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

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Like Manny Pacquiao, Filipinos need Focus.

Senator Richard Gordon said the fight was spectacular and noted how Pacquiao was "focused" throughout.

"That's one thing we Filipinos lack. He also showed the Pinoy is world-class," Gordon said.

People's champ TKOs Mexican legend
One nation in jubilation
By Christine O. Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
23 january 2006

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

CHA CHA: Need for Senate Concurrence Established

THE House of Representatives can't go it alone and will need the concurrence of the Senate to amend the 1987 Constitution under a constituent assembly.

The chair and members of the Consultative Commission (ConCom) spoke separately but expressed this common view when they appeared at the Senate initial hearing on proposed modes to rewrite the Charter.

"I believe in the Senate and House voting separately because it makes a lot of sense that in ordinary legislation either chamber has to vote separately, how much more on a very weighty matter of constitutional change?" said Dr. Jose Abueva, ConCom chair. The commissioners shared Abueva's view, but cited different reasons.

The Senate committee on constitutional amendments opened its hearings on a House resolution convening Congress into a constituent assembly and a Senate resolution calling for a constitutional convention to study and approve changes to the Charter.

The chair, Senator Richard Gordon, posed only one question to the resource persons: Can the House change the Constitution without the Senate?

"My very presence here speaks for itself. I believe we have a bicameral Congress and the Senate is part of the process," ConCom commissioner Jose Leviste Jr. said.

Rene Azurin, ConCom commissioner, argued that Congress, being bicameral, implied that "each House is separate, and it must vote on an issue independently." Jose Villanueva, another commissioner, said that one only needed to look at the tradition of rewriting the country's Constitution to find that both chambers of Congress took part in it.

"I don't put so much importance as to whether the provision says voting separately. You look at tradition, you look at history, and you find out that in every instance where the fundamental law of the land was enacted, the two Houses always voted separately," he said. Samson Rodriguez, another ConCom member, said that "there must be a concurrence of the Senate and a separate vote for purposes of proposing amendments to the Constitution if acting as a constituent assembly." "We are unanimous and we believe, as a lawyer, there is no other interpretation but it should be voting separately," commissioner Anthony Acevedo said.

House position
Cagayan de Oro City Representative Constantino Jaraula, chair of the House committee on constitutional amendments, had contended the House could introduce amendments without the Senate and comply with the three-fourths vote required by the Constitution to approve an amendment.

Under a constituent assembly, an amendment has to be approved by a three-fourths vote of Congress.

Gordon said that the ConCom's unanimous view that both chambers should approve amendments to the Constitution voting separately had erased all speculations spawned by the House position.

"What we achieved today is there's no longer the speculation that it's only the lower House which can do it themselves without the need of the Senate," he said after the hearing.

Raul Concepcion, chair of the Consumer and Oil Price Watch, and Commission on Elections director Alioden Dalaig also agreed with the ConCom's position.

House told: It takes two to Cha-cha
By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
19 January 2006

Sunday, January 08, 2006

PIRMA like CHA CHA is Suspect

EASTERN SAMAR Governor Ben Evardone's plan to mount a "people's initiative" and gather five million signatures in support of Charter change has run into a brick wall in the Senate.

Suspect plan

Senator Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, said Evardone's plan "was suspect" just as the ConCom's independence was put into question because it was composed of governors and mayors.

The ConCom was created by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to recommend changes to the 1987 Constitution. It was composed of present and former local government officials, jurists, educators, newspaper columnists and others.

"Since it [proposal] comes from a governor [Evardone], it will surely show that this administration is intent on changing the Constitution to benefit a powerful few," Gordon said in an interview.

Under study

Gordon's committee was still studying the House resolution seeking to convene Congress into a constituent assembly that would propose amendments to the Constitution and was still awaiting the ConCom's recommendation.

Before it starts hearings, the senator has drawn up a list of questions for the resource persons: "Are the people in favor of changing the Constitution? Which is the best mode? Which is less costly?"

As far as he was concerned, Gordon said instituting reforms in the country's flawed electoral system, such as modernizing the polls, strengthening the party system by banning party-switching and ensuring voters' access to candidates through the media, was more important than amending the Constitution.

