JocJoc Bolante’s asylum: DENIED
THE United States has denied the petition for political asylum of former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc Joc” Bolante, a UP law professor who has been monitoring the case said yesterday.
“My sources have said that was denied three or four days ago… Maybe on Wednesday,” Harry Roque said in a phone interview.
“It was denied because of insufficiency (of evidence his life was in danger)… He doesn’t qualify for an asylum… The judge (handling his case) is very strict,” he said.
Roque said he expected the decision of the Chicago, Illinois Immigration Court, saying Bolante’s petition was “doomed from the very beginning.”
Bolante filed the petition in September last year, saying the New People’s Army was after him.
Roque said political asylum can be availed of only if a petitioner can establish “well-grounded fear of persecution owing to his membership to a political… or religious group.”
In the amicus brief filed by Roque, he argued that Bolante was just “evading criminal prosecution and not political prosecution.”
Roque said he was not able to get a copy of the decision. He said he will check with the Bureau of Immigrations Appeal if Bolante has filed an appeal.
Bolante has 30 days to appeal the decision with the BIA.
Roque said Bolante would stay in prison until the BIA rules on his appeal.
Roque said the case could reach the US Court of Appeals or even all the way up to the Supreme Court if both the BIA and CA would junk the appeal. He said it could take around three years for the appeal to be decided at the level of the CA.
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said Bolante’s return would help clear the fertilizer fund issue.
“Lahat ng paratang kay Bolante kinakailangang harapin niya, especially ngayon na private citizen na siya,” he said.
Bolante arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport in July 2006 but was immediately detained by immigration officials after the US Embassy in the Manila canceled his tourist-business visa on the request of the Senate after he snubbed hearings on the alleged P728 million fertilizer scam.
Bolante’s lawyers have branded as “politically motivated” reports linking him to the fund diversion. (With Jocelyn Montemayor.
First seen on the blog of Ellen Tordesilla