IF there is one decision that the public can praise the leadership of the 18th Senate, it would be its decision to retain Sen. Richard ‘You-Know-Me’ Gordon, as chair of both the ‘Blue Ribbon’ (Public Accountability of Public Officers) Committee and, the Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
And once again last week, Sen. Dick was back performing his old “trick” that I find as both admirable and exhausting-- conducting “back-to-back” public hearings for the sake of ferreting out the “truth” and the “needed facts” in order to come out with better legislations while also shaming and exposing those involved in shenanigans or those wholly unfit to hold any public office for their sheer incompetence to accomplish what was expected of them.
Last week, Sen. Gordon conducted two investigations in both committees, the PhilHealth scam in the Blue Ribbon and, the proposed amendments to Republic Act 10592 or the ‘Good Conduct Time Allowance (CGTA) Law’ in the Committee on Justice and Human Rights (but also in his capacity as Blue Ribbon chair).
As a Senate-beat reporter, I had the opportunity to cover the Blue Ribbon’s series of hearings chaired by Sen. Dick during the previous 17th Congress, particularly, the shabu smuggling incidents involving the Bureau of Customs and the “RROW” (road right of way) scam in Mindanao.
As such, yours truly is among those who are no longer a “stranger” on the long hours that Sen. Dick spends on his investigation; what was more admirable to yours truly is that, the longer one spends sitting it out during his hearings, the more apparent it becomes that Sen. Dick must have spent far longer hours preparing for any probe.
Indeed, during the marathon shabu hearings that he conducted from 2017 up to the end of last year, my “reporter’s antenna” is always suddenly “on attention” once he started posing “leading questions.”
I would always say to myself: “May alam si Sen. Dick na hindi pa sinasabi ng witness kaya makulit siyang magtanong.”
And lo and behold, that observation always proved correct, and which was why during the term of Nicanor ‘Mang Kanor’ Faeldon as BoC commissioner and in the case of BoC intel agent Jimmy Guban for example, the Senate ended up ordering their detention for “contempt” of the Senate (translation: for lying under oath).
Put it another way, the public expenses on Sen. Dick’s investigations are all worth every penny because he always puts far longer time than is necessary for his colleagues so that all his committee hearings would bear result.
Kumbaga, hindi siya katulad ng iba niyang kasamahan na tapos na ang ika-17 Kongreso, wala pa ring committee report hanggang ngayon, ahahay!
I mean, whatever happened to the hearings on ‘fake news’ and the emergency powers being sought by PDU30 to address the country’s traffic problem?
Also, it is common knowledge in the Senate that Gordon and his staff are almost always the last ones to leave their office.
During his first stint in the Senate, even if the last shuttle leaves at past 10 p.m., his staff still doesn’t make it. The corridors of the 5th floor were silent witnesses to how hard Gordon and his staff, including the staff of the committees, worked.
And during last week’s hearings, Gordon has once again shown that erring government officials will not be allowed to get away with circumventing the country’s laws for their financial gains.
He firmly directs the questioning so that the “truth” would be known and accountability exacted.
Indeed, last Thursday, the blistering cold of the Senate’s session hall did not stop him from presiding the back-to-back hearings on the two investigations which lasted for 14 hours.
The television stations covering the hearings had to change crew to ensure that they were televised live. But the long hours were hours well-spent as the parts of the puzzle were slowly pieced together and the culprits were given faces.
Having known Sen. Dick for quite some time now, it should not come as a surprise that he has become one of the stalwarts of the Senate because he always makes a difference in any capacity that comes his way, both inside and outside of the chamber—as one of the youngest delegate to the 1971 constitutional convention, as mayor of Olongapo, as the “savior” of Subic Bay when the Americans left in a hurry in 1991 and of course, as chairman of the Phil. Red Cross.
Thus, the “presidential umbrage” he got early last month from PDU30 for saying his piece over the Chief Executive’s preference for former military officers is. for yours truly, personally uncalled for.
But as of today, I am sure that PDU30 also somehow “regretted” the harsh words he had made back then.
Simply because PDU30, being a “fair” man, must have also recognized—and appreciated—the work of Sen. Dick as the premier “investigator” of the Senate principally tasked to help his administration identify not only the crooks but also, the incompetents in the executive branch.
Indeed, it would take only two Senate hearings last week (Monday and Tuesday), before PDU30 suddenly announced the “axing” of Nicanor Faeldon as Bureau of Corrections director.
This is contrary to PDU30’s earlier stand, as reported by Sen. Bong Go, that PDU30 would “wait” for the Senate to conclude its probe on the CGTA mess before deciding on Faeldon’s fate.
In other words, in just 48 hours, Sen. Dick has already gathered sufficient, compelling reasons, on why Faeldon would have to be axed from his post.
Now, isn’t this making “decision-making” much “easier” for Pres. Digong? To know that over there at the Senate and despite their personal and political differences, there is one lawmaker whom he can totally rely on to push his anti-corruption agenda.
And yes, Sen. Dick. You may want to “ease up a little bit” on your hearings, hane? Andami kasing napupuyat at nagkakasakit, hehehe!