Monday, December 7, 2009

Dick Gordon and Bayani Fernando are the better choices for 2010

I agree with everything that has been said about this article, except for the last paragraph. Richard "Dick" Gordon and Bayani "BF" Fernando are not only the CORRECT Choices, they are the BETTER choices for President and Vice President!

Correct but unwise choice
A LAW EACH DAY (Keeps Trouble Away) By Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) Updated December 07, 2009 12:00 AM

The entry of Gordon and Fernando tandem in the presidential race somehow brightens the political horizon. They may not have generated as much excitement and hope as when Aquino and Roxas announced their candidacies but they certainly enhance, or even revive, the “good versus evil” choice in the 2010 elections. Before they joined the race, only the Aquino-Roxas tandem appears to present to the electorate that kind of choice. With their entry the people are given the “better versus good” choice. Indeed Gordon and Fernando may turn out to be the only other alternative in the “good vs. evil” choice as the Aquino-Roxas team and their handlers in the Liberal Party are slowly turning out to be the same trapos engaging in transactional politics. They may become only the “lesser evil” among the other serious presidential contenders.

Richard Gordon first attracted national attention when he served as Mayor of Olongapo City in the early 90’s. His no nonsense, hands on style of running the city affairs and rendering public service was refreshingly extraordinary and distinct from the usual run of the mill type of governance rendered by Mayors of other cities and municipalities at that time. He showed and demonstrated the real meaning of “public service as a public trust” by using the powers of his office in order “to serve and not to be served”. His dedication to the performance of his duties enabled him in turn to instill discipline on his constituents in strictly following the law and dutifully complying even with the traffic rules and regulations. At that time he was already regarded as a presidential timber much like the late Mayor Arsenio H. Lacson of Manila in another era.

The same can be said of Gordon’s teammate, Bayani Fernando. Adopting Gordon’s style, Fernando also converted Marikina City into a progressive, clean and orderly metropolis. In the various government posts he held, Fernando distinguished himself as a government official who does not hesitate to enforce the law or to carry out a valid and legal order no matter who gets hurt. His strong determination to do what he believes is necessary, right and proper even if unpopular and damaging to his political career really caught the public’s attention and renewed hope for that much needed reform in governance. Initially he projected the image similar to Lee Kwan Yiew of Singapore although lately he seemed to have been overwhelmed by the well entrenched rotten democratic system of government now prevailing in this country.

One of the oft repeated criticisms against leaders who have been in the government saddle is the lack of “political will” in performing of their jobs. They said this lack of “political will” is among the main reasons for the inefficiency, ineptness and corruption in the past and present administration. Gordon and Fernando are the only ones among the tandem running in the presidential derby who have demonstrated some kind of political will based on their performance record.

The inefficiency, ineptness, corruption and injustices in the past and present governments have also been attributed to the kind of politics practiced by politicians aspiring to lead us. These politicians particularly the other presidential and vice presidential aspirants are undoubtedly engaging in transactional politics of wheeling and dealing, horse trading, party hopping and political realignments based on personalities rather than principles. Apparently, only Gordon and Fernando have so far been immunized from practicing such kind of politics as shown by their public service record. They somehow inspire hope for that much needed reform in rendering public service with “utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency”. They sound credible enough when they present themselves as the “transformers”.

Comparing their public service record, the Gordon-Fernando tandem seems to have an edge over the Aquino-Roxas team. They also generate a lot more hope for that longed-for change in our government. And this is primarily because the Aquino-Roxas team and their handlers in the Liberal Party have also fallen into the trap of engaging in transactional politics, accepting turncoats and trapos into their fold just to ensure and clinch victory. This is not my assessment only. Several readers have posted on the internet the same kind of observation like the following:

“I agree with the article. If the politicians were sincere in their advocacy for change, they should have done so months before, out of principle. It seems they only jump ship when it is convenient, when they already see the surveys. Noynoy seems to be a trapo. He was holding a meeting with Erap at the height of typhoon Ondoy. He met with Chiz. He got mutineer Danny Lim in his senatorial slate. He was even open to meeting with the Marcoses who ironically had the decency to know the implication of a possible merger. But not Noynoy. The Hyatt 10, Cory’s Bulong Brigade, Kamag-Anak Inc are back in power. If Noynoy cannot control LP, what chances does he have in leading the country?” (Posted November 23, 2009 by a certain “selina_burnett’).

