PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte sees nothing wrong with his granddaughter’s use of Malacañang as a pre-debut venue, after her Instagram posts drew criticism online.
“She is my relative. It’s a small matter to use Malacañang,” Duterte said during the birthday party of Senator Manny Pacquiao in General Santos City on Sunday night.
While he wasn’t even part of the photo shoot, he said he will allow it because many other Malacañang guests take photos of themselves in the Palace.
“I wasn’t there but even if I were there, my granddaughter having her picture taken is just like visitors who go there and take pictures of themselves,” he added.
Isabelle Duterte, the daughter of Davao Vice Mayor Paolo and his ex-wife Lovelie Sangkola Sumera, held her pre-debut photoshoot inside the country’s seat of power—bringing the country’s top stylists, designers and make-up artists along with her.
But journalist Raissa Robles questioned Isabelle’s true age when the Davao City government website listed her birth date on Jan. 26, 2002—“Which makes her only 15 years old today,” Robles said.
“Now we come to Isabelle Duterte. She had an extensive photo shoot inside the presidential palace. She tweeted she was 17,” she said.
“But then the official Davao city government website clearly states she is only turning 16 next year. Which is an age that is not celebrated in the country as a rite of passage. And therefore does not seem to merit that kind of grand celebration with four designer gowns, one of them very, very expensive,” she added.
“You might again say, this is such a small thing. And I would reply, this is all about honesty and truth-telling. If Malacanang can’t be honest in small things, what about big things?”
Palace spokesman Harry Roque earlier said Isabelle did not violate any law by having the photoshoot inside Malacañang.
“For me, there’s nothing wrong there. The President’s granddaughter simply posed for pictures,” he said in Filipino.
“She’s like any ordinary citizen that can have her photo taken in Malacañang,” he added.
Malacañang has yet to respond to latest queries about the presidential granddaughter.