Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he has all the right to invest his money as he admitted owning beach properties in Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte.
Alvarez, representing in Congress the 1st District of Davao del Norte, accused his province mate, former friend and political Davao del Norte 2nd District Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr, as behind media reports about his properties in the popular tourist island worth P500 million.
But the Speaker also denied that his properties are worth P500 million.
Alvarez challenged Floirendo to file a case against him.
If I violated the anti-corruption law, then they should file a case, Alvarez said.
Media reports also said that Alvarez did not include the Siargao properties in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), which is a ground for filing of a graft case.
Floirendo, however, denied Alvarez’s accusations. He said he found out about the controversy surrounding the Speaker’s properties in Siargao only after reading the media reports.
“Why am I being dragged yet again by the Speaker into his alleged purchases? I have nothing to do with it,” said Floirendo.
“Besides, the issue does not have anything to do with me. I am not the issue here. It is he who should explain instead of pointing fingers at me or other people,” he added.
Why should Alvarez panic? Said Floirendo who adds that the Speaker should instead run after media behind the reports about his Siargao wealth.
But he adds that media has the right to tell about wrongdoings of government officials.
Alvarez and Floirendo are former political allies but their longtime friendship snapped after their respective girlfriends quarreled in public during the Masskara Festival in Bacolod City.
Following the spat and reports that Floirendo was behind a plot to oust him as Speaker to be replaced by former President now Pampanga representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Alvarez filed a resolution in Congress seeking an inquiry into the legality of a land deal between the Bureau of Prisons (BuCor) and the Floirendo-owned Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco).
Alvarez also filed a graft case against Floirendo in connection with the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) involving about 5000 hectares of the Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol) reservation area.
Alvarez later would also scratch off development funds for Floirendo’s district from the 2018 General Appropriations Act.