All in the family

This is being written early in the morning of Thursday.

Wednesday was apparently spent by the Speaker (depending on the version one heard) avoiding all contact with people, or in a series of meetings with his loyalists from the House. (update: see Newsbreak’s After Son’s Revelations, Will JDV Allow GMA Impeachment?)

The President’s day and strategies are described in the blog of Jove Francisco. As were some reactions from the President’s children.

By late afternoon there was word that a meeting had been called at the Palace for later that night. Set for 9:30 pm, at first word spread that members of Kampi viewed as loyal to the President would attend. Then, word was that besides presidential loyalists in Kampi, those considered loyal in Lakas-CMD would attend. Then, word was the meeting would be open to all members of the House who were committed to maintaining the President in office until 2010.

Details, as of shortly before dinner time, are in the blog of Ricky Carandang.

Around dinner time (that is, a few hours ago), firmer details emerged from various sources. The meeting had been called by the President’s sons, Reps. Mikey and Dato Arroyo (that afternoon, their sister, Luli Arroyo had appeared on TV to lash out at Joey de Venecia). The President’s sons were hopping mad; the meeting in the Palace was their initiative (confirmed by multiple sources).

Members of the House showed up at the Palace (reportedly, at Bonifacio Hall, the former Premier Guest House) at the appointed time: interestingly, Sec. Ermita had been sent out of the Palace to represent the President in meetings outside, so he may or may not have been around. The President’s sons led the faction demanding retribution against the Speaker. The President appeared, joined the meeting, but didn’t say anything. Some congressmen were silent; others advocated a conciliatory policy, and cautioned against rocking the boat; others, irritated that events had moved too quickly to topple the Speaker earlier that day, argued plans had to be made to change the House leadership when sessions resumed on Monday.

At that point, the Speaker arrived unannounced at the Palace. The President left the meeting to confer with the Speaker in another room. The congressmen waited where they were. A while later, someone was sent to inform the gathered congressmen that a change in the House leadership was off the table. The Speaker (according to the functionary who was sent to the gathered congressmen to inform them of developments) basically threatened the President: if she moved to topple him, he would spill the beans on her. And so, the advisory that the status quo would be maintained. These are details from a source that attended the meeting.

As of about half an hour ago, it seems the congressmen were still at the Palace, the President was still huddled with the Speaker, and so it can’t be said for sure, if a stalemate is where things are.

12:55 am Winnie Monsod on TV saying she believes Joey de Venecia 100% and says President owes an explanation, if she knew Abalos was involved, why didn’t she tell him to back off… And Tony Abaya is pissed, because he’s been targeted by a government smear campaign. See Uniffors:

Monsod closed her weekly TV show, Palaban,with the following statement (as best as I can recall)addressed to Gloria

“Joey de Venecia is telling the truth… I admire Joey and I accept his reasons for exposing the corruption….One does not make accusations against very powerful people if he has no basis in fact, specially since doing so would endanger his father’s position and his personal safety… You owe us an explanation….Why did you change the policy on telcoms….why did you..(I forget the other two “whys”)… If your husband told Joey to back off because his father was speaker, then why didn’t you tell Abalos to back off when you found out he was involved in the ZTE dea….I have defended you before but this time you have to defend yourself…”

I’ve never seen or heard Winnie attack Gloria personally. If she ever attacked Gloria before, it was over issues.

(addendum, 9:53 am Denials from some quarters as to the Speaker showing up at the Palace and his conversation with the President. Counting of heads in House supposedly ongoing. Addendum 11:52 am See Admin solons, sans JDV, meet with Arroyo in Malacañang: what Rep. Garcia said was he “did not see” JDV; a separate update I received was that 150 representatives showed up at the Palace: addendum to the addendum, 12:57 pm: another source says 120 congressmen).

8:54 am update: Let me quickly list some insights I’ve been given into what’s going on, by people who have served in government and know some of the protagonists.

