Random Thoughts

Joe de V’s red birthday bash

By Leonardo Micua

EVERYBODY wore red, that is from waist up, when former Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., the pride of Pangasinan and of the entire Philippines, celebrated his 82nd birthday at the Sampaguita Gardens on Valencia Street in Quezon City last December 26.

In case you don’t know it yet, the Sampaguita Gardens was the home of the Sampaguita Studio owned by the late Doc Jose Vera Perez, father of Manay Gina de Venecia, which launched to full stardom many of the actors and actresses that graced the Philippine celluloid world.

Among them were Gloria Romero, Susan Roces, Amalia Fuentes, Liberty Ilagan and many more, plus Eddie Gutierrez and Romeo Vasquez, among others.

At the party, the girls wore red neck scarfs, plus bunny sparklers attached to their heads while most of the guys also had sparklers, others wearing red Santa Claus toppers.

Those who were not garbed in red nonetheless had at least red neckties, and their white or black polo shirts had red stripes and elsewhere. The Sampaguita Gardens was festooned with red curtains, buntings and red balloons.

JdV, with stunningly beautiful wife, Gina and their handsome son Fourth District Rep. Toff  came in red as they welcomed their guests with warm hugs and handshake for each, hopping from table to table, joining group photo shots.

JdV, still hale and healthy at 82, continues to inspire the nation and the whole world with his constant liaison with fellow peacemakers and diplomats around the globe despite his being out of Philippine politics for the last 10 years. He still tours the world as chairman of the Standing Committee of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties and co-chairman of the International Association  of Parliamentarians for Peace.

JdV is also special envoy of President Duterte to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and for Intercultural Dialogue as a chief architect for an Interfaith dialogue and cooperation between Muslims and Christians. He is today aggressively pushing for the unification of the Sunni and Shiite Muslims to ensure a more peaceful Arab world.

Among those who came to greet JdV during his 82nd birthday were diplomats and officials from Russia, Iran, Nepal, Cambodia, South Korea, among others, as well as from the APEC secretariat. In their respective speeches, all were in praise of JdV as a peacemaker  and a topnotch diplomat who made an outstanding contribution to world peace.

There too was former President Joseph Estrada, and who JdV introduced to his guests as the only man who beat him in an election when they ran against each other for the presidency.

Also in attendance were ex-House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, ex-Sen. Heherson Alvarez and a host of former congressmen who worked with JdV as Speaker for a record of seven terms. Third District Rep. Rosemary ‘Baby” Arenas came in blue gown but nonetheless spiced with red. Cagayan Economic Zone Authority chairman Raul Lambino, also ex-staff member of JdV, was also there.

When colleague Ike Palinar of Aksyon Radyo Dagupan asked Dr. Roland Mejia, chief of R1MC on his birthday wish for JdV, he said: “I wish for JdV to live longer, as long as he wants”

Let us not forget that JdV was the architect of a new Dagupan. He gave the city the Judge Jose de Venecia Sr. Expressway Extension and earlier, the De Venecia Highway, that now links Dagupan to Calasiao.  Both were constructed when he was Speaker of the House.


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