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NOY'S CORNER THIS PAST WEEK...
(MINI-READS followed by FULL REPORTS below)

LENI ROBREDO HAS ACCEPTED TO RUN AS MAR's VP


OCTOBER 5 -Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II and President Benigno Aquino III declare Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo's vice presidential bid in 2016 on Monday, Oct. 5, 2016. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo on Monday formally accepted to be the running mate of Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II. Roxas officially proclaimed Robredo as the LP's vice-presidential candidate during the event dubbed as "Daang Matuwid: To Be Continued" at the historic Club Filipino attended by the party's chairperson, President Benigno Aquino III. "Matapos po ng malalim na pag-iisip, malawak na konsultasyon, at taimtim na dalangin – buong puso, buong pananampalataya at buong-tapat ko pong tinatanggap ang hamon na tumakbo bilang pangalawang pangulo ni Mar Roxas," Robredo said in her acceptance speech. "Ibinibigay ko po ang aking sarili ng buong buo sa ating mga kababayan, lalong lalo na sa inyong mga tsinelas na nasa labas, nasa ibaba at nasa laylayan ng lipunan," she added. Robredo, the widow of former Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, is finally running for vice president after her earlier reluctance to seek a higher post, citing discussions with her three daughters. In her speech, Robredo explained why she initially did not want to run for vice president, saying she was used to be just behind her husband, who died in a plane crash in August 2012. READ MORE...

ALSO by Emil Jurado: Comparing Leni to Cory is an insult
[BS Aquino may think that comparing Leni to his late mother may endear the former to the people. This insults our intelligence. For one thing, what track record and political experience can Leni bring to the voters in 2016? She has nothing substantial to show in terms of performance as a first-termer at the House of Representatives.]


OCTOBER 7 -LENI ROBREDO SANTA Banana, President Aquino is scraping the bottom of the barrel, hoping that sentimentalism will make Mar Roxas’ running mate, Leni Robredo, win. Now he is using the most infantile comparison there is. The only common thing that the late Cory Aquino has with Leni Robredo is that both their husbands died. Ninoy died because he was assassinated upon his return from exile. Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo died in a plane crash. Period. Most importantly, Ninoy Aquino was the voice of the Filipino people against suppression of freedom and civil rights. He came back from exile despite threats to his life. Jesse Robredo? Well, as I said, he died in a plane crash. The late DILG secretary may have gone around Naga City in his slippers, but that doesn’t make him my kind of hero that Ninoy was. Far from it. BS Aquino may think that comparing Leni to his late mother may endear the former to the people. This insults our intelligence. For one thing, what track record and political experience can Leni bring to the voters in 2016? She has nothing substantial to show in terms of performance as a first-termer at the House of Representatives. My gulay, BS Aquino III distorts history. It was the breakaway group—Reform the Armed Forces Movement—led by then-Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, then PC/INP Chief Fidel Ramos and then RAM Chief Col. Gringo Honasan, that handed power to Cory on the last day of the 1986 People Power Revolution. Mrs. Aquino was the biggest benefactor of the event. READ MORE...

ALSO Leni Robredo asks self: Why me?
["Noong una pong lumitaw ang pangalan ko na isa sa naiisip na puwedeng maging kasama ni Sec. Mar sa laban na ito, aaminin ko po na ang tanong ko sa sarili ko, 'Bakit ako? Sa dinami-dami ng puwedeng pagpilian, bakit ako pa?,'" Robredo said. The Camarines Sur lawmaker noted that if her late husband, former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, were alive, he would have chosen to serve the people.]


OCTOBER 5 -Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo declares her intent to run as vice president under the Liberal Party in the 2016 national elections on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV
Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo on Monday admitted that she hesitated before accepting the offer of Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II to be his running mate in the 2016 elections.
During her acceptance speech, Robredo revealed that the past weeks have been the hardest for her as she was on the process of deciding her plans for the upcoming elections. "Noong una pong lumitaw ang pangalan ko na isa sa naiisip na puwedeng maging kasama ni Sec. Mar sa laban na ito, aaminin ko po na ang tanong ko sa sarili ko, 'Bakit ako? Sa dinami-dami ng puwedeng pagpilian, bakit ako pa?,'" Robredo said. The Camarines Sur lawmaker noted that if her late husband, former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, were alive, he would have chosen to serve the people. READ MORE...RELATED Netizens react on Leni Robredo’s VP bid...

 ALSO: MMDA chief out of LP Senate slate; but he still wants to be a Senator

 

OCTOBER 6 -FAMOUS LAST WORDS MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino reads his resignation letter addressed to President Aquino in Makati City on Wednesday. Tolentino quit after controversy arose following a sexy performance of the Playgirls dancers at the Liberal Party oath-taking ceremony in Laguna province last week. GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE IN THE END, the public had spoken and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Francis Tolentino had no choice but to heed it. Tolentino on Wednesday apologized for the raunchy dance number at a Liberal Party (LP) event in Laguna province last week that unleashed condemnation from various sectors, who said the sexually suggestive performance was at odds with the ruling party’s “straight path” avowals. Tolentino, who declared his senatorial bid just days before the Playgirls controversy, asked the LP to drop him from its senatorial slate, and resigned his post as MMDA chief. Even so, he still expressed his intention to seek higher office in 2016. At the inauguration of a new boat at the Pasig ferry station in Guadalupe on Wednesday morning, Tolentino apologized for not stopping the Playgirls’ performance during the oathtaking of LP members that coincided with the birthday celebration of Laguna Rep. Benjamin Agarao Jr. in Sta. Cruz, Laguna, on Oct. 1. “I am asking for understanding and forgiveness, especially from women groups who were hurt because of the incident,” Tolentino said, admitting that he failed to stop the performance of the female trio which, he said, “can also be seen every day by millions in television shows.” READ MORE...RELATED, Tolentino quits, tells LP to count him out & Robredo’s sincerity will outshine rivals – Abaya...