“It is indeed disappointing to see Noynoy and Mar accepting turncoats. The LP will be seen now as a party of trapos. Sad, quite sad. I would not be surprised if Noynoy’s popularity slides because of this” (Posted November 23, 2009 by “keener00196).

“How can Noynoy be the candidate who will lead change for the country when he has on his side all the old trapos and oligarchs who want to maintain the status quo? No transformation in our system of governance can happen as long as a leader is beholden to conflicting interests of the different groups supporting him” (Posted November 23, 2009 by nermd).

Before it is too late, Noynoy and Mar should revert back to principled politics and change their tactics. As another reader writes, “Noynoy honesty ang pinaglalaban natin. Huwag ka nang kumuha ng ibang LP converts. Ikaw at Mar lang panalo na tayo. Huwag ka nang kumuha ng iba na makakabawas sa boto mo dahil sa kanila, kayong dalawa lang panalo na tayo” (Posted by noynoyparapangulo November 23, 2009).

This is just a friendly reminder. While the correct choice is Gordon and Fernando because of their strong political will to transform our kind of governance, it appears to be an unwise choice at this time because only Noynoy and Mar, as shown by the surveys, are in a position to prevent the other leading contenders from winning the race and from further inflicting upon us more of the same kind of inept, inefficient and corrupt government. The element of trust in Aquino and Roxas to bring the necessary changes is still there. But if they continue with their backsliding ways, Gordon and Fenando may be the only good choice left for people to realize that longed-for change.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gordon appeals for sobriety and restraint in holding of Anti-Cha Cha rallies

Senator Richard Gordon ( Ind. ) appealed to all sectors participating in Anti-Charter Change rallies nationwide to pursue their protests peacefully. At the same time, he called on the police and military to demonstrate restraint and tolerance for the political exercise.

“Demonstrations against charter change are valid, democratic exercises but it must also lead us to a more sober and dispassionate discussion of all the issues involved. We believe that the Supreme Court will not allow House Resolution 1109 to be implemented and thereafter, the discussion on Charter Change can be pursued without duress or haste,” said Gordon.

The senator is opposed to House Resolution 1109, which dilutes and virtually negates the participation of the Senate in amending the Constitution. The resolution calls on the members of Congress to convene for the purpose of considering proposals to amend or revise the Constitution, upon a vote of three-fourths of all the members of Congress.

Article XVII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution provides that any amendment to - or revision of - the Constitution may be proposed by the Congress upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members.

“This constitutional provision should not be misconstrued as a provision where both Houses of Congress vote jointly. The Constitution, the fundamental law of our land, is very clear as when Congress may vote jointly, and this does not include Charter change,” said Gordon.

He stressed further that Charter change must be pursued in an atmosphere where there can be no suspicion that it will be used as a vehicle to protect or promote political interests.

“Charter Change must be done right - at the proper time, definitely after the May 2010 elections; for the right reasons, that is, for national interest, not personal and vested interests; and within the legal means under the Constitution,” said Gordon.(30/prf)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Gordon proposes condonation of penalties for employers with SSS delinquencies

Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) sought the Senate’s immediate action on the measure that would authorize the condonation of penalties on delinquent contributions to the Social Security System (SSS).

Gordon said the implementation of a one-time condonation program of contribution penalties not only represents an opportunity to expeditiously settle contribution delinquencies, but also paves the way for resumption of members’ entitlement to benefits and loan privileges.

“The SSS requires a certain number of contributions before benefits may be availed of. If his employer were delinquent in the payment of contributions, the worker would be denied of the said benefit,” he said.

Records of the SSS show that as of June 2007, there are 287,631 employers who are delinquent in the payment of the mandatory contributions. These figures translate to a total delinquency of P14.6-billion.

Gordon, chairman of the Senate committee on government corporations and public enterprises, said that the SSS Charter provides the legal mechanism and procedure to collect such delinquent accounts from non-complying employers. The law imposes a penalty of three percent per month until the delinquent account is paid in full.

He added that in many cases, accumulated penalties of employers already surpass the principal amount of obligation, thereby making it difficult for many employers to settle their delinquencies.

