Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguire 2nd on Monday filed a criminal complaint against Sen. Risa Hontiveros before the Pasay Prosecutor’s Office for alleged violation of Republic Act 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Law.
He later proceeded to the Senate to also file an ethics complaint against the senator.
The complaint before the Pasay Prosecutor’s Office was made in connection with Hontiveros publicizing a photo
where Aguirre was shown supposedly exchanging text messages with “Jing” during her privilege speech on September 5 at a Senate hearing on the killing of Kian Loyd de los Santos allegedly by members of Caloocan City police.
The senator was apparently referring to Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption lawyer Jacinto Paras.
In her privilege speech, Hontiveros said enlargement of the photo would reveal that Aguirre was plotting to file cases against her and that Aguirre is commanding Paras “to expedite cases against her.”
On September 25, Paras filed several complaints against Hontiveros before the Office of the Ombudsman, including violation of the Anti-Wiretapping Law, obstruction of justice and kidnapping.
Aguirre said Hontiveros did not accidentally take the photo, contrary to the senator’s claim.
He added that he can prove it with an expert’s opinion.
Aguirre named Cristopher Malinao from the Federation of Philippine Photographers Association as his witness in the criminal complaint.
Instead of the Office of the Ombudsman, the National Prosecution Service and the civil courts, he said, shall have jurisdiction over the offense committed by Hontiveros since it was not made in the performance of her official duties.
“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 [Department of Justice] will treat these cases [in the prosecutor’s office and the ethics committee]fairly and with justice, so Sen. Risa has nothing to fear,” Aguirre added.
He said the senator had invaded his privacy.
“Text messages are private communications. Any unauthorized intrusion into such exchanges is illegal and betrays the Constitution. I condemn to the highest degree this shameless violation of a citizen’s right to the privacy of communications,” Aguirre added.
The Senate, he said, was needlessly dragged into the alleged wiretapping.
“I am sad because the people who violated my right to privacy of communications and the people who subsequently trumpeted it, did so in the very hallowed halls of the Senate itself,” Aguirre pointed out.