Duterte no show for grave threats probe

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
Duterte no show for grave threats probe
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 yesterday failed to submit his counter-affidavit in connection with the first criminal complaint filed against him by ACT-Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro, saying he did not receive the subpoena issued by the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office.

In a chance interview, Castro said that Duterte was represented by two lawyers from the law firm of former executive secretary Salvador Medialdea.

“The two counsels of ex-president Duterte were there. They alleged that ex-president Duterte has yet to receive the subpoena and my complaint so they formally received my complaint affidavit and supplemental complaint affidavit, including their submission of entry of appearance,” Castro added.

Duterte was represented by lawyers Penrose Ann Valles and Kristia Caringal.

“This means we will wait as it was postponed to Dec. 15, the same time as they need to answer. According to my lawyers, upon the receipt of the complaint, they have a maximum of 10 days to answer,” Castro said.

Rico Domingo, one of Castro’s lead counsels, said that they are giving Duterte the benefit of the doubt when asked if the postponement of the preliminary investigation was part of the delaying tactic on the part of the former president.

“We assumed good faith when they said that they did not receive the subpoena and complaint affidavit of Congresswoman Castro, that is why the fiscal gave them another copy of the subpoena and the complaint affidavit. Under Rule 112 of the Revised Penal Code and Manual of Prosecutors, they have 10 days to respond to the criminal complaint and the supplemental complaint so we start the 10 days today (Monday). Unfortunately, the fiscal is on vacation on the 14th, so the (preliminary investigation) was moved to Dec. 15, same time,” Domingo added.

Duterte’s camp will no longer be given another extension after the Dec. 15 deadline, according to Domingo.

“This is still part of due process. We did not object as we wanted to see their defense. The fiscal will resolve the case on the basis of his appreciation, whether there is probable cause to file the case in the court against the former president,” Domingo said.

Castro said the supplemental complaint would further prove her case of grave threat against Duterte.

“The supplemental affidavit included that the threats of the former president persisted on Nov. 16 during his program with (Pastor) Quiboloy,” Castro said.

In her supplemental affidavit, the lawmaker said that during Duterte’s television program titled “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” on Sonshine Media Network International and aired on Nov. 16, the former president said in broken English and Filipino, “Do not think, France, that you have already ... an armor because you are a congresswoman, a member of Congress... that you are no longer ... vulnerable to the anger of ... a lot of soldiers and policemen there died because of you.”

Castro has filed a case of grave threats against Duterte, in connection with Article 282 of the Revised Penal Code relating to Section 6 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, after the former president allegedly threatened her.

“The first one to target with the intel funds is you France and other communists whom I’d like to kill,” the complaint affidavit of Castro stated.

It was clear that Duterte was referring to her, according to Castro.

The lawmaker said that Duterte’s attacks against her came after she scrutinized the confidential funds of his daughter, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte.

The former president could face a maximum of six years of imprisonment and a fine of P100,000 in case the court finds him guilty of grave threats.

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