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

Monday, June 25, 2007

ON JUDICIAL KILLINGS

WASHINGTON DC - Senator Richard Gordon continued his lobby for Philippine interests at the Capitol Hill when he met with United States Senators Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) chairman, US Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), chairman, US Senate Judiciary Committee and tackled the issue of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines.


Gordon said during the meeting that Senators Inouye and Leahy asked about the current situation regarding this matter and efforts being made by the Philippine Government to address this issue.

Recently, Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno said he will call a summit to discuss how the Judiciary can address the issue of extra-judicial killings, while members of the Philippine Senate are inclined to investigate the same under the current Arroyo administration.

Gordon, who is a staunch advocate of justice and liberty and whose father was a victim of political violence, welcomed the U.S. Senators' concern over the matter and their willingness to help the Philippines on this issue.

Commenting on his discussion with Senators Inouye and Leahy on this issue, Senator Gordon stated "There is unfortunately a sad history of political violence in the Philippines. However, I don't believe that there is a Government policy and an organized effort behind this violence for that would go against the basic duty of the State to protect and serve the people under the Constitution. It is more likely that this has been due to actions of various parties in conflict and rogue elements in the security forces."

Aside from sharing his views on the issue and informing the Senators of the measures being taken by the Philippine Government to effectively address this problem, Senator Gordon noted that U.S. assistance, particularly those that would help enhance the technical and forensic capabilities of law enforcement authorities would help the Philippines resolve this problem.

In addition, Senator Gordon nevertheless said "I gave my assurances to Senators Inouye and Leahy that the Philippine Government is committed to resolve this problem, and that I, as a member of the Philippine Senate, have stood up and spoken on this issue on the floor and will continue also to see to it that the rule of law is upheld and people's rights are adequately protected."

Gordon gave a high premium on justice as part of the basic duty of the State to protect and serve the people. He has denounced the extrajudicial killings of journalists, judges, politicians, activists, etc. through several privilege speeches in the Senate and called for action to deliver swift justice. He has also fought numerous times to protect the fundamental liberties of the people guaranteed by the Constitution under threat by extrajudicial killings and abductions, Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR), Presidential Proclamation No. 1017, etc.

Speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross dedicated to alleviate human suffering and protect life and dignity especially of the most vulnerable, Senator Gordon made the following call: "All parties in this issue, such as the military and the insurgents, I urge all of you to adhere strictly to the rule of law and conduct yourselves accordingly under the provisions of International Humanitarian Law and exercise respect for basic rights and civil liberties."

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