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Hontiveros liable for wiretapping? But law does not name photograph as wiretapping device, says lawyer



After Senator Risa Hontiveros revealed a zoomed in photo of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II’s text message to a certain ‘Cong Jing,” former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto “Jing” Paras said that Hontiveros was liable for wiretapping.

Rappler reported that Paras did not confirm or deny receiving Aguirre’s text message about expediting the cases against Hontiveros.

“I could not recall ever receiving one as I receive so many texts daily and I erase them at the end of the day. But the contents of the text is not the issue here, it is the act of Hontiveros violating the law on the anti-wiretapping,” Paras said in a text message to Rappler on September 12.

‘Cong Jing:’ Naturuan na ni Hontiveros ang testigo. Her questions are leading questions.

Aguirre: ‘Yun nga sinasabi ko dito. Very obvious. Kaya nga expedite natin ang cases niyo vs her.

“Is that photojournalist willing to stand and face a wire-tapping violation? He was secretly recording a private communication without being authorized, and used it by allowing Hontiveros to make use of it, then they can be liable of wiretapping,” said Paras.

He was referring to Section 1 of Republic Act No. 4200, the Anti-Wiretapping Law, which states that “it shall be unlawful for any person not being authorized by all the parties to any private communication or spoken word” to “record such communication or spoken word by using a device commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or detectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape recorder, or however otherwise described.”

“She is the one undermining the justice system by using her position as Senator in violating the law RA 4200, the anti-wiretapping law,” Paras added.

But Rappler said in its report that their lawyer source said the anti-wiretapping law does not name photograph as a wiretapping device.

“Photography cannot be held to be covered by the law, under the principle of Expressio unius est exclusio alterius (or literally, Items not on the list are deemed excluded by the law),” said the lawyer.

“One can argue that there was no reasonable expectation of privacy in the context of the hearing, where what the DOJ secretary was doing could be easily seen by so many journalists present…There was no intent to tap – his mobile screen was merely inadvertently caught by someone’s camera lens. There was no intention to wire tap or intercept his messages. In other words, there was no intent to violate his right to privacy, assuming such right may be invoked under the circumstances of that public hearing,” the lawyer added.

While Hontiveros said she would not be surprised if the VACC will file a case against her, Paras said they have not decided to file a complaint against the senator.


“Wala pa naman, although she has already been violating her position as Senator,” he said.

The violation he was referring to was Hontiveros taking custody of the three witnesses, two of whom are minors, in Kian delos Santos’ case.

“(Hontiveros) committed obstruction of justice when she continued custody of witnesses to a murder despite being demanded to turn over these witnesses by the appropriate agency investigating and prosecuting the case,” Paras said.

Paras attempted to get custody of the three witnesses at the house of Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David. Hontiveros turned over the witnesses’ custody to Bishop David after the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs said that they won’t need the witnesses for Kian’s hearing. Paras and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) went to David’s house, taking the witnesses’ father with them who had just posted bail. They claimed that the father wanted to take the witnesses with him, although it ended with the father choosing to stay at the bishop’s house.

In the comments’ section of Rappler’s post about Paras accusing Hontiveros of violating the anti-wiretapping law, there were several netizens who shot back at Paras.

“How can Sen. Hontiveros be liable for anti-wiretapping when it was inadvertently taken by some photographer. Secondly, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy if you allow the media take photo in public place,” commented one netizen.


Another one blamed Aguirre’s large font for his text messages for him getting caught by the photographer’s lens.

“Did she intercept communication? No. Someone was just brilliant enough to enlarge his font size so big he might as well just have printed it in a darned tarpaulin!” she wrote.

It was an accidental photo, not a deliberate wiretapping effort, said one commenter.

Yet another commenter jokingly said that wiretapping is not possible because Aguirre’s smartphone is “wireless,” causing other commenters to call him a “genius” for being able to think of such line of reasoning.

At least Aguirre was busted, said a netizen.

‘May ‘wire tapping’ bang sinadya?’

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Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’



President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks


His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show



Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.


Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal



Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.


In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

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