ALSO TOLENTINO APOLOGIZED: PNoy PRAISES HIM AS 'FIRM ADVOCATE OF DAANG MATUWID'


OCTOBER 8 -TOLENTINO President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday personally confirmed the news that Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino has withdrawn from the senate slate of the ruling Liberal Party. “Today, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino spoke on the recent incident connected to him. He has accepted responsibility for it. With this, he has likewise decided to withdraw as a senatorial candidate of the Administration,” Aquino said in a statement, referring to reports that Tolentino hired a group of sexy dancers as a gift to Laguna Representative Benjamin Agarao. Francis Tolentino apologizes for Playgirls’ twerking boo-boo The group Playgirls performed a dance number, deemed lewd and inappropriate, during the birthday celebration of Agarao in Laguna and after an oath-taking event of the LP, which was attended by presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. Tolentino earlier denied the claim of the event emcee that the group was a “gift” from him. Tolentino gets flak for ‘surprise gift’ at LP event Despite Tolentino claiming responsibility for the incident, Aquino lauded the MMDA chairman for being a “firm advocate of Daang Matuwid.” “He knows that, at present, those who oppose meaningful reform will want to exploit the incident,” Aquino said. READ MORE...RELATED, Embattled LP & MMDA Chair Tolentino no-show in LP event & Not the first time for LP, Playgirls...

ALSO Philstar commentary: Celebrity politics; 2016 maybe time we bury our political system


OCTOBER 6 -By Alex Magno May 2016 might actually be the time we finally bury our political party system. The reality, after all, is that through the post-Edsa revolution period, our party system has been weak and ineffectual. All the so-called political parties we have on the registry are really the shells of previous presidential campaigns. They are remnants of past battles rather than conveyances to the future. The period of dictatorship killed the old two-party system of the fifties and sixties. Landowning families controlled that party system. Notwithstanding, the old party system produced a certain predictability to our elections and a mechanism for the truly meritorious to advance up the political ladder. The “multi-party system” provided for by the 1987 Constitution was intended for a parliamentary set-up. When the parliamentary set-up was abandoned in favor of the presidential form, mainly in consideration of Cory Aquino’s role in the scheme of things, the framers of that badly written document did not bother to reconsider the provisions on the political party system. The result was a systemic calamity. When economic power was in the hands of the plantation owners, the old two-party system was financed by the landlords. The same landlords contributed the command votes of the provinces they dominated. This arrangement might not have produced an ideal type of electoral democracy, but it at least made for some form of mechanism that regulated entry to the highest elective posts. Renegades, stray adventurers and complete idiots were filtered out. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Leni Robredo to run as Mar's VP


OCTOBER 5 -Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II and President Benigno Aquino III declare Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo's vice presidential bid in 2016 on Monday, Oct. 5, 2016. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV.

MANILA, OCTOBER 12, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Louis Bacani - Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo on Monday formally accepted to be the running mate of Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II.

Roxas officially proclaimed Robredo as the LP's vice-presidential candidate during the event dubbed as "Daang Matuwid: To Be Continued" at the historic Club Filipino attended by the party's chairperson, President Benigno Aquino III.

"Matapos po ng malalim na pag-iisip, malawak na konsultasyon, at taimtim na dalangin – buong puso, buong pananampalataya at buong-tapat ko pong tinatanggap ang hamon na tumakbo bilang pangalawang pangulo ni Mar Roxas," Robredo said in her acceptance speech.

"Ibinibigay ko po ang aking sarili ng buong buo sa ating mga kababayan, lalong lalo na sa inyong mga tsinelas na nasa labas, nasa ibaba at nasa laylayan ng lipunan," she added.

Robredo, the widow of former Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, is finally running for vice president after her earlier reluctance to seek a higher post, citing discussions with her three daughters.

In her speech, Robredo explained why she initially did not want to run for vice president, saying she was used to be just behind her husband, who died in a plane crash in August 2012.

READ MORE...

However, Robredo also noted that her husband would not sleep until he had done everything he can for the people.

Citing her achievements and experience as a one-term congresswoman, Robredo vowed to continue his husband's legacy.

"Hindi po ako si Jesse. Ngunit noong namatay po siya, maliwanag po sa aming mag-iina na siya ay umaasa, na sa abot ng aming makakaya, susubukan din naming magsakripisyo, gaya ng kanyang pagsasakripisyo, para makapag-ambag para sa ating bayan," she said.

For his part, Roxas lauded Robredo and her daughters for their "sacrifice" and desire to serve the country.

