Palace defends Duterte granddaughter's Malacañang photoshoot

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This story was updated to include the statement of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 15) — She did nothing wrong.

That was the reaction of Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque to critics who called out a granddaughter of President Rodrigo Duterte for holding her pre-debut photoshoot in Malacañang Palace.

Pictures taken at the event posted by Isabelle's stylists on Instagram showed the presidential granddaughter in elaborate gowns posing in the halls of power.


One photo by celebrity stylist Jeff Galang showed the debutante at the Reception Hall wearing a beaded red gown and standing on the carpet  that has presidential seal on it. The picture has been removed.

Another featuring the young Duterte in a cream gown also had both the presidential seal and the Philippine flag as background.


"Sakin wala namang masama yun, nagpose lang for birthday pictures yung apo ni Presidente," Roque told reporters.

[Translation:I don't think there was anything wrong with it. The President's granddaughter just posed for pictures.]

Isabelle is the daughter of Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte. Her photoshoot, held this week, drew mixed reactions on social media.

While some netizens were quick to praise the debutante's beauty, others called her out for her "disrespect" of the seat of power and the president's seal.


Executive Order No. 310 states that the seal of the President of the Philippines must be "exclusively used" to represent the President, "except as otherwise provided by law or Presidential issuance."

It cites several instances where the manufacture, reproduction, or use of the seal is permitted, including for news and educational facilities. It does not mention photoshoots.

Asked if Isabelle had the necessary documents for the photoshoot, Roque said "Everything has to go through a process here."

He didn't think the matter  should be an issue, as the President and his have refused to live in Malacanang in the first place.

"They already opted not to live in the Palace. Kung ginusto nila puwede silang tumira roon… di na po nila ginawa yun wag na po natin ipagkait yung opportunity sa loob ng palasyo," Roque said.

[Translation: I do not know hwo requested, but as I said, they already opted not to live in the Palace. If they wanted to, they could live there… They didn't do it, so let's not deprive them of the opportunity to live in the palace.]

He also defended the use of some Malacañang facilities as venues for parties since the President does not like to go out of the Palace to attend parties.  Roque pointed out that no government funds were used for these events.   

"Hindi po yan sagot ng gobyerno. Sila po sumasagot diyan," he said.

[Translation: The government does not pay for that. They fund it.]

President Duterte's official residence in Manila is Bahay Pangarap located in Malacanang Park directly across the Palace.