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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Manuel L. Quezon III.

142 thoughts on “All in the family

  1. So, we’re all down to this: Away ng mga pamilya.

    Anyway, I’d place my bet on the de Venecia father-and-son tandem. JDV’s a political survivor. He might not be able to bring GMA down, but at the very least, he would be able to wiggle his way out of this.

  2. “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.” – hvrds

    “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.” – cvj

    s’ya nga mga pre ko, akala nila sa kanila ang Pilipinas. parang yun mga mayayaman sa malaking bahay na nagaaway sa pera, nagsisigawan, nagyayakyakan, basagan ng pingan dito, itsahan ng kung ano diyan at walang pakialam kung ano man ang sasabibihin ng mga miron sa lansangan. paglabas ng bahay nasa loob ng kotse (si bencard ang driver) mataas pa rin nag mga noo.

  3. Resignation Letter of Benjamin Abalos

    To the Filipino People:

    I hereby resign the office of Chairman of the COMMISSION.I am accepting my appointment as ambassador to China.

    Love and kisses!Remember,I love you all very dearly!

    Benjamin Abalos

  4. btw, does any one know what kind of case re the ZTE deal is before the ombudsman now that GMA has alluded to . . . well as to who initiated it, who are the respondents, etc.?

  5. On Sept.28,we celebrate the 97th birthday anniversary of DIOSDADO MACAPAGAL(”The Incorruptible”).

    Diosdado Pangan Macapagal stands out as one of the great, respected, highly esteemed and loved presidents of the Philippines. During his time, the Philippines enjoyed prosperity and was the second most developed country in the Asian region, next only to Japan and ahead of the new tigers of Asia like Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, etc. He is affectionately known as the Champion of the Common Man because of his many achievements in improving the plight of the masses and of the poor. His sterling character and unquestionable integrity (known as the Incorruptible) is a rare model for present and future generations of Filipinos.

    His famous advice to GLORIA:

    I have sat at the sumptuous tables of power, but I have not run away with the silverware.
    Diosdado Macapagal

  6. Mike Arroyo was never a target when Gloria assumed power. The Arroyos had goodwill from the people (I thought majority of the people based on EDSA 2) when they started, they just lost it when their true colors started to come out.

  7. Attention: Everyone who is opposed to the opposition!

    Since you’re bound to be accused of being paid hacks of the administration anyway, why don’t you make it official and join us in the dark side?

    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!)

  8. Hi Tito Bencard:

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

    Since you’re bound to be accused of being paid hacks of the administration anyway, why don’t you make it official and join us in the dark side?

    Love and kisses,

    LULI A. (My Mommy right or wrong!

  9. ROM:La parole est d’argent, mais le silence est d’or.

    Translation: The Christmas lantern is the agent, and the quiet corn is riding a boat.

  10. To all destabilizers:

    “Should you, however, persist in your evil designs, I say to you: You can try but you will fail. You cannot win against the people, I shall crush you.”

    Your President,Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

    January 30, 2000

  11. inidoro ni emilie:

    “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.”
    -GMA Press Conference, Malacanang
    February 13, 2001

  12. ROM:

    “There is something about this poverty about the hard life in the street which encourages this condition to perpetuate itself. There are even street grandparents now! ”
    – Speech of PGMA, Children’s Village
    Norzagaray, Bulacan, March 29, 2001


    “We women have proven without doubt that we can do what men can!!!”
    – Speech, International Women’s Day
    ULTRA, March 8, 2001

  14. lol. that comment abt Bencard had me laughing. he indeed issues statements better than Ermita and Bunye combined. perhaps he should replace them. at least we’ll have someone more believable, eh?

    Benigno, u want to discuss ideas? i have an idea: why don’t we contemplate another people power? it involves personalities, it is an event, and hell, its driving power comes from an “idea.”

    an idea that sells for so little but it’s all we have left in this place… It is the very last inch of us… But within that inch we are free.

    You know that idea? it’s more than just an idea. it’s something intangible yet larger than life. we may die, and every inch of us may perish…

    Except that one.

    An inch. It is small and fragile and it’s the only thing in the world that’s worth having. We must never lose it or sell it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

    small minds? what abt big hearts?

    benigno never fails to switch me back to Jekyll. thanks Benigs.

  15. “We women have proven without doubt that we can do what men can!!!”

    Oh yeah? Can you put out a campfire by peeing on it?

    (Nice collection of Ate Glo quotables, btw, tdc.)

  16. JEG:

    “I hope that we can find an end to this conflict, not next year, or the next, but soon within the foreseeable future”
    – Press Conference, Malacanang
    April 24, 2001

  17. “lol. that comment abt Bencard had me laughing. he indeed issues statements better than Ermita and Bunye combined. perhaps he should replace them. at least we’ll have someone more believable, eh?”

    the only problem here devils is that the media will be pointing their microphones and cameras at mlq3’s blog for official line of statement. cool, nevertheless. a first in cybertechnocracy.

  18. satire is the greatest weapon of the revolutionist. why? bcoz tyrants have no sense of humor. they sit on the throne with u huge stick up their asses.

    with that qualifier, tdc and mb has my vote as our official jesters.

  19. “Il faut laver son linge sale en famille.”

    jeg, paki-translate. i might get it wrong: a lingerie sale in china for the first family?

  20. Dear ROM:

    When I conceived the Luli Arroyo Internet Brigade, I saw a long fight ahead. I pictured sleepless nights replying point by point to every destabilizer-with-an-internet-connection. I looked at the task ahead, and despaired.

    However, 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!)

  21. Dear TITA EMILIE:

    “I shake hands, I have shaken hands with millions of people. I am the President of
    all Filipinos. When I visit the prison I shake the hands of the prisoners in jail.”

    Press Conference, April 17, 2001

  22. tdc:sorry, guy. i’m not a fan of quotes. stealing the fruit of elder trees and passing them off as your own wisdom (as in, you were smart enough to figure out that the quote was applicable) seems to me a waste of time. as is trading in platitudes and old cliches. 🙂

  23. The Thai and Bangladeshi Military made the right moves in their respective countries. Jailed/Charged former PMs for corruption and took power for the better. What’s wrong with ours?

  24. GMA’s legacy will be what people will remember, not what she tells them it is.

    Gloria isn’t the first to do this obviously. Kings, emperors, and dictators have been doing this since the beginning of civilisation. Usually in these cases, however, the legacy is presented after the real, not the political death of the ruler in the form of an obituary or a commemorative monument.

    I wonder if Gloria will be merely content to hand out a list for her loyal alalays to recite on cue, or whether she’s wishing for something more substantial like, say, the Res Gestae Divi Augusti that the emperor Augustus had emblazoned on various monuments around the Roman empire.

    At least Augustus achieved the things he boasted about!

  25. MLQ3:

    “I have no grandiose dream to become great President. I want to be a good President. Help me be a good President. GMA”

    The Gloria legacy is that she leaves none.

    The problem, I think, is that Gloriar has never understood the levers of power. She loves the display, the business of “being” President and all the perks that go with job(like frequent state visits) .

    She makes much of it as a lonely post of decision-making (in which case she has made some spectacularly bad calls), but not the putting into practice.

  26. “is chavit singson a credible witness? a self confessed liar, a spurned partner with a motive to lie, a “player” trying to stay in the major league on the strength of what? connection and name, right? why should i believe him just because solita monsod does?

  27. …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…

    Most with one question in mind: “How is this going to affect my pork?”

    The president is kidding herself if she sees this number of visitors as a solid endorsement of her.

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