Sandiganbayan orders arrest of banana magnate lawmaker over graft case

  • Written by Jester P. Manalastas
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 336

THE Sandiganbayan 6th Division yesterday ordered the arrest of Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. for the graft case filed against him in connection with the questioned lease of his family-owned banana plantation.

The Sheriff department of the Sandiganbayan confirmed that the arrest warrant was already served.

The Ombudsman formally charged Floirendo at the Sandiganbayan for violation of Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act last October.

The 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.

It was House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who filed graft charges against Floirendo, questioning the onerous contract between Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) for the lease of 5,000 hectares of banana plantation in Davao Penal Colony in Davao del Norte.

During a House probe last year into the contract, Alvarez revealed  Floirendo’s  financial interest in the Consolidated Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between Tagum Agricultural Development Authority (TADECO) and Anflo Management and Investment Corporation (ANFLOCOR).
ANFLOCOR is a subsidiary of TADECO, whose major stockholder is Floirendo’s family.
According to the information filed by the Ombudsman, 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.
A bail of P30,000 has been recommended for Floirendo’s temporary liberty.
Records showed that the Consolidated JVA 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 representative of the 2nd District of Davao del Norte. But while he was serving as representative in 2003, the lawmaker was also a stockholder of TADECO.
Last month, the Office of the Ombudsman denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Floirendo’s camp seeking a reversal of his indictment before the Sandiganbayan.
The two Mindanaoan politicians are known allies but reportedly became at odds when their respective partners figured in an altercation in Bacolod City sometime in 2016.
In a statement sent to House media, Floirendo slammed Alvarez’ for using arrogance and power in order to expedite the case against him.