• ‘Sino bang walang babae?’

    27

    KATRINA STUART SANTIAGO

    A DIRECT translation wouldn’t capture how offensive this rhetorical question is, coming from the mouth of any man or woman, as it normalizes and rationalizes the practice of infidelity and polygamy, because look, all men are doing it! And as long as these men can take care of the children they sire, from one, two, three women they keep in their beds, then they are doing the decent thing, they are doing what is right.

    Wrong. Especially when these words come from the President’s mouth, and these statements that condone and justify men’s alleged precondition to treat women as objects to be collected—because women are their kaligayahan (happiness), because there are so many women and so little time—are spoken publicly, to the laughter of a necessarily captive enamored audience.

    The House Speaker jokes
    It was House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, he with the rift with Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr., which started this manner of treating questions of marital infidelity as a joking matter.

    On March 30—yes, the tail end of Women’s Month—Alvarez was asked about whether or not he had a girlfriend, to which he replied in jest: “Sino ba naman ang walang girlfriend?” (ABSCBNNews.com, March 30).

    Well. ideally, any man who is married shouldn’t have a girlfriend, especially if that man is a lawyer who should be following the law, especially if that man is a member of Congress to boot.

    But Alvarez wasn’t done yet. That same afternoon, he was heard on radio admitting not only that he and his wife hadn’t spoken for a long time, but that he had sired many children from other women along the way: a first marriage with two kids, a second marriage with four, and then another relationship that produced two children, and then his current girlfriend (DZMM Dos Por Dos, March 30).

    Not only did he say this with no hint at all of shame, embarrassment, or regret, the House Speaker said this like it was a badge of honor to be speaking with honesty and telling the public the truth.

    And yet while he says that he hasn’t spoken to his wife Emily Alvarez for a long time, a late 2015 file photo shows the House Speaker standing with his wife to submit his certificate of candidacy with the Comelec (Inquirer.net, March 30). The same wife would be shown standing beside him during his oath-taking as House Speaker (July 25, 2016 file photos). And Emily would be the head of the Congressional Spouses Foundation Inc. as well (CSFI website), though in February the speaker was pushing for the eviction of the CSFI from the halls of Congress invoking lack of space (ABSCBNNews, February 13).

    Either way, it is clear that while Alvarez would like to show that he is not afraid of the truth, in fact what we’re seeing is how he is using truth-telling as a way to justify his bad behavior as husband and lawyer, Congress representative and House Speaker.

    And he is not alone.

    Presidential chauvinism
    President Duterte expectedly took his House Speaker and closest ally’s side on this matter. And how!

    The President calls this state of extra-marital affairs a “truth” that we all need to know about, “the game what we all play.” At the oath-taking of appointed officials and the Philippine Councilors’ League, he said he had no problem with womanizing, because he was certain all the men in the audience had many women, too. In a room of about 300 men, the President said in Filipino: Tell me who among you are good men without mistresses? Maybe only two, or three (March 30 speech).

    He says further that this state of extra-marital affairs among our public officials is just how life is: “Ganon lang ‘yan ang buhay sa totohanan.”

    So many days after, in an April 3 discussion with the press, the President questioned the case of disbarment against the House Speaker, exasperated by the question of how many women he has, pointing a finger at all lawmakers and priests, who the President is certain must have two, three, four women each. Then the President throws out another rhetorical question: “Sino bang walang kaligayahan?” Pertaining to womanizing as a source of happiness of our dear lawmakers and leaders.

    In his April 4 speech at the MMDA, the President justifies womanizing if you do not profess a religion. In his view, if you are an atheist, then it’s okay to have many wives. Speaker Alvarez, like him, is not a Catholic so he is “not bound by the rules on the number of women you can have.”

    The President, in what is now a classic Duterte move of invoking honesty and sincerity to seem more human, says he has many faults but it is not corruption: “I have no money but I have many wives,” he says in jest.

    The disbarment case against the House Speaker? That is hypocrisy, and this talk about infidelity and polygamy, a non-issue! The President declares: “Sino bang walang babae dito?” to justify the Speaker’s, and his own, womanizing ways.

    Raising chauvinists
    Even as the President (and House Speaker) might be half-joking, these rationalizations and justifications for committing infidelity and polygamy, ultimately a condonation of grown men’s libidos getting the better of them, force us all to take it with more seriousness than a grain of salt.

    These are not men being men. These are public officials, men in the highest posts in the land, talking about their sexual relations with their wives and other women like it is the most normal thing to have as many in their beds as possible at any given time. These are grown men justifying what are illegal acts against their spouses, and oppressive and unjust “games” that they play with other women.

    This is not about not knowing reality and the truths about relationships and the state of extra-marital affairs. This is about the President himself justifying the practice, making it normal, insisting that all men are like him and Speaker Alvarez, and it’s all okay.

    This is how we raise our boys into believing that disrespecting girls is okay, that disloyalty and acting on their libidos is acceptable behavior. This is how we raise the worst men possible.

