Lakas unlikely to boot De Venecia
MANILA, Philippines — Despite accusing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of bribing congressmen and linking her to the national broadband network (NBN) scandal, Pangasinan Representative Jose de Venecia Jr. is unlikely to be removed from the administration party Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, an official said.
Party members think De Venecia’s ouster as speaker of the House of Representatives in February was “enough for him to suffer” and are “ambivalent” towards him, said Lakas senior deputy secretary general Gabriel Claudio, who is also Arroyo’s political adviser.
“It was never considered…No one has bothered to file something [against De Venecia]. I don’t think [party] members will bother to do that. There is an attitude of ambivalence among party members,” Claudio said in a phone interview.
“He has made many critical statements before and the only thing that’s new now is that he testified in the House,” he added.
De Venecia founded Lakas, along with former president Fidel Ramos, as a vehicle for the latter’s successful presidential candidacy in the 1992 elections.
Testifying before the House committee on justice on Monday, De Venecia said Arroyo bribed him and other lawmakers with P500,000 each to support a weak impeachment complaint against her that was eventually dismissed.
He also linked the President and First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo to the allegedly overpriced $329-million NBN contract between the government and China’s ZTE Corp.
De Venecia’s son, Jose III, said the First Gentleman supposedly warned him to “back off” from his company’s bid for the NBN in favor of ZTE, while ex-elections commissioner Benjamin Abalos allegedly tried to bribe him.
The allegations led to the souring of ties between De Venecia and Arroyo, culminating in his ouster as speaker in February. During De Venecia’s speakership, the pro-administration majority dismissed all impeachment complaints, mainly on allegations of corruption and vote-rigging, against the President since 2005.
The young De Venecia filed the latest impeachment complaint against the President, based on the alleged anomalous NBN deal, among others.
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