Robredo: Link between Comelec chair issue, VP poll protest 'forced'

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Vice President Leni Robredo. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 17) — Vice President Leni Robredo criticized supposed political motives linking the controversy surrounding Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista and her pending poll protest against Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.

"Tingin ko pilit na lang na ina-associate iyong kaso namin, which is unfortunate. Iyong problema wala namang kinalaman sa eleksyon. Pero kaya siya nakakalungkot kasi iyong dapat na pribadong problema, parang ginagamit na ng ibang pulitiko to further their ends," Robredo told reporters in a media briefing in Naga City Thursday.

[Translation: I think that they're forcing to associate our case, which is unfortunate. The issue has nothing to do with the elections. But the reason why it's saddening because a supposedly private problem is being used by politicians to further their ends.]

Bautista is under investigation after his wife, Patricia, claimed the poll chief has hundreds of millions in unexplained wealth.

Read more: COMELEC chair accused of unexplained wealth by estranged wife

Bautista reportedly received commissions from Divina Law, the legal counsel of poll technology provider Smartmatic.

This led to speculation among some lawmakers on the integrity of the 2016 elections.

Read more: Solon: Bautista's 'receipt of fee for Smartmatic referral' casts doubt on 2016 polls

Robredo said Butista's issue has nothing to do with her poll protest against Marcos.

"Ayaw ko nang dagdagan pa, kasi wala naman itong kinalaman doon sa eleksyon. Iyong away mag-asawa, dapat sana sine-settle in the privacy of, 'di ba, of their home. Pero tingin ko nagagamit sa pulitika, pero ayaw na nating patulan," she said.

[Translation: I don't want to add to this, because it has nothing to do with the elections. A fight between couples should be settled in the privacy of their home. But I think this is being used for politicking, but we're not letting it get to us.]

Marcos lost to Robredo in the vice-presidential elections last year, but he filed an electoral protest seeking to nullify about a million votes cast in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao over allegations of poll fraud from Robredo's camp.

Robredo won the vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes, 263,473 more than Marcos who got 14,155,344 votes.