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

Friday, February 29, 2008

Don't use rally to oust Arroyo, use system to jail guilty’

People should not use the interfaith rally in Makati City Friday to press for the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Senator Richard Gordon urged Friday.

In a phone interview with INQUIRER.net, Gordon warned that a rally that seeks to oust Arroyo could tempt the military into mounting a coup that would benefit the very person the protesters seek to remove from power.

"I've always been a risk taker but we have to be careful because it could be a 'coup me,'" he said, referring to a scheme by which a coup would actually benefit the administration.

Gordon said he wants the country’s political and judicial system to work and urged the protesters to exploit the system to jail the corrupt.

"We are all looking for justice. To my mind, [going to the rally] is an exercise in futility if we don't put anyone who's guilty in jail. I don't care who he is or who she is, but we must let the institutions work. Let the courts, the prosecution, the Sandigayan [anti-graft court] function," he said.

"Are we so stupid that we cannot make this system work? After Erap [former president Joseph Estrada] was charged, convicted, jailed, and pardoned, have we become better morally as a people?" he asked.

Gordon said the current political crisis is the result of issues not being resolved. "There's no closure. Did EDSA 1 resolve anything? [Former President Corazon] Cory [Aquino] was not able to solve the murder of her husband. Did EDSA 2 resolve anything? Sure, Erap was convicted, but he was also pardoned," he said.

He cited the case of China as a nation that values closure. There, he said, all government officials get their day in court. He noted that some Chinese ministers have lost their lives following state trials for failing to perform their public duties.

While he said he would not stop his son, Red Cross volunteers, and friends from joining the Makati rally, Gordon himself is not going.

"A senator like myself who will stand as judge in case an impeachment case is brought against her should be circumspect and independent. We cannot be seen as biased…There's a lot of anger out there and [going there] can cloud your judgment," he said.

Gordon, an alumnus of Ateneo De Manila University, said he is not even going to watch the La Salle-Ateneo fund-raising basketball game "for truth and Jun [Rodolfo Noel Lozada, key witness in the Senate probe into the national broadband network scandal]" on Sunday.

‘Don't use rally to oust Arroyo, use system to jail guilty’
By Veronica Uy
First Posted 16:58:00 02/29/2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

For Good Governance

Beleaguered Pampanga Governor Ed “Among” Panlilio seeks counsel of Senator Richard J. Gordon at a private lunch in Angeles City hosted by various Filipino-American supporters of the Governor amidst moves for his recall and petitions in the COMELEC for a recount.

ZTE officials arrogant, China must conduct own investigation

Senator Richard Gordon clarified that he had not made any motion for officials of the Chinese government and ZTE to appear before the Senate to participate in any hearing or investigation into the national broadband deal.

He pointed out that during the hearing on the ZTE deal, he had made a motion for the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to formally or informally ask the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to make an appeal to the Chinese government to help the Philippines ferret out the truth by revealing if any Philippine officials who asked for bribes.

"I'm requesting the Chinese government to conduct their own investigation and find out if one of their corporations, a government company, has offered or transferred money to high Filipino officials of constitutional bodies like the Commission on Elections (Comelec)," Gordon said.

He said the China is a friend to the Philippines and an important economic partner in Asia. That being the case, he explained that as a friend, the Chinese government may be inclined to help shed light on the transaction by formally or informally communicating what they know about the broadband deal.

The lawmaker also lambasted ZTE officials after saying they will not allow itself to be dragged into any political circus.

"ZTE Corp. is very arrogant. They should help us in the investigation by showing their books or financial records to clarify if their company has offered money to high Filipino officials." Gordon said.

He stressed that the testimonies aired by NBN witness Rodolfo Lozada Jr. at the Senate hearing indicated that at least US$2 million had been advanced by China's ZTE to former Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr.

ZTE Corp. has already issued a statement denying all allegations by witnesses testifying in a Philippine Senate anti-corruption hearing that Abalos and First Gentleman Jose "Mike" Arroyo promised huge commission to clear a national broadband contract with the Chinese company.

