Former House Speaker and Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez has no qualms about clashing anew with the Catholic Church and continues to back his controversial Divorce Bill that he had said could have benefited couples whose marriage are in troubled waters.
Alvarez’s House Bill No. 6027, titled “An Act Providing for Grounds for the Dissolution of a Marriage,” lists irreconcilable differences or severe and chronic unhappiness causing the “irreparable breakdown of marriage” as the possible grounds for its dissolution.
The bill was strongly opposed by the Catholic Church. Alvarez’s unwavering position on the Divorce Bill was expected to play a key role when Catholics go to the polls in the 2019 mid-term elections.
House Bill 7303, that incorporated Alvarez’s HB 6027, was approved by the House of Representatives before Alvarez was ousted as Speaker in July 2018 and replaced by former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
HB 7303, however, suffered a premature death with the Senate refusing to come up its own version of the controversial bill. To become a law, bills need the approval of both the House and Senate.
Alvarez now has seen a wasted political capital out of the Divorce Bill with the mid-term elections, where he would be seeking reelection, only months away.
Apparently sad, Alvarez said his Divorce Bill could have earned for him more votes in the coming election.
“Naa unta ko daghan boto (I could get more votes from it),” said Alvarez of his controversial bill that met massive opposition not only from the religious groups but also from other sectors.
In ABS/CBN’s DXAB radio, Jun Bersamin, anchor of the program Banat, in an interview on Monday morning November 12, jestingly told Alvarez that his bill could have benefitted many including the former House Speaker.
“Mao lagi (Yes, it could have),” responded Alvarez.
The solon is estranged from his wife and is currently living-in with a woman that he introduces as his “wife” in public gatherings.
Alvarez’s extra-marital affairs came to the open after his girlfriend and that of Davao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. quarreled in public during a festival event in 2016 when Alvarez was the sitting Speaker.
Following the spat, Alvarez severed ties with Floirendo, his longtime buddy and political ally.
Fighting in the Davao del Norte elections in the 2019 polls are the opposite camps of Floirendo and Alvarez.
That Alvarez kept another woman other than his wife became a full-blown scandal that inspired public calls for an ethics probe by Congress.
But Alvarez justified his polygamy by saying he belongs to a tribe that allows having multiple wives.
The Church and women rights groups have slammed Alvarez with a morality issue following his public statement in an interview with a television network that he had seven girlfriends and had sired eight children out of wedlock.
The Divorce Bill is one of major issues that had Alvarez clashing head-on with the Catholic Church and other religious groups.
Alvarez is a staunch supporter of reviving capital punishment, even going so far as to threaten the “dismissal” of House members who refused to sign the death penalty bill.
Alvarez criticized the Catholic Church for opposing the death penalty bill and Duterte’s War on Drugs.
Worse, Alvarez also proposed taxation of Catholic-run schools, despite its expressed exclusion in the Philippine Civil Code.
Alvarez’s admitted extra-marital affairs and the filing of the Divorce Bill has led to his legal wife coming into the open to reveal his relationship with the Speaker.
An entry in Wikipedia on Alvarez said that after news of the filing HB 6027, “Alvarez’s wife broke her silence and revealed her grievances regarding her marriage with Alvarez, revealing that she has long since known that Alvarez had been cheating on her countless times; that it was only after he became Speaker that Alvarez had completely broken off relations with her.”
In the entry, Alvarez’s legal wife said: “Actually I was abandoned right after Sona (first State-of-the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte) 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.”
Alvarez’s wife also refuted her husband’s claim that he’s from the Manobo tribe, wherein polygamy is allegedly acceptable. She states that Alvarez was clearly a Catholic when she married him.