THE Office of the Ombudsman has denied the plea of Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo to reverse his indictment in connection a joint venture agreement between his family’s Tagum Agricultural Development Co. and the Bureau of Corrections for the use of land belonging to the Davao Penal Colony.
On Jan. 15, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales approved the decision by graft investigation and prosecution officer II Voltaire Africa to file charges against Floirendo and rejected the lawmaker’s motion for reconsideration.
Morales also rejected Floirendo’s bid to reopen the case so that he could show that he did not intervene in any way in closing the deal.
The Ombudsman said it was immaterial if Floirendo had intervened or not, because under the law, the mere possession of prohibited interest suffices.
On Sept. 4, the Ombudsman said her office found probable cause to indict him for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits any public official from “directly or indirectly having financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction… in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any law from having any interest.”
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez filed a complaint of graft against Floirendo for having a direct and indirect financial interest of P7.5 million in Tadeco’s shares of stocks and entering into an agreement with BuCor for the management of a 5,308.36-hectare banana plantation inside the Davao Penal Colony.
He said Floirendo was then the sitting representative of Davao del Norte in 2003 when Tadeco and BuCor renewed their arrangement for another 25 years.