1. The modus vivendi in the past was that the Speaker had the franchise on all deals involving China. Obviously the problem now is that the agreement’s not being honored and his economic turf muscled into. This turf is what gave Joey de Venecia room to maneuver, and his method was by means of a proposal that earned him profit while not raiding the treasury (a very traditional scheme). It seems other parties then moved in, and kept him in orbit and then decided to cut him loose, and the icing on the cake was they treated him like dirt. This, Joey himself, could not accept, and this is what stiffened his resolve. It then became an outright assault on the Speaker’s turf.

2. Pragmatically speaking, there is no reason such a squabble should have turned into a political crisis. Particularly since the Speaker has been described as the sort of individual who would take a bad deal over no deal at all, whose instincts are always for the less confrontational way out, and who prefers disagreements ironed out if brokers are available. The reason things tend to escalate all the time is that the President’s inner circle has increasingly adopted a take-no-prisoners approach; gradually, officials useful for brokering peace deals, and who can engage in diplomacy with allies and even enemies have been eased out. Therefore, there’s no one to pacify allies and so matters tend to quickly spiral out of control.

3. The sons of the President are now political players on their own, and they are also aggressive personally and politically. Their involvement in trying to mold events is reminiscent of 1986 when the Marcos children tried to run the Snap Election campaign, with disastrous consequences.

4. The real action may not necessarily be in the Senate, but in the Supreme Court: if it voids the contract then the President is left holding the bag.

5. The Chinese government has warned the Philippine government that to renege on the ZTE deal will put all Chinese government investments and concessions in peril. The Palace itself is saying this. But the Chinese government is probably more pragmatic than this, and even if it made such a threat, is posturing.

6. The weakest link among officials who will go before the Senate today is former NEDA chief Romulo Neri.

Poor Bel Cunanan is obviously worried. This morning’s news stories: ‘Luli’ Arroyo leads counterattack on De Venecia son (in his blog, Jove Francisco has details on the Luli Offensive); Lawyer: Mike Arroyo met De Venecia III; Abalos decides to face Senate but not on Thursday ; Chinese press RP on broadband deal; NBN deal should’ve been junked from get-go.

Random Thoughts points to Tek for the Pipol, which presents information and analyses on the NBN scheme.

(addendum 10:19 am) Here is a report on GMANews.TV: Arroyo Cabinet members hold emergency meet on ZTE deal:

Hours before they were to face a Senate investigation on the $329.5-million broadband network deal with China’s ZTE Corp., Cabinet members of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo held an emergency meeting to discuss their “strategy.”

Radio dzBB reported before dawn Thursday that Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza, who attended the meeting, said they would insist the deal was “a conditional contract.”

The report said the meeting was held Wednesday night in Malacañang.

While Mendoza refused to elaborate on the “conditions,” he said he is confident that they could establish the contract was clean and above-board.

Mendoza, Trade Secretary Peter Favila and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman Romulo Neri were among the Cabinet members President Arroyo allowed to attend the hearing.

The Senate hearing is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

NOTE: I’ll do my best to liveblog what Me, Myself & Eileen has described as “the monkeys making kuto.” But not here. This time, I’ll be be liveblogging over at Inquirer Current.

(For the historical record, 9/21/07: see De Venecia assured anew of Speakership , which generally confirms that the meeting of congressmen and then a talk between the President and the Speaker took place)

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142 comments

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    • Chabeli on September 20, 2007 at 1:38 am

    After revealing the Mystery Man, what did Gloria do to a problem like Joey de Venecia ? She pressed the panic button.

    It seems that JdV holds the key to what’s next.

    • Rom on September 20, 2007 at 1:55 am

    mlq3:the father-son powerplay kicks off, eh? smart. think chess. joey de venecia mounts a threat to the king, forcing the queen’s hand. but she’s caught, isn’t she? if she moves to undercut the threat by checking the opposing king, she moves right into opposing king’s trap. if she doesn’t, the threat against her king escalates.

