Hontiveros 'too busy' preparing for 18th Congress to plot vs government

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros categorically denied participation in the inciting to sedition complaint, filed against her and other opposition figures and allies, saying she's "too busy" with legislative work to plot against the President.

Hontiveros, who received the copy of the complaint on Monday, July 29, said that it already came from Malacañang that Peter Joemel Advincula, whose testimony was used as basis for the sedition case, has "zero credibility."

"No, I am not [plotting against the government.] I really don't wish to dignify further 'yung charge batay dun sa taong iyan na zero credibility talaga. Mismong ang Malacañang spokesperson ang nagsabi niyan nung una siyang lumabas, na kung 'Hindi credible in one thing, hindi credible in all things," Hontiveros told reporters at the "Pandesal Forum" in Quezon City.

(I really don't wish to dignify further the charge that was based on a testimony of a person with zero credibility. It was the Malacañang spokesperson who said that when [Advincula] first came out to the public, that 'If he's not credible in one thing, he's not credible in all things.')

Hontiveros said that she's busy with legislative work, to even think about bringing down the government.

"Busy na busy po ako na trabahuhin ang ating mga bagong priority legislation for the 18th Congress para magkaroon pa ng panahon na mag-sedition-sedition pa na sinasabi nila," Hontiveros said.

(I am very busy working with the new priority legislation for the 18th Congress to even have the time to do the seditious activities they are claiming.)

She added that the performance of the minority in the 17th Congress, hers included, would show how productive they are with their time.

"And my track record, the track record of the whole minority, the whole opposition from the 17th Congress would bear me out kung gaano karaming mga useful at helpful na batas ang naproduce namin, na mismong galing pa sa priority legislation ng administration. Oposisyon po ang nasulong niyan," she added.

(My track record, the track record of the whole minority, [and] the whole opposition from the 17th Congress would bear me out to show how many useful and helpful laws we have produced, some even came from the priority legislation of the administration. Opposition pushed for that.)

The opposition senator said her legal counsel is ready to answer the sedition case "properly," taking a swipe at the "badly prepared" complaint.

"Pinaghahandaan na po ng abugado ko na sagutin ng maayos 'yung napaka-hindi maayos na charge na iyan," the senator said. (My legal counsel is already preparing to answer properly that badly prepared charge.)

Hontiveros speculated that the complaint is probably meant to "wipe out" the opposition, even as no opposition candidates won in the 2019 senatorial race.

"Thirty plus kaming inaakusahan nila. Gusto yatang ubusin kaming lahat na oposisyon. Ang totoong subversion ay 'yung pagsubok na ma-eliminate 'yung opposition kasi walang balance sa democratic system," Hontiveros said.

(They filed the complaint against more than 30 of us. They probably want the opposition wiped out. The real subversion is to try to eliminate the opposition entirely because they will no longer be a balance in the democractic system.)

Advincula first claimed Duterte and his family were accepting millions in drug money. The Philippine National Police had earlier dismissed him as nothing more than an "information peddler"when he first appeared in public.

Advincula later denied all his claims, saying that these were orchestrated by former senator Antonio Trillanes IV and the Liberal Party. Both had categorically denied the allegations.

On July 18, the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group filed the complaint against Vice President Leni Robredo, other opposition figures, and Church leaders.

Despite the change in tune, the government listened to him. The Department of Justice will issue subpoenas to those tagged in the complaint starting August 9. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.