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Digong shows up at ex-wife’s birthday celebration

By: Carmel Loise Matus April 14,2016 - 10:07 PM

Elizabeth Zimmerman Duterte/APRIL 14,2016: Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte greeted her wife with a happy birthday with bouqet of flowers and a kiss during his surpirse visit at the 68 birthday celebration Elizabeth Zimmerman-Duterte yesterday afternoon.The kiss was witnessed by their children Paolo and Sarah Duterte. (CDN PHOTO/FERDINAND EDRALIN)

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (3rd from left) gives flowers and a cake to his ex-wife Elizabeth Zimmerman, who celebrated her 68th birthday in Cebu. CDN PHOTO/FERDINAND EDRALIN (CDN PHOTO/FERDINAND EDRALIN)

THEY have been separated for more than 18 years, but the love between Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and ex-wife Elizabeth Zimmerman remains.

When Zimmerman celebrated her 68th birthday here yesterday, Duterte showed up and gave her two bouquets of flowers and a pink cake.

One bouquet had a dozen red roses while the other had a dozen pink Carnation and Lilium.

Zimmerman was surprised when she saw her ex-husband with flowers and cake in tow.

She was giggling and smiling as she was wiping the tears that rolled down her cheeks.

They kissed briefly on the lips as Zimmerman took the flowers.

“Good health and live a thousand years,” were Duterte’s birthday wish for Zimmerman, who has stage 4 breast cancer.

Zimmerman stopped her radiation treatment to campaign for her ex-husband whom she left in the 1990s due to philandering. She filed a petition for annulment in court in 1998. It was granted two years later. Yet, the love remains.

“Of course (I still love her). We have children (together),” said Duterte.

Their 25-year-marriage produced three children: Paolo, now Davao vice mayor; Sara, former Davao mayor; and Sebastian.

Zimmerman said she and Duterte have remained friends even if their marriage was annulled.

“We were married in church and our marriage was not annulled in church. I still consider him my husband,” she added.

Zimmerman said she was supporting Duterte’s presidential bid because he remained a part of her family, being the father of her children.

Asked if she would sit as first lady should Duterte win, Zimmerman said they already voted that Sara would assume that role.

Zimmerman was in Cebu to join the 30-day caravan in the Visayas and Mindanao dubbed as Byaheng DU30 to thank their supporters and convince those undecided to vote for the mayor.

She was with Sara, her nine friends from Davao City and personal nurse who attended to her and made sure that she would take her medicines. Her physicians would often call to check on her.

The group arrived in Cebu on Wednesday and went to the towns of Liloan and Consolacion and Mandaue City.

On Friday, they would head down south from Talisay City down to Santander town.

They would cross to Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental on Saturday and then proceed to Bacolod City in Negros Occidental.

She held a news conference yesterday at Rico’s Lechon, where she also had a simple birthday celebration that consisted of lechon, pancit (birthday noodles) and rice.

Zimmerman said her birthday wish is for the country to have “real change,” not only in the country’s leadership but also in attitude among the Filipinos.

Asked if the change she was referring to was Duterte, she said “yes.”

“I want what happened in Davao to also happen with the rest of the country,” she told the Inquirer.

Asked why Cebuanos should vote for Duterte, Zimmerman replied: “It is time for us to have a president from the Visayas and Mindanao.”

“We have been neglected by the Luzon people and we have been helping them always. I think they should help us now,” she added.

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