Sandiganbayan orders arrest of Davao del Norte Congressman Antonio Floirendo Jr.

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines (UPDATED)– The Sandiganbayan ordered the arrest of banana magnate and Davao del Norte (2nd District) Rep. Antonio Floirendo, Jr. in connection with the graft case filed
against him by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez for the alleged anomalous lease of land at the Davao Penal Colony.

The arrest order was out Wednesday, February 21, 2018.

Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division recommended a PHP30,000 bail bond.

Reports reaching revealed, Floirendo already posted bail for his temporary liberty yesterday at the Regional Trial Court here.

Alvarez filed the graft case against Floirendo before the Office of the Ombudsman in March 2017 for his alleged financial interest in the Consolidated Joint Venture Agreement (CJVA)
between the Tagum Agricultural Development Authority (TADECO) and the Anflo Management and Investment Corporation (ANFLOCOR).

ANFLOCOR is a subsidiary of TADECO, whose major stockholder is the Floirendo family.

On Monday, February 18, Floirendo in a statement announced “I have a warrant of arrest in connection with the case he filed against me prior to the Sandiganbayan’s issuance of the same  shows Speaker Alvarez’s malicious intent in maligning my person which has characterized his obsession to remove my family’s imminent place in the banana industry.  Such an indecent haste of a public pronouncement is an insidious and undisguised attempt to influence the outcome of the case.”

Floirendo’s statement added “I am confident in the judicial process and shall avail of all legal remedies available to me to protect my constitutional rights including the presumption of
innocence which the Speaker who as a lawyer has conveniently forgotten in his consuming desire to paint me guilty in the eyes of the public. “

Hitting back at Alvarez, Floirendo stressed “Unlike the Speaker, my name has not been tarnished since I held a public office. It is only now that it is being assaulted and by him. Truth will
prevail. In the end, law of karma will move inexorably.”

Alvarez earlier said that in 1969, the TADECO entered into an agreement with the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to lease a portion of land in the Davao Penal Colony to be used for the
private company’s banana plantation.

The CJVA was executed in 1979, which extended the period of lease for 25 years and renewed in May 2003 for another 25 years.

At the time the contract was renewed, Floirendo was already a congressman of the Second District of Davao del Norte.

However, while he was serving as representative in 2003, Alvarez alleged that the lawmaker was also a stockholder of TADECO.

Citing data from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Alvarez said Floirendo was also a board member of ANFLOCOR from 1997 to 2015.

On Feb. 9, 2018, the Ombudsman charged Floirendo before the Sandiganbayan for violation of Section 3(h) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act”.

The graft case was filed less than a month after the Ombudsman denied the motion of Floirendo to reopen the case for submission of documentary and testimonial evidence.

The anti-graft body said Floirendo’s connection with TADECO violated Article VI, Section 14 of the 1987 Constitution, which states that “no member of Congress is allowed to intervene in
any government contracts before any agency for his pecuniary benefit during his term of office.

Alvarez once said,  it was Floirendo,  who pushed him to run for Congressman in the First Legislative  District of Davao del Norte, the later reportedly bankrolled the candidacy of Alvarez during the 2016 elections. The two used to be good friends..-Editha Z. Caduaya/ with report from PNA


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