Jose de Venecia, Jr.

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The Honourable
Jose de Venecia, Jr.
Speakerjdv.jpg
17th and 21st Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives
In office
July 23, 2001 – February 5, 2008
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Preceded by Feliciano Belmonte, Jr.
Succeeded by Prospero Nograles
In office
July 27, 1992 – June 30, 1998
President Fidel Ramos
Preceded by Ramon Mitra, Jr.
Succeeded by Manny Villar
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Pangasinan's 4th District
In office
June 30, 2001 – June 30, 2010
Preceded by Benjamin S. Lim
Succeeded by Gina de Venecia
In office
June 30, 1987 – June 30, 1998
Preceded by Antonio P. Villar
Succeeded by Benjamin S. Lim
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Pangasinan's 2nd District
In office
December 30, 1969 – September 23, 1972[1]
Preceded by Jack L. Soriano
Succeeded by Abolished
(Position next held by Antonio E. Bengson III)
Personal details
Born (1936-12-26) December 26, 1936 (age 78)
Dagupan, Pangasinan, Philippines
Nationality Filipino
Political party Independent (2008–present)
Other political
affiliations
Liberal (1969-1972)
Lakas-CMD (1991-2008)
Spouse(s) Georgina Vera-Perez
Residence Dagupan City, Pangasinan,
Alma mater De La Salle University
Religion Roman Catholic

Jose Claveria de Venecia, Jr. also known as JDV or Joe De V (born December 26, 1936) is a former Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, serving from 1992 to 1998 and from 2001 to 2008. As Speaker, he was the fourth highest-ranking official of the Philippines. He was the former president of the Philippines' dominant party, LAKAS-CMD. He ran for president in the 1998 election but lost to Vice President Joseph Estrada, finishing second among 11 candidates.

Beginning in 1987, de Venecia has been elected to six terms as a Representative of the 4th District of Pangasinan. He served as Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives throughout the Ninth, Tenth, Twelfth and Thirteenth Congresses of the Philippines. He had served for more than a year as the House Speaker of the Fourteenth Congress when on February 5, 2008, 174 representatives, or a considerable majority of members of the House, voted to remove de Venecia as Speaker. He is the first Filipino who has held the Speakership five times in separate terms.

Early life and career[edit]

De Venecia was born in Dagupan to Judge Jose R. de Venecia, Sr., and Casimira Villamil Clavería. In 1947, he finished his elementary studies at the Dagupan Elementary School where he was accelerated by one year. Then in 1951, he completed his secondary education at the De La Salle College High School.

As an entrepreneur, de Venecia pioneered overseas contract work for Filipinos where he was one of the first Philippine prime contractors in the Middle East and North Africa in the mid-1970s. He hired 51,000 Filipinos for his companies and engaged in port operations in Saudi Arabia, agriculture in Africa, and mass housing and oil exploration in the United Arab Emirates. His Middle East initiative was followed and later led to the employment of millions of Filipinos. In the 1970s, he was initiated an oil and gas exploration program that led to the first oil and gas strikes in offshore Palawan. He was elected president of the Petroleum Association of the Philippines.

De Venecia was a diplomat as Minister-Economic Counselor from 1966 to 1969. He conceived and implemented the historic dollar-remittance program for overseas Filipino workers worldwide. He was one of the Ten Outstanding Congressmen before martial law in the Philippines.

De Venecia came from an influential political family. His grandfather, Guillermo de Venecia was the municipal president (now known as mayor) from 1916 to 1918 and from 1925 to 1926. He ran and won as congressman of the second district of Pangasinan from 1969 to 1972. After the restoration of the House of Representatives in 1987, he ran and won as congressman of the fourth district of Pangasinan.

Speaker of the House (1992-1998)[edit]

He was reelected in 1992 and joined a newly created party Lakas Tao of President of the Philippines Fidel Ramos. He initiated the move to unite the National Union of Christian Democrats, a cluster of the Progressive Party of the Philippines and the Union of Muslim Democrats to Lakas Tao to make it a dominant party. At the same year, he was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. Since Ramos got a low plurality in the elections, De Venecia created a Rainbow Coalition, converging political parties that include the LDP, NPC, Lakas NUCD, and other minor parties to make a solid majority in the House. He was reelected as congressman and Speaker in 1995.

