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Friday, May 24, 2024

Castro, De Lima start propaganda war vs. Duterte

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“Expect other tirades from anti-Duterte groups”

In my previous essay, I predicted the enemies of ex-President Rodrigo Duterte will start a propaganda war against the latter, now that the former president is no longer an incumbent.

They just need the right opportunities to get back at him.

The first opportunity came last month when Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte appeared in the appropriations hearings of the House of Representatives of Congress.

She asked the House to approve her request for P650-million in confidential and intelligence funds for the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Education.

Everybody knows, Sara Duterte is the daughter of the former president.

Several partylist representatives, including ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, opposed the request on the premise the OVP and the DepEd are not supposed to do intelligence work.

They also questioned the propriety of confidential funds on the ground the secret expenditures are essentially unconstitutional and illegal.

After due deliberations, the House turned down the request and allotted the P650-million sought by Sara Duterte to the intelligence services for use in the defense of Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea against Chinese intrusion.

Reacting thereto, an angry ex-President Duterte appeared on a television program and criticized the House.

Duterte also said if he had control of those confidential and intelligence funds sought by his daughter, he would use them to kill a certain “France,” in a manifest reference to Castro.

As expected, Castro exploited the ex-president’s statement and accused him of committing the crime of grave threats as defined and penalized under the Revised Penal Code.

Inevitably, Castro and other anti-Duterte groups had a heyday denouncing the former chief executive.

After Castro and her allies basked in the free publicity they generated, Castro filed a criminal complaint against ex-President Duterte before the office of the city prosecutor of Quezon City.

In a previous article published under this column, I discussed, citing the law and jurisprudence, that the complaint for grave threats filed by Castro has no legal basis and should be dismissed outright.

Be that as it may, Castro is certain to exploit the pending case she filed.

Last week, a trial court allowed ex-Senator Leila de Lima to post bail in the last pending anti-narcotics criminal case against her.

She has been incarcerated at Camp Crame for almost seven years, which began during the administration of Duterte.

As usual, anti-Duterte groups denounced the ex-president for the prolonged detention of de Lima, and called him a violator of human rights.

They conveniently failed to mention, however, that the Supreme Court upheld the nearly seven-year detention of de Lima.

A day after her release on bail, de Lima told the media she will work with the International Criminal Court in its task of investigating ex-President Duterte for the latter’s alleged violations of human rights during his tenure.

Since the Philippines has withdrawn from the Rome Statute, the multilateral treaty creating the ICC, and considering that the Supreme Court has upheld the power of the President to withdraw from the Rome Statute, it follows the ICC has no jurisdiction to conduct an investigation of the allegations of human rights violations against ex-President Duterte.

To hold otherwise is to allow a violation of Philippine sovereignty.

Therefore, to assist the ICC in its illegal investigation of ex-President Duterte, as de Lima plans to, is tantamount to a treasonous act as it is an affront to Philippine sovereignty.

Being so, it behooves the Department of Justice to probe the plans of de Lima with a view toward her prosecution, if warranted.

The DOJ should likewise investigate once and for all if de Lima, as Justice Secretary during the term of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, committed an irregularity in the investigation of a criminal case which prompted the Iglesia ni Cristo sect to protest her official acts regarding the case.

It appears the Aquino regime kept mum about the extent of the liability of de Lima, if there is any, on this issue.

Castro and de Lima have started the propaganda war against Duterte.

Expect other tirades from anti-Duterte groups.

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