"Kailangan ka naming lahat para pag-isahin ang reporma... Hindi madali ang laban na ito pero kaming lahat ay nasa likod mo," Roxas said.

LIVE UPDATES: Liberal Party declares VP bet

She was expected to be announced as the party's second top bet during the party's convention last week but she asked for more time for discernment.

The LP officially proclaimed the Roxas-Robredo tandem before a crowd composed of Cabinet members, LP officials and representatives from civil society organizations and sectoral groups.

Aquino, who endorsed Roxas as his preferred successor in July 31, has maintained that the former Cabinet official is capable of continuing the "Daang Matuwid" platform of his administration.

In an interview with reporters two weeks ago, Aquino expressed confidence that a Roxas-Robredo leadership will continue and even surpass the achievements of his administration.

"Kung 'yung nagawa na natin at pinagtulungan nitong papuntang anim na taon, 'pag ikinumpara doon sa gagawin nitong dalawa, palagay ko masasabing sobrang layo 'nung nagawa na dahil mag-uumpisa na naman siyempre sa mas mataas na antas," he said.

Aquino said Robredo would be a good vice president, saying she's not a traditional politician.

"Si Leni palagay ko positibong-positibo ang imahe... kung maghahanap ka ng talagang hindi pwedeng masasabing 'trapo' o traditional politician parang, 'di ba, 'yon ang isa sa mga mukha nito — si Leni Robredo," the president said.

"Ang dami na niyang dinemonstrate na kahanga-hanga talaga. So, ito, isasama niya sa pagkampanya—kasama ni Mar at 'pag pinalad silang dalawa—mayroon tayong talagang isang team na talagang magpapabilis ng lahat ng nagawa na natin dito sa 'Daang Matuwid,'" Aquino added. — with reports from Alexis Romero and Patricia Lourdes Viray


MANILA STANDARD

Comparing Leni to Cory is an insult By Emil Jurado | Oct. 07, 2015 at 12:01am


LENI ROBREDO

SANTA Banana, President Aquino is scraping the bottom of the barrel, hoping that sentimentalism will make Mar Roxas’ running mate, Leni Robredo, win. Now he is using the most infantile comparison there is.

The only common thing that the late Cory Aquino has with Leni Robredo is that both their husbands died.

Ninoy died because he was assassinated upon his return from exile. Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo died in a plane crash. Period.

Most importantly, Ninoy Aquino was the voice of the Filipino people against suppression of freedom and civil rights. He came back from exile despite threats to his life. Jesse Robredo? Well, as I said, he died in a plane crash.

The late DILG secretary may have gone around Naga City in his slippers, but that doesn’t make him my kind of hero that Ninoy was. Far from it.

BS Aquino may think that comparing Leni to his late mother may endear the former to the people. This insults our intelligence. For one thing, what track record and political experience can Leni bring to the voters in 2016? She has nothing substantial to show in terms of performance as a first-termer at the House of Representatives.

My gulay, BS Aquino III distorts history. It was the breakaway group—Reform the Armed Forces Movement—led by then-Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, then PC/INP Chief Fidel Ramos and then RAM Chief Col. Gringo Honasan, that handed power to Cory on the last day of the 1986 People Power Revolution. Mrs. Aquino was the biggest benefactor of the event.

READ MORE...

The President’s parents must now be turning in their graves.

* * *

I was dead wrong when I speculated that Senator Bongbong Marcos would become the running mate of Vice President Jojo Binay. Marcos made his formal bid for the vice presidency, possibly with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as his candidate for President.

Now, it’s turning out to be the United Nationalist Alliance decision that Senator Greg Honasan would run alongside Binay.

Santa Banana, that makes three candidates from the Nacionalista Party aspiring for the vice presidency—Bongbong Marcos, Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes, and two from the Bicol Region, Leni Robredo and Chiz Escudero. I cannot imagine how Robredo can overtake Escudero or even Cayetano in poll surveys when Mar Roxas’ running mate is a non-entity.

I am not predicting who will get elected as Vice President, but I believe it will be a good fight among Bongbong Marcos, Chiz Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano. I am ruling out Trillanes and Leni Robredo.

* * *

I don’t know if Senator Grace Poe realizes it, but she has made an enemy of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, an advocate of federalism when Mrs. Grace Poe Llamanzares said that federalism can only produce political dynasties.

In fact, Duterte came out with a strong denunciation of Grace Poe that she is still living in the feudal age when vassals of the king or emperor had to pay homage to the latter. Duterte argued that federalism precisely was aimed at distributing power from Imperial Manila to the provinces and regions.

I am in fact a believer of a parliamentary-federal system of government. For long, we have copied the presidential system of government from Mother America, and what have we become? A country ruled by Imperial Manila where the President rules.

If there must be a real change in the country’s political structure, it will be a “parliamentary-federal system” structure of government. It’s for this reason why the foremost advocates of “Bagong Sistema, Bagong Pag-asa” (New System, New Hope) led by former Chief Justice Renato Puno, can count me in as a supporter.

* * *

What was done by The Playgirls, a group of dancers who simulated sexual acts during the Liberal Party oathtaking ceremonies and the birthday celebration of Laguna Rep. Benjamin Agarao last week, is an ordinary thing. Politicians do this for their fellow politicians all the time.

