(UPDATE 2 – 12:50 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines – As the Senate on Monday continued its inquiry into the slay of Caloocan Grade 11 student Kian Loyd delos Santos, Senator Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros and Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II also continued their squabble after the latter filed an anti-wiretapping case against the lawmaker and announced that he would also file an ethics complaint against her.
During the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs’ hearing, Hontiveros accused Aguirre of diverting the issue, reiterating that the real subject was not her alleged violation of Aguirre’s privacy but the DOJ chief’s alleged plot to file a case against her.
Also, Hontiveros said she was expecting that the outcome of the case that Aguirre had filed against her before the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office would be rigged because the latter is under the jurisdiction of the DOJ.
She said the anti-wiretapping case filed against her by the DOJ secretary was “a desperate attempt to deflect public attention away from his text conversation inadvertently captured by someone’s camera lens.”
Hontiveros, said this caught Aguirre “red-handed plotting against me during a Senate hearing inside the Senate.”
“This is the real issue here…Secretary Aguirre was caught conspiring and instigating private individuals to file cases against a sitting senator inside the Senate.”
The senator said Aguirre was not denying that the content of his text messages with former Negros Oriental representative Jacinto “Jing” Paras and thus the DOJ chief should stop beating around the bush.
“Huwag na tayong magpaligoy-ligoy pa, Secretary Aguirre,” said Hontiveros.
‘Lutong makaw’ says Risa; just following law, argues Aguirre
Also, Hontiveros doubted that Aguirre would give her a “beautiful fight” as he said earlier because the DOJ chief filed his complaint against the lawmaker before the prosecutor’s office that is under the department.
“Sabi ni Secretary Aguirre, bibigyan daw n’ya ako ng magandang laban. Magandang laban o lutong makaw…? Isa sa kasong isinampa sa akin ni Secretary Aguirre ay kanyang inihain sa prosecutor’s office na nasa ilalim ng kanyang jurisdiction,” she said.
Sought by DOJ reporters for comment on why he filed it in Pasay and not with the Ombudsman, Aguirre said he reviewed the circumstances of the case and adjusted his plan accordingly.
“After further study, I came to the conclusion that it is the civil courts and the National Prosecution Service that have jurisdiction over the cases because the offenses were committed when Senatpr Riza was not in the performance of her official duties”
Referring to another question on the credibility of the investigation, Aguirre said, “I could not do anything because that 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 Senator Riza has nothing to fear.”
Hontiveros saw a clear conflict of interest, however. “Maliwanag ang conflict of interest. This also confirms the conspiracy hatched by Secretary Aguirre to expedite the filing of cases against me,” she said.
The lawmaker then urged Aguirre to step down, saying he should already stop making excuses because he was already caught.
“For the information of the secretary, game’s over, tapos na ang boksing. Bistong bisto na po kayo. Buko na kayo, tama na ang pagpapalusot. Tama na ang pagtatago sa mga pekeng kaso. Panahon na para lisanin ninyo ang posisyon na lubos na ninyong dinunguisan,” she added.
During the Senate hearing, Aguirre maintained that the issue was Hontiveros’ violation of his privacy, which he was both against the Charter and Republic Act 4200.
The DOJ chief said he would not give a chance to the senator to raise in any court or in any other venue her claim that Aguirre was allegedly plotting against her because her proof would be rendered “inadmissible.”
“Senator Hontiveros, ang usapan po, ang isyu ay vinaolate ba ninyo ang Konstitusyon natin at ang Republic Act 4200. ‘Yan po ang tunay na isyu. ‘Yon pong contents ng aking cellphone, you took it, (it’s a) violation of right to privacy,” said Aguirre.
“‘Yan po ay hindi ninyo maaring gamitin sapagkat ‘yan po ay inadmissible. It is as if, it is non-existent. Hindi po ninyo ako madadala do’n sa isyu as to whether or not the contents of my cellphone messages eh pag-uusapan. Hindi po. Hindi ko kayo bibigyan ng pagkakataon na dalhin ninyo sa ibang lugar ang isyu sa inyo,” he added. – with a report by JV Arcena, News5
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