By Czarina Nicole Ong
The suspension pedente lite of Davao Del Norte Rep. Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo Jr. has been sought by the Office of the Special Prosecutor pending his graft charge before the Sandiganbayan Sixth Division.
Floirendo has been charged with a violation of Section 3(h) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act due to his involvement in the joint-venture agreement between the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco) back in 2003.
Floirendo, who was serving as the representative of the second district of Davao Del Norte from 2001 to 2004, owned most of Tadeco’s shares of stocks. He had 75,000 shares of Tadeco, or equivalent to 89 percent of its outstanding capital stock at the time of the 2003 agreement.
This was a violation of Section 3(h) of R.A. 3019, since local officials are prohibited from having financial or pecuniary interest “in any business, contract or transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity.”
The prosecution filed a motion to suspend Floirendo pedente lite “aimed not merely to prevent the accused from intimidating witnesses or otherwise hamper the prosecution of the case, but also to prevent him from committing further acts of malfeasance in office.”
“While the accused’s suspension pedente lite may deprive the people of the 2nd District of Davao Del Norte of the services of an official elected by them, it is respectfully submitted that the same is not a sufficient basis for the Honorable Court not to apply an otherwise mandatory provision of law,” the motion read.
Floirendo entered a not guilty before the anti-graft court on May 25, 2018. Section 13 of R.A. 3019 provides that any incumbent public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid Information for violation of the said law, among others, is pending in court shall be suspended from office.