It’s a measure of how frantic we are to find somebody, anybody, to finally pin down the Arroyo administration on corruption charges that a lot of people, and not just journalists, went on a wild chase from the airport to St. Luke’s Hospital in an effort to track Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante the moment he arrived Tuesday night.
The media coverage was obsessive and frenetic and began even before Bolante left the U.S., with reporters tailing him on the plane (he was allegedly “upgraded” to business class). He seems to have been expecting it, and had his script all planned out. He came out looking distressed and ill, a shadow of his former self, according to reports. He was on a wheelchair going through the airport, escorted by Department of Justice personnel. He went through immigration looking wan and just about ready to croak.
Representatives of the Senate sergeant-at-arms served the arrest warrant on him (for ignoring its summons to testify on the fertilizer-fund scam) without incident. His security detail had to shove aside an unruly throng of media people to get him to a waiting ambulance and the mad pursuit was on.
Joc-Joc made a show of clutching his chest all throughout, just in case observers were wondering what was wrong with him. Manolo Quezon, on the scene at the hospital, found it strange that Bolante was not given any oxygen while in the ambulance, standard operating procedure for coronary cases. And many are asking why he was not brought to any of the nearer hospitals but to far-away St. Luke’s if he was really sick.
According to the Inquirer, Joc-Joc remains holed up in a suite at St. Luke’s together with members of his family. Militant demonstrators and civil-society types have been keeping up the pressure by continuously protesting in and around the hospital.
A Jun Lozada Joc-Joc isn’t, as he has kept mum since and has shown no inclination to talk. So much for the public’s hopes of reviving corruption charges against Arroyo. What exactly do we expect from him ? He appears to be a stand-up guy and is being well taken care of. He’s obviously not as garrulous as Lozada and, given his current cushy circumstances, will not want to displease the people presently looking after him. Even the Senate is not sure how he should be handled. I fear he has a well thought-out strategy for stonewalling and will only add to everyone’s frustrations with the way the Senate investigations have been thwarted at every turn.
But who knows ? Stranger things have happened and he might yet have a change of heart. Maybe he’ll find religion the way Lozada did. He’s supposedly an outstanding Rotarian. All he has to do, therefore, is refer to the first element of the Rotary four-way test of the things we say or do: Is it the truth ?