Chasing Bolante

(Video taken by Arbet Bernardo)

After a gathering of bloggers, together with [email protected], BrinkNotes, and Billycoy, we decided to check out the action at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The road leading to NAIA Terminal I was lined on either side with vehicles and there was traffic on the ramp going up to the terminal. So we went straight then made a U-Turn and proceeded away from the vicinity of the airport. At that time AM Radio was reporting that Joc-Joc Bolante had been brought out of the Northwest Orient Airlines flight he’d been on, in a wheelchair.

You could hear the pandemonium at the airport and then, within a few minutes, the reporters breathlessly announced that he’d been placed in an ambulance and that ambulance was leaving, probably bound for St. Luke’s Hospital in Quezon City. By this time, we’d gone past NAIA Terminal III, around the rotunda, and were headed to Edsa; more or less at this point, we encountered the ambulance, escorted by motorcycle cops, a PNP car, and a horde of media vehicles, zooming down the opposite lane.

We went on to Edsa, headed to Makati; the radio reported that the convoy had gone into Fort Bonifaco, then ended up on the Skyway, then turned onto Edsa. By this time we, too, were on Edsa, having gone through the tunnel, and we were in the vicinity of the Rockwell exit when we heard that Bolante’s convoy had just gone through the tunnel, too. I pulled over, turned on my hazard lights, and decided to intercept the convoy.


In a few minutes we saw the flashing lights of the ambulance and soon enough, a motorcycle cop heralded the arrival of the rest of the convoy. Then, a police car.

From that moment on, we became part of the convoy and, for a time, managed to keep apace with the ambulance itself.




Despite what seemed attempts by the police to shake off the media vehicles, we managed to keep up with the convoy as it zoomed down Edsa, at one point seemingly poised to go up the Greenhills flyover, then indicating it would enter Camp Aguinaldo or go down Santolan and then enter Camp Crame, and then trying to leave the media vehicles behind by squeezing through one of the Cubao lanes and then abruptly turning on to P. Tuazon and then ending up on E. Rodriguez, the street of St. Luke’s.

The YouTube video above, taken by [email protected] as I was driving, chronicles the last few minutes of the chase, and the removal of Bolante from the ambulance and into St. Luke’s, the President’s hospital of choice. He hopped out of the car and got a fine video of Bolante being brought out of the ambulance, all I managed, from the driver’s seat, was to take some snaps:



The corpus delicti.



AM reporters said that as Bolante was wheeled out of the plane, he was clutching his chest, first with one hand, then the other, obviously demonstrating that he was experiencing some discomfort. What I found odd both from the reports and from seeing him brought out of the ambulance on a stretcher, is that the medics (if there were any on the ambulance) never even bothered to administer oxygen to Bolante, which is an elementary precaution taken in such situations when the patient may be experiencing heart problems.

As it turned out, the Manila International Airport Authority, together with the National Bureau of Investigation, were able to scramble an ambulance, an escort, and whisk Bolante away, with some pretty good chances along the way to either bring him to government facilities (the Philippine Air Force HQ, then various camps), or pull some other switcheroo if they’d managed to shake off the media vehicles. Even if that wasn’t there intention, the operation brought him to a private hospital where access to him could be controlled, and while Bolante’s being guarded by a security detail from the Senate sergeant-at-arms, he is under the authority of his doctors who can delay his being handed over to the Senate.

There is adequate time and opportunity for the Palace to be reassured he will toe the party line.

See Et Cetera Et Cetera for a parallel account of the car chase, as well as a sober appreciation of the dilemma presented by Bolante’s return.

(the rest of my Chasing Bolante pictures are on Flickr). See Bolante in Senate custody at hospital: Will answer charges in proper forum–statement.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

46 thoughts on “Chasing Bolante

  1. Manolo, I was watching the ANC coverage and Joc-joc looked very well as he was walking out the plane. Medyo maangas pa nga ang mukha e. So I found it amusing that after the tube, he was shown in a wheelchair already, his right on his left breast, then at St. Luke’s being wheeled out in a stretcher…but no oxygen mask!

    While Joc-joc does suffer from hypertension, I don’t believe for one minute that he was actually in pain tonight. He was his usual ma-drama self. OA talaga.

  2. Marami lang talagang malingerer na officiales at mga generals (remember him, he was confined in UST?).

    Let’s wait for Santiago, let’s see if she could grill Bolante and do the “Euro General Interrogation”.

  3. Now that is what I call… A Political Blogger with Passion. We need more people like you. Talo pa ang Kapuso and Kapamilya sa pagka intense ng coverage. Good Job!

  4. It is a big joke. The script is very well executed – quick exit and protection by health reason.

    I remember the inJustice secretary was also feigning health problem just to have breathing space in the senate investigation.

    Very well done, Manolo.

