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Castro pursues criminal charges vs ex-president Duterte over death threats

MANILA, Philippines — Rep. France Castro (ACT-Teachers) filed criminal charges against former President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday at the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office.

The Makabayan Bloc lawmaker, along with lawyers Tony La Viña, Rico Domingo, and others from the Movement Against Disinformation, initiated legal action in response to Duterte's death threats against Castro. The death threats stem from her scrutiny of the confidential funds of Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte. 

"Kailangan niyang harapin ang accountability sa matinding pagbabanta sa aking buhay (He [Duterte] must be held accountable for the serious threats to my life),” Castro said in a press conference. 

The charges filed fall under Article 282 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), aimed at addressing Duterte's tirades against Castro, which they said “pose a significant risk to her personal liberty and security.”

The provisions of the RPC cited by Castro and her lawyers pertain to grave threats. If found guilty, the penalty could include imprisonment for a period of one to six months, along with a fine, depending on the court’s discretion.

However, according to La Viña, the penalty may be elevated by one degree since it is also covered under the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

“Duterte got away from many things because he had immunity,” La Viña said in the press conference.

“For the first time, we are holding him accountable in a Philippine court,” he added.

Under Section 6 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, felonies punished under the RPC receive a penalty that is one degree higher.

On October 10, during a live television interview with Sonshine Media Network International, owned by his avid supporter Apollo Quiboloy, Duterte claimed that Castro was the "first target" of her daughter's confidential funds.

The video of the interview has since been deleted.

On October 15, House parties, including the former party of Rodrigo Duterte, urged the former president to stop the death threats and insinuations of harm against any member of the House of Representatives.

“We, leaders of all political parties in the House of Representatives, take utmost exception to the remarks made by former