De Venecia goes down fighting

Mikey Arroyo whispers to House Speaker Prospero Nograles on his first day as the new leader of Congress Tuesday. (GMANews)

Starting Tuesday, he will be known simply as Pangasinan Rep. Jose de Venecia Jr. The former five-term speaker of the House of Representatives, however, did not go down without a fight after colleagues voted to oust him from the post that he held for more than a decade.

During his speech delivered before the voting started Monday night, de Venecia released a barrage of accusations against President Arroyo, her sons, her husband and the administration.

A fired-up de Venecia pointed out the many favors he had done for the President and the sins allegedly committed by the Arroyo administration.

“I asked that I be recognized because I want to reply to this motion to declare this seat vacant, that seat of speaker vacant,” he said.

De Venecia alleged that Malacañang was behind the plot to oust him from the speakership despite the fact that he had always supported and stood beside Mrs. Arroyo.

He said it was Mrs. Arroyo who approached him to consider her as his vice-presidential runningmate during the 1998 elections. He added that it was him who recommended Mrs. Arroyo as secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development during the term of former president Joseph Estrada.

“With all the difficulties of running the presidency and organizing the government I always stood by her. And in the various coup attempts against her presidency I was there with many of you to ensure that she continuous and stays in the seat of power in Malacañang,” de Venecia said.

He also accused Malacañang of pushing for the approval of the aborted broadband network deal with China’s ZTE Corp., which the President scrapped because of alleged irregularities and overpricing.

“They insisted this so called ZTE project from China which would cost you and me and the entire Filipino people an external indebtedness of $330 million be approved,” de Venecia said.

Kill JDV plot bared

It was de Venecia’s son and namesake, Jose III or Joey, who alleged that First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo acted as “godfather” in the deal after allegedly being promised $70 million if the project pushed through.

De Venecia likewise bared an alleged plan of three generals to assassinate him and his son late October of last year.

“When my son spoke in the Senate, three generals tried to assassinate him and assassinate me,” de Venecia said.

He recalled that three generals visited his house accompanied by lawyer Raul Lambino.

“General Santos, commanding general of the Philippine Army, commander of the United Nations Forces in East Timor, came to my house accompanied by Attorney Raul Lambino, who is his friend, and who is also my friend, and he said, ‘Mr. Speaker you and your son [should] keep quiet because they want to kill you and I know they can kill you and I know they have killed other people,” said de Venecia.

De Venecia’s son reported the incident to the Makati City police. A letter was written to the President to ask her to do something about the threat on their lives.

“My son reported this to the Makati Police and in the same day following, General Santos, such a respected general of the Armed Forces, changed his tune and said he never said such a thing. How could he say that he never said such a thing when he came to my house to ask me to listen to his story, accompanied by Raul Lambino in the presence of my son Joey, in the presence of my wife Gina.”

De Venecia said he asked Mrs. Arroyo in a letter to “please do something.”

“That was late October of last year. Do you think up to know Malacanang has lifted a finger to arrest or to investigate these attempts on my life and of my son?” he said.

“It’s simple arrogance. Just plain arrogance that Malacañang and the people of the Palace are above the law. Someday this can happen to you,” he said.

Also, since he allowed his son to testify before the Senate regarding the botched deal, a lawyer reportedly hired by the “minions” of Malacañang filed an ethics complaint against him.

“That very day after filing an ethics case against me at the committee on ethics where some members of the house in collusion with Malacañang were saying ‘go ahead, proceed with the ethics case against speaker de Venecia,’” he said.

De Venecia added that the same lawyer filed a three-page impeachment case against Mrs. Arroyo.

“You know the impeachment case against the President, it was three pages. [A] slight rehash of the ethics case that was filed against me. In this three-page complaint…Two pages was an attack on my person, one page against the President,” he said.

2004 poll issues revived

De Venecia then mentioned other alleged wrongdoings of the Arroyo administration including the widespread cheating during the 2004 presidential elections.

“I wish I could discuss this on another time because this is very delicate but I know there were many attempts to tamper the elections in the year 2004,” said de Venecia, adding, “and I shall speak on this in greater detail in some other opportunity to rise in a call for personal and collective privilege.”

He also touched on the issue of the congressmen’s pork barrel where they would have to beg the president to get their share.

“We have to beg the president of the Philippines for our own share of public works in order that we could build our irrigation system, some clinics and airports, and mass housing and little hospitals and medicines for our people. We have to beg the president of the Philippines and you have to go through his two sons to ask for your share of the pork barrel system,” he said.

