MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 6th Division has upheld Davao Del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr.'s indictment for graft over an allegedly anomalous land deal with the corrections bureau, junking his reconsideration plea.
Floirendo is facing one count of graft in connection with the land lease deal between the Bureau of Corrections and his family's company, Tagum Agricultural Development Company, Inc (TADECO).
The lawmaker had assailed the resolution of the court promulgated on August 7, 2018, which said the information filed by the Office of the Ombudsman was sufficient.
“At this point, there is no need to look into matters beyond the four corners of the information,” the court said in its resolution penned by Division Chairperson Sarah Jane Fernandez.
In his motion for reconsideration, Floirendo argued that it was “absurd to prohibit a member of Congress from being a passive investor of an insubstantial amount in a company that enters into a contract with the government.”
He argued that his “nominal shareholding” in TADECO was insufficient to indict him nor convict him of graft.
The anti-graft court, however, said his arguments were a “mere reiteration or rehash” of the statements made in his earlier motion to quash.
“The other arguments of the accused are matters of defense which are better threshed out during the trial on the merits,” the court said.
The case against Floreindo was filed by his former political ally, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.
Alvarez accused Floirendo of benefiting from the lease of 5,000 hectares of government land to TADECO that was allegedly disadvantageous to the government.
The anti-graft court earlier ordered his arrest but he made bail.