MANILA (UPDATE)- The wife of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has finally broken her silence on her marriage, saying she was “abandoned” by her husband after he assumed the speakership.
Admitting that there is pain, Emelita Apostol Alvarez revealed that she long knew of her husband’s illicit affair but it was only last year that the Speaker left their family home.
“Well, his other relationship I’ve been aware of that long, long time ago because as husband and wife, it’s but normal that the husband and wife would have an affair,” she told ABS-CBN News.
“There’s pain. I wouldn’t say there’s no pain because that’s being [a] hypocrite. But as I’ve told you, my faith is strong for a woman. Masakit, ‘yun na lang," she added.
The Speaker declined when asked to comment.
Emelita was noticeably absent during President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address last Monday. Her daughter, Finance Undersecretary Paola Alvarez took her seat instead during the address.
"Yes, I actually asked her to go just to avoid any untoward incidents. Mabuti na rin yung tahimik na lang kasi tahimik akong tao ayoko ng gulo. That’s why it’s only now when you came I have no other choice but to answer," she said.
Emelita also dispelled rumors that she has long been separated from her husband, saying it was only after the former Davao representative assumed the House speakership that she was “abandoned.”
“Actually I was abandoned right after SONA when he became the Speaker. We've been together for almost 30 years and I’ve been there since the very start that was in 88. We’ve been through ups and downs, I’m there and people of Davao del Norte will testify that I was even the one who campaigned for him but anyway life should go on," she said.
The lawmaker’s marriage came under scrutiny after he admitted having a girlfriend and that he has separated from his legal wife, Emelita.
Recently, he claimed to be a member of the Manobo tribe which supposedly allows him to have multiple marriages, as he defended his proposed bill allowing the dissolution of marriage.
Emelita said when she married Pantaleon, the lawmaker was still a Catholic and that she is unaware of the lawmaker’s conversion to the Manobo tribe.
“Actually when we got married, I know he’s a Catholic but when he converted to IP (Indigenous People) or Manobo, I don't know. I respect him for that. It’s his faith. Hindi ako nakikialam pagdating sa religion,” she said, noting that she had a civil wedding ceremony with her husband.
Emelita said despite Pantaleon’s decision to leave their family home, she continues to stay there and maintains that she is not about to give up on her marriage just yet.
“For me, why will I give up? My relationship is not illicit. ‘Yung mga sinasabi mong to go on ito yung mga illicit affairs eh but mine is not. So I just leave it up to God. My relationship with him is legal,” she said.
“Ang sinasabihan mo lang ng ‘You move on’ kung the other woman ka eh di ba? But mine is not. But for me, life should go on I leave it to God,” she said.
Asked if she has any message for her husband’s new partner, Emelita said she hopes the woman would realize the difficulty of having a broken family.
“I don’t have any message to her. Sana lang that in the end, she would realize mahirap din yung pamilya na magkawatak-watak,” she said.
ON DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE
Asked for her views on her husband’s proposed bill allowing the dissolution of marriage, Emelita said she thinks Congress has far more important bills to address.
Speaker Alvarez made headlines recently when he announced that among the priorities of the House in the second regular session are bills for the quick dissolution of marriage, default property relations and civil unions, which to many felt like were inspired by the Speaker's personal circumstances.
“For me, this is not a priority bill because number one, I’m talking now I’m speaking in behalf of the Filipino people… I’m saying that the bill is gender biased palagi na lang talo ang babae,” she said.
“I’m talking as a mother. You give birth to a child. Sino ba palagi nag-aalaga? Who's the home maker?” she said.
The Speaker had listed unhappiness as a possible ground for dissolution of marriage under his proposal to which Emelita has this to say: “Well, he is entitled to have his own feelings but what I would want to say, dapat sa mag-asawa magkasama kayo sa hirap at ginhawa. Ako andoon ako all the time sa hirap. ‘Yung happiness ewan ko na lang."
Emelita added that she is willing to be a sacrificial lamb just so her husband would drop his proposal for a bill on the dissolution of marriage.
“My only thing that I would say is for me to be a sacrificial lamb para lang di matuloy yang bill na yan…I could be a sacrificial lamb, I could even file the separation of marriage anytime just to save the Filipino people. ‘Yun lang naman ang problema ‘di ba? ‘Wag na natin idamay ang mga babae dito sa Pilipinas," she said.