Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bolante: US using me as pawn to free 4 US Marines

\By Philip Tubeza -- Inquirer

FORMER Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante has accused the US government of using him as a “pawn” to secure the release of four American Marines accused of raping a 23-year-old Filipino woman at the Subic Bay Freeport last year.

To support his contention, Bolante submitted to the Wisconsin district court hearing his habeas corpus petition a copy of an Inquirer report on Sept. 16 on a claim by the alleged rape victim’s mother that the head of the prosecution team had proposed a settlement with the accused Marines.

“Counsels for petitioner have discovered additional information demonstrating that Bolante is likely being used as a political pawn in exchange for the release of certain American citizens held to account for an alleged rape in the Philippines,” Bolante said in a two-page motion dated Sept. 25.

“Bolante seeks to file news articles demonstrating the use of Bolante as a political weapon to further demonstrate that the conflicting reasons provided to Bolante (for the cancellation of his US visa) can only be a pretense and that the visa was improperly revoked,” it added.

The news articles referred to the Inquirer story and another report in the Chinese People’s Daily about the rape case.

Bolante was arrested on July 7 on his arrival in Los Angeles. He was told that his B1/B2 visa had been canceled by the US Embassy in Manila due to an arrest warrant issued by the Philippine Senate after he snubbed its hearings on the alleged P728-million fertilizer fund scam.

The money was said to have been used in President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s election in 2004.

Lawyer H. Harry Roque Jr., who distributed copies of Bolante’s motion in a press conference yesterday, said that Bolante’s allegation could not be dismissed lightly since it was formally filed with a federal court.

“We cannot simply dismiss what they said (in the motion) because of the dire consequences for Bolante and his lawyers. They could face contempt or disbarment,” Roque said.

“It is noteworthy because, for the first time, the allegation that there was a deal between the two governments about this case of Nicole and that of Bolante became part of judicial record,” he said.

Roque pointed out that the motion came with a “certification from counsel” that their allegations were “true to their belief and knowledge.”

“This is a gamble on the part of the lawyers of Joc-joc Bolante. If (US Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice and the other high-ranking American officials get angry and they move that Bolante and his lawyers be cited for contempt, that could possibly happen,” Roque said.

Bolante named Rice, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff as respondents in his habeas corpus petition.

Basis for contempt

“He’s saying that they connived to use his case to free the four soldiers. That by itself, if Condoleezza Rice and the others want it, could be a basis for both contempt and disbarment if it were proven that there was no such deal,” Roque said.

To dispel all doubts, the US Embassy in Manila should intervene in Bolante’s immigration case and have him brought back to the Philippines immediately, he said.

US Ambassador Kristie Kenney and US Legal Attaché Jeffrey Cole should also “make representations” with the Chicago immigration court hearing Bolante’s case to keep its proceedings open to the public, he added.

Roque said that the Chicago court ordered closed-door proceedings after the alleged rape victim’s mother revealed the reported offer by the prosecution team leader.

He said he was bothered by the court order. He said he was asking Kenney and Cole “to make representations to open the proceedings anew to the public because of suspicions that there is a deal in this case.”

Roque said Bolante should be returned to the country now.

Time to return

“The time for due process is already up. Mr. Bolante has been detained there for quite some time now but up to today he has no valid defense on why he entered the US without a valid visa,” Roque said.

He said Bolante could not claim that the cancellation of his visa was illegal since he was given advance notice about the US Embassy’s plan to scrap it.

Roque also said he was ready to support Bolante’s asylum application if Bolante agreed to tell the truth behind the alleged fertilizer fund scam.

He said he would go to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Bolante is detained, after Bolante’s next immigration hearing to try to get his deposition.

Ground for impeachment

“If he tells the truth, of course that would endanger his life and so we would be ready to support his petition for asylum. If he reveals who ordered him on the fertilizer scam, he would really have (a credible fear of) persecution here in the Philippines,” Roque said.

He explained that the fertilizer fund scam was the “only documented case of culpable violation of Constitution, graft and corruption, and betrayal of public trust” -- all impeachable offenses that could be brought up against Ms Arroyo next year.

Roque said the Commission on Audit had said that of the P728 million worth of fertilizers, half were ghost deliveries. The remaining 50 percent were overpriced by 1,000 percent, mixed with water, fertilizers for orchids, and delivered during harvest season,” Roque said.


Post a Comment

<< Home


This is a joint private blog of volunteers from Subic Bay. It is being maintained primarily to collate articles that may be of importance to decision making related to the future of Subic Bay and as a source of reference material to construct the history of Subic Bay.

The articles herein posted remains the sole property of original authors and publications which has full credits to the articles.

Disclaimer: Readers should conduct their own research and due diligence before using any article herein posted for whatever intended purpose it may be. This private web log will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a reader's reliance on information obtained from volunteers of this private blog.

www.subicbay.ph, http://olongapo-subic.com, http://sangunian.com, http://olongapo-ph.com, http://oictv.com, http://brgy-ph.com, http://subicbay-news.com, http://batanggapo.com 16 January 2012