MANILA, Philippines – Opposition senators belonging to the minority in the Senate has joined Senator Risa Hontiveros’ call for Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre to resign after a text message was exposed about the latter’s plan to file charges against the lady lawmaker.
In a statement on Tuesday, Senators Franklin Drilon, Leila De Lima, Antonio Trillanes IV, Bam Aquino and Francis Pangilinan said the ‘recent development’, referring to Hontiveros’ allegation, has highlighted Aguirre’s unethical actions as public officials.
Hontiveros, in her privilege speech on Monday, accused Aguirre of plotting with anti-crime group Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), to file charges against her.
“Now, he has been caught red-handed plotting against a sitting Senator during a hearing where he is supposed to be paying his utmost attention,” said the statement for the minority lawmakers.
“His actions signify a lack of competence for a man who holds the highest office on justice. His actions clearly violate the norms of conduct for public officials under the law,” it added.
But even before the senators could release their statement, Aguirre has already he will not resign from his post following Hontiveros’ call.
“For as long as I enjoy the confidence of President Duterte who appointed me, I will continue serving as the steward of your DOJ,” said Aguirre.
He also blasted Hontiveros for publicizing the text message, which Aguirre described as a “shameless violation of a citizen’s right to the privacy of communications.”
The Justice chief likewise said the senator could be held liable for violating the ant-wiretapping law for her actions.