Feature

The Mystery Surrounding a U.S. Arrest

The week's news at a glance.

Philippines

EditorialThe Manila TimesWhy is the U.S. holding a former Philippine official? asked The Manila Times in an editorial. Former Undersecretary of Agriculture Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante was arrested in early July for entering the U.S. without a proper visa. Most people who show up at an airport without the right visa are simply deported. But Bolante sits in a U.S. immigration “processing center” in California, reportedly being held on $100,000 bond. The opposition here says that the government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo wants him kept abroad, because he knows too much about a corrupt scheme to divert money from the Agriculture Ministry to Arroyo officials. It’s more likely, though, that the U.S. is actually holding Bolante and his evidence as a threat to Arroyo that she needs to clean up the corruption in her ranks, or it will use Bolante to implicate her. The Bush administration has enough of its own scandals—Abu Ghraib, wiretapping, etc.—to deal with; it doesn’t also want to be criticized for having corrupt allies. The message from the U.S. to Arroyo is clear: “Cut down on corruption and cynical rule, and behave—or we’ll bring you down!”

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