President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he did not go to luxury watch stores with his long-time aide Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go to shop, but to meet with an ex-girlfriend.

Controversy swirled around Duterte and Go after they were photographed browsing luxury watches in “several” stores after the latter’s filing of his candidacy for senator.

Defending himself in his “Talk to the People” address, Duterte said he was waiting for an ex-girlfriend of his.

“Magpunta ko sa tindahan kasi may gusto akong makipagkita ng isang tao, girlfriend ko noon. Hiwalay na kami. Gusto ko lang mamasyal, pumasok kami doon sa jewelry stores. Totoo ‘yung nagtingin ako ng mga relo. Sino bang ayaw ng relo kung magaganda?” he said.

Duterte was responding to Sen. Richard Gordon who decried as tone-deaf their visit to a luxury watch store.

“’Di ba natin nalalaman nahihirapan ang mga tao, pupunta pa tayo doon sa lugar ng marangya?” Gordon asked.

Irate, Duterte again claimed Gordon had P86 million of funds he had yet to return.

“Hindi ako nagnakaw ng relo. Pumunta ako ng tindahan. Kayo ang nagnakaw sa gobyerno ng P86 million,” the president said.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque had a different story and said Duterte and Go went to the mall to buy cookies. John Ezekiel J. Hirro