House of Representatives

Global lawmakers’ group calls for speedy treatment of criminal case vs Duterte

Kaycee Valmonte

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Global lawmakers’ group calls for speedy treatment of criminal case vs Duterte

Act Teachers Partylist Representative France Castro with lawyers Atty. Rico Domingo and Movement Against Disinformation Tony La Viña, files grave threats complaint against former president Rodrigo Duterte at the Quezon City Prosecutors Office in Quezon City on October 24, 2023.

Jire Carreon/Rappler

The Inter-Parliamentary Union demands a swift resolution of a criminal complaint against ex-president Rodrigo Duterte for threatening a lawmaker's life

MANILA, Philippines – While noting the possible impact on other members of Congress, the Inter-Parliamentary Union demanded that the criminal complaint against former president Rodrigo Duterte filed by ACT Teachers Representative France Castro be resolved swiftly “in light of the serious concerns arising from this situation.”

The IPU said it was “appalled” that Duterte threatened the life of a lawmaker over television. 

“This matter also has a serious impact on the functioning of the Filipino parliament as a whole, as it may defer its members from speaking out on important matters and put their lives at significant risk,” the IPU wrote in a decision dated October 27, a copy of which was shared to reporters on November 1.

Last week, Castro filed a criminal complaint for grave threat against Duterte after he said on television that the outspoken congresswoman be killed using confidential funds. His statements were made after the House of Representatives stripped spy funds from five government agencies, including those led by his daughter – Vice President and concurrent Education Secretary Sara Duterte.

Global lawmakers’ group calls for speedy treatment of criminal case vs Duterte

The IPU commended Castro’s colleagues in the lower chamber for standing up against the former president and hoped the Filipino lawmakers raise the issue with the executive. The members of the House of Representatives also offered to help Castro in enhancing her security. 

“We welcome the IPU decision supporting our complaints,” Castro said in a separate statement on Wednesday, November 1.

Two complaints at the IPU

Castro said two complaints were earlier filed at the IPU – first, to recognize their “right to a speedy disposition of the court” for charges she is facing with former Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo. 

In November 2018, Ocampo, Castro, and 16 other educators and advocates of the Lumad indigenous community were detained and served kidnapping and human trafficking charges for evacuating 14 Lumad children attending school in Davao del Norte. Rights group Karapatan Southern Mindanao Region said they were “falsely accused.” 

“We hope that this will help in expediting the dismissal of the trumped-up case in Talaingod,” Castro said. 

Her second complaint was that of Duterte’s death threat. 

“I also hope that justice will prevail and that the threat against my life and other Makabayan solons [will] stop because we are only fulfilling our mandates as parliamentarians,” Castro said. 

Global lawmakers’ group calls for speedy treatment of criminal case vs Duterte
Elago’s charges

In the October 27 decision, the global lawmakers’ group also raised concern over former Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago’s 2020 complaint against six government officials who red-tagged her and her party-list group. 

Global lawmakers’ group calls for speedy treatment of criminal case vs Duterte

It was worried that Elago’s complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman showed “no sign of being actively examined.”

On top of that, the group was also hoping that the pending charge against the former congresswoman be dropped. Elago was added as a respondent to a mother’s complaint in September 2019 against the party-list Kabataan, claiming that her daughter was kidnapped and abused.  

 The Department of Justice in 2020 junked kidnapping and war crimes complaints against activists, including Elago for lack of probable cause. –

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