I have been a journalist for 65 years. I have had the chance to cover the campaigns of numerous candidates for national office. I have seen scantily-clad women gyrating before men. This is all too common because politicians want to attract crowds. All these gimmicks are imported and paid for by politicians themselves.

But lest I am mistaken for tolerating what went on, I have to say the performance was unforgivable. The ultimate responsibility falls on the President’s lap, whether or not he wanted it to happen. Therefore, he must apologize for it.

* * *

I can only laugh at the statement of President Aquino that his “gains” as President will be stolen by the opposition.

What gains and accomplishments is the President talking about? His so-called “Daang Matuwid,” the mantra of the administration, has become a big joke because of the President’s brand of “selective justice.”

The President, for instance, cited that traffic problems would be solved once Skyway Stage 3 project is finished. But this will be after his term. Thus, his critics will be claiming this as their own.

My gulay, does he think his political enemies are so hungry for praise as he is?

BS Aquino III also cited as administration “gains” the program against smugglers and tax evaders. But has he done anything about his shooting buddy former Land Transportation Office Chief Virginia Torres who blatantly went to Customs to have the P100 million worth of smuggled sugar contained in 16 containers released?

“Daang Matuwid,” my foot! It’s the height of hypocrisy!


PHILSTAR

Leni Robredo asks self: Why me? By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated October 5, 2015 - 4:23pm 1 31 googleplus0 0


Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo declares her intent to run as vice president under the Liberal Party in the 2016 national elections on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines — Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo on Monday admitted that she hesitated before accepting the offer of Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II to be his running mate in the 2016 elections.

During her acceptance speech, Robredo revealed that the past weeks have been the hardest for her as she was on the process of deciding her plans for the upcoming elections.

"Noong una pong lumitaw ang pangalan ko na isa sa naiisip na puwedeng maging kasama ni Sec. Mar sa laban na ito, aaminin ko po na ang tanong ko sa sarili ko, 'Bakit ako? Sa dinami-dami ng puwedeng pagpilian, bakit ako pa?,'" Robredo said.

The Camarines Sur lawmaker noted that if her late husband, former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, were alive, he would have chosen to serve the people.

READ MORE...

She noted that a lot of her loved ones discouraged them from seeking higher office.

"Maraming nagmamahal sa asawa ko ang sumubok na pigilan ako sa pagkatakot na baka mayurakan lamang ang magandang pangalan na kanyang iniwan sa pagpasok ko sa maruming mundo ng pulitika," the lawmaker said.

Robredo expressed her gratitude to her family, especially her daughters, for giving their blessing for her to run as vice president.

"Hindi po ako susulong sa laban na ito kung hindi ko sila kasama. Ang pamilya po ang buod ng pagkatao namin ni Jesse bilang mga lingkod bayan," Robredo said.

Roxas officially proclaimed Robredo as the administration party's vice-presidential candidate during an event called "Daang Matuwid: To Be Continued" on Monday morning.

The LP is scheduled to announce its complete senatorial lineup on Friday.

READ: FULL TEXT: Leni Robredo accepts Mar's offer to be his VP

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

Netizens react on Leni Robredo’s VP bid


"Ang pambato ng Matuwid Na Daan" Roxas introduced Robredo after she accepted the bid.

After weeks of persistent courtship, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo finally said “yes” to run as Vice-President of former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas under the Liberal Party.

The tandem was made official at the historic Kalayaan Hall of Club Filipino in San Juan City.

LP stalwarts welcomed the announcement with warmth and expressed their support and confidence to late Jesse Robredo’s widow.

However, netizens had conflicting opinions regarding the party’s official standard bearers for the 2016 election.

READ MORE...

A number of netizens were dismayed by the announcement and chose to voice their opinion through social media.



Other people felt otherwise and supported LP’s Roxas-Robredo tandem.


INQUIRER

MMDA chief out of LP Senate slate: BUT TOLENTINO STILL WANTS TO BE A SENATOR By: Maricar B. Brizuela, Nikko Dizon and Marlon Ramos @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:11 AM October 8th, 2015


FAMOUS LAST WORDS MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino reads his resignation letter addressed to President Aquino in Makati City on Wednesday. Tolentino quit after controversy arose following a sexy performance of the Playgirls dancers at the Liberal Party oath-taking ceremony in Laguna province last week. GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

IN THE END, the public had spoken and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Francis Tolentino had no choice but to heed it.

Tolentino on Wednesday apologized for the raunchy dance number at a Liberal Party (LP) event in Laguna province last week that unleashed condemnation from various sectors, who said the sexually suggestive performance was at odds with the ruling party’s “straight path” avowals.

Tolentino, who declared his senatorial bid just days before the Playgirls controversy, asked the LP to drop him from its senatorial slate, and resigned his post as MMDA chief.

Even so, he still expressed his intention to seek higher office in 2016.

At the inauguration of a new boat at the Pasig ferry station in Guadalupe on Wednesday morning, Tolentino apologized for not stopping the Playgirls’ performance during the oathtaking of LP members that coincided with the birthday celebration of Laguna Rep. Benjamin Agarao Jr. in Sta. Cruz, Laguna, on Oct. 1.

“I am asking for understanding and forgiveness, especially from women groups who were hurt because of the incident,” Tolentino said, admitting that he failed to stop the performance of the female trio which, he said, “can also be seen every day by millions in television shows.”

