De Lima hits ‘Aguirre-style’ justice system
Senator Leila de Lima said Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II’s criminal complaint against Senator Risa Hontiveros shows the “perversion of the justice system” which she branded as “Aguirre-style.”
“Aguirre filing a personal case against Sen. Hontiveros with an office under his direct control and supervision shows the extent of the perversion of the justice system under the Duterte regime,” De Lima said in a statement on Tuesday.
The detained senator said the preliminary investigation of the criminal complaint is under the direct control and supervision of Aguirre as justice secretary.
“In a true sense, Aguirre will be the judge of his own accusation against Sen. Hontiveros. This is justice now in the Philippines, Aguirre-style,” she added.
On Monday, Aguirre filed charges against Hontiveros at the Pasay Prosecutors Office, alleging that she violated Republic Act 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Law after she showed to the public a photograph of his text exchange with a certain “Cong. Jing.”
De Lima slammed Aguirre’s ethical and moral standards and noted: “In the first place, it was Aguirre who was caught – in plain public view during a televised Senate hearing no less – plotting against the senator. Against all laws on anti-graft, ethics, and moral standards for public officers, Aguirre instructed former Cong. Paras to file trumped-up charges against the senator, again, with his office.”
Even without the ethics issue, De Lima said the justice secretary’s texted instruction was “a blatant violation” of R.A. No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, adding that he should be criminally charged “because Aguirre gave unwarranted advantage and preference to Paras, a private party, in the discharge of his official functions through manifest partiality and evident bad faith.”
De Lima said Aguirre should be criminally charged before the Ombudsman.
According to De Lima, this offense added to the list of criminal acts Aguirre already accused of in the complaint she filed with the Ombudsman.
De Lima also pointed out that the right to privacy does not extend to the “cover-up of criminal conduct,” and the text message is not covered under the Anti-Wiretapping law.
According to De Lima, even if the text message flashed in large font on his mobile phone “in a public hall full of media cameras was private, its display in plain view in a public place does not make it inadmissible evidence.”
“Definitely it is not covered under the Anti-Wiretapping Law, because conversations overheard without the use of devices but merely out of the carelessness and stupidity of the conversing parties, is not wiretapping,” De Lima added.
The lawmaker ended her statement with a sarcastic note:
“This is no different from someone sniffing shabu inside his car in a parking lot and getting caught by the security guard. The shabu-sniffer cannot claim that his right to privacy was violated. Under this government, people get shot in the head for such public displays of criminal conduct. But that kind of justice is only for the powerless. For the powerful like Aguirre, they don’t get a bullet in the head, and a cardboard saying ‘Abusadong Opisyal, Huwag Tularan.’”/ac
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