Paolo Duterte hits tourism chief: 'Napupuyat na ko sa babae na 'to'

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential son and House Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte did not mince words as he slammed the "management style" and "character" of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat in a surprise manifestation in the plenary.

Past 8:45 pm on Thursday, September 19, the House plenary was in the middle of deliberations on the proposed 2020 budget for housing programs when Deputy Majority Leader Juan Pablo Bondoc moved to temporarily suspend the debates so Paolo Duterte could speak. Presiding Deputy Speaker Johnny Pimentel approved the motion. 

Paolo Duterte said he had received "complaints" regarding Puyat's "management relation to the approval of contracts and projects in her department." 

But the Davao City 1st District congressman did not give details of these contracts or specify what these complaints are.

Paolo Duterte said he wanted to interpellate the Department of Tourism (DOT) about these issues when the agency's proposed P3.85-billion budget was debated upon by the plenary on Tuesday, September 17.

"I would be remiss [in] my duty as representative of the people of Davao City's 1st District if I turn a deaf ear to the complaints and grievances that have reached my office regarding the Department of Tourism," said Paolo Duterte.

But he said Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano had intervened and "deemed it prudent" that they sit down together with Puyat to thresh out the presidential son's concerns with the Cabinet official.  

But Paolo Duterte's ire against Puyat grew even more after she allegedly complained about their confrontation to a certain person of authority, whom Paolo Duterte did not name. 

A congressional insider told Rappler that Puyat complained to no less than President Rodrigo Duterte, Paolo's father.

"After I have discussed my concerns with Secretary Puyat – napupuyat na ko sa babae na 'to – in the presence of our Speaker, I thought that was the last of it. Bilang paggalang sa ating Speaker, pumayag akong kausapin si Secretary Puyat," said a visibly irked Paolo Duterte.

(After I have discussed my concerns with Secretary Puyat – this woman has kept me up at night – in the presence of our Speaker, I thought that was the last of it. I agreed to talk to Secretary Puyat out of respect for the Speaker.)

"Ang buong akala ko ay maganda ang ikakabunga ng aming pag-uusap. 'Yun pala ay mauuwi lang sa sumbungan at mga maling paratang laban sa akin at alam ninyo na, my esteemed colleagues, kung kanino," he added.

(I thought our talk would have a fruitful outcome. Little did I know it would end with complaining and the hurling of wrong accusations against me to a person that you, my esteemed colleagues, would know who.) 

Paolo Duterte said this incident prompted him to deliver his manifestation against Puyat on Thursday evening.

"Ito lamang po, Mr Speaker: Ako po ay naniniwala na dapat na maipabatid natin sa lahat ang pangyayaring ito, nang sa gayon malaman ng ating mga kababayan ang tunay niyang karakter at pag-uugali," said Paolo Duterte. 

 (This is the thing, Mr Speaker: I believe we have to let everyone know about this incident so they would know her true character and conduct.)

Rappler has reached out to Puyat for comment, but she has yet to reply as of posting time. –

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.