Tolentino quits MMDA

ONE MORE TIME MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino joins traffic constables in a boodle fight after announcing his resignation on Wednesday. PHOTO BY RUY L. MARTINEZ

ONE MORE TIME MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino joins traffic constables in a boodle fight after announcing his resignation on Wednesday. PHOTO BY RUY L. MARTINEZ

Embattled official opts out of LP senatorial ticket

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino on Wednesday resigned from his post and asked the Liberal Party (LP) to exclude him from its senatorial line-up for 2016.

Tolentino–like other appointive government officials who are vying for elective positions in next year’s elections–was expected to give up his Cabinet portfolio after he announced his intention to run for senator last September 29.

But the controversy brought by the allegedly lewd performance of a female trio in a local LP event in Laguna that dragged Tolentino’s name invited undue attention to the aspiring senator.

Pictures and footage of the Playgirls dance group’s performance, which many found inappropriate, went viral and drew flak on social media.

Tolentino was the one who reportedly hired the services of the dance group as a “gift” to Laguna Rep. Benjamin Agarao.

He denied the allegation but nonetheless apologized for the incident.

Speaking before officials and employees of the MMDA on Wednesday, Tolentino, 55, also apologized to his mother, the LP and its standard- bearer Manuel Roxas 2nd as well as Agarao.

Tolentino also asked the LP leadership to exclude him from a list of names being considered for the party’s senatorial slate.

He earlier read his resignation letter addressed to President Benigno Aquino 3rd that he later hand-delivered to Malacañang.

The LP is scheduled to announce its senatorial ticket on Friday.

Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda also on Wednesday defended Tolentino from his critics, saying the resigned MMDA chief’s public service record should not be solely defined by the Laguna incident.

“What happened in Laguna does not define Chairman Francis Tolentino and it should not define what he has done for us as chairman of the MMDA,” he said.

Lacierda cited that it was Tolentino who was in the forefront in disaster response during calamities in Metro Manila.

“I hope the incident will not become the defining moment for Chairman Francis. He has accomplished many things and certainly this is something that he has recognized and something that he has already issued a statement for,” he said.

The President later in the day issued a statement praising Tolentino for his dedication and dynamic leadership.

”In all his years of public service, from the time he was appointed by my mother [then-President Corazon Aquino] as Officer-in-Charge of Tagaytay City in 1986 to his participation in the reform agenda as a member of my Cabinet, Francis demonstrated the dedication and dynamic leadership of a public servant committed to the common good. It is this same commitment that encouraged him to set his sights toward serving our people in a higher capacity,” Aquino said in a statement.

”Francis is a firm advocate of daang matuwid [straight path]. He knows that, at present, those who oppose meaningful reform will want to exploit the incident. I believe that Chairman Tolentino is doing his part to ensure that public debate truly focuses on the continuation of daang matuwid and the undeniable benefits it has brought to our bosses,” he added.

By “bosses,” Aquino meant the people.

Criminal complaint
At least 12 labor groups also on Wednesday filed a joint criminal complaint against Tolentino before the Office of the Ombudsman.

In the 10-page complaint, leaders of various labor organizations accused Tolentino of violating Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and the Magna Carta of Women.

“Women, in the persons of the ‘Playgirls,’ were completely discriminated [against]by allowing them to portray [an]obscene show in public, which is scandalous, contrary to good morals, good customs, public policy and public interest,” the petition read.

The complainants said Tolentino should be held accountable for the incident as he has the power to stop the show.

“Public officials and employees behaving with decency and pursuing good morals, good customs and sensitivity, should not incite, encourage or tolerate acts that appeal to prurient interests or those that are deemed dirty and intended to arouse sexual cravings more particularly in public event and setting,” they added.

“Tolentino et al, evidently violated this by encouraging, bringing about and allowing the subject obscene show for public viewing,” the complainants said.

