The Sandiganbayan 6th Division has been asked to preventively suspend Davao del Norte Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr. over a graft case he is facing concerning the alleged anomalous land lease deal between the Tagum Agricultural Development Corporation (TADECO) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
The Office of the Ombudsman sought the suspension since it is provided for under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
“Verily, such suspension pendente lite is aimed not merely to prevent the accused from intimidating witnesses or otherwise hamper the prosecution of the case, but also to prevent him from committing further acts of malfeasance in office,” the Ombudsman’s prosecution team explained in its motion before the court.
The graft case stemmed from the complaint filed by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who accused Floirendo of having “a direct financial or pecuniary interest” in the deal under a multi-million peso 2003 joint venture agreement (JVA) which allowed TADECO to lease from the BuCor a 5,000-hectare land at the Davao Prison and Penal Farm (DAPECOL)in Davao del Norte as a banana plantation.
Alvarez said the Constitution prohibits a lawmaker to intervene in any government contracts before any agency for his pecuniary benefit during his term of office.
The Speaker alleged TADECO has as its major stockholder Floirendo’s family and Anflo Management and Investment Corporation (ANFLOCOR) which also has large shares from the same family.
He indicated that when the 2003 JVA was reached Floirendo was still representative of the 2nd District of Davao del Norte.