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Joc Joc Bolante Lays Down His Terms

November 10, 2008

Alleged fertilizer fund scam ‘architect’ Jocelyn ‘Joc Joc’ Bolante has until today, the 10th of November, to give the Office of the Ombudsman his counter affidavit on the long pending graft charges against him.

It’s probable that the affidavit has already been prepared and sent by snail (regular) mail.

But ahead of any official word from the Ombudsman, there have been broad hints since his arrival last October 28 of what the left and right margins of Joc Joc’s his reply might be:

Bolante might invoke “executive privilege” since the matters under question involve his stay in government as undersecretary.

On the other extreme, Bolante may assert that “the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction” over him since he is now a private citizen.

Then there is also his health, with no word how much longer his ‘confinement’ at St. Luke’s Medical Center will drag on.

Over the weekend, as it is being reported now by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the former prominent Rotarian sent text messages to friends laying down his terms for appearing before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

Bolante says he will only go there of his own free will and won’t let politicians manipulate him:bolante-terms-quote1

So the central figure in the anomaly that defrauded Filipino farmers of P 728-M in assistance has put his fate in the hands of the Supreme Court.

Bolante is obviously betting that the high tribunal will rule in his favor on the matter of the validity of the arrest warrant based on the supposed completion in 2005 of the Senate agriculture committee probe as claimed by Senator Edgardo Angara.

Mr. Bolante has not yet formally pulled out the executive privilege card but is likely to deal it soon enough, taking inspiration from Romulo Neri.

There you have it.

Update: There’s late-breaking word this Monday evening that if Bolante is discxharge from the hospital on Thursday at the latest he could face the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

This assumes no other dynamic will affect his avowed readiness to talk.

Whether Joc Joc will regain a measure of public respect and credibility hinges on how he plays the game in the next 72 hours.

Let’s not get our hopes up too much just ye,t in the same way that we await how the Office of the Ombudsman will conduct itself in its revalidation of the graft complaint againt Bolante.

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