Duterte to Hontiveros: Do not draw conclusions
President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday distanced himself from the alleged administration plot to file charges against Sen. Risa Hontiveros.
However, the President said that the senator should not have immediately drawn any conclusion from the exchange of text messages between Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras.
The President spoke with reporters at the wake of Army Capt. Rommel Sandoval in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, in the wee hours of Wednesday.
“That is a very naive…When two persons talk and you are not a party to it, do not draw conclusions of what they are talking about,” Mr. Duterte said.
“For all you know, (they) might have been talking about women,” he said, referring to Aguirre and Paras.
When told about the photo showing the exchange in text messages, the President said: “In connection with what?”
“I really don’t know that… I’m really sorry,” he said.
In a privilege speech on Monday, Hontiveros demanded Aguirre’s resignation for allegedly plotting to bring cases against her.
She said a photographer took a photo of the justice secretary at the Senate on Sept. 5 during a hearing on the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos, and inadvertently captured the exchange of text messages.
“Text of the person he was talking to: Hontiveros was able to coach the witness. Her questions are leading questions,” Hontiveros quoted the message as saying.
“Reply of Sec. Aguirre: That is what I’m saying here. Very obvious. That’s why let us expedite your cases against her,” she added.
On Wednesday, the Senate tasked the committee on public order and dangerous drugs chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson to handle the inquiry.
Thanking Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Hontiveros said:
“I’m thanking the good majority leader for keeping his promise to soonest report out the decision of the committee of rules as to where to refer my privilege speech.”
Sotto said this was the “most logical and Solomonic decision” because the incident involving Aguirre “emanated” from the hearing conducted by Lacson’s committee.
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