HER luck ran out the moment she sat next to a slot machine.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Tuesday admitted that the video footage showing Land
Transportation Office (LTO) chief Virginia Torres playing on a slot machine in a casino was her “last straw.”
“On the basis of the last incident and that was very clear,” Aquino told reporters at the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel in Bali, Indonesia.
The President, however, claimed that he did not force Torres to leave but that he told her that retirement may be the “best route” for her and the entire agency.
”Less stress for her, less stress for her family at saka baka better for the agency na it attends to everything it has to attend to rather than ‘di ba maski papaano mada-divert iyong focus at iyong attention,” Aquino said.
”I don’t think I forced her [I only] told her the lay of the land, quoted certain things and she agreed with the end point,” he added.
Torres has been a subject of criticisms recently after the casino video went viral on social media.
The LTO chief confirmed that she was the person in the video but said it happened a long time ago.
A Malacañang Memorandum Circular approved by former president and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo prohibits all government personnel “from entering, staying and/or playing at gambling casinos.”
The President went on to defend Torres, whom he credited for not giving favors to anyone at LTO.
“Ako hindi ako naniniwala, for instance, yung mga binabatikos sa kanya na doon sa mga kontrobersya nung umpisa na may pinapaboran ganito at ganyan, may katiwalian. Hindi ko makitang gagawin niya ‘yun o kaya ba niyang gawin ‘yun [I didn’t believe, for instance, the accusations that she was favoring someone, that there was corruption—I couldn’t see her doing that or if she could do that],” he said.
But with the casino incident, Aquino said Torres had to go.
He however asked the public to give Torres “some dignity.”
The President said he has tasked Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya to find Torres’ replacement.
The Manila Times, through an article written by its chairman emeritus, Dr. Dante Ang, reported on Monday that Torres was asked by Aquino to file her letter of resignation, citing “various threats to her life,” among other reasons.
Although Malacañang officials denied the report and insisted that the LTO chief was not fired but only opted to retire, the Times stands by Dr. Ang’s story.