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

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

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

ON CHA-CHA / CON-COM ISSUE

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?

GORDON: Wala.

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.

GORDON: Who?

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”

JUDGES KILLING

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.

SUBIC RAPE CASE

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.

END

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