Sunday, March 29, 2009


Directed by Mikey

Philippine Daily InquirerFirst Posted 06:43:00 03/30/2009

ADD one more reason to why the nation ought to reject Charter change before the 2010 elections: We won’t have to waste any more time listening to Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo, the President’s eldest son and alter ego in the House of Representatives.

It is a terrible burden, to endure the utter vapidity that issues from the mouth of the Arroyo scion, when he does one thing but pretends to be doing another. And the only reason we listen to him is he may be sending political signals on behalf of his mother. In particular, when it comes to the continuing campaign to gather 196 signatures in the House in support of Charter change by constituent assembly, the young Arroyo insults the Filipino people’s intelligence by lying through his teeth.

After former Speaker Jose de Venecia revealed that Arroyo and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez approached him late last month to solicit his support for the constituent-assembly mode of amending the Constitution, the President’s eldest son issued a vigorous denial. The meeting at the Batasan was pure accident, he said. They had merely bumped into each other. “We talked about good times, bad times, how each other’s family is doing, how my ninang [godmother] Gina [de Venecia] is doing. That was the first time we had a chat since he was replaced,” he said.
(The young Arroyo having helped lead the campaign to remove De Venecia from the speakership over a year ago, the irony surrounding that word “replaced” seems particularly dense.)

But then the Pampanga congressman forgot himself. In denying De Venecia’s accusation, he also said that, in that same meeting, Romualdez brought out the controversial resolution seeking to convene Congress as a constituent assembly. Apparently, in Arroyo’s unthinking version of events, Romualdez, a former bank president and not exactly someone’s idea of a factotum, was in the habit of carrying a copy of the resolution—you know, just in case of pure accidents.

The truth is: This meeting was no social call. It was an opportunity to appeal to the former speaker’s vanity, to get him to use his still-considerable powers of persuasion to secure the 20 more signatures needed to turn the still-secret resolution into what lawyers call a justiciable controversy. Unfortunately for the Arroyo family, the rift with De Venecia seems wider than ever.

The young Arroyo also reacted to De Venecia’s broadside by seeking to put the Charter change issue behind him. “To put an end to this incessant talk that Cha-cha is meant to extend my mother’s term, let’s have Cha-cha after 2010,” he told reporters.

And yet, as far as we can piece it together, the Villafuerte resolution that will likely be filed after the Holy Week break proposes that the country’s system of government be changed from presidential to parliamentary—and that elections be held as scheduled in 2010, but for the new parliament.

This is the same resolution which the young Arroyo refuses to withdraw his signature from, and which he refuses to declare as “dead.” So which is which? Perhaps Arroyo has convinced himself into thinking that, simply because the proposed resolution does not call for a term extension and insists on elections next year, there will be no Charter change before 2010. And yet the resolution itself—as far as we can piece it together—calls for parliamentary elections next year.

On other occasions, the young Arroyo also sent mixed signals about the Con-ass initiative. Last month, he defended Speaker Prospero Nograles’ belated attempt to round up House support for the Villafuerte resolution. “He believes in something, so he tries to convince his colleagues, and believe me many have been convinced already,” Representative Arroyo told GMA News, in a transparent bid to create the illusion of momentum. But last week, he casually and gratuitously dropped a threat against Nograles, whom pro-Con-ass congressmen like him view as insufficiently enthusiastic. “The Speaker of the House is the most vulnerable position in Congress because he can be changed anytime by the members once they lose confidence in him. He should know that,” the young Arroyo said.

So brazen, and so shallow. Don’t other congressmen have better things to do than take dictation or direction from someone whose only distinction is to be born the President’s eldest son?

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