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Senate has ‘convicted’ Bolante–Angara

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 16:38:00 10/31/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate has “convicted” former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante over the P728-million fertilizer fund controversy, and thus, there was no need to reopen its investigation into the matter, Senator Edgardo Angara said.

Angara said the Ombudsman, not the Senate, should pursue the case against Bolante, who was deported back to the Manila from the United States after a failed bid for political asylum.

“Sabi ng Senate report, may kasalanan si Joc-Joc. Samakatuwid, parang na-convict na siya sa amin. [The Senate report said Joc-Joc has done wrong. In short, we convicted him],” Angara told reporters in Malacañang on Friday.

Angara was at the Palace to witness President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s signing into law of the Credit Information Act, of which he is principal author.

Angara is head of the Senate committee on agriculture. The former head of the committee, ex-senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr., investigated the fertilizer fund scam in 2006, but Bolante never testified.

Bolante fled to the United States where he was denied political asylum and was detained for two years for possession of an invalid passport.

Angara said Magsaysay’s report had recommended that the case be forwarded to the Ombudsman.

“Tapos na kami e, bakit babalik pa yan sa amin? [We’re done with that, why is it being returned to us?]” he said.

Bolante, who is closely identified with First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, allegedly funneled P728 million in fertilizer funds to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s campaign kitty in 2004.

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Written by joelguinto

FriUTC2008-10-31T09:07:46+00:00UTC10bUTCFri, 31 Oct 2008 09:07:46 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am10

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