• Court orders arrest of Davao del Norte lawmaker


    THE Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division has ordered the arrest of Davao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. in connection with the graft case filed against him for allegedly having financial interest in the renewed agreement between the Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in 2003.

    “The hasty filing of the case against me before the Sandiganbayan and the subsequent issuance of the warrant of arrest in connection with the BuCor-Tadeco deal is a clear sign of the existence of abuse of power and arrogance on the part of the Speaker,” Floirendo alleged in a statement on Wednesday.

    “I am ready to face this case as this will give the opportunity to clear my name, ” Floirendo said part.

    “Despite such setback, I maintain my faith in our justice system because I have not done anything wrong. In the end, I am confident that I will prevail because the truth is on my side,” he said.

    On February 9, the Office of the Ombudsman filed the graft case before the Sandiganbayan, which stemmed from the complaint filed in March by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez against Floirendo over the renewed agreement for the lease of land located in the Davao Penal Colony.

    In an 11-page resolution, the Ombudsman found “that the complaint offered sufficient evidence showing that respondent probably committed a violation of Section 3(h) of “Republic Act (RA) 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).

    In its resolution, the Ombudsman said that there was no dispute that Floirendo was a congressional representative when the 2003 agreement between Tadeco and BuCor was entered into.

    “He also had a direct and indirect financial interest in said contract, owning at the time 75,000 shares of Tadeco worth P7,500,000. It is also worth noting that most of the stocks of Tadeco are owned by, or through Anflocor under the control of, respondent and his family,” the Ombudsman alleged.

    Anflocor is the Anflo Management and Investment Corporation.

    According to Alvarez’s complaint, Tadeco and BuCor entered into a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) sometime in 1969, which allowed Tadeco to lease from BuCor about 3,000 hectares of land that shall then be developed and used as a banana plantation by Tadeco.

    Tadeco and BuCor executed a Consolidated JVA in 1979, which extended the lease period to 25 years, it said.

    The complaint added that the Consolidated JVA was renewed for another 25 years in 2003.

    “Tadeco and Anflocor would have been adversely affected if it was unable to renew the Consolidated JVA back in 2003, as it would not have access to the lands inside Dapecol. Without the land on which to plant their bananas on, it would logically, directly, and immediately paralyze the banana plantation’s continued operation,” Alvarez said. REINA TOLENTINO



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