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That Lovin' Feelin': P3M raised for PGH at panned party, Angara office says

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That Lovin' Feelin': P3M raised for PGH at panned party, Angara office says
This screen capture from a video posted by The STAR shows Sens. JV Ejercito and Sonny Angara, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa singing at Angara's birthday party on August 6, 2022. Videos from the party went viral over the weekend, with some social media users scoring those in attendance for partying while the country is facing crises.
via The STAR (Video / People Asia)

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 4:38 p.m.) — A party for Sen. Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara managed to raise millions for the Philippine General Hospital, his office said after videos of officials singing at the bash went viral on social media over the weekend. 

The viral video shows President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and a number of senators singing together at Angara's 50th at the Manila Polo Club. Users on social media panned the celebration in the middle of a pandemic, inflation, and a number of crises facing Filipinos.

Incidentally, Marcos and the singing senators did a rendition of the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" at the Top Gun-themed party.

Denn Legaspi, communications director of the Office of Sen. Angara told reporters in a Viber message that P3 million was collected for the Philippine General Hospital Medical Foundation, Inc. during the senator's birthday bash. 

"In lieu of gifts, we exhorted the guests to instead donate to the Philippine General Hospital Medical Foundation, Inc. Yearly during the birthday of [Sen. Angara] he donates to them," he said in mixed Filipino and English.

PGHMFI said on its website that it "serves as a conduit of donations coming from various civic-minded individuals, corporations, foundation and other funding agencies."

At a press conference Monday morning, Sen. Raffy Tulfo called critics of the birthday party "killjoys," saying he saw nothing wrong with it.

"They should know the reason why we were there. We're people too and we need to relax. It was a for a cause too, and that party was able to help people," he said in Filipino. 

According to Republic Act No. 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, it is the policy of the State to promote a high standard of ethics in public service.

Included in the standards is simple living, with the code exhorting "public officials and employees and their families shall lead modest lives appropriate to their positions and income." A senator earns around P273,278 a month.

"They shall not indulge in extravagant or ostentatious display of wealth in any form," RA 6713 also reads.

In 2021, the representative of a party-list representing public utility drivers and commuters was similarly panned for her lavish wedding at the exclusive Balesin Island Club while the pandemic was wreaking havoc on the public transport sector.

Rep. Claudine Bautista (DUMPER-PTDA party-list) defended the party, saying the celebration was "supposed to be separate from my life as a public servant.

She said her businessman husband had "been planning this special day with me for years even before the pandemic, and it pains us to see how things after our wedding turned out."

FERDINAND MARCOS JR

JUAN MIGUEL ZUBIRI

SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES

SONNY ANGARA

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