Joey De Venecia III: From whistle-blower to Senator?

Jose “Joey” De Venecia III aimed to win the contract for National Broadband Network (NBN). He lost. Not enough, he was grilled in a national controversy! That changed the life of Joey. From being a private individual to a public figure. He bid and lost in a business contract. Now he is dreaming to become a senator.

Joey De Venecia filed his certificate of candidacy as newest member of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of Former President Erap Estrada.

About the image: Joey De Venecia filed his certificate of candidacy at the COMELEC. He is running (as newest party member) under Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of former President Erap Estrada. Image is from Facebook profile of Joey De Venecia.

Will fate favors Joey De Venecia this time?

This time, no one told him to back off! Perhaps many are now telling him to continue his fight. It can be recalled that Joey De Venecia revealed, during Senate hearing, that he was told by a ‘mystery man’ to “back off” from the NBN deal. And the mystery man was allegedly First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. (Listen to Joey’s testimony from the PCIJ blog.)

As veteran businessman, he lost in a billion Pesos worth of deal. Now as newcomer to politics, will he go home victorious?

Joey De Venecia was here is Cebu to meet some youth leaders and bloggers. To campaign, of course.

Before I went to attend the meet and talk with Joey De Venecia, I asked three neighbors if they think Joey will win. I got, ambot lang kaha (We don’t know.), paminawon lang (Let’s see.), kinsa man na? (Who is he?).Will they vote for him? I got, wa pay siguro (Maybe).

Who is Joey De Venecia?

Who is Joey? NBN-ZTE deal witness. Son of Jose De Venecia. Apparently, we see him as the one who lost in a bidding and whistle-blow about bribes and corruption.

More than that, Joey De Venecia is a successful businessman. His biography in his official website (joeydevenecia.com) claimed that Joey changed the Philippine business landscape when he founded and launched broadband technology in the Philippines in 2000.

The same site says that Joey de Venecia III also pioneered and set up the first full-pledged call center in the Philippines.

Why he wants to become senator?

In an anti-Arroyo rally held in Makati, he introduced himself as negosyante and hindi pulitiko. (See the video of his speech on YouTube.)

So, he is not a politician as he claimed, but why is now running as senator? Why he entered into politics? Is it because he needs to? Or is it because he wants to? Or because he is now known? Many known people wants to go to politics. There are exemptions, of course.

I asked why he is now entering into politics. Before he answered, he clarified that he is a politician as he entered into the world of politics but clarified that he is not a traditional politician. He entered into politics because he has seen there is a need for him to contribute his expertise.

I agree, he is not the traditional candidate I have meet. during the entire talk, I never heard him sour-graping. He focused on his platform rather than on throwing mud to other candidates.

New to politics?

Politics is not a new thing for Joey De Venecia. His father served five terms as House Speaker. Politics must be in his blood. Still, having not held any elective post, being newbie in politics is undebatable.

One thing we are not sure this time is that if he had already “played” with politicians. Let us remember that his father, former Speaker Jose De Venecia, Jr., was still in his position when Joey bid for NBN.

There is one thing I am sure of. Joey De Venecia changed the political landscape of the country. Without his testimony in the Senate, his father could still have been the House Speaker. JDV could still be the staunch ally of President Arroyo.

Was it the turn of events drag him to politics?

The aborted NBN project was the culprit. It was the controversy that made him known.

Joey was tagged as “whistle-blower” to the alleged corruption in the aborted ZTE-NBN deal. But I only see him as witness to the case, not as whistle-blower. I agree with Sen. Richard Gordon who told that Joey could never be considered a whistle-blower because there were many times in this scandal that he could have blown the whistle, but did not. He only started complaining when he did not get his way. (See Inquirer.net report.)

What are his plans?

His TV ads project this message: computer connected to internet for everyone. He stressed that a computer connected to the internet in every Filipino home [will] give everyone access to livelihood and educational opportunities and bring the country firmly into the Information Age.

He elaborated that a personal computer, internet access and information support will have an immediate and dramatic impact on Filipino families [and] would give them enhanced educational and livelihood opportunities that are only available from IT, and a means for OFW families to re-integrate with their loved ones working abroad by commuting on the cyber-highway.