READ MORE...

Accepted responsibility

“I am asking forgiveness from everyone who got offended by the incident especially to the family of Congressman Agarao and our friends from Laguna. I also apologize to my mother, who also got hurt, to the Liberal Party and Secretary Mar Roxas, whose name was dragged into what happened,” Tolentino said.

“I asked the Liberal Party to remove my name from the list they are considering for their senatorial lineup,” he added.

“I am now resigning as the MMDA chair,” he said, reading the resignation letter addressed to President Aquino that he signed before the agency’s employees. The time has come for him to seek a higher level of serving the nation in 2016, he said.

In a statement released earlier Wednesday, Mr. Aquino said Tolentino had reached out to him and “accepted responsibility” for the Playgirls incident.

“With this, he has likewise decided to withdraw as a senatorial candidate of the administration,” he said.

Tolentino, however, said that the incident should not take away the sacrifices his leadership had done for the MMDA, adding that he offered 24/7 service to the people as head of the agency.

“I entered the MMDA to serve the interests of the majority. And I would not have done it without your help,” he said addressing MMDA employees, whom he also asked to pray for him and support him in 2016.

Higher office

While Tolentino did not reveal his political plans, sources close to him confirmed that he would still pursue his senatorial bid, but was still undecided under which party.

Last week, Tolentino declared his Senate run in a gathering of Cavite political clans, including the Revillas, Maliksis and Remullas, and promised to carry the province’s banner in seeking higher office.

Two days after, the Playgirls incident happened, stirring up public condemnation after an Inquirer video of the raunchy dance number drew at least 1.3 million views on YouTube. The emcee had repeatedly acknowledged the Playgirls’ number as Tolentino’s gift to Agarao during the LP event, a claim that the former MMDA official had denied, saying he was just an invited guest at the party.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a press briefing that the Playgirls fiasco “does not define Chairman Francis Tolentino and it should not define what he has done for us as chairman of the MMDA.”

Palace officials said the show, which triggered public indignation, brought forth the need to discuss women issues at a national level.

“Issues like this and the public outrage that followed will bring gender sensitivity and equality high in the national discourse. That’s one good take away from this incident,” said Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.

“It is also a reminder to those participating in the political process of the need to always be mindful of how we treat the dignity of everyone, including the womenfolk,” Lacierda said.

‘Victim of circumstance’

Tolentino’s withdrawal from the LP’s Senate slate has rendered the ongoing LP investigation into the incident “academic,” Abad said.

As for Agarao, the budget secretary described him as a “victim of circumstance” who had already apologized for what happened.

In a text message, Abad said Tolentino was “asked to seriously consider whether to pursue his Senate bid in the face of the public outrage” against the Laguna incident.

“So this was his decision and we should laud him for taking such a painful and politically difficult position,” Abad told the Inquirer.

The President said Tolentino knew that “those who oppose meaningful reform will want to exploit the incident.”

“Francis is a firm advocate of daang matuwid (straight path),” Mr. Aquino said in a statement released by the Palace, although Malacañang had yet to confirm if the President had accepted Tolentino’s resignation.

“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,” Mr. Aquino said.

“In all his years of public service, from the time he was appointed by my mother (the late President Cory Aquino) as officer in charge of Tagaytay City in 1986, to his participation in the reform agenda as a member of my Cabinet, Francis demonstrated the dedication and dynamic leadership of a public servant committed to the common good,” he added.

MMDA reforms

“It is this same commitment that encouraged him to set his sights toward serving our people in a higher capacity,” Mr. Aquino said, adding that he believed Tolentino “will take the opportunity to further reflect on how he can better effect positive change in the future.”

Former Interior Secretary and LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas also lauded Tolentino for instituting reforms in the MMDA, including launching its own smartphone application and Twitter account to help the agency react faster to emergencies.

“As regards the recent incident in Laguna, it was a mistake. And I appreciate that… Tolentino has acknowledged this,” Roxas said in a statement.

“I also want to say that this mistake does not reflect the totality of Francis Tolentino and his service to our people,” he added.

“By his decision to withdraw from the LP’s Senate slate, Francis Tolentino demonstrates he is a true believer (of the) straight path,” Roxas said.

The LP presidential contender said the Playgirls incident “prompted” the LP leadership “to take a hard look at how we are conducting our campaign… which is a reflection of how you are going to govern. Our goal is always to raise the level of public discourse, to always appeal to our better angels. Moving forward, I ask our LP members and our supporters to adhere to this objective,” Roxas said.

As Tolentino packed his personal things, he bade an emotional farewell to the MMDA employees. “I think this is the last time we will see each other,” he said.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Robredo’s sincerity will outshine rivals – Abaya By: Julliane Love De Jesus @JLDejesusINQ INQUIRER.net  11:41 PM October 5th, 2015

ABAYA

WHAT’S Leni Robredo’s advantage over other vice presidential candidates? She’s sincere and she speaks from the heart, at least according to a Liberal Party stalwart.

LP president and Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya believes that other VP aspirants cannot match Robredo’s sincerity, especially in her desire to continue the administration’s “Daang Matuwid.”

