Floirendo denies plotting Speaker Alvarez’s ouster

Mara Cepeda

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Floirendo denies plotting Speaker Alvarez’s ouster
Davao del Norte 2nd District Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr admits having a 'brotherly misunderstanding' with Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who has so far refused to talk to him

MANILA, Philippines – Davao del Norte 2nd District Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr said he is not part of any plans to remove Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez as Speaker. 

“If ever there is an iota of truth to the ouster plot, I am 100% not a part of it,” said Floirendo in a statement on Wednesday, March 29. 

The lawmaker gave the assurance after Alvarez filed a graft complaint against him before the Office of the Ombudsman for having an unconstitutional “business interest” while serving as an elected official. 

The Speaker also filed a House resolution calling for a congressional probe into the allegedly anomalous deal between the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and Floirendo’s Tagum Agricultural Development Corporation (Tadeco), one of the world’s largest banana firms.

Rumors have been going around that the longtime friends from Davao have been feuding. Floirendo is supposedly plotting to oust Alvarez as Speaker and have him replaced by Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. 

Floirendo said he initially did not release a statement to defend himself “as there was no truth to it at all.”

“I never attempted to talk to Arroyo nor would I ever support any plot to oust Speaker Alvarez who, in the first place, is a good friend of mine and whom I fully supported during the last election and in his bid for the speakership,” he said.

Floirendo, however, admitted that he and Alvarez are currently having a “brotherly misunderstanding.”

“Let me make it clear that Speaker Bebot and I have no fight with each other. If ever there is a conflict, it could be likened to a brotherly misunderstanding, which I am sure, would be patched up in no time at all. And I would like everyone to know that I tried and reached out to him but he refused to talk to me since this all started,” he said.  

No talks for now

Floirendo said he has already tried to reach out to Alvarez, but the latter refused to talk to him. 

The Speaker also said he has not spoken to Floirendo about the matter either. 

“We have been friends ni Congressman Floirendo, but you know, our friendship stops or ends where the interest of the country begins. Ganun lang ka-simple ‘yun (It’s that simple),” said Alvarez in a phone interview with Rappler on March 28.

He denied he filed the Ombudsman complaint and House resolution against Floirendo because of the rumors. According to Alvarez, he did it only for the sake of the country. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.