AFTER being linked to a drug smuggling case, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s eldest son quit as vice-mayor of the southern city of Davao on Monday, citing personal problems from a failed marriage as among reasons for the move.
Paolo Duterte announced his resignation during a special session of the Davao City Council. Davao is President Duterte’s hometown and its mayor is Paolo’s younger sister, Sara Duterte-Carpio.
“There are recent unfortunate events in my life that are closely tied to my failed first marriage,” Paolo said, in a statement made available to media.
“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.”
In September, Paolo refuted allegations he was personally linked to a shipment of US$125 million worth of narcotics from China amid his father’s fierce crackdown on the drug trade that has claimed the lives of thousands.
Brushing aside the allegations as “baseless”, Paolo denied suggestions that he may have helped ease the entry of the drug shipment at a port in Manila.
Senator Antonio Trillanes, a staunch critic of the president, displayed to the Senate panel photographs of Paolo Duterte beside a businessman who was behind the shipment in which the alleged drugs were found.
Trillane first presented two photos of Paolo with Kenneth Dong, an alleged “middleman” who facilitated the massive shipment of methamphetamine in May.
Dong verified that it was him and Paolo in the pictures. Trillanes then showed another photo of Dong with Paolo’s brother, Sebastian.
Trillanes said the photos proved that Dong was a “family friend” of the Duterte family. He also presented photos as “evidence” that the president’s eldest son was involved in graft at the country’s Customs Bureau.
More recently, Paolo has been involved in an online spat with Isabelle, his 15-year-old daughter from his first wife. Paolo has called her “embarrassing” on Facebook after she complained on Twitter about being treated badly by her father.
President Duterte has repeatedly said he would resign if critics could prove any members of his family were involved in corruption.
Additional reporting by Reuters