“When she talks about Daang Matuwid, I think people will have no doubt at all that she is sincere and she is speaking from the heart. I think others cannot level up to that kind of sincerity,” Abaya told reporters on Monday after the launch of Mar Roxas-Leni Robredo tandem in 2016.

Abaya said that he himself was “moved” by Robredo’s speech at the Club Filipino where she formally accepted LP’s offer.

“I am sure you yourselves have heard her speak and those are moving statements,” he said.

READ MORE...

And the advantage of the Mar-Leni team up? Abaya said: “They are as consistent and as pure as they can get with the Daang Matuwid.”

Senators Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, Bongbong Marcos and Antonio Trillanes III have declared their intention to run for VP post.

But as of latest, only Robredo and Escudero have sure running mates in next year’s general elections. Escudero teamed up with Senator Grace Poe as presidential candidate.

Asked what made Robredo accept the offer, Abaya said he had no idea as he “wasn’t part of the ‘convincing’ [committee].’”

“I was merely praying for her. Maybe my prayer made her say yes,” Abaya quipped. Julliane Love de Jesus


TOLENTINO APOLOGIZED: PNoy PRAISES HIM AS 'FIRM ADVOCATE OF DAANG MATUWID' By: Kristine Angeli Sabillo @KSabilloINQ -


TOLENTINO

MANILA -President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday personally confirmed the news that Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino has withdrawn from the senate slate of the ruling Liberal Party.

“Today, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino spoke on the recent incident connected to him. He has accepted responsibility for it. With this, he has likewise decided to withdraw as a senatorial candidate of the Administration,” Aquino said in a statement, referring to reports that Tolentino hired a group of sexy dancers as a gift to Laguna Representative Benjamin Agarao.

Tolentino said: Forgive me for not stopping Playgirls number. The group Playgirls performed a dance number, deemed lewd and inappropriate, during the birthday celebration of Agarao in Laguna and after an oath-taking event of the LP, which was attended by presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.

Tolentino earlier denied the claim of the event emcee that the group was a “gift” from him.

Tolentino also denies bringing ‘surprise’ sexy dancers to gathering.Despite Tolentino claiming responsibility for the incident, Aquino lauded the MMDA chairman for being a “firm advocate of Daang Matuwid.”

“He knows that, at present, those who oppose meaningful reform will want to exploit the incident,” Aquino said.

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“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.” Aquino added.

The President, who has vowed to campaign for the LP and its standard bearers, said he believes Tolentino “will take the opportunity to further reflect on how he can better affect positive change in the future.”

He said Tolentino has been a dedicated and dynamic leader “committed to the common good” and that he has demonstrated this since he was appointed by Aquino’s mother, former president Corazon Aquino, as officer in charge of Tagaytay City in 1986. CDG

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PHILSTAR

Tolentino quits, tells LP to count him out By Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 8, 2015 - 12:00am 0 46 googleplus0 1


Outgoing MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino removes a framed photo of himself with President Aquino as he cleared his office and bid goodbye to MMDA employees yesterday. Edd Gumban

‘Sorry for Playgirls dance show’

MANILA, Philippines - Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino yesterday publicly apologized for the sexy performance of the all-female dance group Playgirls during a Liberal Party event in Sta. Cruz, Laguna on Sept. 30.

He also tendered his resignation as MMDA chief and asked the Liberal Party (LP) leadership to strike his name off the list of potential senatorial candidates that it will be fielding for the May 2016 elections.

“I am asking for understanding and I apologize to the women’s groups hurt because of the incident in Sta. Cruz, Laguna. It was my mistake and I acknowledge that I failed to stop the performance (even when) I was the highest ranking government officer there,” he said in Filipino during the MMDA launching of three Pasig River ferries at the Guadalupe station in Makati City.


MMDA personnel gather to see MMDA chairman off  STAR/FRIALDE

But President Aquino defended him, saying “Francis is a firm advocate of daang matuwid (straight path). He knows that, at present, those who oppose meaningful reform will want to exploit the incident to remove him from its senatorial slate. 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.”

Without directly saying that he is striking Tolentino off the LP Senate slate, Aquino said he hopes Tolentino will take the opportunity “to further reflect on how he can better effect positive change in the future.”

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LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas said Tolentino’s latest action shows that the latter is a believer of the straight path.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said the act should put a closure to the issue. He earlier clarified that Tolentino is not an LP member.

Aquino recalled that his mother – former President Cory Aquino – appointed Tolentino as officer-in-charge of Tagaytay City in 1986.

“In all his years of public service, he demonstrated the dedication and dynamic leadership of a public servant committed to the common good. It is this same commitment that encouraged him to set his sights towards serving our people in a higher capacity,” he said.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda also appealed to the public not to make the Sta. Cruz incident a defining moment for Tolentino.

“What happened in Laguna does not define Chairman Tolentino and it should not define what he has done for us as chairman of the MMDA,” he told Palace reporters in a briefing.


MMDA chairman starts packing away photos from his office

Lacierda credited the beleaguered MMDA chief for the flood-control projects in Metro Manila.

The Playgirls performed after the oath taking of new LP members in Laguna. The event’s emcee announced that the sexy group’s performance was a gift of Tolentino to Agarao, which the MMDA chairman later denied.

