Dejavu impeachment complaint vs Arroyo

JDV and son to testify in impeachment complaint hearing in House | 11/24/2008 12:04 AM

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Father and son, Jose Jr. and Jose “Joey” de Venecia III are all set to testify at the House of Representatives’ Justice Committee for the resumption of the hearings on the impeachment complaint against President Arroyo Monday.

The House justice committee is set to resume its hearings on the impeachment complaint filed by Joey de Venecia, among others, and decide if the complaint is “sufficient in substance.” The justice committee, headed by Quezon City 3rd district Rep. Matias Defensor Jr. last Tuesday declared the complaint “sufficient in form”

The young de Venecia said the House committee would start discussions on the facts of the complaint..

“Tomorrow will be a telling time for this impeachment complaint – to prosper or will it just be ignored and junked by the administration congressmen in the justice committee,” Joey de Venecia told ABS-CBN News correspondent Cecille Lardizabal in an interview Sunday.

Eight allegations

“There are about eight allegations in the case – one is the ZTE-NBN [national broadband network deal]which I have first-hand knowledge of and also what my father today disclosed in the papers. Secondly the human rights violations. These are the people who have been kidnapped, killed, abducted during the term of Ginang [Mrs.] Arroyo and note, not one general has been accused or even a case filed on,” said Joey.

The other allegations, he said, are the issues concerning North Rail, fertilizer fund scam involving former Agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn “Jocjoc” Bolante and Quedancor scam.

“Another allegation is ZTE, according to Atty. Harry Roque one of the complainants – ZTE was granted a mining license to mine gold in Mt. Diwalwal which is … ZTE is not in the business of mining,” said the young de Venecia.

Another allegation was the alleged P500,000 payoffs to congressmen last year during the third impeachment complaint against the president.

“If you remember during the impeachment complaint of last year there were bags of P500,000 which were given to congressmen in Malacañang,” said the young de Venecia. “And of course the 2004 electoral fraud.”

Father’s first hand-knowledge

The former House speaker has confirmed to ABS-CBN News Channel Sunday that he will be at Monday’s justice committee hearing.

“Definitely. Because I was invited to endorse the impeachment complaints. So I would be there attending the hearing tomorrow, the committee on justice,” said the elder de Venecia.

Joey however said his father, the former House speaker, would testify on what he knows out of those eight allegations.

“First-hand knowledge of my father is primarily NBN ZTE, North Rail and P500,000 suhulan sa (bribery in) Malacañang,” said the young de Venecia. The elder de Venecia was still House speaker when the alleged payoffs to congressmen in Malacañang happened.

The two de Venecia’s have already said that First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo was involved in the scrapped NBN deal between the Philippine government and China’s ZTE Corp.

In a hearing at the Senate investigation on the alleged overpriced and graft-ridden NBN-ZTE deal, the young de Venecia who is the probe’s key resource persons and whistleblower said he was told by Mr. Arroyo to “Back off!” from pursuing his proposal to the government’s NBN project.

The elder de Venecia for his part echoed Sunday in a phone interview on ABS-CBN News Channel what was contained in his new authorized biography which is set to be launched in the United States next week.

“Maliwanag na the turning point in the ZTE…sordid ZTE affair was the luncheon meeting and the golf game sa Shenzhen where maliwanag na maliwanag na ang First Gentleman, Si Chairman Abalos, at si Presidente Arroyo finally made the decision among themselves to give to award the project to ZTE in spite of the fact na magkakautang ang Pilipinas ng almost P16 B,” said the former House speaker.

Mr. Arroyo has consistently denied allegations on his involvement in the NBN-ZTE deal. On the latest statement of the former House speaker that he suggested that China’s ZTE Corp be given the NBN project Mr. Arroyo said: “I never suggested anything. That JDV is a liar and you can tell him to his face…Don’t believe him.”

Right forum for JDV Jr.

The young de Venecia said the hearings on the impeachment complaint in the Lower House is the right forum for his father to divulge what he know instead of the Senate hearings where the former House speaker was also invited.

“I think this is the right forum for him to divulge it because firstly the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is investigation primarily in aid of legislation. Tomorrow what we’re going through right now is the impeachment case against the president,” said Joey, adding that before, his father “was a staunch ally of the president.”

Joey said that other congressmen will speak on the other allegations.

Joey: Not optimistic

Joey however admitted that he was not the optimistic that the justice committee will declare the complaint “sufficient in substance” and with that have it passed to the House plenary and have the president impeached.

“In terms of getting the president impeached I think that’s a long shot because of the fact that the numbers of Congress are a lot more than the number of the minority,” said the young de Venecia.

Previous impeachment complaints in the Lower House have also failed, all of them during the elder de Venecia’s terms as House speaker.

The young de Venecia also said that President Arroyo holds a powerful weapon –“the power of the purse”.

He said that in practice, those congressmen who would not toe Malacañang’s line would not be released their pork barrel funds.

Criteria for victory

The young de Venecia said however that he would already consider the it a success if the House justice committee would allow them to fully present their allegations as well as evidences.

“At the very least in the justice committee that the allegations against the president and the evidences to back up the allegations both in documents and testimony will be transparent and will be allowed by the justice committee chairman [Rep.] Mat Defensor so that the public and even Congress itself, will actually know what really transpired, what these allegations are really about,” the young de Venecia said.

De Venecia said that the proper elaboration of their allegations would also provide President Arroyo the proper forum to respond.

“It also allows for the President of the Philippines to answer these allegations,” said the young de Venecia adding the Justice committee hearings would be the right forum for these answers to be given based on the allegations.

Joey said however that he would persist for the fight for the “truth.” He said that he would already consider it a success if the complainants would be given the time to elaborate on the allegation as well as present their evidences.

“If we are able to do that as complainants and hopefully we have the sentiments of the Filipino people, then I think we have achieved a victory,” said the young de Venecia. “Payagan kami magsalita, mag-debate, ilabas ang ebidensya at payagan si GMA [Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo] sagutin ang alegasyon (Allow us to speak, debate, present our evidence and allow Mrs. Arroyo to answer the allegations).”

SOURCE: ABS-CBN News Online, jdv-and-son-testify-impeachment-complaint-hearing-house


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