Former President Rodrigo Duterte was once again absent during the preliminary investigation at the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office. The investigation is in connection with a complaint filed against him by ACT Teacher Party-list Rep. France Castro.
Represented by his two female lawyers, Duterte’s absence was attributed to the distance between Quezon City and Davao, where he currently resides. Castro, on the other hand, submitted a counter-affidavit through her counsels.
When asked about the resolution of the case, Castro mentioned that a decision may be reached by January. She had also filed a supplemental complaint against the father of Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte for allegedly continuing to threaten her.
Castro claimed that she has evidence to support her allegations that the former president had targeted her in various instances. She stated, “I am very sure that I am the one being threatened by the former president, and we have clearly cited them (proofs) in my complaint.”
In relation to Section 6 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, Castro accused Duterte of grave threats based on his statements made on a program on SMNI last October. The party-list lawmaker alleged that his statements “gravely threatened my life, liberty, and security and that of my family.”
During the program, Duterte had said, “I told her [daughter] to be frank. Say that this intelligence fund, I will use for Filipinos’ minds because my target is you communists in Congress.”
While Duterte was protected from prosecution during his presidency, he can now be charged as an ordinary citizen for alleged crimes committed in the Philippines. A group allied with Castro rallied outside the Department of Justice (DoJ) building to show their support.
In a counter-affidavit obtained by The Manila Times, Duterte stated that the complainant, Castro, took advantage of “trivial and measly concerns in order to retaliate” since he no longer had immunity from suit. He emphasized that mere allegations are not evidence and should not be treated as proof.
Duterte acknowledged that before criminal charges can be filed against him, the existence of probable cause must be established. He concluded his counter-affidavit by expressing his hope for the outright dismissal of the case.
Meanwhile, tensions rose between supporters of the former president and the opposing group outside the Quezon City Police District. However, the Duterte supporters decided to disperse after learning that Duterte would not be appearing.
It remains to be seen how the preliminary investigation will progress and whether any charges will be filed against the former president. As the legal process unfolds, both parties will have the opportunity to present their evidence and arguments before a final decision is made.
Source: The Manila Times