“Again…I was not able to control, I was not able to stop the incident, which to my and other’s belief, is also being done daily and shown to millions of TV viewers,” Tolentino claimed.

Aside from apologizing, Tolentino also asked the ruling LP to remove his name from the party’s list of possible senatorial bets in 2016. He publicly announced his bid for the Senate during a gathering of Cavite officials in Manila last Sept. 29.

Gabriela party-list said the incident should forewarn politicians on the use of women in lewd and raunchy shows for entertainment during the election campaign.

“Those using guns, goons, gold and girls in their campaign clearly have no platform of government to deliver to their constituents and should be rejected,” Gabriela stressed.

Outgoing Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and former LP senatorial bet Risa Hontiveros earlier said they would not be at ease if made to run alongside Tolentino.

Ruth Cabal, Tolentino’s media consultant, said the former MMDA chief would still pursue his Senate bid next year but refused to specify under which party. - With Delon Porcalla, Jess Diaz, Alexis Romero, Marvin Sy

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RELATED FRPM PHILSTAR

Mar: Tolentino's mistake not a reflection of his service By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated October 7, 2015 - 3:59pm 1 55 googleplus0 0


Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas stressed that MMDA Francis Tolentino has brought major improvements in his agency despite his mistake in connection to the "Playgirls" incident in Laguna last week. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando

MANILA, Philippines - Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II on Wednesday defended Metro Manila Development Authority Chair Francis Tolentino, citing that his fault is not a reflection of his service.

Tolentino was criticized for sending scantily clad women as a "birthday treat" to a lawmaker during a political gathering in Laguna last week.

The MMDA official has already apologized and said that he wants to be excluded in the senatorial slate of the LP.

"I also want to say that this mistake does not reflect the totality of Francis Tolentino and his service for our people," Roxas said in a statement.

Roxas acknowledged Tolentino's apology for the "Playgirls" incident, noting that it was a mistake.

The LP presidential candidate stressed Tolentino's achievements as MMDA chair.

"We worked very closely with him during times of disasters, and as MMDA chair, he always sent help where it was needed, regardless of whether or not the disaster area was within Metro Manila," Roxas said.

He also pointed out that Tolentino was responsible for modernizing the MMDA's channels for public service.

"Ngayon, mayroon na tayong MMDA app, na nakakapagbigay gabay sa napakaraming motorista; nariyan na rin and MMDA Twitter account, na mabilis na tumutugon sa lahat ng tanong - at minsan sa mga reklamo - ng ating mga kababayan ukol sa trapiko," the LP standard bearer said.

Roxas stressed that the LP is a party united by principle and that they will continue to push for its "pursuit of prosperity."

The administration party is scheduled to announce its complete senatorial lineup on Friday.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Not the first time for LP, Playgirls By Aie Balagtas See (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 5, 2015 - 12:00am 4 245 googleplus0 1


A post on their Facebook page shows the Playgirls thanking MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino’s brother, Cavite Rep. Bambol Tolentino, for inviting them to a campaign rally in 2013.

MANILA, Philippines – A gathering last week was not the first time that members of the administration’s Liberal Party (LP) had invited the Playgirls to its public event and earned flak for it.

Before the Playgirls twerked and dry-humped on top of men during the birthday party of Laguna Rep. Benjamin Agarao Jr., the group performed the Harlem Shake for LP members in Malabon City in 2013.

Last week’s event that earned the ire of netizens was the second publicized performance of Playgirls at an LP gathering.

In April 2013, The STAR wrote a story on the Playgirls’ performance in Team Malabon’s proclamation rally in front of Malabon City Hall, where they entertained politicians and audience with lewd games complete with thongs and bras.

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Team Malabon was led by President Aquino’s cousin, incumbent Mayor Antolin Oreta, who said he didn’t know the Playgirls would be there.

After receiving criticism for the sexually suggestive dances and games, Oreta announced that he was “considering” dropping his vice mayoral candidate, Councilor Edwin Dimagiba, whom he blamed for the flub.

“I was bypassed. I was not consulted,” Oreta said in front of Team Malabon’s 12 candidates for councilor.

Dimagiba, on the other hand, said he “had no knowledge” of the Playgirls’ repertoire.

Oreta said he was “negligent” for not knowing the program but insisted that the preparations were handled by the office of Dimagiba’s cousin, then re-electionist Malabon Rep. Jaye Noel-Lacson. Lacson ran and won under Team Malabon.

Eventually, Oreta dropped Dimagiba and ran with a different vice mayoral candidate.

Malabon’s city council also issued a public apology, saying they “regret” what happened.

The Playgirls’ performance in the proclamation rally two years ago was reminiscent of Agarao’s birthday party. They were clad in denim pants short enough to expose the lower half of their buttocks as they gyrated and sang to a crowd of around 500.

The Playgirls initially invited the candidates of Team Malabon to “play” with them but the politicians declined. They then asked three men from the audience to go onstage and dance with them.

As the crowd cheered them on, the performers took off the men’s shirts and had them wear brassieres before leaving the stage. The crowd went wild when one of the performers, who introduced herself as Pauline Subido, asked a man from the audience to play a sexually suggestive game with her to the tune of Mariah Carey’s “Touch My Body.” Subido posted a photo taken during the game on her Facebook page.

