All legal remedies have not yet been exhausted. They will be.
Businessman Joey de Venecia III said he learned of the Court of Appeals decision dismissing his case seeking protection from the Arroyo administration, which had placed him under watch, “with sadness and regret.”
“I will definitely appeal the decision,” de Venecia said in a statement to media yesterday, “This fight is far from over.”
Known as the whistleblower in the ZTE-national broadband network scandal, the son and namesake of former House Speaker Jose de Venecia had sought legal intervention to stop the administration from continuously harassing him.
“Under the Arroyo regime, I have completely lost my right to privacy as proven by the wiretapping of my cellphones and land lines,” said de Venecia. “I know this is hard to prove, but I know that it is taking place. My friends, family and business associates know it, too.”
Because of the death threats against him and his family, de Venecia said he has been forced to hire bodyguards for protection. The threats were sent via phone and reported by a Lieutenant General which de Venecia reported to the Makati Police. Those threats have now become public record through the police blotter.
“Gloria Arroyo herself admitted to the people that wire taps of anyone’s phone is possible when she publicly apologized for the ‘Hello, Garci’ incident. If her phone could be tapped, what more a private citizen like myself?” said de Venecia.
Ironically, de Venecia said that it was also the ISAFP, or Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which released the Hello, Garci tapes, that is now being used against him.
“Mrs. Arroyo is using as an effective tool against me the same organization that revealed how she tried to cheat her way to victory against Fernando Poe Jr. in the 2004 elections.”
De Venecia added that his house is constantly under surveillance and this is also known to the private security of the Makati village where he lives.
The most telling proof that he has been harassed by the government under President Arroyo is the posting in YouTube of manipulated and created conversations he has had regarding the ZTE-NBN scandal and personal matters, according to de Venecia.
“Unfortunately, those alleged conversations have been doctored or edited, by who knows who.”
Since it was illogical for him to post anything negative about himself in the global video network that is YouTube, it stands to reason that it was government operatives doing so with either the tacit or outright approval of the Arroyo administration, said de Venecia. “Perhaps the Court of Appeals might have disregarded this when it decided to reject my case,” he said.
It was not only his privacy that de Venecia said he had lost, but also the rights that every citizen and private businessman is entitled to. This includes the muzzling of the free press, as government-run radio and television stations, as well as some print media that the administration controls, which has denied him his chance to air his side and to report the government harassment against him.
The death threats have also curtailed his freedom of movement, who said the government decided to throw the kitchen sink at him when he filed an impeachment case against Mrs. Arroyo last year.
De Venecia said he would appeal the decision through his lawyer as soon as possible.
More about the writ of habeas data here.