Friday, September 01, 2006

By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio

What is the Reality of the Philippine Government Now?

There’s no need for the Philippine government to wait for the results of Jocjoc Bolante’s application for any relief from deportation such as asylum or adjustment of status before it goes for the extradition of the fugitive back to Philippine jurisdiction. American law considers extradition as separate from deportation: the two are not mutually exclusive.

However, the problem may come up when the two governments start the negotiations for Bolante’s extradition. It’s the head of the de facto Philippine government, Gloria Arroyo, who is supposed to initiate the extradition process. Will she do it given the fact that if Bolante is handed back to the Philippine Senate to testify in the $60 million Fertilizer Scandal, she will surely hang herself by the neck? The way Gloria Arroyo has been behaving as an illegitimate president of the Philippines, her priority is to stay alive at all cost.

Note that when American immigration authorities arrested Bolante in Los Angeles airport for being a Wanted Person, the Philippine Consulate did not lift a finger to take custody of the fugitive. I believe Malacanang instructed the helpless career diplomats to keep Bolante from being deported. So the Foreign Service officials who are at the mercy of the appointing power for their promotions obeyed like good pets of Malacanang.

Question: What is the legal face of the Philippine Government? Is it the face of Malacanang or the face of the Senate or the face of the Ombudsman and other courts where Bolante has been formally charged of corruption and embezzlement of government funds? So who can negotiate for Bolante’s extradition if the Arroyo administration is not interested? Remember, the government is only an agency of the people.



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