Among the labor groups that filed the complaint were Public Services Labor Independent Confederation, Sentro, Partido Manggagawa, Confederation of Independent Union in the Public Sector, Federation of Free Workers, Association of Labor Unions, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa, Alliance of Filipino Workers, Philippine Independent Public Sector Employees Association, Association of Genuine Labor Organizations, Council of Retirees-PSLINK and Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition.


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  1. hindi mo alam kung saan bundok o kuweba nangaling ang tumutuligsa kay tolentino?
    tungkol sa seksi dancer,halos lahat naman ng tao ay nakakapanood ng porn movies at mga singer na halos wala ng damit.Marami talagang hanggal at ipokrito! Pahinto ninyo ang internet at mga tv show.

  2. It is highly hypocritical for an organization or group or individual to file criminal complaint to a person who has admitted a wrong judgement and has resigned from post whose career may have taken a nose dive. If they are indeed serious about eradicating obscene shows then they should protest at the city’s mayor office for the night clubs operated in Ermita, Olongapo, Angeles City, Davao, and Makati Avenue. Naging way of life na po ito at sana po ay maging magandang halimbawa ang pagresign ni Tolentino. Sana naman wag na ninyo sipa-sipain pa ang taong nagdurusa na sa kanyang kasalanan. Pakinggan po natin ang panginoon na mapagpatawad.

  3. apolonio reyes on

    I was one of the many who denounced the PG just short of a”FF” in public but I accept and admire Atty. Francis Tolentino for apologizing personally in public and to his mother who was also offended by the show. I also believe in his sincerity that he did not know what will the PG show until one man in yellow t-shirt was asked by the PG to perform with them in which Atty. Tolentino was not able to stop. I find a person who apologized in public for his mistake very RARE TO PILIPINO POLITICIAN and will be a good kind of official unlike the two “A’s, Alcala and Abad” now in Pnoy’s cabinet and more.
    For his public apology which many appointed and elected officials have no stomach to admit their mistake, I will add Atty. Francis Tolentino to my two senators I will vote come 2016.

  4. This is bogus just a simple dance,look at those noontime show dancers being watch by everybody.Big deal no support from LP i think its a blessing for Tolentino and join other party like PDP Laban.

  5. Roldan Guerrero on

    Tolentino`s dismal performance as MMDA chairman is very apparent lest he should have resigned earlier. However what he did is NOBLE and can never be duplicated by his fellow appointees called in tagalog as KAPIT-TUKO at EPAL. This regime is full of incompetents…starting from the president. We Filipinos need to TOTALLY OVERHAUL this eroding government and DELIOSTING ALL LP is the only solution! Let as BAN all LP candidates this coming elections to start anew and lead to a prosperous government.

  6. Leodegardo Pruna on

    Chairman Tolentino admitted his fault and has apologized. The other individual and groups , pretending to be whiter than snow, are out to crucify him and push him out of their way. Hypocrites they are. Move on Chairman. There is life after the MMDA and a possible senate seat. God bless the Philippines.

  7. Put Lacierda’s name as a Senatorial candidate in lieu of Tolentino as a challenge that the “daang matuwid” is really existing. Let us find out if people believes in this slogan and propaganda.

  8. He made a mistake, he felt sorry about it and he apologized. Yes, i believe it was a sincere apology which others cannot do. Atty Francis Tolentino is probably down but not out. He is still young and if he moves on, i am sure a lot of good things could happen into his life.

    • Absolutely correct! It takes courage to apologize for wrong judgement in his case and all the politicians should emulate what he has done to apologize if there are indeed mistakes. I am sure he’ll be appreciated by people and I am sure that he’ll be a better person.
      Now to those who are throwing stones, are you clean or righteous? I am sure no one is righteous. There are dark sides of every person.
      I am impressed at Aquino’s government and leadership who has instituted ethical policy and took the decision to let cabinet members who erred to resign to preserve the Daang Matuwid policy.