House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has waged a war against the Catholic Church over the divorce bill, telling the Church to mind its own business and not meddle in the affairs of government.

Although House Bill No. 7303 or “An Act Instituting Absolute Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage in the Philippines,”  which was strongly supported by Alvarez, passed approval by Congress, the Speaker  slammed the Catholic Church for pressuring congressmen to thumb down the controversial legislation.

The Catholic Church led by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle is against divorce.

The most that the Church should have done was to tell its faithful to follow its teaching that it is against divorce, said Alvarez on April 9 in an interview with Davao City radio DXAB in the program Banat anchored by Jun Bersamin.

Shortly after congressmen voted on the bill, Alvarez said the vote could have been larger had not the Catholic Church pressured several congressmen to vote against the bill.

On March 19, the House approved the bill on third and final reading with a vote of 134 in favor, 57 against and 2 abstentions.

Alvarez, who has separated from his wife and has publicly boasted that he has eight children from three girlfriends aside from those with his wife Emelita, said divorce is the answer for couples with troubled relationship.

Álvarez, backed by 14 other congressmen, is the author of another divorce bill — House Bill No. 6027, titled “An Act Providing for Grounds for the Dissolution of a Marriage.”

The bill lists irreconcilable differences or severe and chronic unhappiness causing the “irreparable breakdown of marriage” as the possible grounds for its dissolution.

Alvarez’s wife has revealed her grievances regarding her marriage, adding that she has long known that the Speaker had been cheating on her and that it was only after he became Speaker that Alvarez had completely broken off their relations.

Emelita Alvarez said her husband abandoned her after more that 30 years of marriage.

Alvarez has justified his keeping girlfriends even as he is married to Emelita, saying he is from an indigenous people’s tribe that allows polygamy.

Emelita refuted her husband’s claim that he’s from the Manobo tribe, adding that Alvarez was clearly a Catholic when she married him in 1988.

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