What if Bolante wants to cut clean and spill the beans?
HIGH GROUND By William M. Esposo
Inq7.net 2006-08-14
Many of those who are following the Bolante case in the US are alarmed that former Agriculture Undersecretary and Fertilizer Fund scandal central player Jocelyn "Joc Joc" Bolante may end up getting asylum status in the US. I too am alarmed over that possibility as this would have effectively allowed him to escape accountability.

But a possible angle in Bolante's application for asylum in the US may have escaped the attention of many. What if the US asylum had a quid pro quo-what if Bolante is made to reveal the whole truth about the Fertilizer Fund in exchange for the grant of asylum?

In my view, this scenario seems quite plausible and the likely basis for a US grant of asylum to Bolante. It defies logic that the US will even want to hold Bolante for such reasons as an expired diplomatic passport or on suspicion of money laundering as some quarters suggest-and then only to allow him the luxury of enjoying political asylum.

It was under similar circumstances that the US also held and exposed the money laundering activities of Major General Carlos Garcia. Foremost Asian and Philippine US foreign policy adviser Bob Scalapino told me during our October 2004 face-to-face meeting in Manila that the US is deeply concerned with incidents of US aid money going to private pockets. No less than former president Fidel V. Ramos (FVR) told me during our July 21 meeting that the US has reason to look into the Fertilizer Fund because that was also funded by US aid.

While the US today is the only remaining superpower, the fact is the US economy is far from being rated as super. The US is itself becoming a victim of the very principle of globalization it once believed would optimize the promotion of American economic interests. Today, globalization has fostered worldwide outsourcing which is costing American jobs while the Iraq War had so far cost American taxpayers $280 billion with no end in sight. As a result, American tourists in Europe are stunned at how much less their weakened currency can buy.

Even without the ongoing pressures on the greenback, the US has all the reasons for scrutinizing every cent they dispense in aid. When they smell something foul with the use of their aid money, the US can and will certainly want to do something.

We are not even considering here the possibility that the US may also want to take advantage of the situation to promote a geo-political agenda that could cover up intended intervention in Philippine political affairs. That has happened in the past and can be expected to happen in the near future-if it is not in fact already happening.

Ever since the Angelo de la Cruz incident, the US has been cold to the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regime. No sooner had Condi Rice taken over the State Department did we witness occasional salvos against the Arroyo regime. When Arroyo imposed PP 1017 last February, the US immediately expressed its objection and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo immediately withdrew the controversial proclamation.

Rest assured that recent cozying up of the Arroyo regime to China has raised a lot of eyebrows among neo-conservative hardliners in the George W. Bush administration, State's Condi Rice and World Bank's Paul Wolfowitz among them. Philippine administrations have to be very adept when found in the middle of the geo-political poker game between two world powers.

Now, if the US is looking for a pawn and a powerful issue to use against the Arroyo regime-Bolante could very well be the perfect fit that will suit US purposes. Now whether the US in intending to use the issue as leverage with the Arroyo regime or create conditions that will push towards a regime change-we don't know.

If Bolante starts singing some very embarrassing songs about the Fertilizer Fund to the tune of how much was misappropriated and who personally benefited from the deed-that will open a Pandora's box which will surely revive the 'Hello Garci' nightmare of Madame Arroyo.

The critics of the regime have consistently asserted that the Fertilizer Fund was used for the 2004 campaign of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Should findings of a US investigation corroborate this charge, Arroyo will be hard pressed attempting to keep her support bases.

Such a signal from the US will have a tremendous impact on the military. The Philippine military is so closely tied up with the US that it is unthinkable for Madame Arroyo to continue her hold on the military in the event the US sends signals that they can no longer deal with the Arroyo regime.

On the civilian side of things, no traditional politician would want to be caught outside the power circle once it is clear that the US favors a regime change. Considering that most of our traditional politicians come from political dynasties, it should still be fresh in their minds how the almighty Marcos party, the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan or KBL, became a spent force and a political non-entity no more than two weeks after Marcos was proclaimed the winner of the 1986 Snap Elections.

These are the political dynamics working around Joc Joc Bolante. I'm sure he neither imagined nor wished himself to be in this position. It is very likely that he also does not possess the political savvy and dexterity to be able to wiggle and negotiate his way out of this. Bolante does not have the political preparation and experience of Joe de Venecia and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to be able to that.

Anyone in Bolante's position will want to cut and cut clean, as US Senator Paul Laxalt once advised Marcos in February 25, 1986.

You may email William M. Esposo at: macesposo@yahoo.com

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A great disservice to P-Noy

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