    For a President who keeps talking about preserving the next generation, he sure is raising a new generation of male chauvinist pigs.

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    27 Comments

    1. aladin g. villacorte on

      After all this verbal and written hailstorm – I have yet to hear someone or something taking action vs Alvarez, legally. He has broken both the law of men and of God, publicly openly admitting it, but why has nobody – a lawyer, civic group or religious organization, taken any action yet?

    2. Nick Soliman on

      I thought that men and women are created equal. Now I know that in Philippine society they are not equal. On one hand columnists and priests condemn men who have more than one woman. On the other hand columnists and priests have as their favorites Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Leila DeLima. Leni Robredo is carrying on a very public affair with a very much married congressman and Leila DeLima has several lovers, including her drivers and bodyguards. Catholic bishops and priests are all out in their support for Robredo and DeLima. Is this because of the donations that these two women have been giving to the bishops and priests?

    3. The problem that these idiot officials are not understanding and missing is that a married man that has a girlfriend is spending his family’s money on his extra martial affairs.

      Money earned from a man’s job is not solely his money. A marriage is a union that is a equal partnership by law.

      Money earned during a marriage belongs to both as well as properties so if one of them is spending the income or buying gifts for a sexual partner outside their marriage then they are in violation of the law.

      Women who’s husbands cheat should hire a lawyer and sue the girlfriend for a return of the money and gifts their idiot husband stole from the family.

    4. Men become chauvinist pigs only when women allow them. And women have allowed them since ever since. If women want equality, then they have to do what men do, as well.

    5. …and, of course, a woman would be writing this!
      It is not a question of condoning infidelity or a machismo ideology but a stab at REALITY! If we do impeach/disbar someone for such allegations, there would be a constitutional crisis in our government as a LOT are guilty of this! Yes it is wrong, there’s no justifying it whatsoever and there is no need to because everyone sees what is black and what is white. He hasn’t been hiding this, so why now?
      ..
      Now let’s talk gray! The question is: Why is he being targeted with such a propaganda? Is it really because of the issue of morality or is it about the preservation of a political party and their representative? Is this brought about by his support for the administration and his endorsement of the impeachment against the second highest officer?
      ..
      Now let’s explore all the other colors of the rainbow! The double standard of decency in PH society! You abhor infidelity and polygamy, you say! But I don’t see any mention of female politicians involved in extramarital affairs and guilty of being a KABIT! The two most prominent positions in the country are occupied by female politicians pretending to be decent and yet are sexually involved in men who are very much married! Why haven’t you hinted at this as well? So if one just kept quiet about it, does that make it more acceptable? More decent?
      ..
      This is nothing more than an article of condemning men as pigs and women are victims! Nothing here is really about DECENCY!

    6. The problem is we have law and religion. Yes, David and Solomon were polygamous. Did God approve such practice? I’m not sure if I’d say not. Our penal code prohibit such act. Well, both religion and laws are bunch of hypocrisy. These yardsticks proven to be useless overtime. How about burning these stuff and let no standards govern us. Let’s just be subjective on looking things based on resources, our definition of happiness, circumstances, among others.

    7. I don’t want to judge anyone because I believe we are all striving to find meaning and happiness in our lives in our own contexts. This “morality” of having or being a mistress. I wonder if it is a function of time, or space, or consensus. Because King David had a harem. Islam allows multiple wives.
      I would not want my husband to have another woman because I have been brought up this way. But if i were born during King David’s time or if I were a Muslim today, maybe I would not be disturbed if we are several wives.
      So this “morality” on having only 1 wife is only for our present time-space, not an eternal morality?

    8. Mario Subaru on

      It is not acceptable, though if everyone is honest about it, so are illnesses, corrupt public officials, crimes, death, drug addiction and many more. Like most of these, philandering and womanizing, and mens’ defense of it have been existing since time began. To answer the question in your title even men of the cloth who are supposed to be celibate engage in it and have fathered children. Who knows, maybe DU30 and Alvarez, in their younger selves learned it from them. Its not right to pin this on alone on DU30 because he certainly wasn’t the first to say it like it is. I’m sure you’ve heard of those comedians, dead and alive, who have done it and are still into it. Plus scores of politicians, celebrities and other public figures not to mention your local priest whose exploits your newspaper is not enough to fill it with.

      Blame the culture you were born into. Even if DU30 keeps mum about it, it would still be there to haunt you long after the president is gone. You’d have to slaughter the entire Filipino people including your kin, start all over and raise a whole new species who conforms to your idea of what men should be like and still probably find the minutest fault in us.

    9. The Great Defiant on

      ang daming hypocrite sa mundo…
      kung maka comment akala mo ang moral nila lampas sa langit…

      “Don’t judge if you don’t want to be judged”

      so don’t judge a book if you are not a judge.

