DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 April) – Tagum Agricultural Development, Inc. (TADECO), a subsidiary of Floirendo-led Anflo Management and Investment Corp., lambasted on Friday Solicitor General Jose Calida who declared as “void” the Joint Venture Agreement between the banana firm and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) involving the 5,212.46-hectare banana plantations in Davao del Norte.
In a statement released on Friday, TADECO called the statement of Calida as “premature and uninformed.”
The banana firm said there is an ongoing review of the JVA at the Department of Justice (DOJ) while an investigation at the House of Representatives has yet to commence pending the approval of a resolution filed by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, a top ally of President Rodrigo R. Duterte in the Lower House.
Calida posted on his Twitter account on April 26 that the TADECO-BuCor deal over a lot within the Davao Penal Colony is “void as it goes against the Public Land Act and the Constitution.”
Commonwealth Act No 141, otherwise known as the “Public Land Act”, governs the “classification, delimitation, survey and disposition of alienable lands of the public domain.”
TADECO said no case has been filed before the courts on the cancellation of the joint agreement and insisted that only courts can declare the contract is void.
“This is a clear case of prejudging our JVA. Where is the fairness? Perhaps the intent is to condition the minds of the public and pre-empt the review of the Department of Justice as well as the House probe,” it said.
TADECO is owned by the family of Davao Del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr., who contributed the biggest campaign funds to then presidential candidate Rodrigo R. Duterte in last year’s national elections.
“These are the same items raised by Speaker Alvarez and, thus, there is nothing new in this recent statement of the Solicitor General,” TADECO said.
The firm maintained that its deal with BuCor “has withstood the test of time and multiple reviews by Secretaries of Justice and several congressional investigations over so many years. All of them have found our JVA to be valid and beneficial to the BuCor and the Republic of the Philippines.”
It added they are ready to face all the issues “in proper time and proper forum.”
In March 2017, Alvarez also filed a graft complaint against Floirendo in the Ombudsman for an alleged anomalous deal for an unlawful “business interest” pertaining to his involvement in TADECO while serving as an elected official.
Floirendo said in a statement on March 29 that questioned the intention of Alvarez for filing a complaint against him since the allegations took place 14 years ago.
“Meanwhile, I can assure everyone that I was not in any way involved in the negotiation of the Joint Venture Agreement between the Tagum Agricultural Development Company, Inc. (TADECO) and the Bureau of Corrections (BUCOR) in 2003,” he said.
“If our quarrel stems from a personal matter between Speaker Alvarez and myself, I appeal to the Speaker to meet with me personally so that we can settle this like gentlemen,” he added. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)