Paolo Duterte quits as Davao City vice mayor; President’s decision awaited
DAVAO CITY—A squabble on social media with his daughter from a “failed” first marriage was among the reasons Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte gave on Monday for his resignation as the city’s second highest elected official
Paolo, eldest son of President Duterte, also mentioned his being dragged into the smuggling of “shabu” (crystal meth) worth P6.4 billion at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
He said he was stepping down to protect his honor and that of his children.
Paolo announced his resignation at a special session of Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council), which his sister, Mayor Sara Duterte, requested in the wake of Tropical Storm “Vinta” (international name: Tembin) that caused extensive damage in the city and the NCCC Mall fire that claimed 37 lives.
Mayor Duterte said the President knew that her brother Paolo would quit his post.
Though the City Council approved the resignation, Sara said only the Office of the President could accept it. While awaiting for a decision, he is deemed only on leave, she said.
Asked if the President would accept it, the mayor said, “That question is best directed to President Duterte.”
Paolo cited recent unfortunate events in his life closely tied to his failed first marriage, including “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.”
Paolo was earlier tagged as the one behind the so-called Davao Group, which was said to have facilitated the smuggling of shabu from China into the country in May.
He has repeatedly denied involvement in the smuggling, which also allegedly involved top-ranking BOC officials.
It was opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV who publicly accused Paolo and his brother-in-law, Manases Carpio, husband of Mayor Duterte, of being involved in the drug smuggling.
At a Senate hearing in September, Trillanes accused the younger Duterte of being a member of a Chinese drug triad, citing a supposed dragon tattoo on his back as proof.
The vice mayor, who appeared at the hearing with Carpio, admitted that he had a tattoo on his back, but he refused to show it as requested by Trillanes, invoking his right to privacy.
Carpio also denied involvement in drug smuggling.
The Senate blue ribbon committee later cleared both Carpio and the vice mayor, saying there was no evidence of their alleged ties to the Davao Group.
Paolo said another compelling reason for resignation was that “the other person in this failed relationship is incorrigible and cannot be controlled.”
“I take responsibility for all that has happened as a result of a wrong decision to marry at a very early age,” he said, referring to his marriage to Lovelie Sangkola.
In talking about his public squabble with daughter Isabelle, Paolo said that while growing up, he had been respectful of his parents—the President and Elizabeth Zimmerman.
“My parents never failed to remind me of the value of the time-honored principle 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.
Last week, Paolo publicly berated Isabelle after she posted on Twitter about him hurting a child.
She spoke of how he should not physically hurt somebody “just because you have a position in the city.”
“It’s not that if you have power, you can already hurt people,” she wrote in Cebuano. “The one you’re touching is also human!!!! Not only human but a child!!!!”
In another post, she spoke of how her father “fucks up my christmas every year.”
‘Because I’m a father’
Paolo used his official Facebook page to respond to Isabelle’s rants.
“It’s not that if you have been pimped twice by that person, I will keep my silence. And if your mother would no longer care if she gets something in return, I would not. It’s not because I am a Duterte but because I’m a father,” he wrote.
He challenged Isabelle “to change your family name if you want.”
He said his daughter should “wait until I die before you get away from me.”
Sen. JV Ejercito praised Paolo for his decision to step down, calling it a “supreme sacrifice.” But Senator Trillanes scoffed at the younger Duterte’s resignation, calling it “pure BS.” —WITH REPORTS FROM JUDY QUIROS, NESTOR CORRALES AND CHRISTINE O. AVENDAÑO
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