"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Monday, September 05, 2016


With apprehensions rife over President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to place the whole country under a state of lawlessness prompted by the recent bombing of the Davao City night market which killed 14 people, Senator Richard J. Gordon yesterday allayed fears of another martial law as he assured that the former should not be taken for the latter.
While supporting the President’s move, Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, said the committee is open for complaints against misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance committed in connection with the implementation of the declaration.
“The declaration of state of lawlessness has no specific review. And this lack has created uncertainty and engendered fear in many of our citizens. Political leaders and many good-hearted people have expressed grave apprehension fearing that their civil, political and human rights would be adversely affected,” he noted in a personal and collective privilege.
The senator also stressed that there must be rules in the implementation of the declaration of state of lawlessness, adding that Congress, under the Constitutionally-mandated separation of powers, could provide the necessary check and balance to allay the people’s fear.
“I would like to state here for the record that we have a Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigation or the Blue Ribbon Committee. I only say this to assuage those of us who rightfully and perhaps legally will be concerned about the declaration of the state of lawlessness. The Blue Ribbon is empowered to investigate misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance in office by officers and employees of the government, its branches, agencies, subdivisions and instrumentalities, and more importantly, any matter of public interest. We can open the Blue Ribbon Committee to any complaints. Any citizen who feels he had been aggrieved by the military checkpoints or by any military man or any member of the government could come to the Blue Ribbon Committee at any time,” he said.
In an earlier statement, Gordon said bombings had happened before and therefore was probably not unexpected considering the dastardly actions made previously by lawless elements who are now under effective interdiction from the government.
This is not the first time for Gordon to deal with terrorist attacks, both in Davao City and other parts of the country. During his time as Secretary of Tourism, Gordon had to take action to avert the negative effects to the tourism industry of several bombings such as Zamboanga Puericulture Center bombing on October 28, 2001 which killed 5 people; General Santos bombing at Fitmart store on April 21, 2002 where 15 people killed; Metro Manila bus bombing on October 18, 2002 where 2 people killed; and Superferry Bombing outside Manila Bay on February 27, 2004 where 116 people killed, among others.

“Let us all at this time be reflective, deliberate and calm as a people. Let us do our share by being constantly vigilant and alert as we continue with our daily normal lives and not allow such heinous acts to deter us from moving forward – for in allowing these incidents to stop our normal way of living, we would have allowed those who terrorize to win,” he said.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Statement of Senator Richard Gordon on the September 2, 2016 Davao City Night Market Bombing

We commiserate and pray for the people of Davao City particularly the families of the 14 people killed and the 71 persons hurt as of the latest report.

This has happened before in Davao and was probably not unexpected considering the dastardly actions made previously by lawless elements who are now under unanticipated and effective interdiction from the government.

Let us all at this time be reflective, deliberate and calm as a people. Let us do our share by being constantly vigilant and alert as we continue with our daily normal lives and not allow such heinous acts to deter us from moving forward – for in allowing these incidents to stop our normal way of living, we would have allowed those who terrorize to win.

The President as Commander-in-chief has now called out our armed forces to suppress lawless violence. Our Constitution allows him to do so and taken alone he is not suspending the privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus or proclaiming martial law. The Davao bombing is an act of terrorism by a known terrorist organization that must be outlawed by the full force of the law as provided in the Human Security Act of 2007 and other anti-terrorism measures.

Let us all support the President and our armed forces, and police forces and their families as well.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Postponing the barangay, SK polls should give Congress a wider vision on how it could become more effective - Gordon

