'Jocjoc' back in RP on Tuesday

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 24 2008 06:48 AM | Updated as of Oct 24 2008 03:08 PM

Those who are waiting for the man who allegedly orchestrated the malversation of hundreds of millions of government money meant for farmers will have to wait until next week to get a glimpse of him again after more than two years.

This is because former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn "Jocjoc" Bolante is due to return to Manila on Tuesday, a source told radio dzMM on Friday.

The source, who had seen the US Department off Homeland Security's deportation order on Bolante, said the former government official tagged as the mastermind in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam will sent back from the United States on October 28.

The source said Bolante will take a Northwest Airlines plane and will arrive at 10:45 p.m.

News of Bolante's arrival came as he asked the Philippine Supreme Court on Wednesday to nullify the arrest warrant issued by the Senate nearly three years ago.

Bolante made the appeal in a five-page manifestation for certiorari, prohibition and injunction with prayer for a temporary restraining order.

In his petition, Bolante said the Senate had already finished its investigation on the fertilizer fund scam. Thus, the arrest order issued on December 12, 2005 is already moot and academic.

Bolante said the Senate had submitted its final committee report on the fertilizer fund investigation in March 2006.

He said there is no longer any reason why he should be compelled to appear before the Senate.

The Senate had recommended the filing of plunder charges against Bolante, calling the misuse of the fertilizer fund a "grand agricultural theft."

Bolante is believed to be the key figure behind the misuse of the P728-million fund, which, instead of going to farmers for agricultural production, was diverted to President Arroyo's election campaign, particularly her local allies, in 2004.

Mrs. Arroyo narrowly defeated opposition candidate the late Fernando Poe Jr. in the 2004 presidential race.

Antonio Zulueta, Bolante's lawyer, said they also want the Supreme Court to invalidate the arrest warrant issued on Bolante in December 2005 since it allegedly violated Bolante's rights.

Zulueta said the Senate Committee on Agriculture abused its powers when it issued the arrest warrant.

Bolante was arrested at the Los Angeles international airport in July 2006 after arriving from Seoul, South Korea due to a canceled US visa. Prior to the arrest, the US embassy in Manila wrote Bolante a letter telling him that his non-immigrant visa is no longer valid for travel.