IT is not likely that Jocelyn ‘Joc-Joc’ Bolante will be arrested by government agents when he finally arrives in the country anytime this week after being deported from the U.S. (Some reports expect his arrival tomorrow at around 11 p.m. aboard a Northwest Airlines flight from Nagoya, Japan.)

Jocelyn 'Joc-joc' Bolante [photo courtesy of Rotary website]This is because, no thanks to the Office of the Ombudsman, no case has yet to be filed against Bolante two and a half years after a Senate investigation found him to have masterminded the P728-million fertilizer fund scam, allegedly diverting the amount to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s presidential campaign in 2004.

Citing this reason, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez already declared last week that Bolante, a close confidante of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, is a “free man” as he won’t be facing arrest upon his return.

Only the Senate, through its sergeant-at-arms, is left to effect an arrest, although there are contentions being raised whether the warrant it issued against the former agriculture undersecretary on December 12, 2005 for refusing to appear before its hearings remains enforceable to this day. Bolante’s lawyer has in fact elevated the matter before the Supreme Court.

Insisting on its validity, Senate President Manuel Villar has recently instructed Gen. Jose Balajadia Jr., the upper chamber’s sergeant-at-arms, to implement the arrest order in anticipation of Bolante’s arrival tomorrow.

Lawyer Harry Roque, who had worked in the sidelines for Bolante’s deportation, maintains as well that the order of arrest was for contempt of the Senate as an institution and not pursuant to an arrest warrant issued by a judge.

“It matters not thus that the personalities that signed the order of arrest are no longer in the Senate,” said Roque. “It was the institution that was aggrieved and this fact alone should be a legal reason for the Senate’s Sergeant-at-Arms to proceed to arrest Bolante and to bring him to the Senate for the purpose of compelling himto testify in what the Senate has described as an’unfinished investigation’ until Bolante, the ‘architect of the scam,’ could be heard.”

Arrest or no arrest, Bolante, now that he is coming home, should however be made to answer the damning accusations against him in the report of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and Committee on Agriculture on the fertilizer fund scam.

Read the Senate report here.

As a review, below are the main findings in the Senate’s 41-page report to illustrate why Bolante is the Senate’s “most wanted” man:

Ten Reasons Why the Fertilizer Issue is a Scam

  • First, the Farm Inputs and Implements Program was non-existent. Nobody in the Department of Agriculture was aware of its existence. Not a single document in the files of the DA supported its existence.
  • Second, the fertilizer fund was a single appropriation meant only for 2004. Its implementation in 2004 during the months of the election season is an indication of its intended purpose and illicit objective.
  • Third, the design and implementation of the fertilizer fund scam manifested the height of scandalous corruption — gross overpricing of fertilizers range from almost 700 to 1,250 percent. Towable shredders and chippers were overpriced by as much as 331 percent while small shredders and chippers, by 206 percent.
  • Fourth, the fertilizer fund was released in the months of February to May, the traditional harvest season in the country when fertilizers are not in use. The planting season begins only in November.
  • Fifth, the fertilizer fund scam is haunted by ghost and questionable suppliers and deliveries. For instance, the registered business address of AKAME Marketing, the identified supplier of a substantial number of transactions in the P728-million fertilizer fund, could not be located. There were no documents to prove that Castle Rock Construction, which was awarded with multiple contracts, can engage or do business related to the trading of fertilizers. FESHAN Philippines, Inc., one of the largest suppliers, was originally a medical supplier that started to supply fertilizer only in 2004, its office address also non-existent.
  • Sixth, there was gross disproportion between what was needed by the farmers and wasteful utilization of the farmers’ fund as shown by a document identifying the fertilizer requirements for 2003 submitted by Frisco Malabanan, GMA Rice Program director. The amount needed was only P28.613 million for the entire country compared to P2.806 billion released for 2004.
  • Seventh, liquid foliar fertilizer, which is appropriate for ornamental plants, was supplied. Rice requires solid fertilizers which include urea, ammonium sulfate, ammophos, complete fertilizers, and muriate of potash, depending on the situation of the soil.
  • Eighth, there was “double corruption” in that the wrong and overpriced kind of fertilizer for rice was even diluted with water.
  • Ninth, Bolante cunningly, wittingly listed 105 congressmen, 53 governors and 23 mayors to justify the immediately release of the fund, specifying uniform amounts, regardless of which congressional districts or local government units the proponents represent, whether these were rice or corn-producing LGUs or not. Bolante even listed proponents from Metro Manila where farms are non-existent.
  • Tenth, Bolante made the list attractive by including a number of politicians as proponents. In truth, however, their names were just used to lend credence to the project.


