As expected, former Department of Agriculture Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante denied all irregularities and criminal acts in the 2004 PhP 780 million Fertilizer Fund scam, even as he denied any participation of Malacañang in the releases of the Fund. As expected, nobody believed him.
What happened was that it brought the Arroyo administration front and center in the political struggle currently going on right now. Bolante’s signal service to the opposition was to defend the indefensible, opening the way to a whole series of further Congressional hearings that can only damage his cause and that of his principals. In an impeachment scenario–with a lameduck presidency–the stage is now set for turning on the screw on the GMA presidency.
Bolante may have taken the path of lies, but it does not diminish his future testimonies; they would be valuable to highlight the other, direct testimonies before and after his own. The gravity of the scam–and the political struggle around it–is being underscored by the real threats to lives of various witnesses, including Bolante’s own.
Events are still unfolding…