The current “full steam ahead” campaign to unseat Speaker Jose de Venecia has all the hallmarks of a blood feud between families. The two protagonists–President Macapagal-Arroyo and JDV–have been dueling through proxies for some months now since the president broke her promise to step down in one year’s time from July 2005. The current stage started when the ZTE scandal broke out last year, involving JDV’s own son, Joey de Venecia.
In December 2006, JDV was nearly unseated when his co-savior, Fidel Ramos, insisted on the supposed agreement in July 2005. He did a judo trick, going along with the Malacañang charter change agenda. In the process, FVR got elbowed out and was humiliated at the Lakas coalition showdown.
However, the president’s men did not forget JDV’s “unreliability” and ambition for the top post. Their discontent fed into KAMPI’s own simmering grievance over its being sidelined for a long, long time from the speakership post, despite it being acknowledged as the president’s own party. Over time, the presidential (and JDV’s) argument for maintaining the rainbow coalition got fewer and fewer audience among them.
Things got into a head in the last 2007 elections. The JDV camp found itself fighting for survival–not for speakership–but even for membership in the House. JDV got into a real fight with Dagupan mayor Benjie Lim for the Pangasinan’s 4th congressional seat. It was bruited later that the principal backers behind Lim included the First Gentleman and KAMPI.
JDV won the fight (with FVR support) and later defended his speakership by invoking the continuity of the limping coalition. However, by that time, the trust between the coalition partners had all but disappeared. Malacañang concentrated in its hand all the pork barrel (and IRA) disbursements.
Then came ZTE. This scandal is different from previous ones in its nature of a direct confrontation between the two families. JDV’s son Joey was on one side and the First Gentleman was on the other side. Later the president’s own sons and daughter would be caught up in the rumble. Allegations of a JDV turncoatism began flying.
Both the president and JDV both know the consequence of an all-out family fight–the disintegration of the ruling coalition. In the situation of a transition to the 2010 election scenario (or a possible GMA endrun for continuity in power), the other family members–and their political affiliates–already realize this inevitability. Will the principal protagonists also realize this?
We all wait for the golf game–and Monday’s child.