The Quezon City Prosecutor Office through Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Ulric Q. Badiola issued a subpoena dated October 27 against former president Rodrigo Duterte following a complaint for Grave Threat under Article 282 of the Revised Penal Code and Section 6 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. The subpoena has only been released to the public on November 15. 

The court asked Duterte to appear before the prosecutor and respond to the grave threat complaint by ACT-Teachers party list representative and House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro filed on October 24 given his statements of red-tagging and death threat via SMNI, a televangelical network owned by known Duterte ally Apollo Quiboloy.

This would be the first time that Duterte will be summoned to appear before the prosecutor’s office since he stepped down from public office in 2021.

Accordingly, Duterte was ordered to be present on the preliminary investigations on December 4 and 11, 2023 at 2:30 PM.

No motion to dismiss shall be entertained only counter-affidavits shall be admitted. Otherwise, Respondent/s is/are deemed to have waived the right to present evidence. Furthermore, no postponement shall be granted unless for exceptionally meritorious grounds.” the court added.

Dissenters remain targeted

Rep. Castro’s complaint against Duterte stemmed from the remarks and threats he made via SMNI on October 10. In Duterte’s air-time, the ex-president gave advice to his daughter and current vice-president Sara Duterte on the use of confidential and intelligence funds.

He later berated Castro saying that Sara must use her CIF first to the solon.

Your first target with your intelligence fund is you (pertaining to Castro), you France. Tell her, it is you communists who I want to kill,” said Duterte.

The footage was later deleted from SMNI Facebook page. But the netizens were quick to get a screen-grab and even record Duterte’s death threats.

Castro is one of the staunch legislators who lambasted the approval of Vice President Duterte’s P650 million peso-worth of confidential funds for the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and the Department of Education (DepEd). Castro further slammed Duterte’s remarks as “factually baseless and malicious”. 

The former president has long been subjected to various controversies since 2016, with his initiative of the bloody and vigilante ‘war-on-drugs’ signature campaign.

This notorious campaign has been investigated at the helm of the International Criminal Court (ICC) since September 2021.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency reported a total of 6,248 killed since the drug war campaign imposition. But human rights groups claimed for it to be more than 12,000 to 30,000.

Other than drug war, Duterte is prominent following the crackdowns and counter-insurgency efforts towards activists and progressives, including journalists and solons like Castro.

Duterte’s regime ended with more than 801 political prisoners. 

These attacks remained prevalent under Marcos Jr. administration with 778 political prisoners in the country, where 77 of them are elderly, 95 of them are sickly and 157 of them were women political prisoners as of June 2023.

Following the issuing of the subpoena, Rep. Castro said she was “glad” that the case is progressing further and hopes that the former president appears at the prosecutor’s office as ordered.


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