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

Saturday, October 28, 2006

On People's Initiative Supreme Court Decision

Senator Richard J. Gordon, chairman of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, revision of codes and laws, said the “SC decided consistently with the prevailing jurisprudence in Santiago versus Comelec, providing predictability, consistency, and stability to our legal system and the rule of law.”

He vowed to pass “a sufficient, sound and suitable enabling law” to provide for the implementation of the right of the people to directly propose amendments to the Constitution through people’s initiative. Gordon said the “dubious way” by which the people’s initiative was orchestrated largely through barangay assemblies “is disturbing.” "Congress should now work to enact a law for a people’s initiative that would be immune from manipulation by political interests." he added.

GMA, JDV Cha-cha remarks not in good taste

SENATORS yesterday asked the Arroyo administration to stop pestering the Supreme Court as Malacañang's allies stepped up their calls for the high tribunal to listen to the "voice of the people" and allow the Constitution to be amended through the people's initiative mode.

"I think they (the President and her allies) should lead by example and not hector the Supreme Court," Senator Richard Gordon said in an interview.

He was referring to Ms Arroyo's remarks on Thursday in favor of Charter change before an international conference of jurists, including Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban. De Venecia made the same plea but in more impassioned terms before the same body the following day.

"It's not in good taste," Gordon said, adding that De Venecia's call for the justices to change history by approving the people's initiative was contemptuous of and disrespectful to the court.

Gordon, who chairs the committee on constitutional amendments, and maverick administration Senator Joker Arroyo said that De Venecia's appeal to the Supreme Court justices to alter history by approving the people's initiative smacked of "desperation."

"That's political lobbying. It does not give due respect to the Supreme Court … You don't go to the Supreme Court and tell it to approve the initiative. It's a contemptuous conduct as far as I'm concerned," Gordon said.

Leave justices alone, senators tell Palace
Gordon: Cha-cha remarks not in good taste
Inquirer, 23 October 2006
By TJ Burgonio, Michael Lim Ubac

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

SC Denies Immunity of PCGG from Senate Inquiry

Senator Richard J. Gordon, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises, yesterday lauded the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision (15-0) denying the claim of immunity by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) under Executive Order No. 1.

“Just like God, the Supreme Court always answers prayers. Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it is no. I am glad that the Supreme Court has now answered PCGG’s prayer for immunity and the answer is no,” said Gordon.

According to Gordon, the PCGG Commissioners have no more excuse to hide from the scrutiny of the people through their elected representatives in the Senate. “No one is above the law,” said Gordon.

“Furthermore, public officers, like the PCGG Commissioners, must at all times be accountable to the people as public office is a public trust,” he added.

Gordon has yet to obtain a copy of the Supreme Court decision, but he is very happy with the Supreme Court’s judgment on this case which “vindicates the Senate’s lawful exercise of its legislative powers, particularly the essential power to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation.”

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Senate OKs poll automation

"This is a great leap forward for our country. This is about making sure that every vote of every Filipino is counted, and counted properly. This is about giving the future of the Philippines back to its own people," Gordon said.

"Year after year, allegations of fraud paralyze our country. It practically ensures that only the powerful and the wealthy stay in power -- the ones who can cheat and buy the votes. Even the last attempt to computerize was tainted by fraud. We of the Senate have proposed a solution to end the cheating and the fraud, and to make sure that the people’s voice is truly heard," he said.

The Gordon bill would mean that two provinces and two cities each in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao would get to use automated systems in the 2007 elections. By 2010, the entire electoral system should be automated. Stronger measures for supervision and oversight would be put in place to ensure transparency in choosing technology and bidding out of the contract.

Gordon explained that AES is a system using appropriate technology for voting, counting, consolidating, canvassing, transmission of election results and other processes in the conduct of electoral exercises.

To carry out the electronic electoral system, the Senate-approved bill stated that the initial R1.6 billion would be charged against the Comelec’s current modernization fund "and the R1 billion in the current year’s appropriations of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT)."

Thereafter, future appropriations for the continuous implementation of AES would be included in annual national government budgets.

As far as practicable, the AES should have the following features:

— It must be user-friendly and need not require computer-literate operators.

— The machine security must be built-in and multi-layer existent on hardware and software with minimum human intervention using the latest technology like encrypted coding system.

— The security key control must be embedded inside the machine sealed against human intervention.

— The optical mark reader must have a built-in printer for numbering the counted ballots and also for printing the individual precinct number on the counted ballots.

— The machine must be able to count from 100 to 150 ballots per minute. It must be able to detect and reject previously counted ballots to prevent duplication. It must have the capability to recognize the ballot’s individual precinct and city or municipality before counting or consolidating the votes.

