguirre sending text messages during the Sept. 5 Senate hearing on the killing of Caloocan Grade 11 Kian Loyd Delos Santos.
The senator said that when the picture was enlarged, it revealed that Aguirre was texting a certain “Cong. Jing” who said that, “Naturuan na ni Hontiveros ang testigo [Hontiveros has coached the witness already].
In his complaint, Aguirre also asked Hontiveros to surface the photographer who took the shot of the DOJ chief’s alleged text message to former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras.
In a text message to reporters on Monday, Aguirre said that, “After further study, I came to the conclusion that it is the civil courts and the National Prosecution Service (NPS) that have jurisdiction over the cases because the offenses were committed when Sen. Risa was not in the performance of her official duties.”
Amid questions of fairness and objectivity as the NPS is under the DOJ, Aguirre said, “I could not do anything because that is what the law says. It is the law that determines jurisdiction.”
“What I could say is that the DOJ will treat these cases fairly and with justice, so Sen. Risa has nothing to fear,” he added.
According to Aguirre, Hontiveros committed three counts of violating R.A. 4200 through illegally taking shots of the DOJ chief’s text messages; having experts determine the messages’ authenticity; and violating Aguirre’s constitutional right when she mentioned about the contents of the DOJ chief’s text messages during her Sept. 11 privilege speech.
A related complaint was earlier filed by Paras against Hontiveros before the Office of the Ombudsman.
WATCH NEWS5’S VIDEO OF DOJ CHIEF AGUIRRE AT THE PASAY CITY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE: