14 May 2009

Can the Botante Deal With Bolante?

Joc-joc Bolante
Former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn "Joc-joc" Bolante was forced to come back to the country last October 2008 in connection with the multimillion fertilizer fund scam that he allegedly masterminded in 2004. He tried but failed to seek asylum in the United States in a bid to evade a Senate investigation on the alleged diversion of funds into the campaign kitty of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

After months of speculation on how the lawmakers will deal with him, the Senate blue ribbon committee recommended to the Ombudsman that Bolante, along with several others, be charged with plunder for the fertilizer fund anomaly. Even the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) joined the fray by asking the Supreme Court to set aside last months ruling of the Court of Appeals denying its urgent motion to extend its 4 February 2009 freeze order on Bolante’s accounts and other related web accounts.

In the face of all these cases, Bolante is still free to roam around and is mulling running for a local elective position in 2010 in Capiz when urged by local executives with questionable integrity. Apparently, the former Governor of the province, nine mayors and their five local ilks have decided to follow to the letter their political party's policy of unfettered recruitment of candidates with background in money laundering, political loyalty, inappropriate understanding of accounting rules and procedures and the craving to appease the President herself.

The election lawyer of the President, Atty. Romulo Macalintal, defended the decision of Bolante arguing that as long as the court has not yet found him guilty of any crime he can still seek an elective position. With the way courts in this country process cases against former and present administration officials like First Gentleman Miguel Arroyo, former Justice Secretary Hernani Perez and former Commission on Election (COMELEC) Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, the public should expect the decision to be rendered several years from 2010.

Apparently in this parallel universe in which the country's courts, police and politicians operate, such behavior of administration officials are acceptable. However, if one is facing a coup d’etat charges for the Oakwood Mutiny in July 2003 and wins the Senatorial election in 2007, the government and its allies will make sure that they will not go far. Look at what happened to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who is still languishing in a military prison until now. This usual sickening double standards from the Government showed how corrupt and bias the system is being adopted by the country's liberal elite Gauleiters.

With most of their time spent in dealing with the effects of incessant typhoons, rising prices and the inability of credit windows to offer attractive compensation packages, it won't be long before the alleged crime of Bolante will be buried in the annals of the current administration's graft-ridden history. Soon he will be attracting admirers and political supporters in the province of Capiz. And if asked again about the fertilizer scam, the public should expect to hear a very cryptic answer. However, one thing may be explained clearly. With a serial failure and boring windbag at the helm, it should be no surprise anymore to hear that a second income-class province of Capiz is on its way to becoming one of the country's poorest by 2013.