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Ombudsman dares ex-agri exec to come home

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Gutierrez says she’s not sitting on Bolante case

By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 15:05:00 09/19/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has dared a former agriculture official to return to the country and answer allegations linking him to a multimillion-peso anomaly.

Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante, a former undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture has been accused of masterminding the alleged transfer of P700 million in fertilizer funds to the campaign kitty of the President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the 2004 election.

Bolante fled to the United States to avoid a Senate investigation into the controversy. He has sought political asylum in the US but his petition was denied. He filed a motion for reconsideration and is awaiting decision by the US courts.

“May pagagam-agam ang mga tao dito tungkol sa kanya [People here have doubts against him]. I would rather, I would suggest bumalik siya dito [that he returns] and face what the consequences are,” Gutierrez told reporters in Malacañang Friday.

Gutierrez said she has not received any report from an Ombudsman fact-finding team tasked to look into the allegations against Bolante.

When pressed by reporters, Gutierrez said she was not sleeping on Bolante’s case. “No, definitely no,” she said.

Bolante reportedly has close ties with First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, Gutierrez’s classmate in law school.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

FriUTC2008-09-19T13:53:44+00:00UTC09bUTCFri, 19 Sep 2008 13:53:44 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm09

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