JDV: PGMA preparing for partial poll failure
MANILA, Philippines – Former House Speaker Jose de Venecia on Sunday said President Arroyo could remain longer in power by preparing for a possible partial failure of the country’s first ever nationwide automated polls next month.
In an interview with ABS-CBN correspondent Ces Orena-Drilon, de Venecia said a partial failure of the May 10 elections would mean a delay in the proclamations of the new President, Vice-President and 12 senators. He said a delay in the proclamations would mean there would be no new president, vice-president or even Senate president by June 30.
“By July 1, Gen. Delfin Bangit, chief of staff of the Armed Forces, will assume military rule and you cannot blame him because there is no civil power at least at the national level. You have civil government on the lower level. So there will be military rule and therefore you will have military government,” he said.
He said Mrs. Arroyo could be elected Speaker of the House of Representatives by her allies in Congress, which would make her the fourth highest official of the land. He added that Arroyo could remain “acting president” until new elections are held and a new president is proclaimed.
De Venecia, a former close ally of President Arroyo, said he does not believe that the incumbent president would give up her hold on power.
“We’re hoping she’ll give up her hold on power but you see many around her – her cronies, her family and she herself – believe that many cases of plunder will be filed against her. So she’s taking so many defensive measures,” he said.
The former House Speaker has called on foreign governments to send election observers to the Philippines to monitor the conduct of the May 10 elections.
Ties between de Venecia and Mrs. Arroyo soured after de Venecia’s son, Joey, accused the President’s husband, Jose “Mike” Miguel Arroyo, of pushing for the allegedly anomalous National Broadband Network (NBN) telecommunications deal with Chinese firm ZTE in 2007.
The rift widened after the elder De Venecia was ousted as House Speaker after he supported his son against the First Gentleman.
Joey is running for senator under the opposition Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of former President Joseph Estrada.
A military spokesman, meanwhile, dismissed de Venecia’s claim of a possible failure of elections. Armed Forces information officer Col. Arnulfo Burgos said the military will ensure a smooth election next month.