  5. This takes away the “banana award” from norbertito…

    The escape literally pains everyone’s heart. Let’s see if the gastroenterologist of a gloria-doctor would make another stunning cardiologic diagnosis.

    …Mum is the word…I tell you…

  6. So in other words, you acted as guardians of public interest?

    Who was driving though? Did you intentionally yield to GMA and that radio station vehicle?

  7. We went on to Edsa, headed to Makati; the radio reported that the convoy had gone into Fort Bonifaco, then ended up on the Skyway, then turned onto Edsa. By this time we, too, were on Edsa, having gone through the tunnel, and we were in the vicinity of the Rockwell exit when we heard that Bolante’s convoy had just gone through the tunnel, too. I pulled over, turned on my hazard lights, and decided to intercept the convoy.

    I find this weird. They probably went off of the Villamor AFB ramp in SLEX, then went on the lower lane of the SLEX, not the Skyway, as there’s no entry point to the Skyway at Villamor yet, until the interchange there is completed. Neither did they enter Fort Bonfacio, although at several points of the trip it would’ve looked like they were going there, since there’s no way to enter the Ayala tunnel from Fort Bonifacio either. From SLEX they probably went up the Magallanes Interchange towards EDSA northbound, where they went down the tunnel, and the rest is history.

  8. Kudos to you, Manolo, and to Arbet and Jeric as well. We were following your chronicles online as you were chasing the convoy down. Your observations are very astute. No oxygen mask? That should have been SOP for someone “clutching his chest”! Looks like the drama did not pass muster!

  9. I was late for work today because Roxas was blocked off waiting for some ominous, escorted black limosines to roll by. I wonder if they were going to St. Luke’s 🙂

  10. This is a great example of journalism and news on the cheap… NO COMMERCIALS. No talking heads. However I still miss the pretty talking heads and the sometimes shrill excited voice of Karen Davila. Dumb but gorgeous. That is still ok by me.

    Rciky Carandang will now be preparing for his exclusive with the guy most probably arranged by a high powered PR group.

    Time for Carandang to strike gold while it is still hot. It will be interesting to see which news correspondent gets first crack. Big bucks involved for sure..

  11. The joke already popped two baby aspirins to prevent heart attack progression. Then he had stomach pains because of the aspirin resulting in acid reflux symptoms. Though antacids and anti-ulcer drugs came in handy while in the Emergency van they haven’t worked yet. Notice the hand-clutch on his chest/stomach area as he is carried towards the hospital lobby?

    No need for oxygen and even cardiac monitor (electrocardiogram) while in transit to St. Luke’s. The parangmedics at the airport and van were very well trained in this kind of situation…anticipation of impending doom, the wheel chair and all…even the room reservation @ gloria’s hospital-of-choice (bumping off patients already at the ER waiting for room availability).

    Now, the doctors are in the quandary as to where the pain came from. He was tested normal on physical examination. Lab tests and imaging studies still being done. Gastroenterology or Cardiology?

    Maybe it’s really a case of Urology…oops, ULOLogy pala…as in…”pang-uulol na naman sa bayan!!!

  12. I expected a Hollywood production, with good special effects….and the Paris Hilton style photogs in tow….with Jocjoc’s family crying dahil ‘naghihingalo na si itay..” on the sidelines.

    Pero wa.

    Napaka-hindi convincing ng acting. Kelangan niyang magworkshop sa ABS-CBN talent centre.

  13. This another opportunity for many “more, I’m on your side madam” to make some extra dough for Christmas, including the Good doctors of St. Lukes maybe?

  14. News Flash

    Omar Epps and Hugh Laurie spotted at NAIA.

    Mukhang, joc joc will be guesting in the new episode of House….this should be a mystery disease that needs 2 episodes to solve…

  15. Nice camera work. Both video and still shots. You guys were so close that if you were the bad guys Jocjoc could have ended in the St’ Lukes morgue.

  16. You fellas are noble “Ambulance Chasers.” Usually these would be lawyers and funeral agents soliciting business in an accident. LOL

  17. Dios mio cvj, ano pa ba naman ang ini-nip/tuck sa mukha ni jocjoc?

    Incidentally, baka naman nasobrahan lang siya ng botox (courtesy of all that fertiliser money he stole on behalf of ma’am) kaya he cannot show the pain that he is actually experiencing.

  18. “But a hospital billing statement shown to some reporters revealed that Bolante underwent blood tests and 2D Echo with doppler, among others. The document also showed Bolante took Benadryl and Isotonic NACL.

    Bolante’s medical bill has reached P68,872 since his confinement late Tuesday night but that he was given a discount of P13,774.40, according to the billing statement.”

    Ang galeng! Benadryl at Gatorade lang pala ang katumbas. Endurance athlete pala si jocjoc na may ubo…

    Atsaka, taga naman yang medical bill na yan.

