MANILA, Philippines – In the 2010 senatorial polls, then candidate Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros came out with a catchy jingle titled Maganda ang Laban to help boost her candidacy.
Seven years later, after finally winning the election on her third try, Hontiveros will again face a “beautiful fight,” not in another poll but with Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.
On Friday, the DOJ chief said he would push through with filing a case against Hontiveros, after the senator accused him of plotting to file cases against her.
But before he files the case next week, Aguirre said he was making it sure that the complaint would be airtight so he would have a “beautiful fight” with Hontiveros.
“Pinapaganda ko pa ‘yong akin, para maganda ang labanan namin ni Senator Risa,” he said on Friday.
In a radio interview Thursday night, the DOJ chief said the senator “violated my right to privacy of communication” after Hontiveros delivered a privilege speech in the Senate last Sept. 11.
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 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].
Aguirre said what Hontiveros did was prohibited under Section 3 of the 1987 Constitution, pertaining to the bill of rights, and also violative of Republic Act 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Law.
“Three counts po ‘yang violation n’ya. ‘Yong pag-photograph, sinasabi n’ya ‘yon daw ay produkto lamang na parang aksidente lang. Imposible kako ‘yang mangyari. ‘Yong anggulo ng pagkuha ng aking cellphone nando’n sa likod ko. Eh kung kukuha ka, dapat ‘yong nasa harapan mo hindi ‘yong nasa likod mo,” the DOJ secretary said.
[She has three counts of violation. She said the photo was just accidentally taken. I said it was impossible to happen. The angle of the photo of my cellphone was taken from my back. But if someone shoots a photo, it should be in front and not from the back.]
If it was true that it was accidentally taken, Hontiveros should present the photographer who took the shot, according to Aguirre.
“Titingnan natin, i-review natin ‘yong footage n’yan at siguradong sigurado ko, 100 percent na nakatutok sa akin ng matagal ‘yan [Let’s look at it, let’s review the footage of that and I’m very sure, 100 percent, the camera was focused on me for a long time.],” he added.