Hontiveros slams Pimentel for ‘assisting’ Aguirre in wiretapping case against her

Image from Senator Risa Hontiveros' Facebook account
  • Hontiveros accused Pimentel of helping Aguirre in the wiretapping case against her
  • She said Pimentel gave Aguirre data about her staff without even informing her
  • But Pimentel insisted the data provided were all public documents

MANILA, Philippines  –  Senator Risa Hontiveros has lambasted Senate President Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel for providing information to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre regarding her staff without informing her in connection with the wiretapping case she is facing.

Last year, Aguirre filed the wiretapping case against Hontiveros for making public the text messages he sent to former congressman Jacinto ‘Jing’ Paras regarding the senator’s alleged attempt to coach a witness during a Senate hearing.

In a privilege speech on Monday, February 19, Hontiveros said Pimentel gave Aguirre access to information about one of her staff despite the latter only acting in personal capacity, and not as DOJ secretary.

“What deeply concerns me is the involvement of the Senate as an institution in this case filed by Aguirre against me in his personal capacity, and the willingness of the Office of the Senate President to abet a witchhunt not just against me, but against my 23-year-old consultant,” said Hotiveros.

Among the documents Pimentel provided Aguirre without informing her, Hontiveros claimed, are her staff’s personal data sheet, identification cards, pertinent personnel records and photographs; as well as list of all members of the media, photographers and staff present during the hearing; footage of the hearing last September 5, 2017; and footages of the Senate’s entire 5th floor, ground floor, lobby and entrance, including the Senate elevators inside and outside.

“To each of these requests, the Senate, through the leadership of the current Senate President, simply complied,” the senator said.

Hontiveros maintained there was no subpoena or judicial order to release the footages and the Senate was under no legal compulsion to release the documents requested.

No personal data released

However, Pimentel said Hontiveros has her facts wrong since no personal information or personal data sheets were released.

The Senate leader explained he referred Aguirre’s letter to the Senate legal counsel who said the documents requested were public; thus the decision to give the Justice secretary access to them.

“It’s unfair to charge my office or this representation of compromising the security of our staff. We did nothing, no personal data sheets were released. It was negative certification,” said Pimentel.