MANILA - Sen. Richard Gordon on Friday said he is open to alliances with other political parties and personalities, should he decide to run as president in next year's elections.
In an informal forum sponsored by fellow Ateneans, Gordon said his Bagumbayan party had an initial talk with opposition coalition, 1Sambayan, but disagreed with the latter’s requirement to subject potential candidates to an interview.
“‘Wag naman akong imbitahan tapos sasabihin, ‘o nag-aaply ka, magpapa-interview ka’; sinabi ko hindi ako magpapa-interview, I just want to know kung anong gagawin ninyo baka magsama tayo, pwede yan," Gordon explained.
(I hope they don't invite me and expect me to be interviewed because I applied. I just want to know if it is possible to collaborate with them)
“I was not in any negotiation whatsoever… alam ko maaga pa (it is too early yet)” he added.
The lawmaker added that “all the options are open” when the proper time comes to make a decision, as he revealed that some unnamed personalities suggested that he sit down with other possible candidates, including Vice-President Leni Robredo.
“Mayroon pang isa, tumawag sa akin, mag-usap daw kami ni VP; mag-usap daw kami noong isang kandidato; sabi ko, talk is cheap, we can always talk but you really have to work hard,” he said.
(Somebody called me for a possible conversation with VP.)
While he admitted that his wife, former congresswoman and Olongapo City mayor Katherine, and his children’s opinions on a possible 2022 bid would weigh heavily on his decision, he admitted that he still has unfinished business and aspirations for the country which await realization.
“Sabi ng asawa ko sa akin, ‘ang tagal tagal na natin mag-asawa, wala ka nang ginawa kundi mag-serve sa public, ako rin nag-serve na, hindi pa ba sapat yun?’ Ang sagot ko ay hindi pa. Kailangan natin baguhin ang bansa. ‘Bakit ikaw?’ ‘If not us, who?’ I always plan for the worst para sa ganoon kung kailangan, tatakbo.”
(My wife told me that I am serving the public for too long already and if it still isn't enough. I said it is not yet enough, we still need to change the country. If not me then who?)
SLAY THE POLITICAL MYTHS
The former Olongapo City Mayor and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman, who was mainly credited for the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, does not believe monied and popular candidates are a sure win.
He also does not agree with those who say the administration's standard bearer will surely benefit from a multi-candidate presidential race.
“Hindi naman ako takot na walang pera… maraming mayayaman na tumatakbo; bakit, porke ba popular ka mananalo ka? We must slay those myths. Yung sinasabi natin ‘di pa tayo nagsisimula, mahirap na, mahirap lumaban dyan, malaki ang kalaban, may pera - hindi ako takot doon.
(I am not afraid that I will run without money. A lot of candidates are rich, but that does not mean they will run... I am not afraid to run against those with power and money)
“I make fear my friend… we have to allow our selves to believe in our country,” Gordon said.
He added: “‘Di naman ako naniniwala porke’t maraming kandidato mananalo ang kandidato ng administrasyon - ‘di ako naniniwala dyan… please help the country decide on its own.”
(I do not believe that a lot of administration bets will win the elections)
Gordon said the next president should encourage respect for Filipinos wherever they may be in the world, and must embody “firm and fair, purposeful leadership”, and at the same time, unifying and compassionate.
“You need a brand new leadership to make sure that the Filipino is respected everywhere. You must really create a definition of who we are… It’s important we realize who we are and also where we’re going.
“We need firm and fair, purposeful leadership, we need to make sure that that leader unites and reinvents the Filipino in a vision that anybody can buy into," according to him.
Next year’s presidential elections will focus on issues involving the COVID-19 pandemic and response, he said.
"The leader must have that experience of getting investments, make sure that he dares that he provides opportunity for his people, that he is known throughout the whole entire world as a respected leader, not the current type that we have - the curses - and not the other types that we had that they’ve shown more corruption than accomplishment.”
Gordon also spoke about corruption, stressing that eradicating it in government has to be “an everyday effort."
“It’s got to be an everyday effort and if you have an extremely strong president…. you just cant warn people to be honest, you got to show it,” he said.
“If I do run, I’m going to make sure that there is leadership that is strong and compassionate at the same time, firm and fair.”
ILLEGAL DRUGS, TROLLS PEDDLING DISINFORMATION
The illegal drug problem will only be solved if authorities zero in and catch the “big fish," according to Gordon, as he responded to a question on how he would handle government’s drug war if he were president.
“Where do drugs come from? Everybody knows it’s from China. Akala ko ba malapit tayo sa China, kaibigan natin yan? Make sure there are unceasing, unstoppable raids that are conducted not just on small fish, get the big ones. May narinig ba kayo nahuli malaki?”
(I thought we were friends with China... but I haven't heard any drug lords caught under this administration despite its war on drugs)
Expressing concern about the proliferation of trolls on social media peddling disinformation, Gordon said he will not hesitate to ban sites like Facebook.
“Do something… government can go to Facebook; other countries ban Facebook. ‘If you don’t clean this out, I will ban you, I will’… Facebook allows the Filipino people to be victims of fake news all the time, and they don’t want to do anything about it,” he said.
“Facebook is a business, it lives on advertising. I’m glad Facebook acknowledged China is using trolls sending messages to our country. The silence of our government [on the matter] is deafening.
He also shared his position on the following issues:
- death penalty
- continued mandatory wearing of face shield
- abolition of party-list system and streamlining government
- providing credit to micro and medium enterprises
- decongestion of the capital region
- doubling of efforts to corner more direct foreign investments in preparation for reopening of world economy post-COVID-19
- support for children’s nutrition and mothers’ pre-natal care
- more job creation
- going to the United Nations over the West Philippine Sea issue and Chinese incursions in Philippine waters
- strengthening domestic defense
- creation of a department for overseas Filipino workers
Gordon said his vision for the country is to have a government that is able to support its own, so Filipinos need not look for greener pastures overseas.
“I want a Filipino who would be respected anywhere in the world not just because they are domestics or they are nurses abroad, we want a Filipino that can find a future in our own Pilipinas; not a Filipino who has to go out and find a future in a foreign country."