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Palace won’t interfere in Bolante case

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 13:10:00 10/28/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang will not interfere in the arrival of former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante and possible testimony on the controversial multimillion-peso fund that has linked him and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, an official said.

But at the same time, Presidential Political Adviser Gabriel Claudio warned that some groups could take advantage of Bolante’s homecoming “to advance destructive political schemes.”

Bolante is the alleged brains behind the supposed funneling of P728 million in fertilizer funds to Arroyo’s campaign kitty in 2004. He is set to arrive in the country on Tuesday evening from the United States, where he was denied political asylum.

“The Palace will not interfere with procedures for his [Bolante’s] safe, orderly, and transparent arrival in Manila. Malacañang will also not get in the way of opportunities to hear Mr. Bolante’s testimony about the fertilizer distribution controversy,” Claudio said in a statement.

“Given the urgent economic concerns of the nation, Mr. Bolante’s presence should not be taken advantage of by any group to advance destructive political schemes and agendas,” he said.

Claudio added that Bolante’s return was a “welcome development” as he urged the former undersecretary to “avail of every opportunity” to clear himself and the government on the fertilizer fund scam.

“Regardless of whom his testimony will favor or prejudice, we hope that his candor will provide the kind of closure that will be good for the country especially as we try to consolidate efforts to protect our economy from the onslaught of a raging global financial crisis,” Claudio said.

The Senate sergeant-at-arms is set to arrest Bolante upon his arrival at the international airport to compel him to testify before an investigation by the upper House into the fertilizer fund issue.

But Bolante has petitioned the Supreme Court to stop the pending arrest order against him.

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Written by joelguinto

TueUTC2008-10-28T07:57:24+00:00UTC10bUTCTue, 28 Oct 2008 07:57:24 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am10

Posted in Uncategorized

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