By Ben Rosario
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez revealed on Friday (March 31) that the government lost over P13 billion in its one-sided lease agreement for a vast agricultural land that it had leased as banana plantation for the Floirendo-family owned Tagum Agricultural Development Corporation (TADECO).
Alvarez made this disclosure even as he lamented that a dirty public relations job appeared to be succeeding in covering up the land lease irregularities that allegedly been going on for nearly 50 years now.
The House leader said that it was only recently, that evidences and documents surrounding the alleged anomalous deal were discovered.
In a television interview, Alvarez said he is willing to lay his post on the line if this is the price he would pay to put an end to the anomalous Tadeco lease agreement.
Alvarez has sought a congressional inquiry into the 25-year BOC-Tadeco lease contract that would pay government P26.54 million annually.
“The existing contract, while guaranteeing the BuCor a share of P26.54 million per year for 5,308.36 hectares, actually prejudices the same since the prevailing price of lease contracts in that area is P25,000 per hectare per year,” Alvarez said.
The speaker has also filed graft charges against Floirendo for failing to divest himself of any pecuniary interest from the family owned firm while he was serving as congressman in 2003 during the 12th Congress.
It was in 2004 that BOC agreed to extend the lease contract for another 25 years starting the following year.
The first contract that was then due to expire in 2005 was granted by former President Marcos to Floirendo’s father, Antonio Sr., who was among the businessmen described as cronies of the Marcos government.