‘I’m not sure if I can save GMA’

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — SPEAKER Jose de Venecia, Jr. Tuesday night said in a television interview he could no longer be sure if he could shield President Macapagal-Arroyo against new ouster moves.

Meanwhile, two opposition lawmakers urged the President to either reform or resign before it is too late even as the United Opposition led by Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay announced they would file an impeachment case against Mrs. Arroyo which would be “stronger” than the complaint filed by lawyer Roel Pulido.
De Venecia, himself facing a complaint before the House ethics committee, expressed doubt he could save the President from being impeached as he did when he led pro-Malacañang congressmen in junking the impeachment complaints filed against her separately in 2005 and 2006.

The Speaker said “only time can tell” if he will help speed up the impeachment process with a complaint filed by Pulido, former counsel of the Magdalo mutineers. The impeachment petition which critics has described as lame has already reached the House Committee on Justice. Many lawmakers believe the “weak” complaint will be “killed” at the committee chaired by Rep. Matias Defensor (Lakas, Quezon City).

“Only the event will teach us in its hour,” De Venecia said, admitting that he is under pressure from Malacañang to speed up the impeachment process.

Corruption

In the same tv interview, De Venecia urged the President to start cleansing her government by removing corrupt officials in light of the bribery scandals hounding her administration.

According to the House leader, the President can take the dynamic lead in moving to eradicate corruption in thecountry.

De Venecia said that he is writing a letter to the President encouraging her to effect moral revolution.

“The reason I’m writing this letter is this, I am not looking for a band-aid solution. I am looking for a total solution because we must have a corruption-free government,” the Speaker said.

He suggested that Mrs. Arroyo should start making an assessment of every government agency and member of the Cabinet.

According to De Venecia, the government can get rid of the allegations of bribery once the President started implementing a moral revolution to cleanse government and society.

“The President of the Philippines can take the lead in moving to eradicate corruption in this country. She has the power to cleanse the Cabinet, cleanse the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue), the national police and even the local government units because of the power of the Ombudsman. And even Congress,” De Venecia stressed.

Reform or resign

Stressing that the country cannot afford anymore to have another EDSA people power in ousting the top leader of the land, Sen.Panfilo Lacson gave this unsolicited advice to President Macapagal-Arroyo: reform now since your time may be running out.

“The country cannot afford anymore unconstitutional changing of the guard, lest we live up to become Asia’s most prominent ‘banana republic. I cannot help but to give an advice, unsolicited as it is, to Mrs. Arroyo: Reform now. Your time may be running out,” Lacson said.

Senate Majority Leader Francis Pangilinan, meanwhile, “indirectly” advised the President to resign to avert a civil war amid scandals hounding the administration as he dismissed the remark of former President Fidel Ramos that Mrs. Arroyo cannot be ousted because no one can replace her.

“Resignation is still available, to avert a civil war, if totoong yan ang isa sa mga kinakatakutan dahil nga dito sa patuloy na bangayan at patuloy na pangyayari na kung saan allegations of corruption ang bankruptcy sa ating political situation at leadership,” he said.