Castro urges victims of rights abuse under Duterte to file cases, too

Rep. Castro urges victims of rights abuses under Rodrigo Duterte to file cases, too

/ 03:19 PM October 24, 2023

Rep. Castro urges victims of rights abuses under Rodrigo Duterte to file cases, too

FILE PHOTO: Former President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo from Malacañang

MANILA, Philippines — ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro urges individuals who may have allegedly suffered from rights abuses during the term of Rodrigo Duterte to follow suit and file cases against the former president.

During a press conference Tuesday, Castro expressed her belief that filing a criminal complaint against Duterte may empower others to do the same and make the ex-top leader of the country accountable.


“Yes, ine-encourage natin ‘yong mga kapwa Pilipino na nakaranas ng dinadanas ko ngayon – ‘yong threat – at maging ‘yong pamilya ng mga namatay, katulad din ng ating mga colleagues na nakakaranas din ng kung ano man ‘yong sinasabi na tingin nila ay krimen laban sa kanila,” she said.


(Yes, we encourage fellow Filipinos who have experienced what I am experiencing now – the threat – and even the families of those who died, just like our colleagues who are also at the receiving end of whatever he is saying, which they think is a crime against them.)

READ: Rep. Castro files complaint vs ex-president Duterte over death threat

“Kaya tingin natin itong case na ito ay magbubunga pa ng mas marami pang mga cases lalong-lalo na do’n sa mga humihingi ng hustisya laban kay Duterte. Kaya lalong-lalo na rin ‘yong mga biktima ng extrajudicial killings sa panahon ng panunungkulan ng dating presidente Duterte.”

(So we think this case will result in more cases, especially those demanding justice against Duterte. Also, especially those victims of extrajudicial killings during the tenure of former president Duterte.)

“In fact, nag-file din kami ng House resolution para papasukin ‘yong ICC dito para mag-imbestiga doon sa mga alleged na extrajudicial killings no’ng panahon ni dating presidente Duterte,” she added, referring to the International Criminal Court which is conducting a probe into Duterte’s controversial “drug war.”


READ: House reps find Duterte’s tirades offensive, a serious attack – secretary general

No more immunity

Movement Against Disinformation (MAD) co-convenor and lawyer Antonio La Viña pointed out that complaints may now be filed against Duterte since the former president no longer has immunity from suits.

“The immunity of (former) president Duterte ended after 12 — literally 12:00:01 o’clock in the afternoon of June 30, 2022.  From that day on, we can file criminal charges or civil charges against him for everything he does after that, and for everything he did during his presidency,” explained La Viña, a counsel of Castro.

“Wala na siyang immunity ngayon (He does not have immunity anymore),” he added.

READ: House party chiefs tell Duterte: Stop the threats

According to La Viña, victims of human rights violations may have been deferring the filing of complaints against the ex-president because they have been focused on the proceedings before the ICC, where Duterte is facing crimes against humanity complaints lodged by relatives of drug war fatalities.

Duterte’s drug war has been criticized here and abroad for its brutality.

“I can just surmise that the reason why the victims haven’t filed cases yet, the families of victims of the drug war, is because cases are still pending before the International Criminal Court.  And they probably feel right now that given the stage of what that is, it would be better to focus there,” he said.

Earlier Tuesday, Castro filed a grave threat complaint against Duterte for his statements in a Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) TV program that seemed like a death threat to the party-list lawmaker.

READ: Ex-President Duterte made a direct threat to Rep. Castro’s life – group

She argued that Duterte’s alleged death threat against her – broadcast nationwide on TV and the world wide web – violates Article 282 (Grave Threat) of the Revised Penal Code and Section 6 (crimes under RPC) of Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

Castro cited Duterte’s SMNI interview, where the former president discussed his take on Vice President Sara Duterte’s confidential funds and 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.”

READ: Duterte to Sara: Say secret funds to be used vs ‘communists in Congress’

“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)’,” the ex-president added.

Duterte’s SMNI interview happened after the House of Representatives removed the proposed 2024 confidential funds of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and the Department of Education (DepEd) worth P500 million and P150 million, respectively.

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Sara Duterte, while a Vice President, also serves as Education Secretary, leading the OVP and DepEd.

ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro was among many lawmakers who advocated for removing the confidential funds of OVP and DepEd.

TAGS: ACT Teachers, France Castro, Immunity, Rodrigo Duterte

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