Quezon City prosecutor clears Duterte in grave threat case

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
Quezon City prosecutor clears Duterte in grave threat case
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 — The Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office has dismissed the first criminal complaint filed against former president Rodrigo Duterte by ACT-Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro, for insufficient evidence.

In a 14-page decision obtained by The STAR, the QC fiscal’s office said that evidence presented by the camp of Castro was insufficient to indict Duterte for grave threats.

“This office finds the evidence insufficient to indict respondent for Grave Threats inasmuch as the requisite elements for the crime appear to have been not sufficiently and concretely established, contrary to what the complainant wanted to impress upon this Office,” said the ruling signed by Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Ulric Badiola and approved by Deputy City Prosecutor Leilia Llanes.

The resolution was signed on Jan. 9 and was received by the camp of Duterte on Jan. 12.

Castro 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.

Badiola added Castro’s camp failed to establish that Duterte’s alleged threatening remarks should be taken seriously.

“If the intention of the respondent was really to intimidate and to take seriously such threatening remarks, 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 pronounced the threats conceived in his mind,” Badiola added.

According to Badiola, the fact that Duterte made so many preliminaries 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.”

“Moreover, it has to be remembered and taken into account that the alleged threats were perpetrated by the respondent during the height of the confidential fund issue, a somewhat political matter lobbied by the office of his daughter as Vice President of the Philippines and as Secretary of Department of Education and in the midst of brewing impeachment moves against her in connection with the said confidential fund,” Badiola noted.

For his part, lawyer Rico Domingo, one of the lead counsels of Castro, vowed to appeal the ruling of the QC Prosecutor’s Office.

“We have yet to receive the ruling. We can elevate the matter,” Domingo told The STAR.

Castro filed a criminal complaint against Duterte in connection with the alleged grave threats from the former chief executive in connection with his television program “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” at Sonshine Media Network International and aired on Oct. 11, where the former president said in Filipino, “Your (Sara) first target with your intelligence fund is you, France, you communists that I want to kill. Tell her that.”

According to Castro, it was clear that Duterte was referring to her as during the first part of the interview, the former chief executive mentioned her full name.

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

“I, together with some of my colleagues in the progressive bloc and like-minded legislators in the Lower House, exposed what is perceived to be the unauthorized grant to Vice President Sara Duterte of confidential funds in 2022 amounting to around P125 million, and questioned her use of such secret funds from 2022 up to 2023. Among the eventual consequences of this exposure is the decision of the House of Representatives to strip the Vice President of her requested P650-million confidential funds for 2024 for the agencies she leads,” Castro said in her complaint-affidavit. – Edith Regalado

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