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

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Estate Tax Cuts Approved

The Senate committee on ways and means on Friday approved two bills seeking to give bigger deductions on estate taxes to allow heirs to keep the family home.

Senate Bill 285, which was sponsored by Senator Richard Gordon, increases the maximum allowable deductible medical expenses in the computation of the net estate for the estate tax from P500,000 to P1.5 million.

Senate Bill 286, also sponsored by Gordon, allows the deduction of the full current fair market value of the family home (exceeding P1 million) from the net estate of the deceased person if he or she leaves a surviving spouse behind.

“This intends to ease the burden of the surviving spouse from the ordeal of putting up cash to pay for the estate tax on the family home, especially after having suffered the death of the decedent, mourning the loss of the family, and shouldering many other expenses, particularly medical and burial expenses of the decedent,” Gordon said, explaining the rationale of the bill.

The senator said sick people tend to spend a lot of money during their illness and many are forced to sell their homes to spend for their treatment. The twin bills, he said, would ease the burden on the heirs, who are usually left with no family home left after all their assets are spent on the treatment of their sick relative.

Senate ways and means committee OKs more tax exemptions
By Veronica Uy
Last updated 04:59pm (Mla time) 11/16/2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Presidential aspirants -- Start debates now

Senator Richard Gordon yesterday challenged presidential wannabes to start public debates among themselves even if the next election would still be held two-and- a-half years from now.

Debates will enhance the chances of candidates with limited resources to present an alternative platform of government, Gordon said.

Gordon, who said he is available for the presidential race, did not name names but only recently, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay floated his plan to join the 2010 presidential derby.

Chairman Bayani Fernando of the Metro Manila Development Authority also dropped hints of his political plans but said his party, Lakas, has the final word on its standard-bearer.

Gordon said the Philippines should take a cue from the practice in the United States where the Republican and Democratic parties start early the process of selecting their prospective standard-bearers as what is happening now.

“In my view, it is in the best interest of the people for presidential aspirants to come out and engage in debates among themselves like what they are doing in the US,” he told an interview with newsmen.

Unless the presidential debates are held—and as early as possible, Gordon said the surveys will again influence the judgment of the people which, he said, is favorable to well-funded candidates but unfair to people like him who could not match the resources of the former.

He said that in previous presidential elections, the candidates had the tendency to shy away from debates especially if they were super-rich or very popular figures from show business.

Gordon said it is through public debates that the people will really know who are capable of providing leadership and solving the multifarious ills of the country.

Gordon has no qualms in presenting himself as a presidential aspirant, saying he dreamt of being catapulated to Malacañang as early as 1992.

“I am available, but I haven’t made any announcement yet,” he said.

“I think my options are open. At present, I am working as a senator but I am available for the presidency because like what other people have said, I should have run in 1992 or in 1998. But I didn’t have enough resources or experience at that time.”

“I think having been a mayor [of Olongapo City], having been a Constitutional Convention delegate, having been chairman of the Subic Bay Authority, having been a secretary of tourism promoting our country, having been governor of the Philippine National Red Cross helping our people in all major disasters in the country, I think I have now enough experience.”

Gordon admitted that it would give him tremendous advantage if he will be chosen as the standard-bearer of the ruling Lakas party or the administration coalition.

“I am always referred to as an administration senator. But I don’t always vote for the administration. I have been critical of the pardon for [former President] Erap [Estrada]. And I’m not with Erap either.”

Presidential aspirants dared: Start debates now
Fel V. Maragay and Rio N. Araja
Monday, November 12, 2007

Probe syndicates behind COMELEC slays

Senator Richard Gordon raised the possibility of a criminal syndicate operating with the poll body, noting the “gangland style of killing of” Dalaig.

“He was apparently shot through the heart and killed by a lone gunman as he walked across the Hyatt Hotel parking lot. In his possession was P300,000 in cash,” Gordon said.

“This certainly raises a lot of questions and one question I’ve heard was: Is there a mafia operating in the Comelec?”

Gordon, who chairs the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes and laws, also demanded the immediate investigation and closure of Dalaig’s murder and that of Del Rosario, who was shot by a lone gunman while he was attending a drinking session at a house in General Trias, Cavite.

“How many of our election officials have been killed and what were the circumstances surrounding their killings?” Gordon asked.

Gordon hopedthe Automation Elections Law, which would make for less human control over poll results, will stop election-related killings.

“We don’t know if the law can still be implemented, but we will certainly insist that it gets implemented in 2010 if only to avoid more killings and yet another presidency assailed with allegations of wholesale electoral fraud,” he said.

Senators want possible link to poll execs’ slays probed
Gordon suspects Comelec ‘mafia’
By Veronica Uy
Last updated 05:15pm (Mla time) 11/12/2007

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Prepare for oil price surge

Worried over the unabated oil price increase in the world market, Senator Richard Gordon urged the national government to prepare safety measures as he issued a sober warning on the risks to the country’s economy posed by the surging price of oil.

