Now that Jocelyn ‘Joc-joc’ Bolante has been cleared by his doctors of life-threatening illness, perhaps he can now be brought to the Senate by the sergeant-at-arms who has custody of him. Joc-joc Bolante who was believed to be architect in the diversion of P728-million in fertilizer funds for President Arroyo’s election campaign in 2004 had been brought to St. Luke’s hospital after his deportation from the United States last October 28, 2008. This denied his transfer to the Senate’s detention facility after the Senate’s Sgt.-at-Arms had custody of him based on the warrant of arrest issued by the 13th congress.
Doctors found no life-threatening illness on him after undergoing a battery o medical tests which include stress test, gastoscopy, colonoscopy, CT scan of the whole abdomen, coronary CT angiography, prostate test, etc. According to his doctors, Bolante is suffering from peptic ulcer, sleep apnea, and esophagitis. There is no reason to confine him anymore but release him from the hospital. This is good news for him insofar as his health is concerned. It is a but a bad news on the other hand as he will be transferred to the detention facility of the Senate and faces the senators who are now meeting in the reopening of the Fertilzer Scam investigation.
But how ready are the Senators now to reopen the case and inquire on him regarding the alleged diversion of the 728-millions in fertilizer funds for President Arroyo’s election campaign in 2004. Angara said Bolante should no longer appear before the Senate but to the Ombudsman which is conducting a preliminary investigation of the case since Senate had already concluded its investigation on the P728 million fertilizer funds. But other Senators disagree, particularly Senate majority floor leader Francis Pangilinan who supports the view that the Senate investigation is not yet completed since report of the 13th Congress stated that the probe cannot be closed without Bolante’s testimony.
In this regard the Senators are meeting trying to seek a consensus on having Bolante appear at the Senate’s blue ribbon committee hearing. Pangilinan said he supports the view that the Senate investigation is not yet finished since even the report of the 13th Congress said the probe cannot be closed without Bolante’s testimony.
But the Senate rules committee on Monday attended by nine senators in a closed-door hearing upheld the validity the arrest order issued by the Senate on 2005 to arrest former Agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn ‘Joc-joc’ Bolante and endorsed reopening of investigation on the P728 million fertilizer fund scam. Pangilinan said in a briefing that the committee had determined arrest order to be remained in force because of continued defiance by Bolante on the summons and refusal to appear before the Senate to explain his participation on the diversion of the fertilizer funds. The probe was referred to the Senate blue ribbon committee which before hand had already decided to call a “hearing later this week.”
But how long will it take the Senate to go on the reinvestigation of the fertilize scam? They should act fast before Joc-joc Bolante will be released from the hospital. Bolante’s friends are not happy to see him talk on what he knows in the Senate. House Speaker Prospero Nograles for one believes that the investigation on the fertilizer fund is no longer Senate’s business but the Ombudsman. However, should the House agriculture committee headed by Rep. Abraham Mitra wants to hold a hearing as part of Congress’ oversight function then there is nothing that can bar it from doing so. Mitra had already expressed interest on Bolante to appear before the House of Representatives to shed light on the fertilizer fund.
Delikado ito, mukhang gustong makisawsaw din ang Kongreso dito sa fertizer scam. Ang lagay maglalagare ba siya ngayon sa upper house at saka sa lower house sa kaiimbistiga? Ano na namang laro ito? At bakit ngayon lang nagkainteres ang House of Representatives sa kasong ito? Bakit hindi noong araw pa? Hindi kaya may kaugnayan ito sa sinabi ng Ombudsman na may mga Kongresista na sabit (criminally liable) sa fertilizer scam? Masaya ito, abangan ang susunod na kabanata. Joc-joc, humanda ka!