Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte showed uncanny restraint when he was asked about the recent resignation of his son, Paolo Duterte, who was the vice mayor of Davao city. The younger Duterte was accused of being involved in illegal drug trade.
The Filipino president asked his son to do the "right thing" but was cautious in not revealing his exact opinion on the resignation. "You... you are in a position to do what is right. Well, let the people decide. But if you think that there is a better [way] to do it, do what is right," the president told reporters when asked about his son's resignation.
Paolo had spoken to his father before making his resignation public and the president had made it clear that he did not ask his son to step down. Paolo's personal family circumstances could have played a role in his decision, said Duterte.
Paolo submitted his resignation on Christmas Day, months after his name surfaced in a large-scale drug scandal. In September, President Duterte had revealed that he even ordered his son to be killed if he was found to be engaged in smuggling narcotics illegally.
After weeks of allegations and rebuttals, Paolo announced on Monday: "There are recent unfortunate events in my life that are closely tied to my failed first marriage. These, among others, include the maligning of my reputation in the recent name-dropping incident in the Bureau of Customs smuggling case and the very public squabble with my daughter."
"I look forward to the day that I will be able to serve our country again," said Paolo, who is accused to be part of a Chinese drug triad, which carries out smuggling and trafficking operations in the Philippines. An opposition politician had alleged that the younger Duterte had helped smuggle in a massive cache of crystal methamphetamine from China.
Paolo's departure has evoked strong responses in the Philippines, with some hailing his decision as a "sacrifice" and others saying that his resignation will not clear him from the allegations.
"He most likely wanted to spare the president from further controversies from both personal and political issues. He deserves our respect," said one of the senators, JV Ejercito, in a statement.
Duterte is known to be a tough-talking president who is leading a bloody drug war in the Philippines. Thousands of drug-pushers have been killed in the campaign, and many of them are suspected to be extrajudicial.