Peace envoy[edit]

As Ramos’ peace envoy, Speaker de Venecia reached out to insurgent groups Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) secessionists in Mindanao, the RAM-SFP-YOU military rebels, and the Communist Party of the Philippines which operates the New People's Army (NPA). He crossed Africa's Sahara Desert twice to meet the Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi and MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari and assisted in forging a peace agreement at Tripoli in 1976. His persuasion to Misuari to accept autonomy led to the signing of the peace pact on September 2, 1996.

In 1992, de Venecia began secret talks with leaders of the military rebels, led by Commodore Calajate, Gen. Abenina, and Col. Honasan, which led to a ceasefire in December of that year and a final peace agreement in 1995. In April 1997, De Venecia journeyed to the Netherlands to meet with self-exiled leaders of the National Democratic Front and New People's Army led by Jose Maria Sison and Luis Jalandoni. He was the first Christian leader to enter Mindanao's Camp Abubakar mountains in November 1997 and open breakthrough peace negotiations with Hashim Salamat, Chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and military Commander Murad.

1998 presidential election[edit]

In 1998, the dominant party Lakas-NUCD-UMDP held a convention to select Ramos' successor as titular president and candidate for the May 11 election. A long list of candidates was trimmed and led to a choice between de Venecia and then National Defense Secretary Renato de Villa. Though De Villa was seem as the frontrunner, De Venecia won the convention vote and De Villa bolted the party to form a new one called Partido Reporma.

De Venecia garnered the 2nd highest number of votes in a field of 11 candidates, though he was far behind the winner, Joseph Estrada. After he lost his bid, he departed from media attention and political limelight. In one of his interviews, De Venecia said that he was depressed and took several months to recover.

Reentry to the politics[edit]

De Venecia reemerged on New Year's Day of 2001 calling for a smooth transition of power to the Vice President. Estrada belittled de Venecia's statements, however, the former was ousted January 20 of that year.

Speaker of the House (2001-2008)[edit]

In the 2001 election, he won without opposition as congressman of the 4th district of Pangasinan. He was reelected overwhelmingly by the house including some of the critical left-wing partylist representatives. In 2003, he received an unexpected high commendation from the public when he accepted the Supreme Court ruling that junked the petition for the impeachment of the Chief Justice. [1] In the 2004 election, he became instrumental for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's victory as president. He also won by a landslide as congressman and he was reelected as Speaker for the fourth time.

NBN-ZTE Scandal[edit]

On July 10, 2007, De Venecia's supporters opposed secret balloting by the majority coalition to select the speaker of the House of Representatives in the Fourteenth Congress. Rep. Eduardo Zialcita of Parañaque, said the House is not a "secret society." [2] Meanwhile, Sorsogon Rep. Jose Solis accused De Venecia, Jr.'s son, Jose de Venecia III for questioning a $330 million broadband connection deal between the Philippine government and Chinese firm ZTE. Solis hit De Venecia III for desiring to have his Amsterdam Holdings, Inc. (AHI) get the deal (which will connect national government agencies to local government units through the Internet and save government up to P3 billion in telephone expenses every year). Solis further claimed that AHI is a "veritable mom's-and-pop's enterprise with a reported paid-up capital of only P650,000. How can AHI possibly undertake this project when it may not even have enough funds to run a mini grocery?" [3]

Re-election as Speaker[edit]

On July 23, 2007, 159 lawmakers picked De Venecia House Speaker for 5th time—after the House commenced at 2:17 pm a roll-call vote for the position. De Venecia was the lone nominee, while his opponent, Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia, was not nominated. Iloilo Rep. Arthur Defensor was elected Majority Leader while San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora was elected minority leader. The 14th Congress of the House of Representatives is composed of 240 lawmakers, 21 of whom are party-list representatives. [4] [5]

Ousted as Speaker[edit]

On January 31, 2008, Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (KAMPI) announced that 134 congressmen signed a manifesto of "loss of confidence" versus Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. Luis Villafuerte, KAMPI president, said the successor should be Davao City 1st District representative Prospero Nograles.[2]

During the regular session on February 4, 2008, Palawan Representative Abraham Kahlil Mitra moved that the position of House Speaker be declared vacant.[3] Before the motion was submitted to a vote, De Venecia delivered a speech before the House where he criticized President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and alleged that her government was behind the move to oust him from the Speakership.[4] He recounted the times he had stood to defend President Arroyo, and said, "It pains me grievously to hurt the President and to hurt the First Family because I have invested so much more than any of you in this chamber to help the President become Vice President, become President…." Shortly after his remarks, de Venecia acknowledged to reporters: "I will join the opposition to denounce corruption in this administration. I will join the battle against corruption." [5]

During his speech at the House plenary, de Venecia said that three military generals visited his house. They were accompanied by Raul Lambino.

