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Charge against Duterte 'political propaganda'

(UPDATE) FORMER Malacañang spokesman Salvador Panelo on Thursday dismissed as «political propaganda» the criminal complaint filed by ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro against former president Rodrigo Duterte.

The Quezon City Prosecutor's Office has summoned Duterte to appear on December 4 and 11 to answer the complaint.

In a statement sent to The Manila Times, Panelo said the complaint «has absolutely no legal basis.»

«No threat was made by PRRD (former president Duterte) in his show. The remark: 'You communists, I would like to kill.' — which is an expression of a wish — is not a crime,» said Panelo, who was Duterte's spokesman and chief presidential legal counsel.

«The criminal complaint was filed solely for the purpose of political propaganda,» he said.

Duterte, who is no longer immune from suit, was directed by the court to show up during the preliminary investigation of the case.

The former president and father of Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte is expected to submit his counter-affidavit and a list of witnesses.

«No motion to dismiss shall be entertained. Only counter-affidavits shall be admitted. Otherwise, respondent is deemed to have waived the right to present evidence. Furthermore, no postponement shall be granted unless for exceptionally meritorious grounds,» read the subpoena dated October 27.

Last October 24, Castro sued Duterte for grave threats over remarks he made against her in an interview on Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI).

Duterte claimed to have told his daughter to be «frank» with Castro and her allies that the confidential funds she's requesting are for targeting «communists in Congress.»

Castro, a member of the Makabayan bloc, said she could not let the remarks of Duterte pass since they are malicious and life-threatening.