NEWS: Pros Amatong: “DA, real recipient of Bolante fertilizer”

His office just coordinated the distribution

nov 21

Former Compostela Valley District 2 Congressman Prospero Amatong bared yesterday that the real recipient of of the so-called Bolante fertilizer was the Department of Agriculture-XI and that his congressional office then just coordinated its distribution to the farmers in his district.

“We just identified the recipients of the fertilizer,” he said in an exclusive interview.
He added that the fertilizer was a cargo and he shied away from micro-managing it.

“Sila na adto, bagahi to siya ug kapoy kung ako pay mangunay adto,” he added.
Even then, he said there was an auditing team from Commission on Audit which went to his congressional office and cleared the transaction.

“The Bolante fertilizer just passed in my congressional office,” he said, adding that he had not much thought of it since he saw mayors and farmers in the province also coordinating DA-XI to access it.

He said his office ultimately received goods in the form of fertilizer and not money.
He recalled that his office received the fertilizer close before the elections and that its distribution went beyond the elections due to the election ban.

Asked on how he is seeing the investigation on the P728-million fertilizer fund scam reportedly pulled  by former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn “Jocjoc” Bolante before the May 2004 polls, he said that the current drift of pinning down the suppliers and the DA “is good” and that those culpable could be uncovered through a “paper trail” and “missing links”.

The recognized provincial elder has been undefeated in electoral races in his 50 year of public service during which not a single Ombudsman complaint, even from anonymous sender, was filed against him. His son Cong. Rommel Amatong is taking his footsteps at present.

Earlier, several incumbents during the 2004 polls had already spoken on the Bolante fertilizer scam.

Davao del Norte Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario in a TV report said he did not receive the Bolante fertilizer but drip irrigation projects to boost vegetable production in his province.

At that time he was the national president of both the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP)

On Monday Davao del Norte Cong. Arrel Olano (District 1) admitted he received Bolante’s fertilizer and distributed it to some 6,000 farmers in Asuncion, Kapalong, San Isidro and Talaingod towns. He said his recipients could be verified right in the field.

Olano said that he started distributing the fertilizer before the May 2004 polls and stopped when the election period began. He said he continued distributing the fertilizer after the elections.

Last Sunday, Comval Cong. Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora (District 1) admitted, too, he received fertilizer but only in August 2004, after the May polls in that year.
Zamora said his recipients included even the farrmers belonging to the militant Kilusang Magbubukid sa Pilipinas in his province.

He said the transaction was “duly accounted for” and that he has a list of recipient barangay captains throughout his district except Monkayo town. where he did not distribute the fertilizer as Zamora were at political odds then with Mayor Manuel Brillantes.

Both Olano and Zamora said they did not receive money but only fertilizer.
Early last week, former Comval Gov. Jose Caballero said he did not receive any fertilizer nor money for it, although he complied with the requirements asked by the DA for him to access the so-called Bolante fertilizer.

Former Davao del Norte Cong. Antonio “Tonyboy” del Rosario (District 2) has yet to issue a statement on the issue to the local press.

Bolante has been accused of engineering the alleged diversion of P728 million to the 2004 campaign kitty of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whom he had cleared to have not been involved in the scam, along with other names of local officials and congressmen who were identified as proponents of the fertilizer funds.

A total of 103 congressmen, 53 provincial governors and 23 mayors were identified as among those who availed of the funds. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

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