Alvarez boots out Floirendo from appointments body
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - May 9, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Lawmakers were surprised to hear yesterday that Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo Jr. had been booted out of the House’s 12-member contingent to the Commission on Appointments (CA).

House Deputy Majority Leader and Pampanga Rep. Juan Pablo Bondoc announced the House leadership decision to replace Floirendo during a plenary.

Isabela Rep. Rodito Albano III, originally a member of the administration-allied Nacionalista Party (NP), took over the post of the banana king who got his entitlement in the powerful bicameral body from his membership in the ruling PDP-Laban party and his close friendship with President Duterte.

Albano had just switched allegiance from NP to PDP-Laban, entitling him to a vice chairmanship in the appointments commission. The post previously belonged to Floirendo, also the Duterte campaign contributor in 2016.

Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Seth Frederick Jalosjos, another NP nominee, replaced Albano.

Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez Sato of the Liberal Party has been retained in accordance with the agreement by the majority coalition on party representation or allocation in the CA, which is composed of 12 congressmen and 12 senators.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Floirendo have been at odds since October 2016 after their girlfriends had a squabble. Their misunderstanding worsened when Alvarez initiated a House inquiry on the alleged anomaly involving his former buddy’s banana plantation’s deal with the government.

Two House committees will start investigating today the alleged anomalous banana plantation deal between the Floirendo-owned Tagum Agricultural Development Co. (Tadeco) and the government’s Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

The committee on good government and public accountability of Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel and the justice committee headed by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Rey Umali will take up House Resolution 867 authored by Alvarez at 9:30 a.m. today.

The two panels will look into the joint venture of Tadeco, owned by the family of Floirendo, and the Davao Penal Colony, which is under the BuCor supervision.

Alvarez has insinuated that the Tadeco deal robbed the government of hundreds of billions of pesos worth of recurring non-tax income. He described it as “grossly disadvantageous to the government” and sponsored the resolution calling for a congressional inquiry.

Both Alvarez and Floirendo are staunch allies and buddies of Duterte.

“Politics aside, every accusation that a public transaction is highly detrimental to government is a grave matter that we are duty-bound to investigate painstakingly,” Pimentel said. – With Edith Regalado

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