'Magpakulong na lang ako': Duterte says on subpoena over Castro’s complaint

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
'Magpakulong na lang ako': Duterte says on subpoena over Castro�s complaint
President Rodrigo Duterte, in his speech during the inauguration of the new Communications, Navigation, Surveillance / Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) Systems Development Project at the Philippine Air Traffic Management Center (PATMC) in Pasay City on January 16, 2018, issues a stern warning on the local government officials who are found to be inefficient in their service.
Simeon Celi Jr. / Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines — Former President Rodrigo Duterte said he would choose to be incarcerated rather than address the charges filed against him by Rep. France Castro (ACT-Teachers).

Duterte, who is facing grave threats under the Revised Penal Code and Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 due to his remarks threatening Castro regarding her daughter’s confidential funds, made this statement when questioned about his intention to respond to the charges.

“Magpakulong na lang ako. Kasi wala naman akong… Ino-opress ako ni France,” he said during a program alongside Apollo Quiboloy, wanted by the FBI, on Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) on Wednesday.

This is contrary to the statement made on Thursday by Duterte’s legal counsel, Harry Roque, stating that the former president will face the charges after they were handed over by a Quezon City prosecutor.

“Now that there is a pending case before a Philippine fiscal’s office, of course, he will face his accusers and he will prove that he did not breach any of our existing laws,” Roque said in an interview with ANC’s “Hotcopy.”

However, Roque did not specify if Duterte would appear personally before the prosecutors or if a lawyer would appear on his behalf. 

On Wednesday, Castro expressed hope that Duterte would participate in the preliminary investigation regarding the case.

“Very thankful ako sa Quezon City Prosecutor’s office kasi after three-days na-file naming itong complaint ay umaksyon na sila agad,” he said.

Castro lodged a case against Duterte citing Article 282 of the Revised Penal Code and Section 6 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. This came after Duterte's threat, declaring her as the "first target" of Vice President Sara Duterte’s confidential intelligence fund.

Throughout his presidency, Duterte often made explicit threats of death and imprisonment towards individuals. For instance, he targeted former senator Leila De Lima, accusing her of involvement in the illegal drug trade in 2016, resulting in her arrest in 2017.

Similarly, during his nightly addresses during the COVID-19 pandemic, he issued threats of arrest against those who refused vaccination, drawing criticisms from the Commission on Human Rights and numerous groups and organizations.

With the expiration of his presidential immunity, Duterte faces potential charges under Philippine law alongside the looming International Criminal Court prosecution for alleged human rights violations during the drug war.

Despite losing immunity, Duterte continues his tendency to make sharp remarks on issues and critics during shows like SMNI, sometimes even echoing a pro-Beijing narrative that mentions avoiding war against China.  

Based on the subpoena issued against Duterte, he is required to show-up at the office of the city prosecutor in Quezon City on December 4 and 11.

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