The dismayed Senator Hontiveros called for the resignation of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre saying that the justice secretary violated the Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
All these lead me to the conclusion that there is no other respectable option but to call on the Justice Secretary to resign,” this was the conclusion of Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros during her privilege speech at the senate on Monday.
“Secretary Aguirre undermines our justice system, and his continued stay in office is a vulgar insult to the Filipino people and our efforts for a more just society,” Senator Hontiveros stressed.
In her privilege speech, Hontiveros presented enlarged digital photos of Justice Secretary exchanging text messages with a “Cong. Jing”, the senator identified that it was the Former Negros Oriental Representative Jacinto “Jing” Paras, who is a member of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).
In the text message, “Naturuan na ni Hontiveros ang testigo [Hontiveros already coached the witness], her questions are leading questions,” Cong. Jing’s text message read.
“Very obvious, kaya nga expedite natin ang cases niyo vs her [Very obvious, let’s expedite your cases against her],” Aguirred replied.
Hontiveros said that anonymous source caught Aguirre texting during the senate hearing on the killing of the 17-year-old student Kian Lloyd Delos Santos. “The photographer was inadvertently able to capture the text message exchange on the screen of the phone of the DOJ Secretary.” Hontiveros said.
The lady senator said that she consulted with several photography experts, who all confirmed the authenticity of the digital photo.
Hontiveros regarded Aguirre’s behavior as unethical and unbecoming of a member of the civil service.
“Is the DOJ Secretary is plotting a case against a sitting Senator while a Senate proceeding is going on, right inside the Senate session hall? Is Secretary Aguirre accusing me of witness manipulation? Kung kaya ito gawin ng Justice Secretary sa isang sitting Senator, ano pa kaya sa ibang mga mamamayang Pilipino? [If he can do it against a sitting senator, what more to the Filipino citizens?] Hontiveros said.
The Akbayan Senator also urged the senate to review the provisions of law both in the Constitution and in the Revised Penal Code on parliamentary immunities and privileges. “Criminal cases are being used as weapons by the executive against the legislative,” she said.
She added,”The culture of political vindictiveness that allows Justice Secretaries to make a mockery of justice springs from the same poisonous well that encourages policemen to plant evidence, fabricate stories about their targets, and become cold-blooded killers.” Hontiveros added.
Hontiveros said that she will not be surprised if the Justice Secretary and his henchmen from the VACC will file cases against her. She dared the Aguirre saying, “If the Justice Secretary wants to file cases against me, see you in court, Mr. Aguirre!”