ZTE spokesman Howard Xue said the company "cannot allow itself to be dragged into any political circus" and ruled out an appearance at the Senate hearing.

Saturday, February 16, 2008
Lawmaker hits ZTE officials for arrogance (1:05 p.m.)


Antique Governor Salvacion “Sally” Zaldivar-Perez points to Senator Richard J. Gordon, the exact spot twenty-two years ago in February 11, 1986 where Governor Evelio B. Javier was felled by an assassins bullet. Senator Gordon as Guest of Honor and Speaker rallied all Antiquenos to live and emulate Evelio Javier’s supreme sacrifice.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

On GMA "resignation"

And although Sen. Richard Gordon does not believe that Ms Arroyo should step down, he thinks she should be more sensitive to the public demand for her to say or do something about the NBN-ZTE scandal.

Gordon said Ms Arroyo should not only order the Ombudsman to look into the scandal immediately but also tell her husband to appear at the Senate so that senators could “examine his demeanor in answering allegations against him by Lozada.”

Ramos still for Arroyo; governors go all out
By Cynthia Balana, Bobby Labalan
Southern Luzon Bureau
First Posted 01:52:00 02/14/2008

Ebdane confirmed as public works chief

MANILA, Philippines -- The Commission on Appointments has unanimously confirmed the ad interim appointment of Hermogenes Ebdane as secretary of public works and highways.

Senator Richard Gordon, who postponed Ebdane's confirmation last week, seconded the motion to confirm his appointment.

Gordon said he went through Ebdane’s human rights records and was satisfied with it.

Ebdane confirmed as public works chief
By Veronica Uy
First Posted 12:08:00 02/13/2008

On New Charter Drive

Senator Richard Gordon called the Charter change drive “at best a diversion” to the chamber’s inquiry into the NBN deal, using local government units to project that the advocates have a support base.

Last October 2006, the Supreme Court rejected the people's initiative petition filed by Sigaw ng Bayan (Cry of the People) and Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines because it failed to comply with the constitutional requirement that the initiative must be directly proposed by the people and because proponents of the amendment also sought an overhaul of the Constitution.

Senators cross party lines to blast new Charter change drive
By Veronica Uy

First Posted 18:16:00 02/13/2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Arroyo dared to sue Abalos, others in NBN deal scandal

SAN JOSE, Antique, Philippines — Senator Richard Gordon asked Malacañang on Monday to take action against those involved in the scrapped National Broadband Network (NBN) contract.

Gordon urged President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to direct the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice to file cases against former Commission on Elections chair Benjamin Abalos Sr. and others involved in the scrapped national broadband deal.

He also said the government should seek the help of the Chinese government to shed light on the involvement of the Chinese ZTE Corp. and Philippine government officials in the alleged multi-million-dollar bribery scandal.

Gordon said this could be done through diplomatic channels or backdoor negotiations.

"There's corroborating evidence against Abalos. There's (also) circumstantial evidence," Gordon told reporters after speaking at the commemorative rites marking the 22nd death anniversary of former Antique Gov. Evelio Javier on Monday.

He said the President should not wait for the Senate investigation to be completed before directing the investigation and the filing of cases.

Gordon said the testimony of Rodolfo Lozada Jr., former technical consultant to the NBN deal, strengthened the evidence against Abalos.

"I'm happy that he (Lozada) is coming out. Now, we have a bigger case against Abalos. Former National Economic Development Authority and now Commission on Education chairman Romulo Neri has a lot to explain too," he said. (Neri tapped Lozada's technical advice on the NBN project specifications, the latter being an electronics engineer.)

But Gordon said Lozada should have surfaced and said what he knew about the deal earlier.

He did not include First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo as among those that should be investigated and charged, saying all statements allegedly linking Arroyo to the controversial were "hearsay" and would not stand in courts.

