Richard "Dick" Juico Gordon is a Filipino politician, head of the Philippine National Red Cross, and senator of the Republic of the Philippines.
Early life and career
He was born on August 5
to James Leonard Tagle Gordon and Amelia Juico Gordon, (who were both mayors of Olongapo City
). On 1954, he completed his elementary education at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran
and on 1962, he completed his secondary education at the Ateneo de Manila University
. He stayed in Ateneo and completed his tertiary education, earning a degree of Bachelor of Arts, major in History and Government in 1966. He was a student leader having been consistently elected president of his class. On 1975, he graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Laws
at the University of the Philippines College of Law
after taking a break in 1971 to run for the Constitutional Convention. Prior to that he topped the 1969 UP Student Council elections leading to the First Quarter Storm
and joined the Upsilon Sigma Phi
in 1968. From 1966 to 1967 he became a Brand Manager for Procter and Gamble Philippines
. Towards the end of the 1960s, he helped his mother Amelia run the government of Olongapo after his father James Leonard Gordon was assassinated. With the declaration of Martial Law after finishing his law degree and passing the bar, he became an Associate of ACCRA Law Offices
Early political career
On 1971, while still a law student at UP, he was elected as a delegate of the constitutional convention that drafted the 1973 Constitution
representing the first district of Zambales
. He was the youngest delegate of the convention and swore former President Diosdado Macapagal
into office as Chairman of the Convention. In 1980, he ran as mayor of Olongapo City
. In 1983, Olongapo became a highly urbanized City. Having been a victim of crime with the assassination of his father then Mayor James Leonard T. Gordon
in 1967, Gordon managed to transform Olongapo from a “sin city” to “model city” with various innovations in local governance namely color coded transport system, public markets’ expansion, integrated solid waste management program, vendors’ cooperatives, community organizations and many other public and community development programs
. In 1986, Gordon and Joseph Estrada
became two of the local executives who refused to vacate their positions after the government reorganization by President Corazon Aquino
. Gordon gave way for the Aquino appointed Officer-In-Charge after a formal written directive from the Executive Secretary representing Aquino was issued. In 1986 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 convention. In 1988, he was elected as mayor with the help of the Nationalist People's Coalition
a breakaway of the Nacionalista Party under Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco
U.S. Naval Base in Subic Bay
On 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. Determined not to be defeated, Gordon and the citizens of Olongapo fully mobilized and lobbied for 3 months to include the free port concept into the Bases Conversion Act which hitherto had been hastily cobbled together without consulting the people directly affected. They succeeded in their first unusual act of self-empowerment and volunteerism when the special provisions for the establishment of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone
under the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority
(SBMA) were included in R.A. 7227 in March 1992. On November 24
, the U.S. Navy completed its withdrawal from the facility and its conversion for civilian and commercial use began. Volunteerism and the high civic spirit of the host community marked the pioneering efforts at conversion.
SBMA & Subic Bay Freeport
In the 1992 local elections
, Gordon won a landslide victory and was reelected as mayor of Olongapo City. 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
, 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 70,000 jobs replacing those lost during the US Navy withdrawal.
1998 forced removal
During the late 1990s, Gordon became one of Joseph Estrada
's vocal critics over differences on the US Naval Base. After winning by a large margin during the 1998 presidential elections
, President Estrada issued Administrative Order No. 1
removing Gordon as Chairman of SBMA. Estrada appointed Felicito Payumo, Gordon's critic and congressman of Bataan as new chairman. The removal process was not easy. Hundreds of volunteers barricated the gates of SBMA and Gordon locked himself inside the SBMA Administrative Office Building 229. The issue sparked the interest local and foreign press known as the Showdown at Subic
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. The CA reversed the local court's ruling and it was affirmed by the Supreme Court G.R. No. 134171
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 3 September 1998. Together with the Subic volunteers, they cleaned up the facility.
Philippine National Red Cross and Department of Tourism
Since 1987, Gordon was elected as governor of the Philippine National Red Cross, taking active roles in rescue, relief and rehabilitation in 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
. Currently he is the chairman as well as a Member of the Governing Board of the International Federation of the Red Cross. On 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 placed the Philippines in the international tourism map by actively marketing 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
, 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 as senator of the Philippines. In the initial public opinion survey, Filipinos were lukewarm on electing Gordon as senator. But with his very positive personality and achievements aired in TV
and radio advertisements, public opinion changed and Gordon won and received 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 he considered to be unlawful, as well as the 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 our 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.
Potential presidential candidate
On August 6
, Gordon announced that he was considering contesting the Presidential election scheduled for 2010. He also said that he would be organizing a new political coalition from among the parties that have emerged over the past decade, as, in his view, the two traditional parties, his own Nacionalista Party and the Liberal Party
, had "nothing to offer."
A CLSA Asia Pacific Markets Country report on the Philippines meanwhile expressed the opinion that Gordon "was believed to be a strong presidential material as early as 1992. His claim to fame was his work to turnaround Subic Base after Mount Pinatubo’s eruption… his stint as tourism secretary was equally spectacular… He was an energetic, combative administrator who delivered results… But in the Senate, he has failed to inspire because of ‘his way or the highway’ brand of management."