DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 May) — President Rodrigo Duterte says he will resign as President if his eldest son, Paolo “Pulong” Duterte, former vice mayor and now incoming 1st district representative of Davao City will vie for the speakership of the House of Representatives.
In his speech at the Malacañan Palace on Monday, Duterte scoffed at the idea that he and his eldest son would hold these highest positions in the country while his two children, Sara, is mayor of Davao City and his youngest son, Sebastian is vice mayor.
“With the vice mayor, anak ko, ‘yung youngest son ko si Baste and Pulong as Speaker, ako ang Presidente, hindi na maganda tingnan (I am the President. That’s no longer good to look at). So if you will insist,” referring to Paolo, who, he says “does not listen to me.”
The President asked Paolo, his eldest son with ex-wife Elizabeth Zimmerman, to let him know three days before announcing his bid so that he can tender his resignation.
Duterte said he would be neutral on the selection of the House members of their next Speaker.
“My son Paolo, he’s being rooted to run. I will tell my son publicly now, we would have a talk,” he said.
He added that he and Sara had not talked about politics, except when he asked her to be her running mate in 2007 as he was preparing her to take over his post after reaching his second three-term limit in 2010. Duterte was mayor from 1988 to 1998, 2001 to 2010 and 2013 to 2016. He was Representative of the 1st district (1998 to 2001) that Paolo will now represent, and Vice Mayor to daughter Sara from 2010 to 2013.
“If he insists on running (for Speaker), maniwala siya sa mga advisers niya (if he believes in his advisers), go ahead. Let me know three days in advance before you make the announcement and I will tender my resignation,” the President said.
Reacting to his father’s remarks, Paolo shared a screenshot of a news report on Facebook, citing the President’s plan to resign if his son throws his hat in the ring, accompanied with a caption that said he had no intention to become the next speaker.
“Puede ba tubag ani (Can my response be): Pulong to President Duterte: I did not say I want to be Speaker… may nagkamali na naman ng bulong sa tenga mo Mr. President (Someone has again whispered the wrong information to you, Mr. President,” he said.
Paolo was vice mayor to Duterte from 2013 to 2016 and was re-elected to serve from 2016 to 2019. But he resigned as vice mayor in December 2017 after he and brother-in-law Manases Carpio were dragged into the smuggling controversy as members of the so-called Davao Group, the group behind the P6.4-billion shabu shipment from China that arrived via the Manila International Container in Tondo, Manila on May of same year.
Duterte said he would be neutral on House’s selection of the new Speaker but admitted that politicians had previously approached him before and after elections in an attempt to win over his support, among them former Foreign Affairs secretary and incoming Taguig 1st district representative Alan Peter Cayetano, Marinduque’s lone district representative Lord Velasco, Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez, and former Speaker and Davao del Norte 1st district representative Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)