Press Release
November 10, 2008


Following today's Senate caucus on the Fertilizer Scam controversy and an announcement that embattled former Agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn "JocJoc" Bolante can leave the Saint Luke's Medical Center, Senate Majority Leader and Chair of the Senate Committee on Rules Kiko Pangilinan today asserted that the arrest order issued during the 13th Congress against Bolante is still valid and that he will remain under the Senate custody.

"The contempt order and the order of arrest against Bolante were made and issued by the Senate, itself being a continuing body, by a majority of twenty-one members. Co-extensive with the legislative branch's power to investigate is the power to compel the attendance of witnesses in investigations and to commit for contempt for their refusal to testify. The warrant of arrest against him, therefore, remains enforced as he continues to defy facing the Senate investigation. Bolante will remain under the Senate custody until he reveals to the public the truth behind the Fertilizer Scam," Kiko said.

Six of the nine members attended the closed-door meeting of the Committee on Rules, which discussed the Senate's treatment on the controversy involving former Agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn "JocJoc" Bolante. Believed to be the main architect of the P728 million Fertilizer scam that allegedly went to the administration's campaign fund during the 2004 elections, Bolante evaded facing the Senate investigation and warrant of arrest by fleeing to the United States. He was deported back to the Philippines, and is currently at the Saint Luke's Medical Center, where he was confined right after landing at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

"We also agreed to refer to the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee the proposal to reinvestigate the Fertilizer Scam, which in turn scheduled a hearing later this week. In a word, there will be no let up on the part of the Senate to get to the bottom of this multi-million peso anomaly," Kiko ended.

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