Duterte: Alvarez affair a ‘non-issue’
President Duterte again came to Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez’ defense as he said on Tuesday night that the lawmaker’s affair is a “non-issue,” especially that he is not a Catholic.
Speaking before officials and employees of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the President said in his 41-minute rambling 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 was] four or five [wives], we can’t do anything about it,” Mr. Duterte said.
On Sunday, the President stood behind Alvarez as he pointed out that most lawmakers have an affair or two.
Alvarez earlier said that he is ready to face any disbarment case to be filed against him, 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 complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman against Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr.
The complaint allegedly stemmed from the spat between Alvarez’s girlfriend Jennifer Maliwanag Vicencio and Floirendo’s live-in partner Cathy Binag.
During last year’s campaign, Mr. Duterte admitted to having two wives and two girlfriends. The President’s marriage with Elizabeth Zimmerman, to whom he has three children, was annulled in 2000. He now lives with his common-law wife Honeylet Avanceña, to whom he has a daughter, Veronica.
The President, who has repeatedly slammed the Roman Catholic Church for its criticisms of his brutal and bloody campaign on illegal drugs, also pointed out that if one is 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.
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.