Gordon: "Rule by example, live simply and work harder”
as Gordon defends political dynasties during ANC's Harapan
by Leilani Chavez, abs-cbnNEWS.com
(Series on ANC/ABS-CBN's Harapan presidential forum hosted by Ted Failon, December 2, 2009, at UST)
MANILA – For presidential candidate Richard Gordon, political dynasties cannot be helped, especially since one of his opponents for the presidency happens to be his nephew, Ang Kapatiran bet John Carlos 'JC' de los Reyes.
According to Gordon, if a person is capable of serving the country as a public official, they should not be forbidden to run or serve merely because they are related to someone already in public office.
“I am realistic about the situation. We are a democracy. Kung magaling ang isang tao, bakit mo paparusahan dahil may tiyuhin siya?” he said on ANC/ABS-CBN's Harapan presidential forum hosted by Ted Failon held Wednesday at the UST.
A former mayor of Olongapo, Gordon believes political dynasties are related to the maturity of the electorate.
Corruption, which is often associated with dynasties, should not be the focus of governance; rather, it should be on how to improve the system.
“When I was mayor, I never appointed my brother, my sister, even my children. They cannot go to Olongapo, to the city hall,” Gordon claimed.
The former chair of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) also said he is proud of de los Reyes because the latter has opted to run for president even without the support of his political clan.
“I am proud of my nephew here because ako dumaan dyan. I was in the  Constitutional Convention, estudyante ako, ayaw akong patakbuhin ng nanay ko. Tumakbo ako, nanalo ako and I thought nakabuti sa akin ‘yan,” he said.
When asked what he will do in case President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo becomes speaker of the House of Representatives during his administration, the senator said he will not dwell on it. Arroyo is seeking a congressional seat in the May 2010 national elections.
“I will move forward. There are enough problems already. Hindi ko pag-aaksayahan unless may kaso [si GMA]. But no one is above the law,” he said.
He added that he is in favor of changing the Constitution, but “not under the control of Arroyo.”
He also advised Arroyo’s constituents to analyze why they want to put her in office.
Gordon mentioned 3 possible reasons why Arroyo wants to run for Congress: 1) to protect herself from possible corruption charges; 2) to become speaker of the House in order to change the constitution; or, 3) she has the experience and the capacity to become a lawmaker.
These possibilities should be analyzed, said Gordon. Voters in the 2nd district of Pampanga should be able to see the possibilities and vote wisely.
If he were president, Gordon believes the Maguindanao massacre would not have happened.
“Hindi ko na hihintayin na magkaroon ng massacre,” he said. He noted that even before the incident in Maguindanao, many journalists had already been killed in the line of duty.
He also cited the importance of having a military presence in such areas. “The military should show that they have the will to promote peace and order. It happened in Jolo under Gen. Tolentino and it can happen anywhere,” Gordon said.
As for the alleged involvement of the Ampatuan clan in the massacre, Gordon said no special treatment will be given to the suspects. A president should not send her personal representative just to arrest the suspect. The arrests should be done immediately.
“There should be immediate action,” he said. Gordon added that “someone has to be responsible for the incident." It may be the defense secretary or the police chief in the area.
Population is an asset
Instead of focusing on population as a problem, Gordon believes the country's 99 million people can be an asset, especially if the “population is educated.”
He said education should be the top priority in dealing with the population problem. “Number one pa din ang kalidad ng edukasyon. Kahit madaming anak, kung ginagamit nang tama…lalaki ang bansa,” he said.
Gordon compared the situation with those faced by countries like China, which is now a world economic superpower despite its 1.3 billion people.
He added that poverty is not “an excuse” for underdevelopment and should not hinder the programs of the government.
First 100 days
His presidency will primarily focus on health and education. Poverty is the primary enemy Gordon wants to address. “Poverty is the absence of choice,” he said.
Likewise, he is pushing for a “debt moratorium” so that the country can reduce its “debt servicing.”
He also noted that under his administration, “everyone... should rule by example. All must live simply and work harder.”
Aside from these, he is pushing for an increase in the salary of teachers and the expansion of businesses outside Metro Manila, especially in other areas in Luzon.
Gordon, a former tourism secretary, said he will also promote tourism in Visayas, which he called the country's “beach capital.” Mindanao, on the other hand, will be developed for its aquaculture.