Leni decries link of Bautista woes to 2016 polls
Vice President Leni Robredo spoke for the first time about attempts to link her victory in the 2016 elections to the allegations of illegal wealth leveled against Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Andres Bautista.
“I think it’s just forced. I think they are just forcing a connection with our case, which is unfortunate,” she told reporters in an interview in Naga City, a transcript of which was sent to Manila reporters.
The former Camarines Sur lawmaker said the allegations raised by Bautista’s estranged wife Patricia “had nothing to do with the election.”
“But it’s saddening that such a private problem is being used by some politicians to further their ends,” Robredo said without elaborating.
Patricia accused her husband of unlawfully amassing nearly P1 billion in cash and real estate properties. Bautista, in turn, accused her of attempting to extort money from him and of having an affair.
“I am extremely disappointed over the recent actuations of my estranged wife, particularly making false accusations against me and allowing herself to be used to serve the political agenda of some opportunistic people,” Bautista said in a statement.
Robredo is facing an electoral protest lodged by her defeated rival, former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who has questioned her narrow victory over him. She defeated the late dictator’s son by a slim margin of more than 260,000 votes.
Marcos’ own name was dragged into the controversy following rumors that his wife Mary Louise “Liza” Araneta-Marcos, a good friend of Patricia’s, had brokered the latter’s meeting with President Duterte, who admitted he tried to mediate between the couple.
Marcos denied this, saying they did not meddle in marital squabbles.
Robredo said she, too, did not wish to add to the trading of accusations between the Bautistas.
“These marital spats should be settled in the privacy of their home. I think it is being used for politics, but I don’t want to dignify it,” she said in Filipino.
Earlier, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said that insinuations that the results of the May 2016 automated balloting were compromised in the wake of corruption allegations against Bautista were “speculative.”
“We have to dig deeper in our investigation. [Right] now, we’re still on the surface because the issue has just come up,” Aguirre told reporters.—WITH REPORTS FROM MARLON RAMOS AND TINA SANTOS
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