Having established strong probable criminal culpability, the Senate committees recommended the filing of criminal and administrative charges against the following DA officials:

  • Bolante
  • Secretary Luis Lorenzo
  • Undersecretary Ibarra Poliquit
  • Undersecretary Belinda Gonzales
  • Assistant Secretary Jose Felix Montes

All five top officials, as well as all DA regional directors who “participated in the illegal transactions or dissipation of the P728-million fertilizer fund scam,” were recommended charged with violations of the Plunder Law and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

It was also recommended that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo be held accountable for the “mismanagement of the fertilizer fund.” The report further said:

It bears knowing that a number of testimonies adduced during the hearings were that the fund was indeed used to assure her victory in the 2004 elections. Statements of lawyer Francisco Chavez, the various farmer organizations led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, and the positive declaration of Secretary Emilia Boncodin that the President may have knowledge on the Bolante requests for fertilizer funds stand and remain uncontested in the legislative records.

Cognizant of the presidential immunity and respect accorded to the Chief Executive, the accusations against her in the fertilizer fund scam is (sic) so serious that it places (sic) the position of the Presidency in the balance. The Palace looks at the issue as a mere political tool. Its refusal to cooperate violates the spirit of democracy, promotes tyranny and breeds the ground for instability it has in fact stirred. Failure to disprove the charges, even resorting to shield those directly responsible for squandering taxpayers’ money, suggest her culpability and involvement in this unforgivable act made against our poor farmers. Her obvious indifference to examine the matter further and identify the irregularities surrounding the disbursement of the farmers’ fund is equivalent to breach of official duty by nonfeasance and inexcusable negligence of sworn obligation. In sum, the same may be labeled as betrayal of public trust in addition to the violations committed under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Law on Plunder.

In the fertilizer fund scam, Undersecretary Bolante is the declared architect. He designed it. He was its brains. It was he who worked with the DBM for the immediate release of the fund. It was him who prepared and submitted names who would become the fertilizer fund’s proponents. It was Undersecretary Bolante who sent letters to various congressmen and local officials informing them of the availability of funds under the DA’s GMA Project. It was him who directed these officials to coordinate with his office to discuss all the requirements to facilitate the said project fund.

Undersecretary Bolante in the words of his then Chief of Staff, Ibarra Poliquit, had a hand in determining how the GMA Project fund works and will be spent. And that although the DA has a list of officials whose proposed projects” were to be funded by the fertilizer fund, Bolante was given the authority to drop them and replace them with others.

4 Responses to Welcome home, Joc-Joc


Philippinen » Blog Archive » Festnahme nach 228 Mio Peso Betrug

October 29th, 2008 at 5:45 am

[…] Links zum Thema: SunStar zur Festnahme, PCIJ org Bericht von 2005, PCIJ org. Welcome back Joc-Joc […]



November 14th, 2008 at 5:17 pm

Lessons from Senate inquiry

The first round of Senate inquiry over so-called fertilizer scam from its suspected chief architect, Joc Joc Bolante that took a punishing 10-hour period on national TV in a question and answer format that in the end yielded no concrete evidence than mere presumptive facts leaves nothing more to the imagination. Even if a second round ought to be undertaken up to the point all senators would have been exasperated in having to ask further questions from an individual who indicatively follows a script or either evades a question by feigning non-remembrance or non-involvement, still the whole useless exercise is akin to extracting oil from the ocean floor. In other words, Joc Joc has ready answers to questions that seemingly appear as calculated not really to ferret out the truth any more than to simply satisfy the requirement of a mere inquisitorial ritual. In the end, the Senate hearing failed to prove that in a scam of such gravity and magnitude, it is the single ultimate way that would separate the chaff from the grain except it did not.

In this Senate inquiry albeit generally baloney, few lessons may be drawn. First, the Presidential Management Staff or search committee of Malacanang recruits individuals based on merit system that the appointee does not have to have a backer like a First Gentleman or any fellow Rotarian. Second, a public official in the rank of an undersecretary enjoys full fiscal autonomy over a P730 million fund as to even necessitate the go-signal of the President – be that a delegated power or otherwise – to disburse such public money based on terms of reference known only to him. Third, one can grab appointment as undersecretary in the Department of Agriculture even without any professional or academic background in agri-related fields of specialty provided you are a president of an insurance company. Fourth, as undersecretary, one can spend most of his time in personal commitments abroad thereby exempting him from any responsibility resulting from such leave or absence with pay.

