Ledesma: Spare the banana industry (1st of 2 parts)

THE personal feud between erstwhile confreres Bebot Alvarez and Tonyboy Floirendo has reached an ultimate point of irreconcilability. Both are incumbent congressman representing the two districts of Davao del Norte.

Either of the two maybe would deny it, but I consider them my friends before and during the campaign period and after, meaning up 'til now.

Davao del Norte electorates celebrated they won as congressmen.. Mindanao celebrated with Davao. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is President, Alvarez is Speaker of the House of Representative, and Floirendo publicly known to be the biggest contributor to the Duterte campaign all made it to the highest notch of the totem pole of power. Let me say without reservation here that Floirendo also contributed immensely to the campaign kitty of his best friend Bebot.

The three, Digong, Bebot and Tonyboy, were the enviable political triplets. They all are from Region 11 or the Davao Region, and we, especially those from Davao del Norte, hoped that there will be additional bonanza up in the offing among them the elusive Samal-Davao City bridge, irrigation and potable water for at least seven towns of Davao province to be sourced from Saug river and additional infrastructures in the entire region. Will the triumvirate push these projects?

What looked like an enduring friendship between Alvarez and Floirendo, however, suddenly snapped. It was not on account of their love for each other as friends but on account of the significant others in their lives. I hate to delve into the details because it's too childish an issue to even allow decades of friendship ends as quickly as it began. Frankly, I was disturbed in disbelief for I cannot reconcile what I thought was a deep and meaningful relationship of the two, thus I attempted to text the Speaker whether their differences can no longer be mended and, despite the information filed in the Ombudsman by Bebot against Tonyboy, still be reconcilable.

"This has nothing to do with friendship anymore about friendship; this is (about) accountability to the nation," the Speaker texted back.

A week later, Sandiganbayan issued a warrant for the arrest of Congressman Floirendo for which he promptly posted a P30,000 bail. I commiserate with Tonyboy but for now, I cannot comment on the case.

What infuriate me, however, are the events that followed. A phalanx of armed policemen, personnel of the Department of Public Works and Highways and several other unidentified men stormed the Tagum Agricultural Development Corporation and by force dismantled installations in the quarantine gates where people pass through. The crew, based on published accounts, was allegedly headed by a certain Edwin Jubahib, said to be a chief of staff of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

If indeed this is not about friendship, and all about the alleged criminal liability of Tonyboy Floirendo for using his position as congressman before to persuade the Bureau of Correction to renew the Joint Venture Agreement with Tadeco, then why should those bio-security barriers that protect the banana plantations be dismantled? (To be continued tomorrow)
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