Senator Richard J. Gordon (File photo)

MANILA – In the wake of the recent killing of National Center for Mental Health chief Roland Cortez and his driver, Senator Richard J. Gordon urged his colleagues not to be reduced to being mere spectators as riding-in-tandem assassins continue to “perpetrate their ill will” upon the people.

In a privilege speech, he reminded his colleagues that they have all sworn to provide justice for every man, adding that the 1,234 victims of riding-in-tandem killings last year alone and 35,000 from 2010 to 2019 have yet to be given justice.

“All these things are happening and we’re reduced to mere watching. Mere watchers, mere outsiders in these terrible tragedies that are occurring all the time in our country. What are we going to do about this when we are sworn by our oaths of office to make sure that we fight for justice and it seems that we can never do so? We have to act with justice,” Gordon said, according to a news release issued on Thursday.

He reminded his colleagues of their sworn mandate to provide justice for everyone.

“Even our Constitution says that. So today, I make this appeal, this is not the first time I raised my voice against this and I don’t think it will be the last because if we don’t move, wala talagang mangyayari sa atin (nothing will really happen),” Gordon said. “If we don’t act, aren’t we partly guilty by our inaction, by our passivity, by our complacency that this has not stopped? How can we not be in a sea of troubles in a flimsy raft, knowing that this sea of syndicates perpetrating their ill will upon us is so darn powerful, that we are helpless?”

The chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights pointed out that Congress has, not just the power of the purse, but also the power to call on government officials who are not carrying out their functions.

“We are the people’s representatives and I would say that we have a say. We have a say, not only in the power of the purse, but also a say in the sense that we can bring them in if they don’t want to do their job, they keep saying na marami kaming problema (too many problems); they keep shoving it under the rug,” he said.

Gordon noted that they have passed the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act of 2019 but the Land Transportation Office has yet to enforce it, almost two years after it was enacted into law.

“As we go into the budget, let us not forget this. Certainly, I will be asking a lot of questions to our policemen. We should be asking questions on all the CCTVs that have been put up by the mayors and the barangay captains. We should be asking questions upon the LTO, after almost two years now, they have not yet put up the plate numbers. And not just for these plate numbers for motorcycles, but for other plate numbers in the past,” he said. (PR)