DAVAO CITY—The President’s son, Paolo Duterte, resigned Monday as vice mayor of Davao City after a series of scandals hounded him and members of his family and threatened to cast a shadow over his father’s administration.
“There are recent unfortunate events in my life that are closely tied to my failed first marriage. These, among others, include the maligning of my reputation in the recent name dropping incident in the Bureau of Customs smuggling case and the very public squabble with my daughter,” the vice mayor said in a privilege speech during a special session of the city council on Christmas Day.
“The other person in this failed relationship is incorrigible and cannot be controlled,” Duterte said, weeping. “And I take responsibility for all that has happened as a result of a wrong decision to marry at a very young age.”
Duterte did not name his former wife, Lovely Sangkola, with whom he had three children—Omar, Rodrigo II and Isabelle—but it was clear he was referring to her.
“When I was growing up, my parents never failed to remind me of the value of the time honored principles of delicadeza and this is one of those instances in my life that I need to protect my honor and that of my children,” he said.
Only recently, Duterte had a very public row with his teenage daughter Isabelle on social media, after she accused him on Twitter of beating up a childhood friend.
“Even if you have a position in the city, you can’t beat up a person! Even if you have power, you can’t hurt another person! You are hurting a human being! Not just human being, but a child! Even if you have a name, you can’t do things like that! Even if you’re a Duterte, that is unacceptable!” she said in a mix of Visayan and Tagalog.
Her father gave her a tongue lashing afterward on his Facebook page, which he said he would delete.
Critics of President Rodrigo Duterte made an issue of Isabelle’s Instagram account, where she has shown a preference for expensive designer clothes and foreign travel.
Isabelle also drew flak after she turned Malacañang into a venue of her pre-debut photoshoot—when the Davao City government website put her age at just 15 years old.
Mayor Sara Duterte said she supports her older brother’s decision.
“Whatever makes him happy in his personal life [I will support him]. I also understand where this is coming from, he is talking about delicadeza and honor. He is not entirely putting the blame on another person, but also his decision to marry at a young age, [which] affected his life now,” she said.
The mayor said President Duterte knew beforehand that Paolo would resign.
If the President approves Paolo’s resignation, he will be replaced by 3rd District Councilor Bernard Al-ag, who is the current majority floor leader of the 18th city council.
Senator JV Ejercito said Paolo made the supreme sacrifice of resigning because he most likely wanted to spare the President from further controversies arising from his personal life and political issues.
“It takes guts and courage to make that ultimate sacrifice,” Ejercito said.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, a staunch critic of the Duterte’s, said the vice mayor was “probably just preempting the numerous investigations against him by the Ombudsman.”
“Delicadeza, seriously? He engaged his daughter in a public spat on Facebook, and then now he claims delicadeza? That’s pure BS,” Trillanes said. With Bill Casas