The apprehension and cancellation of the visa of former Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante has been big news in Manila. Not a bleep here — just like the rape case in Subic against the rape/murder case in Iraq, both involving GIs. Not that I want us to be in the limelight again, but I am grateful to Philippine Star for giving me my daily dose of news from Manila, plus Mom’s daily update after she gets to watch The World Tonight on AZN here.
Are we supposed to be grateful about this turn of events? Initially I was, until Mom postulated a theory that it might be a ploy to twist Malacanang’s arm about the 4 GIs in the rape case. Since we have been playing the case to the hilt, they’re giving Malacanang a major headache with Bolante’s case. That’s just my mom thinking out loud.. (Sometimes Mom’s have a way of putting two and two together..)
It’s up in the air right now. With no formal charges filed in Manila, Bolante cannot be extradited. (Due process requirement — and the Americans will be sticklers for this because Bolante’s apprehension does not fall under the purview of the Patriot Act which is the all-powerful Due Process clamper.) They Americans were within their prerogative to detain him and cancel his visa as per the request of our legislators. Remember, traveling to the US is a privilege, NOT a right. It’s their right to let you in or close their doors to you here, even if you have a visa previously issued to allow you continued entry to the land of Uncle Sam.
Still, it’s so easy to just “disappear” — Bolante can still “fly” to another country unless the Philippine Government chooses to be vigilant about returning him to Manila. (Read: Chain an actual personality to Bolante — not some unknown consular employee who can so easily disappear, too.) The Senators who have clamored for his return would do well to consider that. Maybe one of them can pick him up here.. otherwise, he can disappear “in flight”, somewhere between the time the US authorities release him and he boards the plane — or in transit between the Philippines in the US. With a 3 Billion peso question hanging over your head, you don’t know who’s going to pull the bullet first. I can’t blame Bolante for running — if he talks, he’s in danger. If he doesn’t, he’s still in danger. That’s how dangerous public service can be.