With the proposed postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections gaining momentum in Congress, Senator Richard J. Gordon proposed that the Senate should take it as an opportunity to envision improvement in the electoral system and the Local Government Code that would also make Congress more effective.
Though not opposed to resetting the said elections, Gordon wanted to put a wider perspective into the debate because barangay officials are very important, being the officials who are closest to the people.
“I am just trying to put perspective into the approach. This is no simple postponement. And I’d like to interest the Senate into looking at a wider vision on how we can be more effective… I’m trying to lead the discussion into a vision game. Vision, namely that when we elect our leaders, we should elect the best,” he said.
The barangay and SK elections is set for October 31, 2016 but there is a very loud call for a one-year postponement.
The senator pointed out that the government and the people should benefit from the postponement. Congress should take it as an opportunity to inject reforms in the electoral process by amending election laws and the Local Government Code.
“When we postpone it, there must be some benefit from it. That when we postpone, we should really look into, perhaps the Local Government Code. I do not propose, by any means, that we should eliminate the barangay captains or barangay kagawads, but maybe it’s a good time for us, especially since these are early days, to look into the situation a little bit more studiously. We could have reforms in the electoral process starting with the barangays. I am here not to oppose but to propose. 
We should be able to build a better mousetrap,” he said.
Gordon said Congress could amend the term limits set by law for local officials. They could also make the elections less expensive by limiting the campaign to conducting debates in the barangay to enable the people to be more informed in selecting barangay officials. They should do away with costly campaign activities such as the conduct of house-to-house campaigns, holding meetings that would entail food distribution.
He stressed that it is improper that the matter of postponement is raised after every election because the political exercise should be treated with sanctity and not dealt with in a very cavalier manner.
“The matter of voting for public officials is a very high responsibility by the citizens of this country. We must not trifle with it by saying or giving all sorts of excuses. I just want to know what is the crucial matter in the postponement. I would imagine that we should be able to present a more cogent vision of what our local government must be. If we fear that there are too many elections, then so be it. Let us come up with a law that will say we will only have elections every three years and no successive elections shall take place,” Gordon said.

New PRC branch building to rise in Bogo, Cebu

A new building that will house the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Cebu Chapter-Bogo Branch will soon rise within the New City Hall Compound in Bogo City, Cebu.
The branch building will be built on a 1,000 square meters of lot in the aforementioned site which was donated to the PRC last year by the municipality of Bogo, under the administration of then Mayor Celestino Martinez.
Senator Richard Gordon, who is concurrent chairman and CEO of the PRC, will lead the groundbreaking ceremony and laying of time capsule in the site where the new building will rise. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the PRC and the municipality of Bogo will also be signed by both parties during the event with respect to the use of land by the PRC good for 50 years.
“The establishment of a branch in Bogo City will further bring Philippine Red Cross services nearer and more accessible to people in the northern part of Cebu. People from Bogo and neighboring municipalities will not have to go far to access Red Cross services like blood as the new building will have a blood collecting station,” said Senator Gordon.
The groundbreaking ceremony and MOU signing will likewise be graced by municipality of Bogo officials led by Mayor Carlo Martinez and Vice Mayor Maria Cielo Martinez, with former Bogo City Mayor Celestino Martinez.
Funding for the construction of the building will come from the PRC Haiyan Recovery Operation, with the support from partner national societies in the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
The move to establish a PRC branch in Bogo was strongly supported by the community which sees the need for the Red Cross to continue its presence in the communities it assisted in the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan).
The Philippine Red Cross has assisted thousands of families in the province of Cebu as part of the Haiyan Recovery Operation. To date, 8,020 shelters have been built and reconstructed, and some 8,354 families have been given livelihood assistance in the municipalities of Bantayan, Daanbantayan, Madridejos, San Remigio and Bogo City.
There are also 12 health facilities that have been constructed and rehabilitated in Bogo, Daanbantayan, San Remigio and Tabuelan; while 8 water, sanitation and hygiene facilities have been constructed and rehabilitated in schools in Daanbantayan, Bogo and San Remigio.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Happy National Heroes Day!

