Gov denies influence-peddling; seeks re-election in 2016
MANILA - Oriental Mindoro Governor Alfonso "Boy" Umali once again denied allegations that he tried to influence Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima in connection with the arrest of housing developer Delfin Lee.
Speaking to reporters at a League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) event on Tuesday, Umali said he only called Purisima after Lee's lawyer and Umali's provincemate, Atty. Gilbert Repizo, requested for clarification on the basis of the businessman's arrest.
Umali denied allegations that he personally met with Purisima.
"Nagulat ako. Lumalabas kasi na kasama ako sa meeting tapos nakikipagsigawan ako. Hindi totoo yan. Nobody does that to the Chief PNP. Alam mo naman na kaibigang kaibigan ko yan, bakit ko sisigawan?" he said.
He also said that he only met Lee once in his province during the groundbreaking of one of Lee's investments.
"Hindi ko siya kilala. Kaya nga nagbibiro ako baka akala nila kamag-anak ko si Delfin Lee kasi 'Boy Uma-lee.' Baka mamaya pati si Cedric Lee," he said.
Umali quipped that he is a "trending" topic nowadays.
Umali said he plans to run for re-election in 2016. He believes the effect of the recent controversy will be known after votes have been cast.
He said if Vice President Jejomar Binay, who had alleged that an "influential" person tried to stop the arrest of Lee, wins in the 2016 elections and he doesn't, it means that the controversy has affected his re-election bid.
But if he wins and Binay loses, then the whole issue has not affected his candidacy, he said.