MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez accused his rival, Davao del Norte 2nd District Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr, of being responsible for reports alleging his properties in Siargao are worth P500 million.
The Davao del Norte 1st District representative admitted to buying several properties in Siargao starting 1996, but denied they are worth that much. (READ: Speaker Alvarez's waves of interest in Siargao)
"Sabi ko nga sa kanila, ang talagang may pakana niyan si Congressman Tonyboy Floirendo. Sabi ko, if you have the goods, file the case, 'no? Kasi matagal na panahon na ako ay may properties diyan. Bumibili ako diyan, kahit wala ako sa gobyerno," Alvarez told reporters on Monday, May 21.
He argued that the P500-million estimate was based on a P15,000 per square meter computation, which Alvarez said is wrong.
"Alam 'nyo, 'yung P500 million, pine-presume nila na P15,000 per square meter ang value ng property. Maaari isang area sa Siargao, P15,000. Pero ang laki ng isla na 'yan. 'Di P15,000 lahat 'yan! May P100, may P200, may P1,000, may P2,000," said a visibly irritated Alvarez.
(You know, the P500 million was arrived at by presuming the value of the property is at P15,000 per square meter. One part of the island may have a value of P15,000 per square meter. But that's a big island. Not all parts of it will have the same value! Some will have P100, P200, P1,000 or P2,000 per square meter.)
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 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.
The Speaker said he has nothing to hide and is ready to face Floirendo in court.
He wants his friend turned political enemy to file the case himself, similar to when Alvarez filed a graft complaint against Floirendo over the allegedly anomalous deal between the government and the latter's company. (READ: Floirendo says arrest warrant out for him over Tadeco controversy)
"Ngayon, kung tingin nila I violated a law, 'yung anti-corruption, then mag-file sila ng kaso. Gusto ko, siya mismo 'yung magiging complainant.... Dapat siya rin mismo mag-file ng kaso laban sa akin because I'm willing to face him in court," said Alvarez.
(Now, if they think I violated the anti-corruption law, then they should file a case. But I want him to be the complainant. He should be the one to file the case because I'm willing to face him in court.)
Alvarez and Floirendo's longtime friendship was shattered after their respective girlfriends got into a fight at the Masskara Festival in Bacolod City.
Aside from the graft complaint, Alvarez filed a resolution in March 2017 calling for a congressional probe into the joint venture agreement between Floirendo's Tagum Agricultural Development Company and the Bureau of Corrections.
Alvarez filed these amid rumors Floirendo was plotting to oust him as Speaker and get Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to take the reins at the House instead.
Months later, Floirendo was among the lawmakers who got zero budget allocations for projects or major budget cuts in the 2018 General Appropriations Act.