BnW PR, 3 November 2008
Another suspected government con man tries to escape accountability. The Black & White Movement is appalled at the latest ploy to keep Joc-Joc from the Senate by means of another petition, this time to the Court of Appeals, for habeas corpus. Was Joc Joc Bolante joking about his intention to answer questions about the Fertilizer Fund Scam that robbed the Filipino farmer of PhP728M? If his petition's granted, will he suddenly regain robust health and take the first plane out of Manila to more favorable climes?
This latest petition claims that the Fertilizer Scam investigation is over, the Senate's Committee on Agriculture and Food has submitted its report and Joc Joc should be a free man. We dispute that claim as the report itself states that the issue remains unresolved without Bolante's testimony. The ninth recommendation in the report asserts, "Although this is the Final Committee Report, the fertilizer fund scam will never be closed without the testimony of its brains and implementor - Jocelyn Bolante. Thus, the order of contempt against Jocelyn Bolante must be enforced" (Committee on Agriculture and Food and the Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations Report No. 54). We couldn't agree more.
Bolante's lawyer, Antonio Zulueta, close associate of Mike Arroyo, says the proper forum for Bolante’s testimony is at the Ombudsman's office. How convenient. That agency has been sitting on the Fertilizer Fund Scam for the last two and a half years, ignored by the Ombudsman herself, close Mike Arroyo associate Merceditas Gutierrez. The outright disinterest of Sen. Angara to reopen his committee's hearings and his opinion that the issue is best left to the Ombudsman smells more like a conspiracy among three GMA allies than coincidence.
We are of the opinion that if the Court of Appeals decides in Bolante's favor, and we certainly pray that it does not, this sordid tale of flimflamming our farmers will be swept under the Ombudsman's proverbial rug, to be unresolved, festering in the dark, like all the other high profile corruption cases that this administration has been accused of perpetrating.
We remind our people what is at stake here the accountability of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The senate committee report also avers that GMA had to be aware of the suspicious fertilizer fund disbursements during harvest time and must be made to account. This is probably why Bolante is so afraid of testifying. It is believed that he can tie GMA, perhaps even her husband, to the fraudulent scheme.
We support the decision of Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Alan Peter Cayetano to reopen the Fertilizer Fund Scam hearings, but we plead that he act with dispatch lest the terrible pressures put upon certain institutions yield success. We insist that the Senate Sergeant at Arms be allowed to perform his duty and haul the purportedly malingering Joc Joc Bolante to his Senate cell lest St. Luke's Hospital be accused of being a party to this conspiracy to keep the truth from the Filipino people.- - END