The United States Court of Appeals, in an August 21 ruling, has denied the petition for asylum of former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc joc” Bolante, according to lawyer Harry Roque.
Bolante, who has been implicated in the P728 million fertilizer scam, fled the country while the scandal was being investigated by the Senate.
“…end of the line for the fugitive for the most notorious presidential friend.”
He was detained by US immigration officials in July 2006, as a result of the US Embassy’s cancellation of his visa upon the request of the Senate.
Bolante then sought US political asylum, claiming he was being persecuted in the Philippines and citing as evidence an arrest warrant that the Senate had issued against him.
The warrant was issued after he failed to appear in the Senate probe into the scam, where fertilizer funds were allegedly diverted to administration’s allies.
But the Chicago Immigration Court and the Board of Immigration Appeals denied his asylum plea.
Roque said the Court of Appeals denial was the “end of the line for the fugitive for the most notorious presidential friend.”
He said that although Bolante is entitled to take the case further and appeal to the US Supreme Court, it is unlikely that the highest court would overturn the denial by the Chicago Immigration Court, the Court of Immigration Appeals and the Court of Appeals. (Leila B. Salaveria)