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  • Meet Kitty, the 12-year-old Who Might Live in Malacanang, and the Rest of the Dutertes

    With a Rodrigo Duterte win, meet the Philippines' new First Family.
    by Lei Dimarucut-Sison .
Meet Kitty, the 12-year-old Who Might Live in Malacanang, and the Rest of the Dutertes
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  • Photo from the Kitty Duterte Facebook fan page

    This article was updated on May 13, 2016.

    As of this writing, incumbent mayor of Davao City Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte is leading the presidential race with 15,392,012 votes. With over six million votes more than Liberal Party's Mar Roxas who comes in at second, and with over 90 percent of election returns tallied (based on the partial and unofficial results from the GMA News database), the 71-year-old who has been holding local office for 22 years is poised to be the next inhabitant of Malacanang Palace.

    Now the question is, who will join him in Malacañang Palace when he assumes office on June 30, 2016? To the public, it may seem like a potentially awkward situation of who will stand as First Family -- what with his intricate personal life -- but to Duterte, everyone is part of the family.

    Meet the possible new occupants of the presidential palace:

    The Zimmermans

    Sara Duterte


    Photo from newsdesk.ph

    Duterte was married to Elizabeth "Beth" Zimmerman for 27 years before a Pasig City court granted the civil annulment of their marriage in 2000. According to the petition filed by Zimmerman, it was the mayor's philandering that caused the breakdown of their marriage. She has kept his surname, however, because there was no declaration of nullity with the Catholic Church.

    The former couple has remained friends all these years. In August last year, Duterte rushed to Davao after cancelling his Manila engagements to be by Beth's side before she underwent surgery for stage 3 breast cancer. 

    Duterte and Elizabeth have three grown children:

    Sara Duterte

    Sara, Paolo and Sebastian after shaving their heads in support of their father's presidential bid. Photo from rappler.com

    Paolo, or "Pulong," 41, is the current Vice-Mayor of Davao. He has 5 children with wife January.

    Sara, 37, is incoming mayor of Davao City (and also previously held the same position), and is married to fellow lawyer Mans Carpio, with whom she has a young son. She has turned down the offer to become her father's First Lady, saying "I am not interested. I’ll be busy being a mayor".

    Sebastian, or "Baste,"  is the third child. He is 28 years old, and is a dad to two toddlers, a 5-year-old girl, and a 1-year-old boy. 

    The Avancenas

    A constant figure during Mayor Duterte's campaign is his 12-year-old daughter, Veronica, with current partner, Cielito "Honeylet" Avancena. Veronica, who is nicknamed  Kitty, is a charming young lady who has caught the eye of many of his father's supporters. She is often tasked to remind her father when he forgets to discuss an issue during his speech, or when he exceeds the time given him -- all with a quick whisper -- to which the Mayor would lovingly reply, "Anak, sandali lang ha, mga 10 minutes".

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    Video from rappler.com

    Honeylet, who gave birth to Kitty in the United States and came back to Davao shortly thereafter, is a nurse and the owner of several food franchises in Davao. Twenty-five years younger than Duterte, she has been with the Mayor for 20 years now.  

    In his miting de avance in Luneta on May 7, Duterte introduced Kitty to the crowd and referred to her as "Bulakenya," implying that her mom hails from the northern province of Bulacan.

    Honeylet Avancena

    Photo from abs-cbn.com

    Honeylet, who has deliberately shied away from the limelight, said in an interview that she would give way to Elizabeth in Malacañang since she is the lawful wedded wife. When asked about wedding plans, Mayor Duterte told the press, "Let's just say 'planning." 

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