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Hontiveros: Text message reveals Aguirre ordered VACC to build case against me
Sen. Risa Hontiveros placed three witnesses on the killing of Grade 11 student Kian Loyd delos Santos under protective custody. Office of Risa Hontiveros/Released, File
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Monday claimed that Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has ordered the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption to build a case against her.
In her privilege speech, Hontiveros said a member of the media “inadvertently captured a text message exchange on the screen of the phone of Aguirre" during the second day of the hearing into Kian Delos Santos’s death.
Hontiveros said that when the photo was zoomed, the screenshot revealed that Aguirre and a member of the VACC were in connivance.
“Sa unang tingin, walang kakaiba sa larawang ito, lahat naman tayo ay napapasilip-silip sa cellphone sa gitna ng Senate hearing. Ngunit, nabahala ang kumuha nung inenlarge niya ang larawan ni Ginoong Aguirre,” Hontiveros said.
“Babasahin ko po ang nakalagay. "Text ng Kausap niya: ‘Naturuan na ni Hontiveros ang testigo. Her questions are leading questions.’ Reply ni Sec. Agurre: ‘Yon nga sinasabi ko dito. Very obvious. Kaya nga expedite natin ang cases niyo vs her.’” The senator quoted Aguirre.
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Hontiveros said she had the photo verified with the experts and determined that it was authentic.
The senator also said that she asked around who the “Cong. Jing” Aguirre was texting to and found that he was apparently exchanging message with former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto “Jing” Paras, also a member of the VACC.
“Matatandaan na ang grupong ito ang nag-file ng impeachment case laban kay Chief Justice Sereno, at nag-announce na magfafile din ng impeachment laban kay Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales. Kabilang din sa VACC si Atty. Ferdinand 'Ferdie' Topacio,” Hontiveros said.
'VACC used by Duterte admin'
Hontiveros subsequently denied that she was influencing the witnesses in Delos Santos’ case.
The senator narrated how Paras and Topacio went in her office to demand the custody of the witnesses using the minor witnesses’ father. She added that the team also went to the Caloocan Diocese to demand custody from Bishop Pablo Virgilio David.
Hontiveros furthered that the VACC issued a false statement before the media saying the father was not notified.
“This despite the consent letters we have from the witness' mother in Oman, from her 22-year-old sister, and from the father himself,” Hontiveros said.
“Nagsinungaling pa sila sa media na hindi daw ipinaalam sa tatay ang pagkupkop sa anak nito, gayung hawak namin ang pruweba na hindi lang sa sinangguni ang tatay, ang anak niya mismo ang nagpaalam sa kanya na kay bishop maglalagi,” she added.
Hontiveros lamented that VACC members are being used by the administration.