Justice secretary asked to resign after being caught texting ally to ‘file cases’ vs opposition senator

Risa Hontiveros, an opposition senator, called for the resignation of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday, following actions the senator believes are unbecoming of a justice secretary.

During a Senate hearing on the killing of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II was caught on camera texting a member of the pro-administration group Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) of the need to “expedite” cases against Hontiveros.

During a privilege speech yesterday, Hontiveros said Aguirre violated Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Last July, youth groups filed a complaint against the justice secretary for making public announcements based on unreliable sources.

READ: Youth groups file complaint vs justice secretary for fake news

“I can’t help but think that this supports the growing perception that cases are being filed against members of the opposition in order to silence and harass us. It seems to me that the motivation of the justice secretary is not the pursuit of accountability but the pursuit of political vendetta,” Hontiveros said.

“Our laws on accountability should be weapons for truth and better governance, not weapons wielded against political opponents who do not toe the line.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the coming days, there would be cases filed against me by the justice secretary or his cohorts. If the justice secretary wants to file cases against me, see you in court, Mr Aguirre,” she said.

Hontiveros believes Aguirre has been abusing his power, filing cases against opposition lawmakers even without strong evidence.

He called on the justice secretary to resign, citing the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. Hontiveros also said that Aguirre remaining as justice secretary is a “vulgar insult” to the Filipino people.

Hontiveros also said that Aguirre remaining as justice secretary is a “vulgar insult” to the Filipino people.

“Secretary Aguirre undermines our justice system, and his continued stay in office is a vulgar insult to the Filipino people and our efforts for a more just society,” she said.

“No legislator must be threatened with arrest or imprisonment for acts which she or he believes in good faith to be within the realm of functions reposed in her and him by the Constitution,” Hontiveros added.

Aguirre earlier questioned the credibility of witnesses in the Kian delos Santos slay case, saying they might be “brainwashed” under the care of Hontiveros, an opposition lawmaker.

Hontiveros had taken custody of witnesses in delos Santos’ Aug. 16 killing, saying they were receiving threats.

Last July, youth groups filed a complaint against Aguirre for making announcements based on unreliable information.

Hontiveros also asked Aguirre to inhibit from any investigation on the delos Santos case, after the justice secretary questioned the credibility of witnesses.

with reports from ABS-CBN News

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