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'Magpakulong na lang ako': Duterte says on subpoena over Castro’s complaint

MANILA, Philippines — Former President Rodrigo Duterte said he would choose to be incarcerated rather than address the charges filed against him by Rep. France Castro (ACT-Teachers).

Duterte, who is facing grave threats under the Revised Penal Code and Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 due to his remarks threatening Castro regarding her daughter’s confidential funds, made this statement when questioned about his intention to respond to the charges.

“Magpakulong na lang ako. Kasi wala naman akong… Ino-opress ako ni France,” he said during a program alongside Apollo Quiboloy, wanted by the FBI, on Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) on Wednesday.

This is contrary to the statement made on Thursday by Duterte’s legal counsel, Harry Roque, stating that the former president will face the charges after they were handed over by a Quezon City prosecutor.

“Now that there is a pending case before a Philippine fiscal’s office, of course, he will face his accusers and he will prove that he did not breach any of our existing laws,” Roque said in an interview with ANC’s “Hotcopy.”

However, Roque did not specify if Duterte would appear personally before the prosecutors or if a lawyer would appear on his behalf. 

On Wednesday, Castro expressed hope that Duterte would participate in the preliminary investigation regarding the case.

“Very thankful ako sa Quezon City Prosecutor’s office kasi after three-days na-file naming itong complaint ay umaksyon na sila agad,” he said.

Castro lodged a case against Duterte citing Article 282 of the Revised Penal Code and Section 6 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. This came after Duterte's threat, declaring her as the "first target" of Vice President Sara Duterte’s confidential intelligence fund.

Throughout his presidency, Duterte often made explicit threats of death and imprisonment towards individuals. For instance, he targeted former senator Leila De Lima, accusing her of involvement in the illegal drug trade in 2016, resulting in her arrest in 2017.

Similarly, during his nightly addresses during the COVID-19 pandemic, he issued threats of arrest against those who refused vaccination, drawing criticisms from the Commission on