‘Who doesn’t have a girlfriend?’

11

Sino ba’ng walang girlfriend [Who doesn’t have a girlfriend]?”

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With those four words, Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez on Thursday admitted to an extramarital relationship with a woman named Jennifer Maliwanag Vicencio, an affair spilled out in the open by an ongoing feud with erstwhile friend Rep. Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo Jr. of Davao del Norte.

Alvarez made the admission as he sought to keep the focus on the graft complaint he had filed against Floirendo over a land deal involving the latter’s banana firm Tagum Agricultural Development Corp. (Tadeco).

Alvarez’s affair was outed by Floirendo’s partner, Cathy Binag, who claimed that the graft case was the result of a personal feud between the two lawmakers who are among the top supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Floirendo is Duterte’s top campaign donor, contributing P75 million to the President’s 2016 campaign.
Binag reportedly had a fight with Vicencio during the Masskara Festival in Bacolod City last year.

Pre-empting possible cases against him, Alvarez said: “If they will seek my disbarment because of a girlfriend, then go ahead, file a complaint. Well, we might run out of lawyers here. Sino ba’ng walang girlfriend? [Who doesn’t have a girlfriend]?” said Alvarez, who also represents Davao del Norte.

“Huwag na tayong magplastikan. Halos lahat naman may [extramarital]affair [Let’s not kid each other here. Almost everyone has an extramarital affair],” he told reporters in a telephone interview.

The speaker also admitted to having been estranged from his wife, Emelita Apostol-Alvarez, with whom he has four children.

“Matagal na kaming hindi nag-uusap [We haven’t talked in a while],” Alvarez said.

Emelita’s running to Binag and Floirendo over marital woes reportedly got the goat of Alvarez.
Floirendo is himself estranged with wife Margarita Moran, the 1973 Miss Universe.

Alvarez now finds himself in the same boat as detained Sen. Leila de Lima, whom he had criticized for having affairs with married men, including her former bodyguard Ronnie Palisoc Dayan. De Lima, a leading Duterte critic, is detained over drug-related charges that she claims were trumped-up.

Alvarez backtracked on criticizing de Lima’s personal affairs on Thursday.

“I was criticizing her for her involvement in illegal drugs. I wasn’t criticizing her romantic relationship. She raised it as an attack against women, so I had to say that Dayan’s wife is her victim. But I did not condemn her relationship. Who am I to condemn her?” Alvarez said.

DoF official cries foul

The House speaker’s daughter Paola, an undersecretary at the Department of Finance, cried foul over the turn of events, lashing out at Floirendo’s partner Binag.

“My family and I are shocked that the spin on the issues has become so crass and juvenile. It is incredible how personal relationships are exploited by Rep. Tonyboy Floirendo’s live-in partner, Ms. Cathy Binag, to twist an otherwise simple question of facts. It’s completely appalling!” Paola said in a statement.

“We prefer to keep our personal lives private despite my father, Speaker Bebot Alvarez, and I being in public service and we intend to leave it that way. We hope Ms. Binag will respect that and stop dragging us into her personal issues,” she added.

Binag has apologized for her disclosures, saying it was not her intention to harm the Alvarezes.

“It was not my intention to drag the Alvarez family into the issue and [I] was merely answering questions from the media who [are]asking about the Alvarez family. If ever I hurt them, I am sorry. I never intended to hurt the Alvarez family because I know where they are coming from. Truth will set us all free,” Binag said in a statement.

“I know it’s deeper than what is being printed in the papers. It all boils down to greed. Greed for wealth, power and influence,” she added.

‘Double standard’

Speaker Alvarez also took offense at Binag’s statements and underscored that his private affairs had nothing to do with public interest and governance, unlike Floirendo’s Tadeco deal that he claimed was grossly disadvantageous to government.

“This is about the Tadeco contract which has been stealing from government coffers year in, year out. This contract is disadvantageous to the government, that’s why I filed a House resolution to investigate this and filed a case before the Ombudsman,” Alvarez said.

“Who is this Cathy Binag anyway? Why do I have to answer her? It’s Congressman Floirendo who should explain himself here. This is not about a girlfriend. He should come out on national TV or what have you and face the music. The country does not have a business with these other things,” Alvarez added.

Opposition lawmakers Gary Alejano of Magdalo party-list and Tom Villarin of Akbayan party-list chided Alvarez for his “double standard.”

“That is double standard, especially from the speaker himself as he has condemned Senator de Lima on the same issue before. The Filipino deserves much more than this,” Alejano said in a text message to The Manila Times.

“Speaker Alvarez must now bear the burden to tell the public that he is as ‘clean as Caesar’s wife’ when he lambasted Senator de Lima for having an affair with a married man. The speaker or any public official should be above reproach when it comes to morals,” Villarin said.

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11 Comments

  1. Some of Alvarez’s detractors urged for his disbarment also for ethical reasons, which the speaker dismissed. If this was to be strictly enforced, Alvarez said, there might not be any lawyers left.
    ———————————————————————–

    Apparently Alvarez thinks laws he violates should not be enforced,
    Typical politician, Laws are for everyone but them.

  2. Apparently his girlfriend goes on trips with Alvarez that the tax payers probably pay for. Airfare, hotels, meals and whatever else Alvarez can put on his office budget.

    A representative of the Philippine people

  3. This man is unbelievable. He makes it sound like extra marital affairs is normal and acceptable. It is nor Mr. Speaker. You are disgusting.

  4. Speaker Alvarez is no ordinary person. He was elected as a congressman and holds the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives. He could not compare himself to an ordinary lawyer who is not working in the government, hence, it is but proper that a corresponding criminal case be filed against him for immorality at the same time disbarment proceeding be also lodged against him at the Supreme Court.

  5. If Congress will not remove Speaker Alvarez, the whole nation will be the laughing stock of the whole world. And all Pilipinos are a bunch of stupid voters .

  6. WOW! tapos galit na galit kayo kay de lima na may BF na driver? ibang klase! PLEASE PO, PALITAN na natin du30 Admin!!! SOBRANG GULO!!

  7. REcalls to mind the Spanish saying (I learned in High School): “Piensa el lardon que todos son de su condicion” (The thief thinks everyone is a thief.). In Tagalog, “Galit sa magnanakaw ang kapwa magnanakaw.” Now the beans are getting spilled.

  8. Eduardo Cabrera on

    Mr. Speaker. Here’s the answer to your question. Who does not have a girlfriend? Married men who believe in the sanctity of marriage. Married men who love and respect their wives. Married men who are fathers to their children and want to show their children that they are honorable fathers and husbands. But of course, men like you don’t understand all of these. I think, just because you are a Senator, you think that you have a pass to cheat on your wife.

  9. Anyone in Duterte’s government that is not a piece of crap ?

    Hypocrites all

    Ever wonder why the Philippines is the bottom of the barrel in Asia ? Nah me either.

  10. In the Philippines the old people like Alvarez, can have a girlfriend or girlfriends if you are:

    1. guapo
    2. millionaire or billionaire
    dahil sa hirap ng buhay sa Pilipinas, ang mga babae ay pumapatol sa mga may pera. Ang mga gagong mayaman na mga Intsek (to) ay maraming girlfriends dahil lang sa marami silang pera.

    Kung tutuusin, kaya lang naman nag-ka-girlfriend si Alvarez ay dahil marami siyang pera. Pangit naman siya kaya lang mayaman ang bulsa.