Alvarez defends affair: 'Sino ba'ng walang girlfriend?'

NOT A SECRET. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez beside his girlfriend Jennifer Maliwanag Vicencio. Screenshot from Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariu00f1as' Instagram profile

NOT A SECRET. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez beside his girlfriend Jennifer Maliwanag Vicencio.

Screenshot from Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariu00f1as' Instagram profile

(UPDATED) Despite being a married man, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez justified having a girlfriend by saying extramarital affairs are common these days. 

Reporters asked Alvarez on Thursday, March 30, to admit whether he has a girlfriend, following reports that his feud with Davao del Norte 2nd District Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr stemmed from a spat between their respective lovers. (READ: Graft complaint vs Floirendo not about feuding girlfriends – Alvarez)

"Eh Diyos ko naman! Kayo naman eh. Sino ba'ng walang girlfriend?" said Alvarez, who then went on to laugh over his own statement in a phone interview. (Oh my God! Come on. Who does not have a girlfriend?)

Alvarez refused to say how long he and Jennifer Maliwanag Vicencio have been in a relationship, saying, "'Yan ang secret (That's a secret)."

Sources said Vicencio is frequently seen with the Speaker, even going with him during official trips out of the country.

She was even photographed sitting adjacent to Alvarez inside a private plane when the Speaker and Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas accompanied President Rodrigo Duterte to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Vientiane, Laos.

Screenshot from Fariu00f1as' Instagram profile

According to Alvarez, he and his wife Emelita are no longer staying together. 

"Matagal na po kaming 'di magkasama," said Alvarez. (We have not been together for a long time.)

Several lawmakers and netizens have called out Alvarez, saying he could be disbarred for having an extramarital affair. But the Speaker is unfazed.

"Kung meron silang nakikitang ethical issues, ipapa-disbar ako for having a girlfriend? Eh 'di go ahead, mag-file ng complaint! Baka walang matirang abogado!" added Alvarez, laughing.

(If they see some ethical issues so as to disbar me for having a girlfriend, then go ahead, they can file a complaint! But we might run out of lawyers!)

Alvarez's daughter, Finance Assistant Secretary Paola Alvarez, came to her family's defense. She told Cathy Binag, Floirendo's live-in partner, to "stop dragging" the Alvarez family into her "personal issues."

Binag has claimed that Alvarez's girlfriend did not like the idea of the Speaker's wife and daughters supposedly confiding in Binag and Floirendo over his womanizing.

In a separate dZMM interview, Alvarez also admitted having many children out of wedlock.

"Nung first marriage ko, meron akong dalawang anak. 'Yung second, 4. Tapos meron pa, dalawa," said Alvarez. (In my first marriage, I have two children. With the second, I had 4. Then I have another two kids.)

"Meron po [akong anak sa labas], marami. Pero hindi sa relationship ko ngayon," he added. (I have many children out of wedlock. But not with my relationship right now.)

The Speaker added he would rather tell the truth than lie. 

"Okay na 'yung magsabi ng totoo. Mahirap 'yung magsinungaling. Magbuhol-buhol pa tayo," said Alvarez. (It's better for me to tell the truth. It's hard if I lie. Things might get complicated.) – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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