Davao Rep. Floirendo ordered arrested for graft, posts bail

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 21) — The Sandiganbayan issued an arrest warrant Wednesday against Davao del Norte Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr. over an alleged anomalous deal involving his family's banana firm.

Floirendo posted a P30,000 bail to secure his provisional liberty.

The lawmaker said he is ready to face the case to clear his name.

"While I welcome the hastily-filed complaint I would like to point out that this transgression on the part of the Speaker is not only political but a veiled attempt at grabbing the deal for his business and personal interest," Floirendo said.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez filed graft charges against Floirendo in 2017 for the Davao del Norte solon's alleged unlawful business interest in a government deal.

Floirendo added, he hopes the Speaker, whom he accused of abusing his power, will "insulate the courts from his established brand of (maneuvering) and undue influence."

"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," Floirendo added.

Meanwhile, Alvarez welcomed the decision of the Sandiganbayan.

"Now we can say that the wheels of justice is moving in this country irrespective of whether you are rich or poor," Alvarez said.

The Ombudsman indicted Floirendo for graft in September 2017 and denied the solon's plea for reconsideration in January.

Alvarez said the Tagum Agricultural Development Co. (TADECO) leased more than 5,000 hectares of land from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in 1969 for the banana plantation.

The joint venture agreement of the land lease was renewed for another 25 years in 2003, when Floirendo was an incumbent congressman.

Under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, a public official is prohibited from directly or indirectly having financing or pecuniary interest in any business, contract, or transaction, where he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity.

READ: Rep. Floirendo denies hand in ouster plot vs. Speaker Alvarez