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DoJ chief to sue Hontiveros

By: Jeffrey G. Damicog

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has vowed take legal action against Senator Risa Hontiveros and several others who illegally took photographs of his private text messages.

Aguirre said he intends to file before the Office of the Ombudsman a criminal complaint against Hontiveros for violating Republic Act 4200, the Anti-Wire Taping Act, as well as a civil case before local courts for stepping on his right to privacy.

Too, the secretary said he will also file against Hontiveros an “administrative case before the Senate Committee on Ethics.”

Citing Section 1 of RA 4200, Aguirre said the law provides that it is “unlawful for any person, not being authorized by all the parties to any private communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other device or arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or record such communication or spoken word by using a device commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or detectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape recorder, or however otherwise described”
The secretary explained “the right to privacy of communication is a constitutionally guaranteed right under Article III of the 1987 Constitution.”

Under the Constitution, he cited 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.”

During her privilege speech Monday, Hontiveros called on Aguirre to resign for plotting against her and other members of the opposition.

The senator cited as proof the screen shot a photographer inadvertently took of the Aguirre’s text messages on his mobile phone with former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto “Jing” Paras.

Aguirre has expressed anger over what Hontiveros did.

He said the photo which was taken during his appearance at the September 5 hearing of the Senate’s Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs is “illegal and betrays the Constitution.”