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Was Fertilizer Fund Scam A ‘Syndicate-Operated’ Anomaly?

November 14, 2008

bolante-testimony-quote

Malacanang is applauding his nearly 9-hour long performance before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

Why not when right in his opening statement the former powerful and, apparently still moneyed, former undersecretary and ‘respected’ Rotarian cleared President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of involvement in the P728-M anomaly which the sebators creatively tagged as “Grand Theft Agri”?

But wait, thanks to Senator Pia Cayetano, the committee’s attention was twitted when Bolante volunteered that “up to 91% of the fund disbursements, all covered by MoAs which the proponent congressmen and local officials, have been properly liquidated.”

The good senator asked Bolante how he knew of the “latest information” while he has just recently returned from 2 and 1/2 years in the US.

Reminded that he was still under oath to “tell the truth and nothing but the truth,” Bolante tried to clarify that the information was only verbally relayed to him by his friend, former assistant secretary Montesa, who when asked by Cayatano said the liquidation status was relayed to him by phone by one of the incumbent undersecretaries.

So while he resigned from government in 2004, Bolante’s network is the ‘DA’ is well intact.

Another Bolante remark that may prove to be revealing is his claim that he only “downloaded” the monies to regional field units with the programs, including the procurement of fertilizers handled by the project proponents with the ‘DA’ undersecretary for operations and regional directors the ones “implementing the (fertilizer fund) program and not me.”

By making such a statement under oath, Bolante tried to wash his hands of any culpable role in the anomaly but has he not implicated the entire Department of Agriculture machinery?

It now looks like the entire scam, with the overpriced and incorrect (liquid fertilizers for ornamental plants) or ‘ghost-delivered’ fertilizers (sourced from just one or two favored suppliers) was a syndicate-run operation.

This may yet prove to be Bolante’s malaking sablay (major slip-up).

(Cross-posted from FilipinoVoices.com

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