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Bolante coming home before month’s end

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 22:42:00 10/22/2008

MANILA, Philippines—Former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante, accused of masterminding the P700-million fertilizer fund scam, will return to the country before the end of the month, his lawyer said.

“He has been discussing his departure. He’s scheduled to depart from the US prior to the end of the month,” Bolante’s counsel Ira Azulay told television station QTV-11 Wednesday evening.

“We will not be releasing an exact date. We’re concerned about his safety,” Azulay said when pressed for the exact return date of Bolante, who fled to the US in 2006 to escape the Senate inquiry.

Azulay said Bolante chose to return to the Philippines due to “family concerns.”

In August, the US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Bolante’s appeal to reverse a decision that denied him political asylum.

Bolante is the alleged brains behind the funneling of over P700 million in fertilizer funds to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s campaign kitty in 2004.

Azulay said Bolante was “doing as well as can be expected,” adding he was confident that the embattled former official would “participate in all proceedings” regarding the fertilizer fund controversy.

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2008-10-22T15:10:50+00:00UTC10bUTCWed, 22 Oct 2008 15:10:50 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm10

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