SENATE Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III criticized Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez for his “inaccurate” remarks that all other government officials are guilty of having an affair outside of their marriages.
“That statement is inaccurate. There are many other words more appropriate but not ‘all’,” Sotto told reporters at yesterday’s “Kapihan sa Senado.”
Sotto declined to make further comment purportedly as a courtesy to the leader of the House of Representatives but President Rodrigo Duterte continued to defend his long-time friend.
“Alvarez actually is a Muslim. He can father, he can live with so many women, because he is a Muslim. That’s why he can take them all, and all of them actually took his bait,” Duterte said. “You cannot pin him down. He has his religion as a refuge.”
“So to all judges and fiscals, all you have to do is drop your religion and convert. And if you are accused now of the Department of Justice, you can say: ‘who says? Me?’,” the President added.
“Why would you put Alvarez behind bars? Try if you can. It’s too much. Bebot [Alvarez] is right. Let’s be frank here.”
Alvarez, the country’s fourth-highest official, publicly admitted having sired eight children, six of them with two women other than his wife.
Duterte had said that like himself, House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez—who has made public his extramarital affairs—had “many wives.”
“This is a world of hypocrisy. Who among you here does not have a mistress?” the President said in a speech aired live on television on Tuesday night, adding it was “a non-issue.”
Duterte, in the televised speech to government employees in Manila, admitted his comments defending Alvarez’s affairs were “a chauvinist statement.”
“But really there are so many women and you [have] so short a time in this world. My God!” he said in comments that drew laughter from the crowd. “The thing there is that you’re able to support the children. That’s it.”
Duterte said that unlike married Christian Filipinos who are allowed a single wife, Alvarez “never converted to Christianity. So he is not bound by the rules of the number of women that you can have.”
Filipino critics dispute his comments, saying that while Muslim men are allowed to marry more than once, adultery is a criminal offense.
Duterte, 72, whose first marriage was annulled and who is in a long-term relationship with another woman, has openly boasted about having mistresses and using Viagra to have sex with them.
“Who isn’t entitled to happiness? Ask these lawmakers, how many of them have two, three or four mistresses? Ask them,” Duterte said on Sunday in his first public comments on the Alvarez controversy.
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