Press Release
November 4, 2008

Pia: Bolante running out of excuses

Senator Pia S. Cayetano today expressed support to efforts in the Senate to make former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn 'Joc Joc' Bolante appear before the Blue Ribbon Committee next week to shed light on the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.

"His doctors have categorically declared that his health is not under serious threat. The chest pains he was complaining about when he arrived at the airport apparently does not relate to any serious heart condition," the lady senator said.

"Bolante has run out of excuses. He should not abuse the latitude being accorded to him by the Senate."

"Evidently, it's just Joc Joc or perhaps the masterminds of the scam who have been insisting on his continuous confinement in order to evade the Senate."

She added that nothing bars the Senate sergeant-at-arms from bringing Bolante to the Senate next week to face the inquiry.

"Instead of the Senate doctors going to St. Luke's, why can't Joc Joc request his doctors to routinely check his condition at the Senate and at the hearing itself?" she asked.

"The Blue Ribbon Committee has already taken the prerogative of scheduling a public hearing, moto proprio, while the committee chair has taken the position that the case remains unclosed without Bolante's testimony. I hope my colleagues would respect that," added the lady senator on the question of whether the arrest warrant issued in the 13th Congress remains valid.

At the same time, Cayetano said it was easy to see through the move by Bolante's lawyers this morning to withdraw from the Supreme Court his petition for a temporary restraining order on the Senate arrest warrant.

"It's just a ploy for filing a new case, this time for a writ of habeas corpus at the Court of Appeals, so as not to be accused of forum shopping."

"Bolante is exhausting all legal means to prevent himself from appearing in the Senate. The public should be alerted on his real intention," she concluded.

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