Aguirre to file ethics complaint vs Hontiveros over exposing text messages

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 13 2017 09:02 PM | Updated as of Sep 14 2017 12:31 PM

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and Sen. Risa Hontiveros.

Hontiveros: Aguirre 'chasing a dead end'

MANILA- Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II is set to file an ethics complaint against Sen. Risa Hontiveros after she exposed his telling exchange of text messages with a member of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).

Aguirre will file the complaint next week, saying Hontiveros had violated the Bill of Rights on privacy of communications and Republic Act 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Act "at the very hallowed ground of the Senate."

In a statement Wednesday, the justice chief said he would also pursue a criminal complaint against Hontiveros and a civil complaint over violations of his constitutional right to privacy of communication.

Hontiveros disclosed the alleged text message exchanges during her privilege speech on Sept. 11.

The senator accused Aguirre and VACC legal counsel Jacinto Paras of conspiring to file trumped up cases against her. She called on the justice chief to resign. 

Responding to Hontiveros, Aguirre had said Tuesday: "...[N]obody but nobody should be allowed to profit from committing an unconstitutional and an illegal act, not even a Senator of the Republic."

The supposed photograph, which captured the screen of Aguirre's mobile phone showing the text messages, was reportedly taken by a member of the media.

Faced with the threat of lawsuits, Hontiveros said the justice chief is "chasing a dead end" and that she would see him in court.

"There is no violation of his privacy. The shameful and deceitful text conversation was simply inadvertently caught by someone's camera lens," she said in a statement. 

"Thus, 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 added.