MANILA - House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez told his critics to "go ahead" with a disbarment case against him, as he admitted having a girlfriend.
In a phone interview with reporters at the House of Representatives, Alvarez, a lawyer, was asked about possible ethical issues with having a girlfriend outside marriage.
The Supreme Court had disbarred lawyers for extra-marital affairs.
"Ako, kung meron silang nakikitang issue papa-disbar ako for having a girlfriend, di go ahead, mag-file ng complaint. Baka walang matirang abugado," he replied.
Pressed if that was an admission that he had a girlfriend, Alvarez said, "Diyos ko naman, kayo naman eh. Sino bang walang girlfriend?"
But Alvarez said the length of their relationship was a "secret."
Alvarez said he did not know how the controversy affected his family, but he maintained that it was all part of being a politician.
"Hindi ko po alam anong epekto. Kasama naman sa trabaho ito. Pag pumasok ka sa ganitong trabaho, nasa pulitika ka eh, talagang kung anu-anong lumalabas na kwento. Totoo, hindi totoo, ok lang yun."
Asked about criticisms that he had double standards for criticizing Senator Leila de Lima for her affair with driver Ronnie Dayan, Alvarez maintained he criticized the senator over her alleged drug ties.
"Di ko naman binatikos yung affair niya. Ang binabatikos ko yung involvement niya sa illegal drugs. Di naman yung relasyon niya ang binabatikos ko; ang involvement niya sa illegal drugs ang batikusin ko," he said.
"Paano ko naman batikusin yung affair affair na yan eh halos, wag na tayo mag-platsikan, halos lahat naman may affair affair?," he added.
Reminded that he once said that Dayan's wife had been at a disadvantage, Alvarez said he only raised that argument as rebuttal to De Lima's supporters.
"Sinabi ko yun kasi nire-raise ng pro-De Lima na paano yung ganiyan. Sabi ko, paano yung asawa? Kaya ko lang sinagot yung tanong pero di ko naman kinondemned na may affair," he said.
"Sino ba naman ako para mag-condemn ng ganun?"
Alvarez said he had been estranged from his legal wife, Emelita Apostol Alvarez.
"Matagal na po kaming hindi nag-uusap, sa totoo lang."
Alvarez also said his children knew about his girlfriend Jennifer Maliwanag Vicencio whom Cathy Binag, Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr's live-in partner, named in her statement Thursday.
The rift between House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Davao del Norte Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr. stems from "greed for wealth, power and influence," Floirendo's partner said.
Alvarez, likewise, explained why he only went after Floirendo now.
"Yan ang gusto kong tanong bakit bakit ngayon lang? Kasi tinatago nila yung kontrata na 'yan walang kahit sino ang pwedeng kumuha ng kontrata na yan kung malalala niyo nung nakaraang Congress, inimbestigahan na yan I think yung Makabayan bloc ang nagfile ng investigation, why can you not hold a copy of that contract?" he said.