Press Release
February 19, 2010

Olongapo commemorates founding father's 43rd death anniversary

Olongapo commemorates today the 43rd death anniversary of Olongapo's founding father and martyr, the late James L. Gordon, Sr. who was assassinated at the city hall in 1967.

The elder Gordon whose father was an American, opted to choose the citizenship of his Filipino mother and went on to fight for Olongapo's freedom from the clutches of the US military which led to the turnover of the then municipality back to Philippine sovereignty.

He was also responsible for the conversion of Olongapo into a city and became its first elected mayor. Battling crime and corruption, he narrowly escaped previous three attempts on his life until finally a hired convict, released from prison for the purpose, shot him in the head at close range.

The news of James Gordon's death shocked the nation. Paying his last respects, nationalist Senator Jose W. Diokno quipped that the mayor was "born an American and died a Filipino."

What began as a murder turned into a lifelong quest for justice by Dick Gordon - not just for his slain father, but for all Filipinos. The gruesome crime, unresolved to this day, served as a turning point in Senator Dick Gordon's life.

"It was so difficult to get justice in my father's case, which is why I became intent on delivering justice as speedily as I could when I became mayor, especially for the poor. How many Filipinos have no closure?" the senator said.

It was primarily the reason why Dick Gordon championed the rule of law and restored order in Olongapo. The incident goaded him to serve his fellow Filipinos with decency, courage, dedication, decisiveness, and vision as he vows to continue to fight to make the country a better, safer place for Filipinos.

The senator's father fought against political bossism with the battle cry: "Ang pag-gogobyerno ay bigay buhay, hindi hanapbuhay," an advocacy which Dick Gordon has maintained through the years he spent in public service as mayor, Subic Chairman, Tourism Secretary and Red Cross Chair.

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