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Breaking Ironies June 12, 2008

Posted by pilibustero in Politics & Society.
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Who could forget the fertilizer fund scam and Jocjoc Bolante?

While there has seemed to be a prevailing culture of amnesia and numbness around, Filipinos can’t afford to forget the sins of Jocjoc Bolante. Its humble beginnings can be traced four years ago prior to the 2004 Presidential Elections, when GMA ordered the release of some P728 million of public funds to finance the distribution of fertilizers to aid farmers.

Timely as the need of farmers, that it also coincides with the campaign season. And GMA having the supposed authority over the program, channeled the funds through the Dept of Agriculture, under then, USEC Jocelyn Bolante. Complaints and probes later found out that there are indications that the fertilizer money have been diverted to the campaign funds of GMA herself, a factor which was seen to have boosted her campaign.

Malacanang then, obviously denied of any hand into the case, and put on the brunt to the then beleaguered Bolante. Afraid of prosecution pending Congressional probes and heightened public clout for transparency and accountability into the case, that Jocjoc (who was also then a top officer of Rotary Club in the counrty) left the country for the United States. Following the Senate investigation report finding Bolante as mastermind to the case, the US Embassy cancelled his visa, in which he lodged a legal challenge in the US.

After all options and alternatives were exhausted, Atty. Harry Roque, the persistent UP Law professor who sought after Bolante’s prosecution, reported another blow in Bolante’s application for asylum just last week, when the US Board of Immigration denied his appeal. Now, he has only one option of evading justice in the Philippines, that is a favorable decision from the US Federal Court, or ultimately, a failed extradition request by Philippine Authorities.

But DOJ Sec. Raul Gonzales, then silent on the issue, now expressed desperation in Bolante’s case saying that he will be deported eventually. While for the Senate, the recent development signals another wave of struggle for accountability.

Much to the dismay of some lawmakers, Agriculture Committee Chair Sen. Angara is fed up to any further probes saying their investigations were completed already. On the other hand, the Blue-Ribbon Committee of Sen. Allan Cayetano expressed interest into another round of investigations, and ensuring the presence of Bolante in the Senate.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman was reported to have found probable cause of pursuing corruption charges against Bolante, based on their investigation revealed just this week, which critics described as a ‘show off’ considering the 4 years elapsed time.

Ultimately,in the event Bolante would find himself back home sooner, and with some divine intervention he would speak out, many heads would surely roll up to the Palace. That if Bolante would still live by the Rotary’s principle of “Is it the Truth?” and “Is it good for all?”. But as a matter of anticipation, opposition lawmakers are looking closely at GMA’s reaction, given her direct involvement as beneficiary of the funds.

Ironically though, at the height of this development comes GMA showcasing of another multi-million fertilizer subsidy program. Not to mention the P2 billion electricity subsidy and another 1 billion for education subsidy. To note, we are only a little less than two years before the 2010 elections.

More to this reservation of GMA’s programs, which in the past is hounded and proven to have been the subject of corruption activities directly and indirectly involving her, is the anticipation and prevention of another wave of ‘blatant theft of people’s money’, indicative of concernand lessons learned by a few lawmakers and advocates against corruption. In some terms, this is a slap in the face of ordinary farmers who are continuously lured into believing that GMA’s reactionary government is of help to them by fronting more funds in there sector.

This development is but another opportunity to be conscious of our society and the evils that surrounds it, induced primarily by government itself. We must therefore remain mindful and closely watch the directions of this case. We can’t afford any more to lose so much of peoples money for the gains of crocs, personified by Jocjoc Bolante. Otherwise, we might just woke up one day in 2010, having a Jocjoc Jr. in our midst. It’s high time to break the ironies in this government.

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