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Alvarez urged to prioritize divorce bill amid extramarital affair controversy

The women's party-list Gabriela on Monday called on Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to include divorce on the administration's list of priority measures.

This developed even as group continues to consider filing an ethics complaint against the House leader over an extramarital affair.

“Sana po, as much as possible, ilagay niya sa priority legis(lative) agenda niya ‘yung divorce kasi isa ito sa mga legal options na puwede talagang magamit,” Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas said at a news conference.

“Para [ito] sa paghihiwalay ng mag-asawa na irreconcilable na talaga. Pinakamabilis, pinakamadali[ng [paraan]," she added.

"Gusto nating tulungan ‘yung mga pamilya na naniniwala sa sanctity of marriage, at the same time, gusto nating mapalaya ‘yung mga kababaihan at kalalakihan na hindi na talaga okay ang kanilang marriages,” Brosas said.

Under the 17th Congress, Brosas, along with fellow Gabriela representative Emmi de Jesus, filed a bill seeking to introduce divorce in the Philippines.

A similar bill was filed by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, who is calling for “absolute divorce” in the country.

The lawmaker made the call to the Speaker after he admitted that he has a relationship outside his marriage, and that he and wife Emelita are now separated.

Despite this push for a long-standing legislation, Brosas reiterated Gabriela's concerns over Alvarez “flaunting” of his extramarital affair.

She said the group was still studying whether to file an ethics complaint against him.

“Malinaw naman sa stand namin nu’ng nakaraan na una, sinabi namin do’n ‘di dapat nagsasalita ‘yung ating Speaker tungkol doon sa issue ng extramarital affairs kasi hindi ‘yan okay para sa atin. Siya ‘yung Speaker at siya ‘yung kasama sa Kongreso at ginagalang ng mga tao,” she added.

Alvarez’ relationship came into light because of his rift with Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr., whom he slapped with a graft complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Aside from admitting that he has a girlfriend, the Speaker also owned up to having sired other children outside his marriage.

He has also laughed off threats to disbar him because of this admission, as well as the possibility that he may be ousted from the speakership.

President Rodrigo Duterte, however, has come to Alvarez’ defense over the issue.

A self-confessed ladies’ man himself, the President indicated that all officials would stand to lose their posts if fidelity were a gauge for public service. —NB, GMA News