Noy won’t condone irresponsible acts of subordinates – Palace

Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - October 3, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino does not condone irresponsible acts by his subordinates, Malacañang said yesterday.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said it would be up to the Liberal Party to investigate the lewd performance during the oath taking ceremonies of LP members and the birthday celebration of a congressman in Sta. Cruz, Laguna last Thursday.

Valte said the LP would determine whether sanctions could be imposed on its own members.

Three scantily clad women belonging to the group Playgirls performed a sexy dance number during the celebration of the 58th birthday and 40th anniversary in government service of Laguna Rep. Benjamin Agarao Jr.

The girls, who were presented in a video, were said to be a “surprise gift” from Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino, who in turn, denied the allegations.

Tolentino, who has declared his intention to run for senator in next year’s elections, is set to leave the Cabinet and is in the list of candidates being considered in the LP slate.

Valte said they could not speak for the LP but noted its officials led by Senate President Franklin Drilon, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and standard-bearer, Manuel Roxas II gave assurance that the party would look into the matter.

“So let’s just see what their action will be because, on the side of the President, I think we were pretty categorical that the President will not and has never condoned any action that in any way would demean women, that would debase women, and in this particular case we know that the President does not have anything to do with that. He was not in the vicinity. It was not done with his blessings or approval or anything,” Valte said.

“I think, for us, it is clear what the President’s position here is. But whether or not there will be sanctions while the President is chairman of the Liberal Party, I think we will just let the party take action and they have said they called for an investigation,” she said.

Valte said she was aware of the online petition asking President Aquino to apologize over the incident but emphasized the President did not have anything to do with it. 

“The President had no idea that it was happening. He did not condone it. So, at this point, maybe it is important to clarify that,” she said.

Valte said the President had been made aware of the incident but would not know how he reacted. “I’m not quite sure if he has seen the video,” she said.

Valte said Tolentino, as a Cabinet member, should answer the accusations against him. She refused to comment on the possible effects of the incident on LP’s campaign.

Valte said the allegation was personal and not related to his work as Cabinet member or his programs and policies.

“You know, I think there are many ways to entertain. I think certain places, certain times… women are not objects that you can surprise people with, that you can give away at birthday parties. I think it’s been fairly clear to us where the President stands on this particular issue. I think in the past five years that the President has been in office... his record will bear it out,” Valte said.

Aquino has high respect for women and their abilities, she said.

Valte added “women have a right to dignified work” and must not be put in compromising situations even if the acts were said to be their choice.

An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said the sexy dance moves of the three Playgirls also placed women, in general, in a compromising situation.

“Though the dancers may not feel disrespected at all as it’s only a job for them, it’s women in general whom these girls have placed in a compromising situation,” CBCP-Public Affairs Committee executive secretary Fr. Jerome Secillano said.                                 – With Evelyn Macairan



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