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  1. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Arroyo wary of Ramos, De Venecia, says paper

    Nov 18, 2005
    Updated 03:14am (Mla time)
    Norman Bordadora
    Inquirer News Service

    PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo seems more wary of her friends than her foes, if the annotations on the political security situationer "New Threats to Philippine Democracy" are any indication.

    The handwritten marginal notes, said to have been dictated by Ms Arroyo to a secretary, make it appear that she wanted former President Fidel V. Ramos watched closely and Speaker Jose de Venecia replaced.

    De Venecia's leadership was recently challenged -- unsuccessfully -- by Surigao del Sur Representative Prospero Pichay. Both men are stalwarts of the ruling Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) party and staunch allies of Ms Arroyo.

    "What happened to De Venecia in the House was one of the things that convinced me these marginal notes were for real, that they were the President's thoughts," former senator Francisco Tatad told the Inquirer.

    Tatad gave the Inquirer a copy of the document, which was dated Sept. 9 but was reportedly presented to Ms Arroyo and her Cabinet by her security advisers on Oct. 5. He said it had come from a "friendly source" in Malacañang.

    The copy bore annotations that, Tatad said, quoting his source, were dictated by Ms Arroyo after the Cabinet briefing. The annotations indicated that, among other things, Ms Arroyo was considering exit scenarios including resignation.

    But Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye yesterday dismissed the paper as "a ghost document concocted by losers."

    "What will they think of next?" Bunye said in a terse statement issued before he left with Ms Arroyo's party for South Korea to attend the 13th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.

    'Calibrated' leadership

    In the portion "Political Alignments: Emerging Trends," the document said: "[There] has been no mass exodus so far within the ranks of pro-administration congressmen as shown by the voting in Congress' last plenary session."

    Beside it was the annotation: "FVR/JDV formula is to cut short PGMA term -- JDV leadership in the House must be calibrated for possible new Speaker."

    Listed in the annotation as supposed possible replacements for De Venecia were Pichay, House Majority Leader Prospero Nograles, former Speaker Noli Fuentebella and "Cojuangco boy (?)."

    The challenge to De Venecia's leadership in the House built up slowly during the month as congressmen discussed the reorganization that would strip pro-impeachment House officials and committee chairs of their respective posts.

    Upon the resumption of Congress sessions on Nov. 7, Pichay said some lawmakers wanted reforms in the House. He made no bones about challenging De Venecia for the speakership again if certain changes weren't made soon enough.

    "The tapping of non-allies [such as Fuentebella and a Cojuangco congressman] is a ploy which, if accepted, will dissipate the credibility of the opposition," Tatad said.

    FVR 'moves'

    While De Venecia was dealing with the challenge to his leadership, Ramos was fending off allegations that he was planning a coup against the Arroyo administration.

    A supposed US Embassy document had reported that Ramos planned a coup as early as February, or months before the "Hello Garci" scandal raised doubts over the legitimacy of the Arroyo presidency.

    A note at the end of the document, "check on FVR moves," was among the apparent measures intended for Ms Arroyo's political survival.

    "[Ms Arroyo's] unveiling of her real intentions with regard to Ramos and De Venecia could poison the water that has helped sustain her disputed presidency until now," Tatad said.

    Many observers saw Ramos and De Venecia as having helped turn the tide for Ms Arroyo in July, when they stood by her despite quit calls from such influential ex-allies as former President Corazon Aquino and Senate President Franklin Drilon.

    But the two men, proponents of a shift to a parliamentary-federal form of government, had also called for immediate Charter changes and for Ms Arroyo to cut her term short.

    Notes on other contenders

    From the notes on the document that Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez described on Wednesday as a "secret paper," Ms Arroyo seemed wary of another ally, Vice President Noli de Castro.

    The paper said opposition members had been "posing resistance" to De Castro because there would be "little political gain for them" in a scenario wherein the latter would succeed Ms Arroyo.

    The note read: "October indicator shows increasing acceptance for De Castro as transition [leader] for snap election."

    Regarding Susan Roces, widow of the late actor and opposition standard-bearer Fernando Poe Jr., Ms Arroyo's supposed comment was: "Roces factor remains a myth."

    "[Big] business and [the] middle class do not take her seriously," the note also read.

    The annotation on ousted President Joseph Estrada, who was described in the paper as having offered to lead a transitional revolutionary council, was: "Nil possibility."

    Senator Panfilo Lacson was described in the notes as someone who would only be kept afloat by "money and force," and former Executive Secretary Renato de Villa as someone whose role as an "alternative leader" had "not yet firm[ed] up."

    Church, business division

    The document said the Church and the business sector were divided on whether to call for Ms Arroyo's resignation.

    This supposedly elicited the following note:

    "Good propa[ganda] and strategy ... of PGMA groups [are] continuously dividing the Church-business ... society.

    "PGMA to continue to create more DIVISION."

    The paper said that while a faction of the Makati Business Club and the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines had called for Ms Arroyo's resignation, other influential business groups had taken a contrary view.

    Ms Arroyo's supposed reaction was: "Business maintains conditional support for PGMA." The idea of a principled stance was downplayed, with a note saying that the support was "profit-motivated."

    Real peso value

    Despite Ms Arroyo's pronouncements of an economic takeoff with the upbeat performance of the peso after the implementation of the expanded value-added tax, the notes indicated that the opposite was imminent.

    "[The] economy still retains its resiliency despite current uncertainties, but the prospect of a long drawn-out political crisis could eventually take a serious toll on economic recovery efforts," the document said.

    The corresponding annotation was: "Takeoff not in sight -- Gov't must start 'painting' a new landscape ..."

    And another: "[The real] value of the peso will dive after Christmas when OFW remittance will contract."

    "Keep EVAT hanging," read another note, to which were attached: "to appease public" and "to meet creditors' requirement."

    "It is clear from these notes that Ms Arroyo is fully aware of the fix she is in. She may still want to exit gracefully, but she does not quite know how. It is a classic case of riding the back of the tiger and wanting to dismount without ending up inside," Tatad said. With a report from Christine O. Avendaño

    Arroyo weighed exit scenarios in September -- Tatad

  2. Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Nyeta na praning na si GMA.

  3. Join Date
    Mar 2005
    keep your friends close, but your enemies closer

  4. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    anybody see those schools of sharks attacking their prey on animal planet or national geographic? if one of the sharks gets wounded, the others turn on it and rip it to pieces also?

    these politicians remind me of that show...

  5. Join Date
    Aug 2005
    The problem with our politician, they never go hungry. kahit buntot nila kainin nila.

  6. Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Nice article. :D

  7. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    to quote from the movie Godfather
    "keep your friends close and your enemies closer"

  8. Join Date
    May 2004
    or a Showbiz quote: "Mag-ingat ka sa mga taong di mo kilala, pero lalo ka mag-ingat ka sa mga taong kilala mo na".

Arroyo wary of Ramos, De Venecia