Monday, April 16, 2012


In 2004, Dick Gordon was elected Senator of the Republic of the Philippines with 12,707,151 votes, finishing 5th place among the elected Senators in this batch.
In the first half of his term as a Senator in the 13th Congress, Dick Gordon accomplished the following:
1. Authored 79 bills and 29 resolutions advocating political reform, justice, job creation, education, and disaster preparedness. He is primarily recognized for passing two significant bills in the Senate, namely the new automated election system law for fast, accurate and credible elections, and the holiday economics bill for spurring domestic tourism, employment and socio-economic growth.
2. Passed the very first law in the 13th Congress, Republic Act No. 9333, fixing the regular elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and several other important laws, including Republic Act No. 9369, the new Automated Elections System law; Republic Act No. 9334, the sin tax law; Republic Act No. 9399 and 9400, fixing the tax regime in Special Economic Zones and Freeports of Clark and Poro Point; Republic Act No. 9492, the holiday economics law; Republic Act No. 9346, the abolition of the death penalty law; and Republic Act No. 9367, the Biofuels Act of 2007.
3. Convinced IPU member countries to participate in the 112thInter-Parliamentary Union Assembly, where he also proposed a resolution on behalf of the Philippine delegation which was adopted, recognizing the role of parliaments in the prevention, rehabilitation, reconstruction and protection of groups that are vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters, and further encouraging the creation of Regional Disaster, Training, Logistics and Reaction Centres in collaboration with international humanitarian organizations and their local counterparts such as the Philippine National Red Cross as well as local disaster coordinating councils to train local field disaster response teams, share international technical know-how, expertise, technology and other information relating to disaster prevention training, and management
4. Chaired the following Committees – (i) Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws; (ii) Government Corporations and Public Enterprises; and (iii) Tourism. Dick Gordon was also a member of 23 other Senate Committees, namely:
1. Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies
2. Blue Ribbon
3. Cultural Communities
4. Economic Affairs
5. Education, Arts and Culture
6. Energy
7. Environment and Natural Resources
8. Finance
9. Foreign Relations
10. Health and Demography
11. Justice and Human Rights
12. Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development
13. Local Government
14. National Defense and Security
15. Peace, Unification and Reconciliation
16. Public Information and Mass Media
17. Public Order and Illegal Drugs
18. Public Services
19. Public Works
20. Trade and Commerce
21. Ways and Means
22. Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement
23. Youth, Women and Family Relations
5. Led the Senate to come together for a Strategic Planning Caucus at the start of the 13th Congress to address the most urgent problems of the nation. He authored proposed Senate Resolution No. 56, which was adopted and became Senate Resolution No. 8, entitled Resolution Calling a Caucus of All Senators to Identify Strategic Measures and Priority Legislation to Effectively and Efficiently Solve the Most Urgent Problems of our Nation. Through his efforts, Dick Gordon united the Senate to pass enabling legislation to solve the country’s budget deficit and fiscal debt, as well as equipped the Senators with many important facts to pass necessary legislation on fiscal reforms, financial reforms, job and income generation, security and peace and order, and education and health.
6. Upheld the supremacy of the Constitution at all times. Though he may not have voted for the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, he has repeatedly sworn to preserve and defend it. As Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws, Dick Gordon insisted on the lawful process of charter change only according to the process set forth in the Constitution. He opposed unconstitutional ways of proposing charter change, and was one of the triumphant parties in the case of Lambino et al. vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 174153, October 25, 2006, which declared infirm the people’s initiative orchestrated in 2006.
7. Preserved the separation of powers in government and asserted the Senate’s constitutional right and duty to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation against Executive Order No. 464 in Senate, et al. vs. Ermita, G.R. No. 169777, April 20, 2006, and Executive Order No. 1 in Sabio vs. Gordon, et al., G.R. No. 174340, October 17, 2006. In Sabio, he was upheld as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises in his resolve to investigate the accountability of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) in managing the government’s interest in Philippine Communications Satellite Corporation (PHILCOMSAT), pursuant to the Constitutional precept that public office is a public trust.
8. Resolute as a staunch advocate of civil liberties. He has fought numerous times to protect the fundamental liberties of the people guaranteed by the Constitution under threat by extrajudicial killings and abductions, Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR), Presidential Proclamation No. 1017, etc.
9. Was the first to speak against extrajudicial killings of journalists and judges. He has consistently supported giving a high premium on justice as part of the basic duty of the State to protect and serve the people. Knowing how it is to be a victim of crime when his father was assassinated but refusing to take the law into his own hands, he denounced the numerous assassinations of journalists, judges, politicians, activists, etc. and called for swift action to deliver justice.
10. Advocated electoral reform and protection of the people’s right of suffrage. He principally authored and sponsored Republic Act No. 9369, the new Automated Election System law, to bring forth election modernization and minimize election fraud.
In the second half of his term as a Senator in the 14th Congress, Dick Gordon has accomplished the following:
1. Authored 106 bills and 56 resolutions, advocating political reform, public order, health, justice, job creation, education and disaster preparedness. He is recognized for passing several significant bills in the Senate, namely, the Filipino World War II Veterans Pensions and Benefits Act which allows veterans to receive pensions from both Philippine and United States Governments; the Tourism Act of 2007 which provides for the strengthening of the tourism industry through strengthened promotion and the formation of Tourism Enterprise Zones (TEZs); and the Act Penalizing Violations Against International Humanitarian Law which ensures the protection of persons in times of armed conflict.

