By YAS D. OCAMPO
DAVAO CITY – Citing delicadeza, presidential son Paolo Z. Duterte has resigned as vice-mayor of Davao City.
The younger Duterte read a prepared speech detailing his reasons to step down during a special session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
During the special session, President Rodrigo Duterte eldest son said one of the reasons why he was stepping down after being linked to a smuggling incident involving R6.4-billion worth of shabu at the Bureau of Customs.
A very public online family squabble last week involving the vice-mayor and his estranged daughter Isabelle – that became fodder for the detractors of the Duterte administration – also took its toll on the 42-year-old Duterte.
The Vice Mayor’s voice broke as he read his speech, after the city council declared the city under a state of calamity due to Tropical Storm “Vinta.”
Duterte immediately left the building after asking to be excused.
In an interview, Mayor Sara Duterte said she and the President were aware of her brother’s move.
However, until President Duterte officially accepts the resignation, Mayor Sara said, Vice Mayor Duterte’s status would be “on leave.”
She said only the President may accept the resignation.
“There are recent unfortunate events in my life that are closely tied to my failed first marriage,” Vice Mayor Duterte said as he spoke on the plenary.
“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,” Vice Mayor Duterte said.
Last week, Vice Mayor Duterte and his daughter Isabelle figured in a public online squabble which started with a tweet from Isabelle to which the vice mayor replied using his Facebook account.
Over the past two weeks, the Dutertes have figured in several public criticisms, including on a photoshoot for the debut of Paolo’s daughter Isabelle.
The camp of the organizers of Isabelle’s debut had cried foul and denied that the shoot was a display of lavish.
Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Duterte has repeatedly denied involvement in illegal drugs and smuggling.
The Vice Mayor said he was apologizing for the effect of his failed relationship “that has happened as a result of a wrong decision to marry at a very young age.”
“When I was growing up my parents, never failed to remind us 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.
“I am grateful to all the Dabawenyos for your support to my office and I look forward to the day that I will be able to serve our country again.”
Mayor Sara Duterte said she was supportive of her brother’s move. “These are things that are beyond us,” she said.