Press Release
August 1, 2006


Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) administrator Marianito Roque and former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn Joc-joc Bolante are appearing more and more to be like two peas from the same pod.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson noted Tuesday that Roque and Bolante share several things in common, including their being protgs of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Mike Arroyo and being appointed to sensitive positions for a purpose.

Both were appointed to their positions with the same mission of helping GMA cheat to win the 2004 election, both misused hundreds of millions of pesos of their office funds, both were discovered through paper trail, both refused to be investigated, both would probably get away with their misdeeds, momentarily at least, Lacson said.

And last but not least, he said, both are men of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo.

Roque was one of the officials of the executive department who was invited to an ongoing Senate investigation into where billions of pesos in overseas Filipino workers contributions went.

Shortly before the 2004 elections, Roque held the position of director for overseas operations. He then chaired the OWWAs bids and awards committee before becoming administrator in September 2004. On the other hand, Bolante was named undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture shortly after Mrs. Arroyo was catapulted to power in 2001.

Both were not appointed as heads but were wielding the power in their agencies, Lacson noted.

Roque did not attend Mondays probe, even as Malacañang questioned the basis of the Senate investigation. The investigation uncovered the diversion of more than P500 million in OWWA funds to the PhilHealth program, said to be one of the come-ons of then presidential bet Gloria Arroyo to get votes in 2004.

Both transfers of funds involving the OWWA and Agriculture Department were supposedly consummated in February 2004, months before the presidential election.

Lacson said the stonewalling was similar to that of last year, when the Senate tried to grill Bolante on a P728-million fertilizer fund scam, the proceeds of which were allegedly used to fund Gloria Arroyos presidential bid in 2004.

News Latest News Feed