Gordon: I’ve got qualifications, not just inherited name

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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He says qualifying for the Senate requires track record, not borrowed popularity of relatives

MANILA, Philippines – An Aquino winning in an election on nothing but popularity borrowed from one’s relatives has always bothered former senator Richard “Dick” Gordon. It still bothers him now.

This became apparent when he answered a question sourced from social media during the Rappler senatorial debates on Saturday, April 13. Where is he most effective, in the executive or legislative branch of government?

Gordon briefly explained how those two branches of government serve a common goal – to move the country forward. But he had to stress the necessity of having qualified people to lead the country toward that direction.

Maraming popular na kandidatong nahahalal, pero pagdating sa Senado, hindi makasalita, hindi makadebate,” Gordon said. (There are many popular candidates elected, but when they reach the Senate, they cannot talk, they cannot debate.)

It could very well be a swipe at Bam Aquino, the President’s first cousin and senatorial candidate, with whom Gordon faced off in an earlier segment in the debates. Aquino’s paternal grandfather, uncles, aunt, and cousin have become senators since 1928. (Read: Bam Aquino: What can a 6th Aquino bring to the Senate?)

Gordon said he deserves to become senator because he is a self-made man who doesn’t depend on his family’s name.

“I did not inherit my father’s name, or my mother’s name, or their work. I perform my responsibilities because I was told, ‘You earn everything. You do not inherit fame,'” Gordon said. (Watch this portion of the Rappler debate below.)

In an earlier interview with Rappler, he said he ran for president in 2010 despite the big likelihood that he would lose because he didn’t want any candidate just “inheriting” the presidency. At the time, then Senator Benigno Aquino III decided to run for president when people grieving over his mother’s death urged him to. (Watch Rappler’s video profile below.)

“I just didn’t like the idea that you can inherit the presidency. I just didn’t like the idea that you can buy the presidency. I just didn’t like the idea that people run based on names without track records. I have to be part of the debate,” he told Rappler. (Read his profile: Gordon: ‘Country isn’t working’)

Before he was elected senator in 2004, Gordon was known as a tough-talking Olongapo mayor, chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, and chair of the Philippine Red Cross. – Rappler.com 

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com