Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms.  This article was published in Business Mirror September 19, 2007 edition, p. A10.

The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off. – Gloria Steinem

So I’m sitting here, on the eve of Joey de Venecia’s testimony before the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, asking myself, “How pissed off would civil society be if Joey de Venecia identified a confidante or a relative of Gloria Arroyo as the NBN mystery man?”

And I console myself, “At least the truth will liberate civil society from the superstition that Noli de Castro can do more harm in two and a half years than a horde of Gloria appointees, associates, and relatives looking for a ‘last hurrah.”

If the mystery man is directly linked to Mrs. Arroyo, I doubt she can count on the continued support of even the most vacuous civil society matrons, those ladies who used a photograph and a statement of Leah Navarro for an advertisement without first getting her permission.

Even Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, that great exponent of moral relativity when it involves Gloria Arroyo, might hesitate to come to her aid.

But I could be wrong; truth is no match against empty minds and unscrupulous prelates.

Benjamin Abalos, Sr. is the perfect villain. He didn’t suspect fast enough that the trickle of exposes about his involvement with ZTE could have been deliberate. He responded to each new revelation without first considering the possibility that an even more damning one would follow. He feigned ignorance reflexively and now he has painted himself into a corner.

Abalos may deny he offered de Venecia the younger a bribe, that he bugged and threatened him, or that they discussed what Joey said they discussed, but he cannot deny that he was up to his neck brokering the ZTE deal.

Those meetings at Speaker Jose de Venecia’s home, at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club, at the Comelec offices, at the Kempinski Hotel in Shenzen, China, and at the Diamond Hotel in Manila definitely happened.

The only thing that Abalos can claim didn’t happen is the sexcapade in China.  And, frankly, I believe Abalos told the truth about that.

He can screw millions of voters in one day, with or without sipping soup from Shang Palace, but I doubt he can play a round of golf and do two girls on the same day, with or without a handful of orange pills.

As Arthur Conan Doyle once said, “Whenever you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

But to get back to Joey de Venecia, notice how he has limited himself to revealing only what he knows firsthand and leaving it up to us to link Gloria with the broadband deal? “Wise and foxy” is how a blogger from Belgium described him.

There would be no need for EO 464 or for DOTC chief Mendoza to conceal a sub rosa contract under sub judice if Gloria cancels the deal with ZTE. She might get away with “no harm, no foul.”

That’s what her loyal supporters have been hoping and praying she will do. But can she?

There’s that small matter of money already advanced by ZTE. What if they insist on getting it back?

Then ZTE will be Gloria’s last brouhahurrah.