PNP does 'background checks' over Duterte hints at 'corrupt' presidential bets

PNP does 'background checks' over Duterte hints at 'corrupt' presidential bets
Screengrab shows Police Gen. Dionardo Carlos speaking to reporters at a press briefing in Camp Crame on Wednesday, January 26.
Philstar.com Screengrab / Philippine National Police on Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police claimed it is investigating off-the-cuff claims by President Rodrigo Duterte that some presidential candidates are guilty of corruption but begged off from disclosing details. 

Speaking at a press briefing in Camp Crame on Wednesday, Police Gen. Dionardo Carlos, PNP chief said that the PNP would course its reports along its command line but opted not to publicize their contents yet.

"Our background checking and gathering of information are continuous. At the end of the day, we will not jump the gun. We are not directed to name names. So we'll just do our work and submit the report to our leadership," Carlos said in mixed Filipino and English.  

The PNP has historically acted quickly in response to Duterte's comments, often taking his remarks as orders.

"Of course, we have to be studying who is running. We look at their past and historical data to ensure a peaceful election for everybody," the PNP chief said. 

This comes after President Rodrigo Duterte, in his weekly recorded briefing, said he would name the “most corrupt candidates” among the presidential aspirants ahead of the 2022 elections. 

"I’m not politicking, I’m talking to you as your president. I need to bring this up because we are talking about elections, we are talking about our country and its next rulers," Duterte, whose daughter is running for vice president and is leading in pre-election surveys, said. 

Duterte said one of the candidates "really cannot be a president" while another candidate can be elected president, but is "too corrupt."

The president has used his speeches to take swiped at Vice President Leni Robredo, Sens. Panfilo Lacson and Manny Pacquiao, and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, all of whom are running for president.

'Cocaine-user' candidate

To recall, Duterte also floated accusations against an unnamed presidential candidate whom he said regularly did cocaine. 

Asked for updates on its promised investigation into the earlier accusations, Carlos also refused to publicize updates but admitted that there was still no evidence backing the President's claim. 

"These reports are not immediately divulged in public. We’ll let the leadership know of the result, and then from there, we get a decision. If it were up to me, I would have made a decision, but it’s not at my level. We’re doing this based on the statement of the commander in chief," Carlos said. 

What about Duterte's public claim? "It’s only information. If there were evidence, we would have already filed charges before a competent court," Carlos said, adding that the PNP is still compiling information.

Carlos earlier in November said that "whatever the result, the PNP is ready to make it public."

Marcos., whose campaign has repeatedly said he does not feel alluded to in Duterte's comments, asserted again on Tuesday evening that the president's words were not directed at him. 

"I took a drug test, I was the first to take a drug test among the candidates the day after Duterte spoke," he said in Filipino. 

The son of the ousted dictator went on to claim that he never did drugs even when he was younger. "If you expect to produce good work, you can't take part in that kind of vice."

Franco Luna with a report from Kristine Joy Patag 


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