Scuttlebutt is that Bert Gonzalez and Executive Secretary Ermita have been working behind the scenes to pressure the Speaker to refer the Pulido impeachment complaint by Friday, the last session day before the House recess, where Reps. Villarosa and Mat Defensor (chairman of the House Committee on Justice, and who had been applying pressure of his own) are waiting in the wings to kill the complaint. As of last night, word was the pressure was so intense, the Palace wanted the referral made by noon today.
The problem is that the Speaker himself said he wasn’t in a rush:
De Venecia said he would act on the impeachment complaint after the allegations by Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran and five other opposition lawmakers that they were offered bribes to endorse the complaint have been investigated.
So the Speaker’s risking facing disgruntled congressmen who’d characterize the swift referral (the Speaker actually has 10 session days, or until mid-November) as implicating the House leadership, in turn, in an attempted-bribery-tainted scandal. They’d rather that the Speaker give time for two committees to do some sniffing around: the House committees on Ethics and Good Government.
Congressmen want a chance to look into allegations of a fraternity link between Atty. Polido, former Rep. Mike Defensor (son of Rep. Mat Defensor who heads the House Justice Committee) and Ver, who besides being a former chief of staff of Mark Jimenez was supposedly also chief of staff of Ronnie Puno back when he was a congressman representing Antipolo.
The congressmen also want to explore whether their colleague Rep. San Luis is liable for perjury when he admitted during interpolation that he had no idea whether the impeachment complaint he endorsed was true, or if he believed anything in it was true, and yet he executed a sworn affidavit saying he believed the complaint to be true.
See my column today, The invisible ball, as far as the defects of the complaint itself are concerned.
So basically, the Palace wants to make its constitutional three-point shot by Friday, because waiting for the constitutionally-specified 10 session day period to expire opens up the possibility of more revelations by October 25, when the Senate hearings resume. The kind of revelations that might lead to the filing of a proper complaint, which might end up transmitted at the same time as the Pulido innoculation-slash-complaint.
As a senior member of the House has been reportedly grumbling this past week, “ginagago tayo!”
But last night, as talk circulated that Palace pressure was increasing, Rep. Pablo Garcia of Cebu did this: Arroyo’s adviser named as mastermind of ‘sham’ impeach rap which forced a Palace reaction: Puno: Garcia barking up wrong tree. Now what was the point of the whole charade? Why would they engage in cannibalism just as the team’s supposed to be pulling together for the three point shot?
Add then, the emergency meeting this morning (perhaps to smoothen feathers ruffled by the Garcia-Puno squabble): Arroyo meets with 180 solons in Malacanang where originally, it was denied anything impeachment-related was afoot; then the Speaker confirmed it: Palace meeting with 185 solons tackled impeachment – JDV.
And he said, know we may, what happen to impeachment by noon, will.
(update 12:50 pm) A source says the Speaker is still at the Palace but that prior to going to the Palace he’d seemed still inclined not to do the President’s bidding. After all, as he himself has said, JDV: Impeach rap aims to remove me, punish my son:
De Venecia on Wednesday told the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of INQUIRER.net) that it would be unwise to immediately refer the complaint filed by lawyer Roel Pulido to the committee on justice in view of allegations that certain congressmen had been offered between P1 million and P2 million to endorse it.
“It would appear that I, too, was bribed to the tune of P2 million,” he said.
De Venecia said the Pulido complaint was directed, not against Arroyo, but against him, as a result of his son’s disclosures on the scandal-ridden $329-million National Broadband Network (NBN) deal.
It’s in “retaliation to what my son did,” he said, pointing out that “60 percent” of the two-page complaint was aimed at him.
“There is a dark conspiracy hovering over us,” he added.
The crucial hour, the source says, will be 3 pm today, to see if the Speaker folds or not. A possible out is for the Speaker, instead of blocking the three-point shot, takes himself out of the game and the referral will be done by Deputy Speaker Raul del Mar.
New Philippine Revolution suggests this is the first set of battles in the fight, not for spoils from China deals, but over the future prime ministership.
2:30 pm I’m going to the Batasan. Will update on Twitter.