QC fiscals junk grave threat raps vs ex-president Duterte

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
QC fiscals junk grave threat raps vs ex-president Duterte
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 will not face trial after the Quezon City (QC) Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the grave threat complaints filed by Rep. France Castro (ACT-Teachers party-list) against the former president.

In a resolution dated January 9, Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Ulric Badiola did not indict the former president on violation of grave threats under the Revised Penal Code, in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Act, due to insufficient evidence.

“Wherefore, premises considered, the above-captioned complaint is recommended dismissed for want of sufficient evidence,” the resolution read. 

Badiola said that the way Duterte delivered the threatening statements does not compellingly demonstrate that it was serious nor it was intentionally made. 

“If the intention of the respondent was really to intimidate and to take seriously such threatening remarks/statements and that his purpose was to create in the mind of the complainant the belief that the alleged threats will be carried into effect, he would not have taken so much prologues and would have just directly and immediately pronounce the threats conceived in his mind,” the resolution read.

“Even supposing, albeit illusory, that his statements qualify as threats, the same are still insufficient to indict him for the crime as the requirement of mens rea is absent,” the resolution added.

The threats being referred to are the pronouncements made by Duterte on Oct. 11, 2023 and Nov. 16, 2023 on his program “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” co-hosted by FBI's most-wanted Apollo Quiboloy in Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI).

In the program, Duterte said that Castro was the “first target” of Vice President Sara Duterte’s confidential and intelligence fund. He also red-tagged the lawmaker accusing her of being a part of the communist insurgency.

Duterte’s remarks at the Makabayan-bloc lawmaker stemmed from Castro being a fierce critic of her daughter’s confidential fund request at the House of Representatives.

The program was suspended by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board on January 3 as it violated MTRCB rules, a decision that prompted SMNI to appeal before the board.

According to Badiola, the former president's pronouncements, despite being accompanied by threats, are deemed implausible due to the side jokes and stories he conveyed during the program. 

The QC prosecutor still emphasized that these elements reveal a lack of seriousness on the part of the former president.

“The fact that the respondent made so much preliminaries, side stories, comments and even interjecting sarcastic jokes in between and using terms in jest and in banter with the program host Apollo Quiboloy only indicates that he is not that serious enough to really execute and materialize the threats allegedly conceived in his mind,” the resolution read.

In a Viber message to Philstar.com, lawyer Rico Domingo, one of Castro’s legal counsels, said that their camp has yet to receive a copy of the prosecutor’s resolution.

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