Metro Manila, Philippines – The Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office has junked ACT-Teachers Rep. France Castro’s grave threats complaint against former President Rodrigo Duterte for lack of sufficient evidence.
Castro accused Duterte of threatening to kill her based on statements he made during two airings of his show “Gikan sa Masa” broadcast on the controversial Sonshine Media Network International.
Duterte denied Castro’s accusations and was a no-show in both preliminary investigations over the case. He said his statements did not demonstrate actus reus, the actual utterance of threat, and mens rea, or intent to be taken seriously. He also said the lawmaker’s complaint was made for propaganda purposes by staunch critics of his administration.
In a resolution obtained by CNN Philippines, prosecutors wrote: “This Office finds the evidence insufficient to indict respondent for Grave Threats inasmuch as the requisite elements for the crime appears to have been not sufficiently and concretely established contrary to what the complainant wanted to impress upon this Office.”
It argued that the way Duterte uttered the threats on his show did not convincingly establish that he intended them to be taken seriously.
The resolution added that Duterte made jokes and sarcastic comments throughout the show, indicating he was not serious enough to execute or materialize the threats.
The prosecutor said Duterte’s alleged threats were made during the height of the confidential fund issueinvolving his daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte.
“Being the father of the Vice-President, the respondent would naturally be disappointed and would come to the defense” of his daughter in the midst of such political issues or attacks, the resolution added.
“In fact, it would appear that the respondent’s heightened emotions when he uttered/stated the alleged threatening statements, remarks, comments and/or utterances were seemingly triggered by such issues,” it said
Despite this, the prosecutors said that there was no evidence he would go after “attackers” of his daughter.
Furthermore, they said they found it “unusual, if not ridiculous” for Duterte to make public threats given his advanced age and because he is no longer immune from criminal prosecution.
Castro has yet to comment on the dismissal of her case.
This story will be updated.