Fertilizer Fund scam
The Fertilizer Fund Scam is a Philippine political controversy involving accusations that Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante diverted P728 million in fertilizer funds to the 2004 election campaign of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
In March 2004, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that Senator Panfilo Lacson accused President Arroyo of vote-buying by authorizing the release of ₱728 million. The money was supposedly to be used for the purchase of fertilizers which would be distributed to the local officials.
After a year, an episode of the Probe Team reported that some farmers claimed that they did not receive fertilizers from the funds released by the Department of Agriculture. A Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) special report was released later saying that billions of farm funds were used to fund the presidential campaign of Arroyo.
Jocelyn "Joc-Joc" Bolante was the Agriculture Undersecretary when the fertilizer fund scam erupted. He is accused of diverting at least ₱728 million in fertilizer funds to President Arroyo's 2004 election campaign.
When the controversy broke out in 2006, Bolante fled to the US and sought asylum, but his petition was denied by the US courts and he was eventually deported. Bolante arrived in the Philippines on 28 October 2008. Upon his arrival, the Senate effected the warrant on Bolante, initially holding him under hospital arrest. After a month, Bolante appeared on the Senate for the first time. He denies that the money was misused stating that there was no fertilizer scam despite the findings of the Commission on Audit that there was ‘excessive overpricing’ of the liquid fertilizer purchased by Bolante's proponents. He cleared President Arroyo from any direct involvement. He also cleared the congressmen and other local officials implicated in the fertilizer fund scam.
Task Force Abono is currently looking into the involvement of some 140 congressmen in the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA) program of the Department of Agriculture.
- Llanto, Jesus F. "Joc-joc Bolante and the Fertilizer Scam". Newsbreak. ABS-CBN News Online. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
- "Bolante Faces Off with Senators Over Fertilizer Fund Scam". ANC. 2008-11-13. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
- Punay, Edu (2008-11-23). "More lawmakers may face raps over fertilizer fund scam". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 2008-12-04.