MALACAÑANG is keeping its hands off the feud between House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr., but wants two of President Rodrigo Duterte’s top allies in Congress to settle the row privately.
In a news conference, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the Palace won’t interfere in the rift between Alvarez and Floirendo as the issue was a “personal matter.”
“Let’s it put this way. This a personal matter between two men. The Palace will allow them to settle it privately be-tween themselves,” Abella told reporters.
‘’In which case it should be made formal. There should be due process regarding those things,” he added.
The rift was made public after Alvarez filed a complaint at the Ombudsman against Floirendo for graft over the Bu-reau of Corrections’ allegedly anomalous land lease deal with a banana firm owned by the Floirendos.
Floirendo had said the feud stemmed from rumors he was behind plots to oust Alvarez as speaker.
The falling out also allegedly stemmed from a fight between Floirendo’s partner, Cathy Binag, and Alvarez’s girl-friend, Jennifer Maliwanag Vicencio, during the October 2016 Masskara Festival in Bacolod City.
A source claimed Binag was outraged when Vicencio shooed Floirendo away from a seat supposedly reserved for Alvarez.
Alvarez’s daughter Paola, an undersecretary at the Department of Finance, on Thursday asked Binag to “stop drag-ging” them into “personal issues.”
Alvarez and Floirendo are members of Duterte’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban). Floirendo is Duterte’s top campaign donor, contributing P75 million to the President’s 2016 campaign.
Speaker hit for flaunting affair
Also on Friday, the Gabriela Women’s Party hit Alvarez for flaunting his affair.
“As defender of women’s rights, we express grave concern as to how Speaker Alvarez flaunts his extramarital af-fairs as something ordinary and acceptable. It reeks of machismo unbecoming of a public servant, more so of the speaker of the House of Representatives,” Gabriela party-list lawmakers Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas said in a statement.
The lawmakers made the stance a day after Alvarez candidly admitted his affair with Vicencio and that he had been estranged from his wife, Emelita Apostol-Alvarez, with whom he has four children.
Alvarez on Thursday dared his critics to file a disbarment case against him over his affair and quipped that lot of lawyers would be disbarred if that were the case, since everybody was into extramarital affairs anyway.
“The recent statement made by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on his extramarital affairs and his insinuation that all other lawyers in the country might be disbarred too for such act is a reckless generalization,” Gabriela said.
In a radio interview Friday, Alvarez was again candid even after getting flak over his affair, having criticized Sen. Lei-la de Lima in the past for her romantic relationship with her former driver, Ronnie Dayan, who is married.
Alvarez admitted to having eight children with three women, but clarified that he does not have a child with his girlfriend, Vicencio.
Asked if he had been “naughty,” he replied: “Kaunti (A little).”
Alvarez also dismissed threats to have him disbarred or removed from the House leadership and said it was Floirendo who should explain his 2003 land deal with the government.
Alvarez then pointed out that the government had lost P13 billion or P1 billion a year from the contract between Floirendo’s Tagum Agricultural Development Co. Inc. with the Bureau of Corrections.
“For God’s sake, you should enable the government to earn. You should not be too greedy, especially if you are a public official and a lawmaker. I feel this is my obligation to reveal this anomalous contract so that the public may know how our nation is being taken advantage of,” Alvarez said.
WITH A REPORT FROM LLANESCA T. PANTI