Fifth, it is the duty of a public official especially of an undersecretary for finance to serve as kamikaze when the president is under siege for perceived scams or payolas. Sixth, it is impossible for a Joc Joc to do a Lozada but not vice versa. Seventh, the name Joc Joc Bolante should rather read other way since he appears like a worm that can wiggle his way and bury itself in mud without feeling shame. Eight, the minimum requirement for a response to an invitation, subpoena or warrant by the Senate is at least a period of 3 to 4 years without being cited in contempt. Ninth, an undersecretary or even perhaps a full-fledged cabinet secretary does not have to know who Rep. Jose De Venecia, Jr. is in our national life even as any ordinary mortal knows he is the only congressman who has held the speakership for the fifth time and lesser ones like Augusto Syjuco, head of TESDA and Marcelino Libanan, head of the Bureau of Immigration, to name more. Tenth, the hospital where Joc Joc sought treatment should have more correctly diagnosed him for amnesia rather than for ulcer or fluctuating hypertension, if there is such a thing.

Eleventh, Joc Joc has only proven that 3 to 4 years are long enough time to forget all about what he did at DA as undersecretary. Twelfth, the concepts used in bureaucratic parlance such as – activity, project, program – in the end for Joc Joc mean one and the same thing and can be used interchangeably when in truth, each term carries another meaning from the rest. Thirteenth, it is normal in the bureaucracy to resign one’s post as undersecretary but effective after three or more months ahead, at least to fix all loose ends that might indicatively involve the President. Fourteenth, every public fund appropriated for subsequent release follows the profit sharing scheme of 25% for Bolante, 20% for the supplier and 30% for the proponent (governor, mayor, congressman) which made lady Miriam shake his head in utter disbelief.

Fifteenth, to approve fund requests for farm inputs or farm implements to a governor, to a congressman, and to an x number of mayors within the same geo-political territory does not at all speak of patronage politics nor of double funding as the good Pia Cayetano tries to argue with Joc Joc. Sixteenth, it is the Senate’s fault altogether for sending the invitation to a resource person like Joc Joc in a Senate investigation the very same day such public hearing is scheduled thus making it impossible to oblige. Seventeenth, in order that a resource person will appear before the Senate to testify, there shall not be any prior announcement all over media that a bounty has been offered. Eighteenth, the set of words or phrases like – ‘I don’t know him (JDV)’, ‘I can’t remember’, ‘… my belief’, ‘I apologize your Honors’, ‘I didn’t bring out records of DA’, ‘not a single centavo goes to the congressmen’, ‘… in the focal list’, ‘funds in the regular budget do not need the approval of the President’, et cetera et cetera – are variations in a thematic act of lying. Nineteenth, sporting white hair, getting thin, or malingering ill but not quite than last seen in public provides soothing effect to Joc Joc who is supposed to have earned the ire of senators.

Twentieth, to survive the ordeal of an uncharacteristically friendly Senate inquiry, Joc Joc only has to confront questions with his own indeterminate answers based on what he recalls or remembers in a never arrogant nor abrasive but low key fashion without looking even remotely intimidated.

Given all conclusions we can deduce from this whole exercise, we can only say that nothing in the facts or circumstances he testified to can really be taken against him precisely because to begin with, not one senator has really asked the more important questions that would have pressed Joc Joc to elicit more relevant and substantive revelations. At the very least, there was not an instance where Joc Joc must have been required to show proof, evidence, fact, or testimony that can pass scrutiny – not a single one. It was not a grilling session altogether but a remarkably cordial, friendly, courteous and sweet process of just getting interviewed before that Senate panel.

Where signs indicate, the poverty of any kind of Senate inquiry leaves nothing more to be desired. We all know that at the end of the day, when every senator would have been asked to vote whether or not Joc Joc should be found guilty of malversation of public funds, perjury, plunder or whatever, the votes will point to Joc Joc’s way out of the crimes imputed to him. It is grossly injurious to all taxpayers to realize that after all is said and done, Joc Joc will come out of the supposed-to-be torture chamber with the verdict that no penalty can ever be applied to him due largely to the fact that case building has not been pushed hard enough to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. RP is doomed!

UP Diliman, Quezon City (Email to:


nosi balasi

November 18th, 2008 at 2:12 pm

yes nielsky…RP is doomed by the Legions of Doom… :)…Joc-joc looked so stressed in his new outlook with gray hair….poor Joc-Joc…kumbaga…ginisang bagoong!


The Daily PCIJ » Blog Archive » So much for delicadeza

November 30th, 2008 at 4:05 pm

[…] nosi balasi: yes nielsky…RP is doomed by the Legions of Doom… :)…Joc-joc looked so stressed in his new outlook… […]

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