    • supremo on September 20, 2007 at 2:06 am

    Impeachment for Abalos (sacrificial wolf) might be on the table. The Arroyo son’s will lose their house committees. FG might not go home. Gloria will say something about definitely stepping down. Luli might become JDV3’s concubine. Anything is possible at this time.

    • baycas on September 20, 2007 at 2:33 am

    Anything is possible at this time.

    i initially discounted suicide…nonetheless, still possible…

  1. Woe is me, shame and scandal in the family…

    In Malacanang, there was a family…

    • supremo on September 20, 2007 at 2:55 am

    This might be the end of the Arroyo sons’ political career. Time to join FG in Munich.

  2. Supremo,

    Bad pigs, er… I mean weeds never die.

  3. Gloria is a not a just some dumb broad – she will find a way so JdV (the Speaker), the DoTC mob boss including the other members of the enchanted gang to reach a compromise.

    But as ever, bad things you do (she does or her family does) get back to you at some point in time.

    She’s gotta go… her family has always been bad news.

    • tdc on September 20, 2007 at 3:14 am

    Connect the Dots >>>>Based on all available information:

    1)FG will remain on EXILE till the air is cleared..GMA will declare again”I’m married to my country”.

    2)Abalos will be sacrificed…

    3)Like the Pidal case,expect IGGY to claim responsibility for his brother.

    4)There will be a decent Cabinet member who will not be able to stomach what is happening and …

    5)JDV will be replaced as Speaker by a Kampi ally of the GMA(check Ronnie Puno).

    6)The lawyer of FG will peddle more lies”(there was no such meeting in Wack Wack) and threaten libel again to everyone who “maligns” his client.

    7)Expect Bunye again to say this is “False” while this is “True”.

    MLQ3 :Please suggest what could be the “Tipping Point” to this sequence of events…

    • HindiNaPinoy on September 20, 2007 at 3:30 am

    “This might be the end of the Arroyo sons’ political career”.

    ———————————
    sa pilipinas, walang katapusan ang ‘political career’.
    marcoses, enrile, tatad, estradas……….

    • supremo on September 20, 2007 at 3:47 am

    Too many people opened their mouths. The NBN dirty linen was washed in public. No more wiggle room. No way out. Some people must quit for Gloria to save face.

    • tdc on September 20, 2007 at 3:55 am

    “Too many people opened their mouths. The NBN dirty linen was washed in public. No more wiggle room. No way out. Some people must quit for Gloria to save face.Supremo”

    Abalos will be sacrificed for sure…

  4. Abalos can never be sacrificed. If JDV threatened GMA with something, u can be sure Abalos has an even bigger blackmailing threat for GMA. He virtually holds her hostage with the conduct of the last 2 elections he keeps secret.

    The status quo cannot be maintained for long. GMA is caught bet the hard rock and the sea. JDV has to realize he cannot trust the President anymore. Anytime soon, he or his son will experience what the Batasan 5 experienced.

    Malacanang will come out heavy guns ablazing. Claims of destablization, emergency powers pulled out, will accuse JDV and son of consorting with opposition. Will throw the entire book at the 2.

    JDV expecting all the worse, will have invested in his own way to expose Gloria. The only way JDV can avoid being caught with his pants down is to take the action first!

    First lesson in war. Study Germany’s blitzkrieg and understand why those who take the initiative usually win.

    Things will escalate some more. Both sides will ask for the people to decide. Bad move.

    Frankly, the only way to defuse the in-fighting is for Kris Aquino to suddenly have another illicit scandal on TV. Go on Kris, oblige them. I remember what happened at the Pidal case.

    Either way, even if JDV and GMA reach a compromise, this dirty secret will not go away. Any presidentiable or politician worth his salt must realize that the Filipino people are really learning to punish their officials now every election. No one who stays silent on this issue may ever hope to have a future in politics after this. And JDV has to realize that if he strikes a deal with GMA now, he or his son has no political future whatsoever. They’ll become phariahs once GMA is deposed. And mark my words, she will be deposed.

