Battling breast cancer, Duterte’s former wife starts own campaign for Rody

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For the first time since the campaign started, Elizabeth Zimmerman came out to the public and launched her own campaign in support for the presidential bid of her former husband.

Elizabeth is battling stage 3 breast cancer and for the Byaheng DU30 monthlong campaign, she asked her doctor to suspend the radiation treatments until the campaign is over.

“I am doing this for the country’s future. We are doing this for change, real change,” she said.

Elizabeth Zimmerman and Mayor Rody Duterte were married for 27 years.
Elizabeth Zimmerman and Mayor Rody Duterte were married for 27 years.

For a month starting Tuesday, she will be onboard a bus — a Duterte bus — that will travel across Mindanao and the Visayas.

Also with her are Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio and 20 other volunteers for Duterte. Inday Sara’s children, Sharkie and Stingray, are two of the seven children who joined the trip.

Inday Sara said Byaheng DU30 is the brainchild of Elizabeth.

“It was her idea that we go around Visayas and Mindanao on board a bus,” the mayoral candidate of Davao said. “She wants to meet the people and answer their questions about Rody.”

Sacrifice

When asked about her decision to join the campaign despite her condition, she said, “I have already had 15 sessions of the series of sessions. It can wait.”

She assured there was nothing to worry.

“All my medicines are in my bag,” she said laughing.

Earlier, when she told her doctor about her plan to join the campaign, there was a concern over the radiation sessions that she will be able to skip.

“My doctor told me I can skip for just a week, but I told him no, I want to be in the campaign for one month,” she said.

Elizabeth refused to call this an act of sacrifice.

“I do not consider this an act of sacrifice,” she said.

For the 30-day caravan, Inday has also shelved her in vitro fertilization schedule.

Inday Sara Duterte

Elizabeth was married to Duterte for almost 25 years. But despite the annulment of their marriage, the former couple remained good friends, supporting each other all the way — “through thick and thin.”

When Elizabeth was rushed to the hospital in December because of an infection, Duterte was with her.

It was also Elizabeth who — somewhat — convinced her children to support calls for Duterte to run for president.

“Some people are ‘negative’ about it, but we may have been separated but we are friends,” she said. “We may be annulled in the courts, but we were married in the church and the Catholic church never anulled our marriage,” she said.

When she was asked why she decided to help and why now, Elizabeth said she “wanted to help him because he is still part of my family, he is the father of my children.”

Bittersweet reunion

The bus will stop in major cities of Mindanao and the Visayas.

Inday Sara said they’re expecting that Elizabeth and Duterte will have a “bittersweet” reunion during a sortie — probably in Visayas.

The main objective of the caravan is to go around Visayas and Mindanao to thank the supporters of Duterte and “convince the undecided and convert those who are unsure to trust, choose, and vote for Real Change — to trust, choose, and vote for Rody Duterte.”

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