MANILA, Oct 7 (Mabuhay) — President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday personally confirmed the news that Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino has withdrawn from the senate slate of the ruling Liberal Party.
“Today, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino spoke on the recent incident connected to him. He has accepted responsibility for it. With this, he has likewise decided to withdraw as a senatorial candidate of the Administration,” Aquino said in a statement, referring to reports that Tolentino hired a group of sexy dancers as a gift to Laguna Representative Benjamin Agarao.
The group Playgirls performed a dance number, deemed lewd and inappropriate, during the birthday celebration of Agarao in Laguna and after an oath-taking event of the LP, which was attended by presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.
Tolentino earlier denied the claim of the event emcee that the group was a “gift” from him.
Despite Tolentino claiming responsibility for the incident, Aquino lauded the MMDA chairman for being a “firm advocate of Daang Matuwid.”
“He knows that, at present, those who oppose meaningful reform will want to exploit the incident,” Aquino said. “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.”
The President, who has vowed to campaign for the LP and its standard bearers, said he believes Tolentino “will take the opportunity to further reflect on how he can better affect positive change in the future.”
He said Tolentino has been a dedicated and dynamic leader “committed to the common good” and that he has demonstrated this since he was appointed by Aquino’s mother, former president Corazon Aquino, as officer in charge of Tagaytay City in 1986. (MNS)