Duterte to Drilon: I have no hand in allegations against you

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 24) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday denied involvement in allegations of corruption against Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.

"If I talked to somebody urging a case against you sa PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund), bring the person in my presence, and I will resign because you are my friend," the President said, addressing Drilon, as he was about to leave for India.

The President was referring to alleged pork barrel mastermind Janet Lim Napoles' claims that she donated a total of P5 million to Drilon during the 2010 presidential elections.

Drilon did not run in the 2010 elections, but was the chairperson of the Liberal Party (LP), which now serves as opposition against the administration.

Duterte assured Drilon he had no hand in the claims against the Senate Minority Leader.

"It is not in my system, it is not in my style na maghabol," he said. "I told you before in front of so many congressmen, wala akong ginagawa against you."

[Translation: It's not my style to go after you... As I've told you before in front of so many congressmen, I have nothing against you.]

The Palace on Tuesday sought a probe on Napoles' allegations. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he hopes the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice (DOJ) will conduct an investigation on the issue.

READ: Palace seeks probe on Napoles claim of P5-M donation to Drilon

Drilon earlier called the allegation "fake news intended to harass the opposition."

After the speech of Duterte, Drilon clarified he never accused Duterte of talking to anyone to file a case against him, and that whatever disagreements they have are only on matters of policy.

"I remain grateful for, and acknowledge, the support the President gave me, as mayor of Davao City, in all my election campaigns. I hope we remain friends. He has my full respect," Drilon added.

During the speech, the President also said Napoles had tagged opponents of the Liberal Party before.

"Sabi pa naman ni Napoles, marami pa raw siyang sasabihin. O nauna na nga 'yung mga kalaban ninyo," he said.

[Translation: Napoles said, she has a lot to reveal. Your enemies have already been investigated.]

Napoles is facing plunder and graft charges before the Sandiganbayan for allegedly funneling lawmakers' millions in pork barrel funds to bogus nongovernment organizations.

CNN Philippines' Digital Producer Eimor Santos contributed to this story.