September 25, 2017, 1:41 am
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Aguirre, Hontiveros trade barbs

JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday said opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros, not he, should resign for cheapening the Senate.

Hontiveros and her allies in the Senate called for Aguirre’s resignation after she presented to the public photos of his text messages to a certain “Cong Jing” that showed the two plotting to file charges against her.

Hontiveros identified “Cong Jing” as former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras.

Aguirre said it was Hontiveros who violated the law, especially Republic Act 4200 or the Anti-Wire Tapping Law, when she showed the text messages. He still has not confirmed the authenticity of the messages. 

(Her partymate, Sen. Franklin  Drilon,  said what she said in plenary or in hearings is covered by parliamentary privilege.))

“If there is anyone who should resign, it should be Senator Hontiveros because she denigrated the Senate. She violated the law and the Constitution – and she did it inside the halls of the Senate,” Aguirre said in Filipino, in an interview over GMA7’s Unang Balita.

Aguirre said he would   resign only if told to do so by President Duterte.

He reiterated that he would file charges against Hontiveros - an administrative case before the Sandiganbayan, a civil case before a trial court and an ethics complaint before the Senate committee on ethics.

Aguirre also said Hontiveros cannot hide behind her claim that she was not the one who took the photographs of the text messages, adding that under RA 4200, the one who published such messages can be punished. 

He said Hontiveros also cannot use her immunity from lawsuits as a lawmaker when making privilege speeches since it is only applicable in debates.

In a chance interview with reporters at the sidelines of the 3rd International Dialogue on Human Trafficking held in Makati city, Aguirre challenged Hontiveros to prove that the photo showing his text messages that she earlier disclosed to the public was inadvertently taken.

He said he is sure that Hontiveros would not be able to prove it.

Hontiveros said Aguirre can go ahead and file the cases.

“Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre is desperately resorting to squid tactics rather than answering the accusations squarely lodged against him,” she said.

She reiterated there is no violation of Aguirre’s privacy when his “shameful and deceitful text conversation was simply inadvertently caught by someone’s camera lens.” – With JP Lopez 
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