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No more case vs Jack Lam?

Batas Mauricio

JOCELYN “Jocjoc” Bolante must be very happy these days with his acquittal by the Sandiganbayan of the plunder charge that the Ombudsman filed against him in connection with charges that he participated in diverting some P723 million in government funds which were intended to buy fertilizers and other agricultural products during the term of President Arroyo.

Bolante was an undersecretary at the Department of Agriculture when the alleged diversion of the P723 million fertilizer fund took place, allegedly to finance the campaign of President Arroyo during the 2004 presidential elections. After he cleared Arroyo, he and other agriculture officials were charged with plunder before the graft court.

Well, congratulations are in order. But is it true that Bolante’s acquittal was issued by the Sandiganbayan in August 2016? Why was it not reported right away? Why is the news about this being released to them media only four months or so after it occurred? Can someone please clarify this?

Can Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II please clarify why economic sabotage is no longer being imputed to international online gambling operator Jack Lam when, just a few weeks ago, that crime–economic sabotage, I mean–was the very basis for the arrest order that President Duterte issued against Lam?

Look at these links: https://globalnation.inquirer.net/150364/bato-says-duterte-wants-lam-arrested-bribery-economic-sabotage; http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/591307/news/nation/jack-lam-s-investor-visa-revoked; http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/591152/news/nation/jack-lam-s-camp-mum-on-duterte-arrest-order.

Then, subsequent news reports said Lam can already return to the country, if he will be paying more taxes for his casinos at the Clark Freeport Zone and at Fort Ilocandia in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. There is no more mention of “economic sabotage”. What happened to that charge for economic sabotage?

As I listened to Vice President Leni Robredo during her Dec. 5 press conference, after she was fired from the Duterte Cabinet through a mere text message, I noticed that she not only talked about her dismissal from her appointed position.

She also digressed big time, evidently to stress an implied accusation that the members of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal who are at the same time the incumbent members of the Supreme Court  will “steal” the vice presidency from her, if they would vote to oust her and be replaced by former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., in view of his electoral protest which is set to be decided soon.

Here was what she said: “Hindi nating hahayaang nakawin ang pagka-bise presidente, sapagkat iyon at taliwas sa boses ng nakararami. The vice presidency is not just about one person. It is about you and your rights. What is at stake here is our collective future…”

Certainly, the place and the occasion–her press conference right after her ouster from the Cabinet–were not suited for talking about Marcos’s electoral protest, and the impending decision of the Supreme Court justices acting as members of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.

That press conference was meant to address her having been dismissed from the service as the housing czar of the Duterte administration, and of her having resigned from that position. It was simply an occasion to save face, to take out the sting of being thrown out from the Duterte Cabinet, even if she had wanted to stay on.

Yet, Leni chose that very occasion, which admittedly even the Supreme Court’s magistrates had to wait for and listen to, to air a veiled threat that the vice presidency should not be “stolen” from her. Indeed, there is no doubt at all as to who Leni was accusing of stealing, since it is only the justices who will decide the Marcos protest, right? Will the Supreme Court take this accusation sitting down?

 

E-mail: batasmauricio@yahoo.com

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