Former president Rodrigo Duterte Presidential. / Photo / Roemari Lismonero
Ex-president cries oppression
MANILA, Philippines — Former president Rodrigo Duterte has warned that people should keep an eye on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) amid recent political developments, particularly in the House of Representatives.
“Watch the military and the police closely. You who are conniving in Congress. I am not scaring you, but watch the military and the police closely,” Duterte said during his Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa TV program aired over Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) Wednesday night.
He claimed there is uneasiness in the apparently emerging alliance between Speaker Martin Romualdez and ACT-Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro, whom the former president says is a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Duterte insinuated that Romualdez has been wooing to his side different groups aside from members of Congress to bolster his presidential bid in 2028.
He said Romualdez has joined hands with Castro and the progressive bloc in filing a complaint against him for grave threats.
Duterte insisted he is not involved in destabilization, but that he is only being frank about the political headwinds which affect the sentiments of the military and the police whose colleagues have been killed by the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the CPP.
“Destabilization? Why will I urge the military? What do you think of the military? Bobo (stupid)?” the former president said.
“That is very painful, how many police and soldiers you have killed,” he said, adding the military and the police cannot take it sitting down how ranking government officials could collude with CPP members like Castro and her group.
But Duterte said he is not worried that the alliance of Romualdez and the left would prevail. These military and police, he said, are just taking note where the country is going.
Meanwhile, when asked about the subpoena issued against him by the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office over grave threat charges filed by Castro, Duterte said in jest that “I might as well go to jail because France (Castro) is oppressing me.”
The prosecutor has ordered Duterte to appear about 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon of both Dec. 4 and Dec. 11 for a preliminary investigation. The subpoena – dated Oct. 27 but released to the media on Wednesday – was part of an initial investigation into the criminal complaint filed by Castro in connection with Article 282 of the Revised Penal Code relating to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
“That is what communists do (oppression), I wish I could do the same,” Duterte said in the same program over SMNI.
“France is a member of ACT, they are the left, who are members of the Communist Party… and then they joined the mainstream. They are rebels who want to destroy the country. They want to overthrow government and instill their ideology,” he said.
‘No one is above the law’
Meanwhile, the lead counsel of Castro yesterday said that the subpoena issued against Duterte proved that no one is above the law.
“It is a good development. No one is above the law,” dean Tony La Viña said.
In an interview with The STAR, La Viña added that it is advisable for Duterte to file his counter-affidavit.
La Viña also backed the directive of Quezon City Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Ulric Badiola that the former president cannot file a motion to dismiss the case.
“That (no motion to dismiss) is normal for this kind of case. It is a summary procedure so there should be no motion for dismissal and postponement is also not allowed to hasten the process,” La Viña said.
According to La Viña, failure of Duterte to comply with the order of Badiola will lead to the filing of the case against him.
“He (Duterte) needs to comply, otherwise, he will waive his right to present his evidence and then we can proceed to the next level which is to expect the prosecutors to file the case,” he added.
La Viña said that Duterte was tasked by the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office to appear on Dec. 4 to receive the charges against him. “On Dec. 11, he should appear there as he needs to sign his counter-affidavit,” he said.
He said Castro is ready to present her evidence against Duterte.
“It seems like an open and shut case as we have the video of what he said,” he noted.
Meanwhile, La Viña said it is too early to say that the justice system is working under the Marcos administration.
“There are many other cases where the results are questionable. I will not say that but certainly, in the case of (former) senator (Leila) de Lima, the case was favorable. As long as it does not involve politics and the prosecutors and judges call the shots as they see them, we are very confident in our case,” he added.
According to La Viña, he expects the case to be resolved within one to two years as it is an open and shut case.
For his part, lawyer Rico Domingo, another counsel of Castro said that once Duterte waives his right to file a counter-affidavit, the prosecutor will decide whether to file or dismiss the case.
“What will happen is the investigating prosecutor will now resolve the criminal complaint on the basis of our evidence on behalf of Rep. Castro,” Domingo said.
Domingo added that Duterte can file his counter-affidavit before a fiscal in Davao City if he opts to stay in his hometown.
“Personally, if he respects the Prosecutor’s Office in Quezon City, he should appear before the fiscal’s office here,” he said.
Domingo said that it is also up to the Quezon City prosecutor if the office will allow Duterte to file his counter-affidavit through videoconference.
The case against Duterte stemmed from his television program aired Oct.11 on SMNI where he said, “Pero ang una mong target d’yan [sa] intelligence fund mo, kayo, ikaw France, kayong mga komunista ang gusto kong patayin. Sabihin mo na sa kanya (The first one to target with the intelligence funds is you, France, and other communists who I like 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.
Duterte could face a maximum of six years imprisonment and a fine of P100,000 in case the court finds him guilty of grave threats.