Mejor tarde que nunca

CTALK - Cito Beltran () - February 6, 2008 - 12:00am

“Better late than never”.

The Arroyo instigated removal of Congressman Jose De Venecia as Speaker of the House has become a political tsunami waiting to happen. Far from being a done deal en masse, people are only now beginning to wonder what the real repercussions are for the legislature, the presidency both present and future, as well as for the nation.

Blinded by anger and political power, De Venecia’s enemies acted swiftly and with extreme prejudice. But now the ugly reality of their vendetta has raised questions and concerns that many ought to consider, specially those who sold out alliances, friendships and if at all, their integrity, a commodity so rare in the lower house.

By and large De Venecia is paying for two sins that the administration will not let pass. First is for bowing to the people’s will that is opposed to changing the Constitution referred to as Charter change or “Cha-cha”.  Political appointees in the administration, who have time and again disregarded the people’s will as well as the laws of the land, want De Venecia to engineer and ram the Charter change through Congress.

Only by this means can the greedy and the putrid prolong their power and social significance. By stealing and redefining the way we choose our leaders, these political appointees had hoped to extend their shelf life and shelved lives.

De Venecia’s second mortal sin was his failure to rein in his son Joey De Venecia who almost singlehandedly discredited the former chairman of the Commission on Elections and has once again dragged the First Gentleman into the arena of public suspicion by exposing their supposed involvement if not leadership in the ZTE controversy.

At all costs and all be damned! Malacañang wanted Joe De Venecia to stand and deliver. It did not matter that the people who caused all the mess were people much closer to the President than De Venecia ever was. De Venecia was expected to violate his contract with voters and cast aside any moral fiber he had as a father and as a man just to satisfy Malacanang.

The irony of the matter was that as much as he may have wanted to, both issues were publicly decided by the people and were really beyond his control. The damage had long been done even before De Venecia got his hands dirty.

If Joe De Venecia who has successfully dealt with many presidents and members of Congress finds himself cast out of power because he could not betray the trust of the people and of family, then No One, none, can consider themselves “safe or protected” in an alliance with Malacanang.

Are the likes of Nograles and Villafuerte more than willing to shove, ram and force the Charter change agenda against the people’s will? Are they willing to defy heaven itself to stop revelations and exposés of corruption? And when their very own blood kin or friendships oppose their patron, will they stand their ground or sell their souls?

Joe De Venecia did the nation a favor by making his “last stand” a public act. By forcing his enemies to vote in public and speak their minds and justify their betrayal, De Venecia denied his enemies the luxury of hiding and voting anonymously. Little did they realize that by their speech, the people would catch a glimpse of their twisted justifications and for some their utter wickedness.

Of the many none was sadder as the utterance of Congressman Boyet Gonzales from Mandaluyong. Once a partner of De Venecia, Gonzales spoke with passion bordering on contempt. Gonzales repeatedly crowed like the biblical rooster of denial that the members of Congress did not have to have a reason to remove the speaker from office. They do so simply because they wish.

Gonzales may not have realized it but he unwittingly surmised the true situation in Congress; Our Representatives had lost all reason.

In its absence they simply replaced them with motives or personal interest.

De Venecia’s last stand also exposed how the old guards skillfully used the “Arroyo boys” as “willing puppets sent to do the work of old men”. Prior to the actual vote, the price of this manipulation began to tell on Mikey Arroyo who became the focus of television cameras in Congress, as if telling the world; “here is the man responsible for what is about to happen to Joe De Venecia”. By late evening, the Arroyo boys were practically “promoted” to the controversial status previously imputed upon their father, by simple camera work.

Most commentaries had surmised that the removal of De Venecia was a feud between political families. Hardly did any one mention anything about the political ambitions of old congressmen who continue to desire after the speaker’s belt! While Mikey Arroyo was quoted as telling De Venecia to stop hiding behind the President’s skirt, they obviously lost sight of the Puppet Masters who were directing their actions.

The question in the minds of some more experienced political historians is what becomes of the Brothers Arroyo? Having experienced the thrill and the power, as well as the undeserved or mistaken notion that they led the successful dislodging of the aging leader of the pack; will the brothers simply return to their posts as humble representations and mere sons of the President?

Or has this oversight on the part of the old dogs cost someone his or her committee chairmanship or perhaps two of the positions just below the Speaker of the House? Will this experience spawn bigger political ambitions for the Brothers Arroyo? And when the time comes will the old dogs manage to protect themselves from them?

Like a dog shaking the mud on his coat, De Venecia managed to give us a sample of more dirt that he plans to bring into the house. To discredit him, guys like Congressman Villafuerte ask, “why only now”.

To that we say, “If not now, then when?” Better late…than never.

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