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Castro to Paolo Duterte: Don’t downplay death threats as criticism

MANILA, Philippines — Rep. Paolo Duterte (Davao City, 1st District) is the latest member of the Duterte family to trade barbs with critics after Rep. France Castro (ACT Teachers) clapped back at her House colleague for labeling his father’s alleged death threats against her as mere criticism.

Calling out Paolo Duterte — the eldest son of former president Rodrigo Duterte — for appearing to take exception with the grave threats case she filed against his father, Castro said that “we have to draw the line” at death threats broadcasted on national television. 

“Death threats and red-tagging aired on television must be stopped because they endanger the lives of people. It is far different from criticisms and should not be tolerated because it fosters the state of impunity,” Castro said.

"The Dutertes have always challenged people to file charges against them when they do something wrong. Now that they have been charged, they will still attack the victim," the lawmaker added.

This comes after Paolo Duterte issued a statement on Wednesday describing Castro as “onion-skinned” after she filed a criminal complaint against the former president in connection to his remarks during an SMNI program on October 11. 

During the televised interview, which was also streamed in a now-deleted YouTube video, Duterte said: “Pero ang una mong target sa intelligence fund… ikaw France. Kayong mga komunista ang gusto kong patayin (But, the first target of your intelligence fund… is you France. I want to kill all you communists.)”

Castro said she filed the criminal complaint to “make (Rodrigo Duterte) liable amid the serious threats” against her and that he enjoys “no immunity” from the case.

Paolo jumped to his father’s defense in a statement Wednesday morning, telling Castro that the former president “received much harsher and humiliating criticisms in the past but never filed a case against anyone.”

The Davao City lawmaker said: “As public servants, we all are under scrutiny by the Filipino people. If the former President has said something that threatened her, then maybe she should come out clean.”

“Bakit parang ako pa ang may kasalanan? (Why does it seem like my fault?)”Castro said in