2. Passed, as sponsor, the following bills: Republic Act No. 9499, the Filipino World War II Veterans Pensions and Benefits; Republic Act No. 9593, the Tourism Act of 2007; Republic Act No. 9803, the Food Donation Act; Republic Act No. 9851, Penalizing Violations of International Humanitarian Law; Republic Act No. 9903, Establishing a one-time SSS Condonation Program; Republic Act No. 9996, Creating the Mindanao Economic Development Authority (MinDA); Republic Act No. 10023, Extending Free Patent to Residential Lands; Republic Act No. 10072, Philippine Red Cross Charter; and Republic Act No. 10073, Girl Scouts of the Philippines Charter.
3. Co-authored the following important laws: Republic Act No. 9496, Extending Utilization Period of ACEF; Republic Act No. 9500, creating the University of the Philippines Charter of 2007; Republic Act No. 9504, Small Income and Minimum Wage Earners Exemption from Filing of Individual Income Tax Returns; Republic Act No. 9513, the Renewable Energy Act of 2007; Republic Act No. 9576, the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation Charter of 2008; Republic Act No. 9679, strengthening the Pag-IBIG Charter; Republic Act No. 9710, the Magna Carta of Women; and Republic Act No. 9993, Philippine Coast Guard Law.
4. Member of the Bicameral Conference Committee of Republic Act No. 9700, CARP Extension with Reforms; and Joint Resolution No. 36, the New Salary Standardization Scheme for Government Employees.
5. Authored and sponsored the following legislative initiatives which are on third reading, pending in the House of Representatives, or awaiting the President’s approval: Senate Bill No. 2162, Adlaw ni Lapu-Lapu; Senate Bill No. 2590, an Act proposing Nine Rays on the Sun on the Philippine Flag; Senate Bill No. 3086, the Philippine Disaster Risk Management Act of 2009.

6. Chairs the following Committees[1]– (i) Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations (Blue Ribbon); and (ii) Government Corporations and Public Enterprises. Appointed Vice-Chair of the following Committees – (i) Ethics and Privileges; (ii) Finance; and (iii) National Defense and Security. Dick Gordon is also a member of 23 other Senate Committees, namely:
1. Accounts
2. Agriculture and Food
3. Civil Service and Government Reorganization
4. Climate Change
5. Constitutional Amendments, Revisions of Codes and Laws
6. Cooperatives
7. Education and Culture
8. Energy
9. Environment and Natural Resources
10. Foreign Relations
11. Games, Amusement and Sports
12. Health and Demography
13. Labor, Employment and Human Resource Management
14. Local Government
15. Public Information and Mass Media
16. Public Order and Illegal Drugs
17. Public Services
18. Public Works
19. Rules
20. Science and Technology
21. Tourism
22. Trade and Commerce
23. Ways and Means
24. Youth, Women and Family Relations
7. As Chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, spearheaded the investigation on the 2004 P728-million Fertilizer Fund Scam, promptly releasing Committee Report No. 254 which recommended amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act and the Government Procurement Reform Act; and on the assailed ZTE National Broadband Contract, resolved under Committee Report No. 743 with recommendations to prosecute key government personalities for violations of the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and to enact a Whistleblower Bill of Rights.
8. Member of the Senate Contingent to the Commission on Appointments.
9. Opposed the imposition of Martial Law in Maguindanao. He challenged the constitutional validity of Proclamation No. 1959, arguing that the requisites for Martial Law did not exist.

[1] As of June 2, 2010.