He also alleged that the bidding for the National Transmission Co. (Transco) was manipulated and went to a “company that is closely affiliated to the Arroyos.”

“And they already provided the constructors in advance! The brother of [San Juan Congressman Ronaldo] Zamora was prepared to bid US$6 million. It would have been a tremendous achievement for the National Power Corporation. It would have been a big push for economic sufficiency and reduce the external indebtedness of the Philippines and reduce our external borrowings,” he said.

Dato to the rescue

Camarines Sur Rep. Dato Arroyo, one of Mrs. Arroyo’s two sons in the House, defended his family against the baseless allegations hurled by de Venecia during the nominal voting.

“Congressman de Venecia did not stop there. Political maneuvering and manipulation continue to this very day in the House of Representatives. He thinks of Congress as his kingdom, and treats us according to class or rank. He doles out favors, but only after much begging and pleading from those who are not as influential in his eyes,” the congressman said.

Malacañang also dismissed de Venecia’s claims against the Arroyo administration during his emotional speech.

Cabinet Secretary Ricardo Saludo said de Venecia’s claims are uncorroborated and that such threats should be brought to impartial forums.

“We have much to dispute in Speaker de Venecia’s remarks… the former Speaker’s uncorroborated claims of irregularities and threats are best brought before independent and impartial commissions and courts, which give weight to hard evidence, not angry rhetoric,” said Saludo in a statement.

Saludo cited de Venecia’s claim that lawyer Roel Pulido’s impeachment case against the Speaker was “monetarily induced.”

“[It] conveniently disregards the very real anomalies cited in the lawyer’s petition,” Saludo said.

For her part, Lorelie Fajardo, deputy presidential spokesman, said, “The emotional outburst of the former speaker is understandable, his motherhood statements however must be backed by solid evidence and brought before the proper forum.”

Vice-President Noli de Castro, meanwhile, commented on claims reportedly made by de Venecia that he knew something about the alleged rigging of the results of the 2004 presidential elections.

“Kung may alam siya, bakit ngayon lang nagsalita. Kung may alam siya na dayaan noong 2004, patunayan niya (If he knew something, why didn’t he say it before? If there is indeed cheating in 2004, he should prove it),” said de Castro.

He added that de Venecia should learn to accept his fate because no one in government is permanent.

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10 Responses to De Venecia goes down fighting

  • benjie estuche says:

    There was this fable about a dog who was so greedy over the bones he wrestled from other dogs. One day, this dog had this bone between his greedy fangs when he crossed a 2-pole bamboo bridge and this dog saw his reflection in the stream below which he had mistaken for another dog with the same bones in his fangs. Thinking that he could scare the other dog to give up his bones, the dog barked out his greediness with the bones into the stream.

    This is how I saw in The Filipino Channel the ex-Speaker of the House of Representatives as he made his pathetic speech before his peers in Congress. The bone of contention he used in his speech was lost into the stream under the bridge and in the dog which was the reflection of his own image.

    Nobody believes one who goes to court with bloodied hands. Moral of the story # 1.

    One cannot stay in power forever, especially when he has a bone between his teeth and he is on the lookout for other bones from other dogs. Moral lesson # 2.

    All dogs have their own bones in their house closets. It is most practical to leave them there when we want to bark at other dogs. Moral lesson # 3.

    All politicians are dogs which can be described as Big Dogs, Medium-sized Dogs, and Puppies. Old Dogs, no matter how big they are, unlike the Generals, do not fade away; they linger in the scene of their crimes until they barked and yelped themselves hoarse with their tails between their legs, because the Puppies they have mentored have overgrown them by the bones that, soon, will also fall down the stream. Moral lesson # 4.

    Sometimes, it is nice and better to hear the howl of the coyotes in the lonely desert of Arizona or New Mexico.

  • noemi says:

    its better to live simple without the fame and money.

  • allan says:

    philippine goverment is a joke! and corrupt goverment officials from top to bottom are all clowns! de venecia is a whining clown particularly…

  • Chip says:

    I cannot believe that while two-thirds of my fellow countrymen are living below the poverty line, these congressmen are bickering amongst themselves – much more spending five wasted hours “explaining their vote” – about a rinky-dink seat in the House! Get back to work!

  • Timawang Tasyo says:

    It doesn’t matter how much they work, it won’t be for the benefit of the people but that of the elite. The ones that do work for the people they toss in jail.

  • JOY says:

    VP Noli de Castro was once for the truth so he got his post. MABUHAY ANG LUMALABAN SA KATOTOHANAN..KAPAL MO MADAM PATI NA RIN PAMILYA MO…

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