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

Friday, September 29, 2006

On Malacananag Order of Nursing Exam Retake

THE nursing graduates who passed the licensing exams in June will need to retake only two parts of the test where questions were leaked, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said yesterday.

Senator Richard Gordon, who led a Senate investigation into the leaks, welcomed the President’s decision.

“I have long maintained that the only way to put closure to this matter is, at the very least, by way of requiring a retake of tests 3 and 5 of the board exams for everyone shown to have received the leaked exam questions,” he said.

And those responsible for the leaks should be caught and punished, Gordon said.


On Supreme Court Hearing of PI Case

EVEN IF Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and Associate Justice Reynato Puno were to vote to declare the initiative law sufficient to implement Charter change, senators remain hopeful that a majority of the Supreme Court justices would vote to dismiss the petition for a people’s initiative.

Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate committee on constitutional reform, said the proponents were unable to justify the lack of transparency and reliability of the signature collection campaign. He said an added disadvantage to the petition was that it was proposing a revision and not mere amendments to the Charter, contrary to law.
“I’m pretty sure it will be turned down,’’ Gordon said.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Long History of Cooperation

Senator Richard J. Gordon discusses with Japan’s newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe the situation of Filipino entertainers and possible hiring of nurses, bilateral trade agreements and tourism exchanges between the Philippines and Japan in December 2005 in Tokyo when Abe was Chief Cabinet Secretary.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Need for the Rule of Law

Senator Richard J. Gordon yesterday renewed his call for the rule of law in light of the poor performance of the country in the World Bank Report, “Governance Matters 2006: Worldwide Governance Indicators,” citing the need for renewed vigor in the fight against corruption and the practice of good governance.

“We need to show that there is still a rule of law in this country. There is a need for transparency so that corruption can be easily observed”, said Gordon.

The report which covered 209 countries all over the world showed the marked deterioration in the performance of the country according to five indicators namely voice and accountability – from 58.9% to 47.8%; political stability and absence of violence – from 39.2% to 17.5%; government effectiveness – from 63.2% to 55.5%; regulatory quality – from 68.5% to 52%; and rule of law – from 55.3% to 38.6%.

“This report is proof positive that we need to correct certain deficiencies on the way we run our government. The executive should stand by its contracts and ensure a level playing field so that no one is unduly favored, specially relatives of people in power. Policies should be enforced by the courts and our people should be given access to courts”, said the Senator.

Gordon also warned that if government does not do anything about corruption, investors will shy away which would mean less jobs and opportunities for the people.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Detained Sabio Faces Inquiry

Senator Richard Gordon (left) asks Presidential Commission on Good Government chair Camilo Sabio to answer questions regarding the alleged loses of government sequestered corporations in today’s (Sept.14, 2006) hearing by the Senate Committees on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises and Public Services. (Photo by Alex Nuevaespaña, SENATE PRIB)

PCGG execs accused of Philcomsat fund theft

Sen. Richard Gordon on Thursday accused officials of the Presidential Commission on Good Government of stealing funds from the government-sequestered Philippine Communications Satellite Corp. (Philcomsat), ANC reported.

The accusation came after PCGG Chairman Camilo Sabio refused to answer questions posed by the panel investigating the financial irregularity in Philcomsat.

"You don’t want to answer because the answer is clear. You are milking the cow that you pretend to protect," Gordon, chairman of the Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises, said, raising his voice.

Sabio invoked immunity from the panel’s investigation. He said that Executive Order No. 1 issued in February 1986 by then-President Corazon Aquino stipulates that PCGG officials are not required to testify or submit documents in any judicial, legislative or administrative proceeding.

"The facts that would be obtained from us would be obtained at a proper hearing now pending at the Sandiganbayan and later in the honorable Supreme Court," Sabio said.

Gordon said that he found it offensive how Sabio continued to lecture on the senators and display high-handedness.

"We are here to seek answers for the people and no government official will come here and tell us [he is] immune because of an executive order of dubious legality," he said.

Gordon reiterated that PCGG was created after the downfall of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos to recover his and his associates’ alleged ill-gotten wealth.

"Twenty years have passed and there is no report. Twenty years have passed and we see people getting P300,000 when they should be getting P10,000. We see people getting millions of pesos," he said.

He added that the immunity clause that Sabio cited is constitutionally inconsistent and therefore invalid.

