Sad, enraged Aguirre mulls filing cases vs Hontiveros
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II is sad and enraged, as he assailed on Tuesday Senator Risa Hontiveros’ act of making public a photograph of his supposed text messages during her privilege speech at the Senate.
Aguirre asserted that the opposition senator’s deed is not only unethical but a violation of the Constitution, which provides for a person’s right to privacy, and Republic Act 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Law.
IN THE KNOW: Anti-Wiretapping Law
Aguirre said he is studying the possibility of filing a case against the senator and the person who took a photo of him while texting during a Senate hearing.
“I am considering all my options open. I could file criminal, civil and administrative cases against all persons responsible,” Aguirre said in a text message.
According to the Justice chief, “Text messages are private communications. Any unauthorized intrusion into such exchanges is illegal and betrays the Constitution.”
Aguirre cited Article III Section 3(1) of the 1987 Constitution, which provides that “the privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law.”
Aguirre also cited Article III Section 3(2) of the 1987 Constitution, which provides that “any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.”
“(This is a) shameless violation of a citizen’s right to the privacy of communications,” Aguirre noted.
“I am sad, enraged and more importantly, afraid of how our rights to the privacy of our communication can easily be disregarded and trampled upon…and the people who subsequently trumpeted it, did so in the very hallowed halls of the Senate itself,” he added.
Aguirre said he gives highest regard and respect to the Senate as an institution which is why he made the time to attend the Senate hearing of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs when he received an invitation.
“I am saddened by the thought that while I gave my time, cooperation and humble efforts to the Senate during the hearing, unknown to me, I will be victimized and my rights disregarded and my privacy intruded upon,” he lamented.
Aguirre then pointed out that Hontiveros’ act constitutes a violation of the Anti-Wiretapping Law because it was an “unauthorized prying into an exchange of private text messages and the subsequent act of making it very public, also without authority.”
“(This) is a flagrant violation of the Anti-wiretapping act,” Aguirre stressed.
“Any text or sms exchanges in our mobile phones, which are part of our private communications, apparently, are no longer private and safe… No secrets. No privacy. No sanctity. No respect,” he added.
Aguirre’s statement, however, did not refute the allegations made by Senator Hontiveros that he was plotting to file charges against her.
In her privilege speech on Monday, Hontiveros called for Aguirre’s resignation for allegedly plotting to file cases against her. As proof, she showed a photograph of Aguirre’s mobile phone capturing an exchange of text messages with a certain “Cong. Jing” whom she identified as former Negros Oriental Representative Jacinto Paras. /kga
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