by Joel Roja/Asianjournal.com
MANILA — Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez on Monday said that former House Speaker Jose de Venecia’s leadership in the Lakas party has been “eroded” by the decision of most of the party members to support his ouster as head of the lower chamber.
In an ambush interview, Gonzalez told mediamen that De Venecia’s ouster as president of Lakas is inevitable once Lakas and Kampi’s merger pushes through.
“How many people voted for him in Lakas [Party]? I don’t know if he can stay as president of Lakas especially with the expectation that Lakas and Kampi will merge. If Lakas and Kampi will merge I don’t see any place for the Speaker there,”the justice secretary said.
It would have been a different story, according to Gonzalez, if De Venecia accepted his defeat graciously and did not deliver a derogatory speech against President Arroyo and her family.
He added that De Venecia’s s speech turned off many of his colleagues in Congress, including his son Iloilo Rep. Raul Gonzalez Jr. who had wanted to keep him as speaker but changed his mind after hearing his speech.
“My son wanted to vote for the status quo but what turned him off was the speech. If he had not delivered that kind of a speech probably my son would have either voted no or abstained,” Gonzalez noted.
“I’m sure if the speaker accepted the situation very graciously, he might have been a bigger statesman,” he added.
Gonzalez also belittled the supposed negative impact on the Arroyo administration of De Venecia’s speech exposing alleged irregularities on the 2004 elections, pork allocations, road users tax, the ZTE deal and the privatization of the National Transmission Corporation (NTC).
The justice secretary also expressed optimism that Mrs. Arroyo will survive these fresh attacks against her administration.
“I don’t think that there’s much to worry most of the things which have been delivered last night had been delivered by other people already. It’s up to the people now to consider whether that speech is still valuable at this point considering the timing,” he said.
Gonzalez said De Venecia has apparently “crossed his bridges” already after he delivered the scathing speech against the First Family.