MANILA, Philippines — The bitter spat with Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez that is threatening the deal which helped make a family-owned firm one of the world’s largest banana producers has not diminished Davao del Norte Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr.’s “brotherly love” for President Rodrigo Duterte.
“As I continue to serve my people, I also continue to throw my support to the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte,” he said.
“Positions may come and go but my brotherly love for Digong remains forever. He is family. And family sticks together till the end,” he added.
Floirendo also said he respects the decision of the House leadership to strip him of his membership in the powerful Commission on Appointments.
“If the House leadership deemed me as no longer needed in the CA post, so be it. After all, it is the people of my congressional district that is my utmost priority over anything else,” he said in a statement.
Floirendo is listed as having given P75 million to Duterte’s presidential campaign, making him the top donor.
However, he and fellow Davao del Norte representative Alvarez, who used to be bosom buddies, found themselves locked in a bitter quarrel that accounts trace to a spat between their partners.
Since then, Alvarez has filed a complaint against Floirendo before the Office of the Ombudsman over the joint venture agreement between the Tagum Agriculture Development Corp. and the Bureau of Corrections under which the company maintains its more than 5,000-hectare banana plantation.
The House committees on good government and on justice have also begun investigating the deal on Alvarez’s request. At Tuesday’s hearing, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said his department is recommending that the Tadeco-Bucor joint venture be revoked.
On Monday, Floirendo was removed from the CA, purportedly as part of the House leadership’s weeding out of members who did not support the bill restoring the death penalty, which began on March when lawmakers who voted against the measure were stripped of committee chairmanships and other key posts on orders of Alvarez.
Floreindo’s seat in the CA was given to Isabela Representative Rodolfo Albano III, whose slot was in turn taken by Zamboanga del Norte Representative Seth Frederick Jaloslos.
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.
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.