The Bulan-te Connection

Or, The Missing P3million

When Bolante told the House agriculture Committee chaired by Palawan Rep. Mitra that of the 181 recipients (or “farmers”) he listed, only 22 did not avail themselves of  the P3-million to P5-million allocations he gave them, I was delighted to know that there are still 22 “farmers” in our country who are rich and honest and don’t need fluid fertilizers. I was hoping however that this time one of these 22 honest farmers comes from Bulan or Bicol region. But again this turned quite fast into frustration when I read the report of local newspaperman Roy Gersalia in his site Off The Beaten Path that ” Congressman Jose G. Solis said in a press con held Saturday that the P3 million he received were given by him to Bulan town mayor Helen de Castro. But the mayor, however, denied it and said that if such allegations were really true, she would be very happy if indeed the congressman gave her the P3 million intended for the farmers so that she can really help her constituents particularly those engaged in farming” (source : Roy Gersalia’s Off The Beaten Path under news)

A lie is the omission of truth and with such a national government that is founded upon lie, it is no wonder that there will be no shortage of it . A lie begets lie and so even Bolante’s lie has infected Bulan or the Bicol region as a whole. The fact is Congressman Solis accepted the P3 million- to my dismay. He is not one of those 22 who refused. Though I still do not buy Bolante’s revelation about these 22 who refused (a liar is still hard to believe even when he is probably telling the truth -Aesop-) Congressman Jose G. Solis’ case is clear. However, his assertion that he gave the P3million to the mayor of Bulan Helen De Castro could be another lie or maybe a truth. This time the burden of proof rests on Congressman Jose G. Solis. This would have been easy if Mayor Helen De Castro affirmed it right from the start- or if  he had a solid proof to prove his case. But as we know, solid proof attesting to the Truth is not an SOP in Arroyo’s administration. However, now that the mayor “denied” it, it still doesn’t make her a liar. To deny is a normal reaction of somebody accused of something she thinks she did not commit. The mayor could also be omitting the truth, but in this situation, it is a very weak argument.Therefore, granting our mayor her right to presumption of innocence (and the law does not require her to prove her innocence or produce any evidence at all), we should rather focus on Congressman Solis’ corruptible character (for he accepted the P3 million) and pressure him to prove in one way or another his allegation to the public. And though we have never seen yet Bolante’s complete list, with Congressman’s Solis affirmation that he received the P3 million, he already proved to us that he is on the list.

The public has the right to speculate when their public servants are again involved in such a mess. Let’s forget the real poor farmers, but why for example give the whole of this P3 million to Mayor Helen De Castro and not equally divide it to the other Sorsogon mayors? This act alone is already unfair (poor other mayors!). Is Mayor De Castro his padaba (favorite) or he is just using her as a scapegoat? Is this a politically- motivated scenario? …

To assert something without a proof is something that is unethical, or even if you know that there is no such thing anymore as ethics in our political system, you should still avoid giving out such an allegation in a press conference. Congressman  Jose G. Solis should put things in their proper places. We demand that he explains his case to the people of Bulan! But one thing is already clear to the public: If he couldn’t provide solid evidence to his allegation then his argument is not valid and that he is solely responsible for the missing P3million.

Again, this is the result of the logic of greed  among our public servants. Very unpleasant and primitive, indeed. Remember our poor and honest boy Gangga who taught us “Never To Own Anything That’s Not Ours”? Our poor farmers are proud that they did not receive such rotten fertilizers! Mabuhay ang ating mga mag-sasaka sa Bulan! (More power to the real farmers of Bulan!)

 

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

 

Related News article::

 