In response, Gordon filed Senate Bill 2454, which would authorize the condonation of penalties on delinquent social security contributions.

As a condition, the employer must submit the corresponding collection list and pay the principal obligation either in full, within a period of 12 months, or in installment, within a period of six months, from the effectivity of the Act.

“A contribution delinquency condonation program will facilitate and hasten the extra-judicial settlement of past due contributions from delinquent employers,” Gordon said.

“This measure offers a reprieve to thousands of employers facing financial difficulties, while enabling their employees to resume their entitlement benefits and loans,” he added.

The SSS has twice implemented condonation programs on penalties for contribution delinquencies in 1987 and 1997. By the end of the second program in 1997, the SSS was able to collect P859-million in delinquent contributions. (30/tgp)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gordon: Civilians should be prioritized over military men on ambassadorial posts

Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) today said that the government should give priority to career officers over military men in appointing ambassadors who would represent our country abroad.

Gordon, member of the Commission on Appointments (CA), said that while military men are qualified to represent the country, there are many career officers who are equally qualified to hold ambassadorial positions.

“While I agree that military men are qualified to represent our country, nonetheless, the others who are equally qualified in the civilian bureaucracy must be considered first. They must be given priority over the retired military officials,” he said.

During the CA hearing on Wednesday, Gordon said he wants to review the records of former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff (Ret.) General Alexander Yano before he decides whether to vote for or against the retired general’s confirmation of his appointment as ambassador to Brunei Darussalam.

“I nominated for his (Yano) confirmation as AFP chief of staff. But this time I am questioning the policy which affects the fitness and qualifications of Gen. Yano because it smacks of accommodation, it defeats meritocracy, and demoralizes the bureaucracy,” Gordon said.

The senator explained that when ambassadorial posts are given to retired military generals rather than to career officers, it demoralizes the civilian bureaucracy and makes the military feel that they are entitled to rewards. (30/tgp)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Gordon lauds passage of IHL bill on third reading

Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) today hailed the Senate’s passage on third reading of the measure codifying international humanitarian law (IHL) within the country’s legal system.

Gordon, author and sponsor of Senate Bill 2669, said the measure defines and penalizes crimes against international humanitarian law and other serious international crimes, keep our guard up operationalizing universal jurisdiction, and designating special courts.

“This measure is a symbolic gesture of our continuing adherence and strong commitment to IHL. But above symbolisms, our goal is to end impunity and penalize crimes against international humanitarian law,” he said.

Gordon also lauded the approval on the committee level of the House version of the bill as he urged members of the House of Representative to immediately pass the measure on second and third readings.

“There is a need to codify international crimes within the domestic legal system to ensure that those who commit war crimes, genocide, and other crimes against humanity are not afforded impunity for their acts,” he said.

The IHL is a set of rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, a limit to the effects of armed conflict such that persons who are not or are no longer participating in hostilities are protected and the means and methods of warfare are restricted.

The core of SB 2669 seeks to define three international crimes, namely war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity, and to impose imprisonment depending on the gravity of the crime committed.

War crimes are acts committed in a situation of armed conflict and against a person not taking part, or no longer taking part, in the hostilities.

In international armed conflict, war crimes include willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment and willfully causing great injury. In non-international armed conflict the criminal acts include violence to life and person, outrages upon personal dignity and taking of hostages.

Crimes against humanity are acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, such as murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, enforced disappearance, among others.

In genocide, the primary element is that the act is committed with the specific intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.

“SB 2669 will ensure that there are no havens for perpetrators of serious crimes of concern to the international community, by providing for their prosecution in the domestic courts,” Gordon said.

“The bill also provides that Philippine courts shall take additional measures to protect the safety, physical and psychological well-being, dignity and privacy of victims and witnesses,” he added.

Gordon said the bill also introduces into the country’s penal system principles of criminal responsibility unique to the prosecution of international crimes such as command responsibility, non-prescription of crimes and irrelevance of official capacity.

In command responsibility, a superior is held responsible if he has done nothing to prevent a subordinate from committing a violation of IHL.

Prescription will not apply, especially in view of the gravity of certain violations that run counter to the interests of the international community as a whole, because the repression of serious violations of IHL is essential to ensuring respect for this branch of law. (30/tgp)