Duterte: Alvarez affair a non-issue; Speaker not a Catholic
MANILA — President Duterte has defended anew Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez, calling the lawmaker’s extramarital affair a “non-issue,” especially since Alvarez is not a Catholic.
Speaking before officials and employees of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Tuesday night, the President said in his 41-minute speech that since Alvarez “never converted to Christianity,” the lawmaker “is not bound by the number of women you can have.”
“That should be a non-issue actually. [Did] you know that Speaker Alvarez is not a Catholic? He is just like me. His grandfather is Chinese, his mother [is] Muslim. My grandmother is Maranao. I am half-Chinese, half-Maranao, but my father was a Cebuano. That’s why even Bebot says [he has] four or five [wives], we can’t do anything about it,” Mr. Duterte said.
On Sunday, the President stood by Alvarez as he pointed out that most lawmakers have been having an affair or two.
Alvarez earlier said that he would face any disbarment case, after admitting to having an affair outside marriage. The lawmaker’s affair, earlier described by Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque as an open secret in the House of Representatives, came to light after Alvarez filed a graft complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman against Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr.
Cathy Binag, the girlfriend of Floirendo, also a separated man, immediately defended her man, saying there were many reasons why the friendship of Floirendo and Alvarez fell apart but one of them was her altercation with Alvarez’s girlfriend, Jennifer Maliwanag Vicencio, in October 2016.
During last year’s campaign, Mr. Duterte admitted to having two wives and two girlfriends. The President’s marriage with Elizabeth Zimmerman, with whom he has three children, was annulled in 2000. He now
lives with his common-law wife Honeylet Avanceña, with whom he has a daughter, Veronica.
The President, who has repeatedly slammed the Roman Catholic Church for its criticisms of his bloody campaign on illegal drugs, also pointed out that if one was an atheist, “you can have as [many wives] as you want.”
“As long as you are able to support the children, that’s all. Why do you have to bother about [having] how many wives. It’s a chauvinist statement, but really there are so many women and so short a time in this world,” Mr. Duterte said. SFM
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