"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Filipinos will be crushed by House decision clearing Bolante

Filipinos will be crushed by the decision of the House committee on agriculture to clear former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante of involvement in the alleged P728-million fertilizer fund procurement scam Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) today said.

Gordon, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, pointed out that the House committee report which is due to come out next month will only further incense the people because Bolante who has evidently made a mockery of the law will be allowed to get away with his misdeeds.

"This will not augur well for our citizens. Our citizens, I'm sure, will be totally crushed by this even if it has no bearing," he said.

"This is in aid of letting a guy, by the name of Joc-Joc Bolante who has committed travesties against the law, to get away with it," he added.

Reports said the House committee on agriculture is set to come out with a report clearing Bolante, alleged architect of the fertilizer fund diversion scam, of any involvement in the said scam.

The committee said the clearing of the former Department of Agriculture (DA) official was based on the report submitted to the panel by the Commission on Audit (CoA) in which no document showed Bolante had committed irregularities in the disbursement of fertilizer funds.

The COA, in its report submitted to the committee, said the fertilizer fund was a regular release to the DA, which was reportedly offered by Bolante close to the 2004 elections to the legislators and local executives for distribution as funds for farm inputs and implements to their constituents.

Last February, the Senate blue ribbon committee recommended the filing of plunder charges against Bolante and other personalities implicated in the alleged diversion of the fertilizer scam.

Gordon made the recommendation in a 130-page committee report as a result of the eight Senate hearings conducted from Nov. 13, 2008 to Jan. 26, 2009.

Aside from Bolante, also recommended to be charged for plunder are former DA assistant secretary Ibarra Poliquit, Leonicia Llarena, Feshan Philippines president Julie Gregorio, Feshan Phils. vice president Redentor Antolin, Marilyn Araos, Marites Aytona, Jaime Paule, and DA undersecretary Belinda Gonzales.

Gordon, who, when he took over the blue ribbon panel, was able to draw the other personalities involved and managed to establish the modus operandi used in the scam, was dismayed by the decision which he said is partisan.

"Nakakalungkot at palagay ko hindi binigyang-galang yung masusing imbestigasyon na binigay ng Senado dito sa kasong ito. Hindi dapat natin pinapaligtas ang mga taong lumilikha ng kabalbalan at karumal-dumal na pagsasamantala sa kanilang pwesto sa gobyerno," he said.

"Malinaw na nakita namin sa ebidensya ang kabalbalang ginawa ng taong ito. I think naging partisan (ang House committee on Agriculture). I can see na may nakiusap sa kanila dyan," he added.

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