MANILA, NOVEMBER 19, 2008 (STAR) By Jess Diaz –

Department of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, Undersecretary Bernie Fondevilla and former undersecretary Jocelyn ‘Jocjoc’ Bolante take their oath during yesterday’s House hearing on the fertilizer fund scam. BOY SANTOS Former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn “Jocjoc” Bolante said a total of 159 members of the House of Representatives and local officials received their share of the P728-million fertilizer fund.
Bolante told the House agriculture committee chaired by Palawan Rep. Abraham Mitra that of the 181 fertilizer fund “proponents” he listed, only 22 did not avail themselves of the P3-million to P5-million allocations he gave them.
Bolante said he could not identify the 22 who did not get their allocations and the 159 who received funds or fertilizer.
He said the Commission on Audit (COA) should be able to identify the supposed recipients.
Bolante listed 105 congressmen, 52 governors, one vice governor and 23 town mayors as fertilizer fund proponents.
The list was part of his request for the release of P728 million in fertilizer funds. He sent the request to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Feb. 2, 2004, three months before the May presidential election.
The following day, Feb. 3, with uncharacteristic speed, the DBM released the funds Bolante requested. Budget Undersecretary Mario Relampagos signed the document releasing the money.
Several House members admitted receiving fertilizer and not cash from either the DA or Bolante. Others denied getting money or fertilizer.
In yesterday’s hearing, Majority Leader Arthur Defensor, who represents the third district of Iloilo, said he rejected the P5 million offered to him by a certain “Aytona.”
“I told her I was not interested and that she could talk to my mayors and see if they were interested in liquid fertilizer,” he said.
Defensor said he learned later that some of his mayors received liquid fertilizer.
Camarines Sur Rep. Felix Alfelor had the same story.
Alfelor said he told Bolante’s alleged agents to approach his mayors.
Parañaque Rep. Eduardo Zialcita, for his part, admitted receiving a fertilizer fund allocation, which he claimed was used to buy garbage shredders.
La Union Rep. Victor Ortega said he and his brother, Gov. Manuel Ortega, did not receive cash or fertilizer despite the fact that they were included in Bolante’s list of proponents.
For her part, Rep. Mitos Magsaysay of Zambales told the hearing that her father-in-law, former governor Vicente Magsaysay, was not able to get his supposed P5-million allocation.
However, House members who denied receiving cash or fertilizer in yesterday’s hearing did not ask Bolante why their names were in his list in the first place.
Former Lanao del Norte Rep. Alipio Badelles wrote the committee that he was in Bolante’s list but did not get his allotment.
Others who have denied receiving cash or fertilizer include Representatives Cynthia Villar of Las Piñas and Teodoro Locsin Jr. of Makati City, and former Quezon City representative Maite Defensor.
Quezon City Rep. Nanette Daza admitted availing herself of her P3-million allocation, which she said was used to buy garbage shredders for the Payatas dumpsite.
Speaker Prospero Nograles has admitted receiving fertilizer and not cash, and from the DA regional office in Davao, not from Bolante.
Bolante reiterated his testimony in the Senate that President Arroyo had no knowledge of the release and use of the P728 million.
He repeated his assertion that “there was no fertilizer scam” despite COA findings that there was “excessive overpricing” of the liquid fertilizer purchased by Bolante’s proponents.
In some areas, the overprice exceeded 1,200 percent, according to the COA report.
Auditors discovered that many of the lawmaker-proponents were involved in the use of their funds as evidenced by the memorandums of agreement between them and foundations they tasked to purchase liquid fertilizer.
They said House members in Bolante’s list received a total of P404 million.
In his testimony, Bolante also cleared Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap of involvement in the scam. Yap was undersecretary for operations in 2004.
Bolante said he never mentioned Yap’s name in the course of last Thursday’s Senate hearing on the fertilizer scam.
He said it was then Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano who identified Yap as DA undersecretary for operations for Luzon in 2004.
Bolante had told senators that he could not have known the anomalies in the use of fertilizer funds since he had resigned shortly after distributing the money.
He said the undersecretary for operations was the DA official who should have monitored the use of the funds.
Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel told Bolante that he is insulting Filipinos by insisting that the President was not aware of the release of hundreds of millions in fertilizer funds and in asserting that there was no scam.
“You are insulting the public with your ridiculous assertions,” she said.
Bolante replied by saying that he respects Hontiveros’ opinion.
“I will appreciate it if you can prove that what I’m saying is not true,” he said.
For his part, Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla said his province received its share of P5 million in fertilizer money in 2004.
But what is mysterious is that no Nueva Vizcaya official is listed as a proponent in Bolante’s list, he said.
Padilla said it is possible that the amount his province received “came from sources other than the P728 million.”
Padilla reiterated his proposal for the Mitra committee to inquire into the total 2004 releases amounting to nearly P3 billion.
Meanwhile, Owen Bolante urged the Court of Appeals (CA) to allow his father to be placed under house arrest instead of the Senate’s custody pending decision on the habeas corpus petition before the appellate court.
AccordingtoNoel Malaya, Owen had also submitted a compliance certificate to the CA from his father’s doctor indicating his father was indeed confined at St. Luke’s Medical Center from Oct. 28 to Nov. 8.
The certificate also stated that the elder Bolante underwent medical examinations. The results were also submitted to the CA, Malaya said.
The younger Bolante filed a petition for habeas corpus on Nov. 5 questioning the custody of the Senate of his father.
Two days later, the CA ordered Senate sergeant-at-arms Jose Balajadia to reply to Bolante’s petition.
The CA also ordered Owen to secure a medical certificate from St. Luke’s to support allegations of ill health.
Bolante’s lawyer Dennis Añover explained the writ of habeas corpus is a legal remedy questioning the legal basis of Bolante’s detention by the Senate. -With Mike Frialde