    If JDV does fight it out with GMA, we may see him president in 2010. If Laurel’s candidacy has taught us anything, it’s that the Filipino people are a forgiving lot. So long as you show us that you are worth forgiving.

    • tdc on September 20, 2007 at 4:24 am

    “These are serious charges, no one is above the law. He must face the accusers in court. He must personally answer the charges. He must face the consequences of his actions here and not in some distant shores. The law must always, in everywhere, prevail.”

    -President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Press Conference, Malacanang
    February 13, 2001

  5. I still give Bastille 3 yrs whatever happens

    • tdc on September 20, 2007 at 4:26 am

    “Frankly, the only way to defuse the in-fighting is for Kris Aquino to suddenly have another illicit scandal on TV. Go on Kris, oblige them. I remember what happened at the Pidal case.Devil advoc8”

    “It’s taken surprisingly little effort to achieve our intended goals. Why? Because our enemies have been doing our job for us.

    Stay vigilant, my agents – in time, the opposition, for all intents and purposes, will BE the Luli Arroyo Internet Brigade!

    Love and kisses,

    LULI A. (My Mommy right or wrong!) “

    • BrianB on September 20, 2007 at 4:37 am

    Thank God I didn’t convert my dollar accounts.

  6. Into what?

    And if you haven’t, why the hell not?

    The dollar is on an impending crash! Change it to euros now!

    • manuelbuencamino on September 20, 2007 at 5:02 am

    Bottom line is Mike Arroyo forgot who he was when he acted as an enforcer, a muscle, for his underlings. To use the language of Malu Fernandez, that act was tantamount to wearing Axe cologne. It evaporated whatever Jo Malone scent Gloria had left.

    A little more class, even when they plunder, is expected from a presidential couple, if you know what I mean.

    As the old saying goes, “if you can’t be good, at least look good.” And that, sadly enough, is something the Arroyos do not understand.

    • pete m. on September 20, 2007 at 5:33 am

    mlq3,

    All in the family.

    Malacanang under siege, Luli is behaving like Bongbong did, spoiling for a fight. Like the Marcos family, last days in the Palace, nobody in the family had a clear view of the situation. Luli could save all in the family from a very explosive situation: “Mom, why don’t you just resign. Let’s join Dad in Munich then to Spain, di ba you have distant-distant relatives there?”

    • pete m. on September 20, 2007 at 5:36 am

    tipping point?

    Where the tip of JdV’s nose points. Towards or away from GMA.

    JdV’s Lower House saved GMA ‘not once but twice’.

    JdV’s Lower house can ‘un-save’ GMA.

    “GMA has become a threat to the instituion of the house which we all must defend!” could be JdV’s battle-cry to rally support from house members.

    • BrianB on September 20, 2007 at 5:37 am

    “The dollar is on an impending crash! Change it to euros now!”

    Devil, I’m not in the money market. Just have dollars that’s all.

    • Pilipinoparin on September 20, 2007 at 5:40 am

    As everyone can see, the events point out to my impression that many if not most of the congressmen are tuta of whoever is in Malacanang. Let’s abolish the House and keep the Senate. This may help in keeping the integrity of the legislative body and keep it separate from the wishes of the executive.

    • BrianB on September 20, 2007 at 5:42 am

    BTW,

    How do you link FG crimes to Gloria, through Abalos?

    • pete m. on September 20, 2007 at 5:45 am

    Brian B.,

    It’s:

    How do you link Abalos crimes to Gloria, through FG?

    • BrianB on September 20, 2007 at 6:13 am

    pet m.

    Let’s congratulate ourselves. We just did a demonstration on the basics of spin.

    To save Gloria, put her in last.

    • supremo on September 20, 2007 at 7:22 am

    How do you sacrifice Abalos? Fatal accident?

    • hindi ako botante on September 20, 2007 at 7:39 am

    patanong:

    Are relatives of officials allowed to bid for govt contracts?

    Is this an under the table deal gone sour?

    I see both parties need to answer these questions.

