My column today is Bolante’s great escape. For details, check out Newsbreak’s Timeline: Joc-joc Bolante and the Fertilizer Scam and CA upholds decision to freeze Bolante’s bank accounts and the Arroyo Corruption wiki and Rotarians urge Bolante to come out and tell the truth (not to mention Jun Lozada weighing in, too).
The Warrior Lawyer points out that besides Bolante, former Agriculture Secretary Cito Lorenzo has some explaining to do, too.
So tomorrow, Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante’s due to arrive. It seems a caucus of senators, meant to help the Senate President decide whether to instruct the Senate sergeant-at-arms to serve a warrant of arrest on him or not, ended up cancelled.
As it is, former Senators Franklin Drilon, Sergio Osmena III, and Ramon Magsaysay Jr. are holding a press conference, tomorrow, at 2 p.m. at the Club Filipino, to point out that their report did not write finis to the Bolante investigation.
Whoops, hold the presses! Latest (6:42 p.m.) is that Senate President Villar has directed the Senate sergeant-at-arms to serve the warrant of arrest on Bolante upon his arrival. The Drilon-Osmena-Magsaysay press conference has been canceled, as a result…
The scuttlebutt has been plentiful concerning how the Palace will handle the return of the fugitive. Bolante’s lawyer, Tony Zulueta, is supposedly identified with the President’s husband. But you don’t have to believe that to see the fingerprints of the Palace all over the place: what was submitting a motion to the Supreme Court on Office of the Solicitor-General stationery all about?More interesting was scuttlebutt that retired General Palparan was going to be sent to meet and greet Bolante upon his arrival; this has been overtaken by reports that the National Bureau of Investigation will send agents to “meet” Bolante and “escort” him to the NBI or the Bureau of Immigration where he can be “debriefed.” Mixed messages here -is it to help him or keep him on good behavior?- made all the more complicated because Federal officials in the USA won’t just escort Bolante to his Manila-bound flight, but, it seems, accompany him to his destination to make sure he won’t sneak back into America.This means not only will Bolante have to come home, but that the public will know when and where he’s arriving -which makes whisking him away a ticklish thing to accomplish. He just represents an inconvenient truth at this point, much as the Palace thinks it has all its ducks in a row and that it has the political momentum to finally achieve the constitutional amendments it wants.
Blogger Barangay Kidlatan is of the opinion that Bolante and impeachment are related, something others seem to think, too. Of course they are related, but whether the former will actually breathe life into the latter is what seems to me a bit of a stretch.
So I don’t know if I agree with Mon Casiple when he says,
Now, throw Jocjoc Bolante into the brew and a possible insider impeachment witness has appeared on the horizon, in addition to all the others. The impeachment—a quixotic proposition before—suddenly now seems plausible.
It’s like pinning any hopes at all on former Speaker de Venecia’s posturing concerning the impeachment complaint. It’s posturing, calculated on the premise that he’ll never really get called upon to deliver testimony against the President (and knowing too that the Palace won’t be as bold as to actually call his bluff).
The dilemma, it seems to me, for much of officialdom is whether they should make hay while the sun’s still shining, or bite the hand that feeds them in the hope of juicier tidbits from a new dispensation. Those interested in the presidency are more interested in coalition-building and part of their coalitions-to-be would include the dregs of the present dispensation. So they will sniff around for maximum barking time but refrain from any real biting.Yet there are officials aplenty, to my mind, who’ve never had it so good, and so, why not keep the party going?
There are many, many, more in the ranks of officialdom who know they will never be senators, much less presidents, whose ambitions only extend to their little fiefdoms, and if there’s a lightning rod in the presidential palace to distract public attention, so much the better, and why curry favor with a new regime if the old one can be given a new lease on life?But that may be getting too far ahead of the story, unfolding as it is. Bolante’s coming home.Might he not sneak off, if his flight has a stopover somewhere? Who knows.
Senate President Villar is agonizing, apparently, over whether he wants a showdown with the Palace on one hand, or to let sleeping dogs lie and arm his opponents in the upper house with another issue on which to base a plot to unseat him.
The Senate President seems to have realized public interest’s been piqued on this one, and the Senate has to continue what it began.
Everyone in the political class is waiting to see whether the public, once more, growls disapproval or shrugs the whole thing off.
And of course, the best laid plans of mice and men … well, whatever plans have been hatched, there’s always the possibility an underling botches the job, and creates a new P.R. problem.
Meanwhile… For the first time ever, trading was temporarily suspended in the Philippine stock market.Overseas, as the American presidential race enters the home stretch, see the electoral math over at RealClearPolitics and Electoral-vote.com. Democrats agonize over their success, the Republicans form a circular firing squad amidst news of an electoral bloodbath. And, Benjamin Pimentel’s convincing argument of The Philippines as a Red State. Egads.