Lozada and Jose de Venecia III have testified that Abalos brokered the overpriced ZTE project and offered a bribe. They have also linked the First Gentleman to the deal.

"It's (allegation against Arroyo) still hearsay. But perception is even worse than reality," said Gordon.

Gordon, who recalled the integrity, moral courage and dedication to public service of the slain former governor of Antique, called on the President to stop making "allowances" to people around her.

"She (Ms. Arroyo) is cowed by the fear of being deposed by the powers of Estrada and his cohorts. She does certain things that she should not be doing. She has to make allowances to people around here," said Gordon.

He said Abalos should have been removed from his post by the President a long time ago.

"But I suppose there's a lot of things owed to Abalos." He failed to elaborate on this statement.

He also called on the President to "lead and forget everything (else)."

"It's kind of hard because everybody is now questioning her credibility, especially the First Gentleman. But nonetheless, you are the President until the end of your term or when you are impeached. It's never too late to fix up this nation," said Gordon.

Inquirer Cebu Daily News
First Posted 14:17:00 02/12/2008http://globalnation.inquirer.net/cebudailynews/visayas/view/20080212-118370/Arroyo-dared-to-sue-Abalos-others-in-NBN-deal-scandal

Friday, February 08, 2008

On Lozada Airport Abduction

Richard Gordon insisted that the Senate, not the PNP, should have been given “courtesy” and allowed to carry out Lozada’s “arrest.”

"Law enforcers as courtesy to the Senate, should have given the upper chamber’s process servers due course in serving the arrest order."

Senators up in arms over Lozada ‘abduction’
By Dona Pazzibugan, Norman Bordadora, Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer

War veterans may receive pension from both US, RP

Filipino soldiers who fought alongside their American allies during World War II will soon be allowed to receive pension and other benefits from both the Philippine and United States governments.

This is embodied in Senate Bill 142, entitled “An Act Standardizing and Upgrading the Benefits for Military Veterans and Their Dependents, which the Senate approved on third and final reading.

The bill, authored by Senator Richard Gordon, will benefit the estimated 16,000 surviving war veterans or their surviving spouses residing in the Philippines. It will amend the law, which disallows the grant of pension by the Philippine government to the veterans once a similar benefit is given by the US.

Under the bill, the maximum amount of monthly pension of P5,000 from the Philippine government shall be maintained.

The approval of the bill came on the heels of renewed assurance by Washington that the US Congress will approve the long-overdue Filipino Veterans Equity Act. The US legislative measure seeks to extend benefits to Filipino war veterans at par with what their American counterparts are getting.

The government’s special envoy on veteran affairs, retired Army Maj. Gen. Delfin Lorenzana, said the Veterans Equity Act—which will entitle veterans living in the Philippines some $200 to $375 monthly pension—will be endorsed in Capitol Hills soon.

“Finally, our World War II veterans are one step closer to getting the recognition they deserve and they can look forward to living the remainder of their years with a greater sense of dignity,” Gordon said.

“Perhaps there is nothing more painful than the sight of one who has offered his life to defend his country, wasted by decades of neglect. Senate Bill 142 will ensure that our World War II veterans finally receive what is due them—though sadly, this will not restore what they sacrificed in our country’s fight for freedom,” Gordon said.

Recently, Gordon met with US Senators Daniel Inouye and Patrick Leahy and Reps. Bob Filner and Dana Rohrabacher, all advocates of the equity bill in the US Congress and they assured Gordon that the bill would be passed.

During the meeting, Gordon told the American legislators that it is time for the US to act decisively on this issue as this is not merely an issue of cost and money, but more of an issue that delves into matters of honor and values among long-standing allies and friends.

According to Gordon, about 142,000 Filipinos fought in the battlefields during the last global war, 60,000 of whom suffered through the infamous Death March from Bataan to Tarlac, together with about 10,000 Americans.


War veterans may receive pension from both US, RP

By Fel V. Maragay