Duterte 'no show' at first fiscal hearing on grave threat raps

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
Duterte 'no show' at first fiscal hearing on grave threat raps
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte updates the nation on the government's efforts in addressing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on March 30, 2020.
Presidential Photo / King Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines —  Former President Rodrigo Duterte skipped the hearing on the preliminary investigation into the grave threats complaint filed against him by Rep. France Castro (ACT-Teachers).

He also failed to submit his counter-affidavit.

Duterte’s lawyers, who are from the law firm of former executive secretary Salvador Medialdea, said that they did not receive the subpoena issued by the Quezon City prosecutor's office on October 27.

The subpoena asked the former president to answer the charges on December 4 and December 11 under Article 282 of the Revised Penal Code filed against Duterte following the threats he made in his program “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” together with one of FBI's most wanted Apollo Quiboloy at Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI). The threats were made by the former president against Castro after being critical of Vice President Sara Duterte's confidential and intelligence funds.

Castro’s lawyer Rico Domingo said that the prosecutor had given Duterte’s camp another copy of the subpoena.

The lawmaker also filed another supplemental complaint against Duterte citing continued threats being made in the same SMNI program.

“Kaya kami nag-file ng supplemental complaint-affidavit ay para mapatunayan namin na continuously ang pag-grave threat ng dating pangulong Duterte sa katayuan ni Congresswoman Castro,” Domingo said in an interview with the reporters.

(We filed a supplemental complaint-affidavit to prove that former President Duterte's grave threat against Congresswoman Castro has been continuous.)

The former president issued a new set of threats, which also included his previous threats, in the SMNI program on November 16 a day after he said he would rather be incarcerated than answer Castro’s raps against him.

“Kaya Ikaw, France, how do you solve the problem now? Kaya yun statement ko yun komunista dapat patayin, kasali ka, dapat!” Duterte said in the program.
(So, France, how do you solve the problem now? That statement of mine, that the communists should be killed, you're included, you should be!)

Meanwhile, Domingo said that Duterte’s camp has been given 10 days to respond to the additional raps to which they must answer on December 15 as the prosecutor will be on “vacation” on the 14th.

Aside from a looming prosecution by the International Criminal Court for alleged human rights abuses during the drug war, Duterte is facing  the first possible legal action under Philippine laws as his presidential immunity has lapsed.

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