Richard J. Gordon
|Senator of the Philippines|
|Assumed office |
June 30, 2016
June 30, 2004 – June 30, 2010
|Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross|
|Assumed office |
|Secretary of Tourism|
February 12, 2001 – February 23, 2004
|President||Gloria Macapagal Arroyo|
|Preceded by||Gemma Cruz Araneta|
|Succeeded by||Roberto Pagdanganan|
|Chairman and Administrator of the |
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority
March 13, 1992 – June 30, 1998
Fidel V. Ramos
|Succeeded by||Felicito Payumo|
|Mayor of Olongapo|
February 2, 1988 – July 23, 1993
|Preceded by||Ildefonso O. Arriola|
|Succeeded by||Katherine Gordon|
March 3, 1980 – April 23, 1986
|Preceded by||Geronimo Lipumano|
|Succeeded by||Teodoro Macapagal|
|Delegate to the |
1971 Constitutional Convention
June 1, 1971 – November 29, 1972
Richard Juico Gordon
August 5, 1945
Castillejos, Zambales, Philippine Commonwealth
|Political party||Independent (2004–2009, 2014–present)|
|Spouse(s)||Katherine H. Gordon|
|Alma mater||Ateneo de Manila University (A.B.)|
University of the Philippines (LL.B.)
|Net worth||₱77.6 million|
(Dec. 31, 2020)
Richard "Dick" Juico Gordon Sr. (born August 5, 1945) is a Filipino lawyer and politician serving as a Senator since 2016, and previously from 2004 to 2010. He is also the chairman and chief executive officer of the Philippine Red Cross since 2004.
He rose to national prominence in the wake of the removal of the US Naval Base when he became the founding Chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority from 1992 to 1998, and when he conceptualized the successful WOW Philippines campaign as Secretary of Tourism from 2001 to 2004.
He was also the mayor of Olongapo from 1980 to 1986 and 1988 to 1993, and the youngest delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention.
Gordon was born in Castillejos, Zambales. He is the son of James Leonard Gordon, a half-American local politician was the mayor of Olongapo when it was converted from a municipality to a city, and Amelia Gordon, Olongapo's mayor from June 1967 to June 30, 1972.
In 1958 Gordon completed his elementary education at Lourdes Catholic School (now Lourdes School of Quezon City) in Quezon City and Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Manila. He then finished his secondary education in 1962 at the Ateneo de Manila University. He stayed in Ateneo for his tertiary education, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts, major in History and Government degree in 1966.
Gordon served as a brand manager for Procter and Gamble Philippines between 1966 and 1967. As the 1960s came to a close, he aided his mother Amelia in running the government of Olongapo after the assassination of his father James.
Gordon successfully pursued a Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of the Philippines College of Law in the year 1975. In UP, he became a member of Upsilon Sigma Phi. In 1975 he became an associate for the prestigious ACCRA Law Offices.
Further information: Political positions of Richard Gordon
While still studying at the UP in 1971, Gordon was elected as the delegate of the first district of Zambales to the 1971 Constitutional Convention for the drafting of the 1973 Constitution of the Philippines. He was the youngest delegate in the convention.
In 1980 he was elected mayor of Olongapo. During his term as mayor, Olongapo became a highly urbanized city in 1983. Under his leadership, Olongapo City was converted from being a "sin city" into a “model city” by raising police accountability through I.D. systems, proper health and sanitation, waste management, and the strict observance of color-coding for public transport.
In 1986 Gordon and then-San Juan mayor Joseph Estrada became allies in the Nacionalista Party. Gordon gave way for the Aquino revolutionary government-appointed Officer-In-Charge after a formal written directive from the Executive Secretary representing Aquino was issued. In the same year, he joined Philippine Vice President Salvador Laurel in reorganizing the Nacionalista Party around the country. They campaigned for a "No" vote on the 1987 Constitution framed by the Aquino-appointed constitutional commission. In the 1988 elections, he was elected mayor with the help of the Nationalist People's Coalition, a breakaway of the Nacionalista Party under Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco.
In September 1991 Gordon led a nationwide rally for the retention of the U.S. bases in the Philippines. The U.S. naval base in Subic Bay was a major income-generating client of Olongapo City. In the same year, Olongapo experienced the greatest volcanic cataclysm of the century when Mt. Pinatubo erupted and dumped 14 inches of wet ash on the city. On September 16, 1991, the Philippine Senate voted 12–11 to reject the extension of a bases treaty.
The looming withdrawal of the Americans from the U.S. naval base in Subic meant the loss of over 40,000 jobs for Filipinos who were employed in the base. Also, $8 million worth of infrastructure left behind by the Americans in the base was in danger of being looted by outsiders, which was exactly what happened to Clark Air Base during the looting of 1991 in the aftermath of the Pinatubo eruption.