5-M signatures drive opposed by senators
By TJ Burgonio w/ Christine Avendano
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 9 Jan 2005

RP Custody of GI's Pushed

THE PHILIPPINES should take its cue from Japan and stop acting "like colonials" in seeking custody of four US Marines charged with raping a Filipino woman, Senators Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and Richard Gordon said yesterday.

"I guess our DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) officials can use Japan as an example," Pimentel said in a text message. "We're a second-rate country that's run by third-rate officials who act like colonials," said the Senate minority leader.

Gordon said the Department of Justice and the DFA "should have a stronger backbone in asserting that custody, judicially and diplomatically, is of paramount importance to our people."

"This will lead to a healthier relationship between the United States and the Philippines. Otherwise, Filipinos will always feel that they're victims throughout history because we did not assert enough to have a relationship of first among equals," he said.

Gordon stressed that the US government should turn over custody of the four accused to the Philippine government "out of respect" for its longtime ally.

Unless the Americans respected the Filipinos' desire for the government to assert sovereignty and gain custody of the accused, the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) "would be put to the test," he said.

"The reliability of the Philippines as an ally does not depend on these four servicemen who did a crime off-duty. We're a reliable ally because of the VFA, and we've agreed to train each other because of the VFA," he added.

2 Senators press RP custody of 4 GIs
By TJ Burgonio, Leila B. Salaverria, Nikko Dizon
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 9 January 2006

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Con-Com, Judge slaying and Subic Rape Case Transcript of Interview


SEN GORDON: I know na kailangan nating magbago ng Constitution pero hindi ako pabor ngayon sapagkat ang atensyon ng tao ay kabuhayan, makahanap sila ng good governance. Hindi naman porke nagbago ka ng Constitution ay magbabago ang gobyerno diba? Kailangan pa rin ayusin natin ang ting bayan upang umunlad.

REPORTER: Yung committee ninyo will tackle the cha-cha proposal?

GORDON: We will consider the proposal but we are going to take it like any suggestion of any citizen but I don’t think we are going to go that far. Nasira na sila doon sa “no-el”. Halatang-halata na itong ginagawa nila sa “no-el” ay talagang lumalabas ang katotohanan na ito’y para sa kapakanan lang ng iilang may kapangyarihan.

REPORTER: Pero ita-tackle din ninyo?

GORDON: We will see. Dadalhin natin sa committee iyan. Pero ako ang pakiramdam ko ay na turn-off talaga ako doon sa “no-el”. You will discover the true intention of these people. This is really sugar-coating and bribing the senators and all the others. They know that the people don’t like it so what they want to do is to offer a bribe by way of no-election. So that the machinery of these people who are no longer running for election will be used to campaign for these constitution.

REPORTER: Ano na ang plan of action ng committee ninyo?

GORDON: My plan of action, kung maglalabas ako ng Constitutional amendment I will do it phase by phase. I will not do it in toto. The plan of the committee is also to come out with a bill and during the holidays I have been talking with people to try and get a computer that can be transparent, speedily undertaken so that the integrity of electoral process cannot be put in doubt. So sa akin iyun muna, ‘yung counting machine, ‘yung electoral process ay dapat malinis para sa ganoon there will be no doubt as to the counting of votes.

REPORTER: Pati ‘yun plebiscite, sir, phase by phase?

GORDON: Yes. People must really understand what it is that they are voting for and for any Constitutional election we must have an honest Comelec and the electoral process must have integrity.

REPORTER: Kailan magsisimula ang inyong committee na i-tackle ang cha-cha?

GORDON: Few days before the session starts.

REPORTER: Mayroon ka na bang kopya ng con-con report?


REPORTER: This is the Con-Com propoposal, hindi ba dapat ang mag-endorse noon ay Malacanang?

GORDON: Actually, like I said, it will be treated like any suggestion by any citizen because wala namang legal basis ‘yung pag-create noon. It is really consultative.

REPORTER: Somebody has to put it in a deal?

GORDON: Correct. We would have to file a resolution. A resolution to amend the following provisions of the Constitution.

REPORTER: The committee will do it for them or will you wait for another senator to put it into…?

GORDON: Well we will see. Like I said, mayroon akong proposal sa isang constitutional assembly that I think should be done first before we even overhaul or revise the Constitution.

REPORTER: Sir, may na-file na daw kayo na bill para doon sa revision of the Constitution?

