Liars triumph once again. As always in the benighted land. Why, even the lord bishops of the Roman Catholic faith have participated, many unwittingly, many others paid for, in circling the wagons to protect the Boss Woman.
Imagine. The Vatican-appointed guardians of morality beat their breasts in pious symbolism, and while telling us that corruption is the "greatest shame," they still refuse to believe that at the heart of all this national disgrace is the little woman who makes a public show of piety, fondling the rosary, visiting religious shrines every now and then, and asks her Office of Religious Affairs (formerly "ecclesiastical") and her Pagcor, to "take care" of the bishops.
But that is not what this article is about. If the few truly upright bishops of my Church should decide to break away and put up their own "schism", like Aglipay or Martin Luther, I shall be the first to convert. Enough said.
Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr. was all set to testify before the Senate when he received the subpoena signed by Senate President Manuel Villar last week. But last Saturday, print media identified him, professional bona fides and all. The day before, copies of the subpoena issued by the Senate were distributed to the media.
That’s when the wagons of the lie started to work on poor Lozada. He received a call from a Malacañang functionary with the rank of undersecretary. This guy has been in the stinking palace beside the stinking river since the time Joker Arroyo became executive secretary to Cory Aquino. He is what you might call a "career" public servant. Some of them get by from one administration to another because they know how to "see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil".
But this time, this guy was directed to talk to Lozada. He did. Speak no evil?
Then, the poor fellow who had decided to tell the truth and nothing but, who had grappled with his conscience for months and months on end, faced another high official. In words most persuasive, he was being coaxed to lie. Yes, lie.
"I cannot lie under oath", Lozada reportedly said.
"In that case, you will not appear," the official flatly told him.
Throughout these encounters with the acolytes of the Boss Woman and the man who is still in Zurich and Madrid, he received death threats by text messages.
So yesterday morning he checked in for the 8 a.m. PAL flight to Hong Kong, for an "official trip." What’s the "official purpose"? Maybe he will plant jatropha in Hong Kong’s Disneyland.
After Lozada had talked to him and expressed his regrets, Joey de Venecia felt like a brick wall collapsed on him. He had a long flight and arrived in Manila just the other day, ready to testify in the Senate, should the senators want to clarify whatever Jun Lozada would have said.
He was in a bind. He had been interviewed at the airport and he declared he would go the following day to the Senate. So when he learned from Lozada that the life of his family was in mortal danger, Joey III could only sigh in frustration. The wagons of the lie had encircled Lozada, and he was petrified.
But Joey de Venecia had no choice except to go to the Senate. He had given his word. Nothing would come out of the Senate hearing on the ZTE-NBN deal any more, but he had to be there, if only to watch how the senators bury the scandal of the decade.
Yesterday, as he was dressing up for the funeral rites at the Senate, his father the Speaker came visiting, along with stepmother Gina. Both had stood behind him throughout his crusade against corruption so gross. The Speaker in October even told the Boss Woman outright that he could not squelch his son’s decision to speak the truth. And he knew hell hath no fury like a Boss Woman scorned.
But now, the Speaker and his courageous lady, along with other members of their clan, were asking Joey not to go to the Senate.
Joey de Venecia was crushed. He called some friends and recounted the dilemma he was in. They understood.
The wagons of the lie triumphed once more.
Will Jose de Venecia, Speaker of the House for the umpteenth time, remain in his throne by the time you read this? Maybe yes, maybe not. I am writing this Wednesday, 30 January, started at the computer 9:35 and about ready to finish at 10:15 in the morning.
My information as of this writing is that Prospero Nograles, bosom friend of Speaker Joe, is Malacañang’s "black knight." He had a hundred votes sewn up as of Tuesday night, 21 votes short of the plum. Why, even Rufus Rodriguez of the minority, giving the lame excuse that he would vote for anyone from Mindanao. What if Zaldy Ampatuan had been a congressman, and was the candidate for speaker? Rufus would of course have voted for him likewise, right?
The Nacionalistas, however few they are, are in Nograles’ pocket. The Liberals of Lito Atienza have long been plotting against Manong Joe. Kampi is of course against Joe. And many in his once monolithic Lakas have deserted him. Two, maybe three from the 28-man minority are in. As of this writing, I would guess they have five from the opposition already. And the Roxas Liberals are waiting for the Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition to decide whether to switch or not.
The switch is of course held by a little lady in the stinking palace, who plays coy kuno.
The wagons of the lie have encircled Jose de Venecia, and only the Boss Woman could tell them not to go for the kill – for now.