A plot to oust Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. is the first big political battle leading up to the 2010 presidential elections, a political analyst said Friday.
Joel Rocamora, director of the Institute for Popular Democracy, said the outcome in the ongoing fight for the House leadership would have an impact on the country's political system. "In many ways this is the first big battle of the 2010 presidential elections," he told ANC.
Rocamora dismissed claims made by President Arroyo's party, Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (KAMPI), that it has 132 signatures from congressmen who want de Venecia removed. He said allegiances of some of the major political parties will be laid bare if congressmen are forced to vote on the House leadership on Monday.
“In this whole battle, I think what we should look at very carefully is what the Liberal Party of Sen. [Manuel] Roxas [II] does, which side they take. Interestingly, Senate President [Manuel] Villar [Jr.] is making noises in favor of the opponents of the speaker,” he said.
Rocamora said he believes that the fight for House leadership is connected to the scrapped $329 million broadband deal between the Philippine government and China’s ZTE Corp. It was De Venecia's son, businessman Jose de Venecia III, who blew the whistle on the deal, saying that it was overpriced to accommodate million-dollar bribes to government officials.
The analyst said it is too early to tell whether de Venecia will jump ship and hound the Arroyo administration with the allegations if he is ousted. He said that while De Venecia knows about the administration's "skeletons", the President also has her own arsenal against the speaker. Rocamora said there is greater pressure on de Venecia to retain leadership of the House to prevent the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats from falling apart.
“For the speaker, it’s a crucial battle because he managed to keep Lakas (Christian Muslim Democrats) going since the Ramos administration. That’s no mean thing. He knows when he's not speaker anymore Lakas is going to fall apart,” he added. (Photo: "A commitment Fulfilled, www.congress.gov.ph)
JDV, Nograles to play golf
Meanwhile, the present House leadership struggle could be decided, not in the House plenary, but in a golf game inside Malacañang. A radio dzMM report said De Venecia and Davao City Rep. Prospero Nograles have been invited by President Arroyo to a golf game inside the palace compound on Sunday. De Venecia said Mrs. Arroyo invited him and Nograles to play golf and talk about the pending squareoff for the House speakership on Monday.
He said former president Fidel Ramos, chairman emeritus of the ruling party Lakas; Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Deputy Speaker Simeon Datumanong might also join the game. De Venecia said the leaders of the ruling party will lay down their opinions on why they want the House speakership battle to end. He said Mrs. Arroyo also called for a meeting with Lakas leaders to discuss her own stand on the leadership row.
De Venecia said several congressmen are withdrawing their support for Nograles after Mrs. Arroyo chose to back the incumbent speaker. "[She] confirmed in the strongest terms that I should remain Speaker of the House for political and economic stability," de Venecia said. He also confirmed that one of the things he discussed with Mrs. Arroyo is the ongoing controversy on the NBN deal.
"I have talked to Joey and [he] agrees that we need a closure to the ZTE deal. That's why three days ago, he already wrote the Senate that he wants a closure so that the country can [move] forward," he said.
(Photo: "Mga Lords, siga-siga't sagadsaring TRAPO " sa 14th Congress: Cong Mikey Arroyo, Speaker Joe de Venecia, Prospero Nograles, Luis Villafuerte, Edcel Lagman, Neptali Gonzales II, Annie Susano, Simeon Datumanong at Abraham Mitra)
Walang pakinabang, walang ganasya ika nga ang mamamayang Pilipino sa nagaganap na bangayan ng dalawang paksyong elite, partikular ng dalawang makapangyarihang PAMILYA sa Kamara. Ayon kay Sen Brenda Santiago, "pinag-aawayan n'yo lamang ang KICKBACK, komisyon at sinasayang n'yo lang ang oras at panahon sa lehislatura.” Imbis dapat asikasuhin ang mga mahahalagang mga panukalang batas, kapangyarihan at kagahaman ang siya pang pinagkaka-abalahan ng mga taran... sa Kongreso.
Ang mga TRAPO sa ilalim ng partidong LAKAS, KAMPI, NPC at LP, bukud sa pagiging OPORTUNISTA at IPOKRITA, kapit-tuko, sipsip at mga nagtatago sa saya ni Ate Glo sa ngayon ay sa balang araw, kung malagay sa alanganin ang Malakanyang o lumubog kung sakali ang bangkang papel na sinasakyang, "ang siyang unang maglulundagan, unang magtatakwil, maghuhudas, tutuklaw-AHAS, scorpion at magkakanulo kay Ate Glo, ang unang-unang magpapalit ng partido at allegiance." Salapi't kapangyarihan lamang ang basis of unity ng mga ito.
Tulad na lamang sa kinasapitan ng partidong KBL at LDP, nasaan na ang mahigit isang-daang mga loyalistang kinatawan ng partidong KBL ng diktadurang Marcos at Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) nuong panahon ni Tita Cory? 'Yun, sumabog, ang iba nasa Lakas (nallapit na rin ang kamatayan), Kampi, na sa NPC, LP at NP! Mga PEKE!
Sa totoo lang, pinagtatawanan lamang sila ng mamamayan at ang alam ng marami, pera-pera lang, magkakabalahibo't pamumulitika lamang at ang pakiwari ng lahat, magsipag-RESIGN na sila, mabuwag na't magkapeste-peste na silang lahat sa Kamara de Representante sapagkat sa kabuuan, tulad ng KBL sa Batasang Pambansa nung panahon ni Marcos, sila'y mga rubber stamp, sila'y pare-parehong mga pekeng kinatawan, palsipikado, pabigat, salot at kurakot.
- Doy Cinco / IPD
February 1, 2008
Mikey Arroyo: ‘De Venecia hiding under my mother’s skirt’
"SA KUDETA VS JDV: MILYON ANG BIGAYAN," http://www.abante-tonite.com/issue/feb0308/news_story1.htm