By Rene Villaroman/Asianjournal.com
TORRANCE — Former Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. renewed calls for President Arroyo to step down at a brief stopover in LA en route to New York to speak at the United Nations.
“I am asking President Arroyo, in the face of mounting charges of corruption, in the face of a tidal wave of accusations – from bishops, from students, from various religious groups, Catholics, Protes-tants, Baptists, in the face of charges launched by leaders of civil society from various sectors in Manila, in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao – I ask her now to resign because she has lost all moral author-ity to govern,” De Venecia said.
De Venecia took time to speak with the local community journalists and dip-lomats at a dinner hosted by the Pangasinan Brotherhood-USA in a Torrance restaurant. He added that Mrs. Arroyo’s resignation was the only op-tion left for the Philippine president to save herself and the members of his family.
“That’s her only way out,” De Venecia emphasized. “Even overseas Filipinos in the Middle East, Europe, in the other side of the Pacific, here in America, in the Atlantic, in the Mediterranean – they are all disillusioned because of the failure of government to act.”
The five-term congress-man from Pangasinan’s 4th District, who was recently replaced as Speaker of the House of Representatives, re-vealed that he wrote Arroyo a letter last October asking her to lead a movement for a moral revolution and giving her a 100-day deadline. In that letter, De Venecia ex-pressed that Arroyo could use “the vast powers of the presidency to cleanse the society, to cleanse the government.”
After the deadline expired this year, and the President did not take him up on his offer, de Venecia called for her resignation.
“Before, sinasabi natin, it was the First Gentleman and their two sons, and their cronies,” he said. “But she’s at the center of corruption. She’s evil. Hindi ako ang nag-sasabi niyan. Yung kaniyang cabinet member ang nagsabi niyan.”
Following his call for the President to step down, De Venecia knew that his days as Speaker of the House were numbered. De Venecia reached a fork in the road in his friendship with Arroyo when his son, Joey, uncorked the anomalous $329 million National Broadband Network deal with a Chinese company.
“I knew that a vendetta was coming because of what my son did,” De Venecia said. “I wanted to rein him (Joey) in, but he said to me, ‘Dad, would you reign me in? Would you stop me? When they are running away with kickbacks and commissions as much as $200 million?'”
De Venecia told his son to do what he had to do. “Yung project ni Joey, no government loans, no government guaranties, expense, no risks. No scandal,” he said.
The protests because of this later government corruption scandal has been growing progressively.
“It’s coming. It’s coming and it is mounting. It is be-ginning and it is going to be massive,” he replied when Asian Journal asked him if another people power revolution is in the offing.
De Venecia believes that the military would not get in the way in case another EDSA uprising happens. “The military will turn around, and it would be better for them not to get involved. They should stay in the barracks,” he suggested.
De Venecia announced that his call for a moral revo-lution was met with wide-spread support from various churches and organizations. It was endorsed by Cardinal Vidal, the most senior of all (Catholic) religious leaders; endorsed by Archbishop Lagdameo, who is the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Bishop Eddie Villanueva of Jesus is Lord, Bro. Mike Velarde of El Shaddai; and Bishop Benny Abante and the 28 pastors and bishops of the Baptist Church; the parish priests of the top three Catholic churches in Manaoag, Pangasinan; and the National Prayer Breakfast Conference.
“There is corruption in Malacanang, in the cabinet. There’s corruption in the First Family, corruption in Congress, corruption in the Senate, corruption in the Supreme Court, corruption in the lower courts, corruption in the COMELEC, corruption in the local government units, corruption in the churches, corruption in the business community, and corruption amongst leaders of civil society,” De Venecia enumerated. “The first test of wisdom is to admit the truth. That all of us have sinned, and therefore, we must change.”
“De Venecia is a survivor. He is going to bounce back from the ouster,” observes community journalist Dan Niño. “Although he has lost his swagger, I’m sure that he is not retiring from public service as yet. I just feel that he will retire when he is on top of the game again.”