The open war between Comelec chair Benjamin Abalos and the son of House Speaker Jose De Venecia boils down to one quesition: Who is more credible?
Filipinos are of course aware of the public feud between Abalos (some prefer to call him "commissioner Abalos" for obvious reasons) and Jose "Joey"De Venecia III.
Joey is accusing Abalos of pocketing millions of dollars of kickback in the broadband deal which Joey says was brokered by the Comelec chair.
Comelec chair and commissioner Abalos has flatly denied Joey's accusations.
Incidentally, Joey has dragged the sickly First Gentleman Mike Arroyo of backing Abalos and bullying him (Joey) to "back off" the broadband deal.
The money involved is so huge that it makes the jueteng collections of former President Joseph Estrada, which was one of the basis of his plunder charges, seem like peanuts.
What is involved is at least US$130million worth of kickbacks which Abalos allegedly is responsible for arranging with the Chinese telecommunications firm, ZTE Corp.
Who is believable, Joey De Venecia or Abalos?
At this point I am not preapred to take Joey's revelations hook line and sinker.
But the problem is that commissioner Abalos does not appear in the Senate investigation to refute the charges.
Neither will the cabinet secretaries.
Comelec chair Abalos says he wants to preserve the independence of a constituional body which is the Comelec, so he won't attend the Senate hearings.
The problem with this excuse is that the charges against Abalos has got nothing to do with Comelec, but his sideline deals as the most powerful man in the Philippines from January 15, 2007 to June 30, 2007.
Comelec chair Abalos said that Joey's testimony in the Senate were "all lies"
That's a general denial, Mr. Abalos. As a lawyer you know the effect of general denials. That won't work.
What goes against Abalos and the Arroyo government is that they are refusing to refute the accusations of Joey in the Senate.
Worse, Mike Aroryo slip out of the counrty on the eve of Joey's scheduled Senate testimony.
If Mike Arroyo didn't know beforehand that Joey was going to involve him in this multi-million dollar transaction, so now he knows.
He should be rushing back to the Philipines to explain things.
He shouldn't be on vacation, as his legal parrots want the people to believe.
President Arroyo also is not of help when she directed Transportation Sec. Leandro Mendoza to answer Joey's accusations in the Supreme Court and not in the Senate.
How can Mendoza do that when he is not a lawyer?
Only lawyers appear before the Supreme Court.
More, the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts but resolves and adjudicates questions of law.
The people are waiting for the government's response to Joey's accusations.
If they don't, Joey's testimony's stands, and the government looses by default.
The government stands to loose the credibility war.
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