Davao del Norte District 1 Congressman and Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez has now political battle-tested leaders in every town and city in the traditional bailiwick district of his nemesis Congressman Antonio “Tony Boy” Floirendo Jr.
The putting up of Alvarez’ core of political leaders in the District 2 is generating speculations that the Speaker, who filed a graft complaint at the Ombudsman against Floirendo, is girding for a provincewide battle royale in the midterm 2019 election, further raising that a scenario as Alvarez enters the turf of the Floirendos, the latter would also enter District 1 in the run-up to the coming polls to try to fail him in his reelection bid.
In District 1, Speaker Alvarez has not much trouble getting allies as during the recent PDP-Laban mass oath-taking he got Kapalong Mayor Tess Timbol, San Isidro Mayor Arnel Sitoy and wife of last-termer Talaingod Mayor Basilio Libayao swearing in to join with earlier PDP-Laban member Tagum City Mayor Allan Rellon. In the district, it is only Asuncion Mayor Yuri and New Corella Mayor Rhodora Alcoran who chose not to swear yet as new PDP-Laban members.
A mammoth crowd of barangay, municipal and city elected incumbent officials from across the province trooped last August 28 at the Tagum New City Hall to swear in as new PDP -Laban members.
Sources said that Governor Anthony del Rosario did not join the mass oath-taking because he was not invited in the first place by Alvarez, although another source said that he might as “will join later on after asking formal permission from or giving formal notice to the national directorate of the Liberal Party.” But pundits speculated that the governor might have been been more reserved and careful not to disturb Del Rosarios’ family reconciliation with the Floirendos that has resulted to their leadership and party coalition for three elections already.
To recall, it was Cong. Floirendo who brought Alvarez to the Comelec provincial office to file his certificate of candidacy under PDP-Laban in last year’s polls. He defeated ex-Cong. Arrel Olano and ex-City Councilor Nickel Suaybaguio. After winning as congressman, Alvarez was swept to prominence in the national corridor of power by winning as the Speaker of the House of Representatives by the nod of President Duterte.
Alvarez filed a graft complaint last March at the Ombudsman against Floirendo, questioning Tadeco’s Joint Venture Agreement with the government. In his graft complaint, Alvarez alleged that Floirendo violated Section 3(h) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act which defines as a corrupt act “directly or indirectly having financing or pecuniary interest in any business, contract, or transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any law from having any interest.”
“From its very inception, Tadeco has been wholly owned by (Floirendo) and his family,” Alvarez said in the complaint.
The Speaker noted that when the agreement between Tadeco and BuCor was renewed in 2003, extending the agreement for another 25 years, Floirendo was serving his 2nd term as Davao del Norte 2nd District representative.
The JVA got adverse findings from the probing committees of the Lower House, Dept. of Justice, Commission on Audit and the Office of the Solicitor General, all of which were contested and refuted by Tadeco lawyers. (mindanaosunchronicle.com/Cha Monforte)