Sen. Richard J. Gordon
13th and 14th Congress (2004-2010)
Republic Act No. 9369
New Automated Elections System Law (author and sponsor)
· Renders the AES technology-neutral to allow Comelec to use the best available election technology with demonstrated capability
· We can use whatever technology is appropriate, secure, applicable and cost-effective.
· No more“dagdag-bawas” and wholesale cheating, with results simultaneously transmitted to the municipal/city, provincial, national Board of Canvassers so that in a few hours, all votes are counted
Republic Act No. 9499
Filipino World War II Veterans Pensions and Benefits Act of 2008 (author and sponsor)
· Allows Filipino veterans currently residing in the country to receive their pensions from both Manila and Washington
· Will benefit more than half of the estimated 16,000 surviving Filipino WWII veterans or their surviving spouses who stand to receive $9,000 if a Filipino citizen residing in the Philippines, or $15,000 if a US citizen under the US Economic Stimulus Bill of 2009.
Republic Act No. 9593
Tourism Act of 2008 (author & sponsor)
· Strengthens government tourism promotions by creating the Tourism Promotions Board
· Institutionalizes the regulation and accreditation of tourism services
· Grants income tax holiday and import duty exemptions for registered tourism industry enterprise zones
Republic Act No. 9728
Creating the Freeport Area of Bataan (sponsor)
· Aims to revive the ailing Mariveles Special Economic Zone, the country’s first Ecozone, through the creation of a Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB)
Republic Act No. 9803
Food Donation Act (author and sponsor)
· Protects all persons against civil or criminal liability arising from the nature, age, packaging or condition of apparently wholesome food (clean excess food, not leftovers) that it donates in good faith for charitable purposes
· Not intended as a dole-out, the donation provides sustenance for the hungry as they train for livelihood and employment programs
· The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the law was signed on May 21, 2010, establishing the DSWD as the principal coordinating agency together with the PNRC as auxiliary for the implementation
· Donated food shall meet all quality and labeling standards as certified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Republic Act No. 9851
An Act Penalizing Violations of International Humanitarian Law (author and sponsor)
· Penalizes violations against international humanitarian law in compliance with the country’s treaty obligations under the Geneva Conventions of 1949
· Seeks to ensure protection of civilians and prisoners of war in times of armed conflict
· Ensures “no safe haven” for war criminals
Republic Act No. 9903
SSS Condonation Law (author and sponsor)
· Allows a one-time condonation program from payment of penalties for an estimated 287,631 private employers (2007) who are delinquent in the payment of the mandatory contributions, translating to a total delinquency of P14.6 Billion.
· Aggrieved workers who could not avail of loans and other benefits because their employers had not remitted their contributions have become members in good standing
· Employers shall pay downpayment of at least 5% of the total contribution delinquency and pay the remaining balance in equal monthly installment within a period of 48 months
Republic Act No. 10023
Extending Free Patent to Residential Lands (author and sponsor)
· Allows possessors of residential lands to have their land titled without need of a court decree, and reduces the possessory requirement from 30 years to just 10 years
· Because process is merely administrative, there shall be no need to hire the services of a lawyer
· To benefit the possessors of an estimated 7.8 million parcels of residential lands and facilitate buying and selling of lands
· To free up access to credit since titled land can be used as collateral in borrowing from banks and other financial institutions
· Increases the local government unit tax base for improved tax collection
Republic Act No. 10072
Philippine Red Cross Act
· Aimed at strengthening the ability of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) to respond to humanitarian needs in times of armed conflicts, natural disasters, and other emergencies
· Affirms the country’s “conformity with the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their additional protocols, and the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement,” as well as a confirmation of PRC’s stand as a “voluntary, independent and autonomous non-governmental society auxiliary to the authorities of the Republic of the Philippines in the humanitarian field.”
· Exempts PRC from real property taxes, direct and indirect taxes, duties and fees that will emerge from its operations and its exclusive importations and purchases
· Exempts PRC from donor’s tax, which amount shall be deductible from the donors’ gross income for income tax purposes
Republic Act No. 10073
Girl Scouts of the Philippines Charter
· Affirms the contribution of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines to the promotion of positive values, responsible citizenship, and volunteerism to young women
· Provides the institution with permanence and structure by recognizing the GSP as a juridical entity with perpetual succession and corporate powers, such as to acquire properties, receive funds and contributions, adopt a seal, and have offices across the country

Republic Act No. 10121
Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act(author and co-sponsor)
·Strengthens the Philippine disaster risk reduction and management system by providing for the national disaster risk reduction and management framework
·Helps local government units and communities to prepare for disasters, reduce risks and become more resilient in the face of calamities.
·Engages the participation of civil society, the private sector and volunteers in the government’s disaster risk reduction program 

Senate Bill No. 2590
Ninth Ray Bill (author and sponsor; pending in the House of Representatives)
· Increasing the number of rays of the sun on the Philippine flag from eight to nine to symbolize the community of Muslim leaders who defended our land and to inculcate in the minds and hearts of our people a just pride in their native Muslim brothers who sacrificed their lives for the country's freedom.

Senate Bill No. 3570
Allowing Early Voting (author and sponsor; pending in the House of Representatives)
· Allows the conduct of early voting for qualified members of media, two weeks before the constitutionally-mandated election day