MANILA (UPDATED) - Vice President Leni Robredo and Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista on Thursday denied having any "secret meeting."
Speaking to reporters, Robredo described as "very malicious" the video circulating online alleging a secret meeting between her and Bautista at the Urdaneta Apartments in Makati City on Tuesday evening.
The video, uploaded on the Facebook page "Dayaang Matuwid," shows Robredo arriving at the area and then the Vice President and Comelec chief separately leaving. There was no footage of their supposed meeting.
"Walang ganun na secret meeting," said Robredo, adding that she and Bautista only exchanged pleasantries.
Robredo said she was accompanied by her three daughters, Aika, Tricia and Jillian, at the dinner party attended by around 40 guests.
Other guests at the party were United States Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.
"Hindi ko maalalang nag-usap kami. Parang nagbatian lang, pero hindi kami nagkausap. Marami yung bisita dun," Robredo said.
"Siguro mas maigi kung may secret meeting kung pinakita nila na nagusap kami."
Bautista, speaking at a regular meeting of the Rotary Club of Makati, clarified that the event was a private affair hosted by his mother-in-law.
Bautista said he only said "hello" to the Vice President.
"Actually, there were more than 30 people, with members of the diplomatic corps in attendance. So, there was no secret meeting whatsoever. In fact, I only had a one sentence 'Hello, Madam Vice President,' and that was it,'" he said.
The poll chief said it was clear that there was malice in uploading the video.
"The way it was done as if we were plotting something, which is definitely untrue," Bautista said, adding that other guests could very well validate this fact.
Bautista also said it is not against the law for him to speak with Robredo despite an ongoing electoral challenge filed by the camp of Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
"The elections are already over two months ago. Wala na sa aming jurisdiction yan, it is now with the Supreme Court (SC) acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET)," he said.
Robredo is facing an election protest before the high court filed by Marcos, her closest rival in the vice presidential race.
Marcos has accused the camp of Robredo of committing "traditional election abuses" and the Comelec of ignoring the supposed vulnerabilities and irregularities of the automated election system.
SC spokesperson Atty. Theodore Te on Tuesday said the high court will issue a resolution on the case "in due course." - With reports from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News