MANILA, Philippines – Davao Representative Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo Jr., who has been involved in a full-blown spat in past months with erstwhile friend and political ally House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, has been removed as a member of the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA), it was announced in plenary Monday.
The stripping of the CA post is the latest blow to Floirendo, who like Alvarez is considered among President Duterte’s closest allies in Congress. He was first slapped with a graft case by Alvarez over the multibillion-peso joint venture of the Floirendo family-owned Tagum Agricultural Development Company (TADECO) with the Bureau of Corrections (BUCOR).
It was widely speculated that the two Davao friends of the President had become estranged because of a quarrel between their girl friends, but Duterte once said this was not the case.
Floirendo is actually among those in the House Majority who had voted against the death penalty bill, but was not included in the first purge of committee chair and holders of key posts like the CA when the House leadership started what was seen as punishment for those voting against the majority-imposed position for capital punishment.
Floirendo was replaced in the CA by Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, while Albano’s slot was taken by Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Seth Frederick Jaloslos.
Albano was already a CA member but as representative of the Nacionalista Party (NP). He transferred to PDP-Laban, the ruling party, and took Floirendo’s slot.The vacated slot of NP was given to Jalosjos.
The CA has the power to approve or disapprove appointments made by the President, the confirmation of which is required by the Constitution.
It is composed of 12 senators and 12 congressmen. The ruling political party gets majority number of seats in the CA. Through the years, other political parties were also given representation in the powerful body.
In a Facebook message, Cathy Binag, Florendo’s girl friend and chief of staff, said that the lawmaker has not left PDP-Laban.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives will begin investigation into the contract between BUCOR and TADECO.
Alvarez had filed a resolution alleging that the deal was disadvantageous to the government and should be voided.