Palace wishes MMDA Chairman Tolentino well, asks public not to make 'incident' a 'defining moment'

Malacañang wished Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino well, as President Benigno S. Aquino III acknowledged Tolentino’s decision to withdraw from the administration’s senatorial lineup.

Tolentino resigned from his post as MMDA chief on Wednesday to prepare to run for higher office in next year’s elections.

Earlier, President Aquino said in a statement that Tolentino has “accepted responsibility” for the “recent incident connected to him”.

“Francis is a firm advocate of Daang Matuwid. 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," President Aquino said in a statement.

"It is also my belief that he will take the opportunity to further reflect on how he can better affect positive change in the future," he added.

Meanwhile, during a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda asked the public not to make the incident a “defining moment” for Tolentino.

“Huwag sana po ito maging defining moment kay Chairman Francis. Marami na ho siyang nagawa and certainly, this is something that he has recognized and something that he has already issued a statement for,” Secretary Lacierda said, citing flood control projects and disaster response efforts as among Tolentino’s accomplishments.

“We acknowledge the decision taken by Chair Francis Tolentino. He could have insisted but he chose to withdraw his name from the slate. Like I said, this event in Laguna should not define Chair Francis Tolentino. Marami po ang kanyang nai-ambag sa ating pamahalaan, sa ating kababayan… So, we wish him well… kung ano man ang desisyon niya,” said Lacierda.

It was reported on Wednesday that labor groups have lodged a complaint before the Ombudsman against Tolentino, saying he has violated the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and the Magna Carta for Women, for allegedly hiring an all-female group who performed a sexually explicit dance routine during the birthday party of Laguna Representative Benjamin Agarao.

Before resigning as MMDA chief, Tolentino apologized to Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II over the incident.

Roxas attended the event to lead the oath-taking of new LP members but left before the group’s performance.

Source: PCOO; Photo: YouTube screengrab