October 25, 2023
MANILA – Party-list lawmaker France Castro (ACT Teacher) on Tuesday filed before the Quezon City Prosecutors Office a criminal complaint against former president Rodrigo Duterte.
Castro filed a complaint of Grave Threat under Article 282 of the Revised Penal Code and Section 6 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 for the statements he made over a television program at Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) where he talked about the confidential fund of his daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte.
Castro was among the lawmakers who criticized the granting of P650 million in confidential funds for the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and the Department of Education, which Duterte also sits as head.
The House of Representatives eventually stripped the OVP, DepEd and three other agencies of confidential funds. The stripped amount was eventually given to security agencies protecting the West Philippine Sea.
In his Gikan sa Masa, Para sa asa Program at SMNI that aired October 11, 2023, Duterte said his daughter intends to use the confidential funds for a soft revival of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. (ROTC) program.
He said he advised his daughter to be frank to Congress, particularly Castro that she needs the CF fund to stop the communist insurgency.
Duterte said: “I told Inday (Sara) to be direct, tell them that the intelligence fund is meant to prepare the minds of the Filipinos, to address the insurgency that is taking a long time to end. And the ROTC so that we are prepared for war, especially in this situation, if we do not have soldiers, then we will have the youth who can take care of their respective barangays,” he explained.
“But your first target there, using your intelligence funds, is you, France, you communists who I want to kill. I asked her to tell them that, but she refused, saying, ‘You know Pa, if I did that, they might harass the PMTs (Philippine Military Training institutions),’” he added.
Duterte’s program was also posted on SMNI’s social media accounts, which already have 7,500 views, 540 reactions, and 78 comments.
In her complaint, Duterte made several insinuations linking her to the communist armed movement without any proof.
“Though factually baseless and clearly malicious, I cannot merely dismiss Respondent Duterte’s red-tagging and accompanying grave threats as either figurative, joking, or otherwise benign,” Castro said as she pointed out that many red-tagged individuals were eventually arrested, detained, or killed.
Castro said all the key elements of Grave Threats, as mentioned under the Revised Penal Code and the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, are present in her complaint, specifically that threat, which is considered a crime upon her person.
“The threat was not made to any condition, and it was committed using information and communication technologies,” Castro said.