DOTC to probe into video showing LTO chief in casino

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DOTC Secretary Joseph Abaya INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / ARNOLD ALMACEN

MANILA—The Department of Transportation and Communications is to investigate a video posted on YouTube showing a person resembling Land Transportation Office chief Virginia Torres gambling at a casino.

Government officials are not allowed to play at casinos.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya said in a text message Thursday his office was “carefully looking at things.”

“DOTC to investigate and eventually render a report to Malacañang,” Abaya said.

A 36-second clip titled “LTO Chief Casino Queen” was posted on video-sharing website YouTube on August 13.

The video, which was poorly taken, showed a woman resembling Torres sitting in front of a slot machine, with her feet resting at its base, while apparently manipulating the controls on its screen. Newer slot machine models have touch screen capabilities.

The casino was not identified.

Torres admitted to a television station that she was in a casino “way back” while having dinner with a friend. She said she was drawn by the slot machine’s lights and sat in front of it and read the instructions but she did not play.

It was not clear if Torres was confirming she was the same person on the video.

Torres had yet to respond Wednesday to an Inquirer request for comment from her.

LTO spokesperson Jason Salvador said separately on Thursday that Torres had already addressed the issue.

Torres, reportedly a shooting buddy of President Aquino, was appointed to her current post at the LTO in July 2010.

Malacañang Memorandum Circular No. 8, which was issued in 2001, says “all government personnel concerned are prohibited from entering, staying and/or playing at gambling casinos.”

Covered by the memorandum are “government officials connected directly with the operation of the government or any of its agencies, save personnel employed by the casinos who may be allowed to stay in the premises.”

Gaming regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. was likewise told to strictly enforce the memorandum circular.

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