Davao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo Jr. reacted to reports of his possible suspension from Congress after government prosecutors moves for his suspension due to the graft charge filed against him by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
In a motion received by the Sixth Division of the Sandiganbayan on Wednesday, the prosecution said Section 13 of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, mandates the suspension of a public official facing litigation.
“Any incumbent public officer against whom any criminal prosecution under a valid information or for any any offense involving fraud upon government or public funds or property pending in court shall be suspended from office,” a provision of the anti-graft law states.
According to the prosecution team, there is no dispute that Floirendo is sufficiently charged with violation of Section 3(h) of RA 3019 and was already arraigned last May 25.
In his statement issued Friday, Rep. Floirendo said that he still believes in the fairness and due process of the law and to the fact that Congress has been consistent in its non-implementation of suspension orders on its members.
Floriendo added though that the involvement of House Speaker Alvarez in the case against him may however make his case an exception to the rule.
“I have always believed in fairness and due process of law. Congress has been consistent in its non-implementation of suspension orders on its members. However, given the kind of treatment I have received from the Speaker himself as he himself instituted the case against me and even caused his lawyers to be appointed as special prosecutors, I would not be surprised if I would become an exception and be suspended. The sauce for the goose may not be the sauce for the gander as far as I am concerned,” Floirendo said.
The beleaguered congressman, who was the biggest donor to the campaign fund of President Rodrigo Duterte in the 2016 presidential race, however said that he is ready for any eventuality.
“As always, I am ready to defend my name and will seek all remedies to bring out the truth,” he said.
Last February 2018, the Office of the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal from service of Cebu Representative Gwendolyn Garcia over grave misconduct in connection with the controversial purchase of Balili property.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to implement the dismissal order, which carries “the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility and forfeiture of retirement benefits.”
Alvarez however refused to implement the Ombudsman’s suspension of Rep. Garcia saying that the Ombudsman has no power to remove a sitting congressman.
“My appropriate action is not to implement the order. Why? Because there is nothing in the Constitution that allows me to do that. In fact, it is not within the power of the Ombudsman to discipline, much more to remove, any member of the House of Representatives,” Alvarez said then.
“‘Pag ginawa ko ‘yan, I will be violating the Constitution since merong nakalagay sa Constitution na kami lang ‘yung may kapangyarihan to discipline and remove a member of the House of Representatives,” he added.
Under the Constitution, any member of the House of Representative may only be expelled by a 2/3 vote of the chamber.