Ex-speaker Jose de Venecia
Recent developments as they unfold in the political scene must be read from the outline – a purely peripheral view. Such is the case of JDV who personally initiated an impeachment move against GMA but which, quite dismally, failed to clinch the required votes so it may be endorsed to the Senate. It was expected to fail as every impeachment attempt before it has failed simply because, as JDV himself claims, Malacanang bribes each congressman with a P.5 million bounty to buy legal protection for one year – in favor of GMA. Thus, this happens if again – not once, but twice – with every kind of bogus article of impeachment complaint being endorsed at the House of Representatives purposely intended to dissatisfy the requirements of form and substance.
It is hard to believe that JDV can file an impeachment complaint that would be found lacking in either form or substance, or both. It cannot be made to apply since JDV has been fifth-term speaker who would know how to differentiate between apples from oranges. In other words, for anyone to say that what JDV has filed in the committee was a mere scrap of paper must be coming from Mars. But if the House of Representatives only exists today to produce the votes required to overturn every position contrary to that officially embraced by Malacanang, then doesn’t that make of a our legislature a mere rubber stamp of the executive? This is why JDV’s conscience call really has to fall on deaf ears especially so since bundles of money have become a fair inducement to side with GMA.
The equivocation is such that voting against an impeachment complaint would mean half a million peso reward. Also, voting in favor of any administration bill that may be introduced from time to time would probably mean another bounty of P.5 million. Further, voting in favor of a bill where lobby money is being infused by giant monopolies would be another rewarding experience. This is not to mention of congressional franchises being approved under secret concessions. If voting is then determined by how much a congressman can juice out of it, chances are, legislation no longer has to be issue-driven nor does it have to be based on kind of judgment or conscience call. Worst, given the same set of stimuli, it appears that every species of the House would behave in much the same – most tend toward money, only few tend away from it. In the end, lawmaking has become a very profitable cottage industry this part of the world.
JDV now claims corruption has infected the presidency itself and this has become his new battle-cry to the point he is willing to lay his life on the line. It is hard not to believe JDV now that he dissociates himself from GMA, disowns the president, and owns – wittingly or unwittingly – to his level of participation in a grand scam. FG calls him a liar and even one other Pichay in Congress telling us that nobody amongst them likes JDV because he accuses everyone as if he were the only one clean. The first thing that could result from what JDV has thrown in the waters is for other congressmen in the House of Representatives to bite the bait – state for the record – that JDV is likewise guilty of the accusations he is trying to hail against GMA. But will anyone dare do such a suicidal act?
With his long years in politics, JDV could not have known only two major scams – one, the $329 million ZTE controversy and the other, a Malacanang payol at P.5 million each House Member to buy legal protection against possible impeachment. First, JDV’s son is a stakeholder into this ZTE controversy had it not been that FG finally asked him to back off and bribing him for P10 million only. Second, JDV did actually get the bag of money sent to him by Malacanang albeit now used as evidence of corruption. It is not far removed that since JDV’s son did not get any gain from the business deal, JDV now has to cry wolf since he became privy of the anomalous negotiations attendant to the ZTE where FG had the upperhand and young Joey de Venecia being pushed aside. JDV learned that some $130 million will be siphoned off in kickback or commission by FG and by implication – GMA.
JDV has to be handled with skill by Malacanang’s veteran political subalterns. For now, it seems old JDV is not one rudderless ship steaming in the open seas. He is seen in the global radar screen and whichever course he takes in relation to other regional world leaders will be the subject of international reaction. In short, JDV has shifted his one-man led crusade beyond RP’s geo-political milieu. The world is there to watch and GMA can do only so much. If JDV gets assassinated, general suspicion will be that it was the handiwork of GMA’s patronizing generals. Truly, they may unseat JDV from the LAKAS as its chair or president even maybe attempt to expel him from the 14th Congress. Unseating JDV as speaker as they did with Villar has always been an official practice – if and when – one has chosen to go his own way and be his own man.
JDV ought to have prepared himself for whatever backlash his act of betrayal may create. His former supporters will morphed to be his enemies, his old former allies his own tormentors. JDV’s well-stated expose of corruption is supposed to undo him with just one House Member coming out with a personal testimony that he too was bribed by JDV to get whatever favor may have been asked. Probably, all sorts of possible accusations against JDV are now in the production line of Malacanang’s demolition department. If they don’t come up with trumped up charges these coming days only tells us that perhaps, JDV has cut himself clean – each and every time – he is supposed to be in cahoots with the powers-that-be.
JDV might drift – depending on where political currents will bring him – to bid for the presidency instead, come 2010. Young Joey de Venecia batting for senator can just be an unintended by-product. Fighting corruption right at the heart of Malacanang has all the makings of an Obamic ideal and indeed – change must come to RP. With a determined change of heart after a long period of futile sycophancy, JDV might come as a catalyst now that he will expose all the excesses of a government that failed to moderate its greed. With anti-corruption stance high in his personal agenda, we can only wish JDV succeeds in his one-man crusade. From Marcos to Cory to Ramos to Erap to Gloria – no doubt, JDV knows how to re-engineer the bureaucracy – if guided as he should – with clean conscience to embrace a new contemporary culture against corruption. From where I stand, it is a hope against hope – this mob rule called majority.
PRIMER C. PAGUNURAN
UP Diliman, Quezon City (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)