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

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Senator Gordon on UN Report on Extrajudicial Killings

Senator Richard J. Gordon today called for positive and responsible government actions on the report of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines prepared by the United Nations. Senator Gordon pointed out that the report reveals an urgent issue on human rights that must be immediately addressed by the government. “Under Sec. 4, Article II of the Constitution, the prime duty of the government is to serve and protect the people,” he said. “It must assure that our military is operating within the bounds of law and that civilian authority is at all times supreme over the military,” Senator Gordon continued.

The UN earlier released its report on their 10-day fact-finding mission revealing the existence of extrajudicial killings in the country. The report stated that the Philippine Armed Forces are in denial of such fact, and that their denial is “unconvincing”. Senator Gordon said that, “The government should heed this report of an underlying problem and act responsively for civilian security. This could be done by acknowledging the facts and taking aggressive steps to investigate and solve this problem. This should have been done from the very beginning.”

The senator has delivered at least five (5) privilege speeches on extrajudicial killings of judges, journalists, students, congressmen, rebels, civilians and even policemen. “All killings must be investigated and prosecuted, whether they are allegedly perpetrated by the soldiers, civilians or criminals,” Senator Gordon said.

Senator Gordon explained that the UN is an international organization dedicated to safeguard human rights. It is a renowned independent international institution and has no reason to be biased against the government. “It is very embarrassing that the UN had to come here and investigate. It is as if we could not address the problem ourselves. It is important to show the world and especially our people that we are doing something about it. It provides assurance and upholds the rule of law,” Senator Gordon said.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

CGFNS ban due to penchant for quick fix

Senator Richard Gordon expressed his disappointment with the decision of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) to ban all the nurses who passed the cheating-tainted June 2006 nursing licensure examination from working in the United States.

“I am saddened by the plight of these 17,000 nurses. I feel for them. However this is one of the consequences of our failure to attain closure on any issue and of our penchant for going for the quick fix,” said Gordon.

When allegations of cheating first came out last year, Gordon espoused the retake of the parts of the exam affected by the leakage in order to restore the credibility of the said batch of nurses. He said that the retake of Tests III and V would have resolved all doubts as to the competence and qualifications of the June 2006 board passers.

“This is precisely the situation that I wanted to prevent by asking for the nullification of the results of the June 2006 nursing board exams after investigations conducted by both the NBI and the Senate Committee on Civil Service. We knew from the start that if we didn’t repair the damage done to the credibility and integrity of our licensure exams, it would be highly probable that our nurses would have difficulty in finding opportunity for work abroad,” explained Gordon.

The CGFNS came out with its decision to bar the June 2006 board examinees from VisaScreen Certificate last February 14, 2007.

"We cannot really blame the US-CGFNS for trying to protect the health and safety of its citizens. Besides, the bar is not final. The June 2006 board passers can overcome the bar by choosing to retake tests III and V on a future licensing examination administered by Philippine regulatory authorities and obtaining a passing score. Once they pass, then they will be eligible for the VisaScreen Certificate," stated the Senator.

Gordon also said that the root cause of the problem, as disclosed during the Senate hearings, was our inability to correct our errors. We refuse to take responsibility for our own mistakes. Anywhere else in the world, an exam leakage is a possibility, our grave error was our failure to promptly correct it. The world can make room for errors for as long as those who make them are willing to correct them.

Friday, February 09, 2007


To end the session in the Senate, Senator Richard J. Gordon gave a heartfelt speech on the state of Philippine politics.

“Tonight, I was told that the Tourism Bill will not be passed in the House of Representatives unless the party reform bill was going to be passed. I am shocked beyond belief that people called me to tell me that they will hold back a bill this important to force another to be passed. We do not hold hostage the lives of millions of people,” said Senator Gordon.

“Is the tourism bill so unimportant that we take it hostage in a political horse trading? The tourism bill is dedicated to people who have no opportunities in life. People laden with poverty are the ones being crushed. Their poverty can and will be addressed by improving our tourism industry. The mere fact that I am asked to trade off one kind of development for another shows clearly that the business of our country today is just plain politics and not the upliftment of our people,” said Gordon

Despite long hours spent in deliberation and amendments, the Senate passed on third reading today the Tourism Bill sponsored by Gordon. The bill aims make possible, three fundamental reforms in the tourism sector. These reforms are at the heart of the Tourism Act of 2007, namely: (1) to uplift the standards of tourism services, (2) to aggressively promote our tourism industry’s strong points and (3) to develop existing and new tourism destinations in the Philippines.

Gordon laments the poor political tactics of the people in Congress. The tourism bill has received support from both the local and international community.

“I am a transparent person. I always have been. All my life, I have tried to implement reforms. I am not made to accept things as they are, I want to see things as they should be. I stand tonight here before you to put on record that we must always remember that our people depend on us. They need our support --our leadership. Today, I bow my head, for we have failed the Filipino people yet again,” said Gordon.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Automated Elections is a chance to restore people's trust in COMELEC

Senator Richard Gordon has reiterated his call for the Comelec to implement the Automated Election System (AES) law in the six cities and provinces of the country this May.

He emphasized that the implementation of the law is the job of the Comelec as the country’s mandated poll body.

"It never even crossed their minds to implement automated elections. This has been here for some time already. This is merely an amendment to the law on automated elections," Gordon said.

"Comelec’s job is to safeguard the integrity of the electoral process. If they are sincere and committed to fulfilling their mandate, they will implement the law and stop giving excuses," he added.

Gordon has argued that the law could still be implemented this May just by leasing machines already available for this purpose from countries such as the United States.

"We are not asking them to perform a difficult task, but we have heard them say (that) it can’t be done countless times. But did they even try? Instead of blurring the issue, they should be glad to have this challenge to prove to the people that they can do their duty," he said.

Instead of shirking from responsibility, Gordon said the Comelec should devise a legally and technically sound plan to computerize our elections and show our people that it is capable of managing the transition from an archaic to a modern electoral system.

"We are presenting Comelec with a chance to restore the trust of the Filipino people in our elections and Comelec as the institution charged to safeguard our right to vote. Our people deserve no less than the chance to have their votes truly counted by a trustworthy and modern electoral system," he added.

Sheila Crisostomo, Marvin Sy and Perseus Echeminada
The Philippine Star 02/04/2007