Ex-President Duterte made a direct threat to Rep. Castro’s life – group
MANILA, Philippines — A progressive teachers’ group has accused former President Rodrigo Duterte of issuing statements that are a clear threat to ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro’s life.
In a statement on Thursday, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said Duterte’s comments against Castro, a vocal critic of the confidential funds (CF) lodged with the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and the Department of Education (DepEd), revealed his fascistic tendencies again.
Castro and the rest of the Makabayan bloc’s crusade against the CF turned out to be successful as the House leadership decided to remove the secret funds of five agencies, including OVP and DepEd, from the proposed 2024 budget.
The OVP and DepEd are headed by Duterte’s daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte.
“The statements of Rodrigo Duterte, who has been a fascist and an executioner since then, have been revolting. It is clearly a direct threat to the life of Rep. France Castro and progressive groups and individuals who are only fighting for legitimate concerns and people’s rights,” ACT chairperson Vladimer Quetua said in Filipino.
“It is also clear that the state has used and will use confidential and intelligence funds forced into the budget of their agencies to wage abuses, brutality, and killing of ordinary Filipinos,” he added.
Quetua was referring to the statements of the former president over a television program at Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) where he discussed her daughter’s request for the CF.
According to the older Duterte, the Vice President intended to use her CF for a soft revival of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program. He said he also advised his daughter to be frank to Congress — particularly with Castro — that she needed the CF to stop the communist insurgency.
“The communists would not understand that, so I told her just be frank and say that the intelligence funds will be used to help the Filipinos’ minds because my true target is the communists in Congress,” Duterte said.
“Be frank with France (Castro) and everyone — I mean, they are my friends, Satur Ocampo, I love them, and at no other time in the history of the Philippines that the Communist Party of the Philippines were invited to Malacañang […] But because they are my friends, I cannot tell them squarely that we are enemies, and I want to kill them; I want to kill you softly because we are friends,” he added.
Duterte also said that Vice President Duterte did not heed his suggestion out of fear that Philippine Military Training (PMT) institutions might be harassed once she responded like that. During that part of the interview, Duterte said he advised his daughter to say that communists like Castro are who she wants to kill.
“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,’” he added.
But Quetua said these remarks should not merely be disregarded, as the culture of killings and impunity should stop.
“We should not let this slip and merely disregard these statements. We should not allow the culture of killings, human rights violations, and the lack of justice to continue prevailing in our country,” Quetua asserted.
“Executioners like Rodrigo Duterte should be held accountable for his crimes against the Filipino people,” he added.
Duterte’s tirades against Castro came after the small committee in the House formally decided to remove CF requests of the following five agencies:
- OVP: P500 million
- Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT): P300 million
- DepEd: P150 million
- Department of Agriculture (DA): P50 million
- Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA): P50 million
All in all, the House moved P1.237 billion worth of CFs in the proposed 2024 national budget, amounting to 0.6 percent of the P194 billion worth of institutional amendments that were made by the small committee.