Transcript of Sen. Santiago's interview after the Senate hearing on the fertilizer scam involving Jocelyn BolanteIt does not compute at all. Even if you use common sense, the story just does not coincide with reality.
Una, meron siyang solong kapangyarihan sa halagang halos isang bilyong piso. Walang undersecretary na may ganoong kapangyarihan. Katangi-tangi siya.
Pangalawa, sabi niya wala siyang pakialam sa supplier, kasi ang supplier diyan kikita. Pero sa halos buong Pilipinas, iisa lang ang supplier, ang FESHAN suppliers. And I have to tell you that according to my records, he is intimately connected with FESHAN suppliers, in fact he admitted on the stand that his family is in the agriculture business. It’s not impossible that he would have a working relationship with FESHAN suppliers. Incidentally, that supplier does not exist.
Ngayon, ang problema natin ay wala man lamang fertilizer dahil ang buong halaga ng fertilizer fund ay napunta at pinagparte-parte sa mga kickback ng lahat ng involved: si Bolante, ang local government officials, ang runner, at supplier. Sila lang naman ang kumita doon, walang dumating sa mga magsasaka na fertilizer.
On Bolante’s performance in the hearing
He was lying under oath out of sheer necessity. That is the problem. As I have said, he was defending the indefensible. In fact, if the Senate were to be strict about the rules, he should be cited for contempt. When I was a trial judge and the witness was blatantly lying under oath, I simply call the sheriff to put him to jail. If you keep on consistently lying under oath that is already contempt of court because it shows you do not respect the judge or the court enough to tell the truth.
He should be cited for contempt and his lawyers as well for coaching him in that manner. I think that they already pushed the envelope so far. There is a very thin line between performing your function as a lawyer to defend your client with all your might and conniving with your client to tell an outright barefaced lie.
He is just intractable, meaning he just took a position and stuck to it, as if he were cemented to that platform. You cannot blame the person because, as I’ve said, the law always considers if the person if faced with a question of survival. Sometimes he is forced to lie and secondly we take account of feelings even in the crafting or the design of our laws, we know that he will likely commit perjury. Although it is reprehensible to lie under oath—and that actually is a crime called perjury—still, we take into consideration all these inclinations of human nature.
Does PGMA have any involvement in this?
The president of course is the Chief Executive. A cabinet member acts as her alter ego. Puwede rin na ang alter ego niya, which was the secretary of agriculture, could have been acting, or maybe even using her name. But I have no basis. I don’t want to speculate.
What cases can be filed against Bolante?
Madami. Violation of the Anti-graft Law, malversation of public funds, violation of the Anti-plunder Act, and violation of the Procurement Law, to say the least.
Should Bolante return for questioning for another hearing?
Oo. He raised more questions than he answered.
Is the Senate inviting local officials in the next hearing?
We are not investigating the local officials. We are investigating the process by which government funds disappear.
Is this hearing a useless exercise?
This is not useless because it is useful for the judge and the public to see the demeanor of the witness. Gusto ko talagang Makita siya para Makita ko and demeanor niya, ang pagmumukha niya, dahil ang trained na judge ay makikita kung nagsasabi ng totoo o hindi