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Photographer clarifies speculations on cost of Isabelle Duterte’s Malacañang photoshoot



Photographer Lito Sy responded to netizens’ speculations on the cost of presidential granddaughter Isabelle Duterte’s Malacañang photoshoot by posting some of the figures on Facebook while claiming he did the shoot for free.

Sy said that he conducted the photoshoot for free because he is friends with Isabelle’s mom, Lovelie Sangkola Sumera. He described her as “a very good friend of mine in Davao during early 90s.”

He also claimed that the red gown Isabelle wore in the shoot was shipped via LBC from Dubai, as sponsored by the now Dubai-based Davao designer Garimon Roferos, another “good friend” of Isabelle’s mother.

“Ang red gown na ginamit was sent through LBC from Dubai na sponsored din ng Dubai based davao designer na good friend din ng Mom ni Isabelle noong di pa siya sikat,” he wrote.

The other gowns used in the shoot were provided by stylist Jeff Galang, who was said to have borrowed them from famous designers “in exchange for credits and milage (sic).”

Sy added that the expensive shoes were borrowed.

“Ang nga mamahaling shoes are pinagamit sa kanya ng ibat ibang brands para makilala kasi nga artista na si Isabelle under Viva,” he wrote.

He said that only Galang was paid for P25,000 as well as the make-up artist Winn Ramos for an undisclosed amount.

“Ang bayad lang po sa predebut shoot was Jeff Galang at 25k and the nake up artist na si Winn Ramos,” he added.

Sy emphasized that Isabelle’s father, presidential son and Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte did not pay for anything.

“Di po si Paolo Duterte ang nagbayad sa suppliers kasi may kaya naman po si Mommy ni Isabelle na isang business woman,” Sy said.

Sy’s post came after acclaimed Filipino writer Miguel Syjuco tried to come up with a “running estimate” of Isabelle’s photoshoot, which he tallied to be about P800,000 to P1.1 million. He also noted how Vice Mayor Paolo’s salary of less than a million a year won’t be enough to pay for this cost.


Syjuco also took note of the expensive fashion items Isabelle posted on her Instagram account this year, which he estimated to cost about P1.5 million, as well as Paolo’s P1.9 million Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph watch, which he claimed to be a fake and a gift.

The writer then posed his questions before ending his post.

“Yet the valid questions remain: Some P800,000 at a photo shoot? At least P500,00 humble-bragged on Instagram? About P1.9-million on a wrist at a Senate wrist-slapping? That’s roughly P3.2-million in luxury items sported by the young Dutertes (or a whole lot of fakes, which is certainly illegal, and definitely totally baduy.)” Syjuco wrote.

“So where do the Dutertes, who’ve been on government salaries for more than two-decades, get their money? And why won’t they be transparent about their finances? As citizens, we have every right to demand answers to these questions from our government officials and their families,” he added.

Syjuco said he got the estimate after making some calls and searching Google.

Reacting to Sy’s clarification about the cost of Isabelle’s pre-debut shoot, Syjuco said that some questions remained unanswered. He pointed out who pay for the luxury goods the teenager posted on Instagram, whether it is legal or ethical for the “politically powerful” to accept free services as gifts from service providers, and more.

“Are these free services considered gifts given to a relative of direct consanguinity to the president? Is it lawful or even ethical for this professional exchange between service providers and the politically powerful who each stand to benefit? And if her mother can afford Isabelle’s lavish lifestyle, are her assets clearly delineated or accounted for in the young vice-mayor’s SALN?” Syjuco asked.

“If you’re going to answer some of my questions, then please answer them all. The onus of transparency is on our public servants, not on us,” he wrote.

He also reasoned why he is asking the question he is asking now.

“And you, fellow citizens, shouldn’t you be asking these questions of the powerful, too? Instead of constantly making excuses for them? This is a matter of principles — which are principles because they are applied equally to whoever happens to be in power,” he said.

“We asked these questions of Aquino (with his Porsche and Kris’s heli flights), Arroyo (with her broadband and hubby’s heli sale), Erap (with his Petrus and mistresses and Blue Label) — and so we must also demand answers too from the Dutertes,” he added.

The netizens slammed Isabelle for her photoshoot for being “Imeldific,” being insensitive to the plight of the poor and the refugees and for using the presidential coat-of-arms as a background in some of her photos, among other issues. Malacañang said there was “nothing wrong” with the shoot while President Rodrigo Duterte called it a “small matter” and something similar to what ordinary Filipinos do when they enter the Palace.

“Wala naman ako doon. But even if I was there, itong granddaughter ko magpa-picture, lahat nga ng mga bisita pumupunta diyan, nagpapa-picture eh,” Duterte said.

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Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’



President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks


His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show



Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.


Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal



Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.


In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

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