MANILA - Former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Saturday confirmed the annulment of his marriage to his estranged wife.
The Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 144 has nullified and voided his marriage to Emelita Apostol Alvarez, the Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. said in a tweet.
Judge Marie Picardal-Tecson in her decision said the marriage between Alvarez and Apostol was declared null and void because it lacked a marriage license and for failure to comply with the Family Code.
"Respondent [Apostol] was unable to prove any bad faith on the part of the petitioner [Alvarez] in entering into marriage with respondent,” she said.
Alvarez, who was House Speaker from 2016 until 2018, has been advocating for the legalization of divorce and dissolution of marriage for spouses with irreconcilable differences.
Under his speakership, the House passed his bill legalizing divorce and dissolution of marriages, citing public clamor from overseas Filipino workers and those in irreparable marriages. However, that bill died in the Senate in the 17th Congress.
The House committee on Population and Family Relations recently approved another version of the bill, and is now headed to plenary deliberations.
In 2017, Apostol revealed that she long knew of her husband’s illicit affair but it was only a year before that he left their family home.
At the time, Apostol dispelled rumors that she has long been separated from her husband, saying it was only after Alvarez assumed the House speakership in 2016 that she was “abandoned.”
“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 had 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 lawmaker’s marriage came under scrutiny after he admitted having a girlfriend and that he has separated from his legal wife.
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 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.
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