Seares: Buzz over Paolo-Isabelle quarrel

EVEN if Paolo Duterte were not Davao City vice mayor and President Duterte’s son, even if Paolo’s daughter Isabelle were not the president’s granddaughter, the father-daughter quarrel would still draw public interest across the nation.

But had the exchange of harsh words been confined within domestic walls, media would’ve been guilty of intrusion. Instead, Paolo and Isabelle hanged dirty linen on public clothes line.

No, clothes line can’t be apt metaphor for the publicity father and daughter gave their feud. They did it on the internet, on Facebook. The publicity was not just in one’s home, in Davao or the whole country but before the world.

Isabelle must love social media, given the photos she has posted, showing her in branded clothes, shoes and bags. Her dad said he thought she’d listen to him only if he’d communicate on her platform. So Paolo leaped into the millennial forum. And like most angry fathers who couldn’t control temper and language, berated Isabelle as if she were inside the family’s house.


[] Paolo accused Isabelle of being “pimped twice” by an unnamed person and incapable of showing respect, telling her she was a “disgrace” and should “fix” her “f**ked up life” before he’d stop “fu**ing it up.”

[] Isabelle accused Paolo of beating her up: “You can’t beat up a person! Even if you have power, you can’t hurt another person!!!” He is hurting a human being, she said, “not just a human being but a child (15 or 17).”

Paolo, who resigned as vice mayor last Dec. 25, wrote his FB posts in Davao-Bisaya, adding to his tirade the color that English sometimes fails to lend. And both used exclamation points generously, as many as three at sentence end, signifying they were already screaming if the text was spoken.

Criminal acts

Note that each alleged criminal acts that would make Isabelle, a minor, the victim: alleged physical abuse by her dad and alleged sexual abuse facilitated by an unnamed “pimp.”

That should interest agencies tasked with protecting children and prompt an inquiry. But that is not likely to happen. While in other instances that would lead to a rush to intervene, government workers wouldn’t dare to meddle with.

Belle’s plight

Many other parents can empathize with father and daughter. Isabelle is the daughter of the vice mayor and his former wife, Lovelie Sangkola Sumera. Her dad is a controversial politician who was linked to the recent customs smuggling scandal. Her mom’s name also surfaced in an inquiry on smuggling of used clothing (“ukay-ukay”), rice and sugar. Isabelle herself was the center of a firestorm over a pre-debut shoot at Malacañang that used the presidential seal as part of the images.

No evidence was found to charge Paolo with any felony. Sumera is also not indicted. As to Isabelle’s frolic, it was internet fodder but as President Duterte said, “It was a small matter.”

Indeed, the bigger thing for now, such as the shattering of father-daughter relationship and how the internet enabled its stark and cruel display for the world to watch.
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