Akbayan Party-list Rep. Tom Villarin has filed a theft complaint against Labor Undersecretary Jacinto Paras before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office for allegedly stealing his iPhone X worth P74,000 in March.
Paras has denied the allegation.
In his complaint, Villarin said video footage would show Paras, a former congressman from Negros Oriental, snatched his phone during a congressional inquiry on March 20.
On that day, Villarin said, his cellphone was on top of his table when Paras approached him and placed his cellphone on top of it, then “picked up both cellular phones from the table and left De Venecia Hall and proceeded to Zulueta Hall on the second floor of the building.”
A day after, the Legislative Security Bureau sent Villarin a memo to inform him that his phone was found.
“One of the pictures in the memorandum clearly shows that respondent holding two cellular phones,” Villarin’s complaint read.
At a press conference, a smiling Villarin said, “We should not let things like this pass.”
“The incident was caught on CCTV. And the guards told me they will testify once they are summoned. The footage now forms part of the attachment I filed before the Quezon City prosecutor’s office,” he said.
Villarin said his phone had gone “missing for more than an hour” since he attended the committee hearing, and that Villarin and his colleagues called it up and rang it for about 10 times, but the calls remained unanswered.
Villarin said he suspected Paras would have wanted to extract information from his phone but said he could not have turned on his phone because of its face recognition security feature.
Paras on Tuesday denied Villarin’s accusations.
“Why would I steal his cellphone? Would I risk my whole reputation and my life just to steal his cellphone?” he said in Filipino.
Paras said he was in a hurry at that time to move to another room for another congressional hearing and might have accidentally lifted Villarin’s phone.
“I did not know I had his cellphone. I moved to another room. So probably I left it there. If I had intended to steal his phone, why were they able to recover it and why was it left in Congress. If I were a thief, then I’d bring his cellphone home,” Paras added.