GORDON: No. What I said is that we are going to file a resolution later on, not now because we are still busy with other bills pero dadalhin naming iyan unti-unti for example the provisions that do not necessarily go into the structure of government but in really yung mga basic things lang. So you file one at the time o kaya 3-4 amendments at the time so that people can really analyse the provision that you want to change. What is most important, for me, is that people understand what we are amending.

REPORTER: Sir, even the Comelec ay nag against“No-EL”

GORDON: Well, that is good if they feel that way but you know if they really have to do a lot of laundering.

REPORTER: …”no-el” is just indeed transitory provision?

GORDON: It is critical because lumalabas na para ma-approve ang Constitution they have to do “no-el”

REPORTER: Iyan ang pambili.

GORDON: Iyan ang pambili. It is an insult to the intelligence of our countrymen and of the Senate. Ibig mong sabihin ay magbabago ka ng Konstitution tapos lalagyan mo ng “oh wala munang election”. Ibig sabihin si Sen Frank Drilon will be there until 2010. Bribery iyan.

REPORTER: Have you read Abueva’s assertion?

GORDON: I find the Abueva ads really indecent. Where are they getting the money to pay for that ads. There is another ad in the Inquirer today. Who’s paying for all these ads? Who’s funding it?

REPORTER: Sir, yun consultation with the other members only on the date?

GORDON: No, on whether we should consider all the amendments in toto or should we do it piece meal? Or should we clean up the Comelec first and put in the electoral machines first before we take this up. Bale wala lahat ‘yan kung madumi ang eleksiyon.

REPORTER: Personally sir, ano ang gusto ninyo?

GORDON: Linisin muna ang Comelec. Ilagay natin ang voting machine. Change the Constitution but not the parliament, not the unicameral or anything like that. Gawin muna natin yung talagang nakakaligalig sa ating bayan tulad ng economic provisions.

REPORTER: But they are hiding under the shield that they are constitutional offices.


REPORTER: Comelec.

GORDON: They may be constitutional offices but they are not exempted from the violations that they will commit. The prosecution that will come after they have committed the violation. And the Supreme Court has already said that they are also subject to the Ombudsman. Can you imagine, sabi doon sa Supreme Court decision pwede silang tirahin ng Ombusdman. Pangalawa, these guys should really answer for bakit hanggang ngayon wala pa yung ID card. Tayong lahat pumila doon pero hanggang ngayon there’s is no ID card. Pangatlo, what are you going to do with the machine? 1 bilyon ang ginastos. Is there any move by the government? The Macapagal administration should try to get back the money from these people.

REPORTER: So matatagalan pa ito?

GORDON: Oo. I don’t think yung cha-cha will prosper anyway. I have not seen a survey where people want the cha-cha. Because they doubt it. I think they want it but they doubt the integrity of the proposal because hinaluan ng “no-el”


GORDON: When you kill a judge you are killing the law practically. This is really a slap on the face of every lawaker and makes the judiciary impotent because they are intimidated by people who will try to kill them. You are making the judge afraid to do the law and many more judges may not be ready to pass judgment. We have to enable the judiciary to be brave and to make sure that they are protected. And the best protection is to make sure that anybody involve in a shooting of a judge must immediately be arrested and the full investigative power of the law must be put to bear upon this people.


REPORTER: Can we get your reaction to the statement made by the VFA that the government is re-asserting its right to gain jurisdiction over the 4 US marines?

GORDON: We should not be surprised about that. I meaning If we can assert our sovereignty, after all, this is nothing to do with the VFA. These are personal crimes committed by a serviceman and they should answer for it. And if the United States is our friend, they should allow these people to be placed in the custody of our government.

REPORTER: Can we take custody of the 4 US Marines?

GORDON: When a warrant of arrest is issued, there are procedures. As far as I am concerned, the moment a warrant of arrest has been issued, we should custody of them. Of course, they can always appeal but then like I said this goes beyond legal. Ang mas mahalaga dito is the relationship between the two countries. And if you put any value to the relationship, the United States should respect our court and our processes. You know they should not be legalistic and then we should try to prosecute the case as quickly as we can. So if they are found guilty then they will be punished and if they are not guilty then they should released.

REPORTER: If the US refuse to yield jurisdiction over these. Will this affect the RP-US relations.