    10. Amnata Pundit on

      Kung walang babae na nang-lalalake, walang lalake na makakapang-bababae. Besides, what really affects everybody are government policies, not the sexual proclivities of people in or out of government, which are better closeted away from public eyes to prevent stirring up so much latent hypocrisy. No amount of self-righteousness will change human nature.

    11. In fairness, I heard Pres. Du30 admonish his cabinet that if they are polygamous then better convert to Islam, or to add maybe Mormonism also. But enough of the liberal political correctness and this man-hating feminist hypocrisy, it takes two to tango, the man adulterer and woman adulteress, ang kabit at ang kinakabitan!

      Male chauvinist pigs? Then what do you call women that stoop lower bartering their feminine charms, resorting to “hook or by crook.” Oh right! You feminist fashion to call it – “being strong, courageous, fierce.” In fact both man and women are biologically human sexual predators since the Garden of Eden. Wise King Solomon had a thousand wives, so can we just be more watchful of the wisdom of our leaders decision making rather than the number or their wives.

      By the way, I find it curious that traditionally from Biblical times up to the 19th century we were originally named Man and Women since God created us. Only in referring to the sex of animals as in Noah’s arc were beast of every kind called male and female. Only in these “modern times” gender misnaming are you feminist correct that males are pigs, but then so are the female of the species.

    12. Now we can see the moral degradation of the Filipinos in general. Alvarez is right. sino ba ang walang gf? You guys don’t know what hell looks like.

    13. That is the advantage of ISLAM, so it will not be shocking if you will learn after filing a case to the House Speaker that he was already a Muslim – then what will you do? A lot of people will complain that these officials must be a lead role – why not check our record, or better check lifestyles of your barangay captain up to your Governor, most of them if not all ( exception to lady officials) have another woman/women. The law did not legalize prostitution, but look around us all over the country whe are allowing it. It will be better to legalize it for me to record all the prostitutes & make sure they go for medical check regularly so that they will not transfer STD. Sometimes due to our religion, we can not follow the law AM I RIGHT?

      • Aphetsky Lasa on

        FYI. Islam allows up to 4 wives ONLY if the man CAN support them EQUALLY. This responsibility put on the man makes marrying more than one wife more of a prohibition rather than the norm. For who can support 4 wives equally? Keeping one marriage is hard enough for a man to handle, considering the responsibility of providing for the needs of his wife (and children, of course, if he has children). Four wives? Not even King Solomon I guess provided equally for all his wives. It is just not possible.

    14. rudy lagasca on

      “Sino bang walang babae?”
      I agree. Even P’noy has Miss Palmer with him.

    15. That is why even though I do not like De Lima and suspect her actions as the former DOJ Secretary, I felt that their accusations of immorality against her was sheer hypocrisy on their part since many of our politicians and the rich have sexual relationships with several women. If they want to disbar De Lima because of sexual immorality, then all the lawyers turned politicians as well as other lawyers who are guilty of the same actions should be disbarred.

    16. There must be a deeper reason why people of religion are adhering to the fidelity angle of marriage. Back to the Bible, we read about Adam taking Eve for his wife, “For this a man leaves behind his father and mother and the two become one flesh” (Genesis). Seemingly a problem as ancient as human nature itself, concubinage or adultery had haunted man-woman relationship to the point where stability of relationship at its fundamental level grew shaky and was significantly threatened, which eventually could develop into an unstable society. At present, the biggest threat to marital fidelity, thus nuclear family integrity, seems to come from the lustful desire of present-day Adams to prove their “superiority” over the “weaker” sex, which manifests in many forms. Historically, rulers include among heir “trophies” a line of sorties with girls of their choice other than their “sworn-as-lifepartners.” Our country, from Marcos’ time till the present, is a sad witness to this. Will it not be farfetched seeing a Philippine society composed 90% of children from families with divorced partners?.

    17. kale alaskador on

      You cannot legally remove a sitting president except by impeachment. But he can be disbarred as a lawyer for immorality.

    18. These powerful men are laughing at society. Its the men who made the laws on religion & adultery ( only the wife commits adultery ) the husband is concubinage, which is harder to prove & you wont go to jail for doing it. Get rid of adultery as a criminal offence. Then allow people to divorce & when the women who are cheated on take their husbands to the cleaners through the courts for cheating, im sure many will change their ways. The laws you have help the men have their cake & eat it. Woe betide a woman of power who does similar, as in leila de lima. Filipino law makers are hypocrites when making laws against women but not men.

      • Bonifacio Claudio on

        De5 is not a catholic, but even in islam women are not allowed to have more than one husband, except in one region in China where women decide for herself if and when to have additional husband for the financial support of the household.

    19. If the President is talking about preserving the next generation he is surely raising a new generation male chauvinist pigs…as why your statement said therefore what do you call the church who has PRIESTS sired children?

    20. It’s been a week or two since these idiots declared that all public officials are adulterers and given the short attention span of the average Filipino it’s time for the next scandal that will be forgotten a week later.