Davao del Norte second district Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. has expressed optimism he will be proven innocent over the graft charges filed against him by the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to his alleged financial interest in family-owned Tagum Agricultural Development Company (TADECO).
This as he welcomed the filing of graft charges after the Ombudsman saw probable cause to charge him for alleged pecuniary interest in the joint venture agreement between Tadeco and the Bureau of Corrections (Bucor).
“I believe it is only the courts which can resolve my case definitely and with finality,” Floirendo said in a press statement.
The case stemmed from the complaint filed by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez against Floirendo. Ombudsman Conchita Morales has approved the filing of the criminal information before the Sandiganbayan in violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The Ombudsman, in the resolution dated September 18, said the Davao del Norte congressman allegedly committed the offense as he owned P7.5 million worth of shares in Tadeco when it renewed the joint venture agreement with Bucor in 2003 for the lease of 5,308.36 hectares of land at the Davao Prison and Penal Farm (DPPF).
In the statement, Floirendo said he is positive he will be declared innocent in the end. In earlier Senate hearings, Tadeco president and CEO Alex Valoria maintained that the JVA is not only valid and legal, but is also highly beneficial to the government and to some 30,000 direct and indirect workers in the banana industry and other related sectors.
The JVA forged between BuCor and Tadeco reportedly aims to help rehabilitate inmates at the DPPF and prepare them for their eventual reintegration to society by providing them with a decent means of livelihood while serving their sentences.
Tadeco developed a banana plantation inside the DPPF Reservation to realize these goals. Valoria pointed out that the banana operations under the JVA has created 30,000 jobs in direct, indirect and ancillary roles, which translates to the secure livelihood and future of at least 181,000 Filipinos.” (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)