Women's group decries Alvarez's comment on 'womanizing lawyers'

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2017 05:21 PM

A women’s rights group decried House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s insinuation that other lawyers in the country might also be disbarred for having extra-marital affairs, and expressed “grave concern” over the lawmaker’s seeming portrayal of such acts as “ordinary and acceptable.”

Insinuating that other lawyers have relations outside of marriage is a “reckless generalization” and casts “unnecessary intrigue on the legal profession,” which is irrelevant to the main issue at hand, said the Gabriela Women’s Party-list in a statement. 

His flaunting of his affairs also “reeks of machismo unbecoming of a public servant,” the group said.

"The power struggle between Speaker Alvarez and [Davao del Norte Rep. Tony Boy] Floirendo should not be primarily linked to the squabble between their girlfriends. We call on the public to focus on the deeper underlying political and economic motives that are at play in the issue," Gabriela said.

When asked yesterday whether he had a girlfriend, Alvarez said, "Diyos ko naman, kayo naman eh. Sino bang walang girlfriend?"

(My God, who doesn't have a girlfriend?) 

Alvarez, however, stood by his admission and reiterated he is ready for any charges, including threats of disbarment.

He also said it was no use to skirt the issue, which is why he admitted to having extra-marital relationships. He, however, stressed that he and his legal wife, Emelita Apostol Alvarez, have not been on speaking terms for some time.

Meanwhile, Alvarez again reiterated his challenge for his fellow Davao lawmaker to face him in a debate, and explain the Floirendo-owned Tadeco joint venture agreement with the Bureau of Corrections for a banana plantation inside the Davao Penal Colony.

Alvarez had earlier rejected Floirendo's call that they talk among themselves.

Alvarez has filed a case against Floirendo at the Office of the Ombudsman, and filed a separate resolution for the House Committee on Good Government to investigate the deal. 

However, Alvarez revealed that the Justice secretary at the time the deal was sealed--Simeon Datumanong--can no longer face the probe since he is already dead. 

Alvarez again reiterated this has nothing to do with Floirendo's alleged plot to unseat Alvarez as speaker, contrary to the latter’s claim that their feud stemmed from rumors he was behind plots to oust Alvarez as speaker.

However, Alvarez said he did not sense any such moves from Floirendo. "Wala naman, wala naman akong…alam mo diyan sa Congress, kung meron man, bibiglain ka. Hindi inaanunsyo. Ganoon yun. Bigla na lang idi-declare yung seat as vacant. Kung inaanunsyo mo, eh di, nakapaghanda yung kabila."

Floirendo was President Rodrigo Duterte's top campaign contributor. Alvarez said he is ready to face Duterte if the latter tries to mediate.