Duterte granddaughter draws awe, flak for Palace photo shoot
Everything’s coming up roses for debutante-to-be Isabelle Lovelie Duterte, daughter of Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, who drummed up excitement for her 18th birthday by having her predebut photo shoot at Malacañang.
Isabelle, a Grade 12 student at Ateneo de Davao, is the first granddaughter of President Duterte. She is the vice mayor’s first child with his ex-wife Lovelie Sangkola Sumera.
Photos posted by members of her style team on Instagram showed a stunning Isabelle posing inside the Palace and on its grounds in different gowns, including a voluminous, off-shoulder red one by Dubai-based designer Garimon Roferos.
One photo showed her in a pink gown posing before the seal of the President and beside the Philippine flag. In another photo, she was in a red gown at the carpeted hallway leading to Rizal Hall, the venue for many of the official events held at the Palace.
A third photo showed her in a floral dress before the fountain at the Palace’s grounds.
Isabelle captured the attention of some netizens for her princess-like beauty in what appeared to be her fairy-tale palace.
But she also earned the ire of other social media users who saw the Palace as an inappropriate venue for her predebut photo shoot.
According to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, the predebut photo shoot of the President’s granddaughter in Malacañang is actually a nonissue.
Roque said he did not think any law was violated.
“For me, there’s nothing wrong with the President’s granddaughter posing for birthday pictures in Malacañang,” he told reporters.
Roque said Mr. Duterte could have opted to live in the Palace and bring his entire family with him, but he did not. When he is in Manila, Mr. Duterte resides at Bahay Pagbabago, the former clubhouse of the Malacañang Golf Club.
“I think his relatives, including his own grandchildren, can have their pictures taken in Malacañang,” he said.
“I don’t think it should be an issue because they should be living in Malacañang but they chose not to do so. They’re like ordinary citizens who can have their pictures taken in Malacañang,” he said.
Roque also defended the birthday party of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and the baptism reception for Robin Padilla’s daughter held at the Malacañang complex last month.
The Palace did not spend public funds for these events, as the expenses were shouldered by the celebrators, he said.
“But if they want to invite the President, it should be held at Malago because the President does not want to cause traffic gridlocks. I repeat, no government funds were spent for these parties,” he said.
The President would rather not go out for social events, he said.
“So if you want to be with the President, you would come here and bring your own caterer,” he said.
Asked if Malacañang was becoming a party venue, he replied: “There are people close to him who the President wants to spend some time with.”
Velasco’s party was held at the Malacañang Park, while the reception for Padilla’s daughter was at Malago Clubhouse last month. Mr. Duterte was a guest at both events.
Velasco and his friends had shared photos of his 40th birthday celebration on Instagram, during which he also took his oath as a Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan member.
Padilla’s wife, Mariel, also posted photos of the reception for daughter Isabella on social media.
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