PNoy on ex-LTO chief: Friends don't use me for smuggling
(Philstar.com) - September 22, 2015 - 8:33pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III assured that his friendship with former Land Transportation Office chief Virginia Torres will not save her from smuggling allegations.

In an interview with ANC aired on Tuesday night, Aquino said he will not be friends with people who will violate the law.

"If our friendship is based on your ability to use me, then therefore we are not friends," Aquino said. "If your interest, your aims, are contrary to what I want to do, then we also cannot be friends."

Torres, an appointee and shooting buddy of the president, reportedly name-dropped Aquino to secure the release of P100-million smuggled sugar from Thailand that was falsely declared as general merchandise.

Torres reportedly failed to convince Customs officials to release the contraband despite using her ties to the president.

"Smuggling is definitely not okay. Influence-peddling is not okay," Aquino said.

Aquino, however, said it was not "logical" for Torres to be involved in sugar smuggling since she is a sugar planter in Tarlac.

"Does it make sense for her to facilitate sugar smugglers that will depress the prices of the product that she has invested in?" Aquino said. "Off-hand, I don't find it logical."

Aquino said he has not talked to Torres. He will also ask the Customs officials why they did not inform him about the incident.

"Unfortunately, and I have to confess this, I found all about it because of the article in the papers rather than the Bureau of Customs telling me about it and reporting it," he said.

This was not the first time Torres was involved in a controversy. In 2013, Torres was dismissed as LTO chief after a video showing her playing at a casino went viral. —  Louis Bacani

AQUINO BUREAU OF CUSTOMS CUSTOMS LAND TRANSPORTATION OFFICE LOUIS BACANI PRESIDENT BENIGNO AQUINO QUOT SUGAR TARLAC TORRES VIRGINIA TORRES
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