By Czarina Nicole Ong
The Sandiganbayan Sixth Division has allowed Davao Del Norte Rep. Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo Jr. to travel to Istanbul, Turkey from November 2 to join the Asian Parliamentary Assembly 2nd Executive Council and 11th Plenary.
Floirendo wrote in his urgent travel motion that he was invited by Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to join the assembly as one of her delegates on November 19. His political officer, Andre Del Rosario, received a text message from Arroyo’s staff Pearl Viernes saying it would be “better” for him to attend the event.
The lawmaker told the court that Arroyo was invited via a letter by Mohammad Reza Majidi, secretary general of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly, to “encourage and expect vibrant discussions and exchange of views within the context of the theme [“Promoting Economic Prosperity in Asia”] by Speakers of the APA member-parliaments.”
They will be staying at the Hilton Bomonti Hotel, and all local hospitalities – accommodation, meals and transportation – would be shouldered by the APA.
“As the Honorable Court would appreciate, the probability of accused fleeing our judicial process is practically nonexistent with his previous travels where he has repeatedly returned,” his motion read.
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) 2nd District Davao del Norte representative 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.”