Gordon remembers his father’s love for PH
Re-electionist Senator Richard J. Gordon today fondly remembered the patriotism and heroism of his father, the late James Leonard Tagle Gordon, on his 105th birth anniversary.
The elder Gordon's birthday is commemorated as a special non-working holiday in the City of Olongapo and the Subic Bay Freeport Zone every January 17 by virtue of Republic Act (RA) 11217, which was signed in 2019.
“Words cannot wholly describe the admiration I have for my father, who was selfless in a sense that he gave his all, even his life, just to be able to serve his constituents with dignity, compassion, and cleanliness,” he said.
“Dahil dito ay maagang kinuha mula sa mundong ibabaw ang aking ama, dahil sa mga masasamang tao na ayaw makakita ng pagpapaunlad na malinis at tapat sa taumbayan,” he added.
Born to an American Marine father and Filipina mother, the elder Gordon ultimately took Filipino citizenship and pushed for the independence of Olongapo City from the jurisdiction of the US Navy, earning the rightful moniker of “Father of Olongapo City.”
Fondly called as Mayor Jimmy after his 1963 election, he stood up for the people of Olongapo, and battled head on the City's corrupt officials who had been pulling its development back.
Earning the ire of his political opponents, Gordon's life was attempted on two separate occasions before he was assassinated by an escaped convict on Feb. 20, 1967. His funeral was attended by hundreds of thousands of people.
Gordon, who pursued law after his father's assassination, said he is empowered by the legacy of his father in continuing his service to the Filipino people.
“It's almost been 55 years since my father left us, but his zeal and fervor remain in my heart in order to serve the Filipino people, especially in these trying times,” he said.
“Just like my father, ipinapangako ko sa ating mga kababayan na hindi ko sila pababayaan mula sa sakuna, sa katiwalian, at mula sa maling pagpapalakad ng ating bayan,” he added.
After his father’s death, the younger Gordon set forth on a public service career that would span for over 50 years, which started as the youngest delegate in the 1971 Constitutional Convention.
He continued his father’s legacy as a Mayor of Olongapo from 1980-86 and 1988-93, transforming what was called “Sin City” into a highly-urbanized city recognized throughout the country.