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11 Comments

Filed under Bulan Eco-Park, Bulan Municipal, Politics, Views and Concern

11 responses to “The Bulan-te Connection

  1. attybenji

    Who is afraid to tell the truth?

    What is happening today in our society only points to one thing – that most of our national and local leaders, if not all, have already lost their moral authority to lead the nation. (samut-saring iskandalo, scams o anomalia sa pamahalaan at walang katapusang kontrobersia tungkol sa komisyon, kickbacks, etc.). In the face of these alarming controversies happening in our midst involving our government leaders, we are beginning to ask ourselves:

    WHAT KIND OF ROLE MODELS DO OUR CHILDREN HAVE TODAY?

    CAN WE EXPECT BETTER LEADERS FOR TOMORROW IF WHAT OUR CHILDREN SEE AND HEAR IN THEIR MIDST ARE LEADERS WHO ARE OUTRIGHT LIARS, CHEATERS, GREEDY?

    Who is telling the truth? And who is afraid to confront face to face the truth, the half-truth and the naked lie? Who is not afraid to die in the name of truth and justice?

    Back to Bulan-te Connection (in relation to the issue, re Jocjoc Bolante Multi-Million Pesos Fertilizer Funds Scam)… Where did the allegedly missing P3million fertilizers funds go? Cong. Solis said in a press con that he gave the P3million to Mayor de Casto. But the latter has denied having received the money from Cong. Solis.

    Because of this, we are now confronted with a simple question that needs a very easy answer – Who is not telling the truth? or better still, Who is telling the truth? and telling a lie?

    With this, I appeal to Honorable Congressman Solis to speak the TRUTH on the issue. Likewise, I appeal to Honorable Mayor de Castro to also tell the TRUTH, the WHOLE TRUTH and NOTHING but the TRUTH itself.

    After all, both of them are called as “Honorable”.

    What will happen if you will tell the truth? The Holy Bible has provided an answer to the question:
    “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

    Amen! Shalom to all of us..

  2. rudyb

    don’t they have paper trails??? how do you hand over such a huge amount of Php3M without any documentation. let them prove themselves with valid documents so we’ll know who’s telling the truth… talagang wara na niyan sin mapapagkatiwalaan lalo na kun an tawo na ka negosasy0n mo ay taga gobyerno mapadako mapasaday pare-pareho…

  3. maryjoy

    Hey guys! Can i join you with this kinda play-hide & seek to know the nearest truth as to where the 3 M Fertilizer fund probably been hiding? 😉
    Can anyone dare the Cong. Solis to come out openly and justify his claim? Will he?

    To passively let this fertilizer scam issue die out similar as what every scams in phil. govt. does, it would also also be irresponsible on our part as concerned bulanenos to simply believe press statements released re FF scam of Cong. Solis and the Mayor De Castro denying on the other side, right? Question is, Is it true what Cong. Solis claimed?

    But..pinoy politicos as experienced in the past were(are still) generally corrupt & disgracingly been proven of not owning to their misdeclarations of sorts (truth & lies)!

    Take me as a young example among millions of the youth of yesterdays who completely lost that “trust” or “confidence” from our local politicos public/press releases. We listen to interviews, we read newspapers but there`s always doubt that follows it.

