Minority senators on Tuesday joined Senator Risa Hontiveros’ call for Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to resign after he was caught exchanging text messages with a certain “Cong. Jing” asking to expedite the filing of cases against the lady senator.
“We reiterate our call for Vitaliano Aguirre to resign from his post as Secretary of Justice. This recent development once more highlights his unethical actions as a public official,” the minority senators said in a statement.
Aside from Hontiveros, the Senate minority bloc includes Senators Franklin Drilon, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Benigno Paulo “Bam” Aquino IV, and Leila De Lima, all part of the Liberal Party (LP); and Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV.
In August, the senators had also demanded Aguirre to resign after he accused the “dilawan” or members of the once ruling party of plotting the Marawi siege.
“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,” they said.
In a privilege speech on Monday, Hontiveros showed photos of Aguirre texting, inadvertently taken by photographers, during the Senate hearing last Sept. 5 on the spate of drug killings.
Zooming on the photos will show Aguirre’s exchange of text messages with certain “Cong. Jing.” Cong. Jing’s message read: “Naturuan na ni Hontiveros ang testigo. Her questions are leading questions.”
Aguirre’s replied: “‘Yon nga sinasabi ko dito. Very obvious. Kaya nga expedite natin ang cases niyo vs her.”
The “Cong. Jing” Aguirre was texting, according to Hontiveros, could be Former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto “Jing” Paras, who is a member of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).
The senators said Aguirre’s actions “signify a lack of competence for a man who holds the highest office on justice” and “clearly violate the norms of conduct for public officials under the law.”