    • benign0 on September 20, 2007 at 7:43 am

    I recall a past commentor once commented:

    Small minds discuss people
    Mediocre minds discuss events
    Great minds discuss ideas

    Therefore there seems to be some progress. Pinoy discussion now hovers somewhere between discussing people and discussing events in the spectrum of intellectual quality. 😉

    • pete m. on September 20, 2007 at 7:50 am

    Unsolicited advice to JdV,

    1) Play it by ear. The more you listen, the less you talk, the better.

    2) Playing it by ear means listening to the right people who can give wise and objective advice. Avoid tempters, forked-tongues, deceivers, wheeler-dealers.

    3) Playing it by ear entails being alert. Be on guard; hold your cards close to your chest. Your son’s life is on the line. Much more is on the line.

    4) Playing it by ear also means being sensitive to the inner promptings of your heart. Affirm the goodness that’s in your heart by following it. Expect extreme temptations to go against what’s good for you, your family and the country – your people, your House

    • cvj on September 20, 2007 at 7:51 am

    Supremo, the same question is also bugging me. He has to be sacrificed to step back from the abyss and preserve the elite’s world which both GMA and JDV has a stake. Maybe they’ll fall back on some disgruntled election loser or disgruntled supplier.

    • inodoro ni emilie on September 20, 2007 at 8:08 am

    hey jdv,

    just spill the beans. i-utot mo na!

    • inodoro ni emilie on September 20, 2007 at 8:10 am

    “Woe is me, shame and scandal in the family…

    In Malacanang, there was a family…”

    the marcoses reincarnated. bencard, wag ka munang mag-retire dito!

    • tonio on September 20, 2007 at 8:19 am

    pete m.:

    have you seen the ears on JDV? no problem with your advice there, i think.

    di ako botante:

    i think the prohibition is from President down to House Speaker, and up to the fourth degree of consanguinity. (lawyers please clarify)

    the utter… lack of style… has me wondering if this was all staged, another act for the benefit of those of us watching. because it sure as hell doesn’t look like sound political strategy.

    • cvj on September 20, 2007 at 8:31 am

    tonio, but who are we so that they would go out of their way to stage this for our benefit? i think the simplest explanation is still the most accurate, it’s infighting among the elite. that we are seeing it now is a result of their own hubris.

    • inodoro ni emilie on September 20, 2007 at 8:34 am

    where is ramos in all these?

    • tonio on September 20, 2007 at 8:53 am

    cvj:

    true, true… occam’s razor and all that. when it comes down to it, this new elite really is a horde of swine.

    ino:

    i know… probably just watching and waiting. tabako power has been on the low side as of late, but the air is rife opportunities for a comeback.

    • mlq3 on September 20, 2007 at 8:53 am
      Author

    inodoro, fvr has been inconsequential after the president destroyed him in the lakas party showdown last year.

    • tonio on September 20, 2007 at 8:54 am

    good morning mlq3!

    so no chance of a return of tabako?

    • mlq3 on September 20, 2007 at 9:11 am
      Author

    tdc, i’m under the impression junking abalos is not an option. what if he spills the beans?

    tonio, it seems from what i’ve heard, fvr has been done for for close to two years now, and he knows it, and is rather bitter.

    • inodoro ni emilie on September 20, 2007 at 9:12 am

    mlq3,

    kaya?

    whatever. still i like the way the cookie crumbles from within.

    • Bencard on September 20, 2007 at 9:29 am

    much ado about nothing. just another loser “spilling the beans” – a la sandra cam, doble, samuel ong, and a lot of other forgettable names. perjured testimony is a lucrative industry in the philippines, stirring up a feeding frenzy in the sensational and anti-government media, and the one- tract minded individuals in this blog.

    is joey de venecia a credible witness? an admitted “former” drug addict, a loser with a motive to lie, a “businesman” trying to play in the major league on the strength of what? connection and name, right? why should i believe him just because solita monsod does?

    its just too bad, mike arroyo has got a target sign on his back, the moment his wife became the president. its just incredible that with so many people queuing to get a chance to throw a dagger on him, and after the lacson, cayetano, oscar cruz, and the estrada web of co-conspirators both local and abroad (aragoncillo, rey aquino, mancao), mike would even dare play golf with the usual suspects. he would have the nerve to leave the country for any purpose. doesn’t he understand that for a lot of people in the media and the opposition, he is not supposed to have civil rights – i.e., the freedom to play golf and travel, and not be subjected to malicious speculations?

    almost every time somebody loses, be it election, public bidding, the presidency of a social club, sometimes even sports contest, the loser immediately cries cheating by the winner. its part of the philippine culture – no big deal.

