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Roque: Alvarez disbarment may lead to impeachment of SC justices
Deputy Minority Leader Harry Roque explained that although the Supreme Court has repeatedly disbarred lawyers in the past due to immoral conduct, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s office still commands numbers for impeachment. Facebook/Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez
MANILA, Philippines — House deputy minority leader Harry Roque on Sunday opposed the possible disbarment of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez over an extramarital affair.
Roque, who represents Kabayan party-list, explained that although the Supreme Court has repeatedly disbarred lawyers in the past due to immoral conduct, Alvarez leads a supermajority bloc with enough numbers for impeachment.
“It is my opinion that Speaker Alvarez should not be disbarred as this may lead the SC to a confrontation with a co-equal branch of government, which in turn may result in the possible impeachment of some of the justices,” Roque said in a press statement.
Alvarez was threatened with being delisted from the roll of attorneys after he admitted that he has a girlfriend. Alverez is married to Emelita Alvarez, with whom he said he is now estranged.
Last Thursday, Integrated Bar of the Philippines president Rosario Setias-Reyes reminded Alvarez that, as a lawyer, the “highest standards of morality, behavior and professionalism” are expected of him.
Alvarez’s relationship was brought to public attention after he filed a graft complaint before the ombudsman against his former ally and friend, Davao Del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. He denied that he filed the charge because of a spat between their girlfriends.
Alvarez has said a deal between Floirendo family-owned Tagum Agricultural Development Co. Inc. and the Bureau of Corrections over part of the Davao Penal Colony is disadvantageous to the government and has accused Rep. Floirendo of conflict of interest.
Floirendo was Davao del Norte representative in 2003, when the Marcos-era deal was renewed. Floirendo has denied any participation in the deal and has said that he and Alvarez should settle their dispute as gentlemen.
The House speaker has since shrugged off news of his possible disbarment. “Go ahead, no problem with me,” he was quoted by previous reports.
"Sino ba sa atin ang walang girlfriend?" he also told reporters in a phone-patch interview.