Press Release
April 20, 2010


Liberal Party (LP) President and vice-presidential race frontrunner Senator Mar Roxas today assailed former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn "Jocjoc" Bolante, architect of the P729.48 million fertilizer fund scam, for continuing to believe that Filipinos do not consider him as a thief.

He said the findings of and testimonies of those involved and the beneficiaries themselves before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee that investigated the fund diversion clearly showed Bolante masterminded, designed and supervised the diversion and use of the P728-million fertilizer fund in 2004 for the campaign of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Roxas condemned Bolante's blatant attempt to deny culpability in the fund diversion scam and to cover up his criminal and civil liabilities by seeking a political post in the coming elections brings to mind "a thief caught with his hands in the tiller who shouts 'I'm not stealing anything! Inutusan lang ako! (I'm just following orders)."

"Nababaliw na siya (He has become crazy). He can pretend to himself he did nothing wrong, but no decent-minded Filipino ever believed him," Roxas said. "That's why voters must not vote for Bolante and those who help him."

The LP vice-presidential bet said Bolante should be prosecuted for orchestrating the multimillion-peso scandal.

"Just wait a few more weeks and we will call your dare," Roxas said in response to Bolante's challenge for his accusers to file a case against him before the courts.

Roxas pointed out that Senate investigation unearthed proof that Bolante diverted part of the P728-million to his own bank account, which was frozen by the court but later freed after a snafu committed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council that Roxas and other senators suspect as deliberate on its part so Bolante could go scot-free.

Bolante, a gubernatorial candidate in Capiz under a local party affiliated with Senator Manny Villar's Nacionalista Party, accused in a recent news report Roxas and LP local bets of engaging in "dirty politics" in criticizing his role in the fertilizer fund scam, adding that Roxas was present only during the first hearing of the Senate panel.

Roxas said Bolante added only more lies to his record as he pointed out he filed two resolutions that became basis for the Senate investigation of the fertilizer fund scam.

"He and his friends in this administration are the only ones who believe that he is innocent. He should explain to the people why, if he was not guilty, did he escape from several Senate subpoenas using flimsy excuses and chose to stay in jail for two years in the US rather than the comfortable life he used to enjoy in the Philippines before he was recruited to front for the President and the First Gentleman," Roxas pointed out.

The 150-page Senate Blue Ribbon Committee report that was forwarded to the Ombudsman recommended the filing of plunder, technical malversation, money laundering, false testimony and perjury against Bolante, who even sought political asylum in the United States just to evade the Senate's summonses. The US denied the asylum petition and deported him back to answer the charges.

It just so happened that the Ombudsman would not act on the Senate recommendation because the occupant of the position is a classmate of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, who was Bolante's benefactor in the Arroyo Administration, Roxas said.

"'Jocjoc Bolante' is now synonymous with anomalies, scams and bad governance. 'He can't change the truth. He is the icon of the evils in government that Noynoy (Aquino) and I have sworn to eradicate," he added.

The fertilizer scam was first exposed in 2004 by Marlene Esperat, who was subsequently murdered for the exposè.

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