Duterte's partner, Honeylet, is former beauty queen

Mario Dumaual, ABS-CBN News

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and Cielito "Honeylet" Avanceña. ABS-CBN News

DAVAO CITY - Cielito "Honeylet" Avanceña, the common law partner of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte, is not interested in being called First Lady.

Avanceña, a former beauty queen from Valenzuela dubbed Duterte's secret weapon, said what she really wants to be called is "Tagapag-alaga ng Presidente."

A fixture in Duterte's campaign rallies, Avanceña earlier told ABS-CBN News that she wants to bring "simplicity to Malacañang" if Duterte wins.

Duterte's partner wants to bring simplicity to Malacanang

Now that Duterte has won the presidential election, she said their lives are slowly changing.

"'Yung sa amin ganoon pa din, nagbabago lang dahil yung bahay namin ay pinupuntahan na. Nagiging tourist spot. Madami ang nagpapa-picture sa labas, mga ganoon. Dati kapag lumalabas ako, derecho ako sa labas. Ngayon maraming tao," she said.

She also understands that she now has a bigger role to fill.

"Gusto ko nasa sideline ako pero gusto advocacy sa health dahil nurse ako. Dating OFW ako. Businesswoman din ako ng small, medium enterprises...Ang gusto ko mag-volunteer lang. Mas ano sa akin yung walang bayad. Ayokong ma-involve sa government. It's not my cup of tea," she said.

Avanceña said it was destiny that she and the tough-talking Davao City mayor ended up together. She was already working as a nurse in the United States for four years when she decided to come home and rekindle her relationship with Duterte.

She said their 11-year-old daughter Kitty remains grounded despite all the attention brought about by her father's victory.

She is also adamant that Kitty continue her studies in Davao instead of Manila.

"Mas convenient sa kanya na nandito. Marami akong kaibigan sa Manila. Yung buhay ba yun, you have to wake up at 3 AM estudyante gigising ka para umabot sa school," she said.

"Dito, gigisingin ko siya 6:15, 7 a.m. 7:20 nasa school na."

She also revealed that Kitty cried when she told the girl that her father was running for President. This was because Kitty didn't want to stay in Manila.

"Iniyakan niya first time when I told her: 'Your papa is running.'"

Avanceña said it is also destiny that brought Duterte to the presidency. She said she once told her partner: "Alam mo, the Lord did not prepare you overnight kasi ang dami talagang looking back sa buhay, mga events sa buhay, maraming ano na dito siya pupunta."

"Sabi ko, 'Lord, ipapahiram namin siya sa bayan. Ibalik Mo lang siya sa amin na buhay at malakas,'" she said.

Asked why she loves Duterte, she said: "Kasi mabuti naman siyang tao. May sense of humor yan at matalino. Wala kang makitang pinaka-patriotic na tao, wala akong pwedeng mako-compare sa kanya."

Avanceña said she still holds out hope that she and Duterte will finally marry. Duterte's marriage with his first wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman, was annulled in 2000.

"In God's time. In the fullness of God's time. OK naman ako ngayon, wala naman akong problema," she said.

Avanceña and Kitty are set to appear at the DU31 thanksgiving party in Davao City on June 4.

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