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Is Honeylet Avanceña now the First Lady? Duterte’s partner hosts state banquet for Abe

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For the first time, President Rodrigo Duterte’s common law wife, Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña appeared beside him in an official function when she hosted a state banquet for visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Malacanang Thursday (Jan. 12).

Avanceña was seated beside the Prime Minister at the presidential table while Madame Akie Abe, his wife, was seated beside Duterte.

During the campaign during the May 2016 polls, Duterte said his First Lady would be his daughter, Davao mayor Sara Duterte, since his marriage to his first wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman, has been annulled, and he is not married to Avanceña.

Mayor Duterte, however, has taken a break from appearing in official functions since she is expecting a child.

Malacañang went all out for the first state banquet hosted by Duterte, with the menu consisting of Davao pomelo and pitik-pitik lobster with crispy green kalamansi honey dressing ad wasabi mayo; oven-roasted pumpkin soup with ukoy and coconut cream; duo of sea bass and beef tenderloin with calamansi miso sauce and steak Tagalog sauce and eggplant roll, sesame asparagus and Jasponica rice cake.

Also served was a “Symphony of Sweets” for dessert composed of Japanese cheesecake with lemon grass pineapple compote, fresh watermelon, and Macha ice cream.

Among those present were members of the Cabinet like Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Public Works Secretary Mark Villar.

Several business leaders, who attended the business summit in Malacanang, were also present during the state banquet like Manny Pangilinan, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Hans Sy and former senator Manuel Villar.