Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bolante ‘runner’ yields to Gordon

MARITES Aytona, the alleged “runner” of former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante, gave herself up at past noon yesterday to the Senate Blue Ribbon committee.

She surrendered a day after Sen.Richard Gordon, panel chairman, ordered her arrest Wednesday for repeatedly snubbing the hearing on the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.

Aside from Aytona, three others were ordered arrested in connection with the fertilizer fund scandal: Redentor Antolin (for testifying falsely or evasively); as well as Julie Gregorio and Jaime Paule (for continuous failure to appear and testify).

However, Aytona’s brother, Ramon, went to Gordon that same night to inform the senator that it was not the intention of his sister to snub Wednesday’s hearing. She was actually on her way to the hearing but decided not to proceed after encountering a supposed “ambush” incident.

She was reportedly accosted by a motorcycle-riding armed man on her way to attend the hearing. “Ms. Aytona’s brother went to the Senate as I was about to leave. He was there to submit a police report of the incident,” Gordon said.

However, Gordon, is not yet convinced of Aytona’s excuse. He wants to hear her testimony on the incident on Monday. Likewise, he has yet to get the consensus of the other members of the BRC where to put Aytona. “I really haven’t thought about that right now but definitely not in Pasay (City jail).”

”You will understand if I tell you that I cannot tell you where Aytona will be. If I say andito, that’s irresponsible on my part. She’s very concerned about her safety. Sabi n’ya she will feel safer kung nasa amin s’ya,” he said.

According to the police report, the “ambush” incident occurred at about 11:20 a.m. at Calamba Street in Biak na Bato, Sto. Domingo village in Quezon City. Aytona was seated at the backseat, while another sibling, Eduardo, was driving when a man riding a motorcycle blocked their path and pointed a gun at Marites. Eduardo was able to maneuver the car and the armed man did not attempt to follow.

Marites begged Gordon, in the spirit of Christmas, not to enforce the arrest order against her and sought another chance to attend the hearing. Aytona reasoned that the alleged attempt on her life only added to her fear which struck her as she recalled that the deaths of journalist Marlene Esperat and Teofilo Mojica, former Department of Agriculture employees, were reportedly linked to the fertilizer fund scam. By: Bernadette E. Tamayo - Journal online

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