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Government won't meddle in Alvarez-Floirendo spat, says Palace
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that the government will not interfere with the dispute between House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo. Presidential Photographers Division/Ace Morandante
MANILA, Philippines — The government will not interfere in the controversy involving House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr., Malacañang said on Friday.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella issued the statement days after Alvarez sought probe on Floirendo in connection with an alleged graft-ridden land deal for a banana plantation.
Earlier this month, Alvarez filed a graft complaint before the ombudsman against Floirendo because of an anomalous joint venture agreement between the Bureau of Corrections and the Tagum Agricultural Development Corp., a company owned by Floirendo.
READ: Speaker files graft case vs Floirendo
In a press conference at Malacañang on Friday, Abella said that the spat between Alvarez and Floirendo is a "personal matter."
"The Palace will allow them to settle it privately between themselves," Abella replied when asked if the issue will affect the legislative agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte.
"It's a matter that they should settle between themselves," the spokesperson added.
Both Alvarez and Floirendo are close allies of Duterte. Floirendo made the biggest donation to Duterte's campaign funds with P75 million
No double standard
When pressed if he thinks there is a double standard in Duterte's treatment on issues of extramarital affairs, Abella said none, saying that the case of Alvarez is different from Sen. Leila de Lima.
On Thursday, Alvarez said he is ready to face a disbarment case for having an extramarital relationship with Jennifer Vicencio, who allegedly had a fight with Floirendo's girlfriend, Cathy Binag last October.
The spat reportedly caused the animosity between the two allies of Duterte.
"I think it's not a question of being double standard. The fact remains that the relationship of the senator has something to do with the crime with which she is being accused of," Abella said.
The spokesperson added that the president's statements on extramarital affairs are not gender specific.