  19. My unsolicited advice to Joke Bola…start perfecting your love songs. The interrogators in the Senate are closing in.How about “I Started a Joke”?

  20. Taga nga pala sa St. Lukes. Ano daw? Echo, a 15 min test at ibang lab kasama yung Benadryl at tubig na may asin inabot na ng P70K? Ano ‘yan ginto”t pilak na namumulaklak?

  21. I just hope the nurses and orderlies are paid well.

    Ako rin, I cannot make out what that money covers. He has been in there for how long? Less than 48 hours?

    Jocjoc should just have stayed in a hotel.

  22. few texts here and there with my doctor-friends revealed:

    benadryl* is used for its profound side effect…drowsiness.

    carotid and TCD test* rule in or out the possibility of a stroke.

    i should say…

    after the theatrics and the ambolante chase, the joke, as amateur as he portrayed himself to be, needed a good night’s rest.

    the whole scenario laid out a plan done in haste and not even close to a masterstroke.

    however, the joke‘s joke is on us and he was ecstatic and hysterical in his hospital bed. it is widely believed in doctors’ circle that the adage “laughter is the best medicine” really works. it’s small wonder the joke‘s attending doctor hasn’t given a diagnosis yet.

    probably because “malingering” would not be good on a hospital record that could be summoned to court.

    *as enumerated in

  23. Political tacticians and crisis strategists are now working on their story lines with prepared talking points for the assault on the truth of what really happened.

    There is a lot of script writing for this play going on to include the government agencies that will be involved in this opera.

    Senator Peter “soundbite” Cayetano together with Senator Cheezy Escudero are all getting ready to play their part too.

    This kind of media event which has become par for the course of this present administration will help many senatorial aspirants or those seeking higher office.

    Manny Villar could very well grab the limelight on this one to project himself for the run for the crown. Timing is perfect.

    My advice to Mar is to let Korina use her media platform for herself. She would beat Loren hands down…

  24. Political tacticians and crisis strategists are now working on their story lines with prepared talking points for the assault on the truth of what really happened.

    There is a lot of script writing for this play going on to include the government agencies that will be involved in this opera.

    Another circus to feed to the masses upon which politicians can make their “product placements”. 😀

  25. Expect the Three Muskeeters of the Senate to be at the vanguard defending the palace forts when Joke-Joke Bolante starts his squirms on the senate floor.

  26. Then the Muskeeter’s men in this blog start pounding their keyboard to malign their hapless brothers here who merely want reform in the present government:0.

  27. Hugh Laurie and cast of House are actively supporting the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and its work in education, support, and advocacy for individuals and families affected by mental illness. Do you think they visit because of mental issues in Pinas?

  28. Im gay but Im not really rooting for gay marraige. I have nothing against it too. It doesn’t really matter much to me if some gay wants to get married or not for as long as legal rights is there. Yeah I think Im stsill conservative in some ways.

    But what I dont understand is that why the war between the pro and anti gay marraige. Gay marraiage is for gays. Straights has no business with it they should just mind their own marraige.

    come to think of it, Massachusetts and Connecticut legalized gay marraige. May nangyayari bang masama sa kanila did thier state deaterriorated for doing that? Sa pagkakalam ko wala naman eh.

    Sus ginoo, why should straights waste their time, money, effort energy etc etc for this issues?

  29. Obamas tax palan has been wildy argued in the other thrad before the election and heres teh transcript of the first press breifing by President elect Barrack Obama.

    I thought, Leyetenean and Dododng really got it soooo wrong. Obama tax palan is really for teh upliftment of the middle class and for job creation . And not the way Leyeteanean and Dodong feared.

    BTW, the exit poll president by NBC, showed that majority of teh voters with income of 200.000 or more still voted for Obama.

    Heres the transcript:

    Question: Mr. President-elect, do you still intend to seek income tax increases for upper-income Americans? And if so, should these Americans expect to pay higher taxes in 2009?

    Obama: The — my tax plan represented a net tax cut. It provided for substantial middle-class tax cuts; 95 percent of working Americans would receive them.

    It also provided for cuts in capital gains for small businesses, additional tax credits. All of it is designed for job growth.

    My priority is going to be, how do we grow the economy? How do we create more jobs?

    I think that the plan that we’ve put forward is the right one, but, obviously, over the next several weeks and months, we’re going to be continuing to take a look at the data and see what’s taking place in the economy as a whole.

    But, understand, the goal of my plan is to provide tax relief to families that are struggling, but also to boost the capacity of the economy to grow from the bottom up.

  30. Sometimes I cannot understand, Why the people of Asian countries do not give value to other’s life. Due to the negligence of medical staff, people dies. Medical treatment is for every people and it should not be biased by good people or bad people.

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