MANILA — “Good luck!”
This was outgoing Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairperson Richard Gordon's message to the next leader of the panel responsible for investigating wrongdoing by government agencies and matters of public interest.
Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, who is poised to serve as Senate president in the 19th Congress, told reporters Wednesday said that he offered the Blue Ribbon chairmanship to Sen. Francis Tolentino. The latter has yet to respond whether or not he has accepted the post.
In any case, Gordon told his would-be successor that heading the committee "is the hardest job in the Senate."
“You have all the responsibility but the authority is always short. Because your colleagues are in a different universe. What they feel is the wind blowing from Malacañang, the wind blowing from the people,” Gordon said.
“When you have blue ribbon, you have to have your own mind, and you have to make sure that you know the law very well, and you apply the law,” he added.
For Gordon, a senator belonging to a political party might have difficulties in effectively handling the blue ribbon panel because of various concerns.
“Kailangan independent ka dyan. Eh papano iimbestigahin kung tao ng administrasyon? Does that mean now that 'pag administration, wala nang laban ang tao?” he asked.
(You need to be independent there. How will you investigate the administration if you are allied with them. Does that mean you'll no longer defend the people?)
The Senate investigations that Gordon led include the probe on government transactions with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp, which allegedly supplied overpriced and substandard medical gear.
President Rodrigo Duterte denied this and spent weeks lambasting Gordon and other senators involved in the inquiry.
Gordon failed to win a fresh mandate in the May 9 Senate race.