Friday, November 14, 2008

Joc Time in the Senate

I heard bits and pieces of the Senate hearing of the fertilizer fund scam yesterday over the radio, and I *almost* felt sorry for former Department of Agriculture assistant secretary Montes and undersecretary Joc Joc Bolante.
A Senate hearing is worse than appearing before a court. It is even worse than appearing before the Supreme Court. At least in the Supreme Court, the questions are limited to the issues of the case. Not so in a Senate hearing. A senator (or all 23 of them) can ask a person under oath about practically anything.  As shown in the hearing yesterday, a witness' canned responses (e.g. that is based on my personal knowledge; I do not know anything about it; etc) are no match for the senators' burning questions.
But as for Bolante, the senators could not quite pin him down. He was as slippery as a snake, wriggling his way out of questions when he obviously knew the answers. In one sequence, Senator Aquilino Pimentel (I think) asked Joc Joc the names of the people who availed of the fertilizer fund. Joc Joc said he didn't know. Senator Pimentel then mentioned some names for Joc Joc to identify: "Do you know congressman X of Ilocos? Do you know congressman Y of Cebu? Do you know congressman Jose de Venecia of Pangasinan?
Joc Joc seemed to have developed amnesia as he answered that he did not know the people being mentioned,  not even congressman Jose de Venecia of Pangasinan (In fact, the had developed such a severe case of amnesia that he forgot Rotary's - his favorite social club's - four-way test, when he was previously asked of the same).
An exasperated Pimentel then blurted out, "Have you been living in Mars?" or something to that effect.
I almost pitied Bolante until I had to remind myself that he was most certainly hiding something, had evaded Senate questioning for two years and had been preparing for this moment since then. The fleeting feeling of pity was then dismissed just as easily as Joc Joc's empty answers.

Photo: david drexler, Flickr, Creative Commons


  1. You are definitely right about that . I too had the same feeling of pity in the beginning of the hearing probably because of how Joc Joc projected himself as this person who has the weight of the world on his shoulders right that very moment when all eyes were on him. His calm and respectful demeanor during the questioning of the senators did not hurt one bit of his role playing. In the end, I was just sick to my stomach just to see him play innocent and give out empty rebuttals to even the simplest of questions. How could anyone in such a circumstance still has the nerve to lie for the real culprits in this scandal. Did he not learn any lessons while he was incarcerated in the U.S. Wala man lang remorse or an acceptance of responsibility for what he has done. I'm over angry...I pity him.

  2. By the way, any reactions on JoJo Binay's bid for the presidency on 2010?just curious :)

  3. the question is, will he get permission to run for the opposition. hehe. i bet that by last quarter next things would be more grittier. wala ng pasintabi nun.

  4. Or maybe he'll do a Ramos and say: bahala kayo, basta tatakbo ako!

  5. i predict a Senate run instead for Binay.

    i don't think the opposition will give a go signal for him to go for the top post.

    pero malay din natin. :D

  6. I agree with you Hector and I think he's just testing the water... the thing is he'll do better in the executive branch rather than being in the legislative... look at Fred Lim!

    However, I'd rather vote for Binay instead of Noli or BF nor SB.. I would not even dare to go for Manny or Mar... same thing with Loren and Ping. But who knows... a lot of things can still happen.

    My dream contenders are Chiz from the opposition and Gilbert Teodoro from the administration.. either way, our country will be better with anyone of them.

    But hey.. who says there will be an election!!! hehe the evil queen is still thinking of ways to hold on to her position.

    Oh dear God please have mercy on us.

  7. pwede nga syang manalong senador...


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