The Office of the Ombudsman has found basis to file a graft case before the Sandiganbayan against Davao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. over his alleged financial interest in the agreement between Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in 2003.
The case stemmed from acomplaint filed in March by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez against Floirendo in connection with a renewed agreement for lease of land located within 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 3019 [Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act].”
“There is no dispute that at the time the 2003 agreement between Tadeco and BuCor was entered into, respondent was a public officer as he was then serving his 2001-2004 term as Representative of the 2nd District of Davao del Norte. He also had a direct and indirect financial interest in said contract, owning at the time 75,000 shares of Tadeco worth P75 million. 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 Corp.
“A plain reading of the constitutional provision shows that respondent probably breached it,” the Ombudsman alleged, referring to Article VI, Section 14 of the 1987 Constitution that prohibits lawmakers from having financial interest in contracts or franchises or special privileges granted by the government or any of its agencies during their term of office.
Section 3(h) of the anti-graft law declares it unlawful for public officers to have financial interest in businesses, contracts or transactions in which the Constitution prohibits them from having any interest.
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 that extended the lease to 25 years, it said.
The complaint said the consolidated JVA was renewed for another 25 years in 2003.
It pointed out that “[b]ased on this new contract, BuCor shall receive from Tadeco a guaranteed annual production share of” P26.54 million “which will automatically increase by 10 percent every five years, for the 5,308.36 hectares of leased land, and “further provided that BuCor shall receive profit shares with respect to the leased land where bananas are planted, the amount of which shall also automatically increase by 10 percent every five years.”