GORDON: I think so but I think it will affect the relationship because they chose a very limited respect for our laws and our processes. I think, each government should try to respect each other processes. This crime is a lot less that the VFA. The VFA is a national interest concern. The crime committed really should not reduce the basic function of the VFA. It can stand even if the crime had been committed. So if the crime had been committed, we should punish these people. We should really try and pursue the case in accordance with our legal processes and if I were the Americans, my advice to them will be to allow our legal processes to go through with it.

REPORTER: ‘Yung VFA ay hindi raw ni-ratify ng US?

GORDON: That is correct. That is nothing new, the US Senate does not ratify this military bases agreement and they really do it under executive agreement which is the same value as a treaty but unfortunately it is also…our Constitution. That is why, one of the change that we should change in that Constitution is that very strict requirement because it is very, very restrictive. The fact that it has to be ratified as a treaty by our Congress and ratified by the other contracting party and it has to go to a plebiscite for that purpose. So to me, if there are any changes in the Constitution, ‘iyan dapat because it severely hamstrings our foreign policy. For example, if there is an attack on the Philippines by a foreign nation we cannot even ask for help without conducting a treaty. We cannot bring in foreign soldiers here without conducting a treaty with those who will help us. By the time we enter into a treaty we may have been overrun already and you can not discount that because after all that has happened many times in Europe when Belgium was attacked by the Germans and they did not respect their neutrality and if that happened we better be sure that we can have allies that can come in and help us.

REPORTER: Sir kailangan bang i-push natin ‘yun custody doon sa 4 US Marines?

GORDON: We should really assert that and like I said, ang dapat gawin ng mga Amerikano ay pagbigyan tayo d’yan because afterall ‘yung VFA naman ay hindi maaapektuhan. Ibigay lang nila ang costudy, symbolic lang iyan, ang nirerespeto nila ay ang ating mga batas at husgado. And then Litisin natin sa lalong madaling panahon hindi ’yung patagalan at wan to sawa.


Transcript of Eulogy for Senator Robert Z. Barbers

Mr. Senate President, Mrs. Barbers, members of the family, my fellow Senators and Congressmen, public officials, my fellow citizens, magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat.

I just got a text this morning from a friend and it quoted Father Pio’s words, and he spoke about a prayer and he says: “O Lord, leave my past to your mercy, my present to your love, my future to your providence.”

Today, we honor a man who you will hear from many of the speakers this morning was a policeman, a member of Congress, a member of the Cabinet, and given the best gift from our people, elected nationally as a Senator. But when you look at Bobby Barbers today, and I really cannot claim to know him that well, I only met him very well during the campaign, you can say all these things.

But in reality, when you look at the corpse of Bobby Barbers, he was focused, he was driven, he knew what he wanted in life and he was going to fight for it. He wanted to change our country’s peace and order and he worked very hard to make sure that we have an Anti-Drug law, and he lived by the code.

As a policeman, he was a policeman par excellence. He tried of course to become a lawyer. You know, I heard Senator Alvarez speak about the fact that they are fraternity brothers in the University of the Philippines, Alpha Phi Beta. And let me tell you the stories that I heard of Bobby Barbers said during the campaign was simply that he was, as Sonny Alvarez said, rambunctious. He was always fighting. And when he got dismissed from the University, if I may say that here without any rancor because I think all of us tumble, here was a man who was willing to stand up and rise amidst the diversity, amidst the setbacks and he would prove to be an example not only to his family, but to his people.

At times, we are always so niggard in terms of appreciation of effort in this country. And today, I think we should talk about the effort of Bobby Barbers. He was at ivy league and he did not even get an attorney-at-law title. This is a country that seeks title all the time.

I often say, we have 49,000 lawyers who want to be called attorney, atorni sa probinsiya and yet we have no justice. But Bobby Barbers may not have been a lawyer as certified by the bar, but he crossed his bar. He crossed his bar by his effort at peace and order. He crossed his bar by his effort at helping me create a People’s Law Enforcement Board(PLEB) during his time.

