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Women’s groups file raps, seek probe

Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - October 7, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Criminal and administrative charges were filed against outgoing Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino before the Office of the Ombudsman yesterday for his alleged role in the “lewd” performance of an all-girl group during the birthday celebration of Laguna 4th District Rep. Benjamin Agarao Jr. last week.

Party-list group Gabriela filed a separate call for investigation before the House of Representatives, accusing Tolentino of violating Republic Act 9710, the Magna Carta of Women.

In the complaint, lawyer Lorna Kapunan argued that the MMDA chief violated RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, the Magna Carta of Women and other laws that penalize “acts contradictory to the mandated norms of conduct of public officials and employees.”

It was also alleged that the all-girl group was “completely discriminated by allowing them to portray obscene show in public, which is scandalous, contrary to good morals, good customs, public policy and public interest.”

“The show, in full view of the general public, and permitted by Tolentino et al, has the full inclination to, characterized by and incited lust or lechery,” the charge read.

The complainants are composed of the Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), Partido ng Manggagawa (PMP), SENTRO, Confederation of Independent Union in the Public Sector (CIU-PS), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), the Association of Labor Unions (ALU), Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Alliance of Filipino Workers (AFW), Philippine Independent Public Sector Employees Association (PIPSEA), Association of Genuine Labor Organizations (AGLO), the Council of Retirees of PSLINK and the Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition (SKC).

They claimed that the Playgirls, who twerked, danced on stage and hosted parlor games, performed sexually suggestive acts devoid of decency and artistic value.

“In spite of full view and knowledge of the obscene act, Tolentino et al, who are supposed to be agents of good morals, good customs and decency, did not only tolerate but encouraged the uninterrupted continuance of the show,” the charge alleged.

For the complainants, Tolentino allowed and encouraged the discrimination of women instead of protecting their rights and dignity.

“The best way to hold Mr. Francis N. Tolentino, et al, accountable for their outrageous violation and commission of offenses is to conduct a swift and transparent investigation to compel all concerned to answer and bring out the truth,” the labor groups stressed.

Gabriela, in Resolution No. 2435, said the “use of women as sexual objects of entertainment during political gatherings, official or otherwise,” violates Republic Act No. 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women.

“We hope that this initiative will help strengthen the Magna Carta of Women and pave the way for its stricter implementation and the imposition of sanctions for violations, especially those committed by public servants and government officials,” Gabriela said. – With Jess Diaz

ACIRC ALLIANCE OF FILIPINO WORKERS ASSOCIATION OF GENUINE LABOR ORGANIZATIONS ASSOCIATION OF LABOR UNIONS BENJAMIN AGARAO JR. CHAIRMAN FRANCIS TOLENTINO CODE OF CONDUCT AND ETHICAL STANDARDS GABRIELA MAGNA CARTA OF WOMEN PUBLIC TOLENTINO
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