Hontiveros tells Aguirre: ‘Can’t take it? Don’t dish it’
Senator Risa Hontiveros said on Wednesday that Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II can’t seem to handle the truth when he threatened to file a libel case against her.
Aguirre on Tuesday declared that he would file a libel case against Hontiveros after the latter earlier called him a “peddler of fake news” and a “cook of fake cases.”
But Hontiveros asked: “Hindi ba totoo (Isn’t it true)?”
“Ako pa ngayon ang sasampahan ni Mr. Aguirre ng libel case, samantalang sila itong puno na nagbigay-bunga sa mga malisyoso at mapanirang-puring mga pahayag,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
(Now it’s me he wanted to charge with libel, well in fact they are the proponents of malicious and degrading statements.)
“Huwag pikon at balat-sibuyas si Mr. Aguirre kapag kinokompronta sila ng katotohanan. If Mr. Aguirre can’t take it, he shouldn’t dish it. At hindi ba totoo?” the senator asked.
(Don’t be too sensitive Mr. Aguirre when you are confronted with truth.)
Hontiveros then cited instances in the past where Aguirre had allegedly “manufactured and peddled fake news against the opposition.”
“He accused Senators Bam Aquino and Antonio Trillanes of plotting with the Maute terrorist group,” the senator said.
“The Justice Secretary even showed a photo of Senators Aquino and Trillanes supposedly meeting some Muslim leaders in Marawi. But it later turned out that the picture was taken in Iloilo City in September 2015,” she said.
The senator also recalled when Aguirre disclosed that “Senator Franklin Drilon and former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas were implicated in a drug syndicate.”
“The accusation is so absurd that even Senator Panfilo Lacson, chair of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, found it unconvincing,” she said.
Aguirre’s threat, the senator also said, was “nothing but a desperate attempt to divert the public’s attention away from his series of actions that undermined our pursuit of justice and accountability.”
“It is also part of an effort to sidetrack the growing public’s calls for him to resign,” Hontiveros said.
“There is nothing new with the Justice Secretary’s plan to file a libel case against me. We already know that the filing of trumped-up charges is the strategy of Mr. Aguirre to intimidate and harass the political opposition. With all due respect, it won’t work,” she said.
The Department of Justice came under fire after it was revealed that it dismissed the criminal cases against self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and alleged drug lord Peter Lim.
It sparked more public outrage when it announced that it has placed alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles under provisional coverage of the Witness Protection Program. /jpv
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