The bill stated that all registered parties and bona fide candidates shall have equal access to media time and space.

It stated that each bona fide candidate or registered political party for a nationally elective official shall be entitled to an aggregate airtime of 120 minutes of TV advertisement and aggregate air time of 180 minutes of radio ads whether by purchase or donated for the entire election campaign period.

For candidates seeking local positions, each bona fide candidate shall be entitled to an aggregate 60 minutes of TV airtime and an aggregate 90 minutes of radio airtime whether by purchase or donation for the entire election campaign period.

Violation of the two guidelines shall constitute a ground for disqualification, the bill stated.


Thursday, October 05, 2006


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has donated $100,000 to the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) for the rehabilitation of communities affected by the recent typhoon Milenyo. The donation will be used to provide food and non-food items to support at least 6,000 typhoon-affected families in Albay and Sorsogon. To date, the Philippine National Red Cross has already provided urgent supplies including rice and canned goods, as well as hygiene kits and clothes, to more than 11,000 families affected by the typhoon. In photo are US Ambassador Kristie Kenney and PNRC chairman Richard Gordon holding up a relief bag and hygiene kit.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Milenyo Team of Experts to Provinces

Red Cross sends teams of experts to typhoon-struck provinces

The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) has deployed yesterday three parallel assessment teams to make in-depth assessments in typhoon-ravaged Southern Tagalog, including Laguna where landslides recently occurred. The PNRC also further intensified its disaster management efforts, carrying out rescue and relief operations in stricken provinces in the Luzon and Visayan regions.

The assessment teams, which consist of experts from the PNRC and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), will make assessments in areas of relief, health, water and sanitation, psycho-social support and logistics.

“We sent these experts to assess and identify the needs of the affected communities,” said PNRC chairman Richard J. Gordon. “Then we will come up with an action plan in terms of relief and rehabilitation of badly hit areas.”

Ongoing rescue and relief operations

More than 77,000 families from over a hundred municipalities have been affected, according to reports from local PNRC chapters, with various areas that have suffered from disrupted communication lines and blackouts. As of October 1, a total of 21,112 houses have been identified as completely destroyed, while 68,222 are said to be partially damaged resulting in more than 6,000 evacuees now housed in 157 centers.

In three devastated provinces in the Bicol region, namely, Camarines Sur, Albay-Legaspi and Sorsogon, at least 54,000 families have been affected, with 23 reported deaths including a six-month old boy who was squeezed under a collapsed wall. Over 16,000 have been completely destroyed or washed out.

“In the coming days we will send more relief goods to various evacuation centers as well as more men to help in the clearing of wrecked areas,” added Gordon. “We also sent more generators to our blood banks and blood collecting units so their blood supply will not spoil.”

The PNRC and its chapters are presently conducting relief operations in evacuation centers all over the country, particularly in hard-hit areas in Southern Tagalog and the Bicol region. Several PNRC chapters are also conducting mass feeding in evacuation centers. In Ormoc City, for example, more than 850 families in Liloan have been served with rice, tinapa and noodles.

In addition, the PNRC sent separate rescue teams to Cavite and Laguna where massive flooding and landslides occurred, respectively. As of October 1, they retrieved two dead bodies in Sta. Isabel, Kawit, Cavite, while 31 casualties have been reported in Laguna.

Meanwhile, clearing operation teams sent by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and Holy Spirit have been coordinating with the local government in General Trias, Cavite where a landslide occurred last Thursday. The PNRC, which helped during the search and rescue operations, reported that a total of 8 people were confirmed died, while 21 are still missing.

PNRC Secretary General Corazon Alma G. de Leon, for her part, met with General Trias mayor Luis “Jon-Jon” Ferrer IV last Sunday to discuss rebuilding plans for the 807 families whose houses have been completely washed out. She also led the relief distribution in nearby San Juan II.

“Mayor Ferrer asked the PNRC to help in the rehabilitation,” said de Leon. “Our strategy is to ensure that we do not duplicate but instead complement what other agencies are doing and provide services that the PNRC can best deliver.”

In an interview, Ferrer also expressed his appreciation of the Red Cross and other institutions like the SBMA, K9, Holy Spirit and Intel Corp. for their immediate assistance to General Trias during the landslide. “This is the first time that a tragedy of this magnitude happened in our area and we are grateful for the support given to us,” he said.

Meanwhile, the assessment teams deployed to Southern Tagalog will release a comprehensive report and action plan to guide the humanitarian efforts of the PNRC before October 6.
For inquiries or donations, please call the PNRC hotline at 527-0000 or log on to www.redcross.org.