Akbayan party-list representative Tom Villarin sued former Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) lawyer and now Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Undersecretary Jacinto Paras because of an unusual reason.
CCTV Footage shows DOLE Undersecretary Jacinto Paras greeting Villarin. It also shows that he put his phone at the top of Villarin’s gadget. Photo: House of the Representatives.
In his theft complaint that he filed to the Quezon City prosecutor’s office, the fierce critic of the Duterte administration claimed that Jacinto, who’s a supporter of the President allegedly stole his expensive phone during a congressional hearing last March.
CCTV footage shows that Paras already carried the phone of Villarin.
According to the testimony of Villarin, the DOLE exec who’s holding a phone and power bank approached him during the congressional hearing, later on, Paras placed his phone on top of Villarin’s expensive gadget.
“Kayo pala ni Senator [Risa] Hontiveros ang magkasama.” Paras told Villarin according to the complainant.
Paras left the hall together with Villarin’s phone.
When Paras left the area, the CCTV showed that the DOLE exec was already carrying the phone of the lawmaker.
After realizing that his phone was missing, he asked his staff to call his phone, later on, it was answered by a member of the Legislative Security Bureau (LSGB).
It also showed in another CCTV footage that Paras left the phone of Villarin in one of the rooms at the House of the Representatives.
Villarin believed that the intention of Paras for stealing his phone is to gather information that he may be used against Senator Risa Hontiveros who’s also a member of Akbayan.
“Yes, possibly that’s the main motive why he wanted my phone, to get information,” Villarin said.
Villarin pointed out that if Paras only mistakenly took his phone, he will return it to him or surrender it to the authorities and not leave it in an empty hall.
“Kung talagang nagkamali siya, dapat sinagot niya. Nagri-ring eh, pero hindi sinagot, iniwanan lang. Kung hindi sa kanya ‘yun, he could have answered [the call] and said, ‘Sorry, nadampot ko lang.’ Pero walang ganun,” he said.
According to Article 309, any person guilty of theft shall be punished by:
1. The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods, if the value of the thing stolen is more than 12,000 pesos but does not exceed 22,000 pesos, but if the value of the thing stolen exceeds the latter amount the penalty shall be the maximum period of the one prescribed in this paragraph, and one year for each additional ten thousand pesos, but the total of the penalty which may be imposed shall not exceed twenty years.
Paras denied the accusations of Villarin, saying that he cannot do such a thing.
The former VACC lawyer is known for filing cases against the government officials who are seen to be part of destabilization efforts against President Duterte.