To address the looming problems, Gordon led the citizens of Olongapo to mobilize and lobby for the inclusion of a free port concept into the national legislation that would pave the way for the conversion of the U.S. bases. The effort was successful, with the inclusion of the establishment of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (also known as the Subic Special Economic Zone) in Section 12 of Republic Act No. 7227, otherwise known as the Bases Conversion and Development Act, which was approved on March 13, 1992. Section 13 of the same legislation also provided for the establishment of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), which was tasked to administer the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
On April 3, 1992, Gordon was appointed as the chairman of the SBMA by President Corazon Aquino. By November 24, 1992, the U.S. Navy had completed its withdrawal from the facility. The facility's conversion for civilian and commercial use began. Volunteerism and a high civic spirit among members of the host community marked the pioneering efforts towards conversion.
In the 1992 local elections, Gordon was reelected as mayor of Olongapo City by a landslide victory. In 1993, a citizen questioned Gordon's dual duty as mayor of Olongapo City and as chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. The Supreme Court decided that Gordon must hold one position. Gordon decided to vacate his position as Mayor and assumed the position of SBMA chairman in full capacity. In the 1995 local elections, his wife Katherine, a three-term Congresswoman, was elected mayor of Olongapo. In the 1996 APEC Summit, 18 world leaders were impressed with the facility and Subic became a new investment hub in Southeast Asia. Bluechip companies like FedEx Express, Enron, Coastal Petroleum now El Paso Corporation, Taiwan computer giant Acer and France telecoms company Thomson SA invested US$2.1 Billion in the freeport reinvigorating the economy and creating 200,000 jobs replacing those lost during the US Navy withdrawal.
In 1998 Gordon resigned as Chairman of the SBMA in order to run for president in the national elections held during that year. However, he eventually backed out from pursuing his candidacy. He was later re-appointed by outgoing President Fidel Ramos as chairman of the SBMA for a new six-year term.
In the 1990s Gordon became a fierce critic of Joseph Estrada due to their difference of opinion regarding the US Naval Base. This was seen as early as 1991, when Gordon refused to let then-Senator Estrada film inside Subic Bay for a movie that criticized American bases in the Philippines.
After winning the 1998 presidential elections in May of that year, newly elected President Joseph Estrada issued Administrative Order No. 1, which ordered the removal Gordon as Chairman of the SBMA. Estrada appointed Felicito Payumo, Gordon's critic and congressman of Bataan as new chairman. Gordon refused to step down, stating that his re-appointment from the Ramos administration gave him civil service protection. The removal process was not easy. Hundreds of volunteers barricaded the gates of SBMA and Gordon locked himself inside the SBMA Administrative Office Building 229. After this, he was dubbed a dictator because he rebelled against an executive order. The issue sparked the interest local and foreign press known as theon YouTube.
Gordon filed for a temporary restraining order before the local court. The local court of Olongapo granted Gordon's request but Payumo's party filed an appeal before the Court of Appeals (CA). The CA reversed the local court's ruling and it was affirmed by the Supreme Court. With the Supreme Court decision, Gordon called Payumo and turned over the reins of SBMA at the Subic Bay Yacht Club two months later on September 3, 1998. Together with the Subic volunteers, they cleaned up the facility.
Since 1986, Gordon was elected as governor of the Philippine Red Cross, and spearheaded the rescue, relief and rehabilitation of various disasters from shipwrecks, typhoons, 1990 earthquake in Cabanatuan, 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, 2004 landslides in Aurora, Quezon and 2006 Ginsaugun, Southern Leyte mudslide and the PhilSports Arena stampede. He is currently the chairman of Philippine Red Cross. In 2013, Gordon was implicated in an alleged misuse of Red Cross funds.
In January 2001, Gordon actively participated in the second EDSA Revolution that led to the removal of Joseph Estrada from the presidency. Newly installed President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appointed Gordon as secretary of the Department of Tourism. With his experience as a former brand manager of Procter and Gamble Philippines and chairman of SBMA, Gordon promoted the Philippines in several tourism expositions and road shows with the Wow Philippines campaign strategy winning awards at ITB and WTM. From 2002, after four years of negative growth and in spite of threats of terror post 9-11, Abu Sayyaf kidnappings, SARS, Oakwood Mutiny, tourism arrival increased heavily. He also encouraged domestic tourism by holding regional events and having provincial destinations showcased at Intramuros and the rationalization of Holiday Economics. He held the position until January 2004.
In the 2004 national elections, Gordon ran for senator of the Philippines under the Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan sa Kinabukasan (Coalition of Truth and Experience for Tomorrow) of President Arroyo. He won the election with 12,707,151 votes, which was the fifth highest number of votes from the electorate.
During the 13th Congress (2004–2007), as Chairman of the Senate Committee of Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Laws, he upheld the supremacy of the Constitution at all times. Though he may not have voted for the ratification of the 1987 Constitution, he took an oath to preserve and defend it. He insisted on the lawful process of Charter Change only according to the process set forth in the Constitution. He opposed the method of Constituent Assembly or "con-ass" initiated by President Arroyo and House Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr., which was possible in the 1935 Constitution but unlawful in the current Constitution, as well as the dubious Sigaw ng Bayan People's Initiative and was one of the triumphant parties in the case of Lambino and Aumentado vs. COMELEC, G.R. No. 174153, October 25, 2006.