Sabio earlier criticized the Senate over what he called its "grave abuse of power" after it had him arrested for snubbing summons to appear before a panel investigation.

"The subpoena, summons, show-cause order and most especially the arrest warrant against me were null and void from the beginning. [The Senate has] no authority or whatsoever to do that," he said.

During a heated argument at the panel hearing, Gordon described Sabio as one who is delusional and a great actor.

"I know that this man is not physically sick. He is filled with delusions that he is filled with the franchise of intelligence that he is the only one who can say so," he said.

"You are under the illusion that you are totally immune," Gordon told Sabio.

Gordon said he was offended by the kind of behavior Sabio displayed at the hearing that seemed disrespectful of the panel.

"You shout at me, no wonder your blood pressure shoots up," he told Sabio.

Following his arrest on Tuesday, Sabio was taken to the Senate building in Pasay City where he underwent a closed-door medical examination to check his blood pressure. Reports said Sabio's blood pressure shot up as a result of his arrest.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

We Need To Pass An Enabling Law for PI

Following the resolution of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to junk the people’s initiative petition filed by Sigaw ng Bayan and Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) for lack of an enabling law, Senator Richard J. Gordon yesterday emphasized the urgent need for the Legislature to pass a law to provide for the implementation of this right.

“The COMELEC resolution merely acknowledged the Supreme Court decision on this matter which declared that ‘while the Constitution has recognized or granted that right [of people’s initiative], the people cannot exercise it if Congress, for whatever reason, does not provide for its implementation.’ Hence, we will be working very hard to provide for its implementation at the soonest possible time,” said Gordon.

Gordon, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws, earlier conducted a hearing on August 29, 2006 towards passing an enabling law to provide for the implementation of the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution through people’s initiative.

“Aside from differentiating between amendments and revision, and the extent of amendments that can be proposed through people’s initiative, the need to safeguard the process of implementing this right to protect the people’s will called our utmost attention at this Senate hearing,” stated Gordon.

Gordon stressed the importance of “laying down a lawful process for the exercise of this Constitutional right to ensure that the people are not hoodwinked into proposing amendments to the Constitution that they do not want or understand.” “Currently, amendments to the Constitution are crafted by wily politicians that are seeking to promote their own agenda, which puts our Constitution in danger of becoming a trapo or oil-soaked rag Constitution,” he added.

“We will probably call another hearing to wrap up our findings and then submit a Committee Report, together with the bill for second reading, to the Senate very soon,” declared Gordon.

In denying to give due course to the people’s initiative petition, Gordon also lauded the COMELEC for deciding in accordance with law and added that “this builds the people’s confidence in the COMELEC Commissioners as people of integrity and the COMELEC as a democratic institution.”

The Supreme Court permanently enjoined COMELEC from taking cognizance of any petition for people’s initiative to propose amendments to the Constitution until a sufficient law is enacted.

1 September 2006

2 BON Examiners Merely Fall Gals As NBI Report Provides No Closure

“The two Board of Nursing (BON) members against whom the NBI has recommended the filing of charges for their involvement in the alleged board exam leakage are mere fall guys.” Senator Richard Gordon yesterday said

“Why does it seem like we are back in square one despite the lapse of over a month from the time that this matter was brought to the NBI for further investigation? Are we any closer to determining the real culprits behind the leakage? Can we already identify the areas, institutions or individuals who were able to secure copies of the leakage materials?” Gordon asked

The report of the National Bureau Investigation after conducting its investigation into the alleged leakage in the June 2006 nursing board examinations merely recommended the filing of charges against the 2 members of the Board of Nursing who had already been identified in the fact finding report of the PRC after its own study of the matter.

In its own fact finding report, the PRC admitted that it did not have the wherewithal to determine with finality the scope of the leakage, the culprits behind it, as well as the beneficiaries of thereof. The PRC left it to the NBI to look further into the matter.

“The examinees from the last nursing board remain in limbo. We cannot fool ourselves by simply sweeping things under the rug. Until we can put closure to this entire mess by putting the all of the culprits behind bars and ordering a retake of Tests 3 and 5 for those who are shown to have received the leakage materials, the blemish on all of the aspiring nurses from this batch, and of the Philippine nursing community as a whole, will remain.” Gordon added.

1 September 2006