Sen. Hontiveros: VACC case against me a 'desperate attempt'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 25) — Senator Risa Hontiveros shrugged off the criminal cases filed against her by the nongovernment organization Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) on Monday.

The senator said this only confirmed the "conspiracy" of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre and the VACC to speed up the filing of cases against her.

"The cases filed … before the Office of the Ombudsman is a desperate attempt to deflect public attention away from their text conversation inadvertently captured by someone's camera lens, which caught them red-handed plotting against me during a Senate hearing inside the Senate," Hontiveros said in a statement.

The VACC filed four complaints before the Ombudsman.

In one of its complaints, it accuses the senator of wiretapping after she published on September 5 a photo of Aguirre's alleged text conversation with former representative Jacinto "Jing" Paras, asking the VACC to "expedite" the cases against her.

Paras is one of the complainants in the case. He said taking, keeping, and divulging the photo of text messages without the consent of the parties involved constitute a violation of Republic Act 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Law.

"The fact that she used it, maximized its use, in a privilege speech to malign Secretary Aguirre and myself, being also alluded to… that's an actionable interest on the case," Paras said.

However, the former congressman admitted that he had a conversation with the Justice Secretary.

"I will not deny that may mga text messages ako kay secretary.  I have also texted secretary na pinupuna ko yung mga.. Or maybe I have my own opinion on the kind of questions that Hontiveros was posing to that witness. So, if I was alluded to, I would admit that I may have texted," Paras said.

[Translation: I will not deny that I have sent text messages to the secretary. I have texted him, pointing out.. Or maybe I have my own opinion on the kind of questions that Hontiveros was posing to the witness. So, if I was alluded to, I would admit that I may have texted.]

The other complaints filed by the VACC accused Hontiveros of obstruction of justice, kidnapping and failure to return a minor, and inducing a minor to abandon his home.

This was after Hontiveros allegedly refused to turn over one of the witnesses, who is a minor, in the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd Delos Santos.

Delos Santos died on August 16 after a "one-time, big-time" anti-illegal drugs operation by the Caloocan City police.