MANILA, Philippines – How is President Rodrigo Duterte adjusting to his new Manila residence, Bahay Pangarap?
He’s finding it a bit lonely, said Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella.
“Sabi nga niya malungkot daw doon (He said it’s sad there),” Abella told reporters after a press briefing on Tuesday, July 12.
The Philippine president has spent at least one night in his new official home, said Abella.
Duterte’s longtime aide and now Special Assistant to the President Secretary Bong Go had earlier said Duterte was supposed to move to Bahay Pangarap on the week of July 11.
Though Bahay Pangarap is considered one of the smallest presidential residences, Duterte apparently still finds it too big.
“Dahil malaki daw ‘yung bahay, umaalog-alog, siya lang daw mag-isa (Because the house is big, it feels so empty. He said he was all alone there),” said Abella.
None of his family members are staying with the President in Bahay Pangarap, at least for now.
“Wala raw siyang kasama (He said he doesn’t have a companion there),” said Abella.
His two families – one with former wife Elizabeth Zimmerman and the other with common-law wife Honeylet Avanceña – continue to live in Davao City, his hometown.
Duterte has so far flown back to Davao City every weekend since his inauguration, fulfilling a promise that he would divide his time between Manila and Davao City.
In Davao City, he shares a home with Avanceña and their 12-year-old daughter Veronica.
Duterte is the second president to make Bahay Pangarap his official residence after bachelor President Benigno Aquino III.
Both Duterte and Aquino decided to use Bahay Pangarap because of its small size and proximity to Malacañang Palace. Duterte had also said he didn't want to live in the Palace as he believed it was haunted. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.