World News

Duterte’s Son Quits Post After Battling Daughter on Social Media

Posted December 25, 2017 9:43 a.m. EST

HONG KONG — The eldest son of President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines resigned his post as the vice mayor of the southern Philippine city of Davao on Monday after his teenage daughter implied he had beaten her, prompting an all-out social media war between the two.

Paolo Duterte quit his job just days after deadly floods and a large building fire struck Davao, the largest city on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. The city is a stronghold of President Duterte, who gained his national reputation for being tough on the drug trade during his long tenure there as mayor.

The raging war of words that precipitated the downfall of Paolo Duterte escalated when his daughter, Isabelle, 17, posted on Twitter that her father should not hurt somebody “just because you have a position in the city,” according to The Philippine Daily Inquirer.

“The one you’re touching is also human!!!! Not only human but a child!!!!,” she wrote.

The teenager posted from her personal, private account in Cebuano, the region’s traditional language, according to the newspaper.

Paolo Duterte responded on Facebook, assailing his daughter’s choice of show business as a career, suggesting, “change your family name” and calling her “embarrassing.” He urged her to “go to school so that your mind would NOT go blank” and used an expletive to tell her to fix her life.

In announcing his resignation Monday to the City Council, Paolo Duterte cited the social media fight, as well as his failed marriage to Lovelie Sangkola, the teenager’s mother, and recent accusations tying him to a crime ring.

“There are recent unfortunate events in my life that are closely tied to my failed first marriage,” including “the very public squabble with my daughter,” he said.

“The other person in this failed relationship is incorrigible and cannot be controlled,” he said, in an apparent reference to his daughter.

The resignation is a blow to the reputation of a family that dominates Davao politics and that has used its governance of the city as a springboard to running the country.

Paolo Duterte’s sister, Inday Sara Duterte, is Davao’s mayor. On Sunday she, the president and Paolo Duterte visited the site of a shopping mall fire, in which at least 37 people were believed to have been killed.

Noting the timing of his resignation and the fire, Paolo Duterte told the City Council, “It is a difficult Christmas Day,” adding, “but we are strong and resilient, and we shall move forward.”

He recently appeared before a Philippine Senate panel to deny an opposition lawmaker’s accusations that he was connected to a Chinese gang involved in drug running.

In response to those allegations, President Duterte said he would have his son killed if they turned out to be true.

“I told Pulong, ‘My order is to kill you if you are caught,'” the president said, using his son’s nickname. “'And I will protect the police who kill you, if it is true.'”