Duterte's son wants to keep simple life in case dad wins

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Duterte's son wants to keep simple life in case dad wins 1
Sebastian Duterte, the youngest son of presidential frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte, at the final presidential debate in Pangasinan. Fernando Sepe, Jr., ABS-CBN News

PANGASINAN - If the surveys are any indication, Sebastian Duterte may soon be part of the new First Family.

But is the youngest son of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte ready for a new life under the limelight?

“Okay lang sa akin kahit ano pero sa totoo lang, as much as possible sana ma-maintain ko lang yung buhay ko na simple lang,” Sebastian, 28, told ABS-CBN News prior to the final presidential debate on Sunday.

The tough-talking mayor drew flak when he said "he should have been first" after seeing the face of Australian rape-slay victim missionary Jacqueline Hamill.

Hamill was one of several "prayer warriors" taken hostage by prisoner Federico Pugoy and other inmates inside Davao Metrodiscom in 1989.

Sebastian believes his father will be able to weather this gaffe, saying: “All that I can say is he is very sincere with the issues and he is very sincere when he talks.

“He has his way, he would not be saying that if it will only destroy him. Sinabi niya na nga, pero kaya niya yan, mababawi niya yan.”

Gauging from the latest BusinessWorld-Social Weather Stations, the mayor appears to have survived the latest controversy.

Duterte, in the April 18-20 survey conducted after his controversial statement, saw his voter preference rating rise by 6 percentage points to 33%.

He had a 27% voter-preference rating in the previous BusinessWorld-SWS survey held March 30-April 2.

His nearest rival, Sen. Grace Poe, had a 24% voter preference rating, up one percentage point from previous poll.

In a campaign rally on April 12 in Quezon City, Duterte described the Australian missionary as very beautiful and likened her to an American actress.

"T***a, sayang. Ang napasok sa isip ko, ni-rape nila. Pinagpilahan nila. Nagalit ako kasi ni-rape. Oo, isa rin yun. Napakaganda. Dapat ang mayor muna ang mauna," he said, drawing laughter from his supporters.

Duterte’s gaffe provided his rivals ammunition, while analysts said the presidential frontrunner’s survey numbers might suffer in the wake of his remarks.

After initially displaying defiance, the tough-talking mayor finally issued an apology for his remark, even as political analysts said this controversy could cost him votes.