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MANILA, Philippines - Lawyers are held to a higher moral standard, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) reminded Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez yesterday as women’s party-list group Gabriela slammed him for flaunting his extramarital affairs.
Alvarez, who is locked in a bitter feud with Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr., had shrugged off threats to disbar him over his girlfriend, saying this was commonplace.
“As defender of women’s rights, we express grave concern as to how Speaker Alvarez flaunts his extramarital affairs as something ordinary and acceptable. It reeks of machismo unbecoming of a public servant, more so of the Speaker of the House of Representatives,” Gabriela said in a statement.
In a statement yesterday, IBP president Rosario Setias-Reyes reminded Alvarez that as a lawyer, the “highest standards of morality, behavior and professionalism” are expected of him.
“In the event that someone should file a complaint against Congressman Alvarez, he will, of course, be granted the full measure of his right to due process, but these shall be the same standards against which his actions shall be measured,” she added.
In Garrido vs Garrido and Valencia, the Supreme Court disbarred two lawyers for having extramarital affairs. The court said it was gross immorality and violation of the lawyer’s oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility.
The Office of the Ombudsman suspended Davao Oriental Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator Romeo Covarrubias for living with another woman.
In media interviews on Thursday and yesterday, Alvarez admitted that he has a girlfriend, whom Cathy Binag, Floirendo’s live-in partner, has identified as Jennifer Maliwanag Vicencio.
Alvarez, a supporter of President Duterte, told his critics that is willing to face disbarment for having a girlfriend and boasted that if he would be disbarred, the country might run out of lawyers.
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