Is it possible? Joey said, this is not an impossible dream, but rather a realizable goal.

After the short talk, in a chit-chat with fellow Cebu bloggers, I asked some of them if nodding of their heads as Joey talked can be understood as equivalent to votes. I got mixed answers. Somewhat the same and somewhat different to the answers I got when I asked to my three neighbors.

The best title of this should have been, Joey De Venecia III: From business to politics. But the title has been written and I opted not to change it.

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Jun Lozada’s Moment of Fame

First, we know that the National Broadband Network (NBN) and the ZTE corporation deal was questionable. That was something we need to talk about.

Then someone rose to speak up! He was Jun Lozada who claimed that he knew! He came along with nuns as if he was god-send. Jun Lozada became an instant hero in a a society that desperately seeks heroes.

Jun then claimed that he was kidnapped when he arrived from Hong Kong.

Many emphatized him when he cried on national television. Poor Jun. But alas, he became an instant celebrity! He had become a real Pinoy idol!

I was not convinced that Lozada was kidnapped. He did not resist the law enforcers who escorted him from the airport. Besides, he was allowed to use his mobile phone and allowed to send messages to people. But many believed he was really kidnapped because they tolerated their feelings to rule and not the reasons of mind.

Now, the Court of Appeals said that the petition for the writ of amparo filed by Lozada was baseless, thus his case of kidnapping and abduction was also baseless.

It both amused and saddened me when I remember Lozada’s moment of fame.

I was amused out of despair while observing the exaggerated situation. In fact, news reports highlighed the trivial stuff than tackling on the issues. Major television networks raced to spot the face of Lozada – Lozada smiling, Lozada crying, lozada waving, Lozada walking, Lozada speaking, Lozada shouting, Lozada murmuring, Lozada praying, and lot more.

He spoke about truth. “Katotohanan” was the buzz word. But truth then was so relative. Those who had faith in Loazada’s claims would fearlessly declared they what they believed in was the only truth. But even those who did not put all trust to Lozada also had their version of truth? What was truth then?

I was among those who tried weigh things. I did not conclude based on Lozada’s claim alone. But of course I took extra care on listening to propaganda-type press releases of the government.

I remember how I was criticized when I spoke that Lozada was not supposed to be raised as hero. We should listen to him first and let history put the crown on his head.

But people could not wait. Lozada was declared “hero” and a “star”. Lozada shone like a star. Politicians followed him. What really amused me was Lozada’s tourto provinces, speaking to students all about truths. It was an act gradually eaten up his credibility specially when he became more and more tactless. After all, he was more interested in being the star of the crowed than being the true witness.

Lozada’s moment of fame was temporary as the moment of fame of senators who acted like children playing on street. The only difference was they were playing drty politics.

Responsible Press

For a journalist, it is always risky to write news out of unverified information. Except for sensational reporter, a responsible journalist adheres the basic principles of journalism – truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness, and public accountability.

Half-baked stories are sure hit – increase readership, ratings; more revenue. But there are risks.

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People Power, Call for Change

The call for truth can be translated into the desire for change. Some want to have an abrupt change. However, silent majority prefer a change through a peaceful process.

We all want change. Change is not merely necessary to life – it is life, says Alvin Toffler.

But change cannot be done overnight. It is a process – a long process. It seems there are those who just can’t wait. There are many who noisily chant for change yet failed to initiate change within themselves.

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Thursday’s Snippet

In programming, an ABEND (also abnormal end or abend) is an abnormal termination of software, a crash. With some indicators, is GMA’s administration close to an abnormal end? Wait and see.

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Some say CBCP’s position on the national crisis is just right but many are discontented. Do they expect the clerics to say: Go to EDSA and revolt? Multiply politicking

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Crying men: Is crying good for us?

It is a widespread belief […] that crying is therapeutic and […] failure to cry is a danger to our health, Emotional Processing[dot]Org notes.

Men don’t cry. But Rodolfo Noel “Jun” Lozada Jr, and Erwin Santos did on national TV.

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