I will hazard one guess why Romulo Neri has continued to decline to “cross over” (in Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s evocative phrase) to the other side: Lacson is there, waiting for him. Sen. Jamby Madrigal, too.
In what Neri called “a gentleman’s agreement,” the three decided to hold a secret meeting, together with a few others, last December. To do what? In Neri’s press briefing in Malacañang Monday, he said it was to discuss the state of the political economy. If true, the timing is most curious, considering that the effort to compel Neri to testify anew at the Senate was by that time well underway.
Neri’s close friend, Rodolfo Noel “Jun” Lozada Jr., told the Senate a different version: The meeting was his idea, and was meant to allow Neri to touch base with the two opposition senators. He spoke, quite unexpectedly, about Neri’s poor financial prospects, in the event the former socioeconomic planning secretary told the Senate the rest of whatever it is he knows about the controversial ZTE national broadband network contract. The meeting, Lozada said, was meant also to float the idea of collecting “patriotic money” -- that is, funds for Neri in case he was kicked out of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s inner circle. (Memo to Lozada: You would have been better off using another, less jarring euphemism for the money, say a Clintonesque "legal fund".)
But we are all grownups here. We all know there must have been another reason for Neri to agree to such a secret meeting. He wanted to sound out the opposition. More specifically, he must have wanted to know what it would be like if he did “cross over” to the other side. (Lacson, waxing unusually poetic, contrasted Lozada’s moral stance now with Neri’s in terms of light and shadow.)
Considering that Neri has remained loyal to the President, and given his emphatic albeit nuanced denial on Monday of Lozada’s recollections of that December meeting, I can only conclude that he found Lacson and Madrigal wanting. Perhaps the opposition should choose, or coalesce around, other leaders.
I know John doesn't think much of Lacson and Madrigal, but what gave him the impression that Romulo Neri is willing to tell all--IF ONLY we coalesce around more "credible opposition leaders"?
What is john's definition of a "credible" opposition leader anyway? Si Mar Roxas? Si Manny Villar? Si Loren Legarda? Do these people even REALLY care about Jun Lozada and the ZTE scam? Are they (especially Mar and Mr. Villar) really upset about this?
But let's say John considers Roxas or Villar as the type of "credible" "opposition" "leaders" that mr. romulo should seek out, then why isn't Romy seeking them out kung ayaw niya kay ping at jamby??? Or why isn't he seeking out the help of THE BISHOPS for sanctuary? Or civil society? bakit hindi siya humingi ng tulong kay cardinal rosales?
Tukayong John, I don't see any reason why we should give Romulo Neri the benefit of the doubt at this point, especially since hawak ni maam si Neri sa bayag. Maybe Maam has nude pics of Neri, or she knows something brokeback that Neri doesn't want to get out to the public?
Or maybe Lacson just doesn't enough drug money stashed in his secret bank accounts in CITIBANK to support a witness like Romulo Neri? Kaya hindi natuloy.
UPDATE: Romulo Neri calls for a one year political ceasefire.