Alvarez admits having GF, unfazed by any disbarment case
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Thursday admitted having a girlfriend and no longer talking with his wife, adding that he is ready to face any disbarment case against him for having an affair outside marriage.
Alvarez spoke to reporters in a phone interview Thursday and admitted his relationship with Jennifer Maliwanag Vicencio, who had an altercation with Cathy Binag, live-in partner of Davao Del Norte Rep. Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo Jr.
The girlfriends’ fight allegedly triggered a rift between the two congressmen that compelled Speaker Alvarez to file a complaint before the Ombudsman against Floirendo in connection with a graft-ridden deal of the latter’s banana firm.
“Diyos ko naman. Kayo naman, sino bang walang girlfriend? (My God, come on, who doesn’t have a girlfriend?)” Alvarez said.
He admitted no longer talking to his wife Emelita Alvarez.
“Matagal na po kaming hindi nag-uusap, sa totoo lang (We are no longer talking, to be honest),” Alvarez said.
Asked how long he has been in a relationship with Jennifer, Alvarez said: “’Yan ang secret (That’s a secret).”
Alvarez, a lawyer, said he is unfazed by a possible disbarment case against him for having a relationship outside marriage.
“Kung mayroon silang nakikitang ethical issue, i-disbar ako for having a girlfriend, edi go ahead (If they see any ethical issue and they want to disbar me for having a girlfriend, then go ahead),” Alvarez said.
Alvarez joked that there will be no more lawyers in the country if lawyers would be disbarred for having affairs.
“Baka walang matirang abogado (There won’t be lawyers left),” Alvarez said, laughing.
To recall, Senator Leila de Lima, now in detention on drug-related charges, also admitted having an affair with her driver Ronnie Dayan, who is accused of being her bagman in the alleged Bilibid drug trade. De Lima faced a disbarment case before the Supreme Court over the affair and the drug charges.
Alvarez even criticized De Lima, the vocal critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, for having an affair with her subordinate, which for him showed her true character.
In the interview, Alvarez denied criticizing De Lima for her affair.
The Speaker said what he criticized was De Lima’s alleged involvement in the Bilibid drug trade when she was justice secretary.
“Hindi naman ‘yung relasyon niya ang binabatikos ko. ‘Yung involvement niya sa illegal drugs ‘yung binatikos ko,” Alvarez said.
(It was not the relationship that I criticized. It was her involvement in illegal drugs that I criticized.)
“Bakit ko batikusin affair na ‘yan? Huwag na tayo magplastikan. Halos lahat naman may affair-affair,” he added.
(Why would I even criticize her affair? Let’s not be pretentious. Almost everyone has an affair.)
Alvarez said he is just enjoying his relationship with his girlfriend and denied that the graft complaint he filed against Floirendo was because of their women’s fight.
“Being Speaker, I’m enjoying the ride,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez maintained that he filed the graft complaint because of the undue damage Floirendo’s banana firm caused the country.
“Huwag niyo tingnan ito na away -way. Ang kine-question ko in behalf of the government ‘yung isang malaanomalyang kontrata na pinasok ng kumpaniya ni Congressman Floirendo,” Alvarez said.
(Don’t look at this as a fight. What I’m questioning here in behalf of the government is this anomalous contract that Congressman Floirendo’s firm entered into.)
Alvarez sued Floirendo for graft for alleged conflict of interest when his banana firm Tagum Agricultural Development Inc. (Tadeco) renewed its joint venture agreement (JVA) with the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in the lease of 5,308.36 hectares of land at the Davao Penal Colony for a banana plantation even when he was congressman in 2003.
Alvarez said this was a clear case of conflict of interest because the Constitution prohibits members of Congress from entering into contracts with government. He denied filing the complaint because of their girlfriends’ spat.
Binag earlier told this reporter that Alvarez’s wife Emelita even goes to her and Floirendo for help every time she has problems with the Speaker. Binag and Mrs. Alvarez are friends.
Binag did not elaborate what these problems are. “Tumatakbo si Emily sa amin to complain sa ginagawa ni Bebot sa kaniya,” Binag said, referring to Alvarez.
(She runs to us to complain about what Bebot is doing to her).
To recall, Speaker Alvarez wanted the Congressional Spouses Foundation to vacate its office in the House of Representatives supposedly because Congress needed space.
That foundation of lawmakers’ spouses happened to be headed by the Speaker’s wife. JE/rga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.