Filipino congresswoman accuses former president of second death threat

Filipino congresswoman France Castro accuses former president Rodrigo Duterte of threatening to kill her again.

A Filipino congresswoman accused former president Rodrigo Duterte on Monday of threatening to kill her for a second time.

House of Representatives Deputy Minority Leader France Castro made the allegation in a “supplemental” criminal complaint filed with prosecutors in Manila.

Castro and Duterte had been subpoenaed to appear at the prosecutor’s office on Monday to present witnesses and supporting documents relating to the congresswoman’s first complaint filed on October 24.

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Castro has alleged Duterte made “grave threats” against her during an October 10 interview with local broadcaster SMNI, violating the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

She alleged on Monday Duterte had threatened her life again in an interview with the same broadcaster on November 16.

In a transcript of that interview filed to the prosecutor, Duterte talked about communist rebels who are fighting a decades-old insurgency.

“So you, France, how do you solve the problem now?” Duterte asked.

“So that’s my statement, communists should be killed, you should be included.”

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Duterte did not appear at the prosecutor’s office but two of his lawyers were there, Castro told reporters.

There was no immediate comment from Duterte or his legal representatives about Castro’s latest allegation.

His former chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said Duterte had not received a subpoena to attend Monday’s preliminary investigation.

Even if he had, Panelo added, the former president could opt to send his lawyers instead.

The prosecutor will decide if there is enough evidence to charge Duterte in court.

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Duterte was protected from prosecution when he was president but he can be charged for alleged crimes committed in the Philippines now that he is a private citizen.

Duterte often threatened to kill people, including drug dealers and rights activists, when he was president from 2016 to 2022.

He also frequently labelled critics as communist sympathisers — a practice known as “red-tagging”, which sometimes resulted in the arrest, detention or even death of the person targeted.

His signature policy was an anti-drug campaign that killed thousands of people and triggered an international investigation into an alleged crime against humanity.

© Agence France-Presse