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Catch-22? Duterte tells Andy Bautista, wife to settle marital mess in private

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Why has a domestic squabble become a matter of national interest that even President Rodrigo Duterte must personally give counsel inside Malacañang to a couple fighting over money?

Duterte met with Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista and his wife, Patricia in Malacanang over her allegations that the poll body chief amassed unexplained wealth, Politiko has learned.

According to Politiko’s source, Duterte talked to the estranged couple together on August 1, just before he met with select lawmakers on issues of national importance.

During the meeting, Duterte advised Bautista and his wife to settle their marital dispute in private.

Simply put, the President does not want to get involved in their squabble even if Patricia claims her husband amassed close to P1 billion in unexplained wealth.

Patricia confirmed meeting Bautista in Malacanang”face to face” this month in an interview with select reporters on August 5.

Duterte’s nonchalant attitude towards Patricia’s allegation appears surprising given his tough stance on corruption, warning government officials repeatedly about being fired if they were ever found amassing ill-gotten wealth or stealing.

Then again, the President might only be playing safe for political reasons.

Rumors have swirled that Bautista became richer since his appointment as Comelec chief in April 2015 through commissions from politikos and entities he helped win in the 2016 elections.

If Duterte goes after Bautista, he will also invite questions on his victory in the presidential race since the Comelec chief will be asked what he might have done in the previous elections to deserve hefty payoffs from certain personalities.

Accusations of election rigging against Bautista will also place Duterte’s win under doubt.

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