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Gordon bats for Con-Ass, says Con-Con prone to corruption

/ 05:20 AM August 18, 2016
Senator Richard Gordon. RICHARD A. REYES/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Senator Richard Gordon. RICHARD A. REYES/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon may have been the youngest delegate during the 1971 Constitutional Convention (Con-Con), but that doesn’t mean he wants the Philippine Constitution amended through constiutional convention, which he said can be infiltrated by partisan groups working to corrupt its members.

Gordon, in an interview over INQ&A on Tuesday, said he has always been for a constituent assembly as a means of changing the country’s outdated charter.

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“If we choose Con-Con we would have to pay for elections again,” he said, explaining that while they were supposed to be a non-partisan convention at that time, some delegates reportedly received bribes.

Constiutional convention is one of the three methods available to amend the constitution. In 1971, delegates to the convention, representing legislative districts, were elected by the public.

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Constiuent ssembly, on the other hand, involves the two chambers of Congress, which can vote separately or as a single body. The third method is the People’s Initiative, which requires a petition directly proposed by at least 12 percent of registered voters.

Gordon recalled that he was 20 years old and was a student leader at the University of the Philippines when he became a delegate for the convention. He said he, along with fellow student leader Edgar Jopson, hoped for a non-partisan convention, but that it did not happen.

“Partisan politics will surely enter. Don’t think we are living in a world where people are good. There are good, there are bad,” he said. “At it becomes good only when the good strives to change it. If you say Con-Con, it is not a magic formula.”

Gordon said he saw envelopes being passed to some delegates in a bid to have them vote a certain way.

“Whatever that was. That is part of the system,” he said.

He cited the case of Eduardo Quintero, a retired ambassador, who claimed to have received bribe money as a member of the convention. Gordon said police raided Quintero’s house and the old man was deprived of retirement benefits.

Gordon said that the 1971 delegates were also supposed to receive P100 in daily salary but were given P3,000 instead, which he tried to contest at the Supreme Court.

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He said a constitution will definitely be infiltrated by partisan groups and those seeking to bribe delegates.

Gordon said he believed an assembly would allow the people to understand the charter revisions better.

Gordon was interviewed over INQ&A, INQUIRER.net’s weekly political talk show broadcast live every Tuesday at 8 to 9 p.m. via Radyo Inquirer 990AM, INQ 990 Television and INQUIRER.net’s Facebook and Youtube accounts.

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TAGS: Constitutional Assembly, constitutional convention, Dick Gordon, Gordon
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