One person left a comment on the photo: “Haha! Right with the Malabon (city hall) sign in the background! Classy!”

According to Playgirls’ Facebook page, in 2013 they also campaigned for former Laguna governor ER Ejercito; Cavite 7th district Rep. Bambol Tolentino; Mayor Elyong Hernandez of Rodriguez, Rizal; and Mayor Goto Violago and Vice Mayor Edison Veneracion of San Rafael, Bulacan.

“Maraming salamat sa tiwala sa Playgirls (thank very much for believing in Playgirls),” the group said in the same post.


PHILSTAR COMMENTARY

Celebrity politics FIRST PERSON By Alex Magno (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 6, 2015 - 12:00am 1 0 googleplus0 0


By Alex Magno

May 2016 might actually be the time we finally bury our political party system.

The reality, after all, is that through the post-Edsa revolution period, our party system has been weak and ineffectual. All the so-called political parties we have on the registry are really the shells of previous presidential campaigns. They are remnants of past battles rather than conveyances to the future.

The period of dictatorship killed the old two-party system of the fifties and sixties. Landowning families controlled that party system. Notwithstanding, the old party system produced a certain predictability to our elections and a mechanism for the truly meritorious to advance up the political ladder.

The “multi-party system” provided for by the 1987 Constitution was intended for a parliamentary set-up. When the parliamentary set-up was abandoned in favor of the presidential form, mainly in consideration of Cory Aquino’s role in the scheme of things, the framers of that badly written document did not bother to reconsider the provisions on the political party system. The result was a systemic calamity.

When economic power was in the hands of the plantation owners, the old two-party system was financed by the landlords. The same landlords contributed the command votes of the provinces they dominated.

This arrangement might not have produced an ideal type of electoral democracy, but it at least made for some form of mechanism that regulated entry to the highest elective posts. Renegades, stray adventurers and complete idiots were filtered out.

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It would have been impossible, under the old two-party system for some underperformer to get elected President of the Republic simply because his mother died. It would have been unthinkable for the world of entertainment to colonize the world of statecraft.

The period of dictatorship allowed no real contestation for power. What passed for electoral exercises were conducted simply to legitimize one-man rule. All the politicians were coopted to serve the dictatorship and submit to the personality cult that enveloped it.

So it was that when electoral democracy was restored after the 1986 uprising, there was no real functioning political class to give it substance. The contending factions imported celebrities from the world of movies and sports who had the name-recall (and not much else) to get themselves elected.

Celebrity politics is an affliction difficult to cure – especially since the old bastions of command votes were dissolved by the decline of our agriculture that, in turn, fueled rapid urbanization. Without established and experienced politicians, the contending factions relied on sheer celebrity power to win elections. The anomaly of a Senate elected at large made the costs of campaigning for a national post prohibitive and made recruitment of entertainment celebrities more conducive.

With weak political parties, the so-called “market votes” became dominant.

Politics became entirely transactional. In that light, the cash-transfer program became a mechanism for vote-buying on a large scale. Observe how Dinky Soliman now busies herself convening assemblies of cash-transfer beneficiaries that are obviously election-related.

The end-all and be-all of national administration has now become the perfection of wholesale vote-buying through such mechanisms as the engorged conditional cash transfer program and the humungous lump sums in the national budget.

Party-less In Japan, politicians rise to the top by spending decades working the intra-party factions and cultivating a share of the party’s voting base. In the US, presidential aspirants need to work through the brutal gauntlet of the year-long primaries where registered party voters participate in choosing the candidates.

Here, the sitting president simply “anoints” his preferred successor without any semblance of consultation with the base. A Grace Poe, rating very well in the voter preference survey, could simply declare herself an “independent” candidate for the presidency. An Antonio Trillanes, accountable to no one, could impose himself on the electorate simply by declaring his candidacy for the second-highest elective post.

We now have more people seeking the vice-presidency than there are seeking the presidency.

Alan Cayetano, when it was clear he could not cajole the LP into naming him Mar Roxas’ running mate, went to Davao to declare his “independent” bid for the vice-presidency. The objective of that ploy was confront Rodrigo Duterte with an inevitability should the mayor decide to seek the presidency.

Of the five more or less acknowledged vice presidential contenders, four are from the Bicol region. There is a reason for this. Bicol voters are the most tribal of all.

They may be relied on to support their own. But with four Bicolanos seeking the same post, the regional advantage is cancelled out.

At any rate, it is doubtful if any vice presidential candidate will be of any real value to the presidential contenders. Filipino voters have a history of splitting their votes for president and vice president. Given that record, an appealing vice presidential candidate may actually be a liability for the standard-bearer.

We really have a funny situation with vice presidential outnumbering presidential contenders. Funnier still: the Nacionalista Party, rehabilitated as the vehicle for billionaire Manny Villar’s 2010 presidential bid, has few members. All of them now appear to be running in different directions.

The latest developments in candidate alignments underscore the abysmal descent in the importance of political parties in our electoral democracy.

With local candidates dependent on financing from the top, maintaining large party formations could be a very expensive proposition for those seeking the highest post. A large number of flunkeys seeking financial support could easily exhaust a war chest as large as the LP’s.

In the end, it is the way our campaign financing has evolved (or deformed) that explains the weakness of our party system.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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