4 December 2008 – Thursday
KIKO TO OMBUDSMAN: FILE PLUNDER VERSUS BOLANTE NOW
Independent senator Kiko Pangilinan today challenged the Ombudsman to file a plunder case against former Agriculture Undersecretary and so-called architect for the Fertilizer scam Jocelyn “JocJoc” Bolante.
“The investigations in aid of legislation both in the Senate and in the House of Representatives have yielded enough evidence that Bolante committed technical malversation of funds when he distributed P100M to other entities after 23 of the 181 beneficiaries decided to give up their allocation. As the so-called Protector of the People, what has the Ombudsman done to defend the interest of the public in this multi-million peso scandal? What is the status of its parliamentary investigation on the case?” Kiko asked.
The Ombudsman has yet to reach a conclusion on its preliminary investigation of the projects supposedly intended to assist farmers but which admin critics say ended up with the diversion of the P728M Fertilizer Fund to the 2004 campaign kitty of President Arroyo.
“The crime of plunder clearly qualifies a public officer who has amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth through a combination or a series of misappropriation, conversion misuse or malversation of public funds or raids on the public treasury. We have very good reason to believe that Bolante did not dispose of the P728M in one fell swoop. The Office of the Ombudsman should disclose to the public the result of its investigation and report to the public its plan about the Fertilizer Fund Scam,” Kiko added.
“How the Ombudsman will handle this case is crucial because all eyes are on the agency. It needs to prove its independence, it needs to prove its resolve to stop corruption in the country, and it needs to prove it will waste no time to prosecute the guilty. The longer the Fertilizer Scam sits on the Ombudsman’s desk, the heavier the burden for the agency,” Kiko ended. ###