He also preserved the separation of powers in government and asserted the Senate's constitutional right and duty to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation against Executive Order No. 464 in Senate, et al. vs. Ermita, G.R. No. 169777, April 20, 2006, and Executive Order No. 1 in Sabio vs. Gordon, et al., G.R. No. 174340, October 17, 2006.
He was also responsible for the passage of Republic Act No. 9369 — or the Automated Elections System to obviate cheating and post election controversies and protests that hound Philippine elections.
On April 9, 2008, Araw ng Kagitingan or Day of Valor in Bataan, President Arroyo signed into law Republic Act No. 9499- Gordon's Veterans Bill. The Filipino World War II Veterans Pensions and Benefits Act of 2008 amends Sections 10 and 11 of Republic Act No. 6948, as amended, by removing the prohibition against our veterans receiving benefits from the United States government. Before the law was signed, the Philippine government benefits of veterans would be revoked once they were granted benefits by the United States government. Because of Gordon's advocacy and persistence, this prohibition is now eliminated, and Filipino veterans will now be able to receive any form of benefit from any foreign government without losing the benefits given to them by the Philippine government.
He was the principal author of the National Tourism Policy Act of 2009 or Republic Act 9593, declaring a national policy for tourism as an engine of Investment and employment, growth and national development that was signed by President Arroyo in Cebu on May 12, 2009 and witnessed by the country's tourism private sector.
On August 5, 2007, Gordon was asked in a radio interview in dzBB if he had any plans to run for president, to which he answered, "Well, I am available". He further elaborated that he plans to form a new political party aimed at pushing for the interest of the Filipinos and that he would run on a platform that is pro-people. His comments were eventually reported the next day on newspapers such as the Philippine Star, Malaya, Daily Tribune and Abante.
Gordon quickly issued a press release on August 6, 2007, to clarify his comments in the dzBB interview. In the press release, he said that he did not declare his candidacy in the interview but merely answered to the interviewer's question regarding the possibility of him running for president. He further said that he would like to focus more on his work at the Senate, the Philippine National Red Cross, and the various causes that he supports.
On April 26, 2009, the Bagumbayan Movement was launched in the Rizal Park and in the Manila Hotel. The movement, which advocated "transformative politics", served to push for the presidential candidacy of Gordon in the 2010 elections. The movement was eventually recognized as a political party by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in October 2009.
On November 29, 2009, then Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Bayani Fernando revealed that he and Gordon were having discussions on a possible team-up for the 2010 elections. A few days later, on December 1, 2009, Gordon and Fernando officially announced their tandem during a press conference at the Senate press office in Pasay, with Gordon running for the presidency and Fernando running for the vice-presidency. During the press conference, they billed themselves as "the transformers" since they intend to "transform the nation". Later in the day, the tandem filed their certificates of candidacy in the COMELEC main office.
As Senator, Gordon authored major laws, a such as the Automated Election Law, the Tourism Act, and the creation of economic zones such as the Poro Point Freeport in La Union, the Freeport Area of Bataan in Mariveles, and Camp John Hay in Baguio, to encourage investment and development. Others dealt with longstanding problems such as Veterans Benefits, the Free Patent Law and the National Disaster Risk Reduction Law. As chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee, he investigated the 2004 P728-million Fertilizer Fund Scam and assailed the ZTE National Broadband contract, demanding accountability.
Gordon was one of the senators who did not sign a Senate Resolution that condemns the spate of killings under the Duterte administration. Gordon, among the senators, defended themselves stating that they were unaware of such resolutions being passed around.
Gordon also defended the proposed lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Richard Gordon (politician).|
Following the end of his Senate term in 2010, Gordon, together with the late Amelyn Veloso, anchored "Aksyon Solusyon" on Radyo5 92.3 News FM and AksyonTV. He also co-hosted "Duelo" with Jake Macasaet, which aired weeknights on AksyonTV. Gordon also hosts his public service program "Lingkod Aksyon," which airs every Sunday morning on TeleRadyo (originally DZMM), alongside Jeffrey Hernaez.
Gordon is a recipient of various awards including the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM), The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL), the University of the Philippines’ Most Outstanding Alumnus in Public Service and its Most Distinguished Alumnus. The latter is the highest award that could be bestowed by the UP Law Alumni Association.
More recently, Dick Gordon was also awarded the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency’s Lifetime National Volunteer Achievement Award, the sole recipient of the award in 2015.
Gordon’s achievements in the 48 years that he has been active in the Philippine Red Cross has also been recognized, having been awarded the three highest awards from the Red Cross, namely the Aurora Aragon Quezon Medal, the Silver Humanitarian Service Cross Award and the Gold Humanitarian Service Cross Award.
Dick Gordon was also a recipient of the Japanese Red Cross Gold Humanitarian Award. He also received recognition from various foreign media such as Asiaweek’s Twenty Great Asians of the Future and Asahi Shimbun’s 50 Young Leaders of Asia, among others.