A lawmaker on Tuesday said he filed theft charges against a high-ranking labor department official.
Akbayan Party-list representative Tom Villarin filed theft charges against Labor Undersecretary Jacinto Paras for allegedly stealing his iPhone X during a congressional hearing that happened in March.
Villarin said Paras, holding his own phone and powerbank, approached him. Paras then greeted the lawmaker and placed his own phone on top of Villarin’s phone.
Paras then left with his and Villarin’s phone, as confirmed by CCTV footage.
The video also showed that Paras left Villarin’s phone in one of the hearing rooms.
Meanwhile, Paras has denied stealing Villarin’s phone.
He admitted that he may have accidentally taken Villarin’s phone with him.
“Posible na nasama ko ‘yung kaniyang cellphone,” Paras said.
“It must be an accident. I cannot even say na totoo ‘yung dinala ko. Kung totoo man ‘yan, unang-una, I will say sorry to him,” he added.
The former Negros Oriental representative also denied looking at the contents of Villarin’s phone.
“Sinasabi nila na baka binuksan ko ang cellphone niya. That is very unlikely… And normally tayo naman hindi tayo makakabukas ng cellphone,” he said.
Paras explained that he has no interest in Villarin’s items, adding that it was only the second time that he met the Akbayan representative.
Paras added that Villarin’s move to file the charges two months after the alleged incident happened was “malicious”.
He said, however, that he is ready to face the charges as he has nothing to hide.
“I was just surprised. If it [happened in] March, why did it take a long time to accuse me? There must be some malicious intent dito,” Paras said.