By Jeffrey Damicog
Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday shot down the calls of Senator Risa Hontiveros and her colleagues in the Senate to resign.
“As to the call for me to resign, let me say for the nth time that for as long as I have the trust and for as long as I enjoy the confidence of President Duterte who appointed me, I will continue serving our people as the steward of your DOJ,” said Aguirre.
“You can call on me to resign, no one is stopping you, but only the President can accept my resignation,” he stressed.
During her privilege speech on Monday, Hontiveros called on Aguirre to resign for allegedly plotting against her and other members of the opposition.
The senator cited as proof the screen shot a photographer inadvertently took of the text message exchanges Aguirre was having on his mobile phone with former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto “Jing” Paras.
Because of this, Aguirre condemned Hontiveros for taking photos of his text messages which he believes were done intentionally and not inadvertently when he was invited to the September 5 hearing of the Senate’s Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs.
“Text messages are private communications. Any unauthorized intrusion into such exchanges is illegal and betrays the Constitution,” said Aguirre who added this also violates Republic Act 4200, the Anti-Wire Tapping Act.
“I condemn to the highest degree this shameless violation of a citizen’s right to the privacy of communications,” fumed Aguirre. “I am saddened, enraged and more importantly, afraid of how our rights to the privacy of our communication can easily be disregarded and trampled upon.”
Minority senators led by Sen. Francis Pangilinan, Liberal Party (LP) president, reiterated their call Aguirre’s resignation.
The senators said this development once more highlights Aguirre’s unethical actions as a public official.
“Last August 30, we called for his resignation due to his propensity for spreading fake information on those he tagged as ‘dilawan’ (yellow, the color of the Aquino administration) for which he had to publicly apologize more than once,’’ they said. (With a report from Mario B. Casayuran)
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