Duterte absent again at second preliminary probe on grave threat raps

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
Duterte absent again at second preliminary probe 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 once again missed the preliminary investigation into the grave threats complaint lodged against him by Rep. France Castro (ACT-Teachers).

Castro noted that Duterte submitted his counter-affidavit in Davao City, personally subscribing to it before a prosecutor. She anticipates a resolution from the prosecutor’s office by January.

In an interview, Castro expressed disappointment over Duterte's absence, citing a given manifestation about the distance as the reason for his non-appearance.

"Hindi na naman dumating si dating Pangulong Duterte. Meron silang binigay na manifestation narinig ko lang dahil malayo daw 'yung lugar," Castro said in an interview with reporters.

(Former President Duterte didn't arrive again. They provided a manifestation, but I only heard of it because they said the location was far.)

Castro speculated that Duterte may have thought she would overlook the threats, given that his previous remarks about her and other issues seemed casual or joking. 

"Siguro biro lang kay dating presidenteng Duterte 'yung sinasabi niyang mga threat, pambabastos sa kababaihan at iba pang ano-anong sinasabi niya - red-tagging at whatever - pero this time, sineseryoso na natin siya,” she said.

(Former President Duterte might have previously made those threats and disrespectful remarks, including red-tagging, in a casual or jesting manner. However, this time, we're approaching his statements with seriousness and gravity.)

Duterte faces charges under Article 282 of the Revised Penal Code following remarks made during his program, "Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa," alongside Apollo Quiboloy, one of the FBI's most wanted, at Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI).

The threats arose after Castro criticized Vice President Sara Duterte's confidential and intelligence funds, currently the subject of three pending petitions before the Supreme Court.

On the first hearing of the case, Castro also filed a supplemental affidavit citing continued threats by the former president in SMNI. 

During the initial hearing, Castro filed a supplemental affidavit citing ongoing threats by Duterte in SMNI.

In his counter-affidavit, Duterte denied Castro’s accusations of grave threats, saying that he was only recounting a conversation with his daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte.

“Bear in mind that in the First Subject Episode, I was merely recounting the conversation I had with my daughter, Sara Z. Duterte Inday Sara about the proposed confidential funds of the Office of the Vice-President and the Department of Education. It was a narration of our private dialogue and my recollection of the advice that I gave Inday Sara concerning said issue as evidenced by the phrases sabi ko kaya prangkahin mo na yan, 'sala ko kay Inday' and "sabihin mo na sa kanya'. The alleged threatening statements were not even addressed to complainant Castro or any individual as I was simply reciting the story of my talk with Inday Sara to the program viewers,” Duterte said in his counter-affidavit.

Duterte also mentioned that his comments were a reflection of his disappointment towards the Communist Party of the Philippines due to their ongoing resistance towards peace efforts and clarified that he didn't intentionally target or threaten Castro.

"Nonetheless, there was never any deliberate intent on my part to single out and threatened complainant Castro. My remarks were made out of frustration against the entire organization and while complainant Casino's name may have been mentioned there was no portion to the interviews wherein I directly and deliberately threatened her,” Duterte said.

During his presidency, Duterte was shielded from prosecution by presidential immunity. However, now that this immunity has ended, he can face charges for alleged offenses committed in the Philippines.

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