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House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez yesterday revealed that 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 Corp.
Alvarez 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 pieces of evidence and documents surrounding the alleged anomalous deal were discovered.
Interviewed in a morning television show, 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 said the PR campaign was aimed at muddling the issues surrounding the irregularities surrounding Tadeco’s successful bid for a 25-year extension of its lease of the 5,308 hectares of agricultural land allocated by the national government to the Bureau of Corrections.
The PR campaign involved the expose made by Cathy Binag, common-law wife of Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo, on the speaker’s extra-marital affairs.
Binag came out with statements about her spat with Alvarez’s reported romance with a certain Jennifer Maliwanag Vicencio, claiming that this was the reason behind the falling out between the House official and Floirendo, who were described in the past as best of friends.
Alvarez did not deny his romantic affair, pointing out that he has separated with legal wife, Emelita Apostol-Alvarez.
However, he stressed that his statements about lawyers being womanizers and that having girlfriends is common among men should not be taken seriously. “Biro lang iyon,” Alvarez said.
The House leader stressed that he had been trying to downplay reports on the alleged quarrel between his and Floirendo’s girlfriends because it is confusing the public about the Tadeco-BuCor anomalies.
“Dito pag-usapan natin iyong legalidad ng kontrata kasi dito may pakiaalam at pakinabang iyong gobyerno. Huwag natin iligaw ang taumbayan,” he said. (Ben R. Rosario)