DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/27 December) – City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte already wanted to resign from his post out of “delicadeza” after he was implicated in the P6.4-billion shabu smuggling in May this year, his sister and City Mayor Sara Duterte said Wednesday.
The vice mayor and his brother-in-law lawyer Manases Carpio were dragged into the smuggling controversy as members of the so-called Davao Group. The shabu shipment came from China and arrived via the Manila International Container in Tondo, Manila last May 16 this year.
The two appeared in a Senate probe last September 7 where they denied a hand in the smuggling.
Mayor Duterte told a press briefing in her office on Wednesday that her brother, who is on his second term as vice mayor since 2013, found it difficult to resign as he did not want to dismay the Dabawenyos.
The vice mayor ran unopposed in the May 2016 general elections.
“He was torn, naglisod sya because maulaw sya sa mga taga-Davao (he was having difficulty because he felt ashamed) because he presented himself during election as vice mayor and then mo-resign lang sya (he will resign just like that),” she said.
She added the recent controversies where he figured in, including the public squabble with his daughter, Isabelle, on social media pushed the vice mayor to give up his position.
She also dismissed allegations by Senator Antonio Trillanes, a vocal critic of the Duterte administration, that her brother resigned to evade investigation.
“I do not think just because one has resigned he will be exempted from the investigation,” she said.
“Si Trillanes ‘mema’ – para lang memasabi (Trillanes just wants to have something to say),” she said.
Before he became vice mayor, Paolo Duterte served as barangay chair of Catalunan Grande in the city’s first district from 2007 to 2013 and Association Barangay Councils in Davao City from 2008 to 2013.
The vice mayor recently traded barbs with Isabelle, his daughter with ex-wife’ Lovelie Sangkola Sumera. Isabelle drew the ire of the netizens for her “inappropriate” pre-debut pictorial inside Malacañang.
The eldest son of President Rodrigo R. Duterte said the recent controversies where he figured in are closely tied to his “failed first marriage” with Sumera, the maligning of his reputation after he was dragged into the shabu smuggling case, and public squabble with his daughter.
The mayor added the vice mayor’s letter of resignation was signed last Tuesday and was transmitted to the Office of the President on Wednesday.
“It was his decision and I felt that he was very firm in his decision when he said he will resign. I only listened to his reasons, and then I told him I will support you all the way whether you decide to resign or will not resign. I will be here to support you,” she said.
Citing Republic Act 7160, or the Local Government Code of 1991, she said only the President can accept the resignation of higher local government officials.
Section 44 of Republic Act 7160 or Local Government Code states, ”If a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of the governor or mayor, the vice governor or vice mayor concerned shall become the governor or mayor. If a permanent vacancy occurs in the offices of the governor, vice-governor, mayor, or vice mayor, the highest ranking Sanggunian member or, in case of his permanent inability, the second highest ranking Sanggunian member, shall become the governor, vice-governor, mayor or vice mayor, as the case may be. Subsequent vacancies in the said office shall be filled automatically by the other Sanggunian members according to their ranking as defined herein.”
The mayor said her brother is on leave from December 25 to 31 but added he will extend it until the President acts on his resignation. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)