De Venecia's son reported the incident to the Makati City police. The Speaker, meanwhile, wrote a letter to President Arroyo to ask her to do something about the threat on their lives.

The Speaker said he asked Mrs. Arroyo in a letter to "please do something."

"It's simple arrogance. Just plain arrogance that Malacañang and the people of the Palace are above the law. Someday this can happen to you," he said. The speech was delivered hours after Palawan 2nd District Rep. Abraham Kahlil Mitra, an ally of Davao City Rep. Prospero Nograles, moved the speaker's position be declared vacant.

Post-speakership[edit]

Shortly after midnight, February 5, 2008, 174 members of the House voted in favor of the motion to declare the position of House Speaker as vacant, removing de Venecia from his position. 35 members voted against the motion while 16 members abstained.[6] Nograles was elected as the new House Speaker.

On March 10, 2008 Mr. De Venecia resigned his post as president of Lakas-CMD. Since then he has remained active. In 2010 he travelled to the United States to speak to Filipino people who were living and working there. He mentioned that overseas workers sent over $18 billion home every year and said about this: "This is your contribution. You must be aware of it, you should be proud of it. This is why we call you the heroes and heroines of the Filipino people." [7]

Performance Rating[edit]

On January 7, 2008, the Social Weather Stations (November 30 to December 3, 2007) survey stated that Speaker Jose de Venecia's performance rating has 37% satisfied and 37% dissatisfied, or net +1, having been in single digit since December 2004.[8]

Personal life[edit]

De Venecia married Victoria Perez, the daughter of Eugenio Pérez, who served as Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1946 to 1953.[9] Together, they had 4 children: Alexandra (Sandra), Leslie, Vivian, and Jose III (Joey). Their marriage, ended in a divorce,[citation needed] and Perez now lives in Albany, New York.

De Venecia then married Georgina Vera-Perez, daughter of Filipino film producer Jose Vera Perez. They have two children: Christopher and Kristina Casimira (KC). Georgina, also known as Manay Gina, was previously married to construction manager Felipe Cruz with whom she had 2 children.[citation needed] The former host of a television drama series, she is currently a social worker and a radio host.

House fire[edit]

On December 17, 2004, a fire originating from Christmas tree lights gutted de Venecia's house in Dasmariñas Village, Makati City. His 16-year-old daughter KC died of suffocation after being trapped inside the house.[10] KC's remains were cremated and her ashes were buried at the Sanctuario de San Antonio chapel.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Congress was dissolved when President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law.
  2. ^ Abs-Cbn Interactive, KAMPI expecting new speaker by Monday
  3. ^ 121 votes to declare Speakership vacant reached
  4. ^ "JDV: Palace behind ouster plot against me". ABS-CBN News Online. 2008-02-04. Retrieved 2008-02-04. [dead link]
  5. ^ "De Venecia declares ‘war’ against Arroyo". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 2008-02-04. Retrieved 2008-02-04. 
  6. ^ "De Venecia ousted as House speaker". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 2008-02-05. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  7. ^ Philippines political leader visits Kodiak, Kodiak Mirror, September 14, 2010
  8. ^ Abs-Cbn Interactive, SWS: Satisfaction marks for Villar, de Castro at all-time high
  9. ^ Sheila Coronel (2007-03-14). "The Seven Ms of Dynasty Building". i-Report Online (Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism). Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  10. ^ Romie A. Evangelista & Ferdinand Fabella (2004-12-18). "JdV daughter dies in fire". Manila Standard Today. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
House of Representatives of the Philippines
Preceded by
Benjamin S. Lim
Representative, 4th District of Pangasinan
2001 – 2010
Succeeded by
Gina de Venecia
Preceded by
Restored
Representative, 4th District of Pangasinan
1987 – 1998
Succeeded by
Benjamin S. Lim
Preceded by
Jack L. Soriano
Representative, 2nd District of Pangasinan
1969 – 1972
Succeeded by
Abolished
(Position next held by Antonio E. Bengson III in 1987)
Political offices
Preceded by
Feliciano Belmonte, Jr.
Speaker of the House of Representatives
2001 – 2008
Succeeded by
Prospero Nograles
Preceded by
Ramon Mitra, Jr.
Speaker of the House of Representatives
1992 – 1998
Succeeded by
Manny Villar
Party political offices
Preceded by
None
President of Lakas-CMD
1991–2008
Succeeded by
Prospero Nograles