The Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regime strikes back
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2007-09-23
True to form, the more Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is threatened, the more vicious the personal attacks that are heaped on the threat. The current object of the Arroyo regime's most intense 'affection' is none other than ZTE contract star witness — Joey de Venecia III.

Not appearing to be the type who went into his expose half-blind, Joey de Venecia must have anticipated the flak he is now getting from the defenders of the regime. But I'm not sure if he realized just how severe a counter attack he will be getting.

Sore loser, drug addict, liar, point man for destabilization — Joey de Venecia has been called all these and then some. DoTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza attributed Joey de Venecia's expose as the act of a sore loser. Luli Arroyo attributed his utterances as probable effects of his younger days when he used to take banned substances.

First Gentleman Mike Arroyo and his lawyer Jess Santos denied the finger pointing incident and "Back off" spiel at Wack Wack and virtually called Joey de Venecia a liar. At first, Santos denied the Wack Wack reconciliation meeting ever took place, only to change his story the next day after Mike Arroyo confirmed that the meeting took place but under different circumstances.

Senator Miriam Santiago asked who is paying Joey de Venecia for his expose and attempted to link him to a major destabilization plot. As if on cue, AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon announced the discovery of active recruitment in the military for a planned coup.

At the rate the regime is savaging Joey de Venecia — I wonder if one of these days he will be linked to some of the most heinous unsolved crimes in the country. To merit this treatment as Public Enemy #1, Joey de Venecia really touched a raw nerve and confirmed what many Filipinos have been suspecting all along with regards anomalous transactions in the Arroyo regime.

Many people thought that what Joey de Venecia revealed in the Tuesday Senate hearing was conducted in a very professional manner, sans personal color attributed to the people he mentioned as the prime movers of the highly-controversial ZTE contract. As such, it would have made sense for the regime to have also refuted what he said in a professional point by point manner.

Consistent with the Arroyo regime track record for handling serious threats — even the son of an important ally who went out of his way to keep his president clear of any implications was not spared the full shock treatment.

In last Thursday's second Senate hearing on the ZTE contract, the regime manifested its siege mentality by sending more Cabinet members than those who were required to attend. One Cabinet official too many came to the hearing except the one who was known to have said that he will tell the truth when asked — former NEDA head Romulo Neri.

Was the unwarranted attendance of Secretary Eddie Ermita et al intended to cover up the glaring absence of the one regime official — Romulo Neri — who could corroborate a good part of the revelations of Joey de Venecia?

Was the unwarranted attendance of Secretary Eddie Ermita et al a case of what Napoleon described — that when an enemy shows a larger deployment of his troops in one part of the battlefield, that is where the enemy feels most vulnerable?

Was the unwarranted attendance of Secretary Eddie Ermita et al an indication that there are more regime officials involved in the anomalous ZTE contract and they were all there to watch out for their own personal liabilities?

From a situation where the Arroyo regime had consistently dodged Senate hearings like it were the dreaded plague, they suddenly showed up in numbers that made several Senators wonder if the executive branch of government had stopped operating altogether.

Many of us admired Joey de Venecia for the guts he displayed in doing what he did. But the unexpected Cabinet turnout in the Senate last Thursday proved just how important and big a threat he turned out to be.

From where I sat, wrecking another chair, I thought that the regime Senate allies offered token resistance — especially when you compare their actuations last Tuesday and Thursday to their previous attacks against the star witness of the on-going Garci wiretapping probe, Intelligence Agent Vidal Doble.

Claiming that she was under the weather and was raring to go home and rest, Sen. Miriam Santiago requested Sen. Jamby Madrigal to use the latter's turn in questioning. But as Sen. Madrigal commented after Sen. Santiago fielded her questions and comments, the Iloilo Senator appeared to be in fighting form. Perhaps Sen. Santiago was just raring to leave the hearing for fear of being associated with the defense of an indefensible stinking anomaly.

The arguments of the DoTC Secretary and his underlings were torn to shreds. Senator Mar Roxas debunked the cost efficiency claims. Senator Panfilo Lacson exposed the lack of due diligence in not discovering the spotty ZTE track record of anomalous transactions in other countries. Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Francis Escudero combined to detail the anomalous documentation of the deal.

Many Senators wondered why government opted to violate its own BOT guidelines for this expensive system where government has no track record of competency at all. National security concerns were expressed over the involvement of another country in the maintenance of the system.

Still the big questions persist. Why does Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo insist on railroading it? Is it true that big kickbacks have been paid and can no longer be returned?

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A great disservice to P-Noy

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