    Confidence must be earned, hard enough- as we pinoys were traumatized by the PAST system (marcos regime onwards) trapos, who themselves are up to this time seemingly still struggling as to which real identities of pinoy politicians theyre committed to take on. To decide whether to be identified as an honest servant or not. To realize that strong FAITH on honest, good governance as the ultimate power in governing than acquisition of wealth? What`s the faith of Cong. Solis like, for example?

    My saludos to Bulan Observer for extending to us generously another chance to come closer to this “Faith” channeled through wordpress.com (though still puzzled of the 3M FF whereabouts at this time hehe)- in maintaining this as our venue to update news, read, interact with each other and democratically exchange our opinions openly and as constructive as possible.
    Happy New Year to All!

  4. junasun

    To Maryjoy,

    Thanks for the comment and it’s nice to read something from you again. This year we will continue with what we have started and focus on
    the things happening in Bulan. I do not know where you are, but please continue your sharing with us. Bulan Observer is open for all writers and contributors from Bulan or from any place irrespective of political views or affiliation in keeping with our belief that open dialogue is a sign of political maturity and always keeping in mind that our common goal is a better Bulan, nothing else. We will keep this minimal design of our site so that we can focus more on studying issues. I even removed the link to flickr photos for I believe they do not serve our purpose. Let us move together and be awake so that we don’t fall ourselves into the pit of our weaknesses- like ningas cogon, etc.
    Wherever this FF-Scam money went is no longer the issue, the money has been gone a long time already. Only our honorable officials know. Let them live comfortably or uncomfortably with this truth now for things correct themselves quite naturally. We have seen it in the lives of political thieves and liars in our country and in other parts of the world. They quarreled among themselves and they all vanished in disgrace. It’s funny how are politicians eagerly involve themselves in such a mess and ruin their names for nothing actually. They are a big burden to their own families.
    Until next time.
    jun

  5. proceso maglaya

    huli

  6. junasun

    We haven’t heard until now any clarifying comment from either Cong. Solis or Mayor Helen de Castro about this P3M FF-Scam. We will not forget this issue and we will continue with our “research” by keeping our eyes and ears open the whole year. We ask our town people to be vigilant and voluntarily provide Bulan Observer with new informations connected with this matter. Proactiveness helps prevent such town scandals to happen in the near future. In the light of the coming May 10, 2010 election, the people of Bulan should begin to reflect now on how they can influence this event by using today’s media technology such as the internet. Bulan Observer is in need of people who will provide this platform with photos, stories and reports about local political candidates for example. For we will feature each of them here and post our views and comments as open as possible.

    Thank you proceso maglaya for being with us again. This is not “Badil vs. Tabil”, but about a democratic process of change which starts from the thinking and action of the people themselves, a change not through armed rebellion but through constructive and courageous participation, a political option which is not even used to the fullest by the people of Bulan until now. But you’re right to define courage from your own point of view, by your own personal temperament. Even the police or military are obliged by law to use force only as Ultima Ratio, last resort, in dealing with violent situations. The situation in Bulan is still far from violent. There is social injustice and corruption in Bulan as anywhere else in our country. But these are complex social problems, and as in any complex problem, it is wise to be patient and be balanced in thinking and action.

    jun asuncion

  7. tigerofserengeti

    to: Junasun

    Perfect society? Here is a “political Joke”!

    I came across an article while browsing the web when I encounter these funny jokes. Offensive language was deleted so not to create havoc to reading public.

    Public discontent against our President was notably visible in every corner of our society. The local vendors in the market, the farmers complaining of high cost of fertilizer, the skyrocketing cost of gasoline, rice, cooking oil. The jeepney drivers complained that they can barely pay the boundaries plus gas consumption. Even the sikad-sikad ( a human powered trycicle )of not having enough strength to keep the tricycle going because of hunger and weakness. Demonstrations and protest even if approved by the president puts the demonstrator’s safety at stake. Even voting in the elections is not entirely safe either. If you witness a ballot box exchanged with a bogus one, you can not report it or talk about it as we have seen the past election anomalies. Whatever happened with those brave people who reported the switching of the valid elections boxes with a bogus one nobody knows.

