PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has declined to speak on the probe in mainland China over the allegations of corruption against Chinese billionaire and philanthropist Huang Rulun—the man who played a central role in the revival of Philippines-China relations under the Duterte presidency.
“I don’t want to interfere in the investigation,” Duterte said in Filipino during a chance interview in Davao City on Thursday night.
“I would not venture any statement because people might not like it,” he added.
Despite this, he said he knew Huang to be a very wealthy man and has been “kind” to Filipinos.
“This multibillionaire has 20 hotels. I would not comment on the domestic affairs of China, especially [on] one who has been kind to us, did not ask for anything, just wanted to be of service to his fellowmen,” said Duterte.
The Financial Times on Tuesday reported that Beijing’s anti-corruption watchdog said Huang, whose worth is listed by the Forbes magazine at $3.6 billion, was being investigated over bribery allegations after getting removed from a high-level advisory body in Fujian province last week due to suspicion of bribery.
The Chinese billionaire, who started his business in Binondo, Manila, donated P1.4 billion for two drug rehabilitation centers occupying a total area of 100,000 square meters.
Duterte indicated, however, that the probe would not have an effect on the country’s use of the rehabilitation center in Fort Magsaysay.
He said he was thankful for the assistance.