LAW PROFESSOR HARRY ROQUE of the University of the Philippines Law School has just returned from a trip to the United States in the hunt and chase for one, JOC JOC BOLANTE, a FUGITIVE from Justice with a warrant for his arrest by no less than the Philippine Senate, who is slyly trying to manipulate the US Justice system in order to escape prosecution and almost sure conviction in the Philippines for the PLUNDER of some 728 million pesos in Agriculture Dept. fertilizer funds. He brings the BAD NEWS that Joc Joc Bolante's plea for a change of venue to Chicago, Illinois, from San Pedro, California, has been granted. But the GOOD NEWS is apparently the UP Law School Team has made contact with the US Attorney's offices in both states to assist them in the adversarial process that will, I believe, exclude Joc Joc Bolante from US territory for return here. Or, as I actually HOPE has happened, the Joc Joc has in fact broken some serious US Law for which he has been detained and will be convicted. Many fear that he won't be returned to the Philippines. I fear that he will be, and like Virgilio Garcillano WORM his way out of our porous Justice System.
UPDATE: (July 14, 2006) Former Undersecretary Jocelyn "JocJoc" Bolante (a Filipino male) has been detained by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service and is being held at the San Pedro, California Special Processing Center, following cancellation of his visa by US authorities. He is wanted by the Philippine Senate, which issued a Warrant for his Arrest last year, following spectacular Senate hearings into the P728 million Fertilizer fund scam. The money appears to have been used in the 2004 election campaign. Senator Magsaysay asked US Authorities to ensure the personal safety of JocJoc. Really. But bring the sorry sucked back here to face justice and divulge what he knows!
SENATORS are popping up all over the place this morning. I just heard Senator Ramon A. Magsaysay, Jr. talking to Carmina Constantino on ANC say he "would pursue to the very end" the trail of the controversial fertilizer fund scam, in which not one but two Department of Agriculture officials have done a Garcillano and are now DESAPARECIDO--Undersecretary "JocJoc" Bolante and her boss Secretary Cito Lorenzo. The Senate, Magsaysay said, would consider issuing subpoenae and even arrest warrants to compel the two former top officials to testify at Senate hearings on the alleged illegal use of over P700 million for 2004 election campaign purposes of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Anyway, just one candidate for President at a time please...Here is my take on the speech of Mar Roxas at the Ateneo a few weeks ago.
MAR IS NO MESSIAH
A declination to pick up the baton of leadership just yet is the overall impression that I get from Mar Roxas in the first part of this speech. He rightly castigates the Pinoys for wanting a powerful Messiah of a leader that will magically solve all their problems by the sheer power of charisma. So it was a bit disappointing to then have him cop out on the rhetorical challenge of his assigned topic--leadership--by giving the standard line about finding leadership within ourselves. I don't disagree with that, but if Mar is no Messiah, he is no John F. Kennedy either:
MAR ROXAS:"Perhaps we have been asking the wrong question. Perhaps we should revisit our notions of leadership, stop scanning the horizon for a knight on a white horse or a redeemer bearing a cross to save us, and reject that leadership is found outside of us. The leader and leadership are within us. Leadership is all about taking personal responsibility for what happens and until we step up to this, the leader or leadership that we await will elude us or, at best, be a matter of luck. "
CITIZENSHIP IS AN INVESTMENT in Mar Roxas' view which is of course no surprise considering that in real life he was an investment banker (before he became President Arroyo's Trade and Industry minister and Mr. Palengke):
One of the most remarkable things I recall about my time in the US was how my friends and I could get together and plan our lives—a job, a down payment on a home, a 30-year-mortgage, and at the end of our labors, we were going to own all of these and have a stake. There was a very clear connection between what you invested in your future and what you could expect from it. But here, instead of rewarding creativity, initiative and outstanding performance, our system has come to value conformity and mediocrity.
Well you said it, Senator: "conformity and mediocrity"
HIS GENTLE REBUKES of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo are in regards to her moral bankruptcy when he makes an offhand reference to her recent argument that one cannot be a politician in the Philippines and not cheat:
It is all too easy to conclude that the system has failed us. Indeed, as we have recently been reminded, our political system may be like an infected pool that taints all those who step into it. But I don’t subscribe to the notion that the failures and weaknesses of our system have produced—or can absolve—the failures and weaknesses of our leadership.
EDUCATION BUDGET? OR WELFARE?Mar Roxas notes the insane situation with the single biggest piece of the our budget expenditures:
Note that the P126B budget for the DepEd for next year, the largest in the bureaucracy, apart from excluding the abovementioned amounts, is misleading. Of this amount, P105B is for personal services while the P20B balance is presented as operating expense. Most of this is for the general maintenance overhead of the department, and not for the everyday needs of the students.I just wish someone other than me would go ballistic about the DepED budget. It's the equivalent of running FEDEX with but no trucks, no planes, no computers, no phones, just 400,000 truck drivers on lifetime CESO contracts. I vehemently disagree with him that we should throw more good money after bad into DepEd unless it IS for computers, books, and feeding programs, not more indentured servants for Comelec. Yeah, yeah, yeah education. But it is time to re-examine one of our most lethal and fallacious idealisms: FREE PUBLIC education. Ain't no such a thing!
But I don't disagree with ALL his idealisms:
I firmly believe that many other young Filipinos—many other leaders—have not given up on their future, have not surrendered their dreams. And I will be here—my nose to the grindstone—to support them.