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Castro told: Don’t be onion-skinned

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After his father allegedly threatened a party-list legislator with physical harm, Rep. Paolo Duterte on Wednesday said lawmakers should not be onion-skinned.

The Davao City solon also threatened to spill the beans on Makabayan Bloc legislators in the House of Representatives.

Duterte made the warning in reaction to the filing of grave threat charges against his father, former president Rodrigo Duterte.

He also appealed to the left-leaning group to “stop the drama.”

“As a congressman myself, I also know a lot of things about these left-leaning representatives. And so I ask them to stop the drama and stop going to the media,” Duterte said, adding that he thinks his father is getting the short end in this issue.

“We all have the right to file a complaint against anyone in court. But public servants should not be onion-skinned and should not make use of this right as a tool to silence critics,” Duterte said.

For her part, House Deputy Minority leader and ACT Teacher’s Rep. France Castro cried foul over Rep. Duterte’s remarks. “Why am I being portrayed as the villain when it is I who was threatened with death?”

“I filed a grave threats case against former Pres. Rodrigo Duterte because I am protecting myself, my family, and my colleagues. Also, death threats and red-tagging aired on television must be stopped because it endangers the lives of people. It is far different from criticisms and should not be tolerated because it fosters a state of impunity. We have to draw the line,” Castro said.

“Besides, the onion skin doctrine even in libel cases does not give license to anyone to issue death threats. Legitimate criticism of public officials are valid but what Duterte did was not criticism but threats. Also, such a doctrine neither discounts nor diminishes the right of persons to life and safety (which includes freedom from fear),” she added.

Castro earlier filed grave threat charges against the former president after he allegedly threatened to kill her and called her a communist.

She was at her father’s wake when she learned about Duterte’s remark during an interview with local broadcaster SMNI on Oct. 10, which she said constituted the crime of “grave threats” under the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

Duterte gave on-air advice to his daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte, about how she could use intelligence and confidential funds allocated to her office and the education department, which she also heads.

“Your first target with your intelligence fund is you, you France. Tell her, it is you communists who I want to kill,” Duterte said in the interview that was shared thousands of times on Facebook. It was later deleted from SMNI’s Facebook page.

The House appropriations committee decided on the same day to divert the funds allocated to some government departments, including the P650 million for the OVP and DepEd.

In her complaint, Castro said Duterte’s threats were “factually baseless and clearly malicious,” but she could not dismiss them as “figurative, joking, or otherwise benign.”

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