Press Release
March 8, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban), today dared President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to stop coddling former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn Joc Joc Bolante and other culprits in the P728 million fertilizer fund scam instead of pursuing a Malacañang investigation of the scandal whose motive cannot but be considered suspect.

Pimentel said it is preposterous that Mrs. Arroyo should order the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC) to look into the fertilizer fund mess just after the Senate committee on agriculture and blue ribbon committee have concluded in their investigation report that the President must be held accountable for the misuse of the fund in the face of glaring evidence that it was diverted to her election campaign in 2004.

He said prudence dictates that the President should not meddle anymore in the investigation since she is the principal respondent in the alleged fund anomaly and the Senate findings and recommendation have already been forwarded to the Office of the Ombudsman for investigation.

What did the President have in mind by ordering the PAGC, an agency under her office, to inquire into the utilization of the fertilizer fund except perhaps to discredit the Senate investigation report and to clear herself of any responsibility for the scandal? the minority leader said.

Pimentel said no investigation of the fertilizer fund scam conducted by the PAGC can have any semblance of credibility and integrity since Malacañang has employed its powers and resources to block the Senate inquiry into the case, especially through the issuance of Executive Order 464 that has imposed a gag order on Cabinet members and other officials of the executive branch who were summoned by the Senate to give their testimonies.

If the President is really interested in ferreting out the truth behind the fertilizer fund mess, Pimentel asked why the Palace has not shown any cooperation in locating Bolante who was tagged by the Senate investigating panels as the architect of the fraudulent release and distribution of the fund.

He said it boggles the imagination why the Palace, after doing nothing to clear up the fertilizer anomaly since it was exposed before the May, 2004 presidential election, should now insist on doing its own investigation and show interest in identifying the erring parties.

News Latest News Feed