NEW YORK – Amid hanging lacey lingerie and nylon pjs at a swank Manhattan studio, former Speaker Jose de Venecia launched his book, ‘Global Filipino: The Authorized Biography of Jose de Venecia’ and signed autographs.
The packed atelier belongs to noted lingerie designer Josie Natori, who hosted the book event. De Venecia told Philippine News he’s been “banned” from the Philippine Consulate in New York. The outspoken oppositionist added that in Washington, his launch was held at the “prestigious Heritage Foundation” office, instead of the Philippine Embassy.
Among the guests in New York were former American Ambassador to Manila Nicholas Platt, Beatrice TLC CEO Loida Nicolas Lewis, and community leaders. Neither Consul General Cecilia Rebong nor the head of the Philippine Mission, Ambassador Hilario Davide, attended the December 4 event. A De Venecia spokesperson said they had previous commitments and sent their regrets.
If there is anything that has changed since De Venecia became a fierce critic of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, it is that the flow of official support appears to have run dry.
“I was banned by Malacanang,” he told this reporter, betraying not a hint of bitterness, his wife Gina beside him, also smiling. That’s ok, he said. In Washington, the Heritage Foundation graciously offered their building, he said.
The parting of ways between the former allies stemmed from the $329-million broadband deal where Arroyo’s husband and De Venecia’s son represented rival bidders. Mike Arroyo’s group won the bid, but it was later nullified by the President when the transaction became tainted with alleged payoffs. De Venecia accused the Arroyos of wholesale bribery, after he was removed in a House coup. [Continue Reading...]