Alvarez extramarital affair is open secret at House, says Roque
The extramarital affair of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez III has been an open secret in the House of Representatives, which castigated detained Sen. Leila de Lima for her affair with a former driver, according to a party-list lawmaker.
“[E]veryone knew in Congress” about the Speaker’s girlfriend even as his wife chaired the non-profit foundation of congressional spouses soon after he was sworn in to head the House of Representatives in July last year, said Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque.
Roque, a House deputy minority leader, and Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers continued to defend Alvarez on Monday, saying that the Speaker still has the trust and confidence of the 300-strong House.
“You have to give it to the Speaker for being candid and being frank on whatever involvement he really has. It wasn’t easy to do that,” Barbers said at a press conference, with Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas seated beside him.
Brosas said, “We don’t agree with his flaunting of his extramarital affairs.” She added that this was an opportune time to push for the divorce bill.
Brosas also said Gabriela was still studying the possibility of filing an ethics complaint against Alvarez.
For Barbers, removing Alvarez as Speaker because of his affair with a woman other than his wife was a “shallow reason to question the capability of the Speaker to lead Congress.”
Barbers added that Alvarez continued to have the “trust and confidence of the 300-strong [House],” and even the trust and confidence of President Duterte.
In a separate interview, Roque said Alvarez never concealed his estrangement from his wife of 30 years, Emelita, and his relationship with Jennifer Maliwanag Vicencio.
That was the main difference, Roque said, with the case of Senator De Lima, whom congressmen castigated for her affair with former driver Ronnie Dayan.
“I think that the difference is there is no concealment [of the Alvarez-Vicencio affair]. Everyone knew in Congress. I knew from Day 1 that they [Alvarez and wife, Emelina] were estranged. I knew at some point that he had an affair with this woman. I’ve seen her in functions so there was no attempt to conceal,” Roque said.
But when told that Mrs. Alvarez and their four children joined Alvarez at the podium when he took his oath as Speaker on July 25 last year and that she was the head of the Congressional Spouses Foundation, Inc. (CSFI), Roque said Alvarez “probably did not have the affair” with Vicencio yet.
“So when Mrs. Alvarez joined the Speaker when he was elected, I believe he had no affair with the woman, at least from what I know. This affair might have happened after,” Roque said.
In February, Alvarez said he wanted the CSFI to vacate its office at the North Wing of the Batasan Pambansa complex because the new congressmen needed office space. His wife defended him and said the CSFI would look for a new office.
Roque said Alvarez was answerable to his constituents but it seemed the affair was not an issue to them.
As for De Lima’s affair with Dayan, Roque said what complicated things for her was that “her romance also means the commission of a possible criminal act because her partner became her bagman.”
“There is nothing of that sort in this,” Roque said, referring to the Alvarez-Vicencio affair.
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