    The President and her advisers were on board on her plane over MetroManila. The President brings out P50,000.00 cash money and asked how she could use the money to make the filipinos happy. One adviser suggest throwing it out of the window to make a filipino family happy. A second adviser suggest splitting it into two bundles and throwing both out of the window to make two filipino families happy. The third adviser suggest that the President puts the money in her pocket and jumps out of the window to make ALL FILIPINOS HAPPY! he,he,he
    The crazy tiger

    Teacher to elementary school pupils: the teacher asks her students whether elephants walk or fly, a student says they fly. The teacher corrects him, but the students insists. After a short exchange, the teacher asks the student for his name to add it to the detention list, and the student answers: My last name is Arroyo, recognizing the name of the president and knowing the brutality of the regime, the teacher agreed with the student that elephant does fly.
    TS

  8. attybenji

    to quote mr. jun asuncion, – “We haven’t heard until now any clarifying comment from either Cong. Solis or Mayor Helen de Castro about this P3M FF-Scam. We will not forget this issue and we will continue with our “research” by keeping our eyes and ears open the whole year”.

    me, too, as of now, haven’t heard of an update about this issue. The Sorsoganons and the people of Bulan deserve to know the truth!!!

    Their failure to clarify the issue, I guess, can be attributed to the fact that these two honorable public officers (Solis & de Castro) are not bloggers neither internet users, baka po hindi nila alam na may Bulan Observer, Off the Beaten Path, Sorsogonnews Kabatas na blogs. To clear out any doubt and skepticism on the matter, maybe sir Tony boy Gilana of the PIO-Bulan can speak for and in behalf of the good Mayor, and upon the other hand, Atty. Rossana Frivaldo, the chief-of-staff of Cong. Solis in the House of Representatives can also clarify something about this issue and has to speak in behalf of her boss, so that the people may know, saan ba talaga napunta ang P3M FF?.
    In retrospect, as reported in the “off the beaten path” blog, it was Cong. Solis who said that he gave the P3M Fertilizer Fund to Mayor de Castro. But the latter has immediately denied having received such big amount from the former.

    Technically speaking – to ferret out the truth of the controversy surrounding the missing P3M FF, the burden of proof is now upon Cong. Solis to prove and present evidence on the facts in issue necessary to establish his claim that he indeed handed-over the said amount to the good Mayor, because he was the one who made such allegations, applying the principle of “Ei incumbit probatio, qui dicit, qui negat” [He who asserts, not he who denies, must prove]. Following this line of argument, Cong. Solis, who has the burden of proof, must produce a preponderance of evidence to prove his allegations. And he has to rely on the strength of his own evidence and not upon the weakness of that of the Mayor, if any.

    Without alluding to whomsoever is guilty in this case, assuming for the sake of argument that this is a case of malversation, and (also assuming – that the good Cong. is an accountable public officer (sabi ko assuming lang po ha, walang personalan), it has been ruled by the Supreme Court (Philippines) that the failure of an accountable public officer to have duly forthcoming any public funds or property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by any duly authorized officer, shall be “prima facie evidence” that he has put such missing funds or property to personal use. (see case of Diego vs. Sandigan Bayan, 339 SCRA 592).

    mabuhay!!

  9. junasun

    To TS and Attybenji,

    Thanks for your responses. I guess that the third adviser to Arroyo was immediately pushed out of the plane without that P50,000.00 cash! But while Solis literally also pushed Helen De Castro out of the plane, the Tagabulans have no way of knowing if she had that big cash or not. I wonder what sort of advice did she give to Solis before he pushed her out. In any case, with or without the cash, the people of Bulan are not happy about this whole funny story.

    jun asuncion
    Bulan Observer

  10. tigerofserengeti

    To: Junasun

    The “Bulan-te Connection” is a big joke. It is like “who took the cookies from the cookie jar? The politicians were caught with cookies on their hands, crumbs of cookies around their mouths and shaking their heads. Not Me! Not me either. Don’t know what happened. I gave it to so and so, and that so and so denies it. It is like a merry go round. Meanwhile, poor Juan dela Cruz is quite upset that the cookies intended for the people was gone and nobody knows who took it. Too many lies intertwined with some more lies. I am sure , Dora the mouse didn’t take it. Did you Dora? he,he,he. TS

  11. junasun

    Tiger, beware of the mouse. You wouldn’t like it when she gets angry!

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