The speaker of the Philippines House of
Representatives, Pantaleon Alvarez is an old
friend and powerful ally of president Rodrigo
Duterte so it comes as no surprise when the
commander in chief sprang to the defence
of his pal who was accused of adultery.
The Philippines public has however been
enraged at the manner in which the
president went about this business, he
practically admitted to being an adulterer
himself while defending the practice.
Describing it as a ‘non-issue’, the President
said in a speech:
‘This is a world of hypocrisy. Who among
you here does not have a mistress?’ But the
comments drew sharp rebukes in the
conservative and mainly Catholic nation
where divorce is publicly frowned upon.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said: ‘All of it is
sexist and misogynistic to explain improper
behaviour simply by virtue of being male.
‘It sends a message that undermines the
many struggles and gains so far for
women’s rights and gender equality.’
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez made headlines
in the past week when he publicly admitted
having fathered eight children, six of them
with two women other than his wife.
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.’
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 in his first public comments on the
Elizabeth Angsioco, national chairwoman of
the Democratic Socialist Women of the
Philippines said the president’s stance reeks
of double standards. She said: ‘These are
men in positions of power so it’s
unacceptable and appalling that they just
speak lightly of these things. It’s very