"With the price of oil nearing US100 per barrel, Filipinos must be prepared to tighten their belts," Gordon said.

Gordon added: "We should develop the domestic economy to cushion the effect of the rising oil prices."

He emphasized that demand management should be undertaken to efficiently distribute oil to consumers.

Gordon stressed that there is a need to adopt energy-saving measures to improve mileage for oil consumers. Simple actions for motorists such as keeping tires inflated, driving the speed limit in highways, cutting back on idling, carpooling or taking public transit and keeping motor vehicles tuned up would increase mileage in the existing fleet.

The blow from the recent surge in oil prices would have been worse if not for the "resilient economy" and strong peso.

World oil prices reached a record-high of -a-barrel on Thursday after a surprise drop in United States crude stockpiles raised concerns about supplies for the coming winter demand.

Reports said analysts do not see anything standing in the way of a run to $100 per barrel after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) continued to resist calls to hike production.

OPEC said the soaring market was beyond its control, with the cartel blaming speculation and politics for the surge in price.

At the same time, Gordon explained that the oil price increase should serve as a continuing wake-up call for all sectors as well as the government to conserve energy and find other sources of energy.

Meanwhile, President Arroyo ordered yesterday concerned agencies to implement measures that would cushion the impact of the continuing oil price increases.

The President also called on the people to unite, put an end to politicking and help the administration in addressing the concerns following the oil price increases in the world market.

This developed as Department of Energy (DoE) Secretary Angelo T. Reyes and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Peter Favila said that their agencies would do everything to mitigate the impact of the oil price increases on the people.

Reyes said that the country is not yet in a "crisis situation" following the announcement of the latest oil price increase in the world market. (Rolly T. Carandang & Anthony Giron)




Arroyo likely knew 'cash gifts' were given

A senator on Wednesday expressed belief that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was aware that "cash gifts" were distributed among congressmen and local government executives last month in Malacañang, during the height of calls for her impeachment.

This, as the Senate set for next week the start of hearings on the "cash gift" controversy.

Senator Richard Gordon, who ran under the administration ticket in 2004, said Mrs Arroyo who heads the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) was likely to have knowledge on the distribution of cash gifts.

House Deputy Speaker Ma. Amelita Villarosa, Kampi secratary, earlier admitted that cash gifts distributed to various local government officials were from Kampi's funds.

"It is hard to believe that money, from 200,000 pesos to 500,000 pesos were being distributed without anyone telling anyone what it was for and where it had come from," Gordon said.

"It is even harder to believe that the President, who we assume is also the leader of Kampi, did not know that money was being distributed like rain or sunshine," he added.

Gordon said Villarosa's admission "puts to light the basest manifestation of our transactional political culture and should challenge our people to rise up to make political parties more accountable for their actions."

"We can't say that what had transpired in Malacanang was bribery or an attempt to secure some kind of action in return for a generous sum of money. However, millions of pesos changed hands under circumstances where the resident of Malacañang was being assailed by scandals and an impeachment complaint had just been filed," Gordon said.

The administration senator said that in light of the cash gift scandal, he would push for a legislation to compel political organization to divulge the sources of their funds and how these funds were disposed.

"The bigger aspect and the wider view of this action is to craft a body of laws that will make political parties more accountable for their actions and win for everyone a chance to sow the seeds of transforming our rotting political culture," he said. - GMANews.TV

Arroyo likely knew 'cash gifts' were given -Gordon
Posted November 7, 2007, 5:57 pm

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Younger, agressive COMELEC appointees needed

Nominees to the Commission on Elections should be “younger, more aggressive,” Senator Richard Gordon said Monday.

Gordon, who heads the committee on constitutional amendments, revision of codes and laws, was reacting to reports that retired Supreme Court Justice Jose Melo would be appointed as Comelec chairman.

Last week, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed Iligan City regional trial court judge Moslemen Macarambon as Comelec commissioner.

“We need a young leader who is savvy about information technology because we have an antiquated election system. There are going to be pressures. We need someone who can move fast and decide cases, and who can have a tight rein on commissioners and Comelec people like [former election commissioner Virgilio] Garcillano and [missing Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang] Bedol,” said Gordon.

He said he would have to check if retired justices could still be appointed to the Comelec, even after they had received their retirement paychecks.

With Macarambon's appointment, there are three more vacancies at the poll body -- the one vacated by resigned poll chief Benjamin Abalos, and the two to be vacated by acting Comelec chairman Resurreccion Borra and commissioner Florentino Tuason in February next year.

Gordon said that aside from appointing people of proven integrity, independence, and competence, electoral reforms must be instituted.

“There are so many things that you need to fix in the Comelec. Number one is the pride problem. There is no pride in the Comelec, and their reputation as independent arbitrator is shot. And they are in charge of the most basic and fundamental right of the people,” he said.

Gordon, who is set to file a bill seeking to penalize “political butterflies,” said automation of the electoral system should be the administration’s top priority.

Gordon calls for younger, more aggressive Comelec nominees
By Veronica Uy
Last updated 01:09pm (Mla time)