President says he was not meddling in marital spat
Leave me out of it.
President Duterte on Monday night said that he did not want to be linked to any case filed against Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Andres Bautista, who was accused by his estranged wife of amassing P1 billion in unexplained wealth.
Mr. Duterte confirmed that he met with Patricia Bautista, the Comelec chair’s estranged wife, in Malacañang and that she wanted to “file a case, impeachment or whatever” about the alleged hidden wealth of her husband.
“I said, look, you heard me when I said I am not into the habit of prosecuting people, especially from the other side of the fence, political fence,” the President said.
He said this was particularly true with Bautista, because he was an appointee of then President Benigno Aquino III.
‘You got it all wrong’
“I do not want to be misconstrued. I said ‘I don’t want it. Leave me out’ because I don’t go after foes, especially officials of the past administration,” Mr. Duterte said.
He noted that when the Office of the Ombudsman decided to pursue charges against Mr. Aquino for the Mamasapano tragedy, he told actress Kris Aquino, the former President’s sister, that he was not behind it.
“I told Kris, ‘You got it all wrong.’ I said, “I’m not in the habit of chasing people with prosecution,” the President said.
Mr. Duterte denied that he was “meddling” in the marital problem of the Bautistas.
“I was not meddling. I asked him to fix his quarrel with the wife. That’s the thing that I could do as a lawyer,” he said, adding that he was used to mediating between quarreling couples when he was mayor of Davao City.
The President also denied ordering National Bureau of Investigation Director Dante Gierran to investigate the allegations against Bautista.
“No, I did not. I said, ‘Give it to somebody else.’ I am not into the habit of investigating or prosecuting people from the other side of the fence,” he said.
“I’m hands-off on that. There will always be a case filed so I do not want to preempt what will happen either by the Ombudsman or by Congress because I do not have jurisdiction over the case. Might as well just shut up,” he added.
Not a congressman
The President said the Ombudsman might investigate the graft allegations against the Comelec chief.
“I’m not the one who will investigate. I’m not a congressman or a senator when a case of impeachment is [filed] … so why should I bother?” he said.
But Mr. Duterte said he offered to help Patricia find lawyers if she would proceed with filing charges against her husband.
“I can provide her with a lawyer if you want to file a case,” the President said.
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