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Aguirre vows to file raps vs senator for wiretapping

JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Thursday said his camp would file four violations of the Bill of Rights and the Anti-Wiretapping Law against Senator Risa Hontiveros after she presented what he called a leakage photo showing his personal text messages with a certain “Cong Jing,” later identified as former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto “Jing” Paras.

In an ambush interview at the sideline of an Anti-Human Trafficking forum, Aguirre told reporters they were now preparing the case and were planning to file it before the Sandiganbayan against Hontiveros next week.

“Article 3 of the Constitution assures the privacy of communication among individuals and must remain inviolable,” Aguirre said.

But in the Senate, Hontiveros said Aguirre was chasing a dead end and desperately resorting to squid tactics rather than answering the accusations squarely lodged against him. 

“Let me respectfully enlighten the Justice Secretary. There is no violation of his privacy,” said Hontiveros, following Aguirre’s threat to charge her with violation of the Anti-Wiretapping Law and file an ethics complaint against her before the Senate Ethics Committee. 

The opposition senator said Aguirre’s “shameful and deceitful text conversation” was simply inadvertently caught by someone’s camera lens. 

Because of this, Hontiveros insisted there was no intent to tap or intercept his messages.There was no reasonable expectation of privacy. 

“The law is clear. What is prohibited is willfully and knowingly committing any acts constituting wiretapping,” she said. 

“But if the Justice Secretary wants to file cases against me, go ahead. See you in court, Mr. Aguirre,” challenged Hontiveros. 

She also shrugged off Aguirre’s threats of filing charges against her for  disclosing his supposed text exchanges with Paras.

Hontiveros maintained she did not violate Aguirre’s right to privacy when she shared a photo of his text messages with Paras.

“The shameful and deceitful text conversation was simply inadverdently caught by someone’s camera lens. Thus, there was no intent to tap or intercept his messages. There was no reasonable expectation of privacy,” Hontiveros said.

On Tuesday, Aguirre slammed Hontiveros for disclosing in a privilege speech that she discovered through a photo of the text message that he and Paras were planning to “expedite” cases against her.

However, Aguirre would not comment on the content of the text messages, nor address allegations that he was plotting to bring cases against Hontiveros, whose office took custody of three witnesses to the killing of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos by Caloocan City policemen during an anti-drug operation on August 16. 

The justice secretary said he would file the ethics complaint, contending that Hontiveros violated the Bill of Rigths on privacy of communications and RA 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Act at the hallowed ground of the Senate.

He added he would be filing a civil case for damages before a regional trial court and an ethics case against her before the Senate.

“I do not believe that it [photograph of his text conversation] was inadvertently taken. I challenge her to prove it, for her source or photographer to prove it that it was accidentally taken,” he said.

Aguirre added that Hontiveros should come out with the video that would show if the photographer was taking several different shots during the hearing.

“But I am certain that the photographer aimed his camera at me may be for about an hour,” he claimed.

Aside from that, Aguirre said, Hontiveros also violated the actual taking of the picture where he was seen holding his cellular phone and the message on the screen.

“She [Hontiveros] said in her speech that it was validated by experts, that they discussed it. They said they validated it, they saw it. Who are the participants (during the validation), all of them are guilty,” he added.

Aguirre also said that Hontiveros also committed a violation when she delivered her privilege speech.

“Under the Constitution, the privilege is only limited to speech and debate. If they made additions such as the picture of the cellular phone, including my text message, and they even had a power point presentation,” he said.

The Justice chief added Hontiveros intent to use the photo during her privilege speech without securing clearance with the Senate was also considered as a violation.

Topics: Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II , Senator Risa Hontiveros
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