What is the protocol and etiquette when a former spouse and the present common-law wife of the guest-of-honor both attend an important event? And when it's something like the inauguration of the next president of the Philippines, what roles should each play? It is potentially an event planner's worst nightmare.
It's on the mind of Elizabeth Zimmerman, the former wife of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, who confirmed that she is attending President Duterte's upcoming inauguration on June 30. She has expressed apprehensions over meeting and possibly sitting with Cielito "Honeylet" Avanceña, Duterte’s common-law wife, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“Maybe I will ask somebody from the PMS [Presidential Management Staff] that we sit separately, with my children and my grandchildren,” she said, adding that the possible encounter might be “awkward.” Zimmerman also told ABS-CBN that the main reason she was going to the inauguration was so that her children would show up. “I’m there for my children, because if I’m not there, maybe my children will not attend. So I’m there for my children,” she said.
Duterte and Zimmerman ended their relationship in 1988. Their 27-year marriage bore three children: Davao City Mayor-elect Sara Duterte, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and Sebastian Duterte. The incoming president’s inauguration will be held at the Rizal Hall of the Malacañang Palace where around 600 guests are expected to attend.