I can tell you that my wife spoke very highly of Bobby Barbers because my wife was in Congress with him. And I remember my wife telling me the story that when they were together in a Camp Aguinaldo ceremony or I think, it was Camp Crame, Kate was going to receive an award, Bobby Barbers whispered to her and he said, “Kate, I am being considered to become Secretary of Local Government.” And Kate said “A, seguradong makukuha mo ‘yan.” And right then and there when Kate said that, in a few minutes, there was a call and Kate said, “Ayan na.” And indeed when Bobby Barbers came back, he was smiling sheepishly and he said,” Nagbibig anghel ka. In fact, I have been invited by President Ramos to become Secretary of Interior and Local Government.”

Years later, Kate would be asked by Bobby Barbers to represent the country in the UNESCO Peace Prize. She was picked by Bobby Barbers among the many mayors and sabi ni Kate, “Baka hindi ako manalo d’yan,” because it was the first award. But Bobby Barbers had faith, and Kate --thanks to Bobby Barbers--was selected as the first woman, the first Filipino and the first awardees among five of the UNESCO for Mayors for Peace Prize.

Bobby Barbers had an uncanny feeling about events that are going to come. And indeed, Bobby always made sure that he was a devotee of the Sto. Nino. When I was at the wake the other day at Forbes, I was talking with Beth Dela Fuente, mother-in-law ni Dean, at ang sabi ni Beth, “Napakagaling naman pumanaw ni Bobby, He chose the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He was a long devotee and in fact, some people were saying that, “Ang hirap naman n’yan pag Pasko pa namatay ang isang tao,”

But in reality, I think that was Bobby Barbers choosing at that particular moment to be with the Lord and Master, the baby Jesus the Sto. Nino. He was a Sto. Nino de Pulisya. He was not a parak. He was a Sto. Nino de Pulisya. He lived by the Code. He lived by the example of our Lord Jesus Christ. And so, sabi ni Beth Dela Fuente, “Napakagandang pagkakataon na sa birthday nang ating Panginoon, kasama niya si Bobby.”And in fact, that is the case. Going through the New Year, and of course, this is a long wake for the family but I suppose Virgie is so proud of Bobby as well as the children—Dean, Ace, Lyndon and Mary Grace, who by the way is inaanak ni Kate. And I can tell that everywhere Bobby went, there were hordes of people in Surigao and now back, look at here in the Senate. We have a full Senate today. We have a full crowd in the gallery because he was a man of the people. He was a man who served the people. He was a man for others. He was not a policeman with the title called Colonel Barbers. He was a man who was going to keep the peace and make sure that people felt safe in their homes, that our children will not have to be exposed to drugs, and that they would not have to be exposed to crime such as gambling.

Bobby Barbers indeed served his Master well. And that is all, I suppose, that the Lord expects us to do—to be the best in whatever field we have chosen and that is the way God expects us, I suppose, and Bobby Barbers knew that.

And so today, as we go on this ceremony here of eulogies, a lot of things will be said but I think the core of Bobby Barbers was his devotion to service - his effort. Never
Mind the titles. Never mind the plaudits, but in reality, he was a man who knew who he was. Virgie told me that up to the last minute, Bobby did not want to go. He kept saying, “Tulungan mo ako para marami pa akong gagawin sa ating bansa,” Always it was the Bansa. Always it was the honor and privilege of service to our people. All of us will try to live by that example, hopefully, because that is what it is all about. It is not about power to Bobby because indeed he had the power over peace and order. He had the power of law behind him. But in reality, Bobby always sought to serve. Sabi nga ni Senator Sotto “servant leader”.

So, today, Bobby who went to Lyceum for Law School after he was cast into exterior darkness because of his wayward days when he was young. Hindi ba pagka bata tayo we tend to be wayward? But he picked up very fast. He stumbled. He stood up. He took law in Lyceum. He became a great policeman. He became a great Congressman, a great Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government and a great Senator of the Republic. Above all, he was a great father and husband, father who had the privilege of knowing his sons and his daughter. And let me tell you that I think the future is safe for the Barbers name because of the sons he has raised.

So, today, he did not take the bar but he crossed the bar. And then he culled from Alfred Lord Tennyson:

Sunset and evening star, And one clear call for me.
And may there be no moaning of the bar, when I put out to sea.

But such a tide as moving seems asleep
Too full for sound and foam
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell And after that the dark
And may there be no sadness of farewell

When I embark for thou from out our bourns of time and place
The flood may bear me far
I hope to see my pilot face to face, when I have cross the bar.

Today, Bobby Barbers crosses the bar proudly.

Thank you very much.