“SO BE IT”
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. is unruffled by his removal as member of the the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA).
“So be it,” said Floirendo in a statement. Floirendo said his position at the CA was “at the behest of the Lower House leadership.”
“If the House leadership deemed me as no longer needed in the CA post, then so be it,” he said.
The sentence on Floirendo was delivered on Monday, May 8, in a motion at plenary session by Deputy Majority Leader Juan Pablo Bondoc. Floirendo was replaced by Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Seth Frederick Jalosjos.
Floirendo was removed from his post reportedly for his absence in the House when the Death Penalty Bill was placed on a vote.
The controversial bill was approved over threats of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to strip House leaders who would vote against, abstain, or be absent during the voting on the bill.
While Floirendo said his position at the CA was “at the behest of the House leadership,” his ouster is seen, not because of the Death Penalty Bill, but as an offshoot of his rift with Alvarez.
Floirendo’s removal from CA followed a trail of events that started with a public quarrel between the girlfriends of the two solons.
Following the spat, Alvarez called on the House to conduct a probe on the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between the Floirendo-owned Tagum Agricultural Development Corporation (TADECO) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) covering more than 5,000 hectares of the Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol) in Davao del Norte.
Alvarez also filed a graft complaint against Floirendo at the Ombudsman in connection with the JVA that he said was “disadvantageous to the government.”
Alvarez also reportedly resented rumors that Floirendo was supporting a plot to replace him as Speaker with former President Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
In his statement, Floirendo said he is not eyeing a higher position in government and would now have more time to “continue to serve his constituents,” who are his “utmost priority over anything else.”
Both from Davao del Norte, Floirendo and Alvarez are long-time friends and political allies.
They supported the campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte, of which Floirendo is one of the biggest contributors.
Floirendo said he would continue his support for the administration of President Duterte.
“Positions may come and go, but my brotherly love for Digong will remain forever. He is family and family sticks together till the end,” said Floirendo in his statement.