    • hvrds on September 20, 2007 at 9:30 am

    “But troubling news about U.S. debt may slow things down today. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the federal government will hit the current debt limit Oct. 1. Paulson asked Congress to increase the limit, saying it’s important to protect the “full faith and credit” of the country, as financial markets continue to suffer.”Gloomy Forecast For U.S. Debt,Poppy Harlow Forbes.com 9/19/07

    Now we know from Big Mike’s lawyer that indeed Big Mike did talk to de Venecia III about the deal. He was expressing concern that the son was using his dad’s position to deal with the government. He was protecting the Treasury it seems. Now we know that Abalos, Teves, Mendoza and Neri were all trying to protect the treasury from de Venecia III. Me thinks they were not thinking of the public treasury. Big Mike and GMA may have started their own. I hope from the quote everyone understands what the public treasury is. “Full faith and credit of the Republic”

    Right now Big Mike, GMA and the rest of the “rat pack” have the ATM to the public treasury. They are fighting over it in front of the entire planet.

    • mlq3 on September 20, 2007 at 9:33 am
      Author

    it certainly took you long enough to put together and start trumpeting the official line, bencard.

    • cvj on September 20, 2007 at 9:33 am

    Romulo Neri’s testimony will determine on which side of history will he remembered.

    • inodoro ni emilie on September 20, 2007 at 9:39 am

    “is joey de venecia a credible witness? an admitted “former” drug addict, a loser with a motive to lie, a “businesman” trying to play in the major league on the strength of what? connection and name, right?”

    ay, oo nga naman. who is joey, whereas mike has claim to kinship with st therese of avila. i have strong faith and belief that, indeed, mike sits at the right hand of the fodder. hallelujah!

    • tonio on September 20, 2007 at 9:40 am

    mlq3:

    and a perfectly formulaic delivery of it as well. the palace should get bencard to make their official statements. he does a much better job.

    cvj:

    that guy’s gone a long way from being my professor. i just hope he’s got some of it left.

    • bong on September 20, 2007 at 9:55 am

    mlq3, ine,

    Where is FVR in all these?

    Where he is safe and more effective: behind and above the scene.

    Don’t forget, he’s with the big league global think-tank, Carlyle. His cabal are global movers. With his perspective and vantage point he can make quick, crucial moves in fluid situations. Officially, an ‘ambassador-at-large’, FVR globetrots using gov money, weaving a globalist agenda — his point of referrence vis-a-vis local politics. He could jump into the picture like a hero to the rescue if and when ‘global interests’ dictate.

    • Jeg on September 20, 2007 at 10:05 am

    The Speaker (according to the functionary who was sent to the gathered congressmen to inform them of developments) basically threatened the President: if she moved to topple him, he would spill the beans on her.

    Pfsh! Why wait? If he has beans, spill.

    I still have that sneaking suspicion that we the people would still get screwed over this as both sides patch things up. Those in power always cover each other’s asses and we get screwed.

    • tdc on September 20, 2007 at 10:07 am

    “My clear intent from the outset to be a healing President had won over, even in some erstwhile supporters of my predecessor. Public approval of the administration grew with the appointment of men and women of probity and ability to the cabinet and other top positions(NANI PEREZ,CommissioNer ABALOS, GONZALES,ESPERON,APOSTOL,BUNYE,CLAUDIO,and many,many more .”

    – GMA Speech, MOPC
    March 29, 2001

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