Hontiveros: Aguirre skirting the issue on plot to file a case vs her

By Audrey Morallo

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Sen. Risa Hontiveros shot back at Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and accused him of skirting the issue on the alleged plot to file a case against her. File

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Risa Hontiveros accused Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre on Wednesday of skirting the issue on his alleged connivance with an anti-crime group to file cases against her as the word war between the two continues to rage.

On Tuesday, Aguirre claimed that he was targeted and argued that the text message allegedly showing his plot with a certain "Cong. Jing" violated his privacy.

Hontiveros said that the justice chief basically confirmed the "authenticity" of the text message with his statement.

"Why is the Justice Secretary invoking the Anti-Wiretapping Law? Is he admitting that the text conversation is real?" the senator asked in a statement.

She said that the justice secretary was shooting blanks with his long-winding arguments and explanation and failed to clarify if the text message inadvertently caught in a photograph was genuine or not.

"Clearly, Secretary Aguirre is shooting blanks. Pilit nagpapalusot," Hontiveros said.

"Sa hinaba-haba ng kanyang paliwanag, hindi niya masagot ang simpleng tanong, totoo ba o hindi ang text conversation kung saan nabisto siya na nakikipagkuntsabahan sa mga grupo para lutuin ang mga kasong isasampa laban sa oposisyon? That is the real issue here."

Aguirre and Hontiveros have been engaged in a tit-for-tat these past months.

Hontiveros accused the justice secretary of being a "fake news king" after he released information to the media which later turned out to be spurious.

She also blasted Aguirre for downgrading the cases against cops allegedly involved in the killing of the former mayor of Albuera, Leyte while in detention in Baybay City. This move prompted Hontiveros to call Aguirre "areglo king."

Recently, Aguirre and Hontiveros traded barbs when the senator took the protective custody of the witnesses in the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos.

Hontiveros on Monday called for the resignation of Aguirre as he accused him of plotting to file cases against a senator inside the halls of the Senate itself.

There was no violation of privacy in the release of the text message, according to Hontiveros, as there was no intent to tap his communication.

"The law is clear. What is prohibited is willfully and knowingly committing any acts constituting wiretapping," she said as she likened what happened to someone's overhearing a conversation by a careless person talking loudly.

She said, "In this case, it was a text conversation, which was inadvertently caught by someone's camera lens."

Hontiveros also blasted Aguirre for accusing her of indecency and unethical behavior.

"There is nothing more indecent and unethical than being caught red-handed plotting against a senator during a Senate hearing inside the Senate," she said, advising the justice chief of reviewing the meaning of the word in the dictionary.

She also hit the alleged double standard of Aguirre for protecting one's right to privacy when he "wantonly disregarded" this when he publicized the personal life of Sen. Leila De Lima and threatened to show her supposed sex video.

"I find it funny that some of his defenders say that the text conversation is fake. If that is the case, how can I or the person who accidentally took the picture be liable for "wiretapping" a fake text conversation?"

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