Former Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. graft charge was upheld by the Sandiganbayan with regard to his financial interests in business with the government.
The anti-graft court Sixth Division resolution on Friday, Jan. 22 retained the graft charge against Floirendo in August last year, landing him six to eight years in jail for violating Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Floirendo was also perpetually disqualified from holding public office.
The case, which was filed by the Ombudsman in 2018, stemmed from Floirendo’s financial interests with the Tagum Agricultural Development Co. Inc. or Tadeco, a company doing business with the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
The BuCor and Tadeco forged a joint venture agreement (JVA) in 1969 by allowing the latter to lease a 3,000-hectare property at the Davao Penal Colony as a banana farm.
A major financier of President Duterte’s 2016 presidential bid, Floirendo was an elected official when the JVA was renewed in 2003, the Ombudsman said.
Floirendo still owned 75,000 shares in the worth P7.5 million and became its vice chairman in 2008, though he was no longer as Tadeco’s board member, it said.
Tadeco is one of the world’s largest exporters of Cavendish bananas in Asia, Middle East and Russia, bearing the brands of Del Monte and Dole.
Floirendo’s failure to remove his shares in Tadeco is a violation in the provision of the Constitution prohibiting government officials including members of the Senate and the House of Representatives from holding financial or pecuniary interests